Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Are You Ready For A New Beginning?

This is the last day of the year. A time when we traditionally make New Year's resolutions. It is a very optimistic time. A time when we look forward with hope to a new year . . . a chance to do better, a chance to start fresh, a chance to begin again.

So what kinds of resolutions do we usually make? Here is a top ten list of last year's New Year's resolutions:
  1. Lose Weight
  2. Getting Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy
  6. Learn Something Exciting
  7. Quit Smoking
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend More Time with Family
Is there anything on that list from 2014 that is on YOUR New Year's resolution list for this year? Are you desiring to lose weight perhaps? Or maybe you are resolving to fall in love with someone who won't hurt you when you trust them with your heart? Or maybe it's spending more time with your family than you did last year.

What if I told you that there was ONE resolution you could make this year that could help you accomplish all ten of the resolutions listed above. Would you be interested? Heck yeah!!

Try this one:

"I resolve in 2015 to give my life to Christ. I have tried everything I can think of to make my life work out how I want it but things never work out." Let me tell you how a life with Jesus at the center of it can help you accomplish ALL TEN New Year's resolutions listed above.
  1. Lose Weight -The Bible advises against gluttony (overeating). Proverbs 23:20-21
  2. Getting Organized - Get rid of the excess in your life. Make things more simple. Mark 10:21
  3. Spend Less, Save More - Do you buy only what you need or everything you want? 1 Timothy 6:10
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest - There is nothing wrong with having fun. Enjoy life! Ecclesiastes 8:15
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy - Exercise is good for your body. Do it! Isaiah 40:29-31
  6. Learn Something Exciting - Read the Bible. There are tons of exciting lessons waiting to be learned. Proverbs 1:5
  7. Quit Smoking - You only have one body in this life. Take care of it! 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams - Placing others first brings joy to God. Hebrews 13:16
  9. Fall in Love - Nothing can separate us from God's love. Romans 8:37-39
  10. Spend More Time with Family - There is nothing like a loving family and that is what you get when you place your hope and faith in Jesus. Romans 8:16-17
You and I are born sinners. We find it very easy to eat too much. Most of us live cluttered lives. We tend to spend our money foolishly. We think we can enjoy life by partying and drinking. We are fools. There is so much more in Christ!

I'm not writing this to tell you that Jesus can help you fulfill all your New Year's resolutions. I am writing this to say that by placing your faith in Jesus, by giving Him control of your life, there will be no need for New Year's resolutions.Your desire will be to please Him and the rest will take care of itself.

Jesus died for our sins. God demands a blood sacrifice, a perfectly spotless lamb, to atone for our sins. Jesus did that for us. Repay Jesus today by offering YOUR life for the one HE gave . . . for you. Give up the life you had in 2014 and grab a hold of the one He offers you for 2015.

It seems like each year we long to start over. Why not give control of your life to Jesus and let Him make your choices as you follow Him in 2015. New Year's resolutions are man-made things. We are humans often failing in OUR selfish desires. Let our New Year's resolution be this:

I resolve to please God and live my life for Him.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year!


Monday, December 29, 2014

A Line In The Sand

This is a picture of a line that has been drawn in the sand. The intent of such drawn lines is that we don't want people to cross them. They are somewhat like fences, only with little or no height. The only thing that keeps someone from crossing a line in the sand is usually a threat of some kind by the person who drew it towards another person. "Lines in the sand" are a visible representation of an invisible consequence.

Politicians sometimes draw lines in the sand. We did that to Syria last year. Didn't work too well. No further comment.

Lines in the sand are supposed to be ultimatums. "I dare you to cross this line!" The only thing about lines in the sand is that when someone crosses one, it is now OUR turn to do something . . . or not.

I heard something in church yesterday from my buddy Ron (our church's family pastor) that caught my attention and made my pick up a pen and take note. He challenged us to draw a line in the sand . . . BEHIND us. Huh?

Yup.

He was talking about sin and how we humans tend to keep backsliding in our faith. How we tend to sin, repent of those sins, and then go back and commit the very same sins over and over again. An example of this can be seen in Jesus' incounter with the woman caught in adultery.

"Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.

4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”

6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.


[Could Jesus have been drawing a line in the sand?]

9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”

11 “No, Lord,” she said.

And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
- John 8:1-11

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ we are in effect drawing a line in the sand for ourselves. The line represents the point in time when we began following Jesus. We draw a line in the sand, step over it. and we never go back. At least that's the plan.

Each time we sin we are supposed to repent, effectively drawing a line in the sand. We must never go back over that line. This is a process called sanctification, as we gradually strip of our old ways and live a new life style . . . in Christ.

What can we draw a line with today?

It could be an addiction. It could be premarital sex. It could be having a second helping of desert. There are so many things that get between us and God. All of them sin.

I don't know about you but I need to start drawing some lines. I need to draw a line between myself and the computer. There are many people in my life who could probably benefit from drawing a line between themselves and their phones.

The question is, where do we draw the line? And when.

We need to draw a line when our selfish desires get in the way of our relationship with God.

"I 'need' to check Facebook just one more time before I go to sleep."

No. Perhaps you should pray before you go to sleep. Draw a line in the sand! Do it today. Do it again tomorrow.

Here's a question for you. What if Jesus drew a line in the sand and told you not to step over it? Here's the kicker. He already did. It's that moment you came to believe. The line was drawn, separating you from the world. Romans 12:2

"2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, [line in the sand] but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will." - Romans 12:2

What lines need to be drawn today in YOUR life? Pray about that. Seek God's help in drawing and maintaining those lines of defense. It is a command of God! "Go, and sin no more."

Or is Jesus Himself your line in the sand? If so, I would encourage you to step over that line and never look back. And if we do fall back across that line, let us stand back up today and step over that line towards Jesus.

Woman Caught In Adultery from Passion Of The Christ

[Thank you Ron, for your message yesterday]

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Seasons Seasonings

I was watching my son prepare the corn for our Christmas meal this year. He was helping my wife prepare things so she didn't have to do EVERYTHING like she usually does. He had placed some butter on the corn after he had extracted the dish from the microwave. Then he picked up some seasoning salt and began sprinkling it on the corn.

"Too much salt," I thought to myself. "That's really going to be more seasoning than I would like." I began to wonder how I could un-season the corn, if that were even possible. More butter perhaps?

My son is a good cook. We have eaten many meals that he has prepared, each one tasted good. He knew what he was doing. Even so, this time I thought he might be making things too salty.

Guess what. The corn tasted fine despite my concern.

We all have our opinions about how much seasoning should be put on our food. Here's a question for you. Do you salt your french fries before you even taste them? I do. Why? Maybe those fries are super-salty already and you are just adding to the seasoning, making them inedible. Yet I still feel that I need to add something to the mix. Why? Do I feel like I have to be in charge of the seasoning?

How much "salt" are we supposed to apply to the people we meet? Will too much salt (too much talk about Jesus) make people think that Christianity doesn't taste very good?

It is true that Jesus called us the salt of the earth alright. But then He said something else as well. Apparently we can lose our saltiness. And if we don't season the lives of those around us we are called "good-for-nothings."

13You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet." - Matthew 5:13

There are some people I can talk to about Jesus all day long. We love to talk about Him and His Word, The Bible. Conversations about God and His Holy Spirit never seem too burdensome. We just love talking about Jesus! But not everyone does. Not everyone believes. So are we still supposed to talk to them? Even those who have turned their back on Jesus? YES!

BUT we need to remember that while we are the ones who season, we are NOT the ones who provide the meal. We are not the ones who do the saving. There is nothing that WE ourselves can do to save anyone! God can get along just fine without us. We don't have to pray The Sinner's Prayer with everyone, nor should we. Such instructions from Jesus simply do not exist. But we DO need to love everyone. Think back a moment. What was it that Jesus said about the greatest commandment?

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:36-40

Instead of trying to figure out ways we can get to pray the sinners prayer with people, we need to think of ways we can show them the love of Christ. God's Holy Spirit will take care of the rest.

My brother-in-law prayed the sinners prayer with his mother before she died. Did that save her? No. I believe that what saved his mom was her realization that what my brother-in-law was saying was true. She came to realize that truth through the love he showed her in telling her about Jesus. I believe it was his actions, his loving acts that got her attention and made her believe, through the Holy Spirit, that what he was saying about Jesus was true. It was God's Holy Spirit working on her, not my brother-in-law. He did the seasoning.

"8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9

We are the seasoning. God in His mercy and grace is the meal. Our job is to love others. And the best way to do that is to tell people about Jesus. We shouldn't apply too much seasoning . . . just enough. It is the meal that is the deal. We really just need to invite people to dinner.

"16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

Salt and Light - John Piper

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas 2014

This is not going to be a typical Christmas letter. Why? Well, because this has not been a "typical" year. As I paged through my 2014 pocket calendar, trying to recall all the things that had happened in 2014, I came across one event that made me stop and reflect. That event was the death of my father.

This will be the first year our family will be celebrating the birth of Jesus without my dad. Alzheimer's had already taken most of his memory from us and this past June pneumonia took the rest of him. Needless to say, my mother will be having a different Christmas than normal this year, the first in 60+ years without her husband. And for my sister, brother and I, it will be the first Christmas we spend, ever, without our dad in this world. This COULD be a very sad time for our family. But I don't believe that it will be, and I can tell you why in two simple words. Family and Faith.

In that regard, this has been an incredible year. God has used me more this year than He ever has. I pray that He would continue to do so. Relationships have increased in number and quality. Work is going great and I have been blessed by being able to pour into the spiritual lives of many young adults and teens. My life basically boils down to two things. Here are those words again - faith and family.

The following is a story about a family from long ago. It isn't really a Christmas story like the one Linus recited from Luke 2 but it IS an amazing story of family, hope & faith, repentance & forgiveness. It is a story of a father and a son. It is a story about faith and family.

“A certain man had two sons.  12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’ So he divided to them his livelihood.  13 And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.  14 But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.  15 Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  16 And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.

17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you,  19 and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’

20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.  23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry;  24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’" - Luke 15:11-23

I'd like you to think about the prodigal son in this story for a moment. Are YOU a prodigal? I sure was. In the story you just read there was a point in the prodigal's life when he realized that he had screwed up. He repented of his sins and he went home to seek his father’s forgiveness. That is exactly what we ALL must do in our lives. Things finally got so bad in his life that he returned home to face the almost certain punishment that was awaiting him.

 
I once heard someone say, "God would never forgive me for all the things I've done."


That person, sadly, does not know God. If they did they would know that God is all about forgiving those who come to a saving faith in Him. Read again what happened in verse 20.  "His father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him."

Does that sound like someone unwilling to forgive? God has promised that He would forgive us, casting our sins “as far as the east is from the west.” Why would God do that? It is because we are His creation. It is because of his tremendous, sacrificial love for us. No matter what we have done, we simply cannot out-sin God's grace.


"16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." - John 3:16

The prodigal in the story initially turned his back on his father and lived a life focused on himself. I have some atypical Christmas questions for you. Is there someone you are turning your back on this Christmas? Is it God? Do you get uncomfortable talking about God, even at Christmas time? Do you ignore him as you live your daily life? Do you find satisfaction in the gifts you receive rather than in the God who provides ALL things? Tough question for what is supposed to be a cheery, fun-filled Christmas letter. I have a reason for asking.

You see, I was once the person described in all those questions . . . that is, until I opened God’s previously overlooked gift one cold, January day in 2006. The gift had always been there for me but I chose to ignore it - foolishness on my part. Since that day my life has totally changed, and for the better. I have received more gifts than anyone has the right to expect - gifts from God in the form of family and friends. I tell you all these things because the same gifts await you. That is my prayer for you!

This year, when all the carnage of Christmas is over and you find yourself picking up the shreds of wrapping paper amongst the broken candy canes and tinsel, take a look around your house. There is still one more gift for you, waiting to be opened. You will typically find it hidden on a shelf. It is a book whose title reads "The Holy Bible." Find it, open it to the Book of John and begin reading. Let God's Word fill your mind and your heart  and receive the gift that was purchased for you 2,000 years ago by Jesus. By opening God's gift of salvation this Christmas and accepting it you will become part of a family whose members will never leave you and will NEVER die. You will experience love like you have never known. My prayer for you this Christmas is that you would open God’s gift that was given to a dying world on a wooden cross two millennia ago. Open your heart this Christmas . . . and live.

Father, I pray for everyone reading this letter. Some may already know you but if they haven't done so already, I pray that they would ask you into their lives today. Please tug at their hearts, through your Holy Spirit, and encourage them to turn and seek you. I pray that all people would open their hearts to you and receive the love and forgiveness you offer. And I pray that you would kiss them on the cheek, Father, and welcome them into your arms and into your family. Amen.

Have a Merry Christmas. May your family be filled with all the love, joy, peace and hope that only Christ can bring. I love you all.

 
Come To Jesus - Chris Rice

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas

In our house I have taken on the responsibility of opening all the Christmas cards that we receive. Each day when I get home from work I zip them open and read them to my wife. She knows that I like to read them so she leaves them for me on the counter until I get home.

I have noticed a few things about Christmas cards. Some people just sign them and let the printed message do the talking, Others write short little notes. Some people include letters, documenting family vacations, births, deaths and weddings and others simply send a picture postcard. No signature, no envelope, just a card with images on it.

As I was opening the cards we received yesterday I noticed something that made me stop and think for a bit. Let me show you the messages on the cards and see if you can discover the same thing I did.

The first card said, "Many good wishes for Christmas and the coming year." There was a gold ornament on the cover . . . and there was glitter. I hate glitter. It gets everywhere. I will still be seeing it after the snow melts I'm afraid.

The second card had the picture of a snowy church on the cover. There were cardinals in pine trees and it was snowing. Pretty. Inside the card read, "Sending you Christmas blessings and wishing you a joyous new year." Nice. A little better than the first (no glitter) but still missing something.

The third card featured a picture of a lighthouse with a big word "Peace" on the cover. "May the Spirit of Christmas lighten your heart and bring happiness in the coming year." Catchy. But a lighthouse for Christmas? Well, there was a wreath on it.

A fourth card had an old farm house and a barn on the front with a rising full moon and snow-covered  lawn. Inside the card there were these words. "THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON RESTS IN THE STILLNESS OF A WINTER'S NIGHT." Really? Is that where the spirit truly rests?

I paused for a moment before opening the fifth of the five cards we had received. Finding myself somewhat sad I thought to myself, "I feel just like Charlie Brown asking his friends if anyone knew what the true meaning of Christmas was.

The fifth card was from a friend and a member of the church I worship at. I had hope that perhaps THIS card would contain the Christmas greeting I was longing to hear. My friend did not disappoint. :)

"For unto us is born a Savior."

Thank you Larry and Char!

What has happened to Christmas, my friends? It certainly is not what it once was. But what happened to it? Does the true meaning of Christmas even exist anymore in the hearts and minds of me? Yes, there are some that embrace it's true meaning but that number seems to be getting less and less these days.

Certainly Christmas still exists. It's on the calendar after all. But the true meaning of Christmas has changed somehow - morphed into something new. New, but not necessarily better. Still, the TRUE Spirit of Christmas CAN be found if you know where to look for it.

Friday night I was surfing the satellite dish guide and came across an old movie - the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol. It was an old black and white production but it showed me something about the TRUE Spirit of Christmas. Bob Cratchit had just been fired from his job by his boss Ebeneser Scrooge. Mr. Cratchit was moping along on his way home, probably trying to figure out what he was going to tell his wife, when something happened to him. He took his final earnings and bought his family a wonderful Christmas dinner . . . with a smile on his face.

A Christmas Carol (1938 Version)

The Spirit of Christmas is still out there. We just have to search a little longer, a little harder, to find it these days. May this Christmas find your search for its true meaning a successful one. Jesus is the reason for the season, He is the source of Christmas. He IS Christmas. Any pretenders offering Christmas in lighthouses and colorful birds on trees are not offering the true meaning of Christmas. They might be pretty and catching to our eyes. But the true meaning of Christmas is Jesus. It is found in the Christ-child, born on one VERY holy night.

May you find the true meaning of Christmas this year . . . in your hearts. And may God be praised for this most-precious of gifts . . . His one and only son.

O Holy Night - Josh Groban & The Nativity Story

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." - Isaiah 9:6 (prophesied 700 years before the birth of Christ)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

God's Plan For Your Life

It wasn't too long after I became a Christian that I figured out God wanted more from me than to simply go to church on Sunday. I think it was when I finally got around to reading the Old Testament for the first time that I began getting a clue. When I read the following verse in the book of Jeremiah I began wondering if God had a plan for ME. He does! And He has a plan for you too!

"11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." - Jeremiah 29:11

Was God talking specifically to me in that verse? No. But it sure seemed like He was. In that particular verse, God was talking to Israel. But God is God. He knows everything! He knows the stupid mistakes we are going to make before we even make them. God is sovereign. That means He rules over all. And He is also omnipotent. That means God has unlimited power. In other words, God can do anything. God is also omnipresent. That means God is in ALL places at ALL times. Wow. Talk about super-powers!!

It is true that God DOES have a plan for me. Keep in mind though that He has seen everything in your past and knows everything that is going to happen to you in the future. He knows EVERYTHING!!

But what are God's plans for you and me? How do we know what His plan is? If we knew THAT we could  get on board with it, right? If I could figure out what God's plan for me was I could direct my life and decisions to help God accomplish His mission in me. Right?

No.

God does not need our help. He can do anything - omnipotent, remember? He don't need squat! But He still has a plan for us. Check out these verses.

"But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him." - 1 Corinthians 2:9

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Romans 12:2

But what does God want from us? Just what is the plan, Stan? Are you ready?

God's plan for us is that we would be transformed (Romans 12:2) into the image of His Son - Jesus.

That's it. But that is a lot. Read the New Testament. It is filled with information about Jesus and how we are supposed to be like him as we learn and grow in our faith. Have you ever heard the phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" That's a good question to ask ourselves when we encounter people and situations in our lives. Becoming more like Jesus in our relationships, loving everyone, having compassion and mercy for others when they are hurting, forgiving others when they wrong us, all that God's plan for each and every one of us. Look at how Jesus lived His life. Jesus is a blueprint for the way we are to live ours.

You have heard of the fruits of the spirit, right? Galatians 5:22-23 . . .

"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."

Do you exhibit ALL those characteristics? My personal answer is 'not always'. But I should. We are supposed to! I am still learning and growing just like you are. It's called sanctification. Sanctification is a life-long process that culminates when we transition into the next life. But in THIS life, while we are still here, we are to become the image of Jesus to everyone we meet.

Question . . .

Who will you be Jesus to today?

"But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth." - 2 Thessalonians 2:13

Preaching Sanctification - Matt Chandler, Derek Thomas, Kevin DeYoung, John Piper

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Lights


Each year, right around this time, I am faced with the task of placing Christmas lights in our front yard and on our house. Then, of course, there is the Christmas tree. Oh, how I dread putting lights on the Christmas tree!
 
Who came up with the idea that the perfect thing to do on a cold, winter’s day, is to literally spend hours decorating the inside and the outside of our houses with lights? The electric company?

The "official reason" is that upper-class people started decorating their Christmas trees back in the 18th century with . . . candles. That couldn't possibly be a fire hazard, could it? The mid-20th century saw Christmas lights spread out of the houses and onto city streets and businesses. Now there are entire displays in parks and botanical gardens featuring MILLIONS of lights. It's spreading!!!

Still, there is something beautiful about a well-decorated and lit up house at Christmas time. Why is that? The only thing that’s different really is the fact that there are now lights where there once was darkness. Now, with all the additional illumination, we can see the things that once were hidden. Like all of the junk I forgot to put away before the snow fell last week.

My wife loves to take drives up and down the city streets during this time of year. She likes to look at all of the Christmas lights on other people's houses. You'd think that would be enough lights for her, but no. WE have to have lights on OUR house as well. The more lights, the better apparently.

I have a theory. I don't think the lights on our houses or on our Christmas tree matter much in God's eyes. I think He would prefer to see The Light within us shining brightly, not the lights in our front yard. 

My wife is doing something neat this year. Maybe you have something like this where you live. It's an opportunity to provide a Christmas for a needy boy or girl. In our town it is called The Miracle Tree. Each year my wife picks out a girl's or a boy's name off a tree at church and then buys a gifts or two for that child. THIS year, however, she has kicked it up a notch. She is going to be providing Christmas gifts for an entire family.

I love my wife.

"16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16

Do you have people in your life who could use a little extra this Christmas this year? No?

My wife and I have a little running joke. Whenever we find ourselves wondering about the future of our planet, the economy or the future. Somewhere during the conversation that is usually a little prepping humor.

"My next vehicle is going to be a truck. You know. A bug out vehicle!" or "I think we need to build some more shelves in the basement . . . for our stockpile of toilet paper and lard!" We tease each other and joke about it.

The other day my wife said, "I want a goat! We could get our own milk and besides, they're cute!" She was kidding, I think. But I heard something in her voice that told me she would kind of want one. So . . . . that's what I got my wife for Christmas this year - a goat.


Yes, that's right. I bought my wife a goat for Christmas . . . for somebody else through. You can do the same here if you want to.

Compassion International's Gift Catalog.

This is the kind of gift I enjoy giving. A gift that actually helps someone. These days we Americans tend to buy gift cards or give cash so that gift giving will be easier for us. That is SO wrong. Christmas is not about us! Christmas is not about exterior illumination. It's about INTERIOR illumination. Christmas is about Jesus. Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our savior. It is about "being Jesus" in the life of someone else.

That's why I put up the Christmas lights on our house. It's not because I like them , It's because my WIFE likes them.

Shine YOUR light this Christmas!! And remember that "God so loved the world that He gave . . ."

"12 Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” - John 8:12

Let Your Light Shine In The Darkness -  New Scottish Hymns

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Why Doesn't God Answer My Prayers?

Does it ever seem to you that God doesn't answer your prayers? Isn't He supposed to give us those things we want to make us happy?

First of all God ALWAYS answers prayer. It's just that sometimes the answer is "no" and sometimes the answer is "wait."

Second, what are you praying for? If we want to have our prayers answered, we need to adjust our prayer requests so they are more likely to get a "yes." For example, praying for money is not going to get a positive return on your prayer. Why? Because The Bible says that "the love of money is the root of all evil." However, if you were running an orphanage and there was no more money to feed all of the babies, and you prayed for financial help so the children wouldn't starve, it is far more likely that God will respond in a positive way. HIS way.

We have to remember that God is God. WE ARE NOT!

After King David committed adultery and murder, he massively repented after he got busted for it. He prayed for days in tears, humbly seeking God's forgiveness. He asked God for a clean heart and he was given one. This is David's prayer.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. 14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. 15 Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. 16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise."
- Psalm 51:1-17


Now that's a prayer! And God granted David's prayer.

Another reason God doesn't answer our prayers could be because of some unrepentant sin our lives. Having sex outside of marriage is a big one. If you are in an adulterous relationship, if you are having sex before, or outside of marriage, think about it. Why would God answer your prayers? Seriously? Read this.

"Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; 2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. 3 For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies; your tongue mutters wickedness." - Isaiah 59:1-3

That's pretty clear.

But the Bible says that we are ALL sinners. How can we even hope to have our prayers answered? That's simple. Repent. Seek forgiveness first for any and all of your sins. Repent means a change of direction. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to "go and sin no more." The same words apply to us.

"So, why should we pray if all we are praying for is what God wants anyway?"

Do you call yourself a Christian? What does that mean? It means that you are a follower of Christ. It means you want to be like Him. It means that you have given up your old way of life for His. Basically, if we are not living like Christ, why should God hear our prayers? Why should He answer them?

Let's face it. We ALL sin. So why does God even answer our prayers at all. If we are sincere, come before Him in humble prayer, seek His forgiveness and THEN ask, God wouold be more likely to answer in our favor.

God is not like a genie in a bottle that we rub to make him appear and grant us three wishes, God is God! We're lucky to even be alive considering all the things we have done that are against Hus will.

God WILL answer our prayers but only if doing so lines up with His plan for our lives. Only if HE gets the glory and the reward and not us. Does that make sense?

God hears our prayers. And God will always answer them. It's just that sometimes, God does not always the answer WE want, but God ALWAYS answers the way HE wants. We need to learn to pray that way. IN HIS NAME.

Pray - Sanctus Real

Friday, November 28, 2014

Doom

My wife is about to head out to do her Black Friday shopping. She is not looking forward to going. In fact, she is feeling a sense of doom this morning. She is dreading going yet she feels compelled to go. Why? I think she goes for several reasons.
  1. Our daughter is going along. Mother / daughter time is always a compelling lure for my wife. They enjoy spending time together. Apparently, they SO love spending time together, they would do so in a war zone! And that is what they will be doing today.
  2. Saving money. My wife loves a good deal and is apparently willing to risk life and limb . . . and $20 in gas money . . . to save a buck or two.
  3. My wife hates to waste anything, especially coupons. I blame our daughter-in-law for this, who once told my wife that the coupons actually scream in agony when they expire unused. Sigh.
  4. Escapism. The last thing my wife says before she leaves on such trips is NOT, "I will miss you my honey." It's "Would you please empty the dishwasher while we're gone?" The last word of which nearly getting itself pinched by the slamming of the door.
  5. The sense of adventure. I think it's the women's equivalent of deer camp. There is the pursuit of the trophy - the ten dollars off with a $10 purchase. "I GOT THIS FOR FREE!!"
Life would be so much simpler without Black Friday. People would be sleeping in. Families should be enjoying each others company. This could be a day of calm after overdosing on Turkey, stuffing and football. Instead we shove and push our way through crowds to get the illusive gift that will probably get returned the day after Christmas.

When faced with such decisions in MY life, should I stay or should I go type things, I usually opt for the tried and true, "What would Jesus do?" option. Would Jesus shove His way through a crowd, leaving old ladies strewn in his wake, just so He could life high that $100 flat screen at Walmart? I think not.

What would He be doing instead on such a day as this?

I'd better stop before I get myself in trouble. I can't complain too loudly about my wife's exploits. I am just as guilty as she. As soon as they leave this morning I will watch a little Ravi Zacharias on TV, I will have a leftover Thanksgiving cupcake or two and . . . I will empty the dishwasher. But the thing I enjoy most about Black Friday is the time I get to spend alone . . . with Jesus.

I am reading in the Book of Isaiah today, preparing for the season that is coming. Today I am reading a prophecy about Jesus, written 700 years before He was born . . .

"14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15 He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good." - Isaiah 7:14-15

Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. May we have a left-over day of thanks-giving today, and every day.

Lord Jesus, I pray for safe travels for my wife and daughter today. I pray your protective hand would be over them as they wade through the crowds far from home. And I pray for myself, that I would honor you today by completing the tasks set before me. And I thank you for the time you and I can spend together - in your word, in prayer . . . and in service, as I empty the dishwasher . . . with a smile. Thank you Jesus. In your Holy Name. Amen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lawlessness

"The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness," - Matthew 13:41

I watched the news the other night as St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch made the announcement. No indictment against Officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. I thought McCulloch did and great job, slowly and methodically spelling out every detail before he made the final announcement. Trying to keep things calm. He did his job well.

Because the grand jury made a no-indictment decision in this case, in their minds anyway, Officer Wilson did his job too. Yes, tragically there was a shooting and an 18-year old man died but officer Wilson did his job according to the grand jury.

And in doing so, the grand jury did THEIR job. They were charged with making a judgement, based on evidence and the eye-witness testimony of others.

The soldiers that were called out, the police officers in the line of fire in their community did there jobs as well. The only ones who failed to perform well were those citizens of Ferguson who decided that looting and burning cars were somehow the next logical step in an evening in which they did not get the decision they wanted.

That, in my opinion, is insane. It is lawlessness at its worst.

If we are left to our own devices and we are allowed to do what we want. Officer Darren Wilson would no doubt be hanging by his neck from then end of a rope. He instead is living his life in fear, and rightly so. He should be afraid. Not because of what he did. He simply performed his job. Because of the action he took August 9th, protecting his community, he will now be looking over his shoulder wherever he goes, fearful that someone will end his life.

The thing that strikes me in this whole issue are two things really. One, the black leaders in our nation seem to be fanning the flames, especially Al Sharpton, instead of trying to extinguish them. Would Martin Luther King be doing the same. I think not. He would be advocating peaceful protests. Our president made a few comments but they weren't enough to get people to listen.

Secondly, those people looting and burning businesses. When did it become okay to destroy a random persons property over the actions of another? It's NOT okay!! This whole Ferguson thing is an embarrassment to our nation. Watch the BBC news sometime and discover what the rest of the world thinks of us!

Many of my brothers and sisters in Christ believe that we are in the End Times - the days leading up to the return of Christ. The opening verse of my post today was spoken by Jesus when his disciples asked Him about one of His parables - the parable of The Weeds. According to what I read, these people who are looting and destroying things in Ferguson are being spurred on by the devil. Jesus will judge them when their time comes. And according to Jesus "the weeds" will be "thrown into the fire."

One thing to remember . . . as sad as this situation is, these things WILL need to happen. They have been prophesied. And events like this will get worse.

So what can we do as Christians? I think we need to stick to our beliefs, we need to stand firm for our God and King. In the end, none of this stuff matters, only the salvation we received through our belief in Christ. We need to repent of OUR sins before judging others, and even at that we are not to judge those outside of the church. That is God's job. So we must pray.

We must pray for our nation, we must pray for the family of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson as well. And we must pray for the protesters. The one thing that is needed most . . . the one thing that could have a calming influence on this and other shortcomings in this nation and world . . . is Jesus.

If Michael Brown knew Jesus he never would have acted like he did. If the people burning buildings and stealing things knew Jesus they never would have done what they did. The whole problem with the world today is that not enough people know Jesus. The status quo is simply not going to cut it. We Christians need to evangelize and we need to do it now. But in a loving way.

We can't "save" anybody. That's not our job. We are to be witnesses and carriers of The Gospel, the GOOD news of Jesus Christ. Let us have no fear in this. Let us ask people questions about their faith, lovingly. And pray. We need to pray. Let us do so . . . always. Let us do . . . our jobs.

"When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."  "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." - 1 Corinthians 15:54-58


Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Circle

Good morning!!! And happy deer hunting season!! A great day to stay inside and write a story . . . rather than take one of my usual walks in the woods . . . wearing my brown coat.

Today marks the end of my thrice-weekly blog posts. I have been writing these stories for exactly two years and I have written . . . well, this will be my 300th story!!

I have enjoyed writing about how I have seen God working in the lives of the people around me. What an honor God has given me by allowing me to watch His handiwork! He is such an amazing God and sometimes, how He works . . . the things He does, simply blow me away.

Not everyone likes some of the things I have said here. That's fine. I don't really care. Well, I kind of do. I write the truth and sometimes the truth hurts. I try to stay true to God's Word and if some people get mad at me for that, so be it. I'm fine with that. The only one I am trying to please here is God, not man.

I am still going to write. I will still write stories for this blog. It's just that they will only be published once each week instead of three times. I love to write. It's a gift from God! If I didn't write it would be like denying God, in my eyes. That is NOT going to happen.

At the same time however, I feel like God wants me to do other things as well. For example, I have been working on a project for about a year now. I have been designing modular housing for those with low, or no, income. Kind of like a Habitat for Humanity thing. I actually will be meeting with them next week to discuss my idea. Pray for that please.

I also will be spending the extra time writing a book. Maybe two. I would like to take these stories and mold them into an actual book, honoring God, through the stories and the lessons - always using scripture. The second book will be a novel, based on the conversion story of a young man, all based on The Gospel of Jesus Christ. The working title for that book is The Path. Surely not a New York Times Best Seller, but more of a story for my grandchildren.

And so I am throttling back on the writing of this blog but I am not going to stop working for Jesus. I know that I have been called. I am a Christian. There is no higher duty than to serve and be obedient to my Lord and King. And that is what I would like to talk to you about today. The importance of obsession in our faith.

I saw a speaker at a Christian men's conference once who used an illustration that I thought was very good. The speaker drew a large circle on the chalkboard and then, outside the circle, he made a dot. Pointing to the big circle he said, "This circle represents our lives. It's where we live. We work here, we eat here, we sleep here. We relax here, we make love here. This is where our friends and family find us. It's where we hang out . . . ALL of the time."

Then he took a few steps to his right an pointed to the dot he had made on the chalkboard. Tapping it with his chalk, he turned to the class and said, "This dot represents why our relationships don't work. The dot is why we commit adultery, it represents the reason we lie, cheat, procrastinate, waste time doing non-productive things. This dot represents all of the struggles we have in our lives, because this dot represents God and His location is outside of our circle."

The speaker went on to say, "The problem with how we live our lives is that most of us are quite content with having God live outside our circle. We like it that way. We feel . . . comfortable. I would submit to you that unless God, this little dot over here, unless God is inside the circle, you are NOT a Christian. You cannot go on living your life as if God is not in the circle. In fact, I would submit to you that God should BE our circle. Our lives should be the dot. A reversal! A Christians life should be totally devoted to God. Everything we do should bring Him honor, and glory and praise. Anything else is a waste."

The speakers words found a place in my heart. It has become more and more obvious to me that the speaker was right. God must consume us. HE must be our all-in-all. There must be nothing else. Jesus told us this Himself!

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'" - Luke 10:27

ALL.

That means everything. Every thought. Every word. Every deed. And this is a command from Jesus, our Lord!

Packer game tomorrow? How is that honoring God? Grocery shipping this afternoon? How will that honor God? Getting drunk in deer camp tonight? How is that honoring God? We must live our lives with God as our circle. And the dot? We should erase it! So there is nothing left on our chalkboard other than The Circle - God.

Will The Circle Be Unbroken - Johnny Cash

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

"Why Don't I Have Any Friends?"

There are many similarities between a crowded city sidewalk and our Facebook news feed. People come walking at us like so many status updates. Some are funny. Some are downright disgusting. And the flow is seemingly endless.

There are millions of people on our planet. Billions actually. You'd think that everyone would have at least ONE friend, right?

I have heard it said that our friends choose us, we don't choose them. I think that's true. If it were the other way around, this world would be filled with billions of disappointed people.

If we have lots of friends we're obviously doing something right. At least it might seem that way. And if we don't have hardly any friends . . . well, we must be doing something to displease them.

I have seen people on Facebook, friends of mine, just ripping on someone. They are obviously not friends with each other. At least not now. But everyone else sees this ugly conversation going on and opinions are being swayed, one way or another. People are deciding "I don't think I want to be friends with that person. And they have never even met!

When we hurt someone and then don't do anything about it, chances are that relationship will die. If we hurt someone and they still remain our friend, what does that tell you? It tells me that there is some unconditional love going on. There is grace, perhaps a bit of understanding, and a WHOLE lot of compassion being handed out. THERE is a true friend. If you have a friend like that, you have a friend indeed!

Do you think Jesus had a lot of friends? He sure had a lot of people talking about Him! But I'm not sure he had tons of friends. He had quite a few enemies. Some even plotted to kill him . . . and did. Why? Why did Jesus have lots of enemies? God is love, right? Jesus should have loved them all. News flash: Jesus DID loves them all. It's just that some of the people didn't like what Jesus had to say. And when things didn't go their way in their relationship with Jesus . . . they un-friended Him. And in a rather large and deadly way.

Facebook is not the place we should be venting our frustrations or calling others out. Send a private message. Arrange a meeting. But don't drag someone up and down the street in public. If we have a disagreement with someone we are told in the Bible that we should go to them one-on-one . .  FIRST!

"15 If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector." - Matthew 18:15-17

We are supposed to imitate Christ in the things we say and do. We are to be just like Jesus in our relationships. So, are we? Can we pass the test the next time someone wrongs us? Probably not. But we are commanded to do so!

"29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear." - Ephesians 4:29

That is NOT a suggestion. It is a command! Do you think these guys are listening to Jesus? Probably not.


If we acted more like Jesus in our conversations I think we'd have more friends than we have now. Or would we? Actually, the only way we could ALL get along is if we ALL acted like Jesus. There's a thought. I wonder what living in a world like THAT would be like.

It would be like . .  heaven. :)

Live Like That - Sidewalk Prophets

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blessings

Blessings can seem few and far between these days. Just watch the news and we can get easily depressed. At least all of the political ads have subsided. These days when I travel to work it is dark out and when I come home it is dark out. It can be a very depressing time of year. But then something happens to brighten up our day.

Someone will smile at us or give us a hug and suddenly our days get just a little bit brighter. Why is that? Is there something magical in a smile? Is it normal to feel better when somebody squeezes you? The actions themselves mean nothing. It's what accompanies those actions that means everything. It's called love.

Love is a blessing. To receive a blessing it must be given BY someone. The person giving us that blessing could be the person blessing us. After all, they are the ones who smiled at us or hugged us. But where did they get their desire to do that from? I submit to you that any such desires to bless others comes out of love. Someone smiles at us because they love us. We hug one another because we LOVE one another. That is a blessing.

But where does LOVE come from? Surely love does not evolve out of a puddle of primordial ooze. Love is an emotion.

Question: Where do emotions come from? I don't really know. No one really can PROVE where it comes from. I personally believe that our emotions are given to by God. I feel the same way about blessings.

"We love because he first loved us." - 1 John 4:19

Blessings come in many shapes and sizes. We can receive a blessing in the form of a letter from a friend, a Facebook post, a door opened for a stranger, a hug from a dear friend, or sometimes blessings can come from someone we don't even know.

I work at a company filled with many talented people. Each one of them is good at something. Some design buildings, others draw them up. There are people who design roads and ways to make and keep our water cleans. All of them have God-given talents of one sort or another. Recently however, they have gone beyond their normal level of commitment and have decided to bless people they don't even know this Thanksgiving. They are providing Thanksgiving meals for several area families - families who cannot afford to pay for the food themselves.

This past Saturday I was blessed myself by being allowed to give some of those meals away at a local food pantry. Four families were hand-picked for this specific need but one family in particular caught every one's attention.

A mother of three was at the food pantry picking up food for herself and her children. Her husband left her. She has no job. She didn't even have enough money for the registration fee. When she was asked if she would like to receive a complete Thanksgiving dinner, her hands rose to her mouth in shock and the tears began to flow. She simply could not believe that someone would give her such a gift.

Blessings are given freely or they are simply not blessings at all. Blessings are given from the heart and, as the Bible verse says above, all blessings first come from God. He blesses people through others. He loves all people and often expresses that love through other people.

Blessing someone else is one of those gifts that can keep on giving. The blessings can echo far beyond the initial blessing into the lives of many others.

This woman who received the free Thanksgiving dinner. She was blessed. Her children were blessed. The giver was blessed and God receives the glory. Win, win, win, win.

The best blessings are given anonymously. Those are the ones God loves the most. Those are the blessings that leave little doubt as to who the deliverer was. God.

This holiday season, please, bless someone in some out of the ordinary way. When you dine out leave a tip for the waiter that is larger than the cost of the meal and thank your waiter personally for her service. They will be shocked . . . and they will remember your act of kindness for the rest of their lives.

Tell someone you love them. Most will say they love you in return. There is no downside to love, given innocently and freely, like a child gives love to a family member. So should it be with us.

God is the giver of all blessings. He is the maker of all things. If we are loving human beings we will never pass up the opportunity to love one another because God loves us.

"8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love." - 1 John 4:8

Bless someone today. You will be glad you did . . . and God will be glad too. :)



Blessings - Laura Story

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bridge

I was watching one of those Alaska shows the other night on Nat Geo (The National Geographic Channel). Some guy was trying to build a log bridge across a creek. The creek wasn't your typical slow, meandering waterway. This creek was filled with rapidly flowing ice water. And it was deep.

Prior to his decision to build this bridge he always had to remove all of his clothes, throw them across the creek first, and then wade through the ice water . . . the belly-deep ice water. It wouldn't take ME too many hours of deliberation before I would consider building a bridge. One dip would do it.

It took him all day to chop down a tree or two and cut them into pieces before he could simply just walk across the creek on his new wooden bridge. He felt good about his accomplishment.

What an idiot. He was smart for building the bridge but a fool for not building it sooner.

I drive across many bridges on my way to work. I never really think about them. I never think about all the hours of labor spent to make my morning commute a little easier. I never think about it at all. And that's the problem with us humans. We never think about such things.

For example, I have been told that, once you tour a meat processing plant, you will never eat hot dogs again. That may be true. I've never toured a meat processing plant. I like to eat hot dogs. But maybe, if I really knew what went into making them, I would never even want to touch the things.

There are some bridges where we have to pay a toll, a price, to cross the bridge. The Mackinac Bridge is one of those. Each summer when we go to our farm in Michigan we stop at the toll booth before we cross the bridge and pay money to use it. We actually pay a toll on nearly every bridge we cross. It's just that most of those costs come from taxes.

We who call ourselves Christians don't really spend a lot of time thinking about our sin. The things we do during any given day, whether they are God-honoring or not, don't really matter to us most of the time. We just want to get through our day. We just want to "walk across the river." We don't really think about how our "bridge" to heaven was built. We just want to get there.

Perhaps if we each had to get scourged before we got there we'd begin to understand. Perhaps if someone pounded some railroad spikes through our hands and into a tree we'd begin to get the picture. Perhaps.

Jesus has already built a bridge for us. He knew exactly what it was going to cost before it was built. And He paid the price for its construction . . .  with His life.

The next time I cross a bridge in my travels, I think I will stop and examine it. Take a look at its foundation. Check out the size of the beams. Maybe I should call up the construction company as ask them what it was like to build that bridge. But I probably won't. I'll just drive right on over to the other side.

What would we do if we had no bridges? Many of us would have to move, including me! But we DO have bridges. And we DO have an eternal bridge, in Jesus Christ. HE is our bridge to heaven. But what about the toll for crossing the bridge? Who is going to pay that? Already paid. Paid in full.

I'm going to thank Him in my prayers today for what He has done to aid my travels, in this life and in the next, Won't you please join me? Thank you! :)

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. 3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all," - 1 Timothy 2:1-6

The Bridge