It is Finished!

Description:Years ago a man came to pay the price for all the evil that had taken place on this earth for all humanity. When the act of compassion was completed this man bowed his head and cried, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and died.

Verse: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30

As Jesus was preparing to give His life a ransom for Sin, the Bible tells us that He made this simple statement. “It is finished!” I believe that these are the greatest words Jesus Christ ever spoke to mankind. Today we too are happy and content when a big event occurs in our life as it represents a significant accomplishment.

These big events in our lives represent challenging times that we took with excitement not really grasping what was ahead of taking on the task. What if we knew all the requirements beforehand, so that we could have thought clearly before just saying to the person who asked us to do the task, “sure, no problem.” I know that I have taken on my own many tasks that if I had some idea of all that would have been required of me, I might have not been so eager to accept the responsibility of the task assigned.

We do this so often in life, not knowing what the outcome or requirements because of other reasons taking on the new responsibility. Possibly because we felt the responsibility or role to take on the assignment; or possibly be cause we wanted to impress someone or show we were capable of doing anything. To often we find ourselves head over heels with more on our plate that what we can handle.

But let’s think about the man who was sent here to make up for all the wrong decisions that you and I will make in our entire life. But this person was set down and told the whole story, every vivid detail that would occur from his birth to his ultimate death. Today we would say he was told the “whole story, and nothing was omitted.” But he had a big assignment ahead of him, and a short period of time to not only fix a major problem, but also convince why he ultimately came to earth in the first place.

The verse that is displayed so many times, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whosever believe in Him, would not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) He would have to convince the world that He loved them so much — that He was willing to give His life for me and you. But the real truth He came for everyone. The story was really great and it is recorded in a book that all of us have been exposed to one time in our life –the Bible.

I don’t have the time to go into all the details, but you can get your own personal copy of the book and read this great story of love. But here is what happened, the world decided it would be better for this person to be crucified for telling the story of His Father’s love for humanity. The good news many people accepted his free gift of salvation and followed Him all the way to a hill where he hung him on a cross to get this story to end for their reasons.

What they failed to realize was their plan was part of the details that were discussed between the Father and His son. When every detail of this horrible day occurred we celebrate today as “Easter,” the celebration of a risen Savior who died and was risen from the dead, and that finally someone paid for all the sins –the bad things and choices that all humanity has or ever will do was forgiven by His sacrifice.

When this man, they called Jesus said to the world, “It is finished!” There was nothing else that needed to be done by anyone, other than accepting the gift of salvation offered to all of us. I have never did anything of major significance as this man, but I do get that he cared more about me, than anyone else has ever cared about me. So possibly the next time when you are finishing a task that you agreed to do, you will remind yourself of what someone else did for us, because He loved us.

Yes, it is overwhelming to take in–but the fact is, He did it and we can rest no matter how we complete any assignment, and we have the assurance that our choices or our mistakes can be forgiven anytime and anywhere. I maybe finishing a big project today, but knowing that what Jesus willfully took for me is more than I can grasp, and I am grateful forever.

Prayer: Lord as we celebrate Thanksgiving help us be thankful not only for what you help us do for others, but where you did something greater for us by dying for all my mistakes and agreeing to forgive me and love me everyday. I am so grateful.
Amen

I Am Not Perfect

Description: It is the duty of Christians to desire, and aim at, and press towards perfection in grace and holiness. And therein we must study to conform ourselves to the example of our heavenly Father.

Verse: Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:48

Today I played golf with my father as I usually do when the weather is comfortable enough to play without layering up with a lot of clothes. It does make it very difficult to have a good swing when you are not restricted. My dad is almost 80 years old, and it is blessing for him and I to play every available day that we can play.

I wish I could play par golf and impress my dad, as I am almost 20 years younger than him, and he still can beat me with out trying very hard. But he always encourages me and coaches me the game just as he did when I was 15 years old. How he keeps his patience in alignment with all my mistakes. But every time I hit the shot correct I was always look back at him and say, “Dad what did I do wrong?” He only smiles and gives me the thumbs up.

In my spiritual life I have another father who is in the coaching business, who no matter how many times I make a mistake, is forgiving me and helping me get back on my feet again. Many times I tend to get mad at myself and allow shame and guilt to take over completely, versus just asking my heavenly Father for help with the mess I made in my life that day.

The old saying, “No One is Perfect!” I am certain most of us use this when we are wanting everyone to leave us alone, when in reality we should admit we made a mistake and will make sure the same situation never happens again. As Christians we are the light of the world that is hidden in darkness. And the last thing I need to be doing is making excuses for my mistakes.

Today what are you striving for in life? I know that I am not perfect, but I don’t want to be seen as someone that is not striving to be a better person. To me the person who is on target, admits they make mistakes from time to time — but hopefully not the same mistake. I can only get closer to being like my heavenly father when I am earnest about my ambitions in life.

Today I hit the golf ball off of number 9 tee, clearing the creek, and almost on the green. The whole was registered to be 320 feet to the hole, and my second shot was only 30 feet from the hole. This was the longest drive for me for this year, but I had to remind myself out on the golf course with my father was more important than hitting the ball almost to the hole.

I quickly thanked God for allowing me the time to play with my dad today, and seeing what was more important in life. I am certain I probably will never be a par golfer, but I want to live a better than par life for God.

Prayer: God thanks for allowing me to understand that I need to strive to be more like you because others like myself may have the wrong priorities in our life. Help me to work on my short comings that will make me more like you, and look to you as their role model, as I do everyday. Amen

Do you belong?

Description: Know that the LORD is God—he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture.

Verse: But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) Romans 8:9 -NLT

I remember the first military uniform I put on in the United States Air Force at the Basic Training location Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in 1974. I had finally became a member of the largest family that goes back to the first war, and will continue until there is no more wars. I was recognized after serving in the military as a proud member of the Veteran family.

It didn’t require me to be in any one specific branch of the military (Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy or Coast Guard) we all were part of one large family. The veteran family can be funny at times by the amount of time you serve or specifically what unit you belonged to or served with while in the military. I did not go to war, but I would have if required. I did have the opportunity to prepare men and women who ultimately did serve our country proudly and serve in the conflict with the Middle East.

No matter how you served or where you were stationed in the military all of us have claimed you as veteran family members. And even when we take our uniform off, and served our obligation that we agreed to serve, we still silently are members of those branches of service, military organization, and battalion and companies that we too walked and proudly carried the colors of our organizations.

Mottos and familiar sayings, “Whoa!” Will be remembered for a lifetime. Many times during war conflict we saw many that wanted to return back to another family. Chaplains had their hands full listening and praying all the time, and making baptismal devices to help each service member be welcomed back to the family of God. Often when this life looks bleak, we tend to remember our creator and want to make things right, as the prodigal son did, after he had fun living in the world.

The Prodigal Son after he spent all his wealth was forced to a quick lesson of reality, and thought one day as he was serving the pigs (only job he could find) that he would go back home to his father and be a servant, so he could have food to eat and a place to live. God does allow us to separate from the family, because He loves us and he is not a manipulative or controlling Father. He stays in tune to our lives, even when we make choices to live horrible lives–He still loves us and wants us to come back home.

We have the choice to belong to many families today through affiliations, associations, or organizations, but belonging to the family of God is a family where no separation exists. It is a eternal family that will last for eternity. Our earthly family will die as life tells us the bitter news, that we must return back to the soil in which we were created. But, if you are a member of the family of God, your earthly body will die, but your soul will be placed in a new heavenly body that will live forever.

You do not have to walk alone in this earthly journey. We all were destined to be sons and daughters of the King. The price to belong to this family is a debt that has been paid by God’s Son, Jesus on a cross for all humanity. Let me tell you know, their is plenty of room for more members in this family. This earthly life is just for a moment compared to eternity.

Many times, and I will confess I did to, believe that I was not good enough to belong to the family of God, but this is a lie of the devil who knows the benefits of belonging to this family. DO NOT ALLOW the devil to keep you from belonging to this family. It will require us to separate ourselves from some of the relationships we have had, but in the end you will have relationships that are pleasing and have some great rewards in the future.

Jesus came to earth that “all” be granted the ability to belong to the family. I was tired after several years trying to appease my own flesh, that only lasted for a moment, and returning back, made me see that living a life that was pleasing to God, was more important than living a life for me. I have heard the saying, “I come from a home that was dysfunctional.” But no matter what your past has been, God wants you to BELONG to His family today.

Prayer: Lord I am glad I belong to the family of God. Please help me each day learn and understand my identity with you. I also pray that others reading this will want to be in the family of God. Help them as they read this how much you love them, and you want them to come back. Amen

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I Need To Shine My Light

Description: Today there is possibly millions or even billions of people who have not seen the light directing them to Christ.

Verse:Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

I wanted to reveal something today in today’s blog that most of us may overlook. We find in Matthew (5:13-16), that Jesus wanted to get away from the crowd where the Sermon on the Mount was performed. This conversation was not to a crowd but to his chosen disciples that day. Let’s look at what Matthew said on that day;

“Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. As Christians we have purpose on this earth not just to work and produce, but as well to be salt and light to everyone around us. Salt has a purpose and is defined, like in a meal, if the salt doesn’t do what it is intended to do, then the meal will be not fit for anyone, and all the effort will be lost.

When we show our family, neighbors, co-workers that Jesus is the best thing in our lives, we show the flavor of God. We also have the ability to show when we fail in our relationships, or our conduct before the world, that we don’t have Christ in our life and our testimony is not useful.

Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. When we testify of our new relationship with God, the world will carefully watch everything you do. But we don’t have nothing to fear, because we just allow God’s love to transform us and show the world the new you. If the world does not see the change, we will portray what the world believes about God, and what we did also before we accepted the gift of salvation.

If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. This means get out there and share the story about Jesus. Show them in your new life that there is value to following Christ. Christ has locations for us to show anyone that they do not need to walk in darkness. When we get saved we tend to do a couple things;

1. Be afraid to share our story about Jesus, because we feel we’re not good enough or ready to share the story. STOP, go back to God and ask Him to tell you the words. Let Him point you in the direction that He wants you to start first. It could be someone as close to you as a family member or neighbor. Who knows God may be working, and they just need only a little nudge.

2. Then there is the ones that are ready to start preaching everywhere. You have to love this enthusiasm when God delivers someone from addition or a horrible past. The truth is they are so grateful that God loved them enough to forgive them, save them, deliver them from a horrible situation, and they want to tell everyone in the world about this man named Jesus.

Whatever your situation is today a new Christian, Transformed Christian or a Christian for many years, we all have the same task to shine the light of Christ into this world of darkness. Be useful to others, encourage others, pray for other, serve others, and love one another. Time is wasting and Jesus is coming soon, and there is a lot of work still left to do. Make certain your batteries are charged by the Holy Spirit and beaming everywhere you go. If you need some recharging, ask God to forgive you and turn on His light in your life for the world to see.Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

Prayer: Lord thank you for changing my life from the old life I use to live. Help me show your light in every direction of my life that others will see you. Holy Spirit please give me the words and directions to bring others out of darkness through my life. Jesus please help me stay in tune with everything you desire me to do so I will be the salt and light for your purposes. Amen

Tell Me The Story….of Jesus

Description : Every believer has a testimony that shares how Jesus blessed them, healed them, and delivered them.

Verse: For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.  1 Timothy 2:5-6

Early in my life as a boy, I always remember how people stood up and cried, shouted and thanked God for what He had done in their life that week. They were great stories and the pastor never rushed anyone so he could preach his sermon.

Today we seldom hear what God is doing in their lives, unless you hear it before the services begin. I am not much for social media but it seems to be a great avenue to share what Jesus has done in other lives. I am blessed to hear the anointed healing and how God remains the same no matter how long we have served Him in this earthly life.

I was listening to a preacher on the radio one day as I was cutting the grass, and the challenge was, “Have you shared your story about Jesus?” Think about it, ‘When was the last time you shared your love story about Jesus?’ If it has been awhile, why? Can you remember the last thing where he has blessed you, possibly healed a friend or loved one? Possibly it was something you read in the bible, and God shared something special to you.

I love the old song, ‘Tell Me The Story of Jesus,’ Fanny Crosby wrote in 1880.

Tell me the story of Jesus,
write on my heart every word;
tell me the story most precious,
sweetest that ever was heard.

It is important that we share our love story of Jesus as much as possible, so that no one will miss the opportunity to be with us and Jesus in heaven. I will close with another old hymn ‘Jesus is the sweetest name I know.’ Lela Long (1925)

Jesus is the sweetest name I know
And he’s just the same as his holy name
And that’s the reason why I love Him so
Jesus is the sweetest name I know

Prayer: Lord help me share my love story about us. I want the world to know what you have done for me, and you are willing to do for them. Please grant me opportunities to share Jesus with others. Amen

CRY FOR THE LOST

Description: In everything I read, paints a clear picture the end is near.

Verse: When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” Matthew 9:36

From the early days of my youth there was a sermon that was heard almost every Sunday, ” Jesus is coming and it could be any day.” The altars were always filled with people who didn’t want to go to hell and wanted to be certain that they were ready to go to heaven.

I have heard many testimonies from saints who said if it wasn’t the prayers of others, I am certain I would not be standing here today. I can also testify of that same fact because. I was going no where near God. Maybe on the outside it looked like I was a great guy, but underneath I was someone who desperately needed God.

Giving my heart completely to God has made me aware of how much I need him, and how others need prayer to find Him as I did several years ago. On a recent missionary trip I was asked by one of the local pastors, how many Christians lived in my neighborhood? I reflected for a moment and had a number but was it accurate, and how comes I didn’t know the answer to this simple question.

All the way home I repeated that conversation and why I was not concerned that my neighbors were or were not going to heaven? Jesus commissioned all of his followers to go wherever needed to preach the good news. Sometimes we believe that only the ministers, evangelists, or holier (than thou) people have this calling on their life.

Prayer is an act of compassion and one of the most powerful tools to defeat what is going on in your life, your family, your neighborhood, your city, your state and your country. The Lord knows we can talk about (gossip) to the wee hours over things we shouldn’t , so if we had love for one another why could we not cry out to God in our desperate situations.

I am fearful, we feel that possibly our prayers are useless , or maybe we have sin in our lives and we need to repent and get right with God. If I really-really-really loved something I should be willing to tarry with God till I felt peace on the matter. Just imagine if all the mothers in the neighborhood met on Monday night to pray for their kids safety and purpose, casting down everything that was happening in the news or social media.

Just imagine if the men met the following night to pray for their marriages, homes, jobs, health, protection, and God’s will in their own homes, but United for it to be for all. What if the pastors met with the leaders of the city and prayed for wisdom and rebuked the evil that was in the town, what would happen if we trusted God more than we had done before?

Intercessory prayer is hard work. It involves communion with the King and compassion for the multitudes. It is understanding the passion of Christ for souls. It is waiting on God to endue us with power from on high in order that we might lead those souls into the kingdom.

These people are called prayer warriors, who will not eat, sleep or enjoy the pleasures of life, because they see the hell that is enclosing on their loved ones, neighbors, coworkers, city, state, and those completely foreign to them . They have no confidence in themselves to build the kingdom of God; they live in absolute dependence upon God.

If we are to reach this generation for Christ, there must be men and women in every nation whose hearts hurt for their countrymen. Jesus had compassion for the multitudes two thousand years ago. Although the multitudes are greater today, He loves, cares for, and wants to save every individual. We need to look at the masses of humanity through the eyes of Jesus. We will see people—real people, hurting people. Too many of us see people only as objects. We need a fresh touch from God. We need to feel the heart of the compassionate King.

God, I am sorry I have not done my part, and sometimes feel that I am not able to cry for the lost. God forgive me for my lack of passion for not only my family, but for your family.

Prayer: Oh God, I do need a fresh touch from You so that I am able to feel Your heart beat for those who are perishing. Deliver me from my self-absorbed self, and heal my arrogant spirit. I repent of my disobedience and desire to be used for Your purposes in the world. Heal me from my own self-righteousness and allow me to embrace the hurting, the homeless, the weak, the widow and the orphan. Ruin me for anything that is not of You! Amen

Honk – If You Love Jesus

Description: Do you recall the times you saw bumper stickers that said, “Honk If you love Jesus.”

Verse: This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. John 3:16 -The Message

I have seen many funny, not so funny, disgusting and why would anyone put that on there car stickers? At first I was not one of those kind of persons who would display a sticker of any kind on my car as I sure didn’t want to take the car value away when trying to trade when the car no longer provided me it’s intended purposes.

But I have been told that many of these kind of displays represent who the person is driving the car. This may not always be true, as this person may have bought the car and they got to be labeled with out having the ability to say, “These comments do not represent the owner of this vehicle.”

As a veteran, sharing the branch of service, the rank, and sometimes the unit was letting the other members of the military family know you were one of them. If you think about it, I am certain that is why many display these various labels to identify some thing they are very passionate about or just want to deliver a message to others.

What I wonder sometimes, would they share these values personally or is this the best way to share there expressions without being seen or judged by anyone? Remember- this car may not be a true symbol of them, as they bought the car that way -with all those dumb stickers. Or is it possible if questioned, they are ashamed of who and what they represent.

Today in the world we live, specifically now with all the anger, racist, hate and violence, one would want to be safe about what they would be displaying about themselves. It used to be funny back in the day as many my age would remember. The thought of hippies and the Jesus movement, was cool and respected, as we were going through a difficult Vietnam war, and all of us was watching TVs to see if one of our family members died.

As we approach 911, I am certain everyone no matter what their gender, race, residency, age or belief; another horrific moment that all of us will never forget as displays of sorrow and grief were hung all over America.

The flag of every country could also display stories of grief, sadness and joy as many veterans know them as battlefield streamers of where a flag was present in a particular conflict or war. I still am moved everyday when I see my flag displayed in my front yard, because of not just being a Veteran – but a free and proud American.

One day many years ago, a man was nailed to a cross for wrongs that he didn’t commit. He took on the sin of the world, and hung there for the world to see. If that happened today the media and others would have displayed in various ways the reasons for this crucifixion. Today some of us hang this display of a cross in our homes, on our cars or where we don’t want to forget this moment that happened many years ago.

Have you forgotten why this was done, has it been so long ago when it had a special feeling or moment that you don’t ever want to forget? The movie, Passion of Christ reminded the world of this devastating moment that many Christians have forgotten, because possibly it is not easily displayed for us to remember of a man who died for the entire world to see because of just one word – LOVE.

His father wanted to not only make payment for a debt that no one could pay. A creator who wanted his creation to know that He still loved and hope for a good life. Today finding hope is difficult, but seeing a sign that displays if you Love Jesus, Honk, Like, Tweet or whatever is appropriate, just let God know that you love His Son and look forward to seeing Him real soon.

Prayer: Lord I don’t want signs to be hung or displayed to continuously remind me of how much I love you, what I want is my heart to always be looking for you in my day to show others in this life, there is HOPE but more importantly a God who loves them very much. Lord please here the honking in heaven to show our love to you today! Amen