PostHeaderIcon The Consequences of Sin

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything, but today as I was mindless scrolling through my news feed on Facebook I came across a post by Benjamin Watson (a TE for the New Orleans Saints). In his post he uses the recent news about DeglateGate as a springboard to talk about the consequences of our actions. Check out his post below….

 

#DeflateGateMy father once told me that sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want…

Posted by Benjamin Watson on Wednesday, May 13, 2015

PostHeaderIcon Be Bold When You Share…

What are you doing to reach those that are far from God? You never know what impact your boldness may have on someone. It’s been said that a person needs to hear the Gospel message on average 7.1 times before they make a decision.

Our position in Christ allows us to be bold as we talk with others. When Peter and John were before the Sanhedrin, they spoke boldly and told them that they need to obey God rather than men (Acts. 4:19-20). Imagine the scene, two ordinary fisherman guys were taken before the highest court in their land. They were taken there simply for sharing Christ’s message of salvation to a hurting world. Put yourself in their shoes, the people (Sanhedrin) they stood in front of were known by a lot of people. Flash forward a couple thousand of years. You’re standing in front of an atheist (someone who believes there is no God). You watch his show, and now have the opportunity to share with him the love of Christ. What would you say? What would you do?

Check out this video from Penn, of Penn and Teller. Penn is an atheist who speaks out against Christians and their belief in God the Creator. He goes as far to make fun of them and ridicule them. Knowing all this, one man chose to make a difference in Penn’s life. Check out Penn’s response to a gift he received from one man who choose to be bold in his faith.

 

 

Need a link to the page? Find it on YouTube…

PostHeaderIcon God Wants You!

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—[5] you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5 NIV)

 

 

Check that out! God has called you. Even though human beings; mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, teachers, pastors, neighbors, friends or even strangers; reject you and leave, God has called you! Why has He called you? What has He called you to? Having trouble answering that question? Perhaps the movie clip below can help! Just don’t forget to keep reading this post after you get done!

 

 

I love that line Spider Man gives Max, “I need you Max, You’re my eyes and ears out there!” That’s similar to what God says to us! “I want to use  you _________ (fill in you name).”

Ultimately, God doesn’t need us, but He does want to use us! The question then becomes, “Will you let God use you?” The next time you’re feeling down in the dumps and like no one loves you, then read those two verses again from today’s post! Or, even better memorize them so you can use them when you need them!

PostHeaderIcon Excitement is in the Air

For fans of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, there is excitement in the air because the final of six movies comes out this December. I must admit that I am looking forward to seeing the movie this December. My brother and I have seen the previous two together and are looking forward to seeing the third Hobbit movie together. However, I can’t help but think of the deeper meaning behind the book and behind the excitement surrounding the movie release.

When I first watched the trailer (see below, but please make sure you read the rest of the post ;-) ) for the new movie, I was reminded of the battle between good and evil. We all long to be in an epic battle where good triumphs over evil. We all have, somewhere within us, the desire to make a difference and make our life count for something. However, some of us feel as though we never get the chance. Here’s the good news….WE ALL GET A CHANCE and ARE CURRENTLY IN THAT BATTLE!

As Christians, God has called His children to serve in His army! In Ephesians God tells us, “For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Ephesians 6:12 HCSB). We are currently engaged in an epic battle between good and evil, but this battle has much dire consequences for it’s a battle for the very souls of people. Satan wants nothing more than to steal God of His glory and keep as many poeple as he can from drawing near to God. What ever means he has to do, he will use. BUT, there’s good news. Yeah , I know , you’re asking yourself, “How can there be good news after hearing that?”

There is, trust me. Ready for it? Here it is….”GOD IS BIGGER and Satan MUST obey God.”

In the synopsis of the final Hobbit movie, The Battle of Five Armies, this epic battle between good and evil is summed up perfectly. “As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.” (SOURCE: http://www.thehobbit.com/). So here it is….We all have a choice!  We either unite as God’s people or be destroyed.

Listen, we have a powerful weapon that is unmatched. It’s called PRAYER. When God’s people pray, God listens and He will act on behalf of His people when they pray within His will! The choice is yours…will you unite with your Christian brothers and sisters or will you stand idly by while a broken world heads towards its doom. The choice is yours, pray or pray not there is no try!

 


 

PostHeaderIcon DANGER…Dragged Away

(c) Freefoto.com

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;[14] but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.[15] Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. – (James 1:13-15 NIV)

Let’s read that verse again. Notice any words that seem to convey the message of danger ahead? When I read this verse, I noticed the words dragged away, desire, enticed, sin, death.

Here’s today’s thought provoking question…”What are you getting too close to that will end up dragging you away from the God you love?” Notice the image today. It’s clearly marked that there is danger of death and to keep out. What sane person would enter that fenced area when they didn’t need to? Only someone who didn’t use reason. That’;s the way it is with sin.  We think, “I’m doing great, I won’t fall into temptation, and it I do then I can get out of it with Christ’s power and strength!” While that is true, it doesn’t mean we make things more difficult for us.

For example, someone who struggles with gambling shouldn’t drive by the big casino here in Columbus, Ohio! As they drive their desire to gamble their money may end up getting a hold of their steering wheel and turning into the parking lot. Once in the lot, they may then go inside to JUST see what is going on. Once inside, ZAPPPPPPPPPPPPP! They’re dead as door nail! They just gave into gambling!

Let’s take that same person, and this time they go two miles out of their way so they can avoid the casino. They may still be tempted, but now they have to drive two miles backwards to get to the casino. They are no longer near the danger of death zone.

What are you struggling with that you need to stay away from? Pray and ask God for wisdom. Remember, the Christian faith is not a list of do this and don’t do that, but it’s about a relationship with the God of the Universe Who loved you so much He sent His ONLY Son to die for you! If you fail, don’t beat yourself, just turn face toward God, ask for forgiveness, dust your knees off and get back up.

That’s the beauty of having a relationship NOT a to-do (or to-don’t list)! We can make a mistake, try it again and grow as a Christian! Be encouraged today. God wants you, NOT what you do!

PostHeaderIcon He is Risen!

(c) FreeFoto.com

 

Happy Easter! It’s Easter morning, and some Christians often greet each other by saying, “He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!” Have you read the Easter story lately? If you haven’t, then I encourage you to read John 18-21 today and take in the magnitude of what Jesus did for you. What part of the Easter story captivates (grabs) your attention?

For me it’s Peter’s experiences.  Peter is the one who said he would follow Jesus no matter the cost (see Luke 22:33). Peter is the one who fell asleep when Jesus needed him the most (see Mark 14:37). Peter is the who defended Jesus with the sword and was rebuked by Jesus (see John 18:10-11). Peter is the one who followed Jesus from a distance (see Mark 14:54). Peter is the one who denied Jesus Christ and looked Him square in the eyes. Peter is the one who wept bitterly because of his denial of Jesus Christ (see Luke 22:60-62). Peter is the one whom the Risen Lord wanted to know that He had risen from the dead (see Mark 15:6-7)! Peter is the one who led six other disciples to go back to what was comfortable to them…fishing. Peter is the one who, when John shouted, “It is the Lord!”, jumped into the water to get to Jesus. Peter is the one who Jesus restored and was told that He would use him (Peter) despite his failure (see John 21).

Peter failed miserably! This man who said he would follow Jesus even if it meant death!  Failed and fell flat on his face. I can only imagine how he felt after he denied Christ. Perhaps he felt unworthy, perhaps he felt unusable by Christ, for sure he felt extreme sorrow. Peter needed forgiveness; Peter needed love; Peter needed his Lord!

What about you? Do you relate to Peter? Have you found yourself unworthy of following Christ? If you have, then take heart that if Jesus restored and used Peter, then He will restore and use you.

Peter got it! You can get it! Just read 1 and 2 Peter, and you’ll see that Peter understood Christ. Friend, if you feel as though that Christ can’t use you or that you can’t be forgiven because of what you’ve done, then take heart. God restored and used Peter, and He WILL restore and use you!

You are not too far gone for Jesus Christ to forgive you. If you have never stepped into a relationship with Jesus Christ, you can make today the day you step into a relationship with Jesus! It’s a simple prayer (talking) to God, and you can prayer the prayer below.

“Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I have sinned. I confess that I cannot do anything to get rid of my sin. I confess and believe that You are the Risen Jesus Christ who died on a cross for my sin, and rose again three days later. I ask You now to forgive me of my sin, past, present and future, and to come and live with me.  I want to follow You all the days of my life. Thank you for the forgiveness You give me. Amen.”

If you just prayed that prayer (or one similar to it) with a sincere meaningful heart then you can be assured that you have entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ! Begin to walk in that relationship by finding (or attending) a Bible believing church where you can grow in fellowship with other Christians. If you need help, then email me at fred@mergeconference.com. I would love to hear from you, and especially if you prayed that prayer!

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

PostHeaderIcon Truth vs. Lies: Who will win?

Our church, like most, is going through an Easter series titled, Encountering Jesus, and I was moved by my pastor’s words.  Both Judas and Mary (see Matthew 26:1-16) sacrificed something; Judas for selfish reasons and Mary served Jesus just 6 days before His Crucifixion and gave Him all the she had!  During the last song, I was thinking of a similar choice we all make. Each and every day we make this choice. Will I choose to listen to the Truth (John 14:6) from Jesus Christ or will I choose to the listen to the lies from the father of lies? It was during that song that God gave me this poem, and I wanted to share it with all of you. May you be blessed and refreshed by it.  Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Truth
Lies
Which shall be greater?
Shall I listen to that which condemns?
Shall I listen to that which brings life?
Both speaking, both  shouting
Both vying for my attention,
my loyalty, my devotion

Which shall I choose?
Which do I want?
Life?
Condemnation?
Jesus, My Savior?
Satan, my accuser?

My mind is made up!
This day, the next day
and everyone to come…
I choose Jesus,
My Savior
My God
My Brother
I Choose Life
from the Life Giver
Thank You Jesus for
Truth
Life
Freedom

 

PostHeaderIcon It’s Your Story!

8 His neighbors and those who formerly had seen him as a beggar said, “Isn’t this the man who sat begging?” 9 Some said, “He’s the one.” “No,” others were saying, “but he looks like him.” He kept saying, “I’m the one!” 10 Therefore they asked him, “Then how were your eyes opened?” 11 He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud, spread it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash. ’ So when I went and washed I received my sight.” 12 “Where is He?” they asked. “I don’t know,” he said. (John 9:8-12HCSB)

“When in the course of humans events it becomes necessary” for one man to dissolve the trouble of this world and leave it behind him, then he is faced with a choice! To wash or to to not wash!

 
These past few days have found me coming to Christ a lot for washing. My wife and I are watching our 3.5 year old niece, so having three children (ours are 2.5 years old and 8.5 years old) in a house make for a very tired Fred! I apologize for leaving you hanging these past few days, but you didn’t come here to read about my family life and hear me talk about how tired I am. Let’s get to today’s story.

 
Last week, we left off with our blindman washing the mud, that was made with Jesus saliva, off his eyes. Today, we catch up with him and find out he’s washed off the mud AND he can see! But that’s not where I want to camp out. Check out what happens when people begin to notice that he got his sight back.

 
They didn’t believe it. They explained it away or made excuses saying, “Well, that guy just looks like the blind beggar, that guy can see it’t be the blind beggar.” The whole time the once blind man (let’s call him Will for the time being so he has a name) is going around saying, “It’s me Will! I see that look on your face! Believe me I can see now!”

 
Finally they believe Will and ask him, “Alright, so it is you Will, but tell us, how did you get your sight?” As any person would do, Will recounts the story, but when asked where Jesus was he didn’t know.

 
Have you ever felt that way? You had something really great happen to you only to have no one supportive or excited for you? I know I have! Remember that when you’re living out your faith in Jesus Christ there will be times when you feel all alone. BUT, Jesus is there, ready and willing and to walk with you. Are you ready? You can do it! I believe in you and so does our mighty God!

PostHeaderIcon A Blind Faith

5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” 6 After He said these things He spit on the ground, made some mud from the saliva, and spread the mud on his eyes. 7 “Go,” He told him, “wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means “Sent”). So he left, washed, and came back seeing. John 9:5-7 (HCSB)

 

It’s things like this that make me love Jesus more! Imagine seeing this scene unfold. Jesus’ disciples ask Him, “Jesus, why is this man like this?” Jesus answers the question, then SPITS on the ground! The same Jesus, who is God in human form, spits on the ground and makes mud, THEN he puts that saliva soaked mud on the blind man’s eyes. It’s no wonder the man went and washed! When I read the story, it’s not just Jesus’ creativity that catches me, but the blind man’s faith!

 
Imagine being blind your whole life, and sitting in the same spot each day begging for help. As you’re sitting there one day, the warmth of the sun shines on your face and then a man’s shadow blocks the sun giving you temporary relief from the sun. As you listen to Him talk you realize He’s a rabbi (teacher of the people) and that He’s different from the other rabbis. Yet, what happens next catches you off guard. You hear Him spit, then you feel Him putting something warm on your eyes. And, you hear His command to go wash it off. He never once tells you that you’ll be healed, but because of what you listened to and experienced you know He’s different, so you exercise faith in Him What happens next amazes you, as you wash the mud off, you receive your sight!

 
What about you? Do you exercise that kind of faith? Do you follow Jesus’ commands without any guarantee? Many of us want healing (emotionally, spiritually, physically, or socially), but when Jesus shows up we are reluctant to follow His leadings because they don’t seem possible or we don’t like what He’s asking us to do or because it makes us uncomfortable.

 

How about you? I challenge you to be like the blind man Jesus encountered, and live out your  faith. It’s your faith, not someone else’s faith. If you’re not exercising faith like this blind man, then it doesn’t mean you’re a bad Christian. It means you need to ask God to give you a greater faith. Trust me…He will!

PostHeaderIcon Who’s the Judge?

1 As He was passing by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples questioned Him:“ Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him. 4 We must do the works of Him who sent Me while it is day. Night is coming when no one can work. 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 9:1-5 (HCSB)

If there’s one thing that my wife and I enjoy doing it’s talking with each other.  As often is the case, my wife began reading a book, took the personality test then had me take the test. I took the test, and it was no surprise to us that I was an otter. I enjoy being around people , and my wife often has to drag me out of church, parties, family functions and social interactions. However, I find myself meeting lots of people, and have to be careful not make judgements on them before I get to know them.

That’s what Jesus was getting at when his disciple asked Him, “Jesus, is this man like this because he sinned or because his parents sinned [rephrased in my words]?” I love Jesus’ response! “Neither!….” I can only imagine the look on his disciples’ faces! Jesus was getting them to think differently about people. He wanted to move His disciples from a judgement mindset to a God working in and through them mindset.

How well do you do at that? When you meet someone do you begin to judge them for they way they are? Or, do you ask God what He’s doing in their life and how you can join Him in His work?

As you work out your faith in Christ, remember it’s not about how well you do it, it’s about Who you know? The Christian faith is not a religion that includes a list of do’s and don’ts, but it’s a relationship with the God Who created you, loves you and wants to interact with you. Have questions? Need to talk to someone, then feel free to email me @ fred@mergeconference.com or find a good local church in your area (we’ll help you with that as best we can if you need help).

You can do it!

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