Back in the Saddle Again

Friends,
Life can be so crazy and overwhelming sometimes, we know the secret of contentment comes from God alone through His Son, Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, the Holy and Appointed One of God. Philippians 4:13 reveals that secret, “I”, Paul says, “can do all things through Him (Jesus) who gives me strength.”
I am praying for strength right now, going through the holidays, working both my full-time job, part-time substitute teaching, both volunteer ministry and occasional pulpit supply preaching plus of course, famil; in the meantime, neglecting to post and write.
I apologize once again for my negligence.
Getting back on the ball, so please like, share, follow, recommend on Facebook  and godswordislife.com
God’s Word is Life and we can have peace and contentment through Him who gives us strength!
Thanks!

Chaos, confusion, control, conflict, and peace!

2020 has been a year unlike any other for those of us alive today. Seems like an understatement, right?

I have spoken to people in their 90s who say the same… The world is in chaos, economies are collapsing, businesses are closing, there are peaceful protests, armed conflicts, destructive riots, shootings, bombings, a global pandemic, and fear mongering.

Government officials at all levels are trying to exercise control over individuals in ways our forefathers revolted against…and just wait until the American people have to pay back, through higher taxes, all the money our government has borrowed in order to pay out all those stimulus packages.

Borders have been closed, travel has been halted, states and cities are quarantining people who travel to and from hot spots, even when their spot is hotter than the ones they are so worried about…hello, Chicago??? In the meantime, here in the good old U S of A, you’ll get COVID at church, at school, a small business, a fitness center, or a restuarant; but not at a protest rally, Walmart, Menards (where I work), or a political rally. Go figure!

It all makes us wonder…is God still alive? Does God even care? Can we have peace, when the world has gone crazy?

YES, YES, and YES!!! The answers are YES!

YES, God is still alive! YES, God does still care! YES, we can have peace!

Jesus may have died on the cross and remained in the grave for 3 days two thousand years ago, but He was resurrected and He is still alive today at the Right Hand of the Father. He is still intervening on our behalf moment by moment. The Father is still offering forgiveness for all our imperfections through our faith in His Perfect Son. His Son is still bestowing Holy Spirit upon us believers to be our Indwelling Comforter and Teacher. The Church is still on Earth and in heaven to act as Christ’s Body and Bride. However, we need unity now, more than ever!

Only God can heal this world, only Jesus can unify our divided spirit, only Holy Spirit will convict us and call us to turn from our selfish desires and grow the Fruit of the Spirit within us. Do you want love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control to abound in the world? Let His Fruit grow in you, plant His Fruit in others, nurture His Fruit and watch it grow around the world!

In spite of the insanity in our world today, we can have peace… So, may the peace of God rest upon you. May the blessings of God live in you. And, may the love of God abound all around you.

Quick Update

First, an apology, I have not been posting much for the last couple months nor writing much, for those who are following God’s Word Is Life, I’m sorry. Just really busy with work and family.
Second, I promise to get back on the ball sharing encouragement, perspective, and biblical truth regarding life and recovery.
Third, a request. Please like, share, follow, and recommend both the Facebook page and the website godswordislife.com
Let’s get the message of renewal, hope, joy, and contentment to the world through the mercy and grace offered to us ALL through a relationship with our Creator Father through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus the Christ, and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Thank you all for your support!

Trifecta of Temptation

This message, given at Christian Baptist Church in Decatur, IL, focuses on the three biggest areas of temptation in the lives of Christians.

Eve was enticed, Jesus suffered temptation, and John the apostle warned his readers in 1 John 2:16 about the same three things.

The Trifecta of Temptation. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

How can we fight temptation? The same way Jesus did! With TRUTH!!!

 

H.O.W. It Works

I have said for many years, if someone, anyone, truly works the 12 steps they will come into a right understanding of a relationship with God and come to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. It doesn’t matter if they be atheist (as I once w claimed to be), agnostic, disillusioned, unchurched, oppressed, even other faiths, or worldviews. If we are totally honest, open-minded, and willing, to look at all the facts regarding creation, life, death, separation from God and its causes, our shortcomings, our relationships with others, and the claims that the Bible makes; we will become disciples of Jesus.

The keys to recovery, whether it be alcoholism, addiction of some sort, or anything the Scriptures frankly call sin, are Honesty, Open-mindedness, and Willingness. The three points of the AA triangle within the circle represent these three ideals.

If we seek recovery and a relationship with God living out these three principles to their fullest, we will invariably come to the same conclusions. If we short ourselves on any one of them, we will end up hitting a wall. This wall may not cause us to relapse in recovery, but it will stunt our growth spiritually regardless. Let’s take a closer look at these three principles and see how they affect our lives and how they can guide us into all truth objectively.

First, honesty. Looking at ourselves, no matter how well put together an individual seems to be, if we are honest, we are all muffed up in many ways. We all have our shortcomings, our defects of character, the places we injure ourselves or others, the things we cover up, justify, or outright lie about, the places we miss the mark of whatever objective or subjective mark of perfection set for us by ourselves, our society, or our belief system. For some, these may be extreme and outwardly obvious. For others, they may be more subtle. If we look at our various cultures, communities, countries, and our world; we can really see just how muffed up we can get.

If we honestly take stock, the Bible has one word that describes all of this, sin. There are many lists throughout Scripture, but there are two that really sum up all the rest… whether you agree with specific items or not, I ask you to simply consider them.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9‭-‬10 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/1co.6.9-10.NET‬

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, depravity, idolatry, sorcery (getting high on drugs), hostilities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish rivalries, dissensions, factions, envying, murder, drunkenness, carousing, and similar things. I am warning you, as I had warned you before: Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God!

Galatians 5:19‭-‬21 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/gal.5.19-21.NET‬

These two lists sum up very well everything that causes any and every kind of harm we can cause to ourselves and others. The Scriptures are clear in both respects, these things separate us from God both now and have eternal consequences.

You may ask, why should I believe anything the Bible has to say? Other than looking at the truth of just these previous couple paragraphs, if you are willing and open-minded enough to give the Bible a fair shake, See also the attached article by Charlie Campbell, 10 Evidences for the Bible.

10 evidences

There is a Creator. Sin has separated us from him. The Scriptures say this,

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth by their unrighteousness, because what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse.

Romans 1:18‭-‬20 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/rom.1.18-20.NET‬

If we can honestly accept there is really a problem here. Guess what… God has also provided a solution to the problem. Jesus.

Are you open-minded enough to hear about him? Are you open-minded enough to hear about a loving Creator Father that wants a relationship with us? Are you open-minded enough to read a book that through the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit was given to us to explain how glorious he really is and what he has done to have a relationship with us? Open-minded enough to hear how he has been working since creation to bring us, sinful, rebellious, imperfect human beings into a relationship with a perfect and holy God?
The Bible tells us…

For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him. The one who believes in him is not condemned. The one who does not believe has been condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.

John 3:16‭-‬19 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/jhn.3.16-19.NET‬

You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5‭-‬11 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/php.2.5-11.NET‬

because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation.

Romans 10:9‭-‬10 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/rom.10.9-10.NET‬

If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:8‭-‬9 NET https://bible.com/bible/107/1jn.1.8-9.NET‬

If we are willing enough, we can break down all the barriers between us and God. If we are willing enough, we can bridge the gap. If we are willing enough, we can help others to do the same. We need to be willing to be open-minded. We need to be willing to honestly evaluate the facts and face the truth. We need to be willing to let go of ourselves and accept God on his terms, rather than making up our own.

Because of our sin, God sent his Son, Jesus, to live a perfect human life as God in the flesh. He died on the cross, convicted of crimes he did not commit as a holy sacrifice to make us right with God the Father, bridging the separation sin has caused. He rose from the dead, as both a symbol of his divinity and to raise all those who are willing to follow him into an eternal relationship with the Father and give us his Holy Spirit to live in and with us, so we can live in his image and show his sacrificial love to all the world.

Can you be honest enough to accept this truth about yourself and God? Are you open-minded enough to give all this information consideration or further your own search for the truth? Are you willing enough to do the hard work and soul searching to restore your relationship with God and follow Jesus?

Have faith, do good, show love, and do the next right thing!

May God bless you!

Satan is not god!

In our Christian lives, we usually fall into two extremes when it comes to the evil one and his minions. We usually either marginalize them, creating them into powerless cartoon characters and deny their existence entirely. Or, we give them all the power, knowledge, and ability of God himself. Neither is a healthy view in light of what Scripture teaches.

First, Satan, also known as Lucifer and the devil, and his crew are fallen angels, aka demons…not gods, and not cartoons! Scripture says that the Evil One is the god of this age. Meaning that he rules the hearts and minds of those who do not belong to Christ and he can affect the world. He is also called the prince of the power of the air. See here in 2 Corinthians how Paul describes Satan and his work against the gospel of Christ and those who believe.

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe so they would not see the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

However, Lucifer only has half the angels on his side that God does. They are created beings and inferior in every way to God himself. They are not all knowing, not all powerful, not omnipresent. They are not trapped in hell. They can’t make you do anything without fully possessing your body. However, they can affect your thoughts and the world around you. Make no mistake, as a Christian, with God’s indwelling Holy Spirit inside you, the power of Christ in you is always more powerful than them. Peter warns Jesus followers what the enemy’s tactics are and how to combat him.

Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, strong in your faith, because you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are enduring the same kinds of suffering. And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:8-11

The devil has used the same tricks since his time in the garden of Eden with Eve (Genesis 3:6). He uses the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life to tempt us to betray God and follow our own sinful desires rather than submitting to the will of God. He used these same things against Jesus in the desert (Matthew 4:1-11), and John warns us in 1 John, that his tactics have not changed. They haven’t changed, because they still work against us. See what John says,

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him, because all that is in the world (the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the arrogance produced by material possessions) is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever. 1 John 2:15-17

 

We need to know, we already have victory in Jesus. We have an Advocate before the Father, that pleads our case for us when we do sin (1 John 2:1-2). John also says that by living in forgiveness, by knowing the Father, by knowing and applying his Word, we have conquered the evil one (1 John 2:13-14). The enemy of our souls can’t make us do anything we do not have the desire to do ourselves. James 1:14 says,

“But each one is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desires.”

We must resist these impulses! We must fight temptation! Paul says,

“No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Turn to God and submit to His will and the devil will have no power over you…

Craig Gross Has High Praise for the Idea of ‘Christian Cannabis’, and is flat biblically wrong!

I am sorry Craig, but on this issue, you are flat biblically wrong.

I had great respect for the ministry this man has, and he continues to do good work in the name of the Lord, but he is way off base here.

Throughout the Old Testament and the Book of Acts, you will read where, in the KJV, witchcraft or sorcery is condemned. For New Testament study it is found listed in Galatians 5:20 as the works of the flesh, but here both our modern and archaic English translations fall short.

In Greek, the word is φαρμακεία, it is where we get our English word pharmacy and the word pharmaceuticals. In ancient times, it was drug use to induce higher realms of thought and induce a spiritual trance to commune with the gods. Basically, getting high! But, not just getting high, getting high to talk to god better.

Sorry Craig, you can put whatever “Christian” spiritual spin on it that you want, but you are still endorsing exactly what our both our Old Testament and first Christian leaders called SIN; no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

There is no spiritual benefit to any Christian in getting high, and God will never require us to sin in order to get into closer contact with him.

Period!

https://churchleaders.com/podcast/355555-craig-gross-space-talk-christian-cannabis.html

Agree with me…

It really doesn’t matter what side of an issue you stand on. Christian or not, you will find someone who has written something that will agree with or support what you have chosen to believe.

I was reflecting on this as I browsed the stacks of our public library while my youngest daughter was selecting books.

At one time you at least needed to be a published author, or be published in some magazine or peer review journal, in order for the world to read what you were trying to get out there. Even though it was nowhere near foolproof, most stuff that wasn’t valid or worth reading never made the mainstream. That is not true today. This blog is a case in point, although I think I have some pretty decent ideas and my thought processes are mostly valid. I don’t have thousands of followers and no publishing groups are beating down my door for my next book or article. (I submitted some poetry to a journal for a contest once and was rejected… oh well).

Back on point, today anyone who is anyone can find someone who will support their point of view – whether biblical or not, scientific or not, moral, ethical, legal – it doesn’t seem to matter. As long as someone agrees with your view, it doesn’t matter how subjective it may be; or twisted in logic or interpretation or method. As long as it has support, it must be fact. Truth is in the eye of the beholder, and fact is simply how many people you can get to agree to your point of view.

Regardless of objective truth, or scientific fact, one of my pet peeves when it comes to justifying sinful behavior is: I was born this way, it’s natural, or I am only human.
This doesn’t just apply to sexuality, although you find the arguments in that arena most often. It goes far beyond that.

In my case, I was genetically born with all the markers of an alcoholic (which can be proven). I was also genetically born with heterosexual desires. So I could use genetics as an excuse for addiction, drunkenness, and every type of sexual indiscretion with members of the opposite sex (all things the Bible calls sin). I could use nature to say that it is natural for a male to mate with as many females as possible, to propagate the species. Or, I could just say, “Well, I am only human,” or worse yet, “God made me this way.”
Instead, I find mercy, grace, and forgiveness at the cross. I stay clean and sober because God gave me the power to fight my afflictions. I remain faithful to my wife because I entered in to a covenanted marriage relationship with her, according to God’s design for a man to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife becoming one flesh and forsaking all others. I strive to be the best man of God I can be.

Another example is men born with XYY chromosome, which are known to be a marker for violence, psychotic, and sociopathic tendencies. We pardon every rapist and murderer in our prison systems based on a genetic excuse, for those who qualify. They were born that way regardless of law and order. When judging rapists, we could take an example from nature. The most intelligent of marine mammals, dolphins, gang rape females to ensure pregnancy to propagate their species. Therefore, according to the laws of nature, why should rape be illegal or immoral in human society?

In nature not every species is monogamous, mating for life, so we could say it’s better to be like animals and for survival, propagate the species with a variety of mates to encourage diverse traits. Survival of the fittest.

Although there is still no concrete genetic evidence for homosexuality, I have known children that exhibited homosexual traits. By the time they are near adulthood (and other contributing factors of nurture, circumstance, psychology) they enter a lifestyle of same sex attraction. We could say, “We see homosexuality in certain apes, therefore it is also found in nature and therefore a natural desire.” That is true; however, it is used as a method of domination and submission in those apes, and has nothing to do with pleasure, love, lust, or attraction.

With so many voices, to which voices should we listen? As human beings, with our selfish natures, we tend to hear the voices we want to hear! We tend to find the opinion that matches our own, makes us most comfortable, allows us to fulfill our own desires and that justifies our behavior. We want to hear the voice that makes our choices right, acceptable and natural, that follows the path of least resistance – not the voice that challenges or convinces us to change or yield.

We all have choice! It was given to us as a precious gift of God called free will! Our first ancestors used the power of choice against God’s original design, which has corrupted our very natures, our very DNA. The further from the original choice we get, the more imperfect our nature has become. Call it genetic decay, if you like. The Bible simply calls it sin – our imperfection missing the standard set by the Perfect Creator.

To say God made me this way, he made me to sin, is a terrible and egregious lie. Our sin nature that we are born with, along with genetic decay (original sin), has made us this way. My alcoholism, addiction, desire for women not my wife, bipolar depression are all the result of genetic decay, with an emphasis on my own personal choices to indulge in those things rather than the things of God.

I have found a large measure of relief from bondage to self though God. My God sent his one and only Son to die in my place – for my genetic decay and my willful choices (sin)- so that I can have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. By agreeing with God that those ‘natural’ tendencies are truly unnatural and go against his divine will and standard (confession), and by asking for forgiveness and intentionally turning from those things toward the direction he wants me life to go (repentance), I find victory over them (salvation).

It is sometimes a struggle to put him first and my fellow man next, and myself last. To choose to live according to the objective and divine standard that He has set down in his Word rather than my own, or at least the subjective ones that agree with how I would want things to be.

I was born imperfect. We all were and will continue to be. However, I will not take pride in my imperfection! I will not celebrate my independence from the standards God has set down! God did not make me how I was.

Through his mercy and grace, I am reborn! I am made new! I am being conformed to the image of His Son, as our original ancestors were created to be in His image. Through Jesus Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the love of my Heavenly Father, I am being remade into how I should be, not what comes “naturally!”

His love extends to all his creation! He desires all to come to him in repentance and to seek his forgiveness! He sacrificed his Son to make that possible!

No matter what our particular tendency toward sin is, no matter how we were born, no matter what we have done…

He wants us to be reborn in a relationship with HIM!

Modesty, Yoga Pants and 5 Myths You Need to Know

https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/175460-phylicia-masonheimer-modesty-yoga-pants-and-5-myths-you-need-to-know.html/7

This was written by a woman concerning conviction in her own spirit. As a Christian man, I can testify that her input in regards to a man’s struggles with the issue are absolutely true.

What Christian women choose to do regarding the matter is down to how their own spirit convicts them.

I will say, in our culture, the Christian women changing their views will only be the tip of the iceberg facing men, with the way all the other women dress, the prevalence of pornography, and social media.

Men still need to be extremely vigilant on their own through the power of the Holy Spirit.