December 27, 2006

I too, forgot them at Christmas

A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.
Matthew 2:18, NKJV

Last night in my class, Essentials of Business Communication, my professor taught us a lesson on listening skills and speaking using the Indian Council method and a talking stick. The object of this exercise was to learn patience when waiting to speak and only the person who held the stick could speak. Everyone else had to listen and wait for their turn. I had suggested this would be a great exercise for married couples even those who are engaged. I might have a hard time with this one and try to break the stick in half so I would not have to wait for my turn. Just kidding.

Our discussion topic for the Indian Council exercise was about Christmas and each person had an opportunity to express their feelings or opinions about Christmas. Some said it was their favorite holiday, some expressed how the meaning of Christmas has been lost by the intense commercialization of the holiday with sales, shopping, gatherings and other events. All of the students in my class agree that it is about celebrating the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

When it was my professors turn, she described how she, her husband and their son went to see The Nativity Story. After the movie was over, they discussed the movie and its significance since it was December and near to Christmas Day. Her son's comment about a particular scene really got me, one that I have missed every Christmas until now and one that I won't forget. He said to his mother that he was sad for the children that King Herod ordered to be killed because of Jesus.

I have no idea how many children were killed, but we are always so caught up in the busyness of Christmas, we miss this important biblical event too. These children were martyred because of Jesus because King Herod could not allow someone else to take his throne, let alone a child!

When he had heard the wise men say, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” (Matthew 2:2). Herod knew there could not be two kings in a kingdom. He had asked the wise men to return to him and let him know where the King of the Jews was so he could go and worship also. (Matthew 2:8). I don't think he really wanted to go and worship Jesus. He probably wanted to kill the baby himself.

The Gospel of Matthew records that King Herod issued an order to have all children who were two years of age and younger to be killed (Matthew 2:16-18). He did this because the wise men were warned in a dream, not to return to Herod, which he became infuriated by this I'm sure and set out to find the child's location on his own. Innocent children were murdered, martyred really, because of the jealousy and envy in the heart of a man that drove him to choose the worst possible solution. King Herod's life could have been completely different had he allowed the love of God to enter his heart, rather than allow it to be poisoned by envy, jealousy and murder.

Here are a few questions to ask honestly, to find out what is the condition of your heart toward God?

  • Is my heart pure before God? "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:8).
  • Am I speaking flattery or telling the truth when I say that I know God, that I know what His Son has done for me, dying for me sins? "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me." (Matthew 15:8).
  • Am I really looking for God in His Word, to know who He really is to me? "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13).
  • How much do I love God? “‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’" (Matthew 22:37).
  • Are the words that I speak, words that reflect God or Satan? "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." (Matthew 15:18-19).
  • Am I saved from God's judgment of my sins? "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10).

The truth lies within the heart of every man and woman. How well does God know your heart? What is the condition of your heart?

As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person. Proverbs 27:19, NLT

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14, NKJV.

May God's gift of Christ the Savior, be treasured in your hearts and homes today and always. May the abundant life that Christ promises be yours throughout the new year.

God bless you and your families.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Kurt

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December 16, 2006

One in one hundred quadrillion

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Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14, NKJV

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Mathew 1:23, NKJV

Little do many people know that in the book of Isaiah, the Lord had spoken to King Ahaz regarding a sign of the coming Messiah, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. This was foretold approximately 800 years before the birth even occurred. What are the chances that even something you or I say, as a prediction, would be exactly as we say it will happen even eight days from now? Who can predict the winner of the next presidential election? Well that might be easy when we are left with just two candidates, but how about predicting the exact number of votes that each candidate would receive on election day? We cannot and the odds are too great I am sure, to even calculate how accurate one would have to be.

Let’s look at the Powerball lottery for example. Everyone is familiar with it and most people have purchased a lottery ticket at some point in their lives and everyone hopes to be the sole winner too. If you say you have never purchased a lottery ticket, even a charity raffle is a lottery ticket. As of this writing the current jackpot is valued at $43 million. The odds of being the sole winner of the $43 million jackpot are 1 in 146,107,962. Pretty slim odds of winning too.

Think about it for a second. There is a 1 in 146,107,962 probability of having the exact and only set of numbers to win Powerball. Yet the birth of Christ was foretold by the prophet Isaiah 800 years exactly as it were to happen. What is the probability of being exactly right in predicting a virgin birth and that He is also the Son of God?

In his book, Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophecies regarding Christ. He states, “The chance that any man might have ...fulfilled all eight prophecies is one in 10 to the 17th power. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.” (one hundred quadrillion)

Stoner suggests if, “we take 10 to the 17th in silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas, they will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly... Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up that one marked silver dollar. What chance would he have of getting the right one?”

Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, providing they wrote them in their own wisdom. (Source unknown)

The fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy in the birth of Jesus Christ is compelling, and the four Gospels offer numerous accounts of Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the Person of Jesus Christ. Here are just a few that are listed in the Billy Graham Training Center Bible (p. 627):

  • Christ would be descended from King David’s family (Psalm 89:3, 4; see Mark 12:35-37; John 7:42)
  • He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14; see Matthew 1:23)
  • He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; see John 7:42)
  • He would make a triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Zechariah 9:9; see Matthew 21:5)
  • The soldiers would cast lots for His garments (Psalm 22:18; see Matthew 27:35)
  • His dying words were foretold (Psalm 22:1; see Matthew 27:46)
  • He would die with criminals (Isaiah 53:9, 12; see Luke 22:37)
  • His death would be for the salvation of all people (Isaiah 53:6; see 1 Corinthians 15:3)
  • He would rise from the dead the third day (Psalm 16:8-11; Hosea 6:1,2)
  • Jesus confirmed the resurrection referring to past Scriptures (Luke 24:46)
  • Peter confirmed it by quoting David’s prophecy (Acts 2:25-32)

There is not another book that has foretold the future more accurately, than the Bible. As the birth of Christ was foretold and fulfilled, so will His return be, as was witnessed by the apostles on the day He was "taken up into heaven." (Acts 1:11)

There is little doubt regarding the accuracy of the Bible, the fulfillment of its prophecies and of Jesus’ imminent return.

How certain could you feel about these words that Jesus said that were recorded by the apostle John, if everything else about Him is true too, “In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3, NIV)

God does not want anyone to take any chances regarding their eternal life. He wants each person to have the absolute assurance of heaven when the time of death here on earth comes and life in eternity begins. You have the power of choice, the free will that God has given to choose the destination of eternal life. The choice of either heaven or hell and God says that we should choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19, NKJV)

Because of Adam’s sin against God in the Garden of Eden, judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation (Romans 5:18), but through Jesus Christ we have been justified as righteous, or innocent from God's judgment of sin, by the gift of God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:18, Ephesians 2:8-9).

Sin is what separates us from God and He reconciled us to himself, by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” (Romans 8:3).

Don’t take a chance of leaving your eternal destiny in your own hands. Heaven and hell are absolute certainties. The choice is up to you and God is your greatest advocate for the most important decision in your life.

"And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15, NKJV

References:

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Probability of Prophecies Fulfilled

The Billy Graham Training Center Bible, Time-Tested Answers to Your Toughest Questions. (2004). Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Links:

Prophecies that Jesus Christ Fulfilled

Prophecies of the Old Testament Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

December 11, 2006

25 Ideas for how YOU can spread the Word

  1. Send a Bible to servicemen and servicewomen overseas
  2. Give one to the server at a restaurant (along with a generous tip!)
  3. When you travel, leave one in your hotel room for the housekeeper - also leave a note of thanks for his/her service
  4. Give one to the teller at the bank drive-through window
  5. Challenge your child to find someone at school who doesn't own a Bible and give one to them
  6. Give one to the business traveler next to you on the plane or on the commuter train
  7. Donate a stack to the church staff to give to those they visit or to needy people who come in asking for help
  8. Donate a box or two to your local homeless shelter
  9. Give a Bible to each of the parents at your child’s daycare
  10. Deliver some to the waiting rooms at local doctor's offices and hospitals
  11. Give a Bible to each guest at your wedding or your child’s wedding
  12. Include one in each of your May Day baskets
  13. Give a Bible to each person who visits your yard sale
  14. Leave a Bible with a bow in your mailbox for your mailperson
  15. If you use eBay, send a Bible along with every purchase someone makes from you as a free gift
  16. Donate a case or two to your child’s summer camp
  17. Give Bibles to your local library to send home with each book borrower
  18. Send Bibles to prisoners
  19. Send Bibles to oversea ministries
  20. Supply a local Army unit’s Chaplin with Bibles for their unit
  21. Include a Bible in your new neighbor’s housewarming gift basket
  22. Give one to your apartment maintenance person
  23. Donate a case to a charity in the name of a friend for a birthday/graduation/Christmas gift
  24. Deliver some to your local retirement facility
  25. Offer a Bible along with a tip to your hair stylist

Additional resource links:

Nelson Bibles - 25 Ideas

The Pocket Testament League

December 4, 2006

Jesus, as an example

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

D. M. Stearns was preaching in Philadelphia. At the close of the service a stranger came up to him and said, “I don’t like the way you spoke about the cross. I think that instead of emphasizing the death of Christ, it would be far better to preach Jesus, the teacher and example.”

Stearns replied, “If I presented Christ in that way, would you be willing to follow Him?” “I certainly would,” said the stranger without hesitation. “All right then,” said the preacher, “let’s take the first step. He did no sin. Can you claim that for yourself?”

The man looked confused and somewhat surprised. “Why, no,” he said. “I acknowledge that I do sin.”

Stearns replied, “Then your greatest need is to have a Savior, not an example!

Source Unknown

http://net.bible.org/illustration.php?topic=835

November 24, 2006

Prayers of faith for a son's dying father - Part 2

On November 18th, my friend Joe had attended the funeral services for Dan Hartman's father.
Joe had shared with me in an email how beautiful the service was and how the Pastor shared that Dan Sr., received Christ, bridging the gap between ourselves and God. At the conclusion of the Pastor's eulogy, he asked if anyone who wanted to receive Christ to raise their hands. There were at least 12 people at the funeral whom had acknowledged that they did want to accept Christ into their lives as Lord and Savior.
Joe saw Dan Jr., at church the day after and said to him how touched he was by the funeral service and he praised the pastor for inviting others to accept God's gift of forgiveness and salvation found only in Christ. As excited as Dan Jr., was about his father coming to know Christ before his death, he was even more excited to learn that those whom had made the decision to accept Christ at the funeral, were friends of his father.
As I read Joe's email and the wonderful testimony of those lives that were changed by the Word of God, this particular verse from the Gospel of John stands out to me where Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain." (John 12:24, NKJV)
I cannot imagine the joy Dan Sr., experienced when he entered the gates of Heaven and met the Lord Jesus as He was waiting for him. I cannot even imagine his gratefulness to his son for faithfully holding onto the faith which he has had and often shared with others, as the Bible calls for us to do. Dan sowed the Gospel into his father's life and that reaped a harvest which Dan Sr., had no idea would amount to anything.
Whenever I go to California to visit my family, I really do look forward to the trip. I look forward to spending time with my mother, my uncles, aunts, cousins and my grandparents. On my recent visit, my mother met me at the airport to pick me up and I was surprised to know that my grandmother had insisted on coming along to see me at the airport. I love my grandmother dearly and it touched my heart so much that she wanted to see me when I arrived. I teared up a bit knowing she was waiting to see me with my mother. I felt much the same way when my grandfather suprised me and came to Parris Island to see me graduate from Marine Corps recruit training.
Think about whenever you travel. There is always someone waiting at one end to see you and they are waiting with expectation and joy for your arrival. I can only imagine the excitement Jesus has when He is expecting the arrival of those who have committed their lives to Him. Thank you Mom and Grandma for being like Jesus. I love you. Cheers Grandma!!

Celebrating Grandma's birthday in Carlsbad, California. September 2006

Jesus said that He desires for each person to be with Him where He is (John 17:24). If you are unsure that you would even go to Heaven when you die, I would encourage you to make the same decision as Dan Hartman's friends did. Take these steps toward Him, to have Peace with God.

"And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." (John 17:3, NKJV)


References:
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

November 16, 2006

Prayers of faith for a son's dying father

For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ -- 1 Timothy 2:4

A few weeks ago, I had received an email from my friend Joe asking to pray for the father of his friend Dan, who was terminally ill due to a failing liver from years of alcohol abuse to his body. Dan's father was not given much more time to live either because his liver had been so badly damaged. I would also like to note that Dan, his wife and their children are all Christians and have been sharing their faith with their father for a number of years. Dan and his family were looking for a miracle. This is a true story.

Joe's email was sent to a few close brothers in Christ whom he considers to be faithful prayer warriors. After reading the email and understanding the grave consequences this man faced, I began to pray. My prayer for Dan's father was first, that if he should die, that he would not reject the message his son would once again share with his father, to know that Jesus Christ died for his sins and that by receiving Christ into his life, he would be assured a place in Heaven. Next, I prayed and asked God that if it was His will to heal Dan's father from the damage done to his liver, that He would do so in Jesus' name. I prayed that if God would heal him, that Dan's father would not take for granted the great gift God would grant toward him, extending his life for an unknown number of days. It would be God's will to be done, not mine, but above all, I prayed that Dan's father would acknowledge Christ in his life.

On October 25th, Joe sent this email:
"Hi Guys: I am very pleased and excited to inform you that Dan's dad (Dan Sr.), the person whose liver is failing gave his heart to Christ yesterday. I called Dan last night to see how his dad was doing and during our conversation he informed me that his dad's heart and spirit are soaring in God. Physically the doctors are not giving him much hope, however we know that God is the great Physician. Dan wanted to say thank you for the prayers that were made on behalf of his dad. Praise the Lord for salvation we have in Christ. I'll keep you posted. Thanks again guys for your prayers. God Bless, Joe"

My reply to Joe was, "THAT IS GOOD NEWS JOE!!!! When I received your email about this yesterday, I prayed that Dan would receive Christ above a healing in his body. If his death is near, I'd rather know that he gave his life to Christ and died, than live and be healed without Him in his life. His salvation IS the miracle. Now, if God wants to heal him, He will, whatever His purpose is will prevail."

Joe also shared that Dan had acknowledged the same thing saying, "His soul is more important than his physical healing!!!!!"

Well, Dan's father met Jesus Christ for the first time in Heaven yesterday afternoon when he died.


Coming to faith in Jesus Christ is more than just intellectually understanding who He is. God wants each person to know what He has done for them, removing the judgment of sin from their souls, through Jesus Christ and His death on the cross.

The Bible says, "For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved." (Romans 10:10, NLT).

Still don't think you can come to Christ because you feel that your sin is too great to warrant God's forgiveness? Let me reassure you that, "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." (1 John 1:7, NKJV)

If you are unsure to know that your sins have been forgiven, it is time you had a heart to heart talk with God. I would encourage anyone to having that talk with God right now and you can do that right here.

The Bible confirms that no one can predict what will happen tomorrow where it says, "whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:14, NKJV). We do know that one day we will die, we just do not know when.

While it hurts deeply to lose a loved one to death, there is joy knowing that when a person has given their life to Christ, death is not the end, only the beginning.

I am still praying for members of my family, the same thing that God wants for them, "to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth found in Jesus Christ, who gave Himself to be a ransom for all." I hope you are too.

Dan, we all look forward to being with you and your father, in Heaven with Jesus. God bless you with His comfort and peace.
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Romans 5:1, NKJV)


References
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked "NKJV™" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

November 6, 2006

Lessons to learn from Ted Haggard

For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed,
and nothing hidden that will not be known.
Matthew 10:26, NKJV

Last Thursday, just a few days before election day, I read on-line and heard the allegations on television, against Ted Haggard regarding his suspected involvement with drugs and relationship with a male prostitute. My heart ached once I heard this news.

I wanted to believe that the allegations against him were completely false. Since the state of Colorado was set to vote for a ban on same-sex marriage, I had thought that this was a crude tactic to destroy the credibility of a man who was a strong advocate, to the state of Colorado and the country, regarding a ban on same-sex marriage. As the events unfolded and the truth began to emerge, Ted Haggard admitted to the allegations against him that he had been sexually immoral, a deceiver and a liar. While this situation was more than embarrassing, I began to take a look at this to find a lesson to learn and appreciate from it.

Larry Stockstill, pastor of Bethany World Prayer Center in Baker, Louisiana said, "God chose to reveal Pastor Ted's sin," he said. "In this case, God chose at this particular moment to allow this sin to be exposed. Now we can be mad at God. We can say that's not fair. The timing is terrible. Or we can say Blessed be the name of the Lord. One of the things I've learned about God is that he is wiser than me. ... What's going to happen in the nation? You know what? I don't think that's your concern or mine. God is a holy God and he chose this incredibly important timing for this sin to be revealed, and I actually think it's a good thing. I believe America needs a shaking, spiritually.

In an article published by Pastors.com, Wayde Goodall wrote, "President Clinton commented about his liason with an intern in the oval office by saying, "I did it for the worst possible reason of all - because I could." His honesty with that comment is an admission that he had a battle going on in his mind. And every day people fight their own personal battles - whether they are the leader of a nation or the head of a household."

Here is a hard question, what if God chose to reveal the unconfessed sin in your life? Proverbs 10:9 says, "He who walks with integrity walks securely, but he who perverts his ways will become known." A person who spends quality time in prayer and studies the Bible, on a daily basis will strengthen his or her walk with Christ. It will not prevent them from being targeted with temptation to sin, but it will certainly give them the strength to resist the temption. Having an accountability partner will reinforce this too.

Over the past few years, the leaders of the men's ministry at my church have continually stressed, the importance for each man to have an accountability partner. One man holds himself accountable to another, more mature Christian, whom can be trusted with the most intimate aspects of his life to help him grow and mature in his relationship and walk with Jesus Christ. This requires openness, voluntary submission to a trustworthy partner and consistency. Openness with an accountability partner is the foundation for building a relationship with a mature Christian brother or sister in Christ. If only the minor struggles are revealed, time and effort to help someone continually grow spiritually becomes pointless. The area of a person's life that has the potential to cause the greatest harm to the body of Christ, is probably where the deepest commitment to accountability is needed. In the book of Ephesians 4:22-24, the bible says, "that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the decietful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness."

An accountability partner's role is to make themselves available to another person, at any time, if they feel they may be tempted to sin. Also, they have the right to ask some very difficult questions too, like:

  • Have you compromised your integrity in any way?
  • Has your thought life been pure?
  • Have you committed any sexual sin?
  • Did you put yourself in an awkward situation with someone of the opposite sex?
  • What one sin plagued your walk with God this week?
  • Did you look at someone of the opposite sex in the wrong way this week?
  • What are you wrestling with in your thought life?

Tough questions aren't they? You bet and I have been on the receiving end of some of those questions and more too. The first time those questions were asked to me, I lied. When my friend followed up with another question, this one did it for me. He said, "Did you just lie to me about anything we discussed?" Again, I lied. It wasn't until a few days later when I had seen my friend did I confess to him that I was not telling the truth to the questions he had asked me a few days earlier. While I felt horrible to confess my sin to another brother, which the Bible calls each one of us to do, I felt relieved that I did not have to bear the burden of this lie anymore.

The Bible says in James 5:16, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed." This is what Ted Haggard had done which I believe will bring a great deal of healing and restoration to his life.

The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, "I beseech you therefore, bretheren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." (Romans 12:1) Whether it is a sexual temptation, alcohol, drugs, smoking or being overweight and doing nothing about it, is still destructive to God's creation of the human body and it should not be abused. Sadly though, Ted Haggard's sexual immorality was a pleasing offering to Satan rather than to God.

So, the lesson that I have learned and appreciate even more, is the relationship I have with my accountability partner so that I can be a stronger witness for Jesus Christ. My accountability partner wants to make sure that there is not even a hint of sexual immorality in my life (Ephesians 5:2) that might ruin my testimony and witness for Jesus Christ to others. It is also important to note that, God wants to see that each one of us are above reproach in His sight (Colossians 1:22) and that is done when we personally accept Jesus' death on the cross as the satisfactory payment for our sin. Each one of us holds ourselves to a level of accountability at work, to our families and even our finances, shouldn't keeping ourselves spiritually accountable be important too?

Lewis Drummond (2001) in his book about Billy Graham said, "Billy Graham is forthright in laying down the principle that before purity of life can be experienced, all sin must be confessed and forsaken.'" (p. 131). Ted Haggard had not been living a pure life for approximately three years, nor had he confessed his sin and forsaken it until it was exposed. Many people are guilty of not confessing their sins and not forsaking them and without Christ in their lives, those sins are not "hidden from God's sight, but naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:13)

There are too many people in this world who take for granted, God's grace. His unmerited favor and love, where He did not deal immediately with punishing us for our sins as we deserve. Instead, God has dealt with the guilt of each one of our sins, through the innocence and sinlessness of His Son Jesus Christ. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9) Furthermore each person needs to recognize that, "The law of Moses (the Ten Commandments) was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins." (emphasis mine, Romans 8:3, New Living Translation)

No matter who you are, nothing can be done to satisfy the punishment of sin that is greater, than when God punished your sin, my sin and the sin of the world, in Jesus Christ. The problem is, people have not acknowledged or received God's forgiveness and they continue to live with judgment waiting on their time of death.

Ted Haggard had to face the embarrassment of his situation to the church congregation (14,000 people), his family, countless pastors and churches around the country (30 million+) and even embarrassment to the President of the United States. While I would rather not have to face the embarrassment of my failure to obey God and sin against Him, to the entire world, I would rather face my accountability partner and his correction, even correction from my Pastor.

The more that I can spend quality time studying the Bible, devoting quality time to prayer and staying in contact with my accountability partner, the less likely I am to fall into the temptation to sin.

"so that you may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation." Among these you shine as lights in the world, holding forth the Word of Life, so that I may rejoice with you in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain nor labored in vain." Philippians 2:15-16

References:
Gorski, E. (2006). Haggard: "I am a deceiver." Retreived November 6, 2006, from http://www.denverpost.com/comics/ci_4609054

Goodall, W. (2206). Great men may fall, but they don’t have to stay down. Retrieved November 9, 2006, from http://www.pastors.com/rwmt/?id=284&artid=9980&expand=1

Drummond, L. (2001). The Evangelist. Nashville: Word Publishing

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

Additional resource info: What are the consequences of sexual immorality?

Critical Reminders for Pastors from Pastor Ted Haggard's Fall - Greg Stier

October 2, 2006

The Biggest Loser

He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.
Matthew 10:39

I recently watched the NBC network television show, The Biggest Loser, a reality television show in which overweight contestants compete for a grand prize of $250,000 for the greatest amount of weight lost during the competition.

These contestants want to and need to, improve their physical health because of their extremely unhealthy weight. One contestant, who is a nurse, demonstrated in her application video that if she were called to respond to a “Code Blue” for an emergency situation and had to climb two or three flights of stairs to respond to the call, she was so out of breath that the hospital might have to order a “Code Blue” for her. Clearly, her ability to respond to a life or death situation is hindered by her heavy and unhealthy weight.

Each of these contestants competes for more than just the opportunity to win $250,000; they are competing against a threat to their life because of their portly figures. A quarter of a million dollars would certainly motivate anyone to do anything, within legal and moral boundaries of course. To these contestants having type 2 diabetes, developing heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, sleep apnea or having a stroke is what potentially threatens the lives of not only these contestants, but for a number of people in America.

For more information on the above health risks click here.

While an overweight person becomes dissatisfied with the appearance of their physical condition, the reality of the consequences that result from continuing to live in that manner should stir them into action and to begin developing better eating habits and a regular routine of exercise to help lose the excess weight. The decision to commit to losing the excess weight is the beginning of the transformation process to a new and healthier looking person.

We have all seen the photos of people who have lost weight and look amazing. A whole new person exists now that the excess weight has been shed away through a proper diet and exercise. Seeing the joy and new vitality of life that exudes from them is evident and even infectious too.

Just like the contestants on this television program I have mentioned, it is equally important to know the condition of your spiritual health as much as your physical health.

Jesus said, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26) Whether the list is extensive or not, there is something that people desire to hold on to more instead of grabbing hold of the gift God has given us in Jesus Christ. Holding on to anything more than Christ, is like trying to hold water with a clenched fist. It falls out right through the hole created by the fist or in between the fingers. It is just impossible to hold water like that.

Sadly though, many people will try tirelessly to hold onto things in their life that they believe will be completely worthwhile when the end of their life nears. Can you recall hearing the saying, “I will have lived a fulfilled life when I…climb Mount Everest, travel the world, become rich and famous, have built a successful multi-billion dollar company.” Have you ever said something like this?


Matthew Henry provides a compelling commentary regarding what Jesus said above, “Thousands lose their souls for the most trifling gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. Yet one soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ's judgment upon the matter; he knew the price of souls, for he redeemed them; nor would he underrate the world, for he made it. The dying transgressor cannot purchase one hour's respite to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us then learn rightly to value our souls, and Christ as the only Saviour of them.” (Bold emphasis mine. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Bible.)

Is there an object in your life for which you have abandoned Jesus Christ? Then that is the price you will continually pay, maybe even more, for Satan to keep you in his possession.
  • If alcohol is the object for which you abandon Jesus Christ, then Satan has become your bartender.
  • If the fulfillment of casual sex or pornography is the object for which you abandon Jesus Christ, then Satan has become your pimp.
  • If the desire to have more money and material possessions in your life is the object for which you abandon Jesus Christ, then Satan has become your financial advisor.
  • If unforgiveness is the object for which you abandon Jesus Christ, then Satan will become your companion in selfishness.
  • If self-righteousness is the object for which you abandon Jesus Christ, then Satan has become your biggest promoter in advertising “It’s all about you.”

But if the cross of Jesus Christ has become personal in your life and the object for which sin is abandoned, by giving your life to Jesus Christ to avoid the judgment of God and eternity in hell, you have earned the right to be called one of His children because you have received His Son Jesus Christ and believed in his name. Heaven is your eternal home and great will be your reward.

As the excess weight is a heavy load to bear, getting rid of it makes living a healthier lifestyle that much more enjoyable. Likewise, the Bible says that we should “strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress.” (Hebrews 12:1) Is there a weight that you have carried far too long that has hindered your progress toward God? The answer is unequivocally, yes while using the Ten Commandments as our measure.

For no one can ever be made right in God's sight by doing what his law commands. For the more we know God's law, the clearer it becomes that we aren't obeying it. Romans 3:20, New Living Translation.

Losing weight is not an easy process and it certainly takes time, effort and a commitment to improving one’s physical condition. Likewise, it is not easy to begin living the Christian life when we have lived in an unhealthy spiritual condition that has affected our physical life that ultimately affects our eternal life as well. Our old habits, behavior and thinking will change little by little, just like beginning a new diet and exercise program. Results from the change will be gradual and more comfortable to adjust to over time.

What good is it really to hold on to anything that keeps us from having a closer, more intimate relationship with God? Is there any object in life that is so great that exceeds the goodness of God? Is there any object that equals in value to what Christ has done to forgive you of your sins?

Jesus said, ”whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25) Will you choose to lose your life, the things of this world that will not enable you to receive God’s forgiveness or His promise of eternal life in heaven, to save your life by finding it in Jesus Christ?

Commit today, right now at this moment, to make Jesus Christ the object of your life.

“For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, God is ready to help you right now. Today is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2

God is ready to help you right now to begin a new life in Christ. To learn how He will help you, click here.

September 10, 2006

Service at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California

This week I am on vacation in California visiting my family and finally, I was able to attend service at Harvest Christian Fellowship and listen to Pastor Greg Laurie, LIVE. I often listen to his sermons online or I will download them into my MP3 player. But this was cool, to see him in person and hear him minister the Word of God. My Aunt Lesley had been wanting to go also and my mother had decided to come too. I was really looking forward to this and the message was great.

We arrived to attend the first service of the morning at 7:45. Two more services follow at 9:45 and 11:45, then a Spanish service in the afternoon, then a final service at 6:00 p.m. Pastor Greg preaches at each service with the exception of the Spanish service.

We actually had to get in line to enter the sanctuary too. I'm sure that people were beginning to line up at 7:00 a.m. to enter the building and we arrived at 7:15 a.m. and was able to sit about six rows from the front of the pulpit where Pastor Greg begins each sermon. I was amazed to see a few hundred people who were waiting to enter the sanctuary too!! I've visited a few different churches in the past, but I've never seen people waiting in line to get in to the building!!

The main sanctuary can accomodate approximately 4,000 people and they have an outdoor area with a canopy to provide some shade during the service. In Riverside County, which is part of the inland area of California, it is also considered part of the desert. Just today it was approximately 103 degrees this afternoon, but during the second service that began at 9:45, the temperature was probably close to the mid 70's.

Pastor Greg's message was based on Numbers 6:24-27, which reads, "The LORD bless you and keep you; The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace. So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”

His message was titled "What God is Like" and he described six characteristics of God through these verses of Scripture and here they are:

  1. God wants to bless you more than you want to be blessed
  2. God will keep you
  3. God smiles because of you, even despite our sin and seeing us on our way to sin. Though it upsets God when we sin, even making Him angry, He will not punish us according to our sin, until every opportunity has been given to repent of our sin and turn our lives back toward Him
  4. God is gracious toward us. His grace is undeserved toward all of us, especially because we have sinned against Him. God is just and will punish those who rebel against Him. Those who reject Him will not receive the inheritance of eternal life. God is merciful where we will ask him not to punish us too severely, though we deserve it because we have sinned against him. God is gracious to give us what we don't deserve. So, justice is getting what we deserve, mercy is getting less than what we deserve and grace is getting what we don't deserve
  5. God smiles upon us. God actually smiles because of each person, very much like a parent looking at a beautiful infant child. They can make any person smile with such joy
  6. Finally, God gives us his peace. Certainly of which can be found in Jesus Christ

I may go to Wednesday night service though I'm not sure yet. I'm going to the beach tomorrow in Oceanside, near Camp Pendleton. I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing day there.

Have a blessed week.

September 2, 2006

Someone who made a difference in my life


The first time I heard Edwin Louis Cole speak was in December 2001 at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, New York. It was a men's ministry seminar where approximately 2,000 men had come to hear him speak. His message was clear and direct, aimed at helping each man understand that they were to reflect Christ within themselves to others, as God reflected Himself in Jesus Christ.

The anniversary of his departure from life here on earth, into Heaven was four years ago this past Sunday.

I was blessed to have been able to see him preach in person that day, the single message that God called him to tell the world, that Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.

There are a number of families that have been changed because of the change in these men as husbands, fathers and single men, how to be Maximized in their Manhood for God. 1, 2, 3 YES!!!!

Reflections on Ed Cole’s Special Day by Joann Cole Webster

“And then he died” is the most oft-repeated phrase in the book of Genesis. Ed Cole, a spiritual father to both you and me, taught us that the first five books of the Bible are the stories of seven men. What was Moses telling us as he wrote and recorded the lives of the great fathers of the faith?


Dad died on August 27, 2002, at 3:15 pm in Grapevine, Texas, surrounded by his family who counted his final breaths with tears, singing and joy. In the months following, each member of the family and our worldwide circle of adopted brothers and sisters dealt with the absence of his presence in our own ways.

My sister Lois was deeply affected and remained so for many months. She would dream most nights of a living, loving mother and father, then awaken each morning to the reality that it was a dream, and they were gone.

One day as she was driving, the song “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio. In December 2000, when Mom left, Mercy Me had just come out with this song, and we used it as the theme of Mom’s video tribute.

Lois became lost in the beautiful words — “I can only imagine...what my eyes will see when your face is before me...” Suddenly she received an open vision from the Lord. She saw Dad entering Heaven and seeing Jesus for the first time. With tears of joy, Dad fell to his knees and worshipped, saying, “This is wonderful! Oh, how wonderful.” Then, as he had done so often, he said, “Nancy, come over here — did you see?” Then Lois saw Mom walking toward him and gently answering, “Of course, Edwin, I was here first, remember?”

“And then he died” is earth’s prelude to the most wonderful appointment of every life.

Recently, in speaking with the great evangelist Reinhard Bonnke about my father’s life and death, I related Lois’ vision and how it had helped to heal her. He told me of his own father’s absence then grew quiet. After sitting quietly for a few minutes, he said, “It’s an appointment. Death is an appointment.”


Words sprang to my mind — “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints” [Psalm 116:15]. Scripture after scripture reeled off where the Lord repeated that our days are numbered. Any question that may have lingered about Dad’s sudden departure dissolved.

God had longed for that appointment day with Dad since He placed Dad on the planet and told him to “Go, be fruitful and multiply.” Dad had simply filled his space on this earth so fully — expanding his life through God’s magnificent work of grace which launched the men’s movement and changed the world — that it almost seemed wrong for him to leave. Today there is scarcely a global Christian leader that my family talks with who wasn’t affected by the Lord’s ministry through Dad.


Interrupting my quiet reflection, Evangelist Bonnke’s voice came again. “We’re born, Joann, and then it’s a countdown, isn’t it?”

What a challenge! One day, God will record in His book for each of us, “And then he died.” It is our honor to exercise our power of choice2 with our helper, the Holy Spirit, and write the pages of a life that leads to that final sentence.

Please join the extended Cole family to celebrate the anniversaries of Dad’s divine appointment on August 27, and the day he was birthed on September 10. The ministry continues — 50,000 men in Indonesia — 13,000 in Peru — Latvia — Ukraine — India — Uganda — hundreds of churches in the States. What a wonderful legacy we share and can share with a world of men still in desperate need of the message God entrusted to you and to me — “Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous.”

1 Find it in Absolute Answers.
2 The best of Dad on the power of choice is in Real Man.

August 21, 2006

Finding True Rest For Your Soul

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

I had recently heard this verse of Scripture mentioned during a sermon and I felt encouraged to write about it a little more to share with people in the blogger world a little bit more about these two verses.

Every day we come across people who are working tirelessly at their jobs either because they are striving for a promotion, a salary raise or bonus, or they are just workaholics and find it completely satisfying to spend long hours each day at the office. You might be one of those people if you are reading this. There are many benefits that result from hard work, I understand this, but to do this excessively just does not make sense, especially if time with your spouse and family is being sacrificed because of selfishness and greed.

The dangers here lie not only emotionally but physically too. When one becomes overworked, overstressed and receives little rest in between the result becomes damaging to one’s health, even life threatening. Don’t get me wrong now. I am all for working hard, especially when I am reminded of a verse of Scripture in Colossians that reads, “And everything, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.” (
Col 3:17) It is a great way to be productive in your work on a daily basis. In addition to that, our attitude can be influenced even more when we view to whom we are presenting our work too. (Col 3:22-24)


As defined by the American Psychiatric Association, presenteeism occurs when employees put in unnecessarily long hours, take work home, and fail to take sick leave and vacation time because they see that behavior as admirable. Then they underperform because they are tired, bored, sick, depressed, stressed or distracted by family issues or other problems outside the workplace.


A study in the Harvard Business Review recently estimated that presenteeism costs American business $150 billion a year. It can result in employee medical problems such as depression and substance abuse, leading to higher medical costs. (
Virginia Business Magazine)


So many people though work 70, 80, 90 or more hours each week only to put their lives in jeopardy for something dangerous or deadly to occur to their bodies.
The story of the man who worked tirelessly all of his life, climbing the corporate ladder, sacrificing time with his wife and family, because of business trips and long hours at the office to provide for them, one day finds himself lying in a hospital bed on the edge of death, because he neglected to take care of his body. You would hardly find a person like this to say, “I wish I had spent one more day at the office.” The preciousness of life holds an entirely new meaning to someone in this condition. All that time spent in selfishness can never be bought back and there may not even be enough time to make up for the time that was lost. Years of emotional pain cannot easily be repaired and nor can our physical bodies.

Jesus was teaching his followers that He can give every person true rest for their lives. He says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden (or burdened) and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, emphasis mine) Jesus is saying to those who are overworked, overstressed and just running on so little energy in their lives, to come to Him to find rest and relief. I believe that Jesus is also speaking about those who labor for spiritual rest yet cannot obtain it.

So many people continue to live their lives with a casual attitude and belief that they will immediately be granted a place in God’s Kingdom upon their death. This is a great misconception. No one is entitled to enter Heaven especially if his or her sins have not been forgiven. Yet people mistakenly believe that passage from death to eternity in Heaven is as automatic as collecting $200 to pass go in Monopoly. No such automatic passage exists for someone who has not been forgiven of his or her sins.

The burden of God’s eternal judgment that a person carries truly is too much for any person to bear. This is why God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the world. The burden that Jesus took upon Himself to bear the sins of the world physically was enormous. There isn’t a single person on earth who could satisfy God’s punishment for their sins within themselves. His wrath is too great to endure and the torment of eternity in Hell is also too great to comprehend.

Hell is patiently waiting for those who have refused to acknowledge Jesus Christ in their lives as the One who paid the penalty for their sins. Hell is pleased to see the continuous rejection of God’s love, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.

Yet God is, “longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

Yet God, "desires that all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4)

Yet God, has “one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” (5,6)

Yet God, “did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

Yet God, “demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

God will never force Himself upon anyone to love Him or receive His gift of grace and forgiveness. It has to be personally obtained.

Take note of this commentary from Matthew Henry regarding this passage.
Our Saviour has invited all that labour and are heavy-laden, to come unto him. In some senses all men are so. Worldly men burden themselves with fruitless cares for wealth and honours; the gay and the sensual labour in pursuit of pleasures; the slave of Satan and his own lusts, is the merest drudge on earth. Those who labour to establish their own righteousness also labour in vain. The convinced sinner is heavy-laden with guilt and terror; and the tempted and afflicted believer has labours and burdens. Christ invites all to come to him for rest to their souls. He alone gives this invitation; men come to him, when, feeling their guilt and misery, and believing his love and power to help, they seek him in fervent prayer. Thus it is the duty and interest of weary and heavy-laden sinners, to come to Jesus Christ. This is the gospel call; Whoever will, let him come. All who thus come will receive rest as Christ's gift, and obtain peace and comfort in their hearts. But in coming to him they must take his yoke, and submit to his authority.
God offers to people the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, as the satisfactory payment of their debt of sin toward Him. The wealth of Bill Gates, Donald Trump and Warren Buffet combined multiple times over cannot even come close to the price that Jesus paid for the sins of the world. His blood that was shed for the forgiveness of sins is priceless to everyone who freely receives Him.

The yoke that Jesus carried was the cross that He was crucified on. If a person brings their burden of sin that God will judge him or her for on their day of judgment, Jesus will give you a peace in your heart and remove the enormous weight of punishment from you that has already been placed on Jesus Christ. Receive God's free gift of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. (
Romans 6:23)

The bible says, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) There is no second chance when the last bit of life is exhaled from your body. You may not even have the energy to confess your sins and receive Christ at that time either. No one should vainly acknowledge knowing that his or her sins are forgiven. That is just lip service and God can see right through the lies knowing that their heart is truly not right with Him.

There is not enough work that could be humanly done for anyone to earn God’s gift of grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness. The true rest for one's soul can be found only in Jesus Christ.

God does not want anyone to carry the burden of judgment for their sins. He wants you to receive redemption from His judgment, through Jesus Christ and I would encourage you to come to Christ, to find rest for your soul. Place your faith in Jesus Christ alone and not in the things that you have done or could do, to earn God’s grace and forgiveness.

You may be old enough to remember the commerical about Rolaids. Do you remember the question that was asked in every commercial? How do you spell relief? R-O-L-A-I-D-S. Rolaids may offer temporary relief, but God gives permanent redemption to anyone who wants it and His plan of redemption is spelled, J-E-S-U-S.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross. Colossians 2:13-14

August 9, 2006

The Middle East conflicts and the return of Christ, are you ready?

The following article links I feel are important that every person should read them. The ABC News article discusses the support Christians have for Israel and the need to pray for peace in Israel. Many of the events that have occurred, I believe, are preparations for the return of Christ. I am no expert theologian, nor one with the gift of prophesy. Something within my spirit tells me though that we will see the return of Jesus Christ in this generation.

ABC News article:
Save Israel, for Jesus?

The article written by Billy Graham could not have been found at a better time to be communicated to the world. The only thing that a person must do, in order to receive God's gift of eternal salvation, is to give their life to Christ, recognizing and acknowledging His death on the cross as the satisfaction of payment to God for their personal sin against Him.

Billy Graham article:
Are You Saved?

"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
2 Corinthians 5:21


Photo is from www.billygraham.org

If you want to be absolutely certain that you will go to Heaven when your time comes, you can visit either of two websites to learn How to Know God or Steps to Peace with God, to begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Romans 14:10

Will you be found innocent or guilty?

August 8, 2006

The Greatness of God's Love

No one could possibly imagine the great price Jesus paid for their sins. Whenever temptation is beating heavily on a person's heart and mind to persuade a believer or a non-believer, to accept the temption and sin against God, they have immediately forgotten about the pain Christ received when He was scourged and beaten, when He was nailed to the cross and instead have become selfish for their own pleasure not considering the pain it caused the Lord.

Please, do not be misled, I have been guilty of allowing myself to sin against God because I was more interested in the pleasure for myself rather than remembering the pain it caused Christ to die for the sins I had committed, what I was about to do, or for the sins I would commit (hopefully not) in the future.

I once heard Dr. Charles Stanley say in one of his radio messages speaking about sexual sins when he said, "Sexual sin is powerful in its deceptive offer of immediate pleasure without penalty." That is so true! Even if it wasn't used to describe sexual sin, sin is still powerful in its deceptive offer of immediate gratification without penalty. How much would the divorce rate decrease if men and women who committed adultery realized this? Let's read this with a different perspective if God were speaking to us in plain and simple English. He might say, "Adultery is deceptive and powerful to make you think it will offer immediate pleasure without suffering any consequences for your actions, not only here and now, but eternally too. It's just not worth it."

That is just an example and one that people can identify with. Don't think that if you haven't actually physically committed adultery you are innocent. Jesus himself said,
“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Matthew 5:27-28.
It is a conscious decision to look continuously at a person of the opposite sex while having sexual thoughts of that person. The desire for something encourages one to continue looking, especially if it might be something they cannot have. No one is excluded either. Homosexuals as well as heterosexuals can be guilty if they have looked at someone with lust in their heart.


I cannot be thankful enough, to fully comprehend the weight of my sin that was placed on Jesus Christ, where the punishment of my sin was placed upon Him. The free gift of God's grace I now have because of something that God didn't even ask if it was ok for Him to do for me. He did it out of love. Though I have not seen the Lord physically yet, and though I love Him now, my love and gratitude for Him will multiply infinitely more on the day that I enter into Heaven for all of eternity.

A few verses of Scripture found in Romans chapter 8 really bring this home for me.

First, I'll have to start with verse 3, "For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh," Since the Ten Commandments are supposed to be our boundaries to live safely from the temptation to sin, each and every person falls short of living perfectly according to the Ten Commandments. (Romans 3:23) God did not want any of us to realize the full effect of the punishment of sin because He loves us, so He placed the punishment of our sin upon His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Instead of condemning us for the offense of our sin, He condemned it in the body of Jesus Christ. How is that for someone "taking a bullet for you"? The effect of that is greater than we realize because if a person recognizes this substitution payment of sin and give their lives to Christ, their eternal lives are secured and the judgment of sin by God is seen by the cross and not by the sin.

Next, I would have to mention verse 1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." If a person is found in Christ, they will not be condemned because of their sin. How can I describe what it would mean to be in Christ? Well a few examples would be, you walk into a house, you get into a car, you put dirty dishes into a dishwasher...get the idea? One of Webster's definitions of the word into is, to the form, substance, or condition of. A person steps into a relationship with Jesus Christ to avoid being condemned of their sin. When a person becomes born-again, they first become a new person spiritually and as time progresses, through discipleship and fellowship with others, through small group bible studies, personal study and prayer, as well as regular fellowship and ministering of the Word of God in church, their lives will gradually turn into the form, substance or condition of becoming like Christ in their life.

Finally, there are verses 35, 38 and 39, where the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans,
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate a person on this earth, whom God created, from His love that is found in Christ.


The apostle Paul said he was the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) who had a warrant to arrest Christians and even permit them to be stoned to death. Yet, when Paul met Jesus on his way to Damascus he was not condemned when he met Jesus along the way.

"As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one." (Acts 9:3-7)

How comforting it is to know the peace we have with God by His grace that has saved us, through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

"I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin."
Psalm 32:5


If you feel that what you have just read applies to you, I would encourage you to accept Jesus' death as the payment of your debt of sin against God. You can visit either of two websites to learn How to Know God or Steps to Peace with God, to begin a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

August 2, 2006

Are These the End Times - MSNBC article

The coauthor of the popular 'Left Behind' series explains why he believes Christ will return in our lifetimes. Click the title above to read the article.

June 28, 2006

This devotional message by Oswald Chambers is great. I hope you find a message in it as I have.


Held by the Grip of God
June 28, 2006

I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me —Philippians 3:12

Never choose to be a worker for God, but once God has placed His call on you, woe be to you if you "turn aside to the right hand or to the left" ( Deuteronomy 5:32 ). We are not here to work for God because we have chosen to do so, but because God has "laid hold of" us. And once He has done so, we never have this thought, "Well, I’m really not suited for this." What you are to preach is also determined by God, not by your own natural leanings or desires. Keep your soul steadfastly related to God, and remember that you are called not simply to convey your testimony but also to preach the gospel. Every Christian must testify to the truth of God, but when it comes to the call to preach, there must be the agonizing grip of God’s hand on you— your life is in the grip of God for that very purpose. How many of us are held like that?

Never water down the Word of God, but preach it in its undiluted sternness. There must be unflinching faithfulness to the Word of God, but when you come to personal dealings with others, remember who you are— you are not some special being created in heaven, but a sinner saved by grace.

"Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do. . . I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" ( Philippians 3:13-14 ).

June 16, 2006

Happy Father's Day

Alfred "Mike" Michaelson
Grandfather
Kurt, Dad, and Karl - 1989

This is a really old photo from 1989, when my brother and I tested for our 1st degree black belts. Dad, was a third degree blact belt then. Though my brother and I don't practice anymore, Dad is still kickin' away.


Samantha, Fran and Sabrina
Karl, PJ, and Jordan


Jesus Christ is a reflection of God the Father, who did and spoke only those things which He saw His Father do. Likewise, my brother and I, are a reflection of our father, and my brother's children are a reflection of him. In my brother and my father, I can see a reflection of God in both of these men because...
  • He is a father who is protective of his children and will at any cost, sacrifice even his own life, so they could live and not die.
  • He is a father who exemplifies a loving care, responsibility, respect, strength, discipline, dedication, diligence and pride in his work. Traits that he desires for his own children to exemplify to his own children and toward others.
  • He is a father who, when asked, willingly shares his wisdom with his children, who listen to his instruction and treasure his knowledge.
  • He is a father who is like a teacher, wanting his students to excel beyond what he has accomplished, mulitplying his knowledge and wisdom into others.
  • He is a father who will never leave his children, nor forsake them.
  • He is a father who, when his children are weak, his strength is made perfect in their weakness.
  • He is a father who replaces any fear with his courage, for their is nothing to fear when they are with their father and in his protective custody.
  • He is a father who lifts up his children when they fall, helping his children get up again.
  • He is a father whose grandchildren are his crowning glory, whose children are his pride.
  • He is a father who walks in integrity and his children are favored greatly after him.
  • He is a father who encourages his children with his spoken word, encouraging them toward achieving the goal to which they have set out to accomplish.
  • He is a father who demonstrates his love toward us, that even when his children have done wrong, he continues to love them and wants to give his very best to them.
  • He is a father who loves unconditionally and would not let anything separate him from his love for his children.
  • He is a father who is well pleased in his beloved children.
  • He is a father who loves his children, as God has loved His Son, Jesus Christ.
Happy Father's Day, to my Father and my Brother.

With love,

Kurt

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
Genesis 1:27

Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation.
Colossians 1:15

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