Importance of the Second Son P3

Jacob and Esau

AND GOD told Rebekah

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you will be separated;
one people will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.”
Gen 25: 23
The Younger, Jacob, had known that he would always fight with his brother Esau for the affections of his father. Early in their years Jacob saw an opportunity to make himself better than his brother and Esau sold his birthright over a bowl of stew. Later, when Isaac was near death, it was time for the blessing and Esau was hoping to receive at least that. Well, Rebekah heard the conversation where Isaac wanted Esau to hunt and prepare him a meal then he would bless him. Rebekah, remembering God’s promise dressed Jacob in fur and rubbed a scent which smelled of his brother.
Listen to the blessing Jacob stole:
“Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed.
28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness—an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.”
Gen 27: 27-29

Upon Esau’s return, he prepared the food and came to his father. Isaac realized he was swindled and after much hesitation gave Esau this blessing:
“Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above. 40 You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.”
Gen 27:39-40

Obviously this does not set well. Esau wanted Jacob’s head so Isaac and Rebekah sent Jacob to live with Laban so he would marry a Canaanite woman. Esau, recognizing the distaste for his Hittite wives, went and married a daughter of Ishmael.

I could speak more of Jacob’s redemptive journey but let’s take a look at his importance:
Jacob was a conniving momma’s boy who really did not know God at first. He stayed in the protection of the tents instead of making something of himself. He knew of God only by name and never fully experienced Him as others had done. When he was on the way to Laban he slept and had a conversation with God in which God promised him a great nation to come from him. Jacob asked for God to protect and provide for his journey then he would follow Him all his days.
1. Sometimes a bargain with God will turn into a test of Faith.
Saying that you will follow God giving Him conditions does not always turn out the way people hope. Jacob was consistently tested and his ability to bargain, barter, and act somewhat treacherously to get free of the bonds. Was this a test of his resilience? Probably. God wants people who can accept and face challenges with God as the guide and protector. It took Jacob to have a wrestling match with the Angel of God (BTW this was Jesus) for him to understand all he was going through was because of bargaining with God.
2. Having Patience with God’s Plan is a good thing.
Face it, we all lose patience at one time or another. We need to remember that things happen in God’s timing and not ours. We cannot tell God when things will happen, God tells us.
3. Having God in Our Lives Creates a Loving Atmosphere that Overcomes Hate
For some this may be a hard pill to swallow but truly being in Christ and not just believing leads to a healthy loving relationship with our fellow man. This relationship with God gives us eloquence in speaking peace, encouragement, and correction as needed. This day and age is filled with many discouraged and lost people who could really use God’s Love from His perspective, not a human one. Our human emotions can get in the way of being in Christ when sharing Him, His Love, and His Tough Love. Having God as the center gives us the courage to stand firm in the midst of hungry lions.
4. Forgiveness is a two way street
The embrace of brothers we see in Jacob and Esau was not an easy one but it began the conversation which led to peace. The forgiveness was mutual as it should be today. When you wrong someone not only do we ask for forgiveness but the other party must be willing to forgive. The one forgiving has to search deeply and ensure their forgiveness is genuine. Finding forgiveness in their heart opens many doors. The one asking forgiveness must be genuine as well and be truthfully willing to never wrong the person or people in that way or any way again.

Jacob and Esau would live with certain tensions for the remainder of their days but for then there was peace.

Let us remember to not tempt God or bargain with Him for we may not like the resulting years of pain before the dawn of the morning. Let us also learn patience with God’s timing and accept all things with grace remembering that God is the center. Forgive and be forgiven; Love as God Loves us. Be blessed Brothers and Sisters.

 

Now Jacob had twelve sons and one (known) daughter. Many things occurred with that family but it our journey takes us next to the sons of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh.

Proverbs: Instruction for Right Life

King Solomon, when he was given the crown and praying did not ask God for riches, an enlarged kingdom or anything of the sort. He asked for wisdom and that God would be His guide throughout his reign. God not only made him wise but also provided the means to become very rich and powerful. This was a blessing and a curse as we now that even though Solomon had the first Temple built, he also went against the teachings of God and did many ungodly and immoral things later in life. One of the best things and the way he was forgiven was his imparting godly wisdom to his children.
In Proverbs, Solomon gave much direction and clarification on doing what is right and wrong, then providing the rewards and punishments that would follow. His Proverbs were taught in American public schools through the early 1920’s but somehow, some Americans stopped listening to then and followed their own hearts. Was this a test of the Adversary, a rebellion against God, or just people trying to teach the children about God in their homes instead of school. One thing to remember, at this time there were people who were already tempted by wealth and the other seven deadly sins as spoken by the Holy Roman Catholic Church as well as this being a still young country and slowly moving to capitalism. How do we entice people in our current era to get back on track with God? How do we, as Christians, pronounce the wrongs of world society and make the world right in God’s eyes again? I believe the best start is written in the Proverbs Because David, Solomon, and those who followed in the wisdom books knew right from wrong. The best way to learn is by recognizing our faults, finding the correction in God’s Word, and making things right.
There are a few Proverbs that I’d like to point out that I found while I was doing a short study this morning. But first, let us pray:
Father God, Supplier, Redeemer, Savior, Friend, Thank You for today. Father, teach us you wisdom through the Proverbs that were written so many years ago and are still, if not even more, relevant today. Guide and direct us to Your loving arms so that Your Word may correct and protect us from the Adversary and his mark in the world. Grant us insight so we may understand Your thoughts and live a life in You Father God. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, without whom we are fully lost. In Your Grace and Mercy we are saved. Father, we pray this in Jesus name, AMEN
There is a Proverb about too much time sleeping (being lazy) that the entitlement generation needs to hear:
A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. Proverbs 6:10-11
Those that believe they can be lazy and rely on the government for means of living have another thing coming. The biblical consequence is to live in poverty and always wanting but never receiving enough. The consequence of a believer who is lazy in their faith: the lack of living for God and doing His work may lead to looking through the window at the great feast in the Kingdom.
Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor will also cry out and not be answered. Proverbs 21:13
Not having an active faith will close Jesus ears to our prayers. If we truly believe and are in Jesus, doing the things He asks of us we will be rewarded, Hearing the cry of those in need and ignoring them is akin to ignoring God.
Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich. Proverbs 21:17
Living too much in the world and depending on it for happiness will never truly know the full Love of God. Dependence on worldly things for survival and not putting your trust in God will lead to unhappiness, loneliness, and poverty.
Receiving a reward for your labor requires doing the work as prescribed. This works in two ways: You must work for what you earn and follow the law for the higher reward. Those who believe must also be. Solomon understood that following God’s Word is more important than having riches on this earth. It is more important than engrossing ourselves in the pleasures of this world.
God’s Word provides for us instructions on living a good simple life without desires for anything outside of the basic means of being alive. When the people voted to remove God’s Word from the public school system (which was created initially by Christians by the way), it created an entrance for the Adversary to tempt and control us through earthly means. We have become numb to this and God’s Word has been modified, mistranslated, and corrupted to ease the society into a belief that is not truly of God.
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is time to stand up for what is right, our faith is consistently in danger. Look at the school systems that provide for other religions and call it a deeper understanding of the other faith systems while leaving Christ out and corrupting the minds of our youth through telling them that certain immoral behaviors are ok. Is this truly how we want the future generations to live so that they may die and never see God? Stand Firm do not be moved by our iniquities but be moved by the Holy Spirit to do what is right in the eyes of God and not our own. Live for Him not against Him. Laugh for the Joy of the Lord is good. Love but understand when it needs to be tough love. Show God’s Grace and Mercy in our lives so others may desire God living in them as they see it in us. And Last but not least, Keep God’s Word in your heart, meditate on it daily and live as He desires of us, trusting in His Mercy and Grace.
God Bless

The Importance of Being Second P2

Ishmael and IsaacIshmael and Isaac

Abram had two sons from different women. Ishmael was the son of Sarai’s Egyptian handmaiden Hagar whom she gave to Abram in hopes that he has a physical heir to his properties. Isaac, the son of the promise was born to Sarai when she was very old. Now Ishmael means God Listens while Isaac means Laughter. Sarai thought the Lord was joking when He told her she would bare a son but (sorry) God got the last laugh in this case.
Sarai took it upon herself to let Abram have Hagar and give him a son and she was jealous of Hagar especially when Ishmael was born. Thing is, Ishmael was not the child of the promise and God knew that Sarai would give Hagar to Abram. God still used Ishmael and his descendant
Abram joyfully taught Ishmael all he needed to know and had him circumcised as the first born in God’s covenant with Abram. Sarai became jealous of Hagar which would carry on into the boys. Sarai (now Sarah) bore Isaac and he became the favored child.
The Book of Jasher tells us that when Isaac was five, Ishmael (then 18) attempted to kill Isaac with a bow and arrow. Ishmael was a wild youth who mocked Isaac every chance he had and would not follow Abraham’s direction so Hagar and Ishmael were banished. Abraham asked God for pity on them and He granted them safety. An angel came to Hagar and Ishmael ensuring they were looked after and he would father a great nation. Ishmael had two wives (not at the same time) and twelve sons, the Arab Nation also known as Ishmaelite’s. Later in his life Ishmael and before Abraham died, Ishmael became a penitent man. When he died he was buried in what would be called Mecca.
There are so many issues with timing and age here but should we really worry about semantics over meanings?
When Isaac reached the age to assist his father with the sacrifice, he went with Abraham to the mountain and was the physical object of God’s test of Abraham’s faith. Abraham from there understood that God would provide for him and his many children as long as they were faithful servants. The angel of the Lord told Abraham, ”By Myself have I sworn, says the Lord, that because you have done this thing and you did not withhold your son, your only one, that I will surely bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand that is on the seashore, and your descendants will inherit the cities of their enemies.“
So what is the importance of Isaac besides the second son of the father of many nations? Isaac is the Son of the Promise, honestly that is really the most important thing about him outside of his children. He was a faithful man who would later father twins who would once again separate nations. These two people would suffer contention and strife even today although the brothers found peace in their time.
We learn more about Abraham’s faith from this story than anything else. First we see how Abraham and Sarah could not believe that they would even be able to have children at their age especially since Sarah was well above child bearing years. They learn to listen to God and that He can make all things possible, even what we would consider impossible. Abraham never saw God, only angels that were His messengers and carried out God’s commands. His faith in the unseen made God known personally to Abraham. Ishmael would never have as close of a relationship with God as Isaac did. Maybe that is why there are so many issues.
This story tells us that we can have that personal relationship, in fact that is what God wants. We will later see how much more this point is brought out with Isaac’s son, Jacob.
PRAYER:
Father God, We desire a personal relationship with You. Thank You for giving us Jesus so we can have that relationship. Thank You also for the understanding of faith in the unseen but understood, Father. The lessons from the past are truly alive today because of that relationship You have built with us. Teach us, Oh Lord, so that we may share this relationship with others as we build deeper relationships with You ourselves. Guide us to those who You desire a deep personal relationship so we may tell them our story in order for them to discover theirs. Thank You for the gift of Your Son and His gift of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name AMEN

How Do We Measure Success

How Do You Measure Up

It is said of the measure of a man, If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.” Robert South

Even more true is what Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

Thing is, are these ways that God measures us? Does God even measure us at all? Is measuring more important than remembering? Success is not truly measured by what we did, it is by how it was accomplished. Accomplishing success through fame and fortune gets us nowhere but being successful as a parent, friend, and a person who lives in his/her faith, that is the measurement of success in God’s eyes.

Today I want to speak about how we want our kids to remember us and be remembered ourselves. When we are remembered do we want to be remembered for our fame and fortune, our accomplishments, or our person as a whole. In a list of 20 Bible Verses about success this one was missing:

“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9

Sure the other verses (some of which will come up in this and later discussions) are great but why was this one not on the list? Of the twenty verses mentioned only two were even close to mentioning staying in the Word and obedience to the Laws and statutes given by God to His people. To me, staying in the Word, meditating on it daily and teaching the children to stay in the Word and finding comfort there are only part of being a success. Joshua that section above to, ”be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” God is telling Joshua not only to read/meditate and stay in His Word but also to “be” in His Word by acting upon it. That, Brothers and Sisters, is how God measures success.

Teaching children in the way they should go (paraphrased Proverbs 22:6) is our way of showing our youth how God desires of us to live. Scripture tells us these basics, study hard and use what you have learned to become better servants. In this day and age; wealth, power, and fame are a measure of success. Show me that in Scripture and you can have my job. Nowhere in Scripture does it say to make tons of money so you can live a life of luxury and be comfortable in the world.

Having a source of income is necessary for living but too much of it leads to greed and a distortion of the reason for being here. Jesus tells us:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27.

And:

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:28-34

So we are not to worry because God will provide us as long as we stay in His Word. For:

Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3

And observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” 1Kings 2:3

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18

If we so desire to stay in the world and forget what God has placed in our hearts, Scripture gives us these warnings from Jesus:

“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Matthew 16:26-27

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”

Luke 16:10-11

Paul reiterates Jesus Teachings by saying:

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

Look at all the wealthy people in the world and see how few actually claim to know God. Some had a relationship with God and lost it when popularity and fame took over their lives (Katy Perry for instance). Some misinterpreted Scripture and have made money from others desire for God (certain televangelists and mega church pastors). We cannot be judgmental, we must carefully consider them as lost Christians who desire money instead of pleasing God.

Worldly wealth truly leads you nowhere especially if that is what you depend on. So many people have gone back to the basics of life while holding on to certain technologies out of necessity for staying in the world. They are building houses on their own using the land and some man made materials to avoid mortgages and staying in debt. Planting their own gardens so that they only have to buy certain meats. Some even make their own clothing. God desires great things for us but in His way not ours of the world.

So where does this all lead. Get back into the Scripture and really see how God is telling us we will be successful. If we open our hearts and mind to His Word (OT Scripture and most of all, Jesus) we can be the people God desires in His creation. Remember the difference between believing in and being in then you will have Spiritual and mortal success which will lead to a better, happier life as will your descendants. Be the caretakers (or better put care givers) of this current home and we will have a seat at the table in the Kingdom. Be blessed this week and bless others with God’s Word as you go about your day living for God.

God Bless you and may your light shine brightly on the earth.

PRAYER:

Father God, Creator Parent, bringer of joy, we thank You for giving us the guidance needed to live on this place and not in it. Thank you Father for giving us guidance so we have the opportunity to shine for You as we do our best to live for You. Teach us, oh Lord, and chide us as needed to stay on the right path that leads to Your loving and compassionate arms. We lift up our arms in Your praise as You have taught us to give to others what You have given us. Continue to guide us, oh Lord, that we may light the world through the darkness and direct those onto Your path. Thank You God for the things You have done, are doing, and will do in our lives and continue to bless us with Your ways. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, AMEN.

Importance of the Second Son P1

CAIN and ABELCAin and Abel

What is the true significance of these first two brothers? Christians understand it to be a story of jealousy which lead to bitterness and murder with eternal ramifications but there is more than meets the eye here. Cain, whose name means spear, was the first born and understood the land. Abel was the second son whose name means breathing spirit and understood life as a God given gift.
Abel was favored by God but He loved Cain just as much (even though he did not believe it). Abel was blessed being the more handsome while Cain looked as dirty as the land in which he toiled. This was the result of the gifts that God blessed them with. Cain was the farmer, Abel the shepherd. Cain’s offerings were from the fruit of his labors while Abel gave of the firstborn, unblemished male sheep. Prayers were heard the same but it seemed that Cain’s were not answered as quickly as Abel’s.
We all know where this is going…Jealousy, Bitterness, Rage, Misunderstanding God’s Love, these are things that were the catalyst to Cain ending Abel’s life. When elder hid from God, Abel’s blood (Spirit) cried out and Cain learned a valuable lesson. Cain would be tortured by his decision until the end of his days understanding that he was cursed and protected by God until the appointed time.
Adam and Eve then had Seth who was a faithful servant of God. He took the place of Abel and was given the blessing that was originally rightfully Cain’s.
What can we learn from this?
1. We see two types of worship through the brother’s, one out of duty the other out of devotion.
a. Cain worship was an obligation to giving first fruits of his labor in a vain attempt to please God with the “look what I have done for you” attitude. He must have learned this from his parents who were still scarred from the loss of the Paradise in Eden. They worshipped out of fearful respect knowing that disobedience would truly mean death.
b. Worshiping out of total devotion and love for God which was reflected in his sacrifices. Abel cared for the flock as if they were his own. He gave a life back to God to show a willingness to return blessings and give God the glory. Abel sought nothing because he understood he deserved nothing.
2. The faith of Cain was works centered and faith of Abel’s faith was justified by love. This is the beginning of the Sola Fida vs Works alone argument. We are justified by our faith, saved by His Blood which obligates us to live out our faith by attaining to be like Jesus. There is the fine line difference in believing in Jesus and Being in Jesus. Works are important as we find by Jesus’ explanation of the sheep and goats but the works of the sheep were not recognized, boasted nor accolades sought. The goats believed and did nothing to make their faith fruitful.
Equating this to today’s church: Attendance in church out of obligation is dangerous and not fulfilling while attendance out of brokenness is recognition that you are not alone, you are loved, and not deserving of forgiveness. The former is a goat who goes just because and the latter, a sheep who recognizes the desire to live a Christ-like life.

3. The third thing we get from this is that jealousy and bitterness are vainly dangerous characteristics that lead to heartache and pain.
Remaining in a state where you blame others for your lack of faith, love, and or a good life leads to spiritual darkness. Letting go of negative feelings releases the soul from darkness.

Cain, at an old age, died from a hunting accident by his own kin. God’s protection did not include from his own family. But Cain did not leave this world without leaving his mark. His descendants would never be satisfied, always searching for truth and forgiveness while wreaking havoc wherever they roamed while placing blame for their ways on others.
Abel’s importance is that he showed us a right way of worship. His devotion and trust in God was increased through his faith and understanding that God though invisible is ever present, all knowing, and all powerful.

Though Abel never received the blessing from his father, however, he blessed the world with his knowledge and understanding of God.

The Importance of Being Second

Children are God’s gift to His creation. Not only are children born for parents to care for and learn joy and true love from, they are the future generations who will help bring God’s Kingdom to completion here on earth. God gave us the Bible to learn how He wishes us to live and celebrate Him but there is more to this. Even though it has been said there is no instruction manual for being a parent, those who say that are incorrect. God teaches us in Scripture how to raise the child. Does He not say in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”?
Throughout the Old Testament (and Jesus Parable in the New) there are stories that contain two sons. Some are twins and some are born within a short matter of years of each other. Why are the second born so important. What if I told you that many of the second born actually foreshadow the completion of God’s work through Christ? That was something I bet not too many people would think of.
Anyone who has heard an old theologian minister knows that names in Hebrew actually have more significant meaning than our names do today. Yes some people actually live up to their names while others sit back on the sidelines. The names of Cain and Abel are especially significant when it comes to their father and future descendant Jesus. But I do not want to give away too much right now.
In this study we will look at the sons of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Joseph, and God just to name a few. As time moves forward we may find more than meets the eye looking into the children who would receive the blessings as the second sons.
So why study the uniqueness of the second born male child? Think of all the times we hear about the firstborn, first-fruits, first this and that all through Scripture. It is apparently good to be the first for many reasons but it can also be a great challenge.
Firstborns are the experimental child for parents who think they may want more. The parents are either overprotective and careful or they forget the child is even there sometimes. Some are spoiled while others are treated as hired servants. Second children (more specifically in the biblical times sons) are just as, if not more, important. The parents are either more strict or less stringent on the second born. They are sometimes more spoiled than the first (except in the case of Joseph and Benjamin). Second children seem to get the worst from the grandparents because they are expected to be just as good or better than the first. Basically, the second child is looked at as a blessing and a curse.
God made good on the second born for many of the key figures in biblical times. For some reason the second born was always used as an example for something even when it was not necessary to do so. Many brilliant life lessons are learned looking into the lives of the second child.
I myself am a second child (only son born to my parents) and I can say that it was an exciting ride growing up in a family where one parent was an avid church attendee and the other could not stand the hypocrisy. There were many moments that were tumultuous but great lessons were learned. I was the one given to God as servant but that is another story.

For the next few weeks we will look at lessons from the lives of the second sons. During this time we will learn how negative and positive emotions and values can affect the outcomes in our lives. We will discover how God uses those lessons for instruction and guidance leading us towards Him. Join me on this journey as we discover the Importance of Being Second.

God Speaks Through The Scriptures

Life Verse

The Bible is God’s Instruction Manual that teaches us how to live a good and proper life. Yes there is suffering, pain, loss, destruction, and death, but there is also joy, happiness, assurance of God’s Love. In fact, God loves us so much that even though we should read the whole Scripture, God gives us a personal message which may actually be His ultimate plan for our lives. We call these things life verses which really say something about the person and the personal relationship with God that the individual has. Some are Scriptures of encouragement, some duty, some hope, some teach daily reminding us that we are just temporary residents.

Many people say the Bible does not speak directly to individuals because it is myth, the victor’s view of history. Well, if that is case then I will find out when I meet Him. The Bible talks about defeats, wins, manipulations, corrections, and directions. Gee I don’t think this would be written as the greatest book of fiction if my life has mirrored so much.

Finding a verse that suits you is not that hard. It involves a relationship with God then asking the questions. Yes, it is that simple. God also will guide and direct us to our life verse in our daily walk with Him.

For instance, mine is John 15:13, “Greater Love hath no man than he who would give his life for his friends.” I can tell you that this direction was given to me by God. When growing up I served God every way I could, sacrificing fun times with my friends but knowing that if they needed me I would be right there no matter the cost. I nearly gave up the Ghost in 1997 but God kept me around for our daughter who was just conceived. In 2007/2008 I was in Iraq. After returning from some much needed R&R back in the states I was walking back from eating dinner with my best battle buddy and there was a mortar attack. If I had not told my brother in arms to get behind a barrier, we both would have been lost. Taking that action actually saved both our lives. I know God was there because the shell dropped after we hit the dirt and exploded 75 meters away from us.  The shrapnel missed us by 10 meters. I felt God’s hedge of protection because I was on the side of the barrier that would have been damaged. Even though it did not injure me, I understood from that point on that I need to help people no matter the cost, even my own life.

So, WHAT IS YOUR LIFE VERSE? Please use the comments and we will start a conversation. I want to know you better.

God Bless

Connect Reconnect Follow-up

Those three Words are very important for Christians

How many young Christians do you know that you have followed up with after they left the church to go to college or start a job in another area where they have had to leave your congregation? Of that number, how many have you followed-up with? If the answer is even just one then you are doing the right thing. If there are many and you have chosen a few and other adults share in the responsibility with the rest then the church is doing real good. If the answer is none, do you not care for the well-being and spiritual fitness of the soul you let out to the wolves?

The problem we are running into these days is that of epic proportions. Every child that has grown up in the community of the church no matter how old must maintain a connection with someone they can trust within the bounds of the community. But the problem is that many fall through the cracks and are seduced by the extremes of society. Think of the prodigal son on a grand scale but this son does not come back even in his/her lowest. That is what happened.

How many times have you heard it said of a youth that they are in a real bad way and just talk without any kind of action? WHAT IS WRONG? Have we forgotten that the college/young adult years are actually the most vulnerable? This is the time the Adversary moves in quickly unless they are firmly grounded and had a good healthy upbringing.

Then there are those who are in the church try to do their best and still have people downgrading them instead of guiding them including their own parents. For one, BAD Parenting. For two, bad congregation for not seeing the truth of it. What happened to guide and protect the youth, letting them explore but with the knowledge they can come home. If the situation is bad at home they will want to escape and maybe find the straight and narrow or be pushed into the Devil’s arms.

If we do not care for those who are in those very tumult years, the Devil wins and takes us with. You want to know what is wrong with society today, look into your own church first then look at those young adults sent out into the world from your church. Then look at the dangerous attitudes outside the church and you will see why this country is suffering from a Romans 1 type destruction. Churches lose people from 18-35 because they get lost to the world. They grow into bitter and lost adults when they are left from any kind of follow-up.

The distortion of the Christian world-view is also at fault. Yes, some traditions are archaic but we must keep God at the center. Everyone sins and there are some that God abhors more than others but everyone still sins. The issue should not be who is allowed in the church and who isn’t, all who sin and seek forgiveness and have faith in Jesus are allowed. Of course they must (as we should) be the same in and out of the church. The basic tenants of the Bible and the church need to be firmly stated, affirmed, and adhered to in all facets of life. We must stop separating personal and church lives.

People who see Christians doing as they say, living a Christ-like life the best possible way, will begin to understand how good it is and how hard it is to truly be Christian. When brothers and sisters in Christ become lost in the world and stay lost, there was a lack of Christians doing good follow-up. We are to check up on each other and remind ourselves of the oath of faith and the reason for the baptism. Remember, it was not, “I’m baptized, I got Jesus, I’m good and can go on sinning” (the Sola Jesu thinking of post-modern Christians). It is, “Jesus is my Lord and Savior and accepting Him means taking up my cross daily, doing my best to live in accordance with the teachings of Christ, emulating Him in my daily life”.

Are you ready to reconnect and follow-up?? Are you willing?

Heavenly Father Gracious Lord,

Please help us reconnect with the forgotten generation, they have lost Your teachings and need to come home. Shower us with Your Holy Spirit and revive us so that we may live a more Christ-like life. Grant us the desire once again to share Your Word no matter where we are or whatever situation in which we find ourselves. Teach us to love all people no matter who they are. Thank You Father for giving us Your Son as the ultimate sacrifice for our salvation.  

       

Family (written by Katie)

My dad asked me to write about something I feel strongly about. Being the youngest in the family, I have begun to truly understand what that word means. What is Family? Is it Blood? Is it only your Mom, Dad, Siblings, Cousins, Grandparents? Family does not have to be related in any way, it is all related through many things but most of all, Love. If you don’t Love then the people around you sometimes leave, not out of choice but for their own needs. They feel lost, abandoned and lonely.  God put us all on this Earth for different reasons, however, we were all made to Love one another so that there would be no loneliness. This is something that I feel strongly about as a young Christian woman wanting to start a family. I hope you will come on this journey with me to understand what it means when becoming a woman of stronger Faith. My family reaches far beyond my parents and siblings.