A Gift from God’s heart to yours!

 I would like to give you a gift today; a gift that I know will impact your Christian walk forever.

 The gift is simply this;

 You have been given everything that you need by God, to live life to the fullest in godliness, here on this earth!

This gift is only fully realized once you put your belief system in the right place, and that is in knowing God.

 

 

2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 

 Yes, you read it correctly, God has given to us, that is you and me, his precious children everything that we need to live a godly life on this earth, we lack nothing.

Why do we lack nothing you might wonder?

 It is simply because that when you and I accepted Christ as our savior he took up residence within our spirits. He made our spirits alive, and he now lives within us. Therefore we can say with full confidence that there is nothing that we are lacking as we have the Creator of the whole entire universe living within us.

 So why do so many of us live as if this is not true for us? Why do we live like Christian paupers?

When in fact in Christ we are rich beyond measure, we have the promises of God, we have his spirit and we have been given his mind. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

 What is our problem?

I believe that part of the problem is that we don’t believe that the promises are true for us, or we simply did not know.

 Brothers and sisters, Jesus has died to give us so very much, he promised that through his death on the cross all things are done, the penalty paid; his enemies under his feet and that his children would no longer have to be in captivity to sin and its destruction, but that we could enjoy a life of His freedom.

 That freedom means that when we walk by faith, we no longer have to walk in the old pattern of how we used to live, in sin and depravity. We no longer have to believe the lies that the devil tells us about our identity, that we are worthless and useless, not good enough and the mountain of other lies he tells.

 If we would throw off those lies and live lives that actually believed God, the world would be turned upside down!

 Remember, that we have been given the mind of Christ and this allows us to know and walk in the truth. We have even been given the faith to believe in Jesus, he has literally handed us everything for victorious living.

 Making this truth a reality!

The first place to start is in prayer, asking God to forgive you for not believing that his promises of life and godliness were for you, and asking him to help you believe him.

 Romans 12:3

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

 As you can see, God has graciously given you faith to believe in him. He has not held back anything from you, the exact opposite is true, He has given us everything that we need to live lives that honor Him, even the faith to do it.

 Therefore, the next time you are tempted to walk in unbelief in his promises for you and your life, realize that the enemy is probably prowling around and throwing his lies at you again.

 We have to take an active role in changing our mind towards God and his truth. Yes he has given us his spirit and we have all that we need to live godly lives but we have a role to play as well.

 That role is simple; we have to renew our minds, from the old lies and ways of thinking to God’s way and his truth.

 Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer 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. 

 The Principle

It is simple, God’s word is the truth, and if we want to live lives that Honor him and change the world around us, we have to believe him and his promises to us.

 Believing him – leads to knowing him – leading to renewing our minds and hearts to please him – leads to living in the gift of freedom that he has given to us already!

Taking your place

Take your place today in the Hebrews 11 “Hall of Fame” all of the people in that chapter believed God, and all saw God move in extraordinary ways in their lives. Some saw immediate results and others believed even though they did not see the promises fulfilled in their life time.

 Hear are some great verses that I know will encourage you as well as remind you that through Christ we truly have been given an abundant life.

 Romans 5:5

And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us

1Corinthians 2:12

 We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us

2Cortinthians 5:5

 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

1Peter 1:3

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

 

 I pray that you will be encouraged today, to lay aside the lies of the past, and believe God and his promises for you, that you will actively pursue living a life that is pleasing to God and that you will learn to walk in the freedom that is already yours.

 Blessings to you

 

 

 

Harold Camping and the end of the world! – 3

 This is the entire chapter of Matthew 24 for you to read and study, read it slowly and pick out all of the things that Jesus says will happen, both before and after he comes to earth again.

 To read part 2 of this article click here.

 Matthew 24 

Signs of the End of the Age

  1Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 
2“Do you see all these things?” he asked. “I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 
5For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,£’ and will deceive many. 
6You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 
7Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 
8All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 
10At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 
11and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 
12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 
13but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 
14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
15“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’£ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 
16then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 
17Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. 
18Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. 
19How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 
20Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 
21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. 
22If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 
23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 
24For false Christ’s and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 
25See, I have told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 
27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 
28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29“Immediately after the distress of those days  “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light;  the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 
31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 
33Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it£ is near, right at the door. 
34I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 
35Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
The Day and Hour Unknown
  36“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 
37As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 
38For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 
39and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 
40Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 
41Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 
43But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 
44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
45“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time? 
46It will be good for that servant whose master finds him doing so when he returns. 
47I tell you the truth, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 
48But suppose that servant is wicked and says to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ 
49and he then begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with drunkards. 
50The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 
51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

 Harold Camping and the end of the world

To read part 1, click here

 Brothers and Sisters

 It is important for us to know and understand with clarity what the bible really teaches in regards to the end of the world and what it will look like. We also need to know how to navigate the pitfalls, false teachers and lies that are out there even as I write this article.

 I confess that I do not have all of the answers in regards to the end of the world prophecies and all that it entails, but I do know what I have read in the bible and that is what I would like to share with you today.

 The first thing that I believe that I need to establish is the fact that Jesus himself warned the disciples and us, that in the days leading up to his return there will be many false teachers and prophets around. We as bible believing Christians need to be aware of this fact and learn the truth so that we will not be misled in any way.

 I want to make a wild statement for a moment, so bear with me, I believe that when Jesus returns, it will be so spectacular that there is no way that Hollywood with all of their special effects magic will ever be able to duplicate what he will do, in a blink of an eye.

His power and majesty will be plain for all to see.

 The passage of scripture that I want to draw your attention to is found in the book Matthew and Jesus is talking to his disciples in one of those rare “alone times” on the Mount of Olives.

 They asked him what the signs would be to indicate that Jesus’ return is soon.

 The following is excerpts from that conversation that he had with them. Please take a moment and read the whole passage of scripture for yourselves.

 Click here to read it:

Matthew 24: 23-36

23At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 
24For false Christ’s and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. 
25See, I have told you ahead of time.
26“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 

In the above verses you will see that Jesus warned the disciples that false prophets will be around, that they will even have the ability to perform great signs and miracles, which they will use to deceive even the elect (which is the Christians).

False prophets have been around from before Jesus’ time but near to the time that he is to return, it is possible that there will be an increase of their activity.

Christians be aware!

 What will it look like when Jesus actually does return?

According to the next scriptures, it won’t be like anything we have ever seen, and we will have no doubt in our minds or hearts that it is Him. Unlike in the above scriptures where men will try to manufacture Jesus’ return.

 Here is what Scripture says;

27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 
28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29“Immediately after the distress of those days  “‘the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’
30“At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. 
31And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

 Wow, is all I can say;

 The end of the world and the coming of the Son of man will be spectacular, the sun will go dark, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky and heavenly bodies will be shaken. That my friend is the power of our mighty God whom we serve.

 When Jesus comes, all the nations of the earth will mourn, everyone will see him, they will know that the end of time has come and they will mourn their choice of denying him.

 Then Jesus told his disciples that he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect, (the Christians) from one end of the earth to the other. All who have chosen to serve him and walk with him and acknowledge him now, he will call to himself.

 My question to you is this; where do you stand with Christ, will you be one of the ones that mourn because you chose to ignore him or will you be caught up with all of the other Christians?

 If you are not sure today, let me tell you some very good news.

 The good news is this, God says in his word that today is the day of Salvation, don’t put it off.

If you have read this article and have felt a nudge within you to make yourself right with God, now is the time.

 Why would you need to make yourself right with God?

 The bible says that everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In other words we are all born into sin, and that sin separates us from God who is holy and righteous.

Romans 3:22 – 24

 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 

 What to do about it?

 Rom 10:9 – 13

 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.   As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 Scripture is clear, if we confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved. God also promises that everyone who calls on the name of the lord will be saved; he will never turn you away. He saves us from our sin and promises us that we will spend eternity with him in heaven one day.

 No matter your sin, God promises that he will remove it as far as the east is from the west and will remember it no more – Psalm 103:12

 God loves you, he made the world that you live in and he has given you life. He does not want you to be separated from him, not now and not for eternity. Take a step of faith today and believe in him.

 He will transform your life for the better, he will wipe away all the guilt that you feel because of the sin in your life, he will set you free from the patterns of destruction that haunt you, he will give you peace, joy, hope and fill you with his love.

Trust me; this is a great gift that he has given to us.

 Pray with me!

Take a moment and pray this simple prayer with me.

 Dear lord Jesus,

I believe that you came to this earth to die for my sins, I believe that God the Father raised you up from the dead and that you are now according to scripture seated at the right hand of God. I believe that I am a sinner in need of a savior. Please come into my life today, forgive me of the sins that have hounded me all of my life. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and teach me to live your way. I recognize that my way has led to dead end streets.

Thank you for your gift of salvation, and your promise of eternal life.

Amen

 Because you prayed

 Because you prayed this prayer, you are now God’s child, he has adopted you and you belong to the family. Welcome home!

This really is the first steps in your walk with God, he will begin to teach you and help you to grow into a mature Christian, one that will not be led astray by every wind of teachings from false prophets, like Mr. Harold Camping.

 I want to encourage you to get a bible, and start to read, from the New Testament, this will give you a good understanding of Jesus, and who he was and is. Make sure to get yourself plugged into a bible believing church that will encourage your growth. Please feel free to look around this website for some encouragement on walking with Christ as well.

There are many other websites out there that will encourage you in your faith as well; here are a few to get you started.

 

www.oneplace.com

http://www.lproof.org/

http://www.frangipane.org/

http://www.focusonthefamily.ca/

http://www.joycemeyer.org/

http://www.precept.org/site/PageServer

 

 

 

 

Harold Camping and the End of the World

 In recent news a pastor in the United States has made some startling predictions about the end of the world. His name is Harold Camping and he predicted that on the 21st May 2011 at 6pm Jesus was going to come and take his followers and Judgment would begin.

 The news of this swept the globe and was received world wide with a mixed bag of emotions, from ridicule to I better repent, to I am going to party until it happens. I even heard one girl say to a news reporter that she would party until the end, and then when she thought that she was off Camera she turned to her friend and said something to the effect of, “So what is this judgment all about?”

 The end of the world

I have to admit, that I was shocked that Harold Camping would even dare to make a prediction like that. Why?

Well first of all the bible says that no one knows when Jesus is going to come back.

 Matthew 24: 36

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”

 Ok, so we have established now through scripture that only God, who is also referred to as Father knows when Jesus will return. Therefore can we with any accuracy really predict when He will return?

 The answer is obviously No!

 But, and there is always a but, Jesus tells us that there will be signs that will give us an indication that his return is imminent.

Read along with me as we discover what these signs are, please know that this is a very large subject and so I will be covering only a small portion of what the bible says on this matter in this article.

 Matthew 24:3 – 14

 As He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” 

And Jesus answered and said to them,

 “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.  You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 

 “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name.  At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another

 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many

 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.  This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” 

 What Scripture says

  • Jesus told the disciples that they must not let anyone deceive them, because many will come in his name and make claims that they are the Christ but in fact they are not. When God made the earth and the humans that inhabited it, I am sure it was a spectacular event. I think that when he returns, there will be no doubt in any one’s mind that it is him that has returned.
  •  Jesus repeats the warning about false prophets twice in the above passage, which mean that we as bible believing, Jesus loving and God Honoring Christians need to be aware that false prophets are out there, and their intent is to deceive as they themselves are deceived by the Devil.
  •  There will be wars and rumors of wars, nations will rise against other nations, kingdoms against kingdoms. I think that you will agree with me, that we have seen this over the last century and in centuries before us.
  •  Jesus tells us not to worry about those things as they are merely beginning of birth pangs that the world needs to go through.
  • People will be martyred for their faith and hated for being a Christ follower (this is happening all over the world today)
  • Many Christians will fall away from the faith at this time,
  • They will hate one another as well as betray each other.
  • There will be many false prophets who will rise up and mislead many people. We are seeing that all over. It really saddens my heart.
  • Lawlessness will increase and the love of Christ within people will grow cold.
  • Jesus promises that the one who endures to the end will be saved. In other words, the Christian who keeps on walking with Jesus, does not entangle himself in the world and in sin, and who does not get misled and deceived by False prophets and teachers.
  • Another sign will be that the gospel of the kingdom of God will be preached in the whole world, everyone will have heard it. (No one will have an excuse for not having heard the gospel message when Christ returns)

 This passage is pretty clear about some of the signs that we will see before that great day when Christ comes to take those who have believed in him, to be with him.

 If you look at this passage of scripture it is very clear that a lot of these things are taking place even as I write this article, but for those who know God and have given their lives and hearts to him, we have nothing to fear, if anything, we get to rejoice over the fulfillment of His promises to us.

 For those who refuse to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he came to earth, died on the cross for the sins of the world and offers them redemption; the bible is clear that they will be judged and sent to Hell.

 My friends, this is not a fate I would like anyone to have to endure. The bible talks about hell as a place of great weeping and gnashing of teeth, eternal torment and fire. That does not sound very appealing for eternity.

 God in his great mercy is offering you today, the gift of Salvation. All you need to do is this, Confess with you mouth, and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he came to die for you. If you will do that and stop running from him, he promises to give you eternal life. He promises to buy you back from sin, wash you clean and make you right with God the father.

 Salvation Prayer

If you have not already, take a moment and pray with me this simple prayer,

 Dear Lord Jesus

I acknowledge that you are truly the Son of God, and I believe in my heart that you came to this earth to die for my sins. Please forgive me of my sinful way of living, wash me clean and give me a new life. I surrender my heart and life to you today. Thank you that I can now call you father and that I am your child.

Amen.

 If you prayed that prayer, the matter of where you will spend eternity has been settled, and that is with Jesus in Heaven, not forever separated from him to spend eternity in Hell. Welcome to the family.

 To read the second part to this article about what it will be like when Jesus comes again, please click here!

Walking in the Garden with God

 A long time ago, when the world was in it’s infancy I walked with Adam and Eve. We enjoyed all the fruits of my labor and we laughed at the squirrels at play. The giraffes with their long necks were spectacular to watch. We enjoyed the warmth of the sun and the cool evening breezes.

 We talked about everything; nothing at all was hidden from them. Everything I had I gave to them for their enjoyment.

 To watch us, you would have thought we had known each other our whole lives. The truth was, I had known them their whole lives, I had created them.

 I enjoyed talking to them and sharing with them the wonders of my creation, I enjoyed seeing their faces light up when they saw something new.

 They too loved to fellowship with me, they enjoyed the intimacy and love that we had, I told them many great and wonderful things and they in turn shared their hearts with me.

Then one day the enemy of man slithered into the garden, he purposely went looking for my loved and cherished ones;  they were totally unaware of his intentions as they had never encountered a foe before.

I had protected them loved them and shielded them from all that was hurtful to them. They knew no hurt, devastation or humiliation, lies were foreign to them and so was the idea that there was an evil force out to destroy them and separate them from me.

When I created them, I gave them their own free will. I gave them the ability to choose.

Choose what?

The choice between having unbroken fellowship and love with me or eternal separation from me.

I placed in the centre of their garden a Tree, the tree of life. The fruit of this tree could have devastating effects on the people who ate it.

I warned my creation, not to touch it, or eat its fruit, no matter how wonderful it may look. This tree could and would cause death.

I had given them everything, but told them to leave that one tree alone.

Then the serpent came, sligh and with evil intent, he had purposed in his heart to separate my children from me, he was determined to wreak havoc.

He found them near the tree, he spoke with cunning and deceit and before they knew what had happened, they were frightened and ashamed, angry and lost.

They hid, tried to cover their nakedness, but all attempts failed.

In the morning, I walked through the garden as usual, I sought my children out, I called for them, and at first they did not answer, but eventually they did.

I asked them what they had done to make them want to hide from me, the one who loved them the most. They stumbled over their words, staggering under the weight of their actions. My heart was broken.

We had walked in perfect fellowship, loving, caring and enjoying each other, but now it was like a whole world had come between us. They were ill equipped to deal with it, and now they had to face life without me.

Judgment came, and they had to leave, sin came and separated me from them. It was a devastating blow for all of us.

But I could not leave it there, I loved them remember, I loved them so very much, that I sent my only Son, the one I loved to become the final and most significant sacrifice for all time.

He went to earth, and pointed my people back to Me. He showed them my great love for them, and that I was willing to die, lay aside my heavenly kingdom in order for them to come back to me again.

Once it was done and there was no longer any gap between my precious children and myself, we again could walk together in perfect unity and love.

I offer you the gift of eternal life, spent with me, some will choose it, and others will not, but I present it in any case. I woo, I call, I draw, all in the effort to invite my precious children back home to me once again.

I love you

Love your Heavenly Father

God

xoxoxo

 

 

The Pressure to fit in

Sometimes we think of peer pressure as something that only affects our kids. But it is a natural part of our makeup, and it affects us all.

I was at a Harley rally with one of our Heartlight parents not too long ago. Now, I’m in my 50s, and there were a lot of guys there even older than me. (Really.) I can tell you that I saw evidence of peer pressure there too, everywhere. People were conforming to the “biker look,” wearing things they wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing at home or work, because they wanted to fit in. I sat for awhile and just watched them go by, shaking my head in amazement.

But it wasn’t just “them.” I walked into one of the shops, lined in front with one Harley after another parked exactly the same, to buy a new helmet. I put it on and looked in the mirror. My first thought was, “That doesn’t look cool.”  Then I realized how silly it is at my age to be worrying about looking cool. If I ever had a cool phase (I’m pretty sure I didn’t) it’s long behind me now. What was going on? I wanted to fit in with everyone else there. That’s a natural part of our makeup and character. So it should come as no surprise to us that peer pressure is such a powerful force in the lives of our teens.

Peer pressure—the desire to fit in with others—is a good thing. It is part of God’s design for us. At the very beginning He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We are meant to be in relationships and community with other people, and that’s made easier by everyone fitting in. There can even be a very positive side to peer pressure; it can motivate us to do better and be better people if we are with positive role models who are living right.

The problem is that much of the peer pressure our children face today can be negative. I hear from so many parents heartbroken because of the immoral or damaging things their teenagers’ friends have introduced them to. When the natural curiosity of a teen to experience new things combines with the desire to belong to a group that is doing negative things, it only gets more negative, like adding two negative numbers together.

At the very core and foundation of teen culture today is a lack of relationship. Kids are talking to each other (or at least texting) all the time, but they’re having an extremely difficult time engaging in a meaningful way. They simply don’t know how to develop deep, honest and meaningful relationships. That places a higher premium on shallow things, like their appearance and conformity to the norms of the crowd. What’s more, the “digital grapevine” leaves them in constant fear of being called out and picked on in the virtual realm for being “different.” I believe this makes peer pressure a much more powerful force in the lives of teenagers than it was when I was growing up.

Here’s another way things have changed. Back in the day, when our peers pressured us to do something wrong, they knew it was wrong and we knew it was wrong. That didn’t always keep us from doing it, but at least we had a sense of looking over our shoulders to keep from being found out while we did it. Today, peers are pressuring our teens to do things that are wrong, but they aren’t presented or thought of in that way. Instead they’re being asked to do things with the sense that those things are expected and accepted as “normal.” That’s a huge difference, and it makes peer pressure so much harder to resist.

Because we remember what it was like when we were young, we may tend to think that our children are choosing to do wrong for the sake of doing wrong, not understanding the impact of these expectations on their lives. It’s probably a mistake to automatically assume they are rebelling against you or your family’s beliefs and values. Often they are not viewing things through a moral lens at all, but rather through the lens of wanting to fit in in their world. Let me illustrate this principle with the example of music.

A parent may say, “You need to stop listening to that bad music.” I remember the fights over what music was acceptable in our home when I was a teen. Those fights still go on in homes today, but it is different now. Rather than just a “generation gap” thing over what “good” music is, teenagers today can feel that it is a direct attack on their sense of belonging. Their shared musical experience allows them to fit in with their group, and if it is threatened or taken away, they will respond in defensiveness out of fear of losing their connectedness. They’ll actually feel as if it as an attack on them personally, not just their musical tastes.

It’s really helpful to understand the reason behind the response you may get from your teen when it comes to music, how they look, or some other issue. They are not thinking about the values and principles you hold dear; they are simply worried about not fitting in anymore with their friends. They’re protecting themselves from being on the receiving end of jokes and ridicule from their peers. So I encourage you to understand the nature of the battle that’s being fought.

It may well be a cut and dried case that what they are doing is morally wrong. And I’m not saying your effort to put a stop to it is wasted, or that you should accept whatever will help them fit in. I’m saying that to be truly effective in helping your teen walk the right path, you need to establish a relationship (because that’s what they are desperately looking for). Your relationship will fill the void that is driving them to seek acceptance elsewhere. Through that relationship you’ll be able to share in a more meaningful way why those things their peers are doing or promoting are wrong. After all, unlike younger kids, teenagers are beginning to reason, so they need to know the “why’s” not just the “thou shalt not’s.”

There are at least five things you can offer your child that no peer can match. Let me share these with you, and encourage you to begin making these vital connections using your unique resources as a parent.

  • Unconditional Acceptance – no friend can provide the depth of unconditional acceptance a parent can
  • Value – only you can affirm that they have innate value, no matter what they do or how they look
  • Wisdom – your teen will learn to value your wisdom if it is shared in discussions, not in lecturing
  • Experience – you’ve been through many of the same things they are facing and can help them get through it
  • Time – you have more time with them, and time is the crucial ingredient in building relationships that matter

Research shows the presence of a strong family relationship is one of the most important elements that builds resiliency—the ability to resist negative peer pressure—in teens. You can’t change a teenager by controlling them. You can only affect lasting change by touching their heart. So, spend time together. Talk to your children. Even more importantly, listen to them.

Peer pressure doesn’t justify bad behavior. But by understanding the enormous influence it has on our teens, we can try to understand and prepare them ahead of time to resist those bad influences. Whether your child is four or fourteen it is never too late to start building a strong relationship that will help them do right even if their friends don’t.

We talked about this issue in-depth on our radio program last weekend titled “Peer Pressure.” To listen online look for the program dated April 30, 2011 at http://www.parentingtodaysteens.org.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Gregston is an author, speaker, radio host, and the founder and director of Heartlight, a therapeutic boarding school located in East Texas. Call 903-668-2173. Visit http://www.heartlightministries.org, or to read other articles by Mark, visit http://www.markgregston.com.

 

God’s Sweet Spot

(Anatomy of a Traffic Ticket)

 What in the world is God’s Sweet Spot?  It is a term I never used before until the unfolding of events after my most recent traffic ticket.  I do not get them every day, mind you, but it was my most recent one.

 First the background.  Upon approaching a school zone I had gone through many times I passed a town front end loader.  In passing I had the loader block out my view from a school sign.  Moving into the school zone I started to slow down from 50 kms an hour to 30 kms an hour.  As this step of self righteousness took place a car with flashing lights came up behind me.

 Thinking it had to be for someone else I pulled to the side waiting for what was clearly a law enforcement vehicle.  Much to my chagrin it pulled up right behind me indicating clearly I was going to meet someone new today.

 I was immediately hot, indignant, I always slow down for school zones.  The officer came up to the door and told me I was going 50 kms in a school zone.  I replied “barely” to which he replied “I would not have pulled you over if you were not going 50 kms.”  I shut up.

 As he went back to his vehicle I threw my wallet, not once but twice, stewed about the unfairness of this given I was barely into the school zone knowing I was slowing down.  I thought of my great respect for school zone enforcement while stewing and steaming dropping some words not to appear in print.  There was clear injustice.

 He gave me a ticket, wished me safe driving and I went away with a reduction of $124.00 to my personal net worth.

 I phone my wife who listened to my ranting for a bit and then told me in spite of my protestations that I was wrong,  She cracked the skin of the injustice done to me but I closed the split firmly as I retrenched my self in my belief that there was a grievous injury done to me.

 The same evening of the day that the word of the law impacted my life I picked Skyler up from a friend’s home close to the school zone that I had committed my sin in.  As I showed him where I thought the officer was hiding I realized that the police had not been hiding at all.  In fact, given where the school zone sign was and where the police car was likely parked I had an epiphany, if you will, a road to Damascus moment, okay, perhaps just a moment where I slipped out of stupidity into the beginning of good sense.

 As I talked to Skyler about how I got the ticket I knew that I was well into the school zone and deserved the ticket.  I told him so and my wife the same thing when I returned home.

 The next day, a wonderous day where the scales of blindness totally fell from my eyes.  In all sincerity, the unfortunate part for me that scales grew back given the return of stupidity of personal justification since then but for the day, for a few moments a wonderous day of what I would call total sight.

 The day after the day of getting the ticket I dropped Skyler off at school.  As I pulled away from his school God intruded into my personal space with as much certainty as I have ever felt.

 With no little clarity God impressed upon me that I should go to the same school zone and to apologize to the policman who I knew would be there.  This is strange because, get this, they are not always in the same spot two days in a row.

 I knew that when I saw the policeman I would apologize to him for being such a jerk the day before.

 Within minutes I approached the school zone and low and behold, the police car was there.  I pulled behind him (I had no flashing lights like he had the day before).  I walked to the side of his car, no nerves, no anxiety just certainty of purpose.

 He rolled down his window.  I asked him if he was the policeman who had given me the ticket the day before.  He said that he had.  I told him I had been a jerk, apologized for my behaviour, told him I knew they had a tough job to do, appreciated the school zones being monitored (a no brainer since Skyler and Savannah reap the benefits of safety on the way to school because of school zone monitoring), apologized again and bid him a good day.  He actually thanked me.

 What is the point of all of the forgoing?  Well, it was for me to experience the purity of hitting God’s sweet spot, the spot where He spoke to me so clearly in my thoughts, the events subsequent to His prompting falling into place at His direction and my carrying out my responsibility with no doubt, angst or fear.

 I drove away from the police car knowing the feeling of hitting God’s sweet spot.  My vanity tells me that it will happen again sooner, my reality tells me that I am too slow a learner for God to allow me to hit His sweet spot again every day but I am looking forward to the next time.

 I live, I learn, I have God. 

Written by: Henry Korthuis

May 1, 2011

Home is where the heart is!

YAHWEH SHAMMAH

What does that mean you may wonder?

It means THE LORD IS THERE.

 

Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

And when you pass through the rivers,

They will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

You will not be burned;

The flames will not set you ablaze.

 Did you realize that God never leaves you, if you have given your heart and your life over to him, he is always with you, and even if you have yet to give your life to him, he is still there with you, calling you to himself.

 No matter the circumstances, the trials, the tribulations you may be facing today, be comforted with the knowledge that God is there with you, right now, and if you will ask Him, He will give you the wisdom to navigate through it.

 This reminds me of a River pilot.

 In the United States, there are many rivers that are used as shipping lines. The Mississippi river is one of them and to help the skipper of these vessels safely navigate the sand bars and different currents of the river, there are very experienced river pilots to help.

The pilot will board the boat at a certain point and take over as Pilot for that stretch of the river. He knows the way, he has steered countless boats down the river, he understands it’s tides and he knows where the dangers lie. He is the perfect person to help the Captains navigate safely down the river to their port of choice.

 Sometimes it takes up to 8 to 12 hours to make the journey, but the pilot stays at the helm, in charge, directing, steering, and navigating those waters. He is unwavering in his mission to get the boat to port safely.

 God who is there; with us all of the time acts in the same way as that pilot. When we come to him and give him our hearts and ask him to be lord of our lives, He steps into the Pilot seat, and safely navigates us “to port”, which is ultimately heaven. He knows the pitfalls and snares that lie ahead that would hurt or destroy us. So he gently leads us, a little to the left here, straight here, and a little to the right over there.

 We can know and trust, that because of this Great name, YAYWEH SHAMMAH – THE LORD IS THERE, that he will without a doubt lead us safely to where he wants us to go.

 The fringe benefit of knowing that God is always there for you and that you can trust him to lead you safely on the river marked life, is that he will keep you in his perfect peace along the way.

 Isaiah 26:3 – 4

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. 

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. 

 The other day, I believe the lord dropped a great treasure into my heart, I have lived far away from my family for many years and to be honest it has hurt my heart to be so far away from “home”. I knew that God had called me to live in Canada but that did not stop me from pining for all that I had left behind back “home”

 The lord in his great love and mercy patiently loved me as I cried and mourned for those whom I had left behind, and helped my heart heal, but just the other day he dropped this truth into my heart.

 Home is where the heart is:

I heard him say to me, Where I am, you are at home.

I had to stop for a moment to understand what he was saying to me, and it was as simple as this, because He is YAHWEH SHAMMAH, THE LORD IS THERE and I have given my heart to him, I can always be at home, no matter the circumstance, no matter the trial, my heart will always be at peace and be comfortable, because I am always at home with him. He has my heart.

 This my friends was another one of those moments that God navigated my heart safely through the river of life. He brought me such joy and comfort knowing that no matter where I am in this world, close to people I love or not, I can be comforted because I know that my heart is safe and at home with him.

 God truly is there for us all of the time, and if you have not taken that step to trust him to be your lord and Savior today, I want to ask you one question.

What is stopping you?

 God loves you, he wants to be there for you, he wants to show you the path that will lead you to find his joy and peace and comfort. He has good will towards you and not evil intentions. He wants to be in a relationship with you, and that is why he sent his Son Jesus Christ to walk this earth, proclaim freedom for all that are caught in the bondages of sin, and then by his death set them free.

 If you find yourself in a place where you are not in a right relationship with God, and he is prompting your heart at this moment, don’t delay.

 All you need to do, to come into a right relationship with God is this, confess with your mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

  Saved from what?

 Death, eternal separation from Him and hell.

 God wants to give you life, he wants to release you from the bondages of sin that you find yourself in, and yes it is that simple.

 Romans 10:9 -13

That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 

 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for,

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 You to can go from death to life today, you can have the lord who is there – YAWEH SHAMMAH – always lead you and guide you in your life.

 Take a moment and pray with me today:

 

 

 

 

Dear God

I believe that Jesus is Lord and that you God raised him from the dead. I believe that you want to have a relationship with me and help me to navigate my life. I know that because of my sin there is separation between you and I please forgive me of my sin, so that I am in right standing with you.

Thank you father

Amen.

 If you have prayed that prayer, welcome to the family of God, you are now a fellow member of his household. God has so many great things in store for you and I am so excited that you now have gone from death to life.

 In order to learn to walk with God, I recommend that you find yourself a bible and start to read it. Start in the new testament as that will give you a very good picture of what Jesus Christ did while he was on the earth and what he did for you.

 There are many bibles available online as well. Always pray and ask the lord to help you to understand the bible, the Holy Spirit will make the words come alive for you.

Please feel free to navigate through this site to find more inspiration about living daily with Christ as well.

 Try to find a bible believing and bible teaching church, they will encourage you to grow in your faith in God.

 Most importantly, you can talk to God all of the time, remember he is there, so learn to bring everything to him, every concern, joy and difficulty, he will help you navigate through it all.

 Blessings

Unrelenting Love

We simply must have more of Jesus. In the face of increasing wickedness in the world, human ideas have fallen short. Those who understand the hour are seeking God. Possessing more of Christ Himself is our only strategy and hope.

Yet, to seek God is to embark on a journey that will include obstacles and spiritual enemies along the way. We must not give ourselves reasons or excuses to fail.

As a pattern, therefore, we will look at the Song of Solomon 3:1-4. Here we find a bride and bridegroom who both are intolerant of the distance between them. The bride in the passage symbolizes the church in her deepest longings for Jesus; the bridegroom represents the Lord.

The bride: “On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves.”

On the highest level, seeking God is an action born of love. It is not a matter only of discipline, it is first an awakening of desire. It is not a question of sacrifice but of the passions stirred by unrelenting love. The bride’s ability to sleep is gone because her beloved is gone. She must seek him, for such is the nature of love.

Some will say, “But I already know the Lord. I have found Him.” In reality, it was He who found us. Our salvation rests securely upon this truth. But while many rest upon Christ having found them, they have little interest in possessing a greater relationship with Him, nor do they realize His desire for us. The bride loves because Christ first loved her (1 John 4:19). She arises now to find Him. In the very love that He inspired, she pursues her beloved.

The apostle Paul wrote, “As many as are perfect, have this attitude” (Phil. 3:15). To seek and know Christ is the attitude of the mature; it is the singular obsession of Christ’s bride.

In this maturing process, there will come a point when your love for God will take ascendancy over mere intellectual or doctrinal understanding.
The bride of Christ cannot contain her longing or patronize her aching heart; she cannot simply adjust to feeling empty. There is simply no reconciling the passion of her soul with the absence of her beloved.

Note also that there is an unfolding dimension to seeking the Lord. Genuine love for God is an ever-increasing hunger. As one would die without food, so we feel we will die without Him. The bride says, “Night after night I sought him.” She has come to love the Lord with all her heart, with all her soul and with all her mind (Matt. 22:37). Her love has become all-consuming; to accept his absence is impossible.

Overcoming Resistance
Note: the Lord will allow obstacles and delays to deepen and test the character of our love. Thus, the bride acknowledges, “I sought him whom my soul loves. I sought him but did not and him.”

Her first attempts at seeking her beloved proved fruitless, yet she does not terminate her quest. Augustine said it well: “God is not on the surface.” There is indeed a “secret place of the Most High.” Although hidden, it can be found and accessed.

One common deterrent, ironically, is the benevolent effect that comes with drawing nearer to the Lord. Inevitably, the blessings of an answered prayer or a new understanding of Scripture will greet us on our way to God, but we must guard against these signposts becoming our final destination. We must not be content with edification or comfort, only encouraged.

Let us also understand, we will not find His fullness by seeking Him merely in convenient times and comfortable places. Rather, our quest is a determined and continual pilgrimage. It will not end until He is disclosed to us (Phil. 3:12). We are confident, though, for He has promised that in the day we seek Him with our whole heart, we shall find Him (Jer. 29:13). He assures us, “And I will be found by you” (v. 14).

Christ Our Life
The bride continues, “I must arise now and go about the city; in the streets and in the squares I must seek him whom my soul loves.”

This inexorable woman has risen from the security of her own bed. She has left the comfort of her warm house and now is seeking her beloved in the streets and in the squares. Pastors, be aware: Not all who wander from church to church are uncommitted or superficial Christians. A significant number are honestly searching for Christ. They are asking, “Have you seen Him?”

Not only is the bride in the streets and squares of Christianity; she is facing the force and the power of darkness as well. Yet nothing stops her – not her own need of sleep or her fear of the night. The love of Christ compels her.

However, again she is disappointed: “I sought him but did not find him.”

We might think that after so great an effort – and in the face of the seeming reluctance of Heaven to answer her cry – she would feel justified to return home. But she does not. We too must guard against becoming satisfied with our opinion of ourselves: “We prayed; we waited; we searched for God. We did more than other men.” This false reward fills the soul with self-exaltation. If we truly want to find Him, we must stay empty and hungry for God alone.

“The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me, and I said, ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?'”

From her bed, to the streets, and now to the watchmen, the bride is seeking her lover. Notice that “the watchmen” found her. The watchmen are the modern-day prophetic ministries. Their highest calling is to find the searching bride and direct her to Jesus. While many may come to the seers for a word of encouragement or revelation, the bride is looking for Jesus. Her singleness of purpose is undistracted; she asks the watchmen, “Have you seen Him?”

“Scarcely had I left them when I found him whom my soul loves.” This is the greatest motivation for seeking the Lord: The time will come when you find Him! You will pass your tests and overcome the obstacles; you will be secure in the embrace of Christ.

She says, “I held on to him and would not let him go.”

I am reminded of Mary at the empty tomb of Christ (John 20:11-18). The apostles came, looked in the cave, and went away astounded. But Mary lingered, weeping. The death of Christ was horrible, but the empty tomb was unbearable. She had to find Him whom her soul loved!

The Scripture says that Jesus Himself came to her, but in her sorrow she did not recognize Him. He said, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” It is interesting that Jesus connected Mary’s inconsolable weeping with her seeking. Blinded by her tears, she supposed He was the gardener.

“Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away” (v. 15).

“Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher)” (v. 16).

Immediately Mary burst from her kneeling position to embrace Christ; she held Him so tightly that, like the bride, she too could say, “I held on to him and would not let him go.” I see Jesus smiling, and with great love He gently pushed her back, saying, “Stop clinging to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (v. 17).

This is a most astounding event. It is a marvel, I admit, that is beyond comprehension. In the mysterious process of the Lord’s resurrection – during an interlude between the grave and some stage of His ascension – Christ interrupted His triumphant ascent to appear to Mary. Jesus was drawn – no, compelled – toward Mary’s weeping!

I am staggered by this event. Jesus demonstrated that love is the highest, most powerful law of His kingdom. It brings His living presence into the hearts of those who seek Him.

You Have Made His Heart Beat Faster
One last thought, and it is a profound reality: Where was the Bridegroom during the time when the bride was searching? Was He aloof, indifferent, sitting detached in Heaven? No, from the beginning, He had been watching, actually longing, for His bride to find Him.

He now speaks:

“You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride; you have made my heart beat faster with a single glance of your eyes.” —Song of Solomon 4:9

You are His bride. He is returning from Heaven for you! The single glance of your eyes toward Him makes His heart beat faster. Such love is inconceivable. He sees your repentance from sin as your preparation for Him – His bride making herself ready. He beholds you kneeling, weeping at your bedside. He shares your painful longing. He has been watching. And the bridegroom says, “The glance of your eyes has made my heart beat faster.”

The Lord has a promise for His bride. There is coming a fresh baptism of love that will surpass all our knowledge of Him. We will know the height and depth, the length and the breadth of His love. While yet here on earth, we will be filled with His fullness. (See Eph. 3:18-19 Amplified.)

We have many tasks, even responsibilities, which have come from Heaven. However, the greatest need of our soul is to be with Jesus. The areas of sin in our lives exist simply because we have lived too far from Him. Let us commit our hearts to seeking our God. Let us find Him whom our soul loves and bring Him back to the house of the Lord!

Lord, even now we lift our eyes toward You. Jesus, grace and truth are realized in You. Grant us grace that the truth of this message will change our lives and compel us in unrelenting love to You! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Written by: Francis Frangipane

http://frangipane.org/

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

 I came across this great prayer the other day while I was going through some of my mother’s papers. She loved to collect poems, prayers, funny sayings and inspirational stories.

 I thought that I would share this particular one with you as it has been my constant prayer for many years.

I have found over the years that one of the most satisfying ways to pray is to pray the word of God, and this is a prayer that does just that.

 This prayer is based on Ephesians 6, I know that as you pray these words that this passage of Scripture will become more alive for you, as it has for me.

  I pray that it will be something that you incorporate into your life daily, Putting on the full Armor of God, so that you will be able to stand against the tricks of the enemy.  

Here is the prayer:

Lord Jesus, by the Spirits anointing, make me strong with Your Mighty Power, Spirit of God, help me put on all of God’s amour that I will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the devil.

 Holy Spirit, help me understand that I am not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against the wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

 Empower me to use every piece of God’s amour to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle I will still be standing firm.

Help me to stand my ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.

 Spirit of God put on me the shoes of peace that come from the good news, so that I will be fully prepared.

 In every battle strengthen my faith as my shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at me by Satan. Anoint me Holy Spirit, the with the helmet of salvation, put in my hand Your sword, Holy Spirit, which is the word of God.

 Spirit of God, pray through me at all times and on every occasion in Your Mighty Power.
Equip me to stay alert and be persistent in my prayers for all Christians everywhere.

 In Jesus precious name I pray all of this,

Amen.

 Ephesians 6:10-18 – NIV

 The Armor of God
  10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 
12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 
13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 
14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 
15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 
16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 
17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

 

I pray that God will bless each of you as you read his word and I pray that you will put it in your heart and grow to become more and more like him everyday.

Blessings to you