Monday, December 23, 2013

Life Without Me!

Have you ever given any thought as to how this world would be without you? Yes, that's a crazy thought and who would think such a thing, right? Maybe some self-righteous individual? Maybe someone who is very insecure? Maybe just a plain ole Joe or Jane! How different would the life you've built be if you had never existed?

We can start with your very beginning. You would never have brought a bundle of joy to your mom and dad or to the family as a whole. If you had siblings, then they wouldn't have had an older or younger sibling and in some cases a twin. Maybe they wouldn't have had anyone to push around, look up to or praise. What about the friends you've made since you've been alive? There might be some decisions you helped them with that changed them for the good. If you were a naughty child, then the influences you had on those friends would have been avoided. How about all the lives you touched through your generosity, kindness, compassion and thoughtfulness? Just think how void their lives would have been.

In the movie “It's a Wonderful Life” there is a movie line that brings significance to this article. Clarence says this to George: “Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives and when he isn't around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he? Whether we know it or not our lives impact many people around us. In fact the ripple effect of one person's life is impossible to measure. There is no way to fully know the effect your life has on this world.

Since you are here and you are effecting lives, just how are you doing that? Only you can answer that question unless those that are being effected are willing to step up and tell you themselves. We all hope and pray our effects are positive, encouraging, and uplifting. If this be the case, then we want them to be long lasting as well. If they are just the opposite of what was listed, then we hope and pray they are short lived.

Let's take a brief look at the lives of Peter and Paul for example. We know that it was Peter that identified Jesus as the Christ, God's Son. It was Peter that Jesus gave the keys of heaven (Matt. 16:16-19). Would we even know that Jesus was the Christ if Peter had not spoke up and said so? Possibly! Possibly not! Jesus also gave the Great Commission to all the disciples and to us, but it was Peter who led the rest of the apostles when that first great sermon was preached at Pentecost in A.D. 33 (Acts 2) as to how we are to be saved. It was Paul who also spoke and explained the gospel in 1 Cor. 15:1-4. Surely we read of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ in the gospel accounts, but would we identify those events as being the gospel if it were not for Paul? We can see how significant their lives were and are to us today. We could list milestone after milestone about their lives and realize how void this world would be without either of them. They are not the only ones for sure!

We all know of individuals that have made major contributions to mankind and more personally to our own lives that could be mentioned and maybe even praised for their accomplishments. We know that Jesus did not look for praise from men but He deserves all the praise mankind can give because of what He did for all of us. This morning we are going to not only talk about how wonderful life is, but how less wonderful it would be if we never heard of the man called Jesus. Talk about a great void that would be felt since we know all that He has done and is still doing for His fellow man.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Mercy

What exactly is mercy? It can be described many ways. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary it means compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power. The following story is an excellent example of this meaning.

A mother once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that the young man had committed a certain offense twice and justice demanded death. "But I don't ask for justice," the mother explained. "I plead for mercy." "But your son does not deserve mercy," Napoleon replied. "Sir," the woman cried, "it would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for." "Well, then," the emperor said, "I will have mercy." And he spared the woman's son. [Luis Palau, Experiencing God's Forgiveness, Multnomah Press, 1984.]
 
Can you think of another person that has shown this kind of mercy? If you said Jesus, then you are exactly right. God's word describes mercy these five ways. First it is great. (Isa. 54:7) Second it is sure. (Isa. 55:3) Third it is abundant. (1 Pet. 1:3) Fourth it is tender. (Ps. 25:6) and lastly it is new every morning. (Lam. 3:22, 23)
Jesus Himself taught mercy as one of the principles in life. (Matt. 5:7) Paul tells us in Rom. 12:8 that mercy is practiced as a gift. He further writes in his epistle to the Philippians that mercy is evidenced in God's provinces to himself and Epaphroditus in their times of sickness. (Phil. 2:27) If you didn't realize it, mercy can even be obtained in prayer. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:16) In Jude 21 we are even reminded that mercy is a reason for hope. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
 
Is it possible that you require God's mercy today? If so, please do not be like the Pharisees in Matthew 9:13 who truly needed a lesson in compassion, but would not receive God's mercy if they continued in their present condition. Jesus came to save those which were lost, not the saved to repentance. It was apparent that the Pharisees still had much to learn on this subject if they wanted to have eternal rest. Hopefully we will not find ourselves in this same situation. Since God's mercy is so evident in our lives from what has already been mentioned, we should show the same mercy towards our fellow man. Mercy is something we all desire from others, therefore if we are able to receive it, then we should be able to render it as well. How is your mercy measuring up these days?

It Amazes Me

Thanks goes to Mike Harris Jr. for this thought provoking write up about Christmas!
 
The late Charles Spurgeon, maybe you’ve heard of him, preached in a sermon on December 24, 1871:
We have no superstitious regard for times and seasons. Certainly we do not believe in the present ecclesiastical arrangement called Christmas. First, because we do not believe in the mass at all, but abhor it, whether it be said or sung in Latin or in English; and, secondly, because we find no Scriptural warrant whatever for observing any day as the birthday of the Savior, and, consequently, its observance is a superstition, because not of Divine authority. When it can be proved that the observance of Christmas, Whitsuntide and other Popish festivals was ever instituted by a Divine statute, we also will attend to them, but not till then,” he continued. “It is as much our duty to reject the traditions of men as to observe the ordinances of the Lord.”

It Amazes Me.

It amazes me that every birthday celebration I have ever been to has had that person there for it, but Christians claim Christmas is Christ’s.

It amazes me that at every birthday celebration I have ever been to, only the person having the birthday was brought presents, except on Christmas.

It amazes me that we want to celebrate our birthday at least in the month we were born, yet when the Bible shows Jesus was born in late August to mid-September, they ignore it and celebrate it months later.

It amazes me that people will point out scriptures in the Bible to show how they got saved, or came to know that the Bible is true, yet when shown scripture that tells us not to celebrate things like Christmas, turn their head to God’s word.

It amazes me that pastors will find scripture in the Bible to support what they give sermons on, except when it comes to Christmas, because it is not there.

It amazes me that Christians celebrate December 25 as the birth of Christ without ever knowing WHY they do it.

It amazes me that we have things like “Washington’s Birthday” on our calendars to denote his birth, yet for Christ, it is called Christmas and Christians don’t ask why. They have no clue what it means, nor care because they are going through the motions.

It amazes me that Christians who know the pagan roots of Christmas still think it is ok to celebrate it just because it is flossed with Christ’s name.

It amazes me that a Christian who would never perform a Satanic sacrifice ritual and try to make it something for Christ, take a pagan ritual of worship, which is straight from Satan, and do something of equal horror.

It amazes me that history shows the tree in the house originated in Babylon on their god Tammuz’s December 25th birthday, and Christians still bring one in their house. It represents his blood spilled on a stump which then grew into a tree, and they decorated it.

It amazes me that Jeremiah 10 teaches against the above practice, but carnal Christians choose which verses they want to follow and gloss it with “I’m not convicted of it like you are” when it is plain as day. You weren’t convicted that lying was wrong at one time either, but you were wrong then too.

It amazes me that there is no command to celebrate Christ’s birth in the Bible, only His death and resurrection, but Christians do it anyway. “This do in remembrance of Me” was before His death, not at His birth.

It amazes me that Christians blindly sing “We 3 Kings” and think it’s Biblical, when the Bible NEVER tells us there were three.

It amazes me that Christians think a fat old man in a red suit with flying deer pulling a sleigh has anything what-so-ever to do with Christ.

It amazes me that Christians never question why they kiss under mistletoe. The pagans know why. Kissing under what was to represent the genetalia of Zeus is to give them sexual prowess through the year. Isn’t that Christ-like?

It amazes me that people look at me and talk about me like I’m not a Christian because I don’t celebrate Christmas, yet they don’t do anything for Jesus except in their imagination while being a bench warmer on a church pew.

Being an outsider on the “popular” views of Christmas doesn’t bother me. Many of you will go find comfort of others who parrot non-biblical tradition and make you feel better about yourself. You won’t find that if you quit depending on man’s opinion and actually read God’s word (Hebrews 4:12). Jesus’ own words:

Matthew 15:7-9
7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Who's to Blame?


What comes to mind when you think of “sour grapes?” Some might think of a sharp and hard taste the would be very uncomfortable for a long span of time. In Ezekiel 18:1-4, it says, The word of the Lord came to me again saying, “What do you mean when you use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying: 'The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? “As I live,” says the Lord God, “you shall no longer use this proverb in Israel. “Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.”

Israel loved to make excuses for their idolatry. They lived according to their own desires and forgot the God of Heaven, Jehovah, for days without number. Every time they would fall away, God would have to bring judgment upon them to return them to His laws.

Like we of today, the children of Israel looked for someone else to blame for their own sin. In their search for self-justification they came up with a really cute and logical proverb that went like this: “The fathers may eat the sour grapes but the children’s teeth will be set on edge.” This meant that whatever the fathers of each successive generation did may not affect them but it would surely affect their children and grandchildren. This was Israel’s way of blaming their forefathers and even God, for the sin that they committed and the judgments they had to face. In using this proverb they absolved themselves from the penalty for their own sin and placed it upon the head of their ancestors.

Aren't we good at placing the blame of our wrong doings on others as well. It's so much easier to let others take the fall so we can keep face. Don't be looking around. Stop it! Look no further than yourself and ask yourself, “Self, why do I put the blame on others rather than accept it myself?” The answer is a no brainer, you want to look good no matter what it might cost others. 
 
John Killinger tells about the manager of a minor league baseball team who was so disgusted with his center fielder’s performance that he ordered him to the dugout and assumed the position himself. The first ball that came into center field took a bad hop and hit the manager in the mouth. The next one was a high fly ball, which he lost in the glare of the sun--until it bounced off his forehead. The third was a hard line drive that he charged with outstretched arms; unfortunately, it flew between is hands and smacked his eye. Furious, he ran back to the dugout, grabbed the center fielder by the uniform, and shouted. ’You idiot! You’ve got center field so messed up that even I can’t do a thing with it! [Don McCullough, Discipleship Journal]
 
No one likes to be wrong about anything and we truly don't have to be if there is a scapegoat at our disposal. Do you like being the scapegoat? Of course not! So why are you looking for one? Be a man or woman about the whole matter and take your just reward for your actions.  Stop looking for "Who's to Blame."

In Christian love,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Enlightened Answer to "What is an Infidel?"

This was sent to my email box and I felt like it was well worth sharing with all my viewers.  The credit is given directly to Rick Mathes, author of this article and well-know leader in prison ministry.

The man who walks with God always 
gets to his destination. If you have a 
pulse you have a purpose. 

The Muslim religion is the fastest 
growing religion per capita in the 
United States, especially in the 
minority races!! 

 
Last month I attended my annual 
training session that's required for 
maintaining my state prison 
security clearance. 

During the training session there was a presentation by three speakers 
representing the Roman Catholic, 
Protestant and Muslim faiths, 
who each explained their beliefs.  
I was particularly interested in 
what the Islamic had to say. 
The Muslim gave a great presentation 
of the basics of Islam, complete 
with a video.  
After the presentations, time was 
provided for questions and answers. 
When it was my turn, I directed 
my question to the Muslim and asked: 
'Please, correct me if I'm wrong, 
but I understand that most Imams and 
clerics of Islam have declared 
a holy jihad [Holy war] against the 
infidels of the world and, that by 
killing an infidel, (which is a command to all Muslims) they are assured of a place in heaven.  If that's the case, can you give me 
the definition of an infidel?'  
There was no disagreement with my 
statements and, without hesitation, 
he replied, 'Non-believers!' 
I responded, 'So, let me make sure 
I have this straight. All followers of 
Allah have been commanded to kill 
everyone who is not of your faith so 
they can have a place in heaven. 
Is that correct?' 
The expression on his face 
changed from one of authority 
and command to that of a 
little boy who had just been 
caught with his hand in the cookie jar.'  
He sheepishly replied, 'Yes.'
I then stated, 'Well, sir, I have 
a real problem trying to 
imagine The Pope commanding 
all Catholics to kill those of 
your faith or Dr.Stanley ordering 
all Protestants to do the same 
in order to guarantee them 
a place in heaven!' 
The Muslim was speechless! 

I continued, 'I also have a 

problem with being your friend 
when you and your brother clerics 
are telling your followers to 
kill me! Let me ask you a question: 
Would you rather have your Allah, 
who tells you to kill me in 
order for you to go to heaven, 
or my Jesus who tells me to 
love you because I am going 
to heaven and He wants you 
to be there with me?' 

You could have heard a pin 
drop as the Imam hung his 
head in shame. 

Needless to say, the organizers 
and/or promoters of the 
'Diversification' training seminar 
were not happy with my way 
of dealing with the Islamic Imam, 
and exposing the truth 
about the Muslims' beliefs. 

In twenty years there will be 
enough Muslim voters in the 
U.S. to elect the President! 

I think everyone in the U.S.
 
should be required to read this, 
but with the ACLU, there is no 
way this will be widely 
publicized, unless each of us 
sends it on! This is your chance 
to make a difference... 

....SEND THIS ON . .

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Thoughts to uplift the Heart‏

There are times in life when we wish for words to encourage those we care about, but knowing the outcome, it is only the Lord who has the capacity to lift the heart from the sadness of losing those we love in this life. Life is like a book with many chapters, some happy, some sad, but all necessary to our spiritual growth that evolves over all the years of our life. It makes us, who we are in our daily life! Some think of death as an ending of life, the painful loss of a loved one. I prefer to think of death as just another chapter in the book of life...you might say an epilogue of this life, but not an ending but the beginning of a new chapter yet to be seen, but promised by our Lord to be a joyful retreat of praise and worship....The end of our story is known only to God! May we all look forward to that day with anticipation! God bless!

Respectfully submitted by,
Jan Sherman

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Have You Pledged Lately?

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 
 
Do you remember the last time you made that pledge? When was it and where were you when you pledged it? Many of us can't remember because it has been that long ago. It is a shame when the things that make sense and have good reason are being eliminated from our society. Who are the culprits and who is letting them get away with it?

When you think about the “Pledge of Allegiance” you can't help but think of freedom, justice and liberty for all. Freedom is something we all enjoy and more so here in the United States of America. Freedom can be defined as unrestricted action. There are no real restrictions because we are free to come and go as we please. We take this for granted most of the time but this freedom is not afforded to most of this world in which we live. We should be forever grateful that our forefathers had a respect and awe for God that they included Him in their decision making. We having been reaping the benefits of what they fought and died for, so we should be very careful what we do with it and what we pass to the next generations.

As Christians we have been made free by Christ. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36) We have been set free from bondage also. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness....But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness and the end, everlasting life. (Rom. 6:18, 22) Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. (Gal. 5:1) For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (Gal. 5:13)

Does our lives reflect the liberty that has been given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? Are we willing to make anew our pledge to Him and this time mean it? We have been playing around with God long enough and if we are not careful we might just end up like Sodom and Gomorrah. It's time that we once again approach the living God on bended knew, giving Him all the praise and glory that is due Him. If we once again, with all seriousness, pledge allegiance to God, then this is what He can do for us. “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chron. 7:14) Doesn't that sound like something we want God to do for our great nation? If so, then we must start making a difference by acting like Christians. Are you willing to make a new pledge of allegiance to God? Let's do it today!