God Showed Out Today

For months, we have been hearing about this eclipse. People can choose to explain it however they choose, but I saw the magnificent hand of God the Creator showing the world how only He could have so masterfully done such a thing. People united today to view this eclipse. I loved seeing people of various backgrounds standing together in awe of what my God did.

Every time something like this happens, I am reminded of Psalm 19:1 which says, “The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork.” You and I do not have to look far to see God’s work. Look in the mirror. Look at the sky. He has performed miracles all around you. Slow down and take it all in. It just might make a believer out of you.

***Photographer is unknown, but he or she beautifully captured this moment.

How Many Spouses Do You Have? (You May Not Get This Answer Right)

A pastor I once worked with was teaching the youth during VBS (how well-churched people abbreviate Vacation Bible School, a week long program during the Summer for kids to learn more about the Lord, Scripture, etc.). He asked this question to the youth and adults who were assisting – “When does marriage begin?” We had our traditional answers, but we knew he would go deeper into the Bible than what we were thinking. His answer was “consummation”. He then asked us to look at I Corinthians 6:16 which says, “Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘The two shall become one flesh.'” 

The one flesh principle was instituted by God for marriage, and Paul was saying to these Corinthian believers who were committing tons of sexual sin that everyone they have sex with is entering into something reserved for marriage. This pastor then asked, “How many people have you married?” You could hear a pin drop. 

This is not popular preaching or teaching, but it is biblical. People do not realize how deeply the emotional connection can develop through what someone views as casual sex. There’s nothing casual about it. Eventually people become desensitized to the overall effects of sexual relations with multiple partners, but lives can easily go out of control.

There is forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. He doesn’t give you virginity back or undo what has already been done, but He gives healing and can help you move forward in the beauty of what God intended.

I want to close by sharing a testimony of someone who once lived a life full of sexual sin. She turned her life over to Christ, and now she has a story of redemption and restoration to tell. I believe you will be blessed by it.

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Since tomorrow’s eclipse is the hot topic, I could not help but think of the song “Total Eclipse of the Heart”. Then I began to think about it spiritually. The Bible makes reference to the heart as “the mind or seat of emotions”. Dictionary.com defines eclipse as “a partial or total blocking of one celestial object by another”. Spiritually, this occurs when something blocks human emotions from being positively penetrated by God.

What does the Bible say about the heart? The issues of life flow from the heart (Proverbs 4:23). Jesus said that from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The heart can be joyful (Proverbs 17:22). While God wants it to be clean and contrite (Psalm 51), it is “deceitful…and desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). (So please don’t tell people to follow their heart because they might do something stupid.) The basis of this thought is that the heart can be hardened (Exodus 4:21).

What causes a total eclipse of the heart? Two things – life circumstances and sin. When traumatic or painful things happen to us, as a defense mechanism we build walls. Our goal is that no one or nothing will hurt me. That trauma or pain may come from abuse (physical, sexual, or verbal), broken trust by a spouse or friend, health problems that don’t seem fair, financial problems that come even when we try hard to make ends meet, etc. Then we often choose to engage in sin, whether it be outward actions or inner attitudes that you repeat. It’s easy to Eclipse the heart with these things, but the repair work is often done in layers.

What cures a total eclipse of the heart? It begins with a new heart and spirit. Ezekiel 18:31 prophesied of this to be fulfilled in Christ’s finished work on the cross. An arsenal of Scripture will also defeat this. Psalm 119:11 says to hide God’s Word in our heart that we might not sin against Him. Hiding it means that we meditate upon it, memorize it, and know it well. Then, we must confess our sins (I John 1:9) and forsake our sins (Proverbs 28:13) to maintain good fellowship with God. It does not rob us of salvation, but it does affect our fellowship with Him.

Do you have a total eclipse of the heart? Are there walls built up in your life because of circumstances and sin that need to be brought down by the Lord Jesus Christ? He is willing to deliver you, but He is waiting on YOU to take the next step.

Image from Anchor Chapel (found on Google)

My Favorite Ministry Quote

Please keep in mind that I do not like confrontation when you read this. God gave me what I needed for that moment.

I was working with a committee that kept revisiting the same thing for several weeks. They wanted to put a divisive individual in leadership. I looked every committee member in the eye and said, “This divisive individual posts on Facebook how much he dislikes me and this church, so I recommend that we not put him in a place of leadership. I know this room has ears, so please feel free to let this person know what I said and I will sign my name to it.”

How has God given you boldness to stand up for what is right? 

Responding to Your Critics

It does not matter who you are in life, you will have critics. You may be your worst one. Some are quite the opposite and are their greatest fan. (I better leave that last sentence as is.) These critics will often be in the places where you should least expect them…family, church, etc. You and I have a choice to allow their criticism to paralyze us, or we can choose to drown out the negativity and please the Lord Jesus while the naysayers run their mouths. Two things: If they were not satisfied with Jesus, who are we to think we are any better? Also, if they are talking about me, they are leaving you alone so enjoy the break😀.

People are often criticized and looked down upon because of their financial status. If they have a job, why don’t they get one that generates more income? If a mother chooses to stay at home, what is her problem? Others often think money is more important than family. My wife and I know a little bit about this. When my wife left her job in November after the birth of our child, we had our critics. We understand now that our 1 year old could not get the developmental help she needs if my wife still worked. My wife takes her to multiple appointments each month. My current job schedule is 4 days a week to allow me to pick up my 3 children from my previous marriage. They live 4 hours away, so it allows me the time I may not have with other employment. People who look from the outside in do not understand the factors we have to consider, but we only get one chance with our children. We have financial struggles like others do, but God has met our basic needs.

People are often criticized because of past mistakes. They may have a criminal record, a past addiction, or some other offense, and many are quick to bring up the past when Christ has already forgiven it. We who are recipients of grace should know best how to reciprocate.

People are often criticized for things they do well. I cannot tell you how many critics I have heard criticize someone else for being professional and doing things with excellence. God does not put a premium on ignorance or shoddy work. It is often jealousy that leads to this kind of criticism.

People are often criticized because some know-it-all has their motives figured out. God speaks to me (not in an audible voice), but I am not qualified to judge someone’s motives. If your opinion is not fact, I want to encourage you to seal your lips🤐.

If you are a person of faith, some will criticize you and call you irrational. I left a ministry position a few years ago. The gossip train was running wild. I did not understand what was going to happen thereafter, but it was the best decision for me to focus on my newly blended family and help care for my mom who had open heart surgery a month later.

In this life, you will be called lazy, arrogant, spineless, and a long list of other things. Here’s a song that expresses how I feel about criticism:

Saying Goodbye to a Dear Friend

In the blogging community, you never meet most of your “followers”. Such is the case with this dear sister in Christ, but I know there will be a reunion for those who have trusted in Christ to save them. Susan followed my blog from the early days and frequently left encouraging comments. I’m thankful for the blessing she was to many online. May God comfort all who were touched by her influence.

The Life Project

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a dear friend, to a loving sister in Christ, and yet there are times when we must do just that. Like so many of you, I was shocked by the news that our sister and friend Susan Irene Fox passed away earlier this week; what does one say at such a time?

Susan’s writings here on WordPress were a blessing to all of us, both on her blog and on Church Set Free, and when you read those posts of hers it’s almost impossible to miss the love that fills each and every line. I recall when a group of us came together via Skype to discuss the establishment of the site, back in 2015. Susan was part of that group and more than anything else, she wanted it to be a place where anyone could go and experience the love of…

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One of My Greatest Joys

Since I was 6 years old, people told me I would be a preacher. My first “pulpit” was a box floor fan. I would stand behind it with a Gideon New Testament on one side and a hymnal on the other. I had no idea that would be prophetic as I still lead music and preach. 

As God confirmed that calling, it has brought me great joy to teach biblical truth to people. It lights my fire for people to ask me questions that will help them in their Christian growth. I love to see people transformed by God’s Word right before my eyes.

What brings you great joy? I hope it’s giving. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” God designed you to invest your life into someone in some way. Your gift is not the same as mine, but I could be blessed as you use your God-given gift. 

You will not experience your greatest joy as long as you are withholding your investment into the life of someone else. You will be empty and self-absorbed until you find the joy of right priorities –

J – Jesus

O – Others

Y- You

It might be time to rethink what real joy is all about.

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