As a Christ follower I am a bit up in arms over the display of harsh Christianity that took place outside of Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio, Friday night. As fans were waiting for the doors to open to see Iron Maiden, they were yelled at they were going to hell for seeing the band. That is not Christ-like at all.
It is not in the bible: There is not one book, verse or translation that says that listening to music of any kind will condemn a person to hell. That is simply not true. It is baring false witness however. Which simply does not represent Jesus well.
The fact is Iron Maiden has Christian themes in some songs: Is Iron Maiden a Christian band? No. Drummer Nicko McBrain is a 20 year Christ Follower. Songs like ‘Hallowed By Thy Name” and a few others point to God. Again the band is not a Christian band. When the album “The Number of the Beast” came out these same harsh Christians took aim. The album speaks of poor choices and how Satan can influence. Yet, “Hallowed Be Thy Name,” we hear a person who is in prison, on death row who winds up before God. A redemption moment for sure.
How are these harsh Christians showing and leading people to Jesus? This is THE question. Did Jesus and/or any of his disciples or any followers stand and yell at people they were going to hell? I read through the bible every year, I have never come across a book or verse where yelling took place. As a Christ follower we are called to be salt and light be the seasoning people want. Shine the light of Jesus that is in you so others are drawn to it. Yelling people are going to hell drives people away from Jesus which is the opposite of what we are called to do.
Christians need to be better. Starting with me, I would not ask anyone to do something I was not willing to. I am willing to be salt, I am willing to be light. Join me.
Followers of Jesus have some things right and some things wrong. Put all of your faith in Him, trust when you can’t see how something is possible and the list goes on. Yet, there seems to be something lacking in the Christian realm how to deal with Satan. The Book of Ephesians offers us the Armor of God, which certainly has it’s place in aiding against the devil. By and large the followers of Christ only want to talk with and to Him. I think that’s wrong.
I like coffee. In fact I have 2 cups to start my days. I have made coffee and talked with Satan. That’s right you read this correctly. I talk at times with Satan. You know who else did? God (spoke directly to him in heaven no less in the Book of Job) and Jesus who just so happened to be tested by Satan in the Book of Matthew chapter 4.
If we are called to be more like Jesus and less like, well ourselves shouldn’t we actually apply the things both God and Jesus have modeled? This is not “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” meeting. This is a one on one let’s chat meeting.
Depending on what is happening in your life, grab a cup of coffee and let Satan know what you think. I believe it is best to use the calmness and direct conversation that Jesus had with him route.
Jesus, used, wait for it……… the word of God to defuse what Satan was offering Him. Jesus never raised his voice or said something he did not mean. The bottom line and I believe the way to unarm the devil is the last things Jesus said to him in the Matthew 4: 1-11 passage.
10 Then Jesus said to him, [b]“Away with you, Satan! For it is written,‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”
It goes on to tell us that, brace for it……… Satan left Jesus and some angels came and helped Jesus. Jesus did not hide from Satan, nor did He run, nor was he confrontational. No, Jesus was just calculated.
Trust the Holy Spirit of God to lead you through conversations with Satan, but do not avoid them any longer.
Most days it is a challenge to just put one foot in front of the other. Most days I wake up well before I want to. Most days I grow fatigued as the day goes on. I have Psoriatic Arthritis, I am not alone The National Psoriatic Foundation reports that 1 million people in the United States or 30% have this type of arthritis. I would like to give some tips and pointers how to navigate day to day dealing with constant pain.
As pain interrupts my sleep and some days it is a battle to get out of bed, the real battle is in my head. This is an understanding I have come to both learn and embrace. I have to mentally be ready to endure a moment or two of sever pain to sit up in order to stand up.
I know that God has a plan for me and I have really come to the full awareness that each day truly is a gift and should never be taken lightly or for granted. That helps me and gives me good reason to get up and get moving.
Psoriatic Arthritis attacks the joints in the body. I have it in both shoulders, both wrists, all of my knuckles, both hips, both ankles and I am now starting to feel the same tightness and fatigue in both of my knees, which is what I felt in the other areas as the arthritis began to move in.
This is not a pity party, please do not read it as such!! I want to be transparent in this journey that I have been chosen to partake in. I have never been closer to Jesus that I am right now. I have come to a better awareness of His grace for me. Perhaps, that is what I am to take away from this season.
Back to the battle in my head. Psoriatic Arthritis destroys joints, there is no way around that. But if my focus was there, I would be melancholy and that is not where God wants me to be.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10
If you are reading this and are going through something, perhaps worse than I am, God bless you. I will not let my joy be stolen neither should you. Keep pushing, while leaning into God.
A warrior can be pretty much whatever we make it to be. A football player, cancer patient, the head of IT, the list goes on and on. Warrior is defined as such “a person who fights in battles and is known for having courage and skill.” A warrior is not typically what comes to mind when thinking about God. Perhaps you should change your perspective and begin to see God as a warrior.
“The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.” Exodus 15:3, in this short yet powerful description God is called a warrior by Moses. It is the only place in the bible God is directly called a warrior. So is there truth to how Moses addresses God in this passage?
Many Christian’s understand God is righteous and just. That He loves and extends grace and mercy. But a warrior invokes a different view of The Almighty all together. But, God is indeed a warrior.
“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14, for those in Christ we are allowed the freedom to walk through this life with the backing and security that God himself will intervene for us.
You say you do not fully buy into that concept. Alright try this on for size. “The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes,” Deuteronomy 1:30.
What is the point in all this you ask? Fair enough, my point is that far too many Christ followers are trying to fight a battle they have no business attempting to fight. Not sure who I just offended but I am sure I offended someone out there.
It is true. Ephesians 6: 10-18 blesses us with the Armor of God. That is to be put on daily. After it is put on there is one little request, stand firm. It does not get much more clear than that. Stand firm. Do not move. Stand firm.
God knew we would all need this reminder. It is our instinct when a conflict comes about to fight back. Do not do it! Stand firm. The battle belongs to the Lord. He has made things easy for us. Put armor on for protection as he fights for us.
Take heart in the fierceness of the Almighty warrior today. Give him your battle.
You are better than this! No, really we all make mistakes and do things that can lead us to a place we regret later on. For a person to utter the age old phrase “the devil made me do it,” is not entirely true simply put. Why? because at the end of the day there is free will and free choice. So instead of placing blame on someone else that can make the situation even worse while making ourselves appear shallow. Let’s look at a better approach.
“The thief (devil) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 . I admit that the devil is many things, but know that he needs to have permission to attack according to the Book of Job.
The key word is attack. The devil can attack a persons thoughts. However, a person still has a choice to make. Give into a thought, urge or action or that person can say no while taking that thought captive.
Yet when people do something wrong they act as though they had little choice and that the devil actually controlled their brains, arms and legs. That is not true and would constitute as a lie.
People need to get back to accepting blame for their own issues. Sure the devil may be able to initiate a thought like he did way back in the Garden of Eden when he asked Eve “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
There is zero proof the devil can actually take over total control of a body. That is where free will and free choice come into play. The devil gives the thought that does not mean darkness has to win.
What it means is that as a Christ follower we need to daily put on the Armor of God and take a stand. When we do we take full control of our thoughts, heart, path and can steer clear of making regrettable decisions.
The devil can only win if a person lets him. Press back and take a stand.
The way to defeat darkness has been given. Jesus gave the template on how His followers should confront dark days or spiritual attacks, yet many Christian’s fail to apply what the bible offers. Anyone who has walked this earth for any length of time know that bad days come. That is because the devil is an outlaw. Yet, there is hope.
As a Christ follower I do not pretend to have it all together or that I know more than anyone else. I do read the bible daily and read the entire Holy scriptures every year. All I can attempt to do is point the reader to the word and hope that the Holy Spirit will give breakthroughs that are needed.
Much like us, Jesus was tempted by the devil. He was fasting and the devil made his move. Satan attacks us but this was a different story this was actually Christ. After the devil gives his temptation Jesus utters three words. “It is written.”
Now being fully man and fully God, Jesus did not just leave it at “it is written” He gave some meat, meaning he used God’s word (the bible) against the greatest villain the world has known and will know.
What we find in the book of Job is that Satan though banished to the earth is in heaven, in fact he tells God he was roaming the earth. The point is that Satan had to get permission to attack Job. Why? Because Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 that “ALL authority has been given to me.” Satan has to check in and get permission.
God knew that Job would stand firm in his faith and allowed Job to be given a no good, very bad day. One that tested all of Job’s resolve. In the end Job was restored and blessed even more.
So as a Christ follower I need to ask, when the devil attacks can you fill in the blanks to “it is written?” Do you know God’s words that well? If not start. Begin to read the bible or listen and read along.
My wife and I were been given a Job like day a while back and sought our then pastor and it began a quest to know God better through reading His word. After many years we are much better equipped to tell the devil what God’s word says after “it is written.”
A breakthrough is coming. I know it is, I trust it is, I believe it is. With that said the struggle has been ongoing for years. I have chronic pain, arthritis, seized up muscles that go from my neck to my hips, yet I stand firm that a breakthrough is coming. Not because I am delusional or crazy ( at least I do not think I am.) Because chronic pain is not my identity.
While I am not 100% sure what has caused chronic pain to invade my body I have some clues that at the very least did not help me out. Years of heavy work, a car accident and maybe a family curse of arthritis (I say that because I am adopted and have no way of knowing and simply do not trust the person I could possibly ask) may have all played a role in the pain that now ensnares my body.
It could be that all the events I listed have worked together for the great bad. The amount of times I say “Ouch!!” in a day boarders on ridiculous, I freely admit that. There was a time that “Ouch!!” would have been replaced by another word that was not meant for human or any ears to hear. So “Ouch!!” it is, because it does provide a little release.
The pain I feel is all day everyday. My body hurts the same there is no worse time of day. This is not a pity party and should in no way, shape, or form be taken or read as such. Why? Because I know where my help comes from. I just do not know when that help will come.
“My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth,” Psalm 121:2
I absolutely believe this. That the God of the universe will come and heal me in His time. Until then I need to listen to the doctors he has given wisdom to and to take the medicine they prescribed. Even though medicine is a masking agent to dull the pain, God is the one true doctor.
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
So while some days are worse than others and I tend to mope around those days, I also know that God will not only deliver me from my pain in His time, but I will also fully understand the strength that comes only from Him that have gotten through this season of chronic pain.
If you are dealing with chronic pain or any pain for that matter, turn to God and trust in His time, by His grace freedom and healing will come.
A few years ago My wife, children and I packed our bags and well everything inside of our home of 17 years and headed back to our old stomping grounds. This was not a knee jerk move, because the housing market was heating up and the time was right, but it was a God appointed move that He initiated during our yearly family fast.
17 years is a long time to live in one area. We enjoyed life in our former location and we really like the church we attended and volunteered at for nearly the same span of time. After we moved we continued to drive back and forth to the church it only took a half an hour one way.
We moved back to help with aging parents and the Lord showed us why as there were heath issues that lead to surgeries. We again sought God’s face and chose to step away from our what is now former church. It was not an easy choice to make, getting out of the boat and walking on water never is.
We then began to check out different church’s and finally landed on one. Again prayer is a great tool to lean on. So now we were at our new church and all was right with the world. Hold on, yeah about that, sorry wrong story.
The sermons and church leadership was good but my relationship with God was dulled by the shift in church’s. Just being honest. All the friends and relationships we had known for over a decade were harder to continue.
We needed to get plugged in and begin the painstaking task of finding new friends. There is no magic wand and God did not grab ahold of my wife and mine hands and walk us over to people. He did give us what we needed. My wife attended a small group and I did as well.
I had been spoiled. I had great time with my wife coaching small group leaders at the old church and now we were attending different groups at our new place of worship. God worked it out, He always does. We both met new people and got plugged in.
We have met others since that time and are now starting our own small group. We are trusting that God will grow the group according to who needs to be there and for others looking for relationships outside of their homes.
I am thankful for where God has lead us. He really does make all things new.
“So we fasted and implored our God for this, and He listened to our entreaty.” Ezra 8:23
A New Year, a fresh start, time of wonderment and anticipation. While today football games will be played, people will gather and food will be eaten, there remains a single goal or should I say a tone setter for 2022, to seek God for what we would like to see Him do for our family this year.
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
We seek God NOT because we are righteous. In fact it is the complete opposite. I am small and have sin filled hands. We seek God and His righteousness because our plans fail or we need help in areas that only He can bring life to. However, when our plans are placed in the one who spoke the world into being there is a success rate that can not be matched.
“Then I turned my face to the Lord God, seeking him by prayer and pleas for mercy with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.” Daniel 9:3
The key points to fasting in my opinion are:
1. Be willing to open your heart to the one who gave it it’s beat.
2, Be willing to make your fast difficult, meaning eat just vegetables, just liquids or nothing. God will fill you and satisfy your needs.
3. Be willing to make a list of things you want God to move in.
4. Be willing to allow God space to move in His time, not yours.
5. Be willing to trust God in the areas of your fast which will increase your faith.
Can you sense a pattern? Be willing. Sometimes it is much easier to say than to actually do. Many of my opinionated list is centered on having a certain level of patience.
“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” Romans 8:25
As 2022 starts, I am willing to lay it all before a Holy God. I know He will meet all of my families needs and requests. If you have not done so, maybe consider ringing in the New Year with a fast.
This is an odd place to be and an even odder subject to be writing about. Adoption, it comes in different forms. Pet adoptions, person adoptions, city or stated adoptions even sports team can be adopted, the list goes on. There is a certain stigma for a person who is adopted, I mean there has to be right? A child or adults must be gossiped about behind closed doors when the cat is out of the bag as far as being adopted. Actually, I do not think so. I think the only so-called stigma is between the ears. I know, I am adopted.
For a long time I lived with a secret that really was not a secret except in my mind. I was adopted in 1975. Through an act of God, I was spared a life less desirable and given what some would call the chance of a lifetime.
I really did not know my biological family well. Perhaps I was to young or there are simply places I do not want to revisit in the recesses of my mind. As I grew I had no desire to look for biological family members. I was not part of their lives and I was good with that.
I do have a sister who is a bit of a hot mess. Part her own doing and part I firmly believe was a family curse passed down. I will refrain from details, because it is like a broken record to me and because God has called me to look forward and not back so that is where my focus is.
I now embrace that I am adopted in ways that I never did before. Part of it is maturity and part of it is knowing who I am both in Christ and in the family I am blessed to be part of.
There is no stigma. Only joy of being part of something that has altered my beginning and transformed me into the person who God wants me to be. If you are adopted embrace it, celebrate it. If you are thinking of adopting, do it.