Apr 26, 2018

“How To Behave Like A Christian For Dummies”

We all seen them. The titles grab our attention because they at first appear to be insulting; that is until we realize why they are written.

What I am refereeing to is the popular “For Dummies” book series. They are instruction and reference books with which beginners in any area of interest can get simple, practical step by step instruction and information without looking dumb.

By simply reading and applying the lessons and instructions to our lives, we can become an “advanced novice” without coming across as a dummy.

I thought to myself; “There should be one for Christians who want to know how to behave”, because sometimes we (as Christians) are afraid that if we ask we will look like a dummy.

It turns out there is one. I am not referring to the book titled “Christianity For Dummies”. I am referring to what Paul wrote to the new up-and-coming church in the Middle Eastern region of the world.

Paul spells out a fairly simple “How to Behave Like a Christian For Dummies”. Here is an excerpt from a couple of instructional pages:

Love from the center of who you are; don’t fake it.

Run for dear life from evil.

Hold on for dear life to good.

Be good friends who love deeply.

Practice playing second fiddle.

Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame.

Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant.

Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder.

Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath.

Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy;

Share tears (with your friends) when they’re down.

Get along with each other; don’t be stuck-up.

Make friends with nobodies; don’t be the great somebody.

Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone.

If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody.

Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. Let God do the judging and take care of things.

If you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he’s thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness.

Don’t let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good.
(From Romans 12:9-21)

Dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you:
·        Compassion
·        Kindness
·        Humility
·        Quiet strength
·        Discipline.

Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense.

Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you.

And regardless of what else you put on, wear love.
·        It’s your basic, all-purpose garment.
·        Never be without it.

Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing.

Cultivate thankfulness.

Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives.

Instruct and direct one another using good common sense.

Sing, sing your hearts out to God!

Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
(From Colossians 3:12-17)

My personal belief is that if Christians would read this simple instruction from Paul and apply it to their daily lives, the world will be a much better place to live.

And we get instruction and are able to live this without looking like dummies!

All Scripture taken from The Message (MSG)

Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Apr 19, 2018

Your Table Is Ready...

When I go into a restaurant to eat, I give my name to the person at the front desk and they hand me a flying-saucer looking disk and tell me that they are going to prepare a table for me and that it will take 10, 15, 30, 45 minutes. The disk is a way for the restaurant to let me know when my table is ready. The hostess assures me that she will come back to get me when all is ready. 

Usually, I sit and wait and wonder with every person who is called if they have indeed forgotten about me. I stare at the red disk, “willing-it” with all my might to flash to let me know that it is time. I watch it thinking that if I blink I may miss the light going off and someone else will get my table.

Then, something strange happens; I settle in. I start to look around and get used to the environment I’ve found myself in. I begin to watch people as the chair in which I am sitting becomes molded to my body. I forget about the red disk and begin to wonder what might be the reason why each of the various groups of people came to eat at this restaurant…perhaps a birthday, or anniversary, I say to myself.

And then it happens! The disk begins to vibrate and to flash like an ambulance racing in the night! At first, I am bewildered; “What does this mean?” and “How do I get this thing to shut off?”; I think as I wake from my slumber. I leap to my feet, and almost embarrassed I race towards the front desk hoping that I am not too late.

All around me eyes begin to wonder why I get to go ahead of them.

And then, something changes in my swagger as I realize that I have been chosen, hand-selected by the restaurant to be ushered in, escorted to my table like royalty.

My hostess has returned to take me to the place that they have been preparing for me! I made it! Food and drinks await me! Everything I want has been prepared ahead of time; the table, the settings, the napkins are all arranged waiting for me!

Jesus said in John 14:2-3
“In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that where I am, you may be also.”

Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.  But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.  "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?"  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(1Co 15:51-57 NAS)

The Bible tells us that “Now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor 6:2).

IN SPITE OF WHAT YOU’VE HEARD, God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.

Jesus said; "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

Jesus said; "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.  (John3:16-17 NIV).

SO WHY aren’t most people experiencing life as described in the Bible verses we just read?

SIMPLY PUT, IT IS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE SINFUL; in other words, they don’t live as God wants them to live. Because of that, they are distant, or separated from God, and they cannot know and experience God's love and plan for their lives.

In the Bible we read; "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"(Romans 3:23).

When God made people, He intended FOR EVERYONE to have a loving relationship with Him. But because people have free-will, often they choose to go their own independent ways; doing what they want, and a relationship with God is broken.

The Bible calls this sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God; it means to miss the mark.

In the Bible we read; "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). 

In other words, the price of doing whatever we want results in a spiritual separation from God,

And life apart from God is death. God is holy and just. He cannot simply wink at sin.

His holiness commands payment for our sin.
John 3:18 Whoever believes on Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son."

BUT GOD DOESN’T WANT US TO STAY SEPARATED FROM HIM, so He made a way to "bridge the gap" that divides us from Him. This way is through Jesus Christ.

JESUS CHRIST IS GOD'S ONLY PROVISION FOR MAN'S SIN. Jesus paid the price for our sin with His death, burial, and resurrection: sinless substitute. Through Jesus (and Jesus alone) you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.

Remember that we read in the Bible that "the wages of sin is death?" Well, In the Bible we also read that Jesus died in our place;

"God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).  "Christ died for our sins...He was buried...He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures...He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred..." (1 Corinthians 15:3-6).

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me'" (John 14:6).

SOME PEOPLE WANT TO DO IT ALL ON THEIR OWN, thinking that Christianity is too narrow; there must be several ways to get in.

IF I WAS TO TRY TO GET BACK INTO BODY BUILDING, there would really be only one way to do it: Diet and exercise. No short cuts as shown in the infomercials on TV. No fad diets. I have to follow the prescribed plan. The same is true for getting right with God.


It is not God’s plan to send people to hell. Hell was created for the devil and His angels.

People go to hell because they reject God’s offer of salvation. That is like a restaurant where you need a tie to get in and you refuse to take the tie offered to you by the hostess.

If you don’t go to heaven, it is because you have rejected His offer for forgiveness.

YOU MIGHT BE THINKING, "I ALREADY KNOW THIS." But it is not enough just to know this; you must personally and individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. After that, you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life.

In the Bible we read; "As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name" (John 1:12)

"By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9).


JUST TO agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience.

RECEIVING CHRIST involves turning our wills and lives to God and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. The Bible calls this "repentance". What that means is to "change the way you think"; in other words go another direction- with our thoughts, words, actions; with how we live our lives.

RECEIVING CHRIST involves agreeing with what God calls sin. The Bible calls this “confession”. Confession means to agree with what God says and remember, Sin is anything that separates us from God.


1.   Those who are sorry for their sins.
2.   Those who are willing to turn away from what the Bible calls sin.
3.   Those who put their complete trust (have faith) in Jesus Christ and what He accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection.

“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved: for with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For the scripture says, whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him: for whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:9-13 

1.   Stop trusting in your own efforts to please God and begin to trust in what Jesus Christ has already done.
2.   Ask God to forgive you for your sins.
3.   Invite Jesus to come and live in you.
4.   Ask Jesus to take His rightful place as Lord and Savior of your life.
5.   Turn away from whatever the Bible says is sin.
§  This is only possible after you have made Jesus the Lord of your life.

You can do this right now by praying (speaking to God) in your own words like this:"









Apr 12, 2018

Let Faith Arise

“Faith” by Jason Upton

Let faith arise, oh Lord, let faith arise
In the deepest parts of my being, oh Lord
In the most broken parts of me, oh Lord

Friends have failed me Lord, let my faith arise
Loved ones have failed me Lord, let my faith arise
Heroes have failed me Lord, let my faith arise

Let my faith arise
Let my faith arise
Let my faith arise
Let my faith arise

I say NO to the discouragement that keeps me down
I say NO to the things that keep me back from You
And this broken heart inside of me
Broken in so many pieces
By so many circumstances
I say NO to just letting it stay that way

Because I'm learning to trust that it's not You that hurt me
I'm learning to believe that it's not You that deserted me
I'm believing that You still love me
Brokenness and all

I'm believing that You've got a plan for me
I'm believing that You will restore me
I believe that You will awaken my soul
And let, let faith arise again, I believe
I believe like a little child again

I'm gonna dance in my trust in You, oh Lord
I'm gonna dance in my love for You, oh Lord
I'm gonna laugh again
I'm gonna cry again
I'm gonna have joy, joy on the inside
Circumstances around me try to pull me down

I'm going to believe in that faith again
'Cause You're my Creator
You're my Comfort
You're the One that will never desert me

So Daddy, I raise my hands up to You Lord
I raise my hands up to You, oh Lord
And I dance with my feet, I dance with my feet
And I say, come and, come and hold me Lord
'Cause I'm learning to trust You with the faith of a child
Trust You with the faith of a child
I can have joy again like a child

I'm not going to let it come down
I'm not going to let those bullets come down
Come down and hurt me no more
'Cause I'm raising up the Shield of Faith
And the Sword of the Lord

I'm believing on your Word Lord
I'm trusting in the Word that You said
And I'm waiting on You
Waiting on You

And I'm rejoicing in the fact that the Bible says
That You are my Victorious Warrior
You're the one that fights for me
I don't have to fight anymore
You're the one that fights for me, oh Lord
My faith is rising, my faith is rising, my faith is rising
I can see You again Lord.
I can see You on the horizon of my life, oh Lord
I can see Your Son, it's rising up, it's rising up, it's rising up

And I don't have to be discouraged anymore
And I don't have to fight this loneliness anymore
'Cause You're in my life, You're in my life more than anyone can ever be

Father we're building a relationship again, just me and You
We're building a relationship again, just me and You

It's not about the job I have
It's not about the friends I have
Its' not about the house I have or the social status I have
It's about me and You

We're building a relationship again, just me and You
You're building my faith up again

Let faith arise, oh Lord!

Apr 5, 2018

Toilet Paper, Soap, and Worn Jeans

When I awoke this morning, I thought of a conversation that Cathy and I had many years ago. We were experiencing a time where more money was going through the bank than was coming in.

During this trial of faith, I went in to lockdown mode, trying to cling on to all that we had. Cathy, instead, said to me; “I said to God if you need to take it all away so that we learn to trust You, then do it”.

I asked her not to pray that way just in case God took her up on her test of faith.

Well, we got through that season of growing in our faith and God provided.

And, we have gone through other tests throughout our married life and have had to trust for even greater things such as vehicles, medical bills, a house, and money to help the children pay off college loans.

If it were up to me, we would have gone the route I had planned on when I was in college: graduate, get the great job with the retirement package and then retire with plenty of money saved in the bank.

So here we are again. We are in the middle of a miracle; the place where we are in between the promise and the provision. Another season of increasing faith and trust in the provision of the Lord.

Seemingly all of our resources are drying up. I am experiencing mental and physical health issues that make it difficult for me to secure a steady source of income; and beyond that to fill the barns to over flowing so we have reserves in the bank.

When I went downstairs today, I noticed that the large box of toilet paper from Sam’s Club that had been full a month ago was half gone. On the shelf where we keep the large package of bar soap there were only two left. In the clothes basket were a pair of jeans well past their prime. All of these items would soon need to be replaced and it will take money to do so.

All of this in the past would have stirred me up to think like a pagan or an unbeliever. Instead, my mind was on seeking first the Kingdom because of what I heard when I woke this morning.

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. 34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31-34 MSG)

I’ve been thinking a lot about Noah lately and all that he had to endure as a part of his increasing trust and faith in the provision of the Lord.

Noah’s story was not without testing, trust, and even pain. He was in the middle of a miracle of God and he was learning to trust for provision of all things, and some days that included pain.

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from the hard work of building the massive ship; all the while (subjectively) explaining to those around him that something called “rain” was coming.

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from loss of friends and loved ones who died in the flood.

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from the hard work of taking care of the livestock and birds for a whole year; to say nothing of the working conditions such as the stench of that ship!

There was physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain from simply being stretched in his faith as he trusted One who he couldn’t see to provide everything that he needed; including toilet paper, soap, and clothing!

Do you think trusting God means that everything will be easy? After all, if God is the One who is allowing it and we are His children, it should go well…right?

That’s not always the case. Sometimes trusting God is really hard as we learn to set down all of the programing we have been hard-wired with since we were young. Things like worrying vs letting go and seeking first the Kingdom of God. Like relying on ourselves vs trusting God for how He chooses to provide.

Yes, it may be painful and lonely and at times cause you to think that you really have missed God. But that does not necessarily mean that you are missing God.

Noah did everything just as God told him, and he still must have had some dark times of wondering if he missed God’s plan. After all, he was on the ship for over one year; during which I’m sure he had many reasons to not believe that he was going to have enough to get by physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

Are you going through a time of testing right now? Trust God through it.

And, when following God gets painful, pray and ask God for the peace to follow Him no matter what and you will find real peace; not as the world gives.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So, if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.” (Matthew 7:9-11 NLT)

It is time of increasing trust in the only One who can take care of us.

The Father has placed you where you are and you must trust that everything happens in His time.

Don’t fight what He is doing in your life to go back to what you know does not work; like worry and stress.

This is the time to put your worry aside and yield to those things He wants to teach you. His desire is for you to walk in His ways and stand and see His provision for ALL areas of your life…toilet paper, soap, and new jeans!

“Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying, “GOD has lost track of me. He doesn’t care what happens to me”? Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening? GOD doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine. He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch His breath.” (Isaiah 40:27-29 MSG) 

The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.