Dealing With Loss

As I was writing this blog this week, our family and I had to say goodbye to my wife’s stepfather Donald, who had been battling cancer for the past year. Though we miss him we take comfort in the fact that before departing this life he gave his heart to Jesus. He now walks with the Lord in heaven upon the streets of gold, free from sorrow and pain and ever praising the One who gave His life for all of us. Jesus has overcome.

Yet, that does not mean those of us left here on earth do not feel sorrow and loss, but it is mixed with the joy found in our hope and faith in Jesus. The same faith that promises that we will see our friends and loved ones again one day.

Whatever trials you may be facing today, remember that this life will always be full of trials; storms that erupt suddenly leaving us to struggle to merely to keep our heads above water. When this occurs, we will find the material things that we believed would hold us up and keep us afloat will not save us. So what can we do? Where can we go to find peace and security the midst of the struggles of this life? There is only One who can provide lasting refuge. Just One! His name is Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace to you all.

Easter Quotes

Happy Easter!

Easter is not about a bunny or springtime. It’s not about egg hunts or flowers blooming. It’s not about going to church or big family gatherings. None of these things are wrong in and of themselves mind you, but Easter is about one thing: forgiveness of sin. Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross provided forgiveness for every mistake we’ve ever made. Every “white lie” to the other extreme can be forgiven if we place our faith and trust in Jesus.

So when you’re hunting eggs, going to church, or enjoying Spring’s beautiful vistas, remember that today is all about Jesus and His love for you. That He was willing to die for you on the cross so that your sins would be forgiveness.

“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” (Matthew 28:1-7)

“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”
‭‭(Romans‬ ‭10:9, 13‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” -Billy Graham

“There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.” -Charles Stanley

“You must make your choice: either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” -C. S. Lewis

Will You Believe?

I posted this nearly a year ago, but I was in church this past Sunday and heard a wonderful sermon regarding this passage. I felt the need to reshare this post.
“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house- for I have five brothers-in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'””‭‭(Luke‬ ‭16:27-31‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

This is a parable told by Jesus prior to His death. He was refuting the Pharisees who place more importance on strict adherence to rules and religiosity rather than faith in God and love toward others. The parable is about a rich man and a poor man and how their actions influence their eternal destination. One placed his faith in money and the other in God. I’ve read this passage many times, but this time I finally saw what Jesus was saying. The Pharisees were men who spent their lives studying the law written down by Moses and the writings of the prophets. Yet with all their knowledge of the scriptures,they could not recognize Jesus as the Messiah. Even when He’d died and risen from the dead, the Pharisees refused to believe.

“For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” ‭‭(Romans‬ ‭1:21-23‬ ‭NASB‬‬)


Today, people of the United States have access to the Bible (the law of Moses and the Prophets) in the palm of their hand (smartphones) or they can purchase one in any Barnes and Noble. Yet they ignore the truth and turn towards their own desires. The saddest part is that they won’t realize their mistake until it’s too late and they will have no excuse. 


“Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God; because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” (‭‭Romans‬ ‭3:19-20‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

The scariest part of these passages still remains that last verse from Luke 16, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’ Have you ignored the Bible or mocked the words of your Christian friends? Ask yourself a question: Wherever you are reading this blog, if Jesus Christ were to suddenly appeared to you right now, would you believe in Him? What would it take for you to accept Jesus?

Some Easter Quotes

“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” (Matthew 28:1-7)

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.'” -Billy Graham

“There is only one secure foundation: a genuine, deep relationship with Jesus Christ, which will carry you through any and all turmoil. No matter what storms are raging all around, you’ll stand firm if you stand on His love.” -Charles Stanley

“You must make your choice: either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” -C. S. Lewis

 

I forgive you?

When my trust is betrayed, my first instinct is to withdraw from that person; to cut off communication and ostrisize them from my life. My second is to lash out and defend myself. This is especially true when the offense seems as though it is a personal attack. This ringing true for anyone else?

As a Christian, the Bible is the first place I go to when faced with these situations. Why? To be completely honest, I don’t trust my instincts. The fact is, my instincts are flawed, especially when dominated by the emotional reactions that follow a friend or coworker’s betrayal. My instincts tell me to hurt the person back; to repay their evil actions and words with more evil. In contrary to our instincts, the Bible tells us to do the opposite. 

Consider this passage:

“”You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew‬ ‭5:43-48‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Jesus’s teachings were contrary to conventional wisdom. He called into question the “common sense” teachings of the day, and reminded them that the wisdom of Man is nothing compared to the wisdom of God Almighty. Conventional wisdom demands a “eye for an eye,” but Christ teaches us to turn the other cheek; to be patient with others to the point of our own harm. It flies in the face of everything the world tells us is “fair.” I take solace in the fact that I don’t have to rely on my instincts and that I don’t have to “buy into” the conventional wisdom of my contemporaries. My faith, hope, and future are bound up in Christ and His promises; not in the wisdom of this world. What’s more, I can forgive through the grace I have found in Jesus Christ and hopefully help others to find His grace as well. 

Writing to Me Is:

An Outlet for Joy or Frustration.

I write to express my thoughts and humble opinions concerning politics, religion, the economy, etc. 

An Exercise in Introspection

When reading my work, you will find that my characters examine their actions and motives pretty thoroughly. It is one of my own character traits that I place in all my characters not because I believe ever person does this but because they have the potential ability to do so. Introspection is illuminating and as a writer, understanding my own motives enables me to also examine and better understand the motives and desires of others. 

An Expression of Worship

Writing is a gift; a creative means to express God’s glory to the world. Though some may use it to spread woe and discourse, they will face the consequences of their choices one day. I strive to abide by this verse both in spoken and in written word. 

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”” (Matthew‬ ‭12:36-37‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

This is very humbling and should make us reconsider every utterance whether verbal, printed or posted. I’m certainly not perfect, but also know that I’m a work in progress. God bless to you all. 

Can God Really Forgive Me?

You can’t change the past, no matter how much you may want to do so. The guilt and shame of your past mistakes may haunt you. You’ll be going along just fine and then a song or a familiar face or some other reminder will bring all those memories back to the surface. If you let it, those memories will overwhelm you and send you spiraling back down to the pits of guilt and shame from which you strove so hard to climb out.

Consider this John 21:15-19:

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.

In this passage, Jesus has risen from the dead and confronts Peter about his sins. If you are familiar with the narrative of Jesus’s arrest, crucifixion, and death, you will remember that during Jesus’s questioning by the chief priest that Peter denied knowing Jesus not once but three times (Matthew 26:69-72; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-27). So why does Jesus ask Peter “Do you love Me?” three different times? Part of the reason is because Jesus wants Peter to know that He forgives him, and He wants Peter to forgive himself.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-6)

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

If you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, He has forgiven you from all your sins: past, present, and future. If the God of all creation can forgive you, who are you to hold anything against yourself. Your sins are gone so let them go.