Thursday, November 30, 2017

What Bold Faith Looks Like!

WAY TO GO, Christ Pratt!!!  

coming out of Hollywood in a long time.

I applaud your boldness and your faithfulness!
Thank you and God bless you!  

Click on them. They're worth listening to at least once.

Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle -
A life-changing, heart-changing song for me.

Oh, What Love by The City Harmonic -
This song says it all! 

Confession (Agnus Dei) by the City Harmonic  -
I woke up once singing the line "Lamb of God who takes away ..." over and over again in my mind. I have loved it ever since.

I AM by Crowder -
He's always there holding onto us, calling us to hold onto Him.




And three for those who are hurting.  But don't listen to them unless you are hurting because you won't be in the right frame of mind to really hear it....

Love, Heal Me by the City Harmonic 
The song that inspired the name of one of my blogs -
my heart's cry for the past couple years.

Fell Apart by the City Harmonic 

One of the best opening lines ever! 
These City Harmonic songs became my prayers
at a time I was too broken to pray for myself.

Healing Begins by Tenth Avenue North
So much truth in this wonderful song.
(I don't know why the stupid computer made this one a different color.)




You can find more songs on the right side-bar and in previous posts.  Honestly, can you find this kind of hope in any of the mainstream songs out there today!?! 

If you are interested, take this challenge:  listen to these songs at least 3 times over the next month or two, and see what happens. 

But before you do, say a prayer out loud that God would open your eyes to the truth about His existence and about who Jesus is and what He came to do.  (Even something simple like, "God, show me if You are really real and if Jesus really is who He said He is - if He really is Lord and Savior, and the only way to get to You, to heaven.") 

And really mean it! 

And if you want more, if you've never read the Bible, commit to reading through it once (maybe starting with the New Testament) while again praying that God would open your eyes to the truth in it. 


What do you have to lose!?! 
Nothing! 
But you might just gain everything!




Don't Say You Were Never Warned!


(click on it)
It's the Gospel Truth!
(Don't say you were never warned.)

Soon, Lord. Please!

We're waiting for You, Lord.  Please let it be soon!

[Click on it ... and pray for it with me.  This isn't just a myth, people.  It's truth.  And it's coming.  Repent and grab onto God's forgiveness and grace and healing ... while there is still time.  

And don't get me wrong; I am not saying that we can set dates, or that "soon" means this week or month or year, or that we should sell all our belongings and sit on some hilltop somewhere waiting for Jesus (that would be foolish, unbiblical, and a waste of your precious life and time).  

But I am saying that this life isn't all there is.  This life will end someday.  And we need to decide where we want to spend eternity.  Your eternal home isn't assigned to you randomly.  You get to pick it: heaven or hell.  Life with Jesus or without.  And if you refuse to decide, if you refuse Jesus, then you essentially refuse eternal life with Jesus.  Hell is our default destination, not heaven.  Take this seriously.  Before it's too late for you to decide.]

And One More "Rapture" Song ...

... because I like this one
and I'm praying that it's soon.

(If you really understood who Jesus is
and the hope and healing He offers, 
you'd be praying for it too!)

Lord, please, break open the sky!


Do You Believe?


            I saw the movie Do You Believe? yesterday.  (This is a repost from years ago.)  Excellent movie.  Very well done!  (Bring tissues!  Be ready to be inspired and touched deeply!) 

            But one part stood out to me (although it all stood out . . . excellent movie!).  A lost, hurting, confused man was in a hotel room when he found a Bible.  And I thought about how sad it is that, nowadays in America, people are trying to get Bibles out of hotel rooms and to erase all references to God in public areas. 

            What about the hurting person who needs help?  The lost person who needs to be found?  The hopeless person who needs the Truth, Love, and Healing that only God can give?  How will they find the answers they are looking for (even if they don’t know they are looking for them) if we eradicate God from our society? 

            More than ever, the responsibility to spread the Gospel lies with us believers.  A grassroots movement.  (Which is what it’s always been!)  Society is trying to erase God; we need to be the ones that share Him.  And so I put together this compilation of verses that neatly sum up the message of the Bible, the greatest message we will ever share!  Of course, you can boil it down even more.  But I like the fullness of these verses. 

            [And in my sadness and frustration with our society's efforts to erase God, to turn their backs on Him, I also decided to start wearing a simple cross necklace.  I don't like jewelry, but I want to wear this necklace to put a little more God back into the world.  To take a stand for Him.  I want to wear one because we can.  We still have the right to, in our country.  And I want to exercise that right before we lose it, before God is erased completely from America.  Take a stand for Jesus in some way.  Wear the cross.  Share the truth.  Love your neighbor.  Copy these verses and pass them out.  Scripture can touch hearts deeper than anything else.  And you never know who desperately needs to hear it!  Without it, we would all be completely, hopelessly lost!]   

 

Do You Believe? 

“Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17, NIV Bible, in all these verses, the emphasis is added)

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) 

“He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord . . .” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9) 

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

For God so loved the world that he sent 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.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already . . .” (John 3:16-18)

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)  

“if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. . . . ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’  (Romans 10:9-10, 13)  

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”  (1 John 1:9-10)

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  (1 Corinthians 1:18)  

“since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20)

The heavens declare the glory of God . . .”  (Psalm 19:1)

“Be still, and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10)

“He who has ears, let him hear.” (Matthew 11:15)


Do you believe?
(click on it)


(FYI, you don't have to believe in Jesus if you don't want to.  You can reject Him if you prefer.  But if He is who He said He is then you will have to pay the price for your unbelief - because He doesn't cease being God or being real just because you don't believe in Him.  Seriously ... what if?)

(reposted from https://myimpressionisticlife.blogspot.com)  

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Choose!

Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness.... 

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you ... then choose for yourselves whom you will serve, whether the gods of your own imagination who let you live whatever way you want or the socially-acceptable gods who tell everyone what they want to hear.


But as for me and my household ...

WE WILL SERVE THE LORD!

(Joshua 24:14-15, paraphrased for today) 




Click here when you have time to listen.  To really listen.  You owe it to yourself, to your eternal soul, to listen to this song at least once and to really think about what it says.  (And click here for one more, one that deeply touched my heart.)  What do you have to lose? 

Starting Your Own Relationship with Jesus


             John 3: 16: “For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

            God so loved the world.  He didn’t just love the world; He so loved the world.  He so loved the world that He (Jesus) would die in our place before He would miss out on an eternal relationship with us.  He knew that we would disappoint Him and hurt Him and fail Him, but He still so wanted a relationship with us that He made a way.  He knew that there would be many, many people that would reject His gift of love and salvation, but an eternity spent with those who would choose Him was worth the price of dying on the cross.  That is some amazing love!     

            Let me ask you something:  If you were to die today or if Jesus came back today, would you be ready?  Seriously!   This life, as we know it, isn't going to go on forever.  And we are not invincible.  People die every day, in every kind of way.  Are you ready to face eternity, what comes the moment after you take your last breath?  Have you figured out who Jesus is and why He matters so much? 

            Because this will be what matters most the moment after you die.  And, quite honestly, it's what matters most in this lifetime, too.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Help for Anxiety, Depression, and Suicidal Thoughts

(June 12, 2018)  It's so sad to hear about all the celebrities who have recently committed suicide (or about anyone who has committed suicide, for that matter).  My heart breaks for them, for the pain they went through, and for the ones who love them, for the pain they are now going through.  It is truly a tragedy.  (And it could have been me.)

To anyone who is hurting really badly, who is struggling with overwhelming anxiety or depression, who is considering taking their own lives ... I dedicate this post.  Please, take some time to look through some of the links here.  This is a round-up of some on-line resources or posts about dealing with anxiety or depression, particularly as a Christian.  

Is God Drawing Lines in the Sand? (updated)


It’s amazing and disturbing how brazen our society is in attacking everything about God and everything He created:  marriage, monogamy, sex, family, sexuality, the scientific reality of gender, morality, modesty, the value of a person, the right to life, the existence of "right and wrong," the Bible, Jesus, and Absolute Truth.  Not to mention God Himself, His very existence. 


We are destroying everything associated with Him (except nature – we worship that), and then we call ourselves progressive.


But you know what I think about it all?


I think that God is letting it happen because He’s drawing lines in the sand.  Through all these divisive issues, God is saying “Pick a side!  I am forcing you to decide which side you want to be on ... because I am coming back soon to take My people out of here.  So I need you all to decide:  Me or the world?  Which do you choose?"

At least I hope that's why He's allowing all this breakdown to happen, all this conflict and divisiveness.  Because if He's not - if He's not coming back soon - then God help those of us who choose to be faithful to Him.  We're gonna need it! 


Will You Bet Your Soul On it?


 
Enough to bet your soul on it?
 
 
People get ready!
 
 
 

The Case for Christ


If you haven’t seen The Case for Christ, the movie based on Lee Strobel’s life, you should see it.  It’s good.  It’s about his journey to Christ, from being an atheist who was very skeptical about Christianity and who only responded to “facts” to finally finding the evidence for Christ so overwhelming that he couldn’t help but believe.


What I liked about it was the two different ways that we see him and his wife come to Christ.  She came to Christ through her emotions, through the pull on her heart, as though she knew it was the truth without needing the facts first.  But he came to Christ through his mind, through researching the facts about Christ’s death and resurrection and the validity of the Bible.


One was led by their heart, and one was led by their mind.


I love that.  I love that God has different ways of reaching different people, based on our personalities.  I love that we can find Him through our heart and emotions, and I love that we can find Him through facts and reasoning.


I have always found it interesting to hear about someone’s salvation story, about what led them to finally believe in God, to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, and how it changed their life.


Does anyone out there want to share their journey to Christ?  What led you to Him?  What effect did it have on you?  What has life been like since then?  Etc.?


Mine is quite simple and uneventful.  My mom had been searching for awhile for God.  I was in a Catholic school and we were attending a Jehovah’s Witness church (cult).  But she knew there was more out there.  And so we ended up at a Bible-based church of some kind, and she sent me to a Christian camp when I was 11.  While I was there, I heard an “altar call,” a call to come to the front and kneel if you want to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.  And I guess I just knew that I had no choice, that this was real and I wanted it.  And so, without even really thinking about it, I rose to my feet and walked to the front.  And that was it!


But since then, I have been driven to have solid, rational answers for why I believe in Christ and why I don’t believe in other religions or atheism.  So I have spent time researching other religions and what they offer and researching Christianity and the validity of the Bible and the events of the Bible.  And in doing so, my faith has only grown more solid.  It’s only confirmed my faith more. 


For me, it’s Jesus or nothing!  He alone has the words of life and truth and true hope!


How about you?  What’s your story?  Your case for Christ? 

A Defining Moment

Have you ever been smacked upside the head by the heaviest questions you could ever ask yourself, knowing that the answers would define your future and determine the direction of your faith thereafter? ...


My Understanding of "The End Times"


            I wrote a section for Christians about “The End Times” in the Bible study I wrote.  But I wanted to write a shorter, easier-to-understand version for everyone else.  With all the hurricanes, earthquakes, “cash-less” technology, terrorism, martyring of Christians, people’s rebellion against everything God stands for, disease epidemics, the technology to put little radio transmitters into people’s hands containing their information, the various celestial events, a fast-approaching “one-world system,” a brewing civil war, a brewing world war, the events surrounding Israel and Jerusalem, etc., it seems like a good time to post this.

            And no … contrary to a popular “prophecy,” I do not think the world will end with a large planet crashing into us.

            Oh, no … it’s so much worse than that!  Or better!  Depending on whose side you’re on.

            (And may I add ... I find it so funny that scientists swear up and down that there is no Planet X that is going to crash into Earth like that one guy predicted, yet none of them saw that strange, cigar-shaped asteroid coming - the one that whizzed by us not too long ago, that came from another solar system, that was completely unpredicted and unlike anything seen before, and that travelled very fast.  And yet they say there's no chance of a Planet X crashing into us?  A little overly confident, don't you think?)

            And to all those scoffers who say "None of this has anything to do with the end of the world" or "There is no 'end of the world' and Jesus isn't coming back again," I would like to ask you ...

            "Are you so sure!?!  Are you so sure that there isn't a supernatural world out there?  That there isn't a God who will someday do exactly what He said He'd do in His Word?  That He isn't moving and working in this world and about to bring this time to an end?  Are you so sure!?!  Even if the end doesn't come in our lifetime, it will come someday - in our own lives and for the world as we know it.  Are you prepared to face the truth?  Will you find the truth before it's too late?"     


Is the Rapture Taught in the Bible?

(Updated slightly) 

             I believe there’s going to be rapture of the true believers before the tribulation starts (which I talked about in the post “My Understanding of the End Times”).   
 

             In this post, I’m going to list which significant passages I think refer to the Rapture and which refer to the Visible Second Coming, which will happen at the 6th seal, during the tribulation.  This is all just my opinion.  I do not claim to have any special revelation from God.  It’s just the best way I make sense of Scripture.
 

             Before I get into the verses, keep this in mind:

          1.  All “coming of the Lord” passages that include something about Jesus coming in power and great glory and with angels pertain to the visible second coming of Jesus at the 6th seal during the tribulation.  (However, there are some passages that refer to the visible coming which don’t use those words, but you can tell by the context, by the fact that they were already talking about the big “end of time” visible second coming.  And He also comes again visibly at the end of the trib for the battle of Armageddon, so that coming is referred to at times.  But neither of these "visible comings" are the rapture.)

          2.  None of the passages that pertain to the rapture have the words “in power and great glory and with angels.” 
 

             This helps clear up a lot of confusion about which “coming” the passage is referring to.  


Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth


            “And throw the worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  (Matthew 25:30)
           

            “The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  (Matthew 13:49-50)
 

            I used to wonder about the “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Where is this place and who gets thrown there?  It sounds like an awful place to be, and I always assumed that it happened in hell. 

            But what I couldn’t figure out is why the “servant who hid the talent” in Matthew 25 is thrown there, too.  It makes it sound as if a believer (a lazy one) ends up in a place with weeping and gnashing of teeth.  But how can that be if “weeping and gnashing” happens in hell, as seen in Matthew 13?  How can a believer end up in hell? 

            But I think I see the difference now.  The Matthew 13 passage says that the wicked are thrown into the “fiery furnace,” whereas the Matthew 25 passage says the servant is thrown “out into the darkness.” 

            I believe that these are two different places and times where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  One is the final judgment when unbelievers are thrown permanently into hell, the “fiery furnace.”  And the other is at the rapture when lazy, unprepared believers are left behind in the “darkness.” 

Why a Pre-Trib Rapture is the Most Merciful Option


            Some people have a lot of trouble accepting the idea that God would rapture the church out but leave everyone else to go through the tribulation.  They think it is heartless and cruel of Him.  I, however, think that a pre-trib rapture is the most merciful thing God could do.

            In the movie Left Behind (with Nicolas Cage), a young woman who missed the rapture looks around at all the pain and heartbreak and devastation . . . and she screams out about how the loving God her mother worshipped would never cause something as tragic as that to happen.  He would never take people away and let others be left behind to face the troubles of the tribulation. 

            Or would He? 

            The thing is, I think a pre-trib rapture shows just how loving and merciful and patient He is, how much He wants everyone to come to Him. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

I Will Love You ... Always!


            “How long, O Lord?  Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me? . . . But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me.”  (Psalm 13:1, 5-6)

            “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him, . . .”  (Job 13:15)

            “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”  (Job 1:21)

                       

            Years ago, I saw the movie Facing the Giants.  And it was a good movie.  Last night (April 16, 2015, this is a repost), I saw it again . . . and it was a great movie.  It touched my heart in ways it didn’t before.  And I pretty much cried through the whole thing.  (Good thing the lights were off so my family couldn’t tell.) 

In Support of Matt Damon:

To all the women who are attacking Matt Damon for saying that there is a scale of severity of abuse, that something like patting a woman's rear-end is not the same thing as predatory actions against a child ...

            Are you women who are attacking Matt Damon for that statement saying that there is no difference?  That predator actions against a child are the same thing as touching a woman's rear-end?  Just wondering.  Because it sounds like you don't see a distinction, while Mr. Damon rightly does.  And I commend him for being bold enough to point it out. 

            This is not to excuse any kind of inappropriate behavior, for there is no excuse for inappropriate behavior against someone else.  And it's not to say that men shouldn't be held accountable for inappropriate behavior (they should be!) or that women should put up with it (never!) or that women shouldn't demand to be treated with more respect (being treated with respect should be a given!).

             But it's to point out the fact that those who do not see a difference between inappropriate/disrespectful behavior and genuine abuse, those who are getting caught up in the frenzy of reporting every tiny offense as if it was a huge violation (the things that nearly all women have probably faced at some point or other, such as someone patting their bottom, brushing against their breast, gazing at their bodies too long, or complimenting them inappropriately) are going to undermine the women who have serious stories to tell.  

            Calling everything "abuse" - even things that would be better labeled "inappropriate" or "disrespectful," even things where the woman enjoyed it or benefitted from it at first - is going to dilute the meaning of "abuse" and the effect of reporting it.  And it's going to hurt, not help, the cause.  It's going to backfire!  Just watch and see.

            When everything is "traumatic abuse," then nothing is "traumatic abuse."


Scolding Chris Pratt for praying? Seriously!?!

Okay ... So apparently people are jumping all over Chris Pratt because he said he's praying for Kevin Smith after his serious heart-attack.  They are complaining and criticizing prayer because it falls short of doing something to help.  Because they don't believe it does any good.  

Hey Complainers ...

What are YOU doing for Kevin Smith besides complaining about Chris Pratt!?!  

Seriously ... Does your complaining help him at all?  Does it show loving support?  Is complaining and criticizing others better than praying to God for someone in need?

And since you clearly don't value prayer or believe in a God who answers prayer, who will you turn to when you find yourself in deep need, unable to help yourself?  To your fellow complainers?  To those who will attack anyone who sends prayers to God for you?  Good luck with that!

And God bless Chris Pratt for publicly standing up for prayer and for a God who hears our prayers!  And may the Lord bless Kevin Smith through those prayers.  

(written 3\02\18)


For Unbelievers In Crisis:

When God is your biggest and only hope,
it's time to get to know Him.


To all those accused of sexual harassment:

To all those who are being accused of sexual harassment in the public eye right now, who are guilty of it, who are watching their lives fall apart before their eyes, their careers crumble, their family and friends leave, their legacies get destroyed ...
And to anyone else who's even done anything they are ashamed of and who wonders if there's any hope for them ...
Come to Jesus!  Find the forgiveness and grace and healing that only He can give.  Others might turn on you and might never offer forgiveness, compassion, or mercy.  
But Jesus is running towards you, asking you to grab His hand, to let Him love you and forgive you and make you new.

(And to anyone who's been hurt by others, who's been carrying around deep heart wounds that need healing ... 
Come to Jesus!  He's waiting for you, to heal your broken heart, to give you peace and joy and life.)


Who else can you turn to?
Who else offers healing and hope like that?
Who else can fix what's broken
in your life and heart and soul?
A taste of what we Christians believe
about God's grace and mercy, forgiveness and love:

Forgiven by Crowder


Confession by The City Harmonic


Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle


Grace Like Rain by Todd Agnew


Oh, What Love by The City Harmonic


Love, Heal Me by The City Harmonic


Fell Apart by The City Harmonic


By Your Side by Tenth Avenue North


Come As You Are by Crowder


Lord, I Need You by Matt Maher


Strong Enough by Matthew West


I AM by Crowder


I Need a Miracle by Third Day


Forgiven by Sanctus Real


Remind Me Who I Am by Jason Gray


Flawless by Mercy Me


Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains) by Crowder


Forgiveness by Toby Mac


Man of God by Audio Adrenaline
(We Christians know what it's like to be human.)


My Jesus by Todd Agnew 
(Because the world just doesn't understand who Jesus really is.)


Secret Ambition by Michael W. Smith


We Believe by Newsboys


Manifesto by The City Harmonic