It All Starts Here

It hit me like a ton of bricks as I read my Bible this morning. This passage beautifully states the foundation of all that I know to be true:

Before the mountains were born or You gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. ~ Psalms 90:2

This reality puts my life into proper context, even as my heart breaks for this lost world. You see, man seeks to understand the foundation and purpose of our existence, and in doing so has concocted many theories and false gods to try and explain the basics of who we are and why we’re here. Since man’s reasoning is not perfect, man cannot discern the truth on his own, so we adopt beliefs with no true foundation, even going so far as to say that what is true for you is true and what is true for me is true, even if those so-called truths conflict. What a sad state of affairs!

We cannot come to an understanding of our purpose for existence until we understand who God is. God is the sovereign creator of all things – including man. He is not made; He was not born; He was not created. God is not constrained by time; He is eternal. He is holy. He is just. God is God. How do I know this is true? God says so, in His Word. Yes, it’s that simple.

What freedom this knowledge gives! I serve the Creator of all things, the sovereign God Almighty! Praise His Holy name! Standing upon this foundational truth, I go back into His Word and learn about His amazing love for each and every one of us. God’s Word, from Genesis to Revelation, points to one Person: Jesus Christ.

Has it been awhile since you’ve read your Bible? Open it today. God is waiting patiently to reveal Himself to you.

My Facebook Hiatus: Revelations and Resolutions

During my self-imposed Lenten hiatus from Facebook, I missed some things and I didn’t miss others. Here they are, with a few resolutions and some of my favorite pics thrown in for good measure.

Things I Missed

Simple. I missed my friends. I heard from a couple over the course of my hiatus that they missed me, too. Facebook is a blessing in my life. Through it I have reconnected with many friends from my past, and I enjoy seeing what is going on in their lives today. We share joys and sorrows. We share songs and jokes. We share our families. We share life’s highlights and its lowlights. We say “Happy Birthday”! We’ve planned high school and college reunions. We laugh, weep, and pray together. Isn’t that what friends are for? I’ve missed those interactions, and I’m glad to be back. I have a renewed appreciation for all of the wonderful people God has placed in my life.

Things I Didn’t Miss

Political Misinformation. You know what I’m talking about – the supposedly clever one-liners and memes intended to belittle or put political opponents in their place. Such misinformation contributes nothing to our national discourse; in fact, it only serves to contribute to the ongoing weakening of this great country we share. Facebook is full of political misinformation from all sides of the political spectrum – conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and independents are equally to blame. I’ve been guilty of slinging this crap myself from time to time. I didn’t miss this one bit. Resolved: I will continue to post on political topics. Any political posting from me will be fact-checked in support of a candidate or position; I will not sling crap or otherwise insult those with whom I disagree. If we all shared this resolution, Facebook and the good ‘ole USA will be a much nicer place to hang out.

Game Invitations. I don’t want to play Candy Crush. I don’t want to build a farm on Farmville. I don’t care how rad or cool you think the latest game is – I’m not interested. I get tired of game invitations littering my news feed. It’s a pain to go to “Settings” to block them. Play your games and enjoy them. Just please, please, please stop sending me invitations!

Lost Dogs. I’m a dog guy; we have two of them. It breaks my heart when people abuse animals. But I’m not in adoption mode. I don’t need to know how many hours Spot has in the shelter before they put him down or what dog is lost from which neighborhood. Those are depressing and I can do nothing about either. If your kids are lost, I’m interested. If your own personal pet is lost, I’m interested. I’ll help you look for them and pray for their safe return if you ask me to. But please don’t share every animal that needs a home; I can’t give them one. (I do like hearing about successful adoptions, though; that’s cool).

My Facebook Going Forward

With all that said, each of us with a wall on Facebook has a personal space in which to post whatever we like. Perusing a person’s Wall gives a bit of a window into what makes them tick, and that’s really neat. So take what I’ve offered here with a grain of salt and post away! As for me, I’m going to focus on the things that matter most to me: My faith, my family, and my country. I will strive to do so with the utmost respect for those who may wander in and take a look. I’m available to each of my friends (why do we refer to them as “Facebook friends”? I’m going to stop doing that, too. They’re my friends, plain and simple). I’m available to laugh with you, weep with you, celebrate with you, support you, and pray with you. After all, isn’t that what friends are for?

Photo Credit: flipflopspearlsandwine.com

Photo Credit: flipflopspearlsandwine.com

He Is Risen!

This fundamental Truth will set you free: that our sovereign God created all things. He created man in His image to be in relationship with Him. Sin entered the world through the man Adam, and all generations to follow are under its curse. God didn’t abandon us to sin, however. He loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to walk the earth – fully man and fully God. Jesus is the only man to have ever lived a life free of sin, and thus, He was the perfect sacrifice. Out of perfect love for us, Jesus went willingly to the cross and died to take our punishment. But it didn’t end there:

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.” And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” Now while they were on their way, some of the guard came into the city and reported to the chief priests all that had happened. ~ Matthew 28:1-11

We cannot “earn” our way into heaven. The only way to eternal life is through faith in Jesus Christ. He took my punishment, and he took yours. Today, Easter Sunday, all of Christendom celebrates this Truth.

He is Risen! He is Risen, indeed!

Happy Easter!

hir

Photo credit: flipflopspearlsandwine.com

Perfect Love

“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. ~ John 19:30

That, my friends, is what today – Good Friday – is all about. Jesus, fully God and fully man, was the one perfect sacrifice to redeem all sin. He could have stopped this at any time; but He didn’t.

There is but one Source of Perfect Love: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

May He richly bless you on this Good Friday.

Note to Self: Put ‘Busy’ in Perspective…..

KellerTxDad:

Here is a healthy perspective on Easter preparations posted by a sister in Christ. Enjoy!

Originally posted on OH, THE THINGS WE SHALL SEE ~ Photo companion blog to TheSanctuaryofMyHeart.com:

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I love Easter. I admit that I get caught up in the fun side of the holiday. I mean really, how could you not–especially with young kids around. Coloring eggs, eating jelly beans, egg and spoon races, and hunts to find those marvelous treat-filled plastic eggs–all spell fun for kids both young and old. As I began to mentally prepare for a party I will host on Saturday with friends, I sensed I was beginning to feel the pressure of wanting to make it perfect. Tuesday would be a hurried day of shopping for the event, and my focus was shifting–it was becoming all about me and how I will make that day memorable.

As I sat with my Bible Monday evening, the party and plans still lingering in my mind, I thought about Tuesday for Jesus. I have heard it referred to as “Busy Tuesday” by some…

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Complaining Or Celebrating?

When we grumble and complain about our circumstances – whatever those may be – against whom are we really grumbling and complaining?

When I read about the history of Israel in the Old Testament, I am always struck by their grumbling and complaining. They complain they have no food. They complain that they are thirsty. They complain that Moses was on the mountain for too long. Each time they complain, Moses goes to God and He addresses their complaint. What they seem to forget, however, is where they came from. They came from bondage in Egypt where they were forced to labor in hard conditions. Through the power and intervention of Almighty God, Israel was freed from their bondage with the promise of a new land reserved by God just for them – a land flowing with milk and honey. But in the heat of the moment, all perspective is lost as the immediate circumstance takes center stage in their lives.

It’s easy for us modern day Christians to look down our noses at Israel’s lack of faith and perseverance. But, on closer examination, are we really much different from them? Of course, few of us come from a life of enslaved bondage. But think about this: God has delivered us from a different sort of bondage; a more sinister and evil bondage called sin. God tells us in His Word that all have sinned and have fallen short of His glory (Romans 3:23). Our sin separates us from God, and a life of sin condemns us to an eternity of torment.

Just as God rescued Israel from their enslavement to Egypt, so He also rescues us from our bondage to sin – not because we are deserving; not because we are worthy – but because He loves us: “For 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.” (John 3:16). What amazing news!

So what does this have with Israel’s grumbling and complaining, or mine for that matter? Here is where the rubber meets the road: I grumble and complain often; don’t you? I complain about traffic rather than thanking God for my air-conditioned vehicle and the nice roads that take me to and from work each day. I complain about ownership changes to my employer rather than thanking God for a fulfilling career that enables me to provide for my family. I complain that my steak isn’t prepared exactly as I like it rather than thanking God for a full stomach. I complain about my shortcomings rather than thanking God for my strengths. Even knowing the reality of eternal life by my faith in Jesus, I find reasons to complain – just like the Israelites. My complaining is evidence of misplaced trust, just as theirs was. May God forgive me for my lack of faith.

This is Holy Week. This week we Christians remember and celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection that delivers us from the bondage of sin into His eternal presence. This week especially, let us not allow life’s circumstances to derail our worship and replace it with grumbling and complaining. Instead, let us pray that every time we are tempted to gripe or complain, God will remind us of the rich blessing we have through His Son, Jesus Christ as we celebrate the Good News of eternal life through Him.

Perseverance and Wisdom ~ James 1:1-5

I remember when I purchased my MacBook Air that it came with a Quick Start Guide while offering the full user’s manual online. I purchased my Mac; I made that commitment. To learn the essentials I referred to the Quick Start Guide; but to master it I must read the user’s manual.

I have read James’ Epistle in its entirety several times. The Book of James is sort of like the Christian’s Quick Start Guide. You’ve come to faith in Christ and you want a quick, easy to understand overview of what your life in Christ should look like – read the Book of James. To work towards “mastering” the Christian life (“mastering” in quotes because we will not “master” the Christian life until we are reunited with Jesus in Heaven) we must study the entirety of His Word as He revealed it to us in The Holy Bible.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

From the moment we come to faith in Jesus, we Christians face a barrage of challenges. We often find ourselves in situations and discussions that pit our faith in Christ and our knowledge about God’s ways against worldly views that seek to usurp His sovereignty. Proponents of worldly values forcefully argue their position and challenge the faithful to overcome them. Persecution abounds and is quick to raise its head when we who are faithful share views grounded in Scripture that are against the grain of modern societal thought. The path of least resistance is to be quiet; to shrink back and let the prince of the power of the air (see Ephesians 2:2) have his way. Sadly, we even see this phenomenon in the church as some churches have adopted worldly views and watered down teachings so as to avoid offending the “seeker” that might wander inside on any given Sunday morning.

The world’s arguments can be persuasive. But they are not grounded in Truth.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

Our only source of true wisdom is God Himself. We seek His wisdom through study of His Word and through prayer. Only when we seek God’s wisdom are we properly equipped to discern His Truth and stand firmly upon it. Only with God’s help are we equipped to witness to the truth in a world that is increasingly rejecting it. On our own, this is an insurmountable task. But by trusting God for wisdom, and armed with the true wisdom that comes only from Him, we can persevere.

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