(This is a throwback past from September 2013. The book I referenced in this post is called “Respectable Sins” by Jerry Bridges. God has brought me full circle, because I am presently involved in a women’s Bible study using this same book! God has to remind me sometimes that I need to go back and remember what He has taught me in the past. I thought it would be a good idea to bring back this post for that very reason. I hope you are as blessed as I by this reminder!)
This past May, as I was ordering my summer reading materials from the BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) Summer Reading List, I came across a book entitled “Respectable Sins” by Jerry Bridges. I thought, wow…so I ordered it. It is a pretty little book; the cover has the fall leaves in the background, which I like so much. I was reading something else at the time, so I put my book on the shelf, with every intention of coming back to it once I finished reading my present book. Needless to say, life happened and I did not get back around to my new book.
Fast forward to September. My Sunday School class used a curriculum for six weeks by another author, and lo and behold, that book was the segue into the new book, which happened to be “Respectable Sins”! When our pastor made the announcement, my heart leaped with joy because I already had the book, and I knew that God was up to something.
So, we are on chapter three of the book in Sunday School. Within the first three chapters, the Lord has convicted me of so many of the sins that I commit on a daily basis, thinking that there is nothing really wrong with what I am doing. My thoughts, my attitude, my quick temper, my impatience, my fear, my resentment, my bitterness, my silent anger, my sarcasm, my legalism, my pride, my prejudices, my anxiety, my worry, my doubt, my envy…the Lord has dealt with all of these and then some within the first three chapters! I am almost afraid to keep reading.
Isn’t it interesting how believers really do not think of themselves as sinners? We think that since we believe in the Lord Jesus, have been saved from the penalty of our sins, washed in the blood of the Lamb, and are on our way to heaven, that we are just okay? We think that we have no need to remember that the Lord bore our sins on His body on the cross. We think just like the Pharisee, who thought he was so much better than others, when we really should humble ourselves like the publican, who said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner…” (Luke 18:13).
We justify the sins that others cannot see. Sure, most of us may not be involved in adulterous relationships. We may not be murderers in the sense that we have taken a person’s life maliciously. We not have stolen money from a bank, or embezzled from our employer. Most of us do, however, harbor resentment against others who have hurt us in the past. We have allowed the root of bitterness to grow in our hearts. Most of us are envious of those who are seemingly more successful than we, or are thriving in an area where we struggle. We believe that since another person hurt us, our anger or bitterness is justifiable. We feel that we have to right to withhold forgiveness from one who disregarded our feelings, when in reality, that is exactly what we have done to God. We have disregarded His Word that says “…Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself…” (Luke 10:27). We are as guilty as our offender, and then some, because our sin placed the King of kings on the cross to bridge the gap between the Holy God and sinful man. No one else could accomplish such a feat. Only Jesus. We would be wise to remember that the things that we justify were the very things that sent Him to the cross.
It would be wise for us to remind ourselves every day that Jesus died for the sins that we commit on the outside, the grievous sins, and the sins that no one can see, or the respectable sins. Sin is sin. We would also be wise to teach ourselves not to categorize our sins. Preach the gospel to yourself on a daily basis. Draw closer to the Lord so that the sins that no one can see will begin to disgust you as much as the sins that everyone sees…
Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; There shall be no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
It was a normal Monday morning when I dropped my son off at the gym to play basketball with his friends. As usual, I told him I would be back to pick him up in a couple of hours. He disappeared into the gym, and I drove off.
A couple of hours later, I returned to pick him up. I walked into the gym, expecting to see him fully immersed in a game with a bunch of sweaty teenage boys and young men. Instead, when I got there, my son was all alone on one side of the gym while the young men played on the other. My momma bear instincts immediately kicked in. Had they not allowed my son to play? Did someone do something to him to make him not want to play? Several thoughts raced through my mind. In the meantime, my son’s eyes met mine, and he began to gather his things and walk towards the door. We looked into each other’s eyes as he walked towards me. Because he knows his mom, he knew I was concerned. He didn’t even give me a chance to ask any questions. He walked right up to me and said, “I wasn’t playing because I don’t feel good.”
“What’s the matter?” I asked.
“My throat is really sore, ” he replied.
Oh, boy. He has strept throat, I thought. He had it before and it would not surprise me if he had it again. We need to get to the doctor as soon as possible to find out if that was the case. As soon as my son got home, he went to bed. He didn’t want to go to the doctor, and I didn’t press the issue. After all, he rarely gets sick and he is as tough as nails. So I let it go. He slept all afternoon. I checked on him a couple of time, taking him soup, tea and medicine, and he insisted that he was beginning to feel better. Once again, I let it go.
The next day, when I thought for sure he would get up and be his normal cheerful, jolly, carefree self, he was anything but those things. He developed a fever and body aches. His face was as red as an apple. He came into my bedroom and asked me to take him to the doctor.
By the time we got to the doctor, his temperature was up to 103 degrees. He was trembling and couldn’t get warm. The doctor tested him for strept and for influenza. Both tests came back negative. They asked me if I wanted him to have the bio weapon test. (When I say bioweapon, I am sure those of you who have followed my blog and my social media sites for the last two years know exactly what I’m talking about.) I refused that test because of how little I trust the medical community. I asked what would be the difference in what treatment they would prescribe if it were the flu or the bio weapon. They said with the flu, they would prescribe an antibiotic. With the bio weapon, they could not prescribe anything. They would recommend that I take him home and treat the symptoms. I said, “Ok. I will take him home and treat the symptoms!”
I brought my son home that afternoon and began feeding him acetaminophen and ibuprofen. I made him soup and hot tea. I gave him juice and water. I kept taking his temperature, watching it slowly go down until it got back to normal. Day three into this ordeal, my son was showing signs of getting back to normal.
Just when I thought life was good again, my daughter woke up with a cough. Oh no, I thought. She can’t get sick. She has a job and she is about to graduate from high school and we have so much going on. Regardless, she went down and I decided not to take her to the doctor. I already knew what they were going to say, and I had already stocked up on all the meds that we needed. She had the advantage that her brother did not have. I was ready for that nasty germ when it came knocking the second time.
Little did I know that the germ was not done. The next day, I began experiencing a sore throat. A sore throat to me is equal to being in labor for 24 hours! I hate a sore throat. I started taking meds to curb the sore throat, and I started gargling with mouthwash in order to keep the germ from spreading. All of this was to no avail…the next morning, I was bedridden with all the same symptoms that my kids had suffered. I had headache, body aches, and a fever; only my temperature dropped instead of rose. It dipped down as low as 93 degrees. I used all the home remedies and over the counter medicines that I knew about. I even took the medicine that the state government had outlawed (I was able to find it online and order some way before I ever needed it.) My symptoms were severe; so severe that I missed our Resurrection Day celebration at church! I have not missed a Resurrection Day service in my entire life!!!!
After Resurrection Day had passed, my other daughter began exhibiting symptoms. She had a severe sore throat and a fever. I ended up taking her to the doctor two days in, and they prescribed her an antibiotic to help relieve some of the discomfort. Her throat was so sore that she avoided eating as much as possible.
Nights were really bad with the bio weapon. Between the body aches and the chills from my dipping body temperature, I did not have good nights. I may have had one night that I slept through the night. I spent a lot of time during those restless nights praying, asking the LORD to take care of my children. I never want either of them to feel the discomfort that I felt during the first five days of my ordeal.
Regardless of how bad I felt, one thing was for sure: God is able and He took care of me. I was uncomfortable, it is true….but I was uncomfortable because I have such a low threshold for pain. It was the kind of discomfort that one would feel if they developed a really bad case of the flu. During that time, because I had made God my refuge, because I trusted Him to bring me through, because I knew that if I believed His Word was true, I would not operate in fear. He would be God and I would be His child and leave all the worrying up to Him! Praise God, I am on the mending side of things. I have a slight cough that is lingering, I wake up with a headache every morning, which (I think) is a side effect of taking so much medicine, and my voice is very hoarse. (I pray that my voice recovers because if I can’t sing, I’m not sure what I will do!) Other than that, I think I have made it through my first bout with the bio weapon.
I’m praying for those of you who are suffering with it right now. I am also praying that the LORD will curb the spread of this pestilence, and that the church will rise up and say enough is enough. I pray that we will begin calling out sin and compelling men and women to come to the LORD Jesus Christ. I am praying for Revival in America! Let’s allow the bio weapon to be the catalyst that draws us back to HIM!!!
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My Name saying, I am Christ, and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
As I sit here at this moment, my heart is broken for America. We have shaken our fist in the face of God so many times in the past few years until I am truly shocked that God has not done to us what He did to Korah, his family, and all his associates when He opened up the ground and swallowed them alive (Numbers 16). We deserve God’s wrath for the levels of sin to which we have stooped. America is headed for hell.
As a child, I remember hearing the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I remember his fight for civil rights in the United States. He fought for the equal treatment of black people in this country. He was murdered when I was a child, but my parents and my mom’s siblings bought the vinyl records with his speeches recorded on them, and on Sunday afternoons after church, they would turn on the record player and play his speeches over and over and over again. I remember one of his speeches where he said something to the effect of his desire for the day when his four children would be measured by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Today, if Dr. King was sincere, I believe he would be nearly as broken hearted as I am.
In 1965, Lyndon B. Johnson, then President of the United States, signed an executive order that required the Department of Labor to expand job opportunities to minorities. This became widely known as Affirmative Action. Affirmative Action ensured that black people would be offered job opportunities equal to those opportunities afforded to white people. Fast forward to 2022: Affirmative Action has taken on a life of its own. Black people are now getting jobs for which they are not qualified over whites who are more qualified. We witnessed a black person’s confirmation to the highest court in the land when that person is less than qualified. There are many more judges out there who are way more qualified who did not even get a chance to be considered for the seat because they were not the right skin color. America is headed to hell.
Recently, I heard that a professional sports league will now require that every team hire a black person on their coaching staff. Never mind that there are qualified white coaches available who would do as good if not a better job in the same position. These jobs will now go to possibly unqualified people because of the new surge of Affirmative Action in 2022. The people who get these jobs will get them, not based on their qualifications, but based on the color of their skin. That is so unfair to those who have worked hard to make themselves available and qualified for these positions.
The ethnic divide in the United States right now is so wide that it is difficult to even have conversations about ethnicity without looking over one’s shoulder. Hostilities between those who do not look alike has grown out of control over the past two years. It began with the death of a criminal, whose death was blamed on a police officer. A whole movement took off behind that incident. It had been brewing for a few years in the background, but this particular death was the door that satan needed to move into the forefront. In hindsight, I believe that many regret supporting this movement, since they have found that lives are not what matter to this group. Money appears to be the goal of this group, and now that they have a lot of it from corporations and private donors alike, they have seemingly faded into obscurity, with all their millions of dollars. Pure wickedness.
In the meantime, there is a war going on! One country invaded another sovereign nation, and the media in the United States refuses to report the truth about the matter. Though we don’t know the whole truth about what is going on, we are paying the price for this war at the gas pump and in the grocery store. Prices have gone through the roof. The housing market is incredulous. The price of a used car has skyrocketed. Buying a new car is next to impossible. A car salesman said that if a person buys a new car today, it might be delivered in three months. Repairs on cars take time now, because the parts are on backorder. I could keep going but you get my point.
Jesus declared that things like this would happen. There would be many who would claim to be the Christ. Many would be deceived. Jesus also warned that we would hear about wars that were happening, and wars that have not yet happened. He said that we are not to let ourselves be worried about it. He said these things have to happen but the end has not yet come. Nations are going to rise up against nations. Kingdoms are going to come against other kingdoms. We are going to hear about famines…and actually, we are living in famine here in the United States. There is a famine of the Word of God (Amos 8:11) in the US because so many false prophets have risen to places of prominence, and they are influencing many with their flattering words, empty promises, and misuse of scripture. Jesus also warned that there would be pestilences. In my mind, we have been living in pestilence for the past two years, with many mini-pestilences developing from it. Besides the rulers in power making it illegal to buy the very medicine that would cure the ailment, they also closed businesses, caused people to lose their livelihoods, forced medical treatment on free citizens, and forced people to wear face diapers in order to manipulate them and cause psychological damage. Jesus said all of this is the beginning of sorrows.
My heart is heavy as I write these words, but I am glad that I can turn to the Father and leave my burdens at His feet. I know that Jesus is coming back for His children. He may come and rapture the church in my lifetime, or the Father may choose to delay the LORD’s coming for another hundred years. One thing I do know is that whether He raptures me or I die and go to be with Him, I am going to spend all eternity in the absence of sin and in the presence of the LORD. I must comfort myself with these thoughts and I hope you will do the same.
Unless you live out in the woods with no television or internet access, you have likely heard about Academy Award winner Will Smith walking onstage to physically assault Academy Award presenter Chris Rock. Though I did not watch this event live (because I do not watch television), I read about the incident online before I went to bed on Sunday night. I thought for sure it was a stunt to boost the dismal ratings that the Academy Awards broadcast has endured over the past five to ten years. In my mind, Chris Rock, who was born in South Carolina, but raised in Bed-Stuy, New York, would never just let somebody walk up on him, smack him in the face, and not react UNLESS he was getting paid to do so. This was my initial thought.
Monday morning the internet was ripe with stories, videos and memes of the incident. I was still of the opinion that it was staged. The Will Smith that I watched 30 years ago on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and the squeaky-clean rapper who was one half of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince would never have done something like that. It had to be staged. It wasn’t until I heard that the LAPD had taken a statement from Chris Rock that I began to think this may have been real. Even though the LAPD doesn’t have the best reputation as it pertains to investigating crimes, I figured that they would not have actually been a part of a stunt like this. I could be wrong, but for the moment, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
After watching several videos and having a long conversation with my three daughters, I began to change my mind. I thought about the oscar buzz that I read in 2016, when Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, boycotted the oscars because her husband was not nominated, and she accused the Academy of being “too white”. Chris Rock, who was host that year, made a joke about Mrs. Smith not being invited. I figured that there must still be some bad blood between them because of that.
Time passes and more videos and articles surface. One of those articles includes Smith’s apology to Rock! What? A whole day late, Will Smith decides to acknowledge the fact that he was completely out of line for behaving in such a barbaric manner on international tv. How big of him. (He probably didn’t even write the apology. I’m sure his people wrote it and posted it online for him.) But that is not even where I part company with this whole thing. Where I hold Will Smith completely responsible is the fact that he has shown publicly, over the years, that he is not the tough guy that he pretended to be on Sunday night’s awards show.
Smith’s wife apparently has a Facebook talk show. I did some research and found that it is called “Red Table Talk”. On this show, Jada Pinkett Smith sometimes invites guests to come on and talk about their personal business. Sometimes she does not invite guests, and she sits and talks about her own personal business. It is on one such episode that she and Will discuss her having an extramarital affair with one of their twenty-something year old son’s friends, a rapper named August something. The clips I saw show Will Smith sitting across from the table with his wife looking like he just lost his puppy, while she takes no accountability for her actions. She even goes on to call what happened between her and her son’s friend an “entanglement”. What???
I watched an episode of one of my favorite podcasts, “Fearless” featuring sportswriter turned podcast host Jason Whitlock, where one of his featured guests compared Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to Ahab and Jezebel. I thought this was a great comparison because those of us who are Bible students know that Ahab was an Israelite who knew about the God of the Bible but chose to be led astray by involving himself with a woman who was the daughter of a Baal priest and wicked to the core. Will Smith, 20 plus years ago, claimed to be a Christian, because he had Christian influence in his life through his grandmother. He claimed that the reason he chose to rap in the style he rapped (no cursing, no demeaning women, no violence, no sexual exploitation) was because of the biblical principles that he upheld. He was very different from most of the artists in his genre. Then he met and married Jada Pinkett. Jada had been influenced by the very people Will had tried not to emulate. She was good friends from childhood with a rapper who was one of the vilest in the business. He was so vile that he was constantly in feuds with other people, which ultimately cost him his life. It was always my impression of Will Smith that this was the lifestyle that he chose to avoid. Jada Pinkett Smith brought elements of that lifestyle into Will’s life upon their marriage.
There have been rumors about the Smiths being a part of the church of scientology. Those of us who are true believers and Bible students know that the church of scientology is neither a church nor is it Christian, so Smith’s onlookers wondered what he was doing. There were also rumors of his wife asking him for an open marriage, and apparently that discussion took place on her talk show, once again making Will look like he just lost his lunch. How many times does she get to make him look like a fool publicly? I know this had to weigh on his heart and mind.
Fast forward to oscars 2022. Chris Rock is presenting the award for best documentary. In true Chris Rock fashion, he comes out on stage and begins to roast people in the audience. That is what he does, and I remember that from years ago when I used to watch television and saw him on different shows in front of live audiences. He would pick someone out of the crowd and make jokes about them. The response was usually cordial, with his target laughing about it, before he moved on to his next target. This same formula played out during this ceremony, as Chris Rock joked about another couple in the audience, both of whom were apparently nominated for an award. In the clip I watched, the husband and wife laughed, and the husband interacted with Chris Rock from his seat. Rock then moved on to the now-infamous “G.I. Jane joke”, which did not amuse Jada Pinkett Smith at all. When the camera panned to her, she was not laughing. She was shifting uncomfortably in her seat, while her husband, at this point unaware of his wife’s discomfort, was laughing at the joke. He must have glanced over and noticed her reaction, and he knew instantly he better do something! He leaped into action, walking onstage, assaulting Chris Rock, returning to his seat, and shouting expletives that were heard all over the auditorium.
In light of the events that have occurred from 2020 until the present, highlighting what some call disparities in the treatment of black people versus other ethnicities, it is my opinion that this was a HORRIBLE look for the “woke” crowd. Black people have been complaining about not being respected, even at the Academy Awards, and then they go to the Academy Awards and behave like Will Smith behaved on Sunday night. In my opinion, the Academy Awards has been more than gracious to black people, giving them awards when they did not deserve them. Take for instance, Denzel Washington’s oscar win for “Training Day”. I unfortunately allowed someone to take me to that movie. It was the most disgusting movie I have ever had the misfortune to sit through. I was so embarrassed by Denzel in that movie. He won an oscar for that horrible movie. To add insult to injury, Halle Berry won the best actress award that same year for some vile movie that she made. It is my understanding that Ms Berry had a clause in her contract that stated she would not perform any parts in the nude. She rescinded her “no nudity” clause to make the movie (I don’t even remember the name of the movie because I never saw it and from what I have heard about it, I’m glad I didn’t) and my understanding is that she went all out! Why would the Academy give two black actors the best actor and actress awards in the same year for two terrible movies? They did it because they were tired of hearing black people complain about the oscars being too white!!!
All that to say, if Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and others want to be respected for their craft, they need to respect themselves and others first. If Will was so offended by Rock’s remarks, he should have gone backstage and handled it. He could have called him up the next day and argued with him. He could have gone to his house and they could have duked it out in private. But to claim that black people deserve so much more respect than they get, then disrespect themselves on international tv…..it’s just like going to the plastic surgeon to get a face lift, then coming home wondering why you look different!
My final observation of all of this is that black people intentionally disrespect each other. I promise you that if Billy Crystal were hosting the oscars and made that same joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith would have sat in that chair and taken it, because if he had walked on that stage and assaulted a white host the way he did Chris Rock, he would have never made it back to his seat. Security would have escorted him out of there, he would have been in cuffs, and we would be doing internet searches for his mugshot this morning. Black people are allowed to disrespect each other with no repercussions, while the world watches and laughs at us. That’s why the murder rate in Chicago is so high. That’s why the crime rate in New Orleans and Baltimore and Atlanta and South-Central Los Angeles and Charlotte is so high. Black people don’t care about respecting each other and the world around them doesn’t care either.
Come on, black America. If you want better, you have to do better.
As I sat in Bible study on Tuesday morning listening to our teaching leader proclaiming the goodness of the LORD to a group of about 200 women, my mind began to wander through the pages of my life over recent years. I know personally that God is good; I did not need someone else to tell me so. God healed me from a sickness that I thought was going to take me home to heaven. God spared me from destruction due to some of my own foolish choices. God had mercy on me when everyone else was struggling in the fallen economy. God protected my children from the dangers of the world in which they are forced to live. God provided a job for my husband after he was laid off of the job from which we thought he would retire. God saved my home when we thought we were headed for foreclosure. He did all those wonderful things for me, and on top of that, He died for me. Over 2000 years ago, God Himself came to the earth in the form of a baby, lived a sinless life, and died a criminal’s death to pay a debt of sin that He did not owe, and one that I could never repay. He took every nasty thought, every evil deed, every bad attitude, all my bad behavior, every lie that I have ever told, every sin that I have ever committed, and He bore them on His body so that I could be reconciled back to Him after my sin entered the world. God has been so good to me.
So, I sat there. I tried to keep the tears that were falling down my face from showing to the others around me. The words that fell on my ears touched a deep place in my heart and I could hardly contain myself. I remember the pain of my situation, and how I had to call on the LORD to save me from myself. I thought I could not bear any more trials. I thought that my heartbreak was too severe to ever heal. I thought I was all alone in the world. Thank God that He spoke to me that day, and said “Call unto Me…”
LORD, I have been calling on You every day since I was two, I thought to myself. But this was different. It seemed that the LORD was tugging on the strings of my heart to pull me into a more intimate relationship with Him. It seems to me that He wanted more out of me. He did not want more works, I had done it all…I sang in the choir, I taught Sunday School, I volunteered any time the prayer team needed a body, I led worship, I had done it all. What He did want from me was for me to call on Him. I believe that the LORD wanted me to pour out my heart to Him. It was not that He did not know the content and the cares of my heart. Of course He did. But the Bible says that we are to pray without ceasing. Well, I had gotten to the level of despondency that gave way for my flesh to control my being. I was too hurt, tired and depressed to pray. But the LORD kept pulling on the strings of my heart. I could not rest until I cried out to the LORD.
Praise the LORD, He brought me through it all. His Word is true. He showed me “..great and mighty things…” (Jeremiah 33:3) which I certainly did not know. I would not have known that He was such a Deliverer had I never been in bondage. I would not have known that He was as great a Healer had I never been sick. I would not have known His power as a Provider had I never been in need. God has been good to me. That I do know…
During these final hours of 2021, I thought I would just put some thoughts in writing. This has been a challenging year for everyone all over the world. There has been division in this world like I have never seen in my life. There has been tension between people of different ethnicities. There has been tension between the public and the government. There has been tension between employers and employees. There has been much loss in the world this year. People have lost their jobs, their homes, their marriages, their loved ones, and they have been shut out of the church. Devastation and fear have ravaged the world. 2021 was a year full of challenges.
Typically, the start of a new year has been encouraging for most. It is the time of new beginnings. It is the time for another chance. It is the time for a new start. Many people resolve to do better in the new year. Some make it; most do not.
So much has changed in the world but one thing has not changed and will never change and that is the fact that Jesus is still LORD over all! He is still coming back again. He will save you if you call on Him. He wants to deliver those who are in bondage to sin. He wants to heal that broken heart. He wants to bless that shattered life. He wants to hear from those who don’t know Him, and He wants to hear from those of us who do.
Goodbye 2021. There were enough burdens for the entire year, and if we live to see 2022, it will have its share of burdens also. Matthew 6:34b says “...Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Each day we live has its own set of challenges.
I give God glory that He brought us through the challenges of 2021. My soul is blessed that the LORD allowed us to live to see New Years Eve 2021. If He brought us to this point, He can take us into the New Year. Every day that we live is something for which we ought to be grateful. To God be the glory…
Happy New Year believers! If you are reading these words, may God bless you with His richest blessings! If you are not a believer in the LORD Jesus Christ and you are reading these words, my prayer for you is that the Spirit of God will convict your heart. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” (2 Corinthians 7:10) I pray that God will cause you to repent of your sin and turn to Him. He will not reject you (John 6:37) if you come to Him with a sincere heart. He loves you and wants to save you. Coming to Him is the best choice, because if you reject Him, you will spend all eternity in hell (Mark 9). Confess that Jesus is LORD today (Romans 10:9-10).
As I begin to reflect on this year, during this last week of the year, I went back into my blog archives and pulled out my VERY FIRST BLOG POST! I began this blog on August 1, 2013. At the time, it was an outlet for some serious pain that I was suffering. Today, it has become a way to connect with people worldwide that I may have never known otherwise.
Please take time to read the entire post. I hope it blesses you as this blog has blessed me over the years.
“Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.”
When was the last time you heard THAT scripture read from a pulpit, or quoted to a child? I am always stunned at how little control parents actually have over their children these days. The children are giving the orders; the parents are obeying them. Children are telling the parents what they are and are not going to do, and the parents are allowing it. This is a generation of inmates who are in charge of the asylum!
The dictionary definition of obey is “…to comply with or to follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of; to submit or conform in action to…” Well, children these days are not conforming to anything except the system of the world. This includes the children who are supposedly being reared in “Christian” homes. I recently heard a statistic that said something like 67% of all babies being born now are born into single-parent households, and something like 48% of those are teenage mothers. Now, are there not any parents out there telling their daughters that they need to abstain and save themselves for their marriages? Are there no fathers who are teaching their sons to save their precious gift for the woman they will someday marry?
Children are drinking and driving. I certainly hope there are some parents out there telling their children that it is not ok to get behind the steering wheel of a vehicle after drinking, no matter how little they think they had to drink. Deeper than that, are parents not teaching their children the dangers of drinking period? I remember growing up being afraid that my liver would rot right out of my body if I so much as thought about drinking alcohol. Nowadays, I guess, children are not taught the fear of anything.
Another dangerous habit that is rearing its nasty head amongst young people is texting. It is my understanding that they are doing some pretty nasty things through text messages these days. Not only that, but I have been on the highway riding beside or behind someone who is trying to type on one of those cell phones while they are driving! I know, I am older now and not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I also know that the cell phone distracts me in a way that nothing else does. It grabs my attention from the road. I am nowhere near as sharp when I am trying to fool around with that ridiculous cell phone as I am when I have no distractions. (That is the reason that I am training myself to turn my cell phone off completely when I am behind the wheel of my vehicle!) I am positive that has to be true for everyone else on the road, based on some of the driving that I have seen from some of the folks who drive and talk on the phone! Young people, don’t do it! I am praying that there will soon be laws against it, and not only for teens, but for everyone!!!
Speaking of fear: children these days have no fear! There is a boldness in this new generation that I have never seen before. They seem to think that they are invincible…that nothing bad can happen to them, and that they are going to live forever. They do not care about dying or going to prison or taking someone else’s life. They have no fear of the illegal substances that they put in their bodies. High schools and college campuses are now full of daredevils that have either been taught nothing, or have completely ignored all the teaching of their parents.
I know several people who either work in the school system or have retired from teaching. The horror stories that I have heard about the behaviors of children in school are stunning. I always told my oldest that it was not the teacher’s job to police behavior; it was the student’s responsibility to go to school and learn. I never tolerated bad behavior at school (or anywhere else for that matter) and I cannot understand any other parent who would. Teachers pay is some of the lowest in the country, and they are basically rearing the next generation of preidents, doctors, lawyers, police officers, politicians, preachers, teachers, etc. After reading the newspaper on any given day, I am afraid to think of who is going to be in charge when I am 80!
Are parents ever going to regain control, or are the children going to continue to be in charge of their own lives at their parents’ expense? Are children going to continue to dictate what happens. or are parents going to wake up and remember that God gave them charge over their children? Are Christian parents going to do what the Word says, and teach their children the reverential “fear” of the Lord? Are things ever going to change, or is this next generation destined to hell for sure? When are Christian parents going to bring Bible study and memory verses back into the home, and make God’s Word the standard by which they live? Will this ever happen?
As a parent, it breaks my heart to think of the destructive path this new generation is taking. I see so many young people in my neighborhood who seem to have no clue that they need a relationship with the Lord Jesus. They know nothing about the fact that one of the commands that the Lord gave Moses as he stood on Mount Sinai was that the the children of Israel were to “…honor thy father, and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land, which the Lord thy God giveth thee…” That command suggests that dishonoring one’s parents could lead to early death. God wrote those words using the hand of Moses. He meant business then, and He means it now. Children, obey your parents. Do what they tell you to do. This pleases the Lord. This honors the Lord. We honor Him when we obey Him. He is pleased when He sees that we want to do what He says.
To all those who visit my blog frequently or just every now and then, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas. This has been a tough year; as a matter of fact, it has been a tough last couple of years. We have watched unbelievable atrocities taking place in our nation and around the world. For the first time in my life, I saw churches SHUT DOWN. I watched businesses and livelihoods lost due to government overreach. I watched healthcare workers go from being the heroes to the villains, losing their jobs in droves because they refused to be injected with an experimental drug. I have watched employers require that new hires make a medical decision before they are offered a position with a company. I have watched people walking around with a piece of paper or cloth covering their faces, restricting their breathing, all because ONE PERSON suggested it! I have watched the media go from subtly misleading its audience to being brazen in its deception. I have watched politicians and lawmakers completely ignore the rule of law to do what they want to do to serve their own selfish purposes. I have watched cities looted and burned down. I have watched criminals get a slap on the hand, while law abiding citizens who tried to protect themselves were treated like criminals. I watched a person record a law enforcement officer die, live on social media, when the law enforcement officer was only trying to help. I have watched the destruction of our children being completely dismissed, and the murder of babies in the womb being celebrated as if it were a great achievement. I even watched a political party use operatives in different parts of the nation to steal a national election! These are atrocities that I thought I would never live to see. I could not have been more wrong…
Fortunately for us, as believers, there is still hope. Jesus Christ is still LORD, and His Word is still true. He is still going to return to take His people home to be with Him for all eternity. He is still on the throne. and He is still sovereign over all this mess. He is still reigning from heaven, and He has not lost one ounce of control. There will come a time when He will pull the plug on all of this. He will take His people home where there will be no more sin, no more worry, no more death, no more sickness….all will be perfect and everything that would hurt us will be no more. I am mainly excited about heaven because there will be no more sin. No one can sin against me anymore, and I will not sin against anyone else! That is such good news to me,
All this to say, stay encouraged, believers! The LORD has allowed us to see another Christmas season. We have another chance to celebrate the birth of our King. We like to decorate and exchange gifts. We like to see the sights and smell the Christmas cookies. We enjoy the Christmas parade, and the Christmas lights downtown. All of that is all well and good, but the real reason for our celebration is the birth of the King, the LORD Jesus Christ. He was born in the humblest of beginnings, lived a sinless life, but then died a criminal’s death so that you and I would not have to pay the penalty for our sins. He was the Substitute on the cross; He died the death that you and I should have died, after living the life that you and I could not live. He was buried, but then resurrected on the morning of the third day of the event, and He revealed Himself to His followers before ascending to heaven to be seated at the right hand of the Father, where He is making intercession for the saints! All of this began because of His birth, which we celebrate at Christmas. What a reason to celebrate!!!
This Christmas, let’s focus on the real reason for Christmas: the LORD Jesus Christ.
And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name; and when he saw Him, he fell at His feet,
And besought Him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray Thee, come and lay Thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live.
And Jesus went with him; and much people followed Him, and thronged Him.
Not much is known about Jairus except that he is 1) a ruler in the synagogue, 2) the father of a daughter, 3) and a believer that Jesus could heal the sick. This is all the Bible tells us about him in Matthew 9, Mark 5 and Luke 8. We know that Jesus was travelling through Capernaum when he encounters Jairus. Jairus fell at the Savior’s feet pleading for Him to come and heal his little girl.
In my imagination, I can certainly relate to Jairus’ plight. As a parent, I have sat at the bedside of my children when they are sick. I have watched my daughters suffer in pain, and I prayed for them and with them…I have even told the LORD that if I could, I would take their suffering onto my own body. I understand why Jairus is willing to go to great lengths to get the healing that his daughter so desperately needs.
So….Jairus approached the LORD to plead his case. He explains to the Savior that his daughter lies at the point of death. She may have suffered for a week or a year or five years; we don’t know how long because the scripture does not say. We do know that she is sick, and Jairus fears that she will die. Jairus asked the Savior to come, lay hands on her, so that she may be healed. He knows that Jesus is a healer. He knows that if the LORD decides to heal her, she will not die at this moment. She will live for years to come. This is the plea of the loving father who believes in the power of the Savior.
The interesting part of all of this is that Jairus is a ruler in the synagogue. Though he is not described as a member of the Pharisees, he is one of the men who was devoutly religious and very highly respected in the community. He more than likely was very closely connected to the Pharisaic community, which would have made him keenly aware of the hatred of the establishment toward Jesus. Jairus obviously had a choice to make: either go with the flow of shunning the LORD and let his daughter die, or buck the system and get his daughter the healing he desired.
Because Jairus was a synagogue leader, he knew very well about the miraculous power of the LORD Jesus Christ. He had probably witnessed Jesus casting out a demon in the synagogue. At the very least, word had reached Jairus about how Jesus had performed miracles in the surrounding areas. He knew what he had to do.
Jairus boldly approached the LORD. He did not creep up to Him under the cloak of darkness like Nicodemus did. He made a bold request of the LORD in broad daylight, in front of the dense crowd that surrounded Jesus. As I think of his bold request, I think of how we as believers have to be bold in our requests to the LORD when we are in desperate situations. There is no room for being cute or coy; we have to be sincere and straightforward in our petitions to the LORD.
Back to Jairus being a ruler in the synagogue: he was a part of the establishment who hated Jesus with all their heart. He was also a father who loved his daughter with all his heart. He was helpless to do anything for his little girl, who lay at home dying. He was in the presence of the only One Who could heal her and he knew it. So he chose to go public with the fact that he was a believer in the synagogue. He was desperate enough for his daughter’s life that he dispensed with all the formalities and rules and protocols, and he approached Jesus with his heart felt request. Oh, that we, as believers, would be as bold in our faith as Jairus. Oh that we would dispense with all formality and protocol, and learn to trust in the miracle working power of the LORD Jesus Christ!
I am asking the LORD for a miracle in my life. When He does it, it will indeed be a miracle because it is something that I cannot orchestrate on my own. It will take the power of God to work this situation out. Like Jairus, I believe in the healing power of the LORD Jesus Christ, and like Jairus, I am going boldly to Him with my petition, regardless of who says what or thinks what or does what.
The following post was written by my sweet sister in the LORD, Robin Self. With her permission, I am re-posting it here, because she gives some great stats that I think you will find very interesting. It is a great read. Take your time and as Robin says, don’t skip the stats!
Warning: Ahead are a few statistics. Read them. Don’t skip ahead.
A recent article from the Christian Post had a lot to say about the disparity between those in America who claim Christianity and those who actually hold to a biblical worldview.
According to the Barna Group, in America in 2021, 51% say that they hold to a “biblical worldview”. But here are what those same people said.
49% of the 51% believe that reincarnation is a possibility before they die.
Only 33% said they are born with a sinful nature, and can only be saved from the consequences of sin through Jesus Christ.
As it turns out, the percentage of those who fit into the ACTUAL definition of a biblical worldview, falls to a number of just 6%. Barna’s definition of a biblical worldview is as follows:
“A biblical worldview is based on the infallible Word of God. When you believe the Bible is entirely true, then you allow it to be the foundation of everything you say and do.”
In 2020 the Cultural Research Center did a study in which only 2% of millennials hold to a biblical worldview, even though 61% of them identify as Christian.
In 2017 the American Culture and Faith Institute found that while 46% of Americans claim to lead a “Christian life”, only 10% hold to a distinctly biblical worldview.
I give these rather bleak statistics to ask the question, what is the difference between those claiming to be Christians and those who truly live according to God’s word and put their faith in Jesus Christ?
Apparently, ALL these people have SOME type of belief or faith in Christ, but are all of them saved? The answer must be a resounding and tragic “NO”. But what constitutes a true, SAVING faith?
We see in scripture that not everyone who has a belief in Christ will ultimately be welcomed by God into heaven. ( Remember, even the demons believe! ) Not even all people who preach and teach from the bible have saving faith.
I believe we can see many today in the NAR and Word Faith movements who may fall into the Matthew 7:22 category:
They preach a false Christ, and hoodwink the masses into believing they are healing the lame and proclaiming the gospel, when nothing could be further from the truth. They are performing parlor tricks and inducing mass emotional hysteria. And unless they repent and come to a genuine, saving faith in Christ, they will be separated from God for eternity.
So, hopefully we all know and recognize these obvious, wolfish purveyors of falsehood. But what of the neighbor across the street, the co-worker at the office, or the college roommate who says, “I’m a Christian.”? We all know them. Maybe he is our mechanic who mentions the “man upstairs”. Or the patriotic friend who proudly displays his American flag and considers himself a lover of “God and country”. It may even be your aunt, or grandmother who attends church on Easter and Christmas and gives to the annual missions offering. If you asked them if they believe in God their answer would be “Yes”. Their answer might also be “yes” if you asked them if they believe in Jesus and His death, burial, and resurrection. Yet their sincere belief isn’t enough to save them. But, you may ask, “How can this be?” Let me answer that.
A person can have a knowledge of, even a belief in biblical things and not be a genuine follower of Christ. Maybe they grew up and attended church all their life, and have even attended through adulthood. But occupying a church pew doesn’t mean your soul has been regenerated. Some may ask, “But how do I know? How can I be sure??” You will know because only God Himself can make a filthy, depraved soul into one that has been made righteous and that longs to please Him. It is nothing that we do ourselves. It truly is a miraculous work of God. It is more than mere belief.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
It is called being “born again”.
Jesus told the Pharisee Nicodemus in John 3:3:
”3 Jesus responded and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Ligonier ministries lays out the definition of saving faith in this way:
“When the Protestant Reformers considered the question of saving faith, they found in Scripture three aspects that are essential for true faith. The first of these is Noticias, which is the intellectual content of what we believe. Saving faith is faith in the person and work of Christ, so we must know something about Jesus and what He has done if we are to have actual faith in Him. This is evident from the very existence of the Christian gospel—we tell people about Jesus, giving them biblically content for them to believe.
The second component of saving faith is Assensus, or belief that the content of the Christian gospel is true. It is possible to know something and not believe it is true, and in fact we know many things that we do not believe are true, such as the content of other religions. But as the Christian faith is dependent on the historical reality of things such as the resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:17), we must not only know that Christianity proclaims the content of Christ’s historical resurrection, but we must also believe that the resurrection happened (Rom. 10:9).
Finally, saving faith includes Fiducia, which is placing trust in the One revealed in the content that is believed to be true. Knowing what God has revealed and believing it to be true is a good thing, as we read in today’s passage, but it is not enough (James 2:14–19). Even demons know and assent to the truth of God’s revelation, so merely knowing and believing necessary truths for salvation such as the oneness of God are insufficient for redemption (v. 19b). Mere knowledge and belief, as John Calvin comments, “can no more connect man with God, than the sight of the sun carry him up to heaven.” We also need to place our trust in Christ personally to save us. We must believe that Jesus came to save us personally. We must place our lives in His hands, pledging ourselves to follow Him no matter the cost.“
So, breaking this down, even if you never remember the terms Noticias, Assensus, or Fiducia, you must:
1. Know the gospel intellectually. 2. Believe the gospel is true. 3. You MUST place your trust in the ONE revealed in the gospel.
What IS the gospel?
The word gospel means “good news,” so the gospel of Christ is the good news of His coming to provide forgiveness of sins for all who will believe (Colossians 1:14; Romans 10:9). Since the first man’s sin, mankind has been under the condemnation of God (Romans 5:12). Because everyone breaks God’s perfect law by committing sin, everyone is guilty (Romans 3:23). The punishment for the crime of sin is physical death (Romans 6:23) and then an eternity spent in a place of punishment (Revelation 20:15; Matthew 25:46). This eternal separation from God is also called the “second death” (Revelation 20:14–15).
The bad news that all are guilty of sin and condemned by God is countered by the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. God, because of His love for the world, has made a way for man to be forgiven of their sins (John 3:16). He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to take the sins of mankind on Himself through death on a cross (1 Peter 2:24). In placing our sin on Christ, God ensured that all who will believe in the name of Jesus will be forgiven (Acts 10:43). Jesus’ resurrection guarantees the justification of all who believe (Romans 4:25).– From “Got Questions”.
“NO MATTER THE COST”. And for those with true, saving faith, it will cost. We are called to walk in a whole new way, turning our backs on the old way of living our lives. We may lose friendships or even family as we walk this new and often lonely pilgrimage of Christianity. The Holy Spirit draws us to repentance, and that lifestyle of repentance carries on, day by day, not allowing us to be ruled by sin any longer, but confessing our sins to Him daily.
Saving faith means we will no longer identify with or practice a lifestyle of sin.
The website “Got Questions” lays out the recognizable characteristics of a genuine believer based on the epistle of 1 John:
1. The believer enjoys fellowship with Christ and His redeemed people (1 John 1:3). 2. The believer walks in the light, not in the darkness (1 John 1:6–7). 3. The believer admits and confesses his sin (1 John 1:8). 4. The believer obeys God’s Word (1 John 2:3–5). 5. The believer loves God rather than the world (1 John 2:15). 6. The believer’s life is characterized by “doing what is right” (1 John 2:29). 7. The believer seeks to maintain a pure life (1 John 3:3). 8. The believer sees a decreasing pattern of sin in his life (1 John 3:5–6; 5:18). 9. The believer demonstrates love for other Christians (1 John 3:14). 10. The believer “walks the walk,” versus just “talking the talk” (1 John 3:18–19). 11. The believer maintains a clear conscience (1 John 3:21). 12. The believer experiences victory in his Christian walk (1 John 5:4).
I was watching a very good video in which John MacArthur was asked the question, “How do I know if I’m really saved?”. He talks about the characteristics of someone who has been genuinely changed by saving faith. Watch his amazing and clarifying explanation in this short video:
As Dr. MacArthur says, a saved life will never mean a perfect life. But it will be a different one.
There are so many around us who are going about their daily lives, believing they are Christians, when in actuality, they are living with a false security about their eternity. This is why we must be ready and willing to discuss the gospel with those around us. They may have never truly heard the good news. They may come to saving faith. They may not. But at least it won’t be because we just went along as always, never discussing it with them. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to see your friends, family, and neighbors go from a non-saving “belief” in God to a life-changing, saving faith in Jesus Christ? This is our job in this world. To tell the good news. Let our lives be marked as being ones who contributed to adding to the Kingdom!