The Birds and the Apple

Once on a very hot Texas day, I sat in a hotel parking lot under a small tree having some quiet time alone, when a car that was not far from me, whose driver was ready to leave, started his car, had an apple with him and for some reason, whatever it was, he simply put it outside of his car door and let it roll under the car.  Maybe it had a bad spot on it.  Whatever the reason, he drove off leaving the shiny red apple lying on the hot asphalt.

Within minutes, birds began to light and begin pecking at the apple.  Before long, there were 6 or 7, maybe more, pecking the apple, not only getting something to eat but also much needed moisture on an extremely hot day.

It began to dawn on me that apples don’t grow from asphalt and how God provided, from a very unlikely place, food and moisture for the birds of the air.  It reminded me of the scripture in Matthew 6:26 where it says: “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them, are you not more valuable than they?”

It made me realize that God can provide for us from the most unlikely places as well.  No matter what we have need of, God knows what we need and only He has the great ability to bring forth and supply to you or me whatever may be required for us and all the others to come if we will only pay attention.  He has made provisions for us because we are more valuable to Him than birds.

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THE FUTURE IS SECURE WITH JESUS

Nothing in this world is secure these days. There is great turmoil, and it is challenging all people. Today we see a society that no longer respects Christian values. In fact, Christianity seems to be becoming more and more hostile to many people. Most folks enjoy their sin, and this brings about rejection of a true Christian viewpoint because sin is threatened by real Christian values.

Yes, the world is beginning to experience divisions among what the Bible says is truth or what someone believes is their own opinion. This causes confusion and rejection because there seems to be no real truth.

But Jesus, in John 14:27, said that He leaves us peace, and goes on several times saying, “Peace I leave with you.” If you want peace, then that’s where you’ll find it. Jesus is known as the “Prince of Peace,” and today while many search for peace, only Jesus really has it.

This world is on shaky ground because sin never builds a solid foundation. And we need something that is secure and will not fail while every other system of mankind begins to deteriorate.

Jesus offers all the only peace, because He is the only true Son of the Living God. There is no other. And to know God as Father, you must know His Son as Lord, and you’ll have peace like nothing else this world has to offer.

THE TOUGH PLACES IN LIFE

God is the one who chooses how and whom He will work through if we are willing to let Him. If you’ll let Him, God will refine and make you into what you are really capable of becoming.

Our most tough places in life are the very places we can grow the most if we won’t rebel against God but trust Him regardless of what our emotions are saying or our own human thinking tries to convince us of. God will provide for you if you will let Him. God will fight for His people who will look to Him as their source no matter where they are at in life. But you must stand firm for God no matter what happens.

This, many times, separates those who actually follow Jesus from those who say they follow Jesus. In Joshua 1, God reminds His people “only be strong and courageous” in verse 7 and several other passages; “do not be afraid” nor dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Remember this wherever you go or whatever you face in this life: if you will not turn from the right or the left, if you will meditate and trust in God’s word and His way, He will be with you however it ends up.

The reason people fall is not because of a mistake they made, it is because they keep making the same mistakes. It doesn’t matter what’s going on in your life. When Jesus comes on the scene, something is going to have to change; either you are going to have to face your situation and live with it or let Jesus deal with it.

Do you have a faith in God that can sustain you? It is one thing to talk about it, and it is something else to walk it out. But God will walk it out with you every time. That is, if you do really have the relationship that it takes. The moment you start depending almost exclusively on mankind’s programs to be your supplier of your needs, you’ll weaken your faith in God as being your main source.

The advice of others may bring help, but only God’s Word can bring healing in those tough places in life.

THE REAL ENEMY

Why do families fight with each other? Why is there constant turmoil between people groups? Why are there struggles among political parties? Why are neighbors at odds with each other at times? Why are there divorces, murders, stealing, wars, disease, and economic problems?

The answer is actually very simple, and you’ll find the answer in the Bible. Ephesians 6:12, says, “For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers of this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” So it is that simple. It is not actually the people we fight against but the evil that people allow themselves to be influenced by.

Make no mistake about it; you are either being controlled at various times by evil or good. Anyone who believes they live by their own motives and reasons are totally deceived. For your flesh is no match for the unseen forces of the Heavenlies.

It is true sometimes; some people don’t need too much help from evil because the original nature of mankind is evil. But there is a real enemy that knows how to control in various ways people who do not surrender their lives to Jesus, the Son of the Living God.

Only Jesus can protect us from evil, and you had better face the facts. There is no in-between. You either allow yourself to be controlled in one way or the other by Jesus, the Son of God, or by Satan and his dark ways. Everyone is in only one of these two categories.

The Sunday After the Rapture

I wonder what might be going on that Sunday right after the rapture. There will surely be much confusion as many will still be trying to explain why so many people have just disappeared. Of course, there will be many who will still be in shock trying to still convince themselves that this just isn’t real, this just isn’t really happening. And then there will be some who thought for sure they’d be gone as well- but why were they left? And there will be those who exactly know what’s taken place…they’ve missed the great rapture of the church and now they’re going to have to face a world like no one on earth has ever seen.

Some may come weeping bitterly for their hearts are so heavy; the loss has been so great. By that Sunday after the rapture the police and sheriff’s departments will be so overwhelmed… So the government now has to step in, a few of them are gone and even though they have few answers they must help stop the chaos. It’s the Sunday after the great disappearing of so many, where people used to get up on Sunday morning, take a jog in the mid-morning to keep that body fit, but today they don’t even want to come out of their front door.

That Sunday after the rapture as now the night shadows fall, there is noise in the background, that of a curfew. People are told to stay in their homes, remain calm. But how can one, as the electricity goes on and off; sometimes there are just hours of darkness? People are afraid, people are lonely. And the poor hospitals… They can’t keep up with the hurting. The counselors are of little help, it seems. And, oh how many more have taken their own lives, and the looting and robbing is terrible. Why have even good people have done terrible things to others?

That Sunday will be a day that will cause many to remember all those Sundays they neglected coming to hear about the things of God. That Sunday right after the true Christians have left will not be like any of the other. Those that lived for the weekend, taking every weekend for themselves, are now they’re wishing they could have reevaluated and spent their time more wisely. Yet it is too late.

Many on that Sunday after the rapture, when the true saints of God have been caught away from this earth, will now know also what the Bible warns is to come. Many will now take down those Bibles that have lain on the shelf or inside that drawer to see what happens next.

Rest assured, that day is coming. And from all indications, it is now more than ever before poised to happen at any time of any day. “For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:27)

WHERE ARE YOU EMPLOYED?

Lots of us work at a job of some sort that helps us earn income. Some people have worked to where they can now draw benefits from their years of working. At some point in life we all are employed in some manner and receive a paycheck for our service. And then we place that money in a bank that helps us keep our funds in order.

Now let’s suppose I went to a bank where I had never deposited funds and wrote them a counter check for $100 and asked them to cash it. First of all, I wouldn’t receive any money because I don’t have an account there, and then I’m trying to pass a check by deception which can get me in bigger trouble. But if I go to my bank and write a check and the money is there, it can be given to me.

If a person is a Christian, they are in God’s service. Let’s say by heaven’s standards I can qualify when I go to God in prayer because I’m His employee to serve His purposes. I have access to heaven’s resources.

If I use my name, there is nothing in an account for me because I can’t do anything on my own to earn credit. But if I can use the name of Jesus, I have unlimited resources that grants me privileges for things I have need of in life. God has possessions in that account that draws His interest. And if I honor Him, He will honor my request as He will any of His children who put their faith and trust in Him and live like a faithful employee of His heavenly kingdom.

30,000 Days

Just how many days will the average person’s life be here on earth? Mankind’s days, the Bible says, are numbered, but only God knows that number. Now the national estimates say that the average person will live around 30,000 days, and during those days a lot will happen in one’s life.

People have all kinds of plans for those days. But so does God. And during those 30,000 days, you will eventually determine just where you are going to spend all the rest of your days when you leave this earth. This place is only a training ground for the future of where we will spend eternity, and it all hinges on your relationship with God and what you do concerning His son, Jesus.

Without Jesus, there is no heaven. Jesus is the key to your destiny to heaven. Many people spend their entire 30,000 days living to serve their own needs, hardly ever giving Jesus any personal attention in a Holy way.

They seem to believe everything will be OK when their time here is up, and they will transfer to the next life in a place they think will be heaven.

Like I say, this is the average. But some people never get 30,000 days. Theirs is much shorter. Wise is the person who takes an honest look at the Bible and evaluates their future and their relationship with Jesus before their days are used up and are no more.

PRENUPTIAL CHRISTIANS?

I’m sure some of you are familiar with the meaning, especially concerning sometimes people getting remarried, of having a prenuptial agreement. I believe most people reading this understand what I’m talking about. But I’d like for you to consider something else. In the church realm I truly believe we have some people who attend church and have done the very same thing, maybe without even realizing it.

The bigger problem here is God doesn’t recognize such agreements. They basically are just one-sided. You see, God wants either all of your life or nothing. You either belong to Him or you don’t. God’s not interested in you getting to keep some of your stuff when you turn your life over to Him.

There is an event found in God’s word in Matthew 19:16-22, where a man wanted to follow Jesus but Jesus pointed out that unless the man gave up all then he could not follow Him. Today there are probably millions sitting in churches who think they’ve struck some deal with Jesus and are on their way to heaven but, in reality, are in just as much trouble with their eternal souls as the dirtiest sinner in town.

Make sure today that you haven’t tried to hold on to your life and live for Jesus at the same time. It doesn’t work, and the results have terrible eternal consequences. Examine your life with Christ Jesus each day, and let Him have all of you.

THE NEW NORMAL VS HOLINESS

Is not the word of God just as good for today as it was yesterday? By our actions we either do or do not identify ourselves as one of His. What is missing today in society in the churches that have His cross placed on them? How holy of a people are we? I’m not referring to how we dress or have to worship only a certain way. I’m talking about the Holiness of your heart.

God refers to His Spirit as Holy. Have you ever wondered why? (Read Mark 1:8). Most people want nothing to do with holiness. They could care less. There is a price to live a life holy to God. God is interested in what we do and what we say.

Today people- especially good, moral people, or even those who call themselves Christians- twist words, words of the Bible; and they also change the form of words, yet the meaning is still there. This troubles me when those who claim the name of Christ want to continue with their words when they get angry or agitated. This coarse talk does not fool God just because we change the word…the meaning is still there.

He understands much more than they think. Today we’ve changed the “S” word with a “C” word, or the “F” word for another “F” word. People use God’s name in jokes or speak with added words to His name to make them slang. Yet, like the scripture says in 1 Samuel 2, ”For the Lord God is the God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed.” God sees the heart, and He knows what your words mean.

The word “Holy” has been referred to one way or another in the Bible around 700 times. Holiness is important to God, for it is mentioned more than money or prayer. Look at the scripture where God speaks of holiness, for the last time in His word in Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” This is the last time the word holiness is mentioned in the Bible. I believe it is significant. Without holiness no one will ever see God. God is your standard for truth and holiness; men’s traditions can actually hinder your obedience to God if they are allowed to usurp God’s position.

Auditing God’s Word

Today there is a great ‘dumbing down’ of the Bible, God’s words and instructions to mankind.

Many who are believed to be people of great knowledge and those that teach and debate in the halls of schools or political realms- from business seminars to even behind some of the church pulpits across the land- there has been continual audits to the Bible. Those auditors make statements that say that the definition of marriage is to be changed, that the Bible is a book with words that are outdated and no longer relevant to the day in which we live. These auditors of God’s word even criticize those that still believe the Bible’s words to be true and call them names like “old-fashioned,” “bigots,” and “intolerant,” and the list grows worse. Yes, today there are more auditors of God’s Word than ever before. They oppose on every level what the Bible says and now explain what they believe it really means.

The greatest disappointment is when those in the church and some of its many movements and denominations agree with the auditors and even help them to cause people to see what they say the Bible really means for the people of today. This will go on for now while people trade truth for pleasures and their own personal benefits. But one day they will have to face the stark reality of their decisions when they have to stand before the Bible’s author.

So, for now, there will be those who twist or leave out God’s truths in their interpretations of life. But without God’s truths followed, at the end of the day it will only result in the exchange of the ignorance and deception of many words.