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What would you do…

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My wife recently told me about a question that she had either heard or read someplace:

What would you do if tomorrow you woke up to realize that the only possessions you still had were those that you had given thanks for today?

Thoughts?

 

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He Thought of Us

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We had a wonderful service this morning, and I just had to share the song my wife sang right before we served communion.

While I do not know the writer of this song, whoever wrote it was most certainly inspired to do so. The lyrics are piercing and paint a picture of the final hours of Jesus on earth in a very personal manner.

I pray it touches your heart as much as it did mine. I am admittedly biased, but I thought my wife delivered this song in a way that touched a lot of people. For sure, I wasn’t the only one in the service who had to wipe away a few tears.

Her song starts at around the 11:20 mark if you wish to FF to it.

Ron

You Thought of Us

 

Why people can’t fix people

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The recent slaughter of innocent concert goers in Las Vegas has the nation clamoring, once again, for some type of gun control in an attempt to eliminate these horrific mass murders once and for all.

And once again, we choose to ignore the fact that people are making the choice to kill and injure defenseless people for reasons that any rational person could not begin to understand.

But we know that guns must be the problem, or so we are told. We evidently have a behavioral problem when it comes to guns, therefore in order to change this behavior we must control guns.

Controlling guns = elimination of the problem. Or so we are told.

For the record, I am convinced that guns are not the problem in America.

I am convinced that people who reject the counsel of God are the problem in America.

Rather than humble our hearts before the Almighty, humanity has chosen to go another way. God and His rule has been supplanted by His very creation, who has deemed God as no longer relevant in a cultured society.

To understand what is happening in America and the rest of the world does not require the IQ of a rocket scientist. It is actually 100% predictable, and should cause us to drop to our knees in prayer because the Bible declares that evil men will only become more evil (Matt. 24:12).

If that doesn’t cause concern to rise within you, please check your pulse.

We have blinders on, and we are terrified of the Godless monster, aka our “utopian society” that we have created. This monster is out of control, and he has an insatiable appetite for destruction.

The terrifying truth is that we are part of a society that is on the verge of collapse.

Have we not noticed that after every mass shooting or similar act of terror, celebrities and politicians come out of the woodwork calling for more laws, more restraints, more rules?

More control. More failed attempts at people fixing people.

Anything that is, except for a return to God.

The founding father’s understood that if our society abandoned the God of the Bible, that we would in effect seal our own destiny.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. – John Adams

This is, in essence, why so many believe that America must rewrite it’s Constitution. It’s much easier to create new laws based upon man’s ideology than to have to humble ourselves before God.

As I’ve said before, America has a God problem. As in “how do we make Him go away”?

Americans are angry, and angry people are irrational. Instead of looking to guns as a scapegoat, perhaps we should call for a national day of repentance instead. I have to believe that an honest, inward search of our hearts would reveal much that we need to repent of. And guns would likely not make anyone’s top ten list!

Imagine what this nation would be like if it once again respected God and His word.

Now, there’s a utopian society for you…

If people could fix people, there would have been no need for Jesus to come and offer Himself as the ultimate sacrifice required to redeem man.

But He did come, and He is still calling people to come to Him.

He remains the one and only fix for broken people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Could You Use a Little Good News Today?

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I’ve been thinking of something the Apostle Paul said to the church at Corinth,and how best to apply it to our lives today.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,
39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 8:31,35,38-39
Someone needs to hear that whatever you are going through,whatever has happened to you, no matter how hopeless the situation seems, nothing is so terrible that it can separate you from the love of God.
He is right there with you, in the midst of it all, a very present help in the time of trouble.
Be strengthened this day, in Jesus name.

What does this Easter bring to you?

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Every year at this time a deep sadness comes over me as I reflect upon the awful treatment of Jesus. This sadness is only intensified when I look around and see what the world has done to Easter. The rampant commercialization of what in my opinion is the Holiest of occasions is enough to make one weep.

You see, Easter is very personal to me.

Like many, I’m lost in thought this season, contemplating events that took place two thousand years ago. Events so incredible that even after all of this time, they continue to impact the world in a manner that can only be described as miraculous.

Jesus, the lowly son of a carpenter, the only person ever born of a virgin, was born to die for the sins of all mankind. The Pascal Lamb, God’s atoning Passover sacrifice, has spent the last week of His life preparing for the cruelest death imaginable.

The CROSS

But not just the CROSS, but preparing for what had to come before the CROSS.

The trial, the false accusations, the mockery, the beard pulled from his face, the cruelest of beatings and scourging’s, and far worse than any of these, the betrayal of not only His own nation, but those closest to him.

I have often wondered how Jesus endured the suffering that led up to the CROSS. One is left to surmise that only the Divine could do so, for surely mere mortals would succumb to such torture before being crucified.

Jesus, knowing what lay ahead of Him, fixed His gaze upon Calvary and pressed on to His destiny. Because you see, you were on His mind the entire time. It was for you and me that he drove Himself onward.

There is a popular song today called “He Carried Me”. The song tells the story of how when Jesus was forced to carry His CROSS, He wasn’t just carrying the CROSS, but He was also carrying me.

A couple of Sunday’s ago, my wife Debbie sang this song and I wanted to share it with all of you. The song begins at about the 55 minute mark of the service.

This being Easter Sunday, all over the world Christians are rejoicing over the resurrection of Jesus. My prayer is that sometime today, you and I will get to spend some quality time alone with Him. Time in reflection of what He did so that we could have what we have:

Hope.

Far beyond family traditions, new clothes, another Easter service, or children scrambling for colored eggs, my prayer is that Easter brings to you a renewed sense of what it means to assume the title of “Christian”.

It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.   Isaiah 43:25

Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.   Rom. 8:34

But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Rom. 5:8

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.   Philippians 2:8

Truly, a great price has been paid for you and I. If we are asked “what does this Easter bring to you” I hope that we can answer by saying Easter brings us the hope of Eternal life.

 

Let us honor the King of Kings on this Holy day.

 

When your questions outweigh answers…

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What do you do?

I have so been there, haven’t you? Left to wonder how-why-what-where-when, or who. Instead of answers, all that come are even more questions.eight-teen-questions

Life is like that isn’t it? At times, answers can be hard to come by. Sometimes they never come at all. Unrelenting streams of questions, however, never seem to be in short supply.

And guess who never fails to seize upon the situation in order to cast doubt in our minds?

Yep, you guessed it. Our adversary loves these situations where we are seemingly overwhelmed with questions and doubt.

doubtSo he can sow even more doubt, of course.

I’ve been in the place where my questions have outweighed the answers so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve felt the sting of defeat so many times that a “normal” person would have thrown in the towel.

Like a lot of you, I’ve been abandoned, neglected, abused, rejected, and disowned. And each of these “life events”( I refuse to call them tragedies) has raised more questions than I could ever find answers for. As I said, a “normal” person would have thrown in the towel.

The one question that always comes to the forefront when struggling with life’s deepest struggles is simply this: God, where are you? In the midst of despair, isn’t that really all we want to know?

As a Christian, all I want to know, all I need to know, is that God is still there. Just don’t leave me Father.

where-is-god

brucegerencser.net

I know some of you reading this have walked these dark places in your lifetime. And you have asked the question of the ages just as I have: God, where are you? If this is you, I want to share a brief story with you.

In just a few weeks it will have been 17 years since I suffered a major heart attack, the one that the Dr.’s call a “widow maker”. Mowing the lawn one spring day I suddenly ended up laying in the grass after feeling like I had been struck by lightning.

Managing to crawl to the house, my wife called 911 and I was soon on my way to the hospital. Some of the events surrounding this have been forgotten or blurred by time, but I distinctly remember calling upon the Lord to save me, to help me.

To make a very long story short, the next several months involved tests, stents that failed within two months, and heart catheterizations, all of which ended in open heart bypass surgery. Little did I know at that time that the physical part of this ordeal was about to be overshadowed by an even greater battle.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times the enemy would come to me with false accusations. He would tell me I was no longer a child of God, or that I was finished, or that God would never use me again. Suffice it to say that the attacks were relentless.

Now, I would love to be able to report to you that I was a Super Christian, my cape blowing in the wind, the fiery darts of Satan bouncing off of me like they were marshmallows. I would love to be able to tell you this.

But since I am a Christian, I have an aversion to lying.

The truth is, I struggled with these attacks. I never discussed it with anyone except my wife, but I struggled. I never doubted that I would be OK physically, but I certainly doubted my standing with the Lord.

spiritual-warfare

Capebaptist.org

It wasn’t because God didn’t heal me that I started to embrace this doubt, but because I began to question if it was somehow all my fault. Hearing my surgeon telling me that my condition was 80% hereditary did little to comfort my nagging thoughts.

It took some time for me to work through this, but with His grace and the encouragement of the Word, I did get the victory over my doubts. Just a few months after surgery I was back in the pulpit, and I’ve been going ever since.

So to close this blog, I want to leave you with something from Psalms 119 that speaks to the power of God’s Word. My prayer is that these simple verses will encourage you to draw deeply from the treasure that is the Word of God.

Princes persecute me without a cause,

But my heart stands in awe of your word.

I rejoice at your word,

As one who finds great treasure.

I hate and abhor lying,

But I love your law.

Seven times a day I praise you,

Because of Your righteous judgments.

Psalm 119:161-164

I have learned that through Christ which strengthens me, I can handle just about anything just as long as I know He’s still there. I may not like the fact that I have to face certain things, but there is comfort in knowing He is there.

When your questions outweigh answers, there’s only one place to turn.

To the One who already knows what the answers are,before you even ask the question.

How to have a revival in the midst of war and death

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Like many others,I’ve been following the unparalleled carnage taking place as a result of the Syrian civil war. In one of the bloodiest and most horrific civil wars in modern history,the world has been witness to the unspeakable carnage of a demonic dictator bent on murdering his own citizens.

Sadly,now that the fighting is for all intents and purposes over, the major world powers and the Church have chosen to remain relatively silent about the plight of those unfortunate enough to be trapped in and around the battle zone of Aleppo.

According to the United Nations and the World Health Organization,over 700,000 people are trapped in these areas around Syria.Trying to imagine the magnitude of suffering for these people is all but impossible. A catastrophe of the highest level is playing out before the eyes of the world.

But wait, it gets worse I’m afraid.

Want to hear the real shocker in all of this? Of these 700,000, it is estimated that 300,000 are children.That’s right,nearly half are children!

syria-1

blogs.reuters.com

As incredible as it sounds however,in the midst of so much human suffering,the Holy Spirit is hard at work drawing thousands to Christ.

Even though thousands of Christians have been martyred for refusing to renounce their faith,God is still adding to His church daily,just as He has been doing since the birth of the Church.

Many Christians have refused to leave this war ravaged area,preferring instead to stay behind to help others and to witness to the many thousands who have no hope. Out of this latter group are coming thousands of Muslims who are looking for help in coping with the effects of war. And finding Jesus!

Praise God that the Christians in that area who have chosen to stay behind are witnessing to them,praying with them,and leading many to Christ.These are “book of Acts” Christians,showing them love and compassion.

This is nothing short of the handwork of God! To a war torn people who have lost everything,the Holy Spirit is reaching out to them to reassure them that hope is not lost after all.

Indeed,having lost all their worldly possessions,these people are finding a new treasure in Jesus Christ! How incredible is this! On the one hand they lost everything,yet on the other hand they have now gained Everything!

This is revival God’s way! No speeches,no programs,no celebrity preachers,just God doing what He loves to do;using His people to express His love to those so desperate for it. I find all of this amazing!

We serve a wondrous and mighty God,and from this war torn corner of the planet He is moving.He is saving the lost and offering hope to the hopeless.Souls who had been enslaved by a religion that cannot save are now enjoying new found freedoms in Christ!

Could it be that these Christians have tapped into something that we in N.America do not understand? Think about the current state of Evangelicalism in N.America, with our great churches and cathedrals boasting of members numbering in the tens of thousands,our huge bank accounts,programs for every member of the family,weekly agendas and calendars full of religious activities.

Lot’s of activities to be sure. But no fruit.

I would not trade all of that for the loving,caring examples of Jesus in action in war torn Syria! We in N.America have perfected the art of doing church,while those in Syria are perfecting the art of BEING the Church!

This is why N.America can never have real revival! We aren’t BEING the Church! Oh sure,we plan the annual spring and fall revival meetings.But what results can we show from these meetings? Are lives changed? Have hearts been regenerated? Do we leave our meetings with a renewal of our first love? Not often,but we sure do know how to do church though,don’t we?

I say away with these man made,powerless gatherings of like minded men who want nothing more than to promote their own agenda.There is no deliverance to be found in these committees who exist solely for the purpose of self preservation.God may be on their billboard,but He is nowhere to be found among the haughty,proud,and arrogant.

We in N.America are desperate for real revival.Revival that stirs our hearts to repentance.Revival that permeates our communities,not just the confines of the local sanctuary.We need the kind of revival born out of the war torn hell of Aleppo.

This is life changing revival.This is soul winning revival! It’s desperation that brings real,true,revival!

My prayer for N.America is that we will not have to experience the ravages of war,death,and the destruction of all we hold dear in order to experience the kind of revival we need.That is my heartfelt prayer.

My fear,however,is that N.America will have to be shaken to it’s core before we return to God.Perhaps we are nearer to such a shaking than we realize? After all,only God can make N.America great again.

I have included a few links to information regarding the persecution of Christians in Syria,as well as persecution in general.I trust these will be of benefit to those hungry to know what is taking place in the world regarding the persecution of our Brothers and Sisters.

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