My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the category “Christianity”

First Love Cooled?

Revelation 2:4-5
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.”

Did you read that? Does this apply to you? I hope not. But think about this. Are you still on fire for God? Or has your love gone a bit cool. I’m not asking if you still love the Lord. I’m guessing you still do. Are you still willing to live for Jesus? Do you still have love for others? Or is it more self-centered?

I know that this is for the church in Ephesus. However I also believe that it could apply to us individually.

About removing your lampstand from among the churches? You can say it applies only to churches, or not. But, do you really want to take a chance? Do you want to disappoint our Lord? I don’t.

There is more written to the church in Ephesus. Most of it is good, but I suggest reading Revelation 2:1-7.

That’s my thoughts.

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Earning Your Way To Heaven?

Are you earning your way to Heaven? And if so, how are you doing it? What if you’re wrong?

What if a man murdered someone else, and then is caught, arrested, and put on trial? His defense attorney says, “This is basically a good man. His good deeds out weight his bad.”

The prosecuting attorney says, “He is a murderer and here is the proof. He should go to prison.”

Defense attorney says, “But this man who did murder is a nice guy. He gives to charity, sings in the church choir, he is a pillar in our society. He’s a great husband and father.”

But because the man is a murderer, he went to prison. All the good he did in his life didn’t matter.

Right now many of you are saying, “I didn’t murder anyone, so I’m OK. I’ll still get into Heaven.” But there is one problem with this thinking. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”

So now, how many of you believe you’re good enough? Remember in this society, once a murderer, always a murderer. Just like once a sex offender, always a sex offender.

By the way Jesus also said, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mathew 5:27-28

Face it, there is no way you can earn your way into Heaven. But what if it was given to you as a gift? Would you accept it? Your sins must be paid for somehow. After all, if you don’t go to Heaven, you will go to Hell.

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

Cross

Jesus came to pay our way into Heaven. It is a gift. We can not earn it. John 1:1-5 and John 1:14 explains that Jesus is God. He loves us enough to go through, being mocked, punched in the face, spit upon, whipped. Imagine having the whip digging into your back and ripping away bits of your flesh. Imagine having a crown made of thorns shoved down on your head. Now there is blood and sweat running down stinging your eyes. Then in front of everyone you cry out in pain, and yet no one helps you. You’re in pain because nails are being pounded through your hands and feet. And then more pain as the weight of your body tears at holes in your hands as the cross they just nailed you to is being righten up in the ground. And as your family and friends watch… you die.

Also keep in mind that Jesus could have stopped this anytime He wanted. Matthew 26:53-54 says:
“Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

He Is Risen - The Graffiti Bridge, on Facebook

He Is Risen – The Graffiti Bridge, on Facebook

This is how much God loves us. Then three days later He rose from the dead, physically with His own body.

So you have a choice. You can try to earn your way to Heaven, and you will fail. Or you can believe in the Lord Jesus. Ask Him into your heart and to forgive your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Are You Proud To Be A Christian?

One of the things I have seen on Facebook are “I’m proud to be a Christian. Share if you are too.

I’m puzzled by this. Knowing that we are all sinners, and fall way short from God’s standards, how can we be rightfully proud?

Copper Ridge, North Cascade National Park -National Park Service

Copper Ridge, North Cascade National Park -National Park Service

Let’s say you are lost in the mountains with a broken leg. Or you’re sitting on the roof of your home because of a flood. You are cold, wet and hungry. You have no hope on saving yourself. Finally Search and Rescue finds you. Are you proud that they found and rescued you? There is nothing to boast about here, except for the adventure. The real question, or the correct question is, “Are you grateful?”.

“Proud To Be A Christian”, also makes me think of “The Proud Pharisee” who did everything right. However if you read Luke 18:9-14. you see being a “The Proud Pharisee” who self-righteously did everything right, didn’t make himself right with God. Yet Luke 18:14 says the tax collector who humbled himself before the Lord, was justified before God.

Ephesians 2:8-10 says:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

So when people say they’re proud to be a Christian, I wonder; are they really proud that Jesus gave up His life so they might be saved from Hell?

I myself am humbly grateful that my Lord would save me. John 3:14-16 says:
And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Soon we will celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. For those who believes in the Lord Jesus, Roman 6:5 says:
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

Are You Sure?

Question_mark_(black_on_white)

When you die, will you go to Heaven? Are you sure? If you say you’re good enough, how do you know? What if you believe that homosexuality is good because Jesus never talked about it. Are you sure that what you believe is correct? I’ve heard Jesus was much like Buddha. The guy telling me this was very sure. But was he correct? If so and if you do believe you can be good enough, then how do you explain Ephesians 2:9 or even Matthew 7:21-23

Two men were arguing about which way was north. Only one was correct. Why? He looked at the compass.

I’ve noticed that many people don’t think about what they believe. They certainly don’t test it. Why?

When I was in maybe eighth grade in school, I had a teacher who told the class that there is no life above the Arctic Circle because it’s too cold. Even as a kid I wonder if she ever heard of Eskimos and polar bears. What about people living in Northern Norway? In my early twenties I was on an ice breaker, and we went north of Point Barrow, Alaska. There’s a lot of life up there.

Some people say that if Jesus was here right now He would be a Democrat. Are you sure? Really sure? Right now I’m guessing that there people that are grinning, thinking “Of course not. He’d be a republican.” Really? Are you sure about that?

Here’s a question for you. With everything that’s been happening, why would The Lord of the universe be impressed with either party?

If Jesus returns right now, what would He do about the Middle East? Would He split Jerusalem and give half to the Palestinians? Would He insist on a two state solution? Maybe even destroying Israel? And are you sure? If you say ‘Yes’, are you sure the person would even be Jesus?

Revelation 19:11-21 talks about Jesus returning and fighting for Israel. And He wins.

Also when He returns, He wouldn’t be interested in our petty little political system. He Himself, will be king. Mark 15:2 Revelation 1:4-6

So how can we be sure of things? More important, how can we be sure we’re going to Heaven? John 3:16 says For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

So do you really believe in Him? Only you can answer that question.

Let me ask you this. Do you believe in Hillary, or Trump? If you’re an American, you’ll either say “yes” or “no”. If you say “yes”, that would mean you believe in everything that person stands for. You’ll stand by that person through thick and thin.

This is how you should believe in Jesus. Even more so. Please get to know Him if you don’t. Start in Matthew and read through Revelation. Then to know Him more, read the Old Testament. Be sure.

Persecuted

Good news! On January 16, 2016 Pastor Saeed Abedini was finally released from an Iranian prison. Here are two links. Link 1 Link 2 While this is very good news, him as well as the others who were released, still needs prayers as they recover from physical and mental abuse.

The sad news is that there are so many more people who are or have been persecuted. And there will be more persecution, even here in North America. Even in the United States. There are also more people being lead astray. Why?

I read that there Christians who believes that Jesus was not Jewish. Why? Either people don’t read their Bible, or someone sucked their brains out. Jesus was born from a very long line of Jewish people. Every year Jesus and his family would go to Jerusalem for the Passover festival which is a very Jewish thing to do. When Jesus healed the man with leprosy, He told him to go to the priest and take along an offering as required by the law of Moses. Clearly Jesus is a Jew. Even Pilate acknowledged Him as King of the Jews. Why would a Christian who reads their Bible say that Jesus is not Jewish, is beyond understanding. Unless they don’t read.

Another time, many years ago someone told me they were a Christian. I was a little suspicious so I asked if he believes in Jesus. That He died on the cross and rose again physically three days later. He said “No, I don’t believe you have to believe in Jesus to be a Christian.”

How does that work? How can you be a Christ-ian and not follow Christ? When the time comes, these people will escape most if not all persecution that may be coming. Me, my wife, many of my friends and family as well as many of you, will be persecuted. Some of us may be murdered. If you believe and admit that Jesus is Lord, Son of God, and that He has risen physically from the dead, if you say Jesus is the only way to have eternal life; you’re in trouble.

Things are going to get worse. I believe, in the United States there will be more persecution towards Christians. More mocking, getting fired, more bigotry. Families will be divided and friendships broken. Our rights of free speech will be taken away while those who oppose us will keep theirs. For an example: it’s getting where if you speak bad about Jesus people will believe it’s OK. But if you say the same thing about Mohammad, then people will get upset and call you a hateful bigot. A few may try to kill you or at least punish you somehow.

In the past I have been lied about and mocked and other things, only because I’m a Christian.

As bad as things may get, please keep this in mind. Matthew 5:10-12
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.

2016

A new year is here. What will it be like? Well I am going to make a prediction, that I’m sure will come true. Every morning the sun will come up, and every evening the sun will go down. How’s that for a prediction? Pretty good, ah?

Seriously, I don’t know what will happen any more than you do. But I do know one thing. God’s prophesy is true and it will happen.

Acts 2:20
The sun will become dark,
and the moon will turn blood red
before that great and glorious day of the Lord arrives.

When the moon turned red this last September and nothing happened in the United States, many people here mocked Christians because of it. I don’t know whether or not anything happened in other countries.

In the United States the news often comes out from the east coast. Mainly New York City. So our national news is mainly about the eastern part and the mid-western part of the US. Once in a while we would get news about the west coast, and when we do it’s most likely about California. Rarely do they talk about Oregon or Washington State, where I live. Alaska and Hawaii is almost never talked about.

Here’s an example. When New York gets a storm and 40,000 people loose their electricity, it makes national news for several days. However when 100,000 or more people in Washington State loose power, and it does happens, it may not ever get mentioned. The point is, not hearing anything about what may or may not have happened after the blood moon, means nothing.

So did anything happen after the blood moon in September? I don’t know. But I’m sure that when Acts 2:20 talks about the moon turning red, does not mean the day of the LORD will arrive the very next day.

I can say that the airplane was invented first, then man went into space, and it will be a true statement. However did we go into space the day after the first airplane left the ground? Of course not. The airplane was invented in 1903, but it wasn’t until 1961 the Soviet Union sent the first man into space. The same thing applies to Bible prophesy. Sometimes it takes years for something to happen.

Not long ago someone told someone else that I wrote about Revelation. And to that I said that I believe that I understand about 5% of it. I feel like I maybe bragging about this. Please do not think I’m putting myself down. I’m not. I may be wrong but I believe it’s possible that the best theologian may only understand 20% of Bible prophesy.

I base this on the fact that while two or three good experts will fully agree on many things they will also disagree on a few. Also the good ones will also say they believe this or that after studying and praying. They will also say why they believe what they believe. But no matter how smart they may seem, they’re still human. So please remember to check out everything they say. Please also check out everything I say. 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22

This reminds me of what I wrote in my post Revelation 22.
So much of prophecy is a mystery because we’ve never seen it. I have read in commentaries at times that Israel and Jerusalem must be a spiritual place or an idea. They thought this because for over 2000 years there was no Israel. But there is now.

Now back to the business of the red moon. This is what Revelation 6:12 says, I watched as the Lamb broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake. The sun became as dark as black cloth, and the moon became as red as blood. As you see, there will be a great earthquake.

I wrote about my thoughts about this in the post Revelation 6: Opening 6 Of The 7 Seals.

So what will 2016 be like? I don’t know. So with that, I’ll wish you a Happy New Year.

Christmas

There’s a song out there called Holly Jolly Christmas that says Christmas is the best time of year. Well for some it is. But for others, it’s a very stressful time of year.

I’ve heard some say Christmas is only for children. I’ve also heard that it’s only for the rich. Or for the stores so they could make more money. And now comes the stress. What do you buy for Aunt Sally? Uncle Fred? Cousin It? And your kids may want 1,346 things for Christmas and you can’t even afford one. And the stress builds. You have 4,025 dozen cookies to bake, and 1,236,489 bulbs of colored lights to put up. And the stress builds more. What will the electric bill be like? Here is an Norwegian-American song with lyrics, I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas that seems fitting for all this.

So what is Christmas all about? Well it’s not about Christmas trees, Santa Claus, reindeer, presents, or even snowmen and sledding. Even as a kid I wondered about snowmen and sledding. Growing up my friends and I may have built a snowman, but more often we would go sledding down the street we lived on. Christmas had nothing to do with it. It was just fun.

I remember the street we lived on, was on a big hill making it perfect for sledding. The only problem was my dog. My friends would hop on their sleds on would go all the way down the hilly street. But not me. When I went down, my dog would run up and jump on my back, knocking me off course. We would both, go off the road and head first into the ditch. Very rarely did we ever make it all the way down the hill. I’m sure my dog must have thought I was a lousy sled driver. But when you’re a 10 or 11 year old boy and a 40 pound (18 kilogram) dog jumps on your back, it’s really difficult to stay on course.

As much fun as playing and sledding in the snow was, it had nothing to do with Christmas. After all we did this all winter long.

So what is Christmas about? It’s about a birthday. The day we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In this culture the person who has the birthday gets the gifts. Yet Jesus came to give us the greatest gift of all; eternal life. It’s for anyone who believes in Jesus as Lord and accepts this gift. After all he came to die for you on the cross and then rise again physically, in His own body so you live. (I know, this sounds Easter.)

This eternal life is a gift you can not match. No matter how many credit cards you max out.

Something to think about as you “Yust Go Nuts At Christmas”.

Here is Mary Did You Know with lyrics.

Merry Christmas - colored

Guns

Ruger AR-556

Ruger AR-556

First let me say that this article is neither pro-gun nor is it anti-gun. Anyone who has been reading my blog for awhile knows I think a little differently than most people.

A few months ago when the gunner shot and killed 9 people in Oregon and wounded many more, everyone said this was very terrible thing to have happen. And this is very true. But I saw two things very interesting. First the gunman asked people if they were Christian. Those who said “yes” were shot in the head. Those who said “no” were shot to wound and not to kill.

Soon afterwards my wife was watching a TV show and they were talking about the shooting and about shooting the Christians was because of mental illness. I found this to be very interesting. If shooting a Muslim is a hate crime, and shooting a minority is a hate crime, as well as shooting a homosexual a hate crime, why is shooting and killing Christians not a hate crime? Why would shooting someone like me, only be a sign of mental illness? Why?

When it comes to guns as well as other things, some people seems to stop thinking.

However this last shooting at San Bernardino, California were rightfully called a terrorist attack.

One day while looking through Facebook I saw an interesting post. Some guy replied, “Thankfully Peter was not armed with a gun in John 18:10.”

When I answered, “Even if he was, I know Jesus could heal the guy who was shot. Luke 22:51”

The same guy answered back, “Really? This is a fun story to do the ‘what if’ game we can do with history, mythology and scripture. If Peter had had a gun, the centurions would have as well. We’ve seen enough shootouts to know the typical outcomes. People killed; bystanders shot….; the author would have had a much more complex story to tell. Heck, maybe even JC could have been shot and died. No crucifixion, no resurrection. Thankfully, sword isn’t as deadly as gun play…even in the same hands.”

I really wanted to reply to that, but I resisted. Please hear me out on this. Most likely I will not say what you think I’ll say.

Even though he may be a Christian, I know he’s wrong. I know there would not have been a shoot out even if the Roman solders as well as Peter had guns. It would have been impossible for Jesus to have been shot.

Why would I say that? One reason is when people tried to push Jesus off a cliff, they couldn’t. He just simply left.

Once in John 7:44-46 they wanted to arrest Him, but didn’t. And in John 10:39 they tried again to arrest Him but couldn’t. They couldn’t do it, no matter what. It wasn’t time.

And this brings us to when Jesus was arrested. According to John 18:1-11, He was met in the garden by Roman soldiers, Temple guards, and others. Then Peter chopped off someone’s ear. At that time Peter would have been considered as a threat. So, why didn’t the trained armed Roman soldiers, kill the fisherman who may not really know how to handle a sword? And while they were at it, kill Jesus right then and there? Because they couldn’t. Even if they had guns. They were not allowed because Jesus is LORD!

When Peter had the sword, Jesus told him to put it away. He also said that if He wanted, He could ask God for a thousand angels for protection and it would have be done. But He didn’t because then prophecy would not be fulfilled as it was told in the Scriptures. Matthew 26:50-56

Think about this. Soon we will be celebrating Christmas. Remember that this is not just about some kid born in a barn. I’m sure that’s happened many times over the years. No, this was not just some ordinary little baby. This is the LORD, and he is in control.

Anti-Christmas?

Starbucks Red Cups photo from buzzfeed.com

Starbucks Red Cups photo from buzzfeed.com

Lately some people got all upset because Starbucks Coffee had red cups instead of cups with Christmas trees, Santa Claus, reindeer, snow flakes, or some other stuff on them. Because of the plain red coffee cups (they did have the Starbucks logo on them) people were saying that the coffee shops were anti-Christmas. Remember, the cups are normally white.

What about the people that decorate their homes with only red lights? Or all green lights? Or white or blue? Are they anti-Christmas? I seriously doubt it.

How about having a Christmas party without Christmas music? Yes I’ve been to a few of them. And even though it wasn’t a Christ centered Christmas party, there were other Christians there besides me. The room was decorated with all the usual Christmas decorations and there were lots of food. But no music. We were a local chapter of Hearing Loss Association of America. Having a lot of music would make it difficult for some of us to communicate.

So back to this so call ‘war on Christmas’ by Starbucks. How many of us will really be celebrating Christmas? I’ve read through the Bible several times and so far I never read anything about flying reindeer, and some guy in a red suit sliding down chimneys. Also Christmas really isn’t about buying a bunch of stuff either.

I’m not saying there is anything wrong with having fun and giving gifts. I’m just saying, remember that Christmas is about the birth of our Lord Jesus. And lighten up on the lack of Christmas decorations some may have.

Here’s the real Christmas story without the man in red and his flying reindeer. And a song: Mary Did You Know with lyrics.

And for those who may need something silly (sometimes we all do) here’s Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer, with lyrics of course.

Merry Christmas - colored

I Don’t Know Why

Question_mark_(black_on_white)

Life is interesting sometimes. I thought I knew what was going on. I thought I knew what I was supposed to do. But God stopped that really fast.

After much prayer my wife and I decided to take a full course of American Sign Language at a local college. We were told that because of our age, we could audit the class for the fraction of the cost. However we could only register at the last minute and get in only if there is room and the teacher OKs it. The last minute came but the class was full. However the teacher signed papers anyway letting both my wife and myself in. Everything was going good. Then it happened.

I saw flashes in my eye. Lots of flashes. Sometimes many per hour. So I went to the eye doctor. She said that I needed to see the specialist and that I may need surgery right then and there. Really? How bad could it be? Well, very bad.

Well I saw the specialist, and sure enough he said I needed the operation right then. So I did. After the surgery, I found that I could no longer see out of my right eye and that it would take three weeks for it to heal. I was told that this was serious, and that I must take it easy. This would normally be very difficult for me to do if I haven’t been so sick from the medicine, headaches, being nauseated and I just slept a lot.

I had to drop out of school as my down time would have been through mid-term exams.

So why did this happened? I don’t know. I believed God wanted me to go to school. Why did we, my wife and I had to go through all this? I don’t know. I have thoughts of why, but I really don’t know. Did we do any good? Was there a purpose to this? Yes I believe so, but I don’t know what it was. But to be honest, I don’t have to know.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

Years ago I had a badly infected ulcer on my foot, and for a while just had a hard time healing. One day a friend came to me and told me that he finally turned his life over to Jesus. One reason was because what I was telling him was the same as some guy in California. (That’s nice) Another reason was because of the way I kept trusting in God about my foot. This is good. But I must admit, I don’t understand how that works. But I am very glad it did.

But what about this time? I don’t know. Did my wife and I make an impression on someone that needed it? Maybe.

But here’s another thing that’s happened. Some time after the surgery, I had another appointment with the surgeon. While sitting in the waiting room, I heard a man and a woman talking about ancient technology. I had to speak up.

I told them that the Bible talks about ancient technology. In Job 28:1-5 the Bible talks about mining so far down into the earth that you could feel the heat of the earth. Also in Job 28:10-11, it even sounds like they were using small hydro-electric dams to light the tunnels.

The man then said something about how he thought, that the at the time of The Tower of Babylon, they were judged because the technology was dangerous. I said no, that they were judged because the people were evil, wicked.

Of course I said other things and now there were now least 7 people in the waiting room listening. So because of my eye surgery, I was able to talk about God’s word there. Is there more for me to do? I don’t know. I have no idea. All I can do is to trust God.

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