Do Not Be Ashamed

DSCN1736Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 1:8-10, “So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me His prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

In the Mid-West and throughout the country communities are being attacked by atheist groups because of displays of Christian symbols on public property. My town was hit last Fall. We ended up having to take down a cross which we put up on a hill every Sunday in the summer since the 1960’s. Other communities are being taken to court by these groups because of their Christian displays as well.

Satan is working overtime trying to destroy Christianity. He hasn’t been able to do it for over 2,000 years. What makes him think he can do it now? Atheists have won some of the battles lately, but Jesus Christ has already won the war through His death and resurrection. Satan lost a long time ago, but he hasn’t seemed to realize it yet.

The devil and his minions can attack Christian displays on public property, but they can’t stop us from displays on our private property. We need to be like Paul, unashamed to testify about our Lord and Savior. For example, I have a cross on the rear window of my car and the front window of my home. We can continue to put up Nativity scenes at Christmas. We can do acts of kindness in the name of Christ. The Gospel can be shared with others who want to hear. We can do prayer walks in our neighborhoods and towns.

This is a time for Christian to rise up for Jesus. Even when Paul was a prisoner in Rome he never stopped spreading The Word. We are to be the messengers of God’s grace and love given to us through Jesus Christ.

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.”   Teresa of Avila  (16th century)

We should not be hiding in our corners waiting to see what happens. We’ve been doing that too long. As the women left the tomb that first Easter morning to spread the news that He Is Risen, let us also testify this Good News and not be ashamed of our risen Lord.

Think about these words from a prayer written by St. Patrick of Ireland: “Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me, Christ in the eye that sees me, Christ in the ear that hears me.”

TIME

IM000004.JPGThis is the last posting for this blog. I made a commitment to write everyday in 2012. Today is the last day. I chose to use the same photograph I used on January 1, 2012 when I started this blog  – the sundial at the waterfront in Grand Haven, MI.

Today people look back on the year which is ending and think about what they’ve done or didn’t do. They remember good and bad times.

Today resolutions are also being made for the new year. Some will be kept. Others will be forgotten in a matter of weeks or even days.

We have the chance to make 2013 better than 2012. Granted, there are many things over which we will have no control. However, we can control how we will deal with them and if we try to deal with them alone or not.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”   (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

How will you spend the time God gives you in 2013? Will you wallow in self pity, letting depression take over? That’s what Satan wants you to do. He wants your focus to be totally on you. When that happens it’s easy for depression to set in when things don’t go the way you want.

The alternative is to focus on God and His son, Jesus Christ. There will still be some bad times. There’s no doubt about that. The difference will be in how you handle those times. Instead of saying, “poor me”, you can rejoice in what God has given you. You can know you are not alone.

Maintain a positive attitude in 2013. Keep your eyes on God. Let 2013 be a life-changing year for you. All time comes from God. Use it wisely and to the fullest.  HAPPY NEW YEAR and have a new year in Christ.

NEW DAY

IM000729.JPGToday and tomorrow are all that’s left of 2012. A new year will be starting soon. Along with it will be new opportunities and experiences. A new day is dawning for us to live. We can start 2013 fresh, right some wrongs, build new relationships, strenghten old ones.

There is also a New Day coming in the future. We don’t know when. No calendar can tell us. It’s the day of Jesus’ return.

“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then He said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true’.” (Revelation 21:5)

Things will drastically change. Nothing of this world will be the same. Evil will be destroyed. The light of God will shine throughout the earth. Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom and only He will be sitting on the throne. Everyone will bow down and worship Him.

That New Day is coming. Are you ready for it? Will Jesus find you as a believer in Him and welcome you into His kingdom?

SING OUT PRAISES

IM000875.JPGAll through the Christmas season we’ve been hearing songs telling of Jesus’ birth. Maybe you were part of a group that went out caroling. Perhaps, you were visited by carolers. Christian Christmas music was played on secular TV and radio stations.

Now that Christmas is over does that mean we stop singing praises to God?

“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.”  (I Corinthians 14:15)

We can and should be singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to God all the time. We don’t have to constantly be singing out loud, but songs of praise can be going on in our minds and souls day in and day out.

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”   (Colossians 3:16-17)

Don’t stop singing. God’s ears are open and He wants to hear our praises all the time.

FREE TRIP TO HEAVEN

IM000874.JPGThis sign is outside of Lighthouse Church in Grand Haven, MI.

How many times have you received notices in the mail  informing you you’ve won a free cruise or trip? You just need to call the phone number provided. The trips are never really free. They usually want you to listen to their presentation and then pressure you to buy a time-share or something else.

There is one trip that is free. You don’t have to buy anything. You don’t have to earn it. No contest to enter and hope you’ll win.

It’s the trip you can take at the end of your life to heaven. The only obligation on your part is to open your heart to Jesus.

“But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.”   (Ephesians 2:4-5)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”   (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

All we need to do is have faith in Jesus Christ and a place will be waiting for us in heaven, free of charge.

What better time, than when the New Year is approaching, to turn to Jesus. It’s time to let Him in. It’s time to share His inheritance of eternal life. The trip is free. Don’t pass up this opportunity.

CUT OFF AT THE KNEES

IM000870.JPGWhile driving for work I spied this tree. The trunk appears fine, but the whole top half is sliced off.

Have you heard of the expression “cut off at the knees”? In a fight a person can hit his opponent right behind the knees and down he’ll go – cut off at the knees. It’s the way you feel when everything seems to be going wrong. You feel like you have no control and down you go.

All is not lost. You might not be in control, but God is. The writer of Psalm 42:5 put it this way,

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”

We all experience times when we feel all hope is gone, but it’s not. We always have our hope in God. He provides hope when we think there is none to be found.

Turn to God. Put your hope in Him, not in worldly things. God’s hope will not fade away or leave us. It’s there 24/7.

Reach out to God. Cling to Him and the hope He will install in you. You don’t have to feel cut off at the knees.

GET THROUGH ANYTHING

IM000869.JPGI saw the vehicle with these huge tires and thought, “this jeep can get through anything.”  No mud, sand, or snow is going to stop it.

Are we equipped to get through anything? When rough times, loss of loved ones, giant obstacles block our way, can we break through and overcome them?

We can if God is with us.

“For nothing is impossible with God.”  (Luke 1:37)

“I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”   (Philippians 4:13)

There is no obstacle the Lord God Almighty can’t break through. Nothing Satan throws at us is too strong for God to handle.

On our own we are weak and give in to temptations. We crumble under the weight of evil.

However, with God fighting for us and with us we can resist anything the devil dishes out. Our strength comes from God and there is nothing mightier than that.

Is God by your side? Are you holding His hand? Call out to Him and you will be able to get through anything and everything.