NO EXCUSE NOT TO BELIEVE IN GOD

NO EXCUSE NOT TO BELIEVE IN GOD

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. —Romans 1:18-20

People all over this world are without excuse. “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” We are told that His “invisible qualities—- his eternal power and divine nature” have been clearly seen by what He has made. People can look at any part of creation and understand these two characteristics of God. His power is enormous! His divine nature is marvelous. This can be seen all around us in this created world and the universe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yQW_4zNt_w

His creation is amazing. Who can pack a peck of tomatoes in a container as small as a seed… or an oak tree, redwood tree, flowers, or people beginning in seed form as well? His design of everything is astounding. We are encouraged to study His Creation, to learn from His Creation… “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!” (Proverbs 6:6). “Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24). “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these” (Luke 24:27).

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world” (Psalm 19:1-4).

“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe” (Hebrews 1:1-2).

There is no excuse not to believe in God. There is no excuse not to believe in His Son. No amount of excuses not be believe in Him will ever be accepted by Him. There are no excuses!

Dear Father, help me to reveal Your power to people that they might place their lives in Your care. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewKtSKbWZUI&list=PLLDfEUqJsGdEAdlCd04ukJSG58w9xUH1P

HARD HEARTS

HARD HEARTS

‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ “Therefore I want you to know that God’s salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!” For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance! —Acts 28:26-31

There are those who hear about Jesus with their ears, but they do not understand because their hearts are calloused. They have hardened hearts. “They have closed their eyes” and do not want to see. What was it that they did not hear, understand and see? It was Paul teaching as “he proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. They just did not understand Who Jesus was/is and What He had done/is doing. When this happened Paul ministered to others who would be more open to the message.

So it is with us as we seek to proclaim the good news about Jesus. We need to go to those who will listen, minister to those who will listen and have soft hearts. A hard heart will not receive the Word of God, but soft hearts are more likely to. It is fruitless to continue with a hard-hearted person. Paul understood this. May we also keep this in mind and always remember that it is always God who “gives the increase” or causes the seed of His Word to grow (I Corinthians 3:7). Let us be faithful with the responsibility God has given us and trust Him for the results.

Dear Father, please help me to be sensitive to the soft hearts ready to receive Your Word about Jesus. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDAITgJXO1I

TRUST GOD & DON’T BE PARALYZED BY FEAR

TRUST GOD & DON’T BE PARALYZED BY FEAR

When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? —Psalm 56:3-4

Fear… when was the last time you experienced it? What did you do with it? Did it cause you to be paralyzed? Did you flee from what was causing the fear? Or… did you trust the Lord God Almighty to not be afraid?

Fear not dealt with will hold us back from being and doing what God desires. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25). We need to trust God when we fear because He is ultimately in control of all things. He can be fully trusted—fully! Praise Him for knowing who He is and that He can be fully trusted and fear will dissolve into joy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_aVFVveJNs

Dear Father, when fear seeks to hold me back may I trust in You. May I not trust in those feelings that seek to paralyze me. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son.

GOD’S ASSESSMENT OF THIS WORLD

GOD’S ASSESSMENT OF THIS WORLD

The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Do all these evildoers know nothing? —Psalm 53:1

The earth’s people are filled with corruption and before the Holy Almighty God they are vile. No one seeks to do good, nor do they understand and seek God. All people have turned after their own way (Isaiah 53:6). They have become corrupt. Not even one person does good… not even one! The Lord asks, “Do all these evil doers know nothing?”

There you have it. This is God’s perspective of those who live on the earth. Without understanding people seek after money, power, false religions, fleshly desires… They have turned away from God and His desires to turn after their own ways. This is a very, very sad situation. It is so sad when you seek to talk to people about Jesus and they don’t want anything to do with Him. They do not care what He has done for them. They don’t want to think about the seriousness of their situation. But they will bow the knee to Him one day… whether they desire to or not…

But then you come across people like Harley. Yes, she was named by her dad after the motorcycle brand. Anyway, we were close to a business where I wanted to ask a question of someone who worked there. I find it interesting how God guides us. We think we have something to do and that is true, but God uses the situation to put us into contact with someone who is open to hearing about Him.

So it was with Harley. After we talked about the question I had the discussion turned to spiritual matters. She told my wife and me that she had an inoperable brain tumor. As we shared the hope we have in Jesus Harley was very attentive and obviously interested. She feared death (Hebrews 2:15). We shared about sin, death, the 2nd death, judgment and then what Jesus has done for us at the cross. Harley did not trust Jesus at that moment, but she gladly took a New Testament and gospel tracts. Pray for her that she would come to understanding and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, that God’s Holy Spirit would shine in her heart (II Corinthians 4:6).

Only the fool will focus on his desire and not desire to understand who God is and what He has done for us. “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel… Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should” (Ephesians 6:19-20).

Dear Father, may I always be ready to share Your Good News with those I come into contact with. No message is as important for people to hear as the gospel. Oh, that I would be sensitive to those around me and engage them in conversation. May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLX83HbefrI

REDEEMED!

REDEEMED!

No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—so that they should live on forever and not see decay… But God will redeem me from the realm of the dead; he will surely take me to himself. —Psalm 49:7-9, 15

“Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ “ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied. ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’ —Acts 26:15-18

What a tremendous truth found here in Psalm 49. “No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough.” No amount of wealth can redeem or be paid to keep one from physical death or eternal death— the first death or the 2nd death (Revelation 2:11; 20:6; 20:14; 21:8). Death comes to us all at a rate of 105 people each and every minute. One day we will be one of those people. Yes, physical death comes to us all.

The 2nd death only comes to those who have not been redeemed. This redemption does not come from anything we have done. There are no amount of “good works” or financial compensations that can pay the cost of the eternal sin problem. No, only God could resolve this problem and He did so by sending Jesus into this world—- “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (I John 4:9-10). Jesus “is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2). “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (I Peter 1:18-19). Yes, God did it!

No mere man could redeem us or pay the ransom needed so our sin could be taken away. But Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man was no mere man. He was and is “the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father” (John 1:18). Yes, we are redeemed through the “precious blood of Christ” and “are sanctified by faith in” Him. That is— we are made holy by Him, purified by Him— “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Corinthians 5:21). He did the work and now ”the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” because “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). Let us rejoice in God’s awesome gift! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjLlLPZderk

Dear Father, I am grateful for what You have done, are doing and will do for me through Jesus. May I live a life of gratitude through the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son, Jesus. So be it!

RIGHTEOUSNESS, SELF-CONTROL AND THE JUDGMENT TO COME!

RIGHTEOUSNESS, SELF-CONTROL AND THE JUDGMENT TO COME!

Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you. —Acts 24:24-25

How sad when people hear the truth and like Felix say, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” Felix heard the truth about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come and he was afraid. This man understood his fate as he comprehended the truth Paul was speaking. Even though Felix was afraid instead of repenting and turning from sin, he sent Paul away. He did not want to hear anymore at that time and said he would send for him at a more convenient time.

But “At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him” (Acts 24:26). Felix had no excuse for not believing. He had plenty of opportunity and yet his motivation for listening to Paul was for money. How strange… so many times you hear that the church is all about money and in some cases surely the motivation is for money, but that is wrong. Here the motivation for hearing was money! Felix was hoping Paul would pay him something for his release. But, Paul was faithful and would not do such a thing. Still, Paul had plenty of opportunity to share God’s Word with Felix. Did Felix ever “come to (his) senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken (him) captive to do his will?” (II Timothy 2:26).

Felix was afraid when he heard Paul speak of righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. Felix knew he was not righteous, that he did not have self-control and when he heard of the judgment to come he feared. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). What was the final outcome of Felix before he died? “To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech” (Proverbs 8:13). Was that fearing enough to encourage Felix to eventually call on the Name of the Lord or did he remain a fool? We do not know, but we will know in glory.

There are those who hear and apparently understand and are concerned, but walk away without trusting Jesus—at least at that moment. Hopefully they will eventually call on His Name as the seed was planted. This happened recently when I was speaking with a husband and wife. They both acknowledged they were headed for judgment and were concerned, but did not call on the Lord at that time. Hopefully they will. May it be so!

Dear Father, help me to encourage others to consider righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. Oh, that they would see their need and call upon the Name of the Lord Jesus for salvation. May this be so on the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son. So be it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qIlXWOnbTlM

LIFE IS SHORT!

LIFE IS SHORT!

“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure. “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be. “But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. —Psalm 39:4-7

Have you seen your life’s end? What will happen? I have visited my elderly neighbor in the hospital a few times over the past week or so. We used to have coffee and talk on a regular basis. The first time I visited him in the hospital we did have coffee together and talked awhile. The last visits I have been the only one talking. Last night when I saw him he did not even look like the same man. Death is close…

It is my hope that when my 87 year old neighbor prayed to trust in Jesus a short time ago that he was sincere. He said he was. The number of our days is really short when we stop and ponder them. Surely they are fleeting! Life is a handbreadth. A handbreadth is the width of your palm—2 ½ to 4 inches… Look at your palm. That is how quickly your life passes. Before the eternal God our life is as nothing. It is as nothing when you compare it to eternity. We are like a breath. Go ahead, breathe in and now breathe out. That is the length of your life.

Now if this life was it for those who have trusted Jesus then we surely would be “of all people most to be pitied. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (I Corinthians 15:19) and our hope is in Him “because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself” (II Corinthians 4:14). But in the meantime let us “Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity” (Colossians 4:5) that they may come to Jesus also. May this be so with the short time we have. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD6khv6pGkw&t=152s

Dear Father, be please to work though my remaining days to encourage others toward Jesus. There is nothing more important than this. Yes, be pleased to draw many others to Yourself through me for Your honor and glory. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eiRhcR4Vg10

BE STRONG AND TAKE HEART!

BE STRONG AND TAKE HEART!

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. —Psalm 31:24

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. —Joshua 1:7-8

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

We have no strength of our own— “LORD, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress” (Isaiah 33:2). There are those who may think they are strong, but they are not. Real strength comes from the Lord God Almighty and not from ourselves! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjtSwSrE8ps

When you talk about physical strength the world’s record for weight-lifting is just over 1000 lbs for bench press. Now, for many of us we would hear that and say “wow!” But what is 1000lbs. When I was a crane operator I could lift 39 tons with one hand! But that is nothing compared to this ship that can carry 100,000 tons! https://www.zdnet.com/article/amazing-ship-can-carry-100000-ton-oil-rigs-photos/ Wow, that is a lot of weight! Yet that is nothing compared to the 13 billion trillion tons the earth weighs! We cannot even begin to comprehend that much weight! https://www.universetoday.com/78551/how-much-does-the-earth-weigh/ And that is just the earth! How awesome our Creator God is— how powerful! He has all power! This is the one who loves us and gives us the power to live for Him. Why would we not yield to His power instead of trying to live in our own puny strength!

Take heart! “Is there anything to hard for the Lord” (Genesis 18:14). “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27). No, there is not and that includes your situation. Rejoice and take heart! He will give you the strength you will need to get through. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYxJc0PTXiY Trust His strength and not your own!

Dear Father, I am overwhelming astounded when I consider You. Oh, that I would truly trust in Your strength and not my own. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

Crochet a Mat for the Homeless – Made from plastic shopping bags

We all have them…plastic bags from shopping trips! Make a mat for use by the homeless and also put those bags to good use. These mats are lightweight enough to carry, are insulating from the cold/wet ground, and warm. They are also easy to rinse off and dry. Each mat requires 400-600 plastic bags.

Instructions:

First, flatten each bag into a rectangle. You can also stack bags on top of each other to speed up the process. Cut strips from the bags (about 3″ wide). Each strip will be in the form of a loop. Then chain the bags together.  This creates “Plarn” (Plastic + Yarn = Plarn)

After you make a good sized chain of “Plarn”, you can start to crochet it.

Use a big crochet hook that is Q-17, #16 or #15.

Row 1: Ch 40-50. Insert hook into third ch from hook, sc in ea ch across (33sc), ch 2, turn.

Row 2: sk sp, sc across, sc in ch 2 spaces at end (33 sc). Measure work (approx 36″), ch 2, turn.

Row 3-78: Repeat row 2, tie off and hide ends. Finished mat is approximately 3′ by 6′.

For instruction on making these mats, you can visit here. There are also other ways to make the mats by knitting, braiding and weaving. Visit Youtube for more videos.

THE LORD IS LOVING AND FAITHFUL

THE LORD IS LOVING AND FAITHFUL

All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful toward those who keep the demands of his covenant. —Psalm 25:10

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. —Acts 20:24

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. —Hebrews 12:1-2

As followers of Jesus there is a “race marked out for us.” For we who believe “All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful.” It may not “feel” like this at times but His love and His faithfulness surround us as we run this race and seek “to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given (us)—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

How are we being and doing in the race that He has “marked out” for you and me? Are we running in His love and faithfulness— loving Him and being faithful? In this race, what does He want you to be? Are you? In this race, what does He want you to do? Are you? May it be so and may we be seeking to run faithfully the “race marked out for us.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhk_5c6H-yc

Dear Father, please help me to run the race You have marked out for me. May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!