Category Archives: General

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized…

Baptism: The Reason For and Meanings Of Being Baptized…

I’ve received several questions about being baptized on my post “How to Lead Someone to Christ”. Unfortunately, I think some readers may have inadvertently skipped the part that stated “Being saved or receiving salvation is only the first step. Click here to read more about the next steps that a person needs to take after being led to Christ” where the readers are then directed to the “1st Steps to Ultimate Success” page that instructs on the need for baptism, finding a church home, establishing/growing a relationship with God by daily quiet times/bible reading, finding a good Christian support system, etc. So, to remedy this problem I decided to write a more specific post about being baptized and then put a direct link on those pages as well.

We need to be baptized to follow Jesus’ example

Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19 (NLT), “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  Even Jesus was baptized. We need to follow His example.  This serves as a public example and expression of our decision to follow Christ.

“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.” Matthew 3:13-15 (NLT)

““I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!” One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.” Mark 1:8-9 (NLT)

“One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized…” Luke 3:21 (NLT)

Being baptized is an integral part of our faith

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It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

It’s OK to Have Doubts and Questions About the Christian Faith

This past weekend I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a couple of teenagers about issues of faith. To be completely honest, I had some pretty mixed emotions about our conversation. You see these teens had some pretty tough questions, and at points during the conversation they seemed to be questioning some of the most basic and important principles of the Christian faith.

Surprise

One emotion I experienced was that of surprise. These two teens had grown up in church and had been raised in a Christian home. Were they bringing into question everything that they have been taught all of their lives? Were they questioning the validity of the bible? How did they get to this point?

Then I almost talked myself out of the feelings of surprise as I reminded myself of the environment and culture that these teens and other teens are growing up in. The voices of the world are becoming louder and louder. They are surrounded on all sides and bombarded with attacks against Christian faith through culture in general, media, school systems, and even peer groups. How could they NOT have questions?

In the Bible, even the people in Berea were commended for questioning the teachings of Paul and Silas to make sure they were true. Their questioning did not surprise nor offend Paul.

“And the people of Berea were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, and they listened eagerly to Paul’s message. They searched the Scriptures day after day to see if Paul and Silas were teaching the truth. As a result, many Jews believed, as did many of the prominent Greek women and men.” Acts 17:11-12 (NLT)

Fear and concern

Another emotion that arose was one of fear and concern. Questions began to flood my mind. If they are Christians and they have these questions, what must kids that weren’t raised in a Christian environment believe? If they were raised in church and in a Christian home, do all kids raised in a Christian environment have similar doubts and questions? Will my own kids have doubts and questions about their faith too? Am I equipped as a parent to raise kids who won’t have doubts? Is our future doomed if this is the common belief system of the current generation?

Then, as He always does, God started to ease my fears and concerns. Continue reading

Top 10 Posts of 2016

Top 10 Happy, Healthy & Prosperous Posts of 2016

Top 10 Posts of 2016

“Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered” Psalms 105:5 (ESV)

This week I’m sharing the Top 10 Posts of 2016.  I always like to take the first of the year to recount some of the top or most popular posts of the previous year.  I like to share them for a few reasons…

First, there are several new subscribers/followers who may not have seen or read these posts and might find some of them to be helpful.

Secondly, looking back also helps me to remember what God has done and is still doing through this website. I continue to hope and pray that I am making an impact with what I write and share.

Lastly, it helps me (and hopefully you too) have ideas of how to pray based on what the current need or demand is, and when I know that I know how to continue to pray for others.  What people are frequently searching or clicking on can be an indicator of some of their needs. Whether it’s a need for spiritual growth, leading others to Christ or overcoming personal struggles, I can pray more specifically based on these posts and their popularity.

Take Some Practical Steps:

  • As you look through this list of most popular posts, please stop and take a minute to pray for one or more of the topics that stand out to you.
  • Please click on and read or re-read one or more of the posts from which you feel you may be able to receive some benefit or of which you might need some reminding.
  • Pay it forward…if one or more of the following posts has benefited you, please consider sharing the post on Facebook and/or your other social media channels (sharing links are available at the end of each post). You can also forward posts to specific people you know who might benefit (you might prayerfully consider who to share them with).
  • Lastly, please pray for me this year to #1-continue to help others, #2-for me to have to right words at the right time, and #3-for the right people to be directed to my site for God to help them.

Top 10 Posts of 2016

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Whether Happy or Hurting Remember Immanuel

Whether Happy or Hurting Remember Immanuel

Whether Happy or Hurting Remember Immanuel

This week I would just like to share with you a short and sweet post and reminder that Jesus is Immanuel, God with us.

I learned of some very sad news a couple of weeks before Christmas. Denise McGee had passed away (see a Celebration of Life for Denise here). Denise was the wife of Joe McGee, one of my favorite Christian teachers/speakers who I’ve referred to here on the blog on a number of occasions. My heart just broke for Joe and their 6 children and grandchildren—especially at Christmastime.

I was thinking, “How hard it must be to lose a loved one at this time of year. Will every Christmas be a negative trigger for them now?” However, one morning as I was doing my daily quiet time and devotions, I was reminded of something. Part of Christmas, the celebration of Jesus’ birth, should not only be to celebrate the human birth of Christ but to recognize and remember his deity as well.

We need to remember that one of his names is “Immanuel” which means “God with us”. God came to be with us. We are not isolated and alone. In a lonely, hurting and isolated world God said, “I want to come be with you. I want to help you. You’re not alone.”

God is Immanuel to the McGee family in their time of hurting. God is with them. So maybe Christmastime can be less painful with that in mind. God knows they are hurting and what a good time of year to remember that God is Immanuel; God is with us. Maybe He will say to them and remind them this year and every Christmas hereafter, “I am with you. I am here.”

At Christmas and all year, Jesus is Immanuel

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (NIV)

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:23 (NIV) 

Take Some Practical Steps To Remember Immanuel:

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Educate Yourself For Elections

Educate Yourself For Elections

Educate Yourself For Elections

Well, for my United States counterparts this week is big for our country. Unfortunately for many it’s dreaded due to a heated and controversial presidential election. However, today my goal is not to get into the politics of which candidates to choose or how to vote. Rather today I’d like to focus on the importance of and ways to educate yourself for elections.

In fact, I firmly believe not only do you have a civic duty to educate yourself for elections, but a spiritual duty as well. How else can you rightly divide the truth and how you, your community, your country, and ultimately how the Kingdom of God will be impacted?

“Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ.” Colossians 2:8 (NLT)

After all, we WILL be held accountable to God for our actions. Part of those actions will include voting (or the lack of doing so). You cannot vote your convictions if you have not spent the time to educate yourself for elections taking place in your area.

“So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Romans 14:12 (NIV)

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV) 

The Christian duty to vote

“Choose some well-respected men from each tribe who are known for their wisdom and understanding, and I will appoint them as your leaders.” Deuteronomy 1:13 (NLT)

Part of the impact and influence Christians have in this world includes how we vote for the people and laws that lead and govern us.

“Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin condemns any people.” Proverbs 14:34 (NIV)

“When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.” Proverbs 29:2 (NLT)

I loved this quote… Continue reading

God Is Our Rock

God is our rock. Learn the characteristics of rocks that God displays and how they are helpful to us in times of need.

God Is Our Rock

“No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” 1 Samuel 2:2 (NLT)

We are living in a time where so much is going on around us. It’s a world of change, unsettling events and circumstances, and things going awry all around. We face disturbing political conditions, natural disasters, crime, death, racial tensions, unstable economies, moral corruption and breakdown, and the list could go on and on. Quite honestly it’s pretty depressing. We need something steady and calm to ground us in times like these. We need a firm foundation in a shifty world.

Quite honestly the same could probably be said for many generations. I’m sure they felt much the same in biblical times as well. So, we can lean on the same principles that gave them rest and peace in unsettling times. One such principle is that God is our rock. He is strong, dependable, never shifting or changing, always there to protect and shield us from the storms of this world. 

Here are some of the characteristics of rocks that help us understand how God is our rock:

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Connect With God Through Nature

Nature reveals so much about God. There's a lot to learn when we connect with God through nature. Here are some things to learn and some ways of connecting.

Connect With God Through Nature

“For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20 (NLT)

Any nature lovers out there? Picture me raising both hands. I absolutely LOVE being outside (weather permitting) and being around nature. There’s just something about seeing creation in all of its shapes and forms. As a result, I feel like I connect with God through nature.

Now, I know this is probably not the case for everyone. Hence, this is only one of many ways of connecting with God. There are loads of people I know who love and prefer their creature comforts…namely indoor air conditioning and heating! However, I still think even those who prefer to remain indoors have something to gain by trying to connect with God through nature.

Even Jesus liked to connect with God through nature

“Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake.” Matthew 13:1 (NLT)

This is a verse I found written in my journal on one of my quiet time notes. My own notes beside it included some of my thoughts as I read the verse. “I love this because I can relate. Even I love to go out and enjoy peace and nature—especially beside water (like a lake). I can just imagine him sitting there, enjoying the beauty, talking to God, and thinking. I love it!”

It was cool reading that Jesus did some of the very things that I also enjoy doing to connect with God through nature and the outdoors. In fact there are several other instances of Jesus doing just that…

“But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” Luke 5:16 (NLT)

“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” Matthew 14:23 (NIV)

“Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.”” Matthew 26:36 (NLT)

Nature can reveal so much about God.

In her book, What’s Your God Language?: Connecting with God through Your Unique Spiritual Temperament, Myra Perrine says of people who connect with God through nature,  Continue reading

Obeying God Should Come With A Warning Label

Obeying God Should Come With A Warning Label!  Warning: Obeying God may cause serious side effects to occur.  Some people have reported financial trouble, health problems, criticism, false accusations, betrayal, relational trouble, natural disasters, legal trouble, physical assault, and life threatening events.  In some cases death has occurred.  This is not a complete list of possible side effects.

Obeying God Should Come With A Warning Label

I’ve decided that obeying God should really come with a warning label. I mean really, people should be warned to expect opposition and attacks when they start obeying God. Quite honestly the devil doesn’t like our obedience. He knows the good that will come of it. He knows it’s dangerous for him. So, He’s going to fight back. People need to know to expect it.

Warning: Obeying God may cause serious side effects to occur.  Some people have reported financial trouble, health problems, criticism, false accusations, betrayal, relational trouble, natural disasters, legal trouble, physical assault, property damage, life threatening events, and things just going wrong in general.  In some cases death has occurred.  This is not a complete list of possible side effects.

When we step out and start obeying God, we’re going to have some attacks from the devil. It’s inevitable. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll experience attack every time, but it is a definite possibility. The more we expect it, the better prepared we can be.

Somebody warned me about obeying God

One of the best things anybody did for me was give me similar advice. When I first started volunteer teaching at Glory House, the director, Susie, told me expect attacks and expect things to go wrong. It kind of actually took me by surprise. At the same time, however, I felt a bit relieved because I had already indeed started to experience exactly that!

I was sitting in her office during my interview Continue reading