“For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”
“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him.”
“But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,
and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18
What do those verses have to do with Orange Juice? Let’s take a step back. If you were to take a whole, unpeeled orange and squeeze it with all your strength, what would the result be? Right… the result would be orange juice; it wouldn’t be tomato juice or apple juice. Because an orange, or any fruit for that matter, can only give up what it has on the inside. Oranges make orange juice.
And so it with us humans; we do everything we can to keep our wrapper (the orange peel) tight around us, unblemished and intact, holding in all that there is about us; all that we are made of. Yet, let an unexpected life event come at us, applying a bit of pressure and it’s highly possible we might glimpse just a small tear in our wrapper. But for the most part, our insides are still intact; we’re still holding strong on the outside.
Apply a bit more pressure and you’ll likely see more of us spill out; a bit of juice and perhaps a tiny bit of pulp. But that stops as soon as the pressure stops and while our wrapper is wounded; it’s just a “flesh wound”.
In this age of free and easy access to answers to our most inane questions and our deepest philosophical quandary’s, the internet, for all its faults and failings is on the forefront providing the answers. For thousands of years, lay people relied on the learned few to share their knowledge and provide us with the answers to our deepest questions. Then one day a few decades ago, the information that we relied on others to provide became readily available to all of us. Sacred texts were now available, holy texts, literary classics, rare – if ever seen manuscripts and scrolls we now ready to be accessed by anyone anywhere that wanted to see them.
It seemed as though all the answers to every question in the universe could now be found. Every question we could ever think to ask could now be answered. Today I can search and find the answer to anything I want to know. Whether I trust the “answer-er” or not, is a topic for another time.
There are several major internet search engines; Google and Bing are the two largest and most accessed. In 2018, there were 5.6 billion searches per day on Google alone. That’s a bunch of people asking a bunch of questions! So it begs the question, what are they looking for. When it comes to faith, what are the big questions that are in need of an answer? I took a look at the results from my own little blog search results to see some of what folks were asking; the results are clear. This is just a brief list of the taken from this year’s statistics.
- I didn’t want to give up my sin
- Bitter truths about rapture
- Jesus and the Cross
- What is cherished sin?
- I believe God hates me
- The truth about rapture
- God are you real?
- Am I saved because of Jesus death
Can God do this? Can God fix this? Can God move mountains? Can God do the seemingly impossible when all around you say that it is impossible?
The answer is YES!
Recently someone I know reached out to friends and family asking for “divine intervention and good intentions” in a very private matter. I messaged that I would keep them and the family in my prayers. The reply from my friend was “no divine intervention will help”. This hurt my heart as I know that somewhere deep inside, this person knows the truth. Yet somehow over the years a conscious choice to deny the truth of God’s realness, goodness and grace was made.
Some may think that life altering crises happen only to people that have made the conscious choice to ignore or reject God. Oh if that were only true. Time and time again, we see historical evidence recorded throughout the Word of God of the days, weeks, months, years even generations of chaos, calamity and turmoil that erupted in and around the lives of God’s children – divorce, death, adultery, sickness, prison, torture, disgrace, scandal, ridicule, demons, treachery and betrayal – to name a few. In each of these instances, God shows us that there are times the road to the miraculous travels through the ugly, wicked and evil – and it does so because of FAITH – faith that is sure and certain and confident.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.” Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV
It is easy to go through life’s disappointments, failures, fears and uncertainties and lose whatever faith in God you might have. Once you begin to question His reason for the pain and turmoil in your life, you can very easily come to the conclusion that God’s really doesn’t care about you or your crises. And if He doesn’t care about you, then He is not a loving God and if He isn’t a loving God, then why would you spend your time believing in some fairy tale. Sound about right? Continue reading
Written in collaboration with Michael Sullivan
“The Cross splits the world. Either you look at it and think – that’s pathetic or you look at it and you think – that’s powerful. If you think it’s pathetic, Paul says you are perishing. But if you think it’s the ‘Power of God’, you are being saved. But it’s one or the other” ~ Billy Graham
“Our faith must begin and end at the Cross. The trouble is that many Christians have bypassed the Cross and are trying to be moral by their willpower and self-effort rather than trusting in the indwelling power of Christ to transform them (Galatians 3:3) But if we attempt to build our spiritual life by any other foundation than Christ crucified, we are doing so by our natural strength.” (Newman, Peter, “The Meaning of the Cross”, 11)
“Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” Galatians 3:3 (NIV)
“’We preach Christ crucified.’ This is the focal point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is a picture of blood flowing from Christ’s veins as He hung on the cross. The message of shed blood is repugnant to many, and they turn from such a gory sight, feeling that their delicate sensibilities have been outraged. Many people will accept Christ’s character, but they reject His crucifixion.” (Decision Magazine; April 2007)
“For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18 AMP
“The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, life to the fullest” John 10:10
You are the son, the daughter of the Most High King. Do not back down when the enemy comes around; do not cower, for we are called to be as BOLD as the Lion of Judah (Rev 5:5). God Almighty has put His Power in you so that it is there when you need it to ROAR.
Our enemy, satan, will use your past, your weaknesses, and areas of your life where you are not strong to entice, beguile and tempt you; believe that he will and he does. Scripture tells is in John 10:10 that satan has come to kill, steal, and destroy your life, your dreams, your future.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed an increase on my Facebook feed of posts touting what I am calling “Quick Christianity”. These posts espouse the many blessings and benefits of a three minute devotional time. A Google search of “Quick Christianity” produced an almost offensive “Christianity for Dummies Cheat Sheet” – from the Dummies for Whomever, Whatever genre of helping books.
I don’t know why the title of this offended my sensibilities, but it did. Perhaps it is because so often I’ve heard that only weak-minded, delusional people feel the need to rely on a make-believe god to help them through their day, week, life… and calling it Christianity for Dummies, well I personally find the word Dummies offensive.
I do not want to make this an essay about atheism, or other religions, or religious freedom or tolerance. No. If you come to our blog, or listen to these podcasts you know that we are Christians. Period. That is not open for debate or discussion. You know that we will always speak the truth. Period. But I digress. Continue reading
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see”. Hebrews 11:1
Sure and Certain
These two qualities, sure and certain, require a secure beginning and ending point. The foundation of FAITH is belief in God’s character; that He IS who He says He is. The finish point of FAITH is belief in His promises; He WILL DO what HE says HE will do.
“… without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” Hebrews 11:6
But believing that God exists is only the beginning; even the demons believe that much. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” James 2:19. God will not settle for mere acknowledgment of His existence. He wants a personal, dynamic relationship with every person… a relationship that will transform your life. The reward for those that seek Him… His intimate presence surrounding you, guiding you, indwelling you, and loving you.
In whom or on what do you place your faith?
A minute doesn’t seem like a big deal. After all, it’s just 60 seconds. It goes by in the amount of time that the average heart beats 80 times… or for the average lungs to breathe 20 times. A minute is fairly insignificant if you think about it. We really don’t focus on the single minutes of our life. They are not accounted for in big plan of our life. They tick away and before we know it, all 2400 minutes of this day are done and we are starting on the next 2400 minutes.
So what can happen during one minute?
- 25 Americans will get a passport
- 58 Airplanes will take off around the world.
- 116 People will get married
- 11,319 UPS packages will be delivered
- 243,000 photos will be uploaded to Facebook
- 250 Babies will be born
- 106 People will die
- 360 Lightening strikes will hit somewhere on the earth
- 7,295,000,000 human hearts will beat 582,800,000,000 Continue reading
This is a re-post of this article first written in 2015. How sad is it that all we need do is to change the name of the Church or Synagogue and it is as relevant today as it was three years ago.
My heart hurts today. The news on every channel is filled with images from South Carolina and the senseless killing of nine precious saints in the AME Church in Charleston. My heart weeps for the destruction.
satan has stepped up his unholy boldness; he is no longer lurking in the shadows. Oh no, he is taking his evil right to Main Street America.
his pervasive evil now invades our homes to steal our children right from their beds only to rape, maim and murder the innocents – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now walks upright in the full light of day directly through the front door of our schools and opens fire on the innocents – killing all in its path; leaving a trail of destruction and tears that can never be repaired, never be forgotten – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Evil now boards our airplanes – unafraid and undaunted. It takes control and three thousand innocents are murdered – all done in the name of evil. And satan laughs.
Does God Really Forgive Our Sins? And if He does then why do we keep taking them back?
So a few weeks back, I was having a sweet chat with a dear friend and she said to me, “Do you believe that God really forgives our sins?” Without hesitation, I said yes I do.
She went on to tell me that sometimes she feels like no matter how many times she asks forgiveness, she feels like He doesn’t hear her. She doesn’t feel forgiven; thoughts of that particular sin seem to plague her.
There are dozens of Scriptures that talk about repentance and God’s forgiveness in the Bible, here are just a few that I shared with my dear friend.