Sunday, May 21, 2017

April 21-27, 2017 Thought of the Week

Simple? Yes...Easy? No...

A very wise Christian man said, "There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.". Looking back onto Ronald Reagan's life,we can most certainly see that he not only taught this principle but he lived it. Ronald Reagan held one of the most powerful positions in the world as President of the United States. This position inevitably brings many pressures, yet through these Reagan exemplified taking the simple path.

What God requires of us is very hard, Jesus tells us that we must deny ourselves and take up our crosses following Him. This is by no means an easy task, it is a burden and we often slip and fall along the journey. What we must not forget is that it is a simple task. That is, we are to follow God's commandments in all we do. This requires knowledge: knowing and understanding the instruction of our Lord, and courage: willingness to put obedience to Christ above all other.

As we continue to devote our life to Christ and follow Him this week, let us be encouraged that we have a simple task before us. While it will be difficult and we will face temptations and sin, even this coming week, let us always come back to the simple instructions given us refocusing on Christ so we may continue to grow and glorify Him.

I hope this encourages you this week as you walk courageously!

Keep thinking, my friends!

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.
Matthew 16:24-27(ESV)

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Tribute to a Humble Life

HS Graduation day...moments after sharing a fist bump

Standing next to me in this photo is a man I lost 3 weeks ago today. For reasons that not I or anyone will likely ever know, Aaron chose to end his life on the first day of this year. I have intentionally not brought this into the public eye because I do not believe it belongs here to be dwelt upon out of respect for the family and friends of Aaron. Today, however, I feel compelled to share about with you not to dwell on his passing, but to celebrate his life well lived. In doing so, I will attempt to let you in on his life and give you a glimpse of his heart. I hope that you will take a minute of your time to read this through as maybe engaging with Aaron through this post will impact you in some way as his friendship to me impacted me in so many ways.

I vividly remember the first day I ever saw Aaron, we were both 10 years of age. We were at school orientation for our 6th grade year at Covenant Academy. Both of us having reserved personalities, we did not actually meet, but observed each other from a distance. What he observed of me I do not know for sure, but what I saw was a well-dressed young man standing by himself seeming to be a bit shy like myself. Someone who I was excited to have in school as my classmate, yet slightly “scared” to meet because he was new to me. Little did I know, however, that God had directed our paths to come together and not only cross, but merge for the next 8.5 years.

We did life together in many ways during those 8.5 years. We spent most of each day of the week together in the same room learning, we attended chess club together, we played football together, we had long conversations, we dueled each other in the weekly Bible quiz games at school, we were fellow employees, and maybe in that time we managed to have a few debates.

Aaron was a very humble man. Through all his life, I can without a doubt say this was his greatest and most consistent character quality. Because of his modesty and his desire to turn the spotlight from himself to others, many people do not know of all his other great qualities and talents. Aaron was extremely smart, one of the sharpest and most brilliant people I have had the honor to meet. He was quick witted. I remember we would often find ourselves hurling one liners at each other and I never remember having the last word. Unless, of course, that word was “touché” because he always had a better comeback. Aaron had a very good sense of humor, especially hidden around a lot of people, but if you got him in a small group of friends it was apt to manifest itself and keep others laughing. He was quite competitive in anything he attempted. He never took anything for granted as he was always ready and eager, with camera in hand, to capture moments and memories. Also, he loved to spend time with children, often having conversations with them and playing with them. He was very creative all the way from writing stories to making Lego videos to drawing to building with Legos to writing scripts to acting to voicing over etc.…he loved to create things of this nature. It is in these creations, that you can see those more hidden parts of his personality come out. He loved to serve others and share the gospel with them, being an ambassador for Christ both here and in Mexico. He spent many hours selflessly volunteering for local organizations as well. Aaron was very compassionate to all people. He was extremely hard working. Aaron, most importantly, loved God with all his heart and displayed his obedience to his Lord consistently. Finally, he was an amazing friend--always encouraging me and pushing me to be more like Christ. There is so much more that could be said about him, but this is what comes immediately to mind.

I truly loved Aaron, while I may never have explicitly said it to him, I hope he understood that from my actions. I miss him and am forever saddened that our paths separated so abruptly. At the same time, however, I am forever grateful and honored to have been friends with him while sharing lives. I am continuing in faith that he is with his Lord and Savior and that our paths will once again unite.

I hope that by reading this you gained something. I hope you now share a piece of the life of a great young man, that you were encouraged by the selfless nature of his life and that you will not take for granted your friendships—nothing in this life can be taken for granted but the sovereignty of the God of the Universe.

I would specially ask you to pray for Aaron’s family: his mother, father and brother. Also, please pray for his close friends many of which are struggling. Pray that they all would be able to lean on God for strength and grow closer to Him and His grace rather than away from Him towards the thoughts of death. Please pray that all who hear of Aaron’s life will be impacted by it and celebrate the living of it. Lastly, let your friends know how deeply appreciate them even today.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
James 3:13

Saturday, April 16, 2016

At the Crossroads: Liberty or Tyranny

I was blessed to be able to be apart of organizing, as well as, attend the 31st Rocky Mountain Biblical Worldview Conference last weekend. I left encouraged in my faith, strengthened in my walk with Christ, challenged in my life, and having learned so much. At this conference, Nationally renowned authors, speakers, and leaders Kevin Swanson and Israel Wayne joined local teaching elder, author and speaker David Barrett to spend all weekend addressing many Christians along the theme: “At the Crossroads: Liberty or Tyranny”.

Although, I cannot even try to begin to express all that was taught, I would like to share with you all my favorite quotes and tidbits from the sessions I was able to attend. Hopefully they will stimulate thought and encourage you as they have done to me!

We can't out pop the pop culture -Israel Wayne

When immorality increases in a country, so does tyranny -Kevin Swanson

Please read the's really good -Kevin Swanson

The distinct thing about the Christian religion is that God does not stand and look at us from the outside, but rather comes alongside us -Israel Wayne

Kevin Swanson quoted Francis Shaeffer who said, Relativism is like having both feet planted in mid-air

The teachings of Jesus should make you think He is either the most insane person ever or He is the Son of God -Israel Wayne

We MUST understand, proclaim, and practice the Lordship of Christ -David Barrett

That is a nice bumper sticker, the only problem is that it isn't true -Israel Wayne

Matt. 28:18- Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me”

If you don't believe it is possible to live a holy life, then you won't -Israel Wayne

The last enemy to be destroyed is death, not the devil -David Barrett

History today is presented by secular humanists and you can't determine between the good guys and the bad guys -Kevin Swanson

A hell hole became the most peaceful, safest place on earth because of ONE man, William the Silent, in just 30 years -Kevin Swanson

We are not allowed to worship God in any way we want to -Israel Wayne

The next President of the United States will have almost no impact on the fight for Liberty           -Kevin Swanson

Kevin Swanson, referencing the Benjamin Franklin quote, said We will hang together or we will hang separately

Stop being content with going to Church meetings together, not expecting the manifest presence of God -Israel Wayne

94% of what Christians disagree on is stupid -Kevin Swanson

Spirit-filled, Spiritual worship must be sincere -Kevin Swanson

Liberty is the freedom to do what is right -David Barrett is quoting John Eidsmoe when asked to define Liberty.

The church has been transformed by the culture instead of transforming the culture 
-Israel Wayne

First faith, then victory, it always follows -Kevin Swanson

Do not rest until you have given God His rightful place of preeminence in your life
-Israel Wayne

We are at a crossroads right now in history, which road will you choose? Liberty in Christ or Tyranny from men?

But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
II Corinthians 3:15-17 (KJV)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Silent Holocaust

With the passing of Sanctity of Life Sunday and the Day of Remembrance for the Jewish Holocaust, God impressed on my heart to write this blog.

Between 1933 and 1942 the holocaust of Jews took place in Germany. This holocaust was the murder of innocent people for their religious views and racial background. By the end of this 10 year period, the German government and its dictator, Adolf Hitler, were responsible for the murder of about 7 million Jews as well as the torture, isolation and rejection of millions more. This mass killing is a very well known piece of history that leaves all in disgust when they study it. Adolf Hitler is now known as one of the most evil dictators of all time because he arranged and oversaw such a deplorable tragedy.

In the Soviet Union, during the reign of Joseph Stalin, it is estimated that about 60 million Russians died unnatural deaths (excluding combat deaths of the war). About 20-40 million of these deaths are linked directly to Stalin himself and the policies he enforced. This bit of history, too, brings feelings of anger, disgust and plain evil when studied. Because of this, Stalin has also earned a place as one of the most evil leaders of all time.

The worst mass killing of all history occurred in China under Mao Tse Tung, of which The Independent gives an enlightening report:

Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday. Speaking at The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival, Frank Dikötter, a Hong Kong-based historian, said he found that during the time that Mao was enforcing the Great Leap Forward in 1958, in an effort to catch up with the economy of the Western world, he was responsible for overseeing "one of the worst catastrophes the world has ever known". Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million. Mr Dikötter is the only author to have delved into the Chinese archives since they were reopened four years ago. He argued that this devastating period of history – which has until now remained hidden – has international resonance. "It ranks alongside the gulags and the Holocaust as one of the three greatest events of the 20th century.... It was like [the Cambodian communist dictator] Pol Pot's genocide multiplied 20 times over," he said.

These three events in history are thought by the majority of people to have been the most evil occurrences of recent history and possibly of all history. Shockingly, however, the majority of the world does not become outraged or disgusted to any extent when alerted to the mass killings going on right now.

In the United States, from 1973 until now, about 56 million people have been murdered through abortion. Worldwide, about 50 million children are killed every single year by abortion. Every day throughout the US, about 3,000 babies are murdered. This, my friends, is the silent holocaust that is occurring at this very moment in our own backyard.

 As I consider this, I am baffled at why this does not bring public uproar and general disgust throughout the world as all the other mass tragedies have caused before. I keep asking myself, “Why?” “What's the difference?” “Why don't people see this as evil?”

I want to review some possible reasons and arguments that could be presented to justify the one and not the other. These are the ideas and arguments that I have thought of that seem the most prominent.

Are the first three worse than the last because the tragedies in Germany, Russia and China occurred by the forced policy of one man and dictator?
This, however, I do not see as worse in any way. Indeed, I would say that it is much more of a tragedy when there has been 8 presidents in our nation and countless other leaders in nations around the world that have allowed this holocaust to continue and even be funded at the tax payer's expense. This has become a socially accepted crime in all the world and that should appall us so much more than one person forcing his opinion on others.

Maybe the killing of the Jews, Russians and Chinese are less acceptable because they included torture and all kinds of evil treatments of their victims before death while abortion does not?
I tell you confidently, with the support of the recent series of videos released in our country, that when a baby undergoes abortion they undergo great pain and it is not rare that they are brutally treated and perhaps torn limb from limb so the Doctors can attempt to harvest tissues and organs. Not to get too technical, but, for the tissue to be useful for the purposes that Abortionists harvest and sell them for, the parts must be harvested very quickly, usually even before the baby has ceased living. I see no reason that these babes do not go through the most horrendous torture and experience lasting pain.

Do the first three mentioned mass killings bring public uproar because it was killing of whole families—men, women and children alike?
While I find this so very evil, I also find it to be just as evil if not more disturbing that abortion takes the life of a little child who has not even had the chance to experience the world for itself, a little life that has so much potential abruptly cut off because of the selfishness of others.

Is abortion allowed in our society because the baby being killed is a part of the mother and that they then have some sort of ownership that allows them to do with the child as they please, whereas, the other tragedies where taken out on those who the dictators had no ownership over?
I would say that this is probably the most prevalent argument for Abortion, however, I find that this argument is based on a major flaw. When a child is conceived and given the breath of life from God, they are given themselves a right to life endowed in them by their Creator. Beyond that, when God breathes the breath of life into that new child, He breathes into him His very own image and a purpose to fulfill a destiny that God set up for him from the foundations of the world! I tell you, those men women and children murdered by Hitler, Stalin and Tse Tung all had in them that right to life, that image of God, and that eternal destiny just as each  and every child in their mother's womb carries those same attributes. Furthermore, the carrier of the child in no way has ownership of that new life on the level to decide to have them killed. Even if they did have some sort of ownership, abortion would still be murder. The Bible clearly says suicide is murder and therefore wrong, so if any person cannot end their own life, then how on earth could the parent be justified in doing ending the life of that baby?

This is a pervasive evil throughout out land and truly is a silent and accepted holocaust that stems from sin being rampant in the world. We will not change or stop this tragedy until the hearts of men are changed and turned from focusing on themselves to focusing on the God of the Universe and His design for redemption and life in this world.

I urge you all to pray without ceasing for the end of this great evil and I challenge you to step up in any opportunity to speak, write or use whatever means to promote the change that this culture so desperately needs.

I hope and pray that this blog may bring a new awareness to you of abortion, as well, as provides a tool to show others how disgusting and appalling this worldwide holocaust is!

Do not lose hope, but rely upon the strength of Christ in you!!

The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life
Job 4:33

Friday, January 1, 2016

A Mark of Healing

With the ringing in of the New Year, it is natural to look back upon and reflect on the previous year. Reflecting on the past year is a very good habit; it allows us to see the big picture of the year as well as see where each specific event fit into that overall scheme. When you do this, though, you remember not only the fun and wonderful times but you also remember the hard and painful periods!

As many of my readers probably know, this last year I had to have surgery on my hand to repair a broken knuckle and two cut tendons. When I review 2015, this event and the ensuing time of recovery continually comes into my remembrance! I remember the pain so very well that I had when I first injured my hand. I remember the pain after the surgery. I remember hearing the doctor say that it was very likely that I would never again have full range of motion in my finger. I remember the weeks and weeks of therapy and recovery. And now, as a mark of all that, I see a scar on my hand that shall forever remain. Every day following, I would see that scar and my head just began to be filled with thoughts about “scars”. It seems like that word is almost like a buzz word in society today and people are always using it to describe their pain and dwell on the fact that they will never again be the same. I almost always hear it used in the negative sense, and while it is important to remember the pain, it is even more important that we not forget that scars also represent healing. Scars only appear where two things that were once separated have been joined or a thing that was broken has been made whole again! What if God gives us scars so that we can forever be reminded of His healing work? I can tell you that it was because of God's blessing and healing power that my hand has regained normal motion. I thank God that He gave me a scar so that I will always remember the pain that He pulled me out of, as well as, the process that brought complete restoration and healing!

Also, as I would consider what scars meant, it became amazingly clear to me that scars point to and should remind us of the spiritual salvation we find in Christ. For, it is by the scars Christ received that we are completely restored to right standing before God our Father! Our broken and sinful souls must be made whole...must be we may have new life!

So, as you look back during this time of reflection, when you see your scars...whether they are physical, spiritual or emotional...please remember the healing process that God brought you through or that He is bringing you through! Do not dwell on the pain of the past, but only remember the depth of the pain to testify to how amazing God's healing power is to have raised you up out of such pain!

Let us see our scars and smile because of God's gracious and restoring work in our lives and let us thank Him for giving us that mark so that we never forget!

Happy New Year!!! I pray God blesses you greatly in it!

Isa. 53:4-5
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Dec. 20-26 Thought of the Week

Christmas is so much more than the giving of gifts and time spent with family and friends, although that is very important! It is more than the mere celebration of the birth of a good man long ago. It is more than even the celebration of Jesus, Gods Son. Christmas celebrates so much that it leaves me in awe. Celebrating this Holiday is celebrating the humbling of God's Son, celebrating salvation for each of us through the work of Christ, celebrating God's mercy to us, celebrating His love for us and so much more that all was fulfilled in the greatest gift ever given -- God sending His only begotten Son into this world entering as a babe to complete God's plan of redemption!

I have thrown together a somewhat chronological collage of Christmas Song lyrics that touch on all the amazing facets that come about from the birth of Christ. Read these words and take in all their meaning, I hope these words have as great an impact on you as they have me! We should be left in awe of the full meaning of Christmas!

O come, O come, Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.
O holy night the stars are brightly shining
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Joy to the World , the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
Silent night, holy night, wondrous star, lend thy light;
With the angels let us sing,
Alleluia to our King.
Christ the Savior is born,
Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild.
God and sinners reconciled
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
Christ is born in Bethlehem
Hark! The herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn King!"
Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Mary did you know.. Mary did you know
The blind will see.
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
The praises of The Lamb.
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy is heaven's perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great, I Am.
What mercy was revealed
What selflessness and peace
My fate was surely sealed
Until He rescued me
His pardon for my sin
His bounty for my need
From slavery and shame
I am redeemed
And Heaven can't contain
The glory of the Son
Jesus is the Christ, the saving One
His love has made a way
The grave is overcome
Jesus is the Christ, the saving One
Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

Let us remember that Christmas should also remind us that we must go tell the world of the redemption that can be found in Christ alone!

Merry Christmas to you all!!! 
I hope it is one that grows your love and fear of God, as well, as allows you to make many good memories that you can remember and cherish for many years!

Go celebrate the birth of our Savior and King!...and as always keep thinking:)

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isa. 9:6

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:16-17

Friday, December 18, 2015

Dec. 13-19 Thought of the Week

Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, 
but the companion of fools will suffer harm  
Prov. 13:20 (ESV)
This week's thought comes right out of the Book of Proverbs. Here it teaches us that those we choose to let influence us and who we let become our friends or those we spend time with will shape our character. This is a simple concept, but it is so very important and we must grasp it! Also, we must continually be reminded of this principle and so we can be vigilant in protecting ourselves from bad influences. The Bible is abundant and clear in it's teaching on this subject, another example would be 1 Corinthians 15:33 which says, "Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals". It is imperative that we take this to heart if we wish to lead Godly lives!

George Washington, who was a devout Christian and great leader, understood this principle very well. He even went so far as to say, "Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company". I believe that because Washington was disciplined and governed himself by Biblical principles, such as this one, he was a great warrior for Christ in his time and was able to influenced a nation and culture that endures to this day! are who you hang out with...and as always...keep thinking!