Monday, December 28, 2009

Get out there and preach the Word!

We all know the passage from Scripture, John 3:16 "For God loved the world in this way; He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." (Holman CSB) Most Christians and Theologians alike live-out Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen." (Holman CSB) At a very young age, I could recite from memory the 23rd Psalm. And almost every church service uses passages from books of the Pentateuch (Genesis--Deuteronomy which were authored by Moses) integrated into their sermons. From the Old Testament to the New Testament, from the Kings to the Prophets, believers, as a culture, all know of Scripture in some form or another. But do we know what the Word is really saying? Do we possess true understanding of the meaning of those all-to-familiar passages which are ingrained into our spiritual lives? I know that I don't always get the intended goal of every message or every passage. This is why we must make time to study the Word and meditate on it. This is why we must make time instead of excuses and find the truth versus imitations. We must not replace God's holy Word with our own vices. It is a decision we must make but the reward is eternal!

Have you noticed how the authors and writers utilized metaphors in most Biblical stories and autobiographies to portray the message. How the Bible is packed with similes and hidden meanings. How the Prophets used laymen terms and layman level descriptions in their interpretations of the prophecies given them by God..................................and how symbolism is a norm of Scripture, both Old and New Testament. Jesus himself used parables to tell His stories and give His lessons to the masses. He used realistic examples of actual events to engage the crowds. He never used sugar-coated terms or politically-correct sentences. He never beat around-the-bush with his sermons, but was always direct and to-the-point. He saw a need and provided the solution. Saw spiritual hunger and provided the food. He observed the audience and noticed every detail about them. He even "felt" healing power leave Him as a woman (who had been bleeding for 12 years) touched His clothing as He passed by. He stopped to heal the blind, deaf, and lame. He cast out demons using the very spiritual power and influence that we also have as Christians. We are entitled to the same privileges and given the same authority to heal, save, and teach. We have the ability to carry out ministry wherever we are and with whoever we are with. We all have the same spiritual weapons as Christ to wage spiritual warfare against the Devil. We were given these abilities by God and we were given Christ to show us how to utilize them. Being a Christian was made relitively easy for all of us and following in the footsteps of Jesus is not too much to acomplish. It is not the level of difficulty which impedes our faith increasing, rather the ability to conform to godly principles and rules. We are given everything we need to fight the good fight and run the race, its up to us to see it through.

Jesus lived as himself, not putting on a face in public or pretending to be someone else when around other people. He was honest, authentic, and sincere. He was man, but God. He was just as tempted and targeted by Satan as we all are, He just faced the temptations down and returned the accusations with spirit-lead rebuttals. He never argued, but always discussed. He was never offensive in tone but never coward from a challenge to His authority lodged either by man or Satan.........................He was perfect! We, as Christians, are constantly striving to reach this perfection in Christ. We are always on the mission of progression in our relationship with God. We will always make mistakes and will never be without temptations while here on earth but, God will forgive us our mistakes and He always provides a way out of temptations. For every wrong there is a right. For every problem a solution. Every down an up and for every bump in the road there is a path around that bump. God has pre-planned our lives but He has given us the freedom to make choices. This is were we get lost.............were we go off the straight path.............were we fall off the wagon. It is our ability to make these choices which decide our fate.

We are entitled to direct time with the Father through the blood sacrifice and atonement for our sins by the Christ. We can go to God directly with our requests, our problems, and our interests. We can approach the Throne of Grace with boldness. This is something which was once impossible and, in-fact, very dangerous. It was a very lengthy and nerve-racking process only performed by the most knowledgeable Priests who were separated by birth from the rest of the Israelites and raised in a very secluded lifestyle much different from ordinary citizens. This was necessary to be able to approach God with a blood (animal) sacrifice to atone the sins of the people. After the last breath of Jesus was breathed and His spirit was surrendered up to God while on the cross, the curtain in the Holy of Holy's in the Temple was torn in two thereby symbolizing the New Covenant between God and His people. At that moment, after the tearing of the curtain, we were once and for all able to approach God on a personal level and at any time we desired. This is huge given the very time-consuming and formerly difficult process of going to God for sin atonement.

If we read Romans 8:12-17, "So then brothers, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, for if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. All those led by God's Spirit are God's sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God's children, and if children, also heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ--seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him." (Holman CSB), then we read Hebrews 6:1-3, "Therefore, leaving the elementary message about the Messiah, let us go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, faith in God, teaching about ritual washings, laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead. and eternal punishment. And we will do this if God permits." (Holman CSB), we will clearly see that we are to move forward towards the goal. We must not become stagnate in our faith and callous to our beliefs, so much so that we began to regress to our former state of sin or our old selves! We were given a mandate by God to spread the Good News and tell others about Jesus Christ, so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. That is the key word, abundantly. Having a relationship with God Almighty is living with meaning. Being a Christian is a state-of-mind and a lifestyle not a religion. It is about living the good life here on earth so we can live the good life in the fast-approaching New Kingdom!

I pray that I can live the good life or godly life that I was purposed to have. I pray that I may come to an understanding of cosmic proportions which far surpasses all other earthly understanding. I pray that I may be the man God wants me to be and that I may die to myself daily so I can live for Christ more. Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live." (Holman CSB), Joshua 24:15 "As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord." (Holman CSB). This speaks volumes of books unwritten and words unspoken. Nothing more be said about what need be done. We know what we are to do and how we are to do it............................The rest is up to you??? Amen!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Why I am what I am!

I am a born-again Christian! I am a free man! I am finally free..........................

I was a lost and now I am found, was blind and now I see! Those words ring so true to me. I am so thankful to God for allowing me to find satisfaction in grace, completion in love. I am grateful for Jesus Christ for His earthly sacrifice of atonement for OUR sins!

I realize that as a human, I am so pathetic standing alone, but of so much worth as a child of God. I am the most important me to God. To think that God created me in His own image, an image of the most awesome beauty and exotic and mysterious wonder. I am a CHILD of God. I am His own replica.....................I cannot feel sad when I think about this. I find it increasingly difficult to be selfish when faced with Christ's sacrifice on my behalf.

What a huge and very impacting placement of value to be a child of God! I mean little to the world but the world to God. I hold His affection close and love divine. I am different than His angelic host, higher than the rest of creation. It is so humbling to just attempt to comprehend my place in the Kingdom of God and my level of worth in His echelon of value. What a wonderful feeling to know that even though I was born into sin, I am free of it if I choose.

It is so very awesome but also so very confusing to try and understand the what, where, why, when, & how of divinity while being so human in nature? It is somewhat surreal to humanize the realization of God's unlimited power and sovereignty. Irrational to try and replicate His knowledge of the universe's very workings. Why can't we just let it be so? Why can't we just allow life to be? Why can't we just accept it?

I am finding my personal spiritual value or worth far outweighs my fleshly desire to know more. I now realize that to live is to conform to God's laws and commands. I find it increasingly easy to surrender my self to my God. To give me to Him. To let God be God and stop trying to determine the why of everything and everyone. I understand that I am only human and carry the burden only if I cause it to be so. To surrender myself to God is to give Him my burdens and problems. To ask Him for assistance and receive His love. Matthew 11:28-30 (NKJV)

Let me continue to love you Lord God Almighty and be the person you want to see me be. Let me do your will and live according to your precepts. Let me never fall into sin, but if I am tempted, let me use my knowledge of your Word and wisdom from your Holy Spirit. Let me be constantly thankful and let my light shine to the world so that they may see and believe in you. Let nothing cover my light, to stop it from shining or cause it to dim. But let my light become stronger and stronger until it is a flame oh God! I love you God and I lift my voice to worship you. I live to praise you and love you more and more each day............................Amen!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Being all that I can be!

We were instructed by Jesus Christ himself to go out and be disciples for The Kingdom of God. The basic fundamentals of Christianity are: To gain a more intimate relationship with the Father here on earth, To live as Christians (as we are instructed in God's Word), and To Spread the Good News! We can choose to have a life as a born-again Christian, or to live as a born-again Christian! What do you choose? What will your legacy be as a Christian while you lived here in earth awaiting the New Kingdom of God?

I know of many ways to be of good cheer. I know how to try and "convert" someone to Christianity. I know of ways to help out the poor and provide relief to the widows. But do I know the true meaning of being a Christian or soldier for Christ. Do I really know what it means to give up everything for the Kingdom of God? Would I do this? How would I react if told to do this by Jesus Christ to my face?

I have to stop and think about this within its context. We have a mandate from God's own standing orders, His Word, the Scriptures, the Bible, and the Truth. Without slipping into legalism, this is something I need to take a closer look at. Those were the instructions of Jesus Christ before ascending into the Heavens to be with the Father. He gave us instructions on what we were to do and how we were to do it. Then God told us earlier through His prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, ....................) that we are to take care of the poor, widows, and needy. That we are to spread the Good News. Jesus just confirms this mandate to ensure our understanding of it and then gave us additional guidance before leaving us physically to be with the Father.

We know this to be true. We read this every time we open the Word. We hear this being preached. We see this being done by others on television and through other modern communication channels. We meditate on this. But, I can truly say that I haven't really done everything within my limitations to accomplish this.

I am holding myself accountable through the means of this blog to be more attentive to what the Holy Spirit is telling me in concert with the Scriptures. I read the Scriptures every day, I pray even more, and I am constantly communicating with God. I need to hit my knees more in complete humility towards God. I need to act more and say less. I need to be that shining light before all men and not that flickering spark. I need to apply what God says in His Word to every situation I find myself in, every problem I encounter, and every relationship I establish. Let the words of my mouth be edifying to God and let my actions be approved. Let me be that servant that He wants us to be and has called us to be. Let me actualize my Faith and be a true Christian! Amen!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Praise God!

The sole purpose of man's existence is to Glorify and Praise God. We live and breath to give God the glory He so rightly deserves. I personally give God praise and glory daily and, even hourly. I praise Him from when the Sun comes up to when it goes down!

Our praise to our Father and Creator should be something woven into the fabric of our spiritual garment which we put on and cleave close to throughout our daily walk with God. We should always give our Lord praise, whether it be on an important occassion or simply in everyday tasks.

Praise originated long before mankind was created and therefore, is part of God's plan. He says in His Word that if we won't praise Him, than the rest of His creation will. "Let everything that has breath or life praise the Lord!" Can you imagine watching animal and agriculture alike praising God in our place. What a huge humility check! I would find a very secluded corner to ball up in out of shame, nothing more, just pure and unadulterated shame!

Praise is:
1) Mandatory-God requires it,
2) Necessary-We need to do it,
3) Wonderful-The feeling is spiritual empowerment,
4) Enjoyable-Praise is a healthy and satisfying spiritual exercise,
5) Encouraging-We always come away from praise more mature in our relationship with God,
6) Renewing-Praise gives our spirit and soul new energy& strength,
7) Refreshing-Praise solidifies our appreciation & respect for God,
8) Influencial-Praise causes our general demeanor to change, becoming as a shining beacon to the world,
9) Cancerous-The results of praise show our absolute dedication to our Gracious God and the spiritual maturity and feeling of security in life,
10) Positive-Praise pleases God, pleases the one giving the praise, and exposes our true love for our Creator and Father!

It starts with praise and ends with praise. Praise for who God is, what God has done, how many people God loves, why we are worthy to come before God ourselves, and when we will see Him soon. So, praise God in everything you do and everything you say! Amen!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Satan, the Great Deceiver, has one purpose and one goal here on Earth! To gain our souls which is his deceptive way of trying to gain a leg up on God. This is why Lucifer, God's former Chief of Angels, the Morning Star, now known as Satan, the Master Deceiver. This jealousy and envy is the very heart of his demise and downfall . No one is exempt from this trap of sin, no one! The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak! Matthew 26:41 (NKJV)

We must stop downplaying the importance of the dangerous and deadly nature of the Deceiver. We must never think we cannot be influenced by the same sins. We must always pray that we do not fall into temptation just as our Savior, Jesus Christ, has instructed us to do. As we learn from our past and we should learn from our past, we will see a pattern of repetitive attacks launched by Satan and his followers against man. We were forewarned by Jesus of this because He was also tempted by Satan. He knows how strong of a pull Satan can have on the human spirit. He knows what tactics Satan uses to deceive man. Jesus knows because Jesus was tempted. He knows the capabilities of Satan's tactics and he knows the manipulating and deceptive powers Satan has. After all, he deceived man from the very beginning. It was the serpent who tempted Eve then Adam and convinced them that they could sin against God. Jesus knows what Satan is, what he stands for, what he wants, and how he intends on accomplishing his evil goals. This is why Jesus took our sins and bore them on the cross to free us from sin and bind the serpent.

We know about Satan. We know about his trickery and deception. We know about his intent. We have established what Satan wants and what he is willing to do to get what he wants, so why can't we learn how to avoid his relentless attacks? Why are we not using more, advanced spiritual warfare when we fight him? When are we going to take accountability to each other as believers and responsibility to ourselves and our families regarding our spiritual state-of-mind? When? The answer is actually so simple its almost ironic! Now! We must start taking control of the spiritual battlefield now! Because this is our duty as Christians and this is the only way we will prevail against the dark forces of Satan and his followers. He was already beaten at the Cross. We already have stomped his head underneath our feet by the Sacrifice of our Savior. We just need to keep his head under our feet until Jesus comes back to bring a New Kingdom. I am giving every believer their marching orders......................We cannot sit by idle any longer! God is our power and authority and we just need to exercise it through Him to keep the Deceiver where he belongs, beneath our feet. Trampled beneath our feet like the Lamb at Calvary! Amen!

We fall short of your Glory Oh God!

I have learned certain and all-to-common lessons from life which have only served to strengthen my intimate relationship with the Almighty God. I have been through very difficult and trying times with the good blessing of always coming out a better me. This is only because of God's mercy and continual grace which is in His nature. He is such an awesome God. I am awestruck by the immensity of His wonderful and intricate creation and divine designs and inner workings of His intended plan for mankind. I am perplexed by His delicate and detailed patterns which everyday life follows as it progresses forward through the space of time. The simple yet complicated human mind is a wonder all its own. The human body, impossible to replicate yet perfectly fitted, work of His super powerful omnipotence. All of creation designed with a purpose in mind, a part to play in the wonderful cycle of life. And to think, we are the icing on the cake so-to-say of all His creation. We, us human beings, so important that even the angels are in awe. What an awesome God. What a merciful Creator. He created the very anatomy of life for His benefit. We are here to worship and please Him. We are here to make Him well pleased. We are here to develop an intimate relationship with Him with the expectation of an even better future when He comes back to reclaim His children and take away all of the pain and suffering that the human race has so immensely caused on ourselves. God's creation is so beautiful if you stop to absorb the reality of the beauty. It reveals so much of God's nature if you pause to actually appreciate it. He has given so much to each one of us, His children. We all have an inheritance awaiting us which, by spiritual comparison, minimizes even the most wealthy of people on our planet. Our future reward for absolute obedience to and love of God is life everlasting with our Father and His Son, Jesus Christ and all His heavenly host. 24/7/365 infinite fellowship, laughing, loving, rejoicing, spiritual ecstasy, music so rich to our ears, and the awe inspiring glory of our loving Father, God.

We mean so much to God. This is so evident, not only by His son, Jesus Christ, but also by His perpetual grace which He constantly shows to us in every different and unique way. It is amazing to realize that I have a Father who, not only created me, but also loves me regardless of how I am towards Him. He does not care about what we do wrong, He only cares that we continue to seek forgiveness for our wrongs and that we make a constant attempt to stop the behavior that He has instructed us to avoid and abstain from it in the future. You see, God's forgiveness is guaranteed. Can you say the same for your forgiveness? I know that I find it very difficult to forgive if someone has done something that really hurt me or damaged my personal reputation.

But, the reward to me far outweighs the journey! I am thrilled that I call myself a child of my God, the One and only True God. The Lord God Almighty! My Savior and Hero. I could literally fill an entire book with ways to worship you, God! I could sing wonders to your Holy name all the day long. There are not enough words to describe your splendor and wonders. I am infatuated by your creation and awestruck by your designs. Your nature continues to show itself in every thing every day. Your grace continues to save me from myself. Your mercy gives me hope and your love keeps me safe. Your kindness is every where and runs through me and seeps out my body like sweat through my pores. Your love shows through me like a landscape through a window. I cannot stop reading your Word and meditating on your law. Your lessons for your chosen people teach me how to live and your Holy Spirit teaches me how to speak. Your Son has left me with an example of how to act and most importantly how to love. I have learned true compassion from your awesome Son and how to treat my earthly brothers and sisters. I find the comfort of your Word to be my rock and I cannot stop the feeling of intensity in love that I have for you. I take your Word with me everywhere. I read it daily and dream about it nightly. You fill my thoughts and I bath in your love. I long for the day when I can meet you face-to-face. I dream of seeing your glory and being close to you. I greatly anticipate being together with you, your Son, and all my brothers and sisters in Christ. I cannot comprehend the intensity of your glory as you describe in your Word. But, I look forward to being in your presence every day for evermore. Lord, I am not afraid of anything except being away from you. I pray daily for your constant love and grace in my worthless earthly endeavors and only wish that I can grow closer to you by the day. Let me not fall into temptation but always be strong in your Word as you have instructed me to do. Let me be a bright and shining beacon to the world of your awesome and inspiring Glory and Love. Let me bring others to your love so they may also enjoy a life filled with your Glory and Love. If I may fall, pick me up, If I fail, help me succeed, and If I die, may I live! All praise and glory be to you my God, my Father of all creation. Amen!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Spiritual Awareness!

Too many times we tend to use our faith to condemn or judge unbelievers and other believers. By pushing our faith and our own slanted doctrines, we are negating God's true intent for us, which is to free us from the shackles of sin through Grace and His son, Jesus Christ! Mark 7:13 (NKJV)

We curse ourselves to the point of death by taking the Truth and poisoning it through; legalism, holding stedfast to the traditions of men and not God, and by allowing Satan to twist and manipulate God's great message to us.

We need to step in and take back control of our intimate life with God by doing what He says in His Word and listening and obeying the Holy Spirit! We must strengthen our faith, engage our spiritual armor to always be prepared for Satans next attack, and equip ourselves with the proper and necessary tools needed to defend ourselves from Satan; knowledge of and in the Word of God, to grow much closer to God through the Holy Spirit so we will be able to understand and acknowledge when the Holy Spirit is talking to us.

This is what we are to do because Satan is so relentless in his attacks on us (1 Peter 5:8 NKJV), and his influence is cancerous to our relationship with God if we are not prepared both spiritually and mentally. The Deciever will swoop in and take from us whatever we leave available to him to the point of taking of our very souls. We must first recognize that Satan is always on duty and he never sleeps, not even for one moment.

Understand your enemy and you have just taken the first step to winning the war. We were endowed with choice and we should use this choice to choose God! He will always give us what we need if we will give Him what He requires from us................Amen!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

God's true intent for us!

God created humans! Not the other way around. Sometimes, we tend to think that we created God and in doing so, we have control over how we relate to Him. Well, we didn't, and despite what we may think, we don't!

God created everything else also! Humans, or mankind, are not alone on earth. We are just sharing God's wonderful creation with all of His other creations. But, we, unlike the rest of creation, have been tasked with a very important responsibility.....................To take dominion over the rest of creation or to take care of it. This is a huge responsibility. But, if God didn't think we were up to the task, He would not have given us this responsibility. After all, God never gives us more than we can handle. And, He always gives us a back-up plan for every situation we encounter or problem we will face!

The human race is so important to God that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us so we could have eternal life with Him in Heaven! That's right! We mean more to God than any other part of His creation.

God created mankind in His image, had His only Son die for us, then arranged for us a way to be with Him eternally. What more proof do we need than this? How much more does God need to give to show us how much He really loves us? Why can't we accept this token of love which He freely gives in order to show us His true intentions for us? We are working out all of the kinks in our life hose to prepare us for eternity with God. We are being tried through the sparks of temporary life to withstand the flames of eternal life! God wants us to grow closer to Him and that is the sole purpose for our lives here on earth. To grow closer to God so, when we move forward to eternal life with Him, we can enjoy it in complete love and perfection! We are being polished here on earth to shine in eternal life. Thats it! Pretty simple huh? I think so................

Because, our flesh combined with Satan's deception tells us otherwise. We have been given the world and dominion over it included with a guarantee to eternal life with God and the rest of Heaven. This is as easy as it may sound. God is not an author of confusion, but order. He has made our salvation a very simple process.......................Grace through believing in His Son and doing what we are told by Him. He has given us His instructions through the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide us and act as our Advocate to help get us through our earthly life and into our next level of life with God, eternal life!

We just need to believe. Believing comes from faith, and faith from hope. So, we need to have hope in a better life ahead of us, have faith in God, and believe what He says is true and will happen as He says it will happen! Whether we know it or not, believing is part of our everyday life. We believe that when we cross the street, passing vehicles will not run us over. We believe that when someone tells us that they will pay us for the hours we work, they will follow through with their promise. We believe that when we buy cereal from the grocery store, it is not tainted and will provide our body with much needed elements like it says on the box. We believe in every day situations. So then, why do we find it so hard to believe in God? Why can't we believe in something bigger and better for us? Why can't we put our faith in a lifestyle that is filled with love and hope versus hate and bitterness?

We need to understand that God believes in each one of us! Yes, He has hope that we will take that step of faith and reach out and take His hand. He has faith in us to do the right thing and accept Him and His Son. He has faith, why can't we?

I, for one, am a walking testimony to the wonderful Grace and Love God extends to mankind. That means each one of us has the same opportunity to secure the same exact prize! Eternal life with a Father who loves us more than we can possibly and mentally comprehend! God has taken my life and changed it to be more meaningful and full of purpose. I was going down and crashing rapidly and God had already saved me, I just didn't know it. That's right! We already have a place in God's family, all we have to do is reach out and secure it.

Sadly, most people go through their entire earthly lives without ever securing their next life with God. Most people never reach their purpose or fulfill their life "path". This is because they miss the biggest discount of all, true freedom through eternal salvation from God. And even more sad is that most "Christians" never reach true intimacy with God because although they think they are walking with God, they are so far off the path...................We need to never allow this to happen! We must get closer and closer to Jesus and in doing so, we are achieving intimacy with God. The closer we are to God, the farther we are from Satan! The farther we are from Satan, the bigger the opportunity we have of gaining true intimacy with God.

What is greater than God, more evil than the devil, the poor have it and the rich want it? The answer is below.............................................

Make a choice today! Choose eternal life filled with love and kindness. Choose God. As Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!" It does not matter whether you have sinned or not. God already covered your sins with the sacrifice of His Son. There is nothing you have done that is greater than the blood atonement sacrifice will cover. God created you, don't you think He knows you? He made us and everything else. There is nothing greater than God, nothing! Amen.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Inspiration!

These are little pieces of thoughts given to me by God while I was only a month into a new life with God. These are my thoughts which are authentic and from my own creation. I credit them to God as He is the originator of everything. This goes to show what God is capable of doing in someones life!

1. Its not that we are not listening,
its that we don't hear Him.

2. When you want something that you've never had,
your going to have to do something that you never have.

3. Inspiration will uplift you but God will lift you up.

4. You have to know when to stop
before you will learn when to start.

5. A marriage is a test of endurance,
for without this, it will fail.

6. It should never be about what you want, rather what you don't have.

7. You'll never know God until you try Him.

8. Doubt erases any chance of hope.

9. Knowledge comes from knowing between right and wrong

10. You are never truly alone for even your shadow remains by your side.

11. The pursuit of wealth brings poverty but the pursuit of God brings wealth

12. It takes courage to face your fears and fear to face God.

13. To carry God's Word is Truth, to obey it is Faith, & to live it is Life.

14. Forgiveness begins with yourself.

15. True love is seeing into the heart.

16. To die is to live.

17. You cannot hide a lie when you are held hostage by guilt, your guilt will always win.

18. Guilt is the result of deception.

19. A cautious mind comes from wisdom.

20. A compromised trust is cancer to a relationship.

21. A broken spirit is mended only with time.

22. A rush to judgement will end with your own demise.

23. Our naked flesh is a sacred gift from God. To abuse it is sure death.

24. If you question the existence of God, look to mountains. Could man have possibly formed millions of pounds of dirt which are its foundation and body? Not even with the largest of machines. And could man have caused rain to form into water from vapor? Not even with the greatest of all man-made intelligence.

25. Do we not use only a small portion of our brain? Where does the remaining portion go?

26. A marriage is defined by the dedication of those in it. Its success is ultimately determined by unending love. Without this love, it is surely doomed.

27. God will give you all the rope you need. Its up to you whether to grab it or let go.

28. Be wise and raise your children with morale's for they are a reflection of you.

29. Hope comes in many forms.

30. Do not let the Sun go down on your anger, for you are not guaranteed tomorrow.

31. You will not sincerely find who God really is without first and completely surrendering your body and soul to Him. After all, our bodies belonged to God first, not ourselves.

32. God is the greatest addiction of all. Satan is the greatest affliction of all.

33. If you deny God while living in the present, He will deny you of life in the future.

34. The key to success is the key which opens your heart to God.

35. The best winners are great because they have survived a loss.

36. Science is a bi product of man, Religion is the result of a need, God in your life is a result of faith.

37. Believing is receiving the impossible and accepting the truth.

38. Deny God and you will consistently stumble over the same hole in the road. Accept God and he will help you avoid those holes in the road.

39. It took God just one day to make mankind. Not even the most highly-experienced, lengthy-schooled surgeon can come close even with multiple surgeries. The more we play God the uglier mankind becomes.

40. God sometimes uses us against ourselves because that is what it takes for us to look inward instead of outward.

41. We are so quick to point fingers and place blame and so slow to accept fault. Test yourself. Accept fault......

42. God never intentionally hurts us. We blame Him even though He is not the problem.

43. Forgiveness is the biggest mountain you will ever clime, but without it you will never reach the top.

44. You can never get over your guilt by pretending to be someone your not.

45. Life is what you make of it so make sure you make of it!

Servants of God!

We (the human race) have always wanted to control our environment. Control is our way of feeling total completion or fulfillment. If we are in control of our environment, then we are doing OK. Control however, only leads to constant battles were we struggle to reach the top of the totem pole and everyone always wants to be the one in the pilots seat with the power! We are always on the path of gain. We are always constantly attempting to get bigger, better, and louder. We think if we have the best, we are the best. If we look the best, we will be the best! These are all serious and detrimental misconceptions.

We need to understand that God is the only One who can handle total control. He is the creator of control and has been in control long before the human race! God is the pilot and we are just the stewards with the purpose of serving others interests and needs while living here on earth. We need to grasp this concept of serving and being a servant. To serve another is a major feat for most of us and one which seems to be a constant issue and, even more so, an eluding accomplishment.

We see servants everywhere we go; waiters in restaurants, bar tenders at the bar, salesmen at the local car dealership, police officers passing by us on the road, soldiers in the news, etc. There are servants everywhere we look and at every level. But, they are almost always paid for their service, and therefore, cannot truly be considered servants in a biblical sense. Or could they? Do they do their service because they have to or because they want to? Are we being nice because everything seems to be going our way, or because we know that in 8 hours it will all be over until the next day?

Doesn't the Bible tell us that to be leaders we must first be followers and to enter the Kingdom of God we must learn to be servants for His Kingdom? Are we not called to follow the example of Jesus and learn to serve others in a completely genuine attitude and way? Yes, we are! As Christians, we must mimic what Jesus did while He was here on earth by beginning to serve others. In doing this, we are really serving the Kingdom of God, or God himself. Remember, the greatest commandment of all is that we love each other. We are called and instructed to learn to love and actually do it!

Why then do we always seem to find it so difficult to; wait an extra 10 seconds and hold open that door for the older lady at the grocery store, smile and wave at the other driver who just cut you off in traffic and then showed you that his middle finger functions just fine, stand in line at Walmart and allow the person with two items less than you to cut in front of you, be patient and actually wait on the phone while on hold without thinking about what you would do to the person on the other end of the line if you just had one wish, smile at your coworker and congratulate her even though you were just told she was getting your promotion which you have waited 5 years to get, and there is so much more............................................Could we do even one of these? Does it even cross our mind?

This is what God is referring to when He instructs us to be servants of the world. These are the occasions in which we find ourselves tested and tried. We read these verses in the Scriptures telling us about serving others and being good examples for others to show them the goodness of having an intimate relationship with God, but we too often, seem to slip up and forget them when we; go to work, to school, to the store, to church, or on a vacation. We fall apart when faced with actualizing what we have read in the Word. We fall back into our regular attitude of me, me, me when we step out of our safety zone and into the world................................Why can't we just let go of our own self-indulgence and exchange it for self-lessness? Why can't we read something in the Bible then turn right around and put it into actual practice by doing it?

The Scriptures tell us to be doers of the Word and not hearers only. This is our call to revolutionize our method of approaching everything we do and say, and break from our normal response, replying with a Biblical response. Take a bad situation and turn it into a good situation by applying what the Scriptures say. Do and not just hear! Let us begin to recognize our imperfections and indifference's and accept that we are not perfect, but God is! We can never and will never be able to completely control anything, let alone our own lives without His help and instructions. He is our benchmark. He is our standard. He is our pilot and He is always in control. So, when you feel like letting yourself or someone else control you, read His Word, act on His Word, and listen to the Holy Spirit to guide you and you will not be disappointed! Give God an inch and He will give you a mile. He is the only true way to a happy and controlled lifestyle................................................;....................Amen!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Compromise? Is it really worth it?

The institution of marriage has long been held between a man and a woman. God has created man, then woman, to keep man company and for the purpose of man. Man is one extreme and woman is distinctly different. How? Sexuality and physical characteristics! More man comes from the first man and woman. As men began to populate the earth, they gave into sexual immortality which lead to the eventual and complete wipe-out of the human race from the face of the earth by God (Noah is the story). Why then do we go so far today to "accept" or "understand" homosexuality and marriage of same sex versus marriage of man and woman? Divorce is the legal separation of a married man and woman. God says (Malachi 2:16) that He "hates" divorce! This is a very strong statement coming from a loving God who constantly promotes peace and love. God knows the results or repercussions of divorce. He also designed marriage as a covenant and this is crucial to anyone who has an intimate relationship with God. After all, it was a covenant that secured the earth from a second complete destruction by flood. It was a covenant that made our eternal salvation possible. It was a new covenant that made it possible for everyone who believes to be saved through grace versus obedience to laws.

So, we have allowed several variations or "solutions" to the original intent of marriage, all of which God clearly hates, to saturate our society to the point which leans dangerously close to pushing God over the edge. Its not if but when will God have enough! So many people without God think that to please the crowds is to be correct. To be politically-correct is to be "understanding". All we are doing is seriously compromising our faith and salvation for the sake of pleasing a few small interest groups. This is a deadly compromise.

Through all of this debating on the meaning of marriage and its very institution, so much stress and mind control is placed on the intended meaning and not the definitive meaning. In other words, Satan has twisted and manipulated the points he knows he can versus directly attacking what God has already clearly defined. Why? Because, Satan never directly attacks God and God's laws. He already tried that and failed miserably (the Fall of Satan). I think we humans don't give enough time to stop and understand how smart and crafty the Serpent really is..............

Marriage, like so many other issues today, is not debatable if you are a Christian obeying God's Word! Pretty simple really. Yup! It is clearly defined in the Scriptures and leaves no room for public scrutiny. But, isn't this the case with most everything else which is considered sin? Yes!? Why then does it seem as though it is so easily accepted to fight or attack this institution set up by God and defined just as clearly? Because, we find it almost taboo to speak out against these twisted and changed institutions done by man but all too easy to speak out against or attack God!

Its those of us who are trying to please the crowds or certain "interest" groups that twist and manipulate God's truth into half-truths and, eventually, mistruths or sin. Why are we so quick to explain, excuse, or defend a certain belief or view, but so slow to stand for what is morally right? For the same reason we constantly attack God and His laws. We are playing right into Satan's hand and we are simply too ignorant to see it or we choose not to see it. But, if we call ourselves Christians, we cannot continue in this direction or on this path. The path to life is narrow and difficult but wide and broad is the way which leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).
God has already given us so many escapes from legalism and political-correctness. It is a Christian duty and salvation requirement to obey God! There's not much room for play with this. The Scriptures say that God will never give us more than we can handle and He will always provide us a way out!

We must do what the Scriptures say because this is God's Word or "instructions" to us while we are here on earth preparing for the New Heaven and Earth. God is not the author of confusion so we should not be a reader of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). If we are for the world, we are against God. I for one choose to be an enemy of the world because this is the only true way to eternal life!

But don't confuse this with being at odds with everyone all the time. No, instead this means to take a serious approach to your relationship with God and grow more intimate with Him by adhering to His laws and instruction. If we are always doing what He tells us to whether it be obeying His Word or listening to the Holy Spirit, we can't go wrong. Really! Just remember that God never changes (Malachi 3:6) and this includes His laws and truths. His instructions to us are the same today as they were in the days of Abraham, Moses, all the way to Jesus and today. The only difference is our way to salvation. Amen.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


This post is on my opinion of Freedoms which are inherently ours if we are American.

There is truly only one freedom I wish to retain. My freedom of thought so that I can continue to have a relationship with my loving Father (God), and this freedom will secure, through this relationship, my future salvation. Absolutely no one can ever possibly take this freedom away or temporarily deprive me of it, because it is in my heart. The only person or being who can possibly, physically remove this freedom of thought is my own self.

You are your own worst enemy. You even have ultimate control, which is control over Satan and any influence he might attempt to exercise on you. Every other freedom could be stripped from me and I do not care nor would I despair. These are freedoms which other humans have entitled to me and, therefore, have no real authority. Why? Because ALL authority comes from God and is ordained by Him.

He gives and He takes away! This is the most meaningful political statement ever made which is recorded Biblically in the Book of Job. So, why should I care what "freedoms" man decides to give or take away. It only counts when it comes from or through God. If my salvation is destined through and controlled by God, and it is, then my freedoms are also controlled by God. And God said all you have to do is ask and you will receive! We spend our whole lives thinking that our freedoms are the key to our happiness or essential to the "completion" of our lives, but what does this matter if tomorrow we die? And what good does it do us to spend our whole lives fighting for several freedoms if we die only exercising one? I'm referring to the Freedom of Speech..............Remember, we are simply players in a much bigger game, and the ultimate win is to know God more intimately.

I appreciate America's "freedom theory", however, we really don't have these freedoms because of governmental control or influence, so I'm not too concerned about them being taken away when we are already experiencing our deprivation of them and their systematic and gradual degradation in general. Why should I fight for what I really never had so I really never lost because I really never had full freedom? Therefore, if I never really had a freedom, then I never really lost this freedom in the first place. And I have lived a good life up to this very second without these freedoms I'm supposed to have but never really did, so I will continue to live as I have been, without exercising these non-freedoms.

I believe the worst freedom ever entrusted to man was freedom of speech because (as covered quite extensively in God's word) the tongue has, does, and will continue to get humankind into trouble which eventually leads to death. I've survived and maintained my life up to this point based solely off my faith in my God, the one true God. If you took away everything tomorrow, gave me stage five cancer, and threw me in the worst prison, I will still have my God and my faith. My faith would be tested (most definitely), but not taken away. It can never be taken away because it comes from my very soul or spirit!

Fighting for something and taking a stand or view on something are two very different issues. I fought for my country when I was in the military and I will not stand for moral degradation when it directly affects myself or my children in derogatory manner. I can, however, leave the major war up to God while still fighting daily battles against Satan. My freedoms as an American are important to me but, I do not see them as having the importance in my life that my salvation does! As Paul says, things here on earth are just temporary, but things regarding our salvation are eternal.

So, yes, I do appreciate freedoms that could otherwise not be experienced in another country, but I also have lived without certain freedoms and realize that I can function without these freedoms. It is important to stand up for what you believe in within reason! That reason should be determined by God and what His Word says. I used to enforce the law as a police officer and when I would testify in a court of law on my cases, I would have to adhere to the "reasonable persons standard". However, now that I have turned my life over to God, I operate under His standards. These are not standards which are either acceptable or recognized by most of the world, but they are definitely accepted and recognized in my world! Amen.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Praise God and His holy name!

I have something that has been graciously given to me by God...................a second chance at life!

I am referring to my life as a "born-again" Christian. I am a new person. I have a new reason to thank God. I am a new person with a purpose. Praise God!

My whole world at this point revolves around God and my two children. I was recently divorced (against my will) but I am getting along just fine. I am because of God and ONLY because of God. He has done things in my life in the last year than was ever accomplished by me or anyone else in the last 28 years of my life!

I am taking time out of the everyday routine of tackling serious subjects to just worship and give praise to God for everything He has done and is doing in my life and the life of my two children!

I worship God and praise Him for His constant protection over us, His constant mercy towards us, His constant kindness to us, His constant support of us, His constant love towards us, and much more..................................GOD IS GOOD!!!

I am thankful for everyday that I am able to breath His wonderful air, listen to His wonderful creatures, observe His wonderful work, partake of His wonderful creation, and enjoy His wonderful plan for my life. Thank you God.

I know that I, personally, do not thank God enough. I know that I need to begin thanking Him more. And, I know that I will continue thanking Him in the future. He deserves my thankfulness and gratitude and praise because of what He does for me every day that I am alive!

So, thank you God for your continual love and support, thank you for my health and the health of my two children, thank you for giving me the opportunity to wake up every morning and enjoy your beautiful creation, thank you for your blessings, thank you for your mercy, thank you for your awesome power that you have enabled us with to use in our constant battle against Satan, the ultimate Deceiver! We have already won the battle against him because of your Son dying for us, but we know that we must still continue to persevere in keeping Satan away and in keeping our own carnal nature and tendencies away. You have given us the power we need to do this and you also have given us the blessings we so desperately search out when all we need to do is ask! Continue to protect and bless us as you see fit. Amen!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Your Testimony!

Our story or testimony of how we came to Christ is our identity as Christians! It will always be told to a new audience & will never change. It should serve as a valuable tool in reaching out to others in spreading the Good News.

We all have one & its our story. Its how we came to know Jesus & how we maintain our relationship with our heavenly Father today. We don't have to tell others, but why not? You might be reaching someone who is going through the very same spiritual battles you fought before. They might have encountered the very same problems in a very similar setting and by telling them your testimony, you could be giving them that little push they truely need to seek out Jesus Christ. They might be waiting for that little extra bit of evidence proving that God can be very real in their lives by what He did in yours.

We never know, but we, as Christians, don't want to be caught procrastinating by the devil. He will take this a use it against the furtherence of God's Good News.

So, get out there & single people out by watching for their longing for belonging. Everyone does. I know I was & it took my rock-bottom to get me on track with God in my life. Let's not wait for their rock-bottom to tell them about God. Just tell them! Use "situational-awareness" as our weapon in our fight to spread the Good News. We'll be more effective if we know how to get them to open their lives up to us. Then, its on to the problems. Solutions are promised & Jesus Christ is our claim or gauruntee.

Can we begin to be more aware of our surroundings? Can we start becoming "bold" & approach people with kindness & humility? Everyone is in need of God in their lives. Let's be the one to give them that little needed push. Let's do what we are all (Christians) called to do. Remember, we are not trying to convert someone to a religion, we are attempting to convince them that they do need God in their lives & God will carry through for them & He is a friend who will never leave them.

God bless & guide us always! Amen.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Least of These.............

1 John 5:1-3 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth Him that begat loveth Him also that is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His Commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous. (KJV)

1 John 5:7-8 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (KJV)

We are called to walk in the Word. This is God's daily instruction to: how we present ourselves, how we are to face problems, how we overcome these problems, what we say, what we do, and how we grow closer to God. In His Word are His Commandments or laws. These are requirements, not provisions.

Out of experience, we seem to miss these in some way or another. Christians strive to reach perfection in Christ through practicing what is said in His Word and what the Holy Spirit guides and instructs of us. But we occassionally (understatement) fall short of this perfection. The biggest cause is that we miss one, some, or (in certain cases) all of God's Commandments.

Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least Commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. (KJV)

Most believers don't even know what they believe! We have heard the usual Bible stories from our childhoods and can recite certain passages from it, but have we really pursued God's very Word to us to the necessary extent? And what is that extent anyhow? How do we know what to study?

These are necessary questions worthy of answers in order to understand the fundimentals of Christianity!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Taking on the Intellects!

Why are we insistent on "NOT BELIEVING" in God? Why do we go so far out of our way to prove this and spend our whole lives in mistruths? We insist on proving that we are and always have been evolved. The majority of thinkers in our society hold twisted views and opinions which are very human in nature. These views have graduated into beliefs throughout the ages, resulting in the current views we possess and are always evolving as time progresses. But is evolution real? Can it be true? I think not!

Lets look at the definition of "belief" which is taken from Webster's Dictionary.
Main Entry: be·lief
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English believe, probably alteration of Old English gelēafa, from ge-, associative prefix lēafa; akin to Old English lyfan — more at believe
Date: 12th century
1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
synonyms belief, faith, credence, credit mean assent to the truth of something offered for acceptance. belief may or may not imply certitude in the believer . faith almost always implies certitude even where there is no evidence or proof . credence suggests intellectual assent without implying anything about grounds for assent . credit may imply assent on grounds other than direct proof .

Faith, as defined in the Bible, is hope in things unseen, belief that what God says will happen will happen.
Here is the definition of faith taken from Webster's Dictionary.
Main Entry: faith
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural faiths fāths, sometimes fāthz
Etymology: Middle English feith, from Anglo-French feid, fei, from Latin fides; akin to Latin fidere to trust — more at bide
Date: 13th century
1 a : allegiance to duty or a person : loyalty b (1) : fidelity to one's promises (2) : sincerity of intentions
2 a (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion b (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2) : complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs

synonyms see belief

on faith : without question

Now, let us look at the definition of evolution, as written in Webster's Dictionary.
Main Entry: evo·lu·tion
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin evolution-, evolutio unrolling, from evolvere
Date: 1622
1 : one of a set of prescribed movements
2 a : a process of change in a certain direction : unfolding b : the action or an instance of forming and giving something off : emission c (1) : a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : growth (2) : a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance d : something evolved
3 : the process of working out or developing
4 a : the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species) : phylogeny b : a theory that the various types of animals and plants have their origin in other preexisting types and that the distinguishable differences are due to modifications in successive generations; also : the process described by this theory
5 : the extraction of a mathematical root
6 : a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena

If evolution is a process or theory, belief is a state-of-mind, and faith is a belief, than the very belief in evolution is a constant state-of-mind about a process or theory. In more simplified words, evolution is based on theories and processes which are held to be true by thought, not fact!

But faith is simply a belief in what God said is true is true. One could argue evolution by attempting to utilize actual examples ie. the Galapagos Finch, but will be unable to ground that view by providing actual facts to back or corroborate that view.

On the other end, one could argue faith without having to provide actual proof of the result of faith. But, faith holds a stronger basis for belief than evolution because of one major difference. Faith is belief, evolution is theory! It is seamingly easier to believe in something that could be true based on a well-grounded foundation (God's Word and actual biblical events as written in the Scriptures that have been proven to have happened) versus some theory that may or may not be true which is based on an ever changing platform without any actual evidence to support that theory.

Evolution is just that, a theory or a compilation of theories. Faith is just the opposite, actual, proven events which have occurred and continue to occur to this very day! So even though, by definition, faith is a belief; by history, faith is well-grounded in actual and very real events.

Why then do I see so many people that completely refuse to or don't even simply attempt to believe in a faith in God and that what He says is the truth is the truth when, evolution, the opposing view held, is based on man's theories in processes that cannot be proven with the status qou of acceptance in the world-actual facts???

I have listed some varying theories that evolution holds in our society. They are:

1) The Evolution of Man Theory
2) The Intelligent Design Theory
3) Darwin's Theory

The above theories are authored by professors, all of which are doctors whom have spent their entire "professional" lives dedicated to the pursuit of proving a theory or theories which are not well grounded and cannot be proven with factual evidence! Again, these evolution theories are based solely on ever changing evidence of inconsistent proportions which have no real factual evidence to back them. But, are they still considered beliefs? The answer is simple. Yes!

By believing in a thing or idea, you have already formulated a belief system for yourself. And if you believe in evolution, you believe!

The arguement against evolution is easily won if the person instigating and orchestrating the argument approaches it using tact and a Holy Spirit guided mouth. We Christians must stop trying to force our faith on people, but we must start showing people the truth! Again, we must spread God's Word, also known as the Good News, without turning people off to it. We can do this in simple ways....................

1) Show people by example (our daily lives)
2) Approach arguments and turn them into discussions
3) Use God's Word in everything we say to corroborate our discussions
4) Listen just enough to understand but not enough to lose ground in the discussion
5) Be slow to offend and quick to ammend
6) And always, always keep everything we use from God's Word in the context it was written in, not in the context we think it should be in!

These are a few tips in our constant battle of the minds. Remember, we are not fighting a worldly war, but a spiritual war. Our opponent is a master deceiver and master liar, so we already have some intelligence to use against him!

May God guide and protect us and keep us on the straight and narrow path which leads to Him. May He always show us to be His warriors and servants by the examples we live and may we shine bright as we are intended to as Christians for Him. Amen!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Learning to Love others!

So many of us are lonely. Everyone needs someone to be there for them at some point in their lives and someone to talk to during difficult times. This is because we are social by nature. Man was created first, then God created a woman for the man. Specifically to keep man company. We have the tendency to lean towards being social in our blood. We are born with this tendency. But this can be our downfall too.

We are constantly disappointing ourselves or each other! We are being close one minute, distancing ourselves the next! Confiding one minute, backstabbing the next! Best friends one minute, enemies the next! We will never find true love through self-gratification or the company of other people. We cant. Its just that simple. We are so small and weak compared with our Almighty Father and Lord of Heaven and Earth.

We are always going to be in someones life and mean something to someone and this is the reason for learning to get along with others. We need to understand that it is essential to learn to exist with each other or "co-exist" in order for us to live a somewhat normal life. More importantly, we must learn to ACCEPT people as they are! Acceptance is a very difficult and touchy subject......................but a subject necessary to our survival as Christians none-the-less!

Love is the answer to co-existing with other people. Love and love alone. Love is what will keep us alive and in touch with our emotions. Love was taught by Jesus, is taught in Christianity, and is instructed by God.

I Corinthians 13:1-8 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseverance. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away! (NIV)

We will find that once we can learn to accept others for who they are, we will begin to notice a shift in our own attitudes. If we can stop expecting others to bend to our whims and construct to our lifestyles, we can start getting along with them and love will begin to show itself evident in our own lives. Love is the greatest of God's Commandments. Love is the root of all that is good and positive!

Can we start showing more love? Can we love one another regardless of what they do or say? Jesus did and He still does! God is the prime example of LOVE. God loves us when we hate Him. He loves us when we deny Him. He loves us when we denied and crucified His beloved Son. A Son who really did not have to suffer such a horrendous death but did so for our salvation. Christ is the ultimate example of love.

Ephesians 4:1-6 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humbly and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make very effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (NIV)

WOW! We need to keep these passages from the Scriptures very close to our hearts. We need to read them often and when we begin to veer away from love or when we begin to get discouraged, we need to pick up the Bible and read them again.We cannot continue to go through life having our little hate agendas and emotional battles against this person and that. He did this, she did that. They all did something to make us mad or make us feel that we are justified to hate them! WHO CARES! God doesn't care about our little bickers and fights, and neither should we. He does care about us and loves us very much. Enough to sacrifice His only "Beloved Son" in a very painful way, both in the physical and emotional realm. We must always remember this and continue to go back to this every time we feel like hating or hurting someone. God does not want us to always be at odds with one another, He instructs us to love one another as Jesus Christ loves us. Love promotes positivity and good things. Where there is love, there cannot be hate. And where there is no hate, there will be no anger. And where there is no anger, there can be no differences or personal agendas. You see, it is like a love landslide..............................................................

If we are to call ourselves Christians and live as Christians, then we need to read the whole chapter, not just the verse! When we pick up God's Word, we need to READ IT! Let it soak in and actually understand it. Most importantly, LIVE WHAT WE READ. We must stop drowning in self-pity and realize that if we are to be friends of God, we are automatically enemies of the world and people in it. But this is the attitude we need to expect from the world, not the attitude we need to show the world. Let us learn to show more love and less anger. We don't need anyone other than God, our true Father. He is and always will be, our loving Father. He will never abandon us and never hurt us. He will always have a ear to hear our problems no matter how big or small.

Galations 1:6-10 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from Heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned! Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ! (NIV)

This passage should serve to enforce God's Word in our hearts and minds. We should read the Word daily and always go back to it when we have questions or when issues arise in our lives. We should learn to put into practice what we read and start living the Word and not just reading it. It is our Instruction Manual for daily living. It was, is, and will always be. God's Word is His word in place of His person. Until Jesus Christ comes back to take us with him to the new Kingdom, we will not see God face-to-face. So, God gave us His Word, the Scriptures, the Bible. We can learn so much if we are willing to actually read. We will not suffer understanding or knowledge from reading the Word because it is final. So I encourage you to make it a habit of reading, studying, and absorbing God's Word. In this, we shall know all things and in knowing, we will have life.

So learn to love eachother as Christ loves us and learn to out into practice what the Word says regarding love. We must love ourselves first, then we can love others. And if we truely love God, than we will love eachother. We will not need someone to talk to or hang on becuase we have God and God will be present in everything we do and everywhere we go. He will take away our lonliness. This is part of the package that comes with giving our lives to God and surrendering to Him our extra baggage and problems. He takes our negative and turns it into positive. He takes away our feeling of lonliness and gives us a feeling of happiness. Our anxiety is turned into excitement. Our pain into resolve. God is the best solution to every problem. Give God a chance and surrender your life to Him today. Give Him everything and He will give you everything. Amen and may God bless you.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Give God the Glory!

Let us give God all the Glory and Praise! He deserves much more than we can ever give Him, but, we can give Him what we have. We need to understand His Omnipresence and how it works.

God created everything. More specifically, Angels, divinity as a whole, humans, animals, plants, the land, and water. God created the air we breath and the lungs we utilize to process that air. God has always given life, something man has tried to replicate, which has never been successful.

Most people would argue this fact. Science, in its very definition and purpose, denies God's work and contaminates His marvelous design's. The "Intelligent Design Theory" holds the belief in evolution. The "Big-Bang Theory" spews out subtle "poof" belief's. Mutation and Cloning claims mankind's win in re-creating life. None of these beliefs, views, or opinions hold any real proof of success! Period!

What has happened is mankind is once again (happened many times before) trying to "play God!" This is absolute chaos! We need to get "fired up!", as they say in the military, and take a stand against this ignorance and these conscious misconceptions about our place in the universe. We are not the only "life forms." God informed us of Nephilites who roamed the earth (Genesis 6:4) before, in the beginning. God didn't say one day, " Gosh, i'm so bored, I think i'll create some fleshy, human thingies and watch them slowly destroy eachother while they destroy the Earth I created for them!" God IS VERY ORGANIZED! HE HAS ORDER AND DEMANDS ORDER WITH EVERYTHING!

Leave it to mankind to fiddle with His beautiful Work and do what we do best, mess with it.

Why can't we just live in contentment and accept His creation for what it is supposed to be, a creation for us to enjoy, not tear down and fix. ITS NOT BROKEN! You all know the saying, "if its not broken, don't fix it!" Well, its not broken! Stop trying to get one-up on God! Look at Satan, God's former chief angel. He tried this and failed. Be content with what we have and thank God. Amen!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Be BOLD in Christ!

Our Lord wants us to come "boldly" before His throne and to be "bold" in our lives as His servants!

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

We must be bold in our ministries so we may obtain God's mercy and find the grace that is necessary to get us through our difficult times of need.

We need to understand something as believers. We can do "just enough" to get to heaven but that will not get us God's grace. Scimming to just-get-by is not appreciated or rewarded by God.

Revelation 20:6 states, Blessed and HOLY is he that hath part in the first esurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the world!
Know ye not that we shall judge angels!

God makes it very clear that those of us who are bold in Him in our lives will reap a special reward, one reserved for the bold alone.

However, to avoid turning others off to the Good News, we must base all of our words off of the Scriptures. This will ensure that our correctness and integrity is maintained. But, more importantly, we must live by example, showing Christ through our own lives!

Philippians 1:20 According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or death!

Let us ourselves not be ashamed of Christ, rather, let us be bold about the wonderul Good News and our Almighty Lord and Savior!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Get up and Go out!

We need to start a revolution! A peace revolution. We will use our wisdom, faith, and boldness to energize and back this revolution. We need to join forces with believers worldwide and start preaching the Good News!

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the Power of God!

Luke 9:60 Jesus said unto him (a man), "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the Kingdom of God!"

There are countless other passages in the Scriptures which instruct us (believers) to go out and preach God's Word to the world.

Friday, September 11, 2009

God is our "way out!"

We are a very negative, selfish society. One which measures everything by its place on our popular list and gauges importance by what we act like in public, not who we are inside. This is so detrimental to a society as it leads to the purge of our core values and morales altogether. We eventually lose our identity as a people and lose our whole purpose and importance as individuals.

What is happening is happening very quickly and without a slow down in sight! We are going to begin to notice a change in the general attitude of our culture as we become more negative and show less concern for our emotional well-being and that of our fellow man. We have already set a very dangerous precedence in establishing and implementing an attitude of political-correctness in our everyday lives with everything we do. We have set the wheels in motion by allowing this attitude to spread through our society like cancer, and it has.

It will only get worse, and like cancer, cannot be fixed by man. This can only be fixed through divine intervention. God is our only hope. He has always been our only hope. He will always be our only hope. If we will just swallow our human pride and realize that our need for God and His divine intervention is real in our lives, and with it, nothing would be impossible. God is free and 24/7/365! He is always willing and ready to intercede on our behalfs and will if we let Him. Give Him an inch and He will give you a mile! Amen and praise be to our Almighty God.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

How Faith works in our daily lives!

Faith is believing in something while operating in the unknown. It is really turning our lives over to God and believing that He will do what He says He will do. We encounter incidents involving faith and experiences were our faith is tested daily. We need to build our faith to the point were we exercise it in every situation and on every occasion.

Hebrews 11:1-3 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God's command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.

Galations 3:11 So it is clear that no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."

2 Corinthians 4:18 So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by believing and not by seeing.

There are so many passages in the Scriptures were faith is needed, required, used, neglected, and prayed for, forgotten, and sought after. God is always listening! Are we asking? He is Omnipresent, are we actually seeking Him out?

You see, the problems will always come and go, its how we handle those problems that truly matters, not what type of problems come our way. We will always need God, but will we admit this and do something about it? We must put God at the forefront of our daily lives. We have to or we will run into problems that we are unable to handle. We will be faced with decisions which we will be unable to make. We have so many issues arise from our failure to acknowledge and believe in God!

I spent the first 28 years of my life doing things my way. I was my own boss and no one was going to change this. I did not realize that I was digging my grave deeper and deeper and deeper by the day. I refused to admit I had problems and this only caused more problems. I am a very proud and stubborn person by nature and family background. This only intensified my belief that I didn't need anyone but me making decisions in my life. My pride led to more pride and my chest puffed up to the point of popping!

Only after receiving God back into my life did I decide that this pride needed to go. I dropped my act of toughness and stubborn ways. I had to give all my problems to God. Once I did this, my life completely changed. It changed in ways which I cannot explain but it was good, very good. You see, once you let God take control of your life, you don't have the pain anymore. Your life takes a turn for the better and you begin to notice little changes take place which were once insignificant but are now important. You feel a peace come over you that wasn't there before. You have a general feeling of being free!

Don't make the mistake of thinking that all your problems are gone and you will live a spotless life filled with constant happiness and no more pain. There will be the same issues, you will feel the same pain, and you will face the same difficulties. But, you will have God, who cares for you and loves you, and the Holy Spirit, who guides and directs your words and actions. You will begin to notice changes in your attitude and changes in people around. You will be a different person with a purpose now. You will have a constant Friend who will never leave or abandon you, God. Your general quality of life will get better and your approach to daily issues and problems will be more mature and responsible. This is just a few things about your life that will improve when you let God take control.

Try it out! Let God run you instead of you running you! It works!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Security in an Insecure World!

We are constantly wondering what if? What if my paycheck doesn't come through? What if I don't get that raise? What if I get into a car accident on the way to work? What if, what if.......

There are so many "what ifs" that it will make you dizzy! How can we alleviate these "what ifs" and "unknowns" in our lives? We can't! Its that simple..........We can't!

We will always find ourselves in these situations and bogged down with these burdens, but its how we handle them that matters. Its what approach we take when we tackle these problems that set us aside as God's children. The only difference between Christians and Un-Believers is that we believe! That's it! We believe......................We feel the same feelings and encounter the same daily issues, but we believe in God and have FAITH that He will guide and protect us.

There is that word again, Faith! Faith in God is believing that He will come through for us when we need Him to. It is believing that God will see us through our problems and give us a way to cope. He does and He will! I have seen Him working in my life in so many different ways on so many different occasions. I have personally witnessed Him working in my life and the lives of others around me. It is awesome and almost, unbelievable! But it is true and very real. He will support you and do wonders in your life but you have to let Him.

I have seen so many people who desperately need a miracle and desperately want one, but they choose rather to put their trust in superficial solutions and they entrust their lives to fate instead of God. They come so close, but they never hit the mark. They never get to God because they never let Him in. This is all to common. We know that we alone cannot navigate through our lives without the help of someone bigger than us, but we are not willing to give up some things to gain some things. We get so comfortable in our own security that we think we do not need God and we continue to stumble and fall short of the mark. This is why so many of us live miserable and empty lives filled with anger, untrust, grumbling, hate, and many more things that lead to misery. If we don't identify our need for God and if we think that we can make it on our own, than we will never be able to enjoy the wonderful life that God has in store for us.

He loves all His children, but we have to love Him back. He won't chase us, but He will welcome us. He doesn't need us, we do need Him. He can make it without us, we cannot make it without Him.

If we choose to try and remedy all the problems and challenges that we meet on our own, we will find that this will only lead to more problems and bigger challenges. We need to start turning to God and letting Him be the solution to the problems we face daily. We need to stop worrying about everything that comes up and start looking to God for guidance. This is not always easy and, like everything else, is easier said than done. But, none-the-less, it can be done. God is so much bigger than our little problems. He can fix any breaks and forgive any wrongs, but we have to let Him! We cannot just sit back with the idea that because God said He will, He will. Of course He will! But in order for this to happen, it still requires obedience to His instructions and full submission to His direction. We need to understand that God doesn't just wave His wand, and, "ping" its fixed. There are steps that need to be taken in order for His Will to be done. He is a God of Order! He has an order for everything that happens and without this order, there is chaos!

We (Christians) have a responsibility to God in our walk with Him to obey His instructions and follow His commands to the letter. This is why we have His Word to use as our daily guide. We must use His Word daily or we will miss His instructions and open ourselves up for attack! Attack by The Deceiver or Satan. Satan is waiting for any little opening to come in our lives and wreak havoc. And he will!

Have you ever had a problem with little bugs in your home? You start seeing little bugs everywhere in your home and wonder how they got in? Your home is secure and, to your naked eye, there are no visible cracks in its foundation, but you have little bugs none-the-less! You determine that the only way to remedy this problem is to call in the Exterminator! He comes to your home, lays out his traps and poison, then you stop seeing the bugs for another couple of months. But, as the months go by, you begin to notice the little bugs again. The process starts all over again, and, if you don't call the Exterminator, the little bugs won't go away. It is the same with Satan. We think that our spirits don't have any cracks or weaknesses in them but we begin to notice that Satan has been attacking us lately in our lives. We call God to come in and "exterminate" Satan out of our lives and He does. Problem fixed! But, unless we constantly live according to God's Word and in His Will daily, well then, Satan will find some little weakness or hole in our lives and he will use it to enter our lives and wreak havoc! We must not become complacent with our Faith and we must always keep ourselves ready and poised to fight off any little attack that Satan may launch against us by using God's Word and our Faith in God as our ammunition. We are in a constant battle for our intimate relationship with God, or our "Security", and Satan is our enemy. We must continue to remain vigilant and faithful to God in order to keep Satan at bay! So, brothers and sisters, continue to fight the good fight and keep God's Word close and His confidence even closer! Amen...........................................................

Monday, August 31, 2009


What is the Holy Trinity? Who is in the Holy Trinity? These are questions which need some attention as we Christians navigate through our daily lives.

I have thought, for a long time now, that God created the earth and man, Jesus Christ died for our sins and through Jesus we can continue to seek out God. The Holy Spirit was a deity who occassionaly was brought up during discussions about Christianity or mentioned in the same context with speaking in tongues. I never realized the inportance and relevance of the Holy Spirit and how much influence He really does have. He is our Advocate just as Jesus was our Advocate during his short period here on earth before his death. Jesus was created by God like man and as a man. He was raised by human parents and in a human atmoshpere. He was always perfect but, Jesus still had to go through experiences much like us and had much of the same feelings as us. He had a purpose though. This was a very important and necessary purpose. He was to redeem mankind from our sinful nature by acting as our Advocate and dying for us on the Cross! He accomplished much in his lifetime and even more in his death. However, Jesus was raised from the dead and soon after, recieved up to Heaven to be with his real Father, God.

God created this earth and everything in it to include man. He gave man a chance to make a choice and man made the wrong choice, sin! God then created an atonement for our sin, a blood sacrifice known as the Son of Man or Jesus Christ. He made it this way because of His first commandments to us known as the Ten Commandments. These were given to us to follow by His faithful servant, Moses. During this time, it was customary to offer God sacrifices of blood ie. clean and perfect animals of God's choice. *Note It is here that we see the direct correlation of blood sacrifice. Jesus was a human, but a perfect human, the only perfect human. He committed no sins and therefore was accepted by his true Father, God, as a sacrifice to atone for our sins. He didn't even die for his own actions or deeds, no, instead, he died for mankind. This explains what role Jesus Christ plays in our salvation. Now, we will shift into second gear.............................................

This is where it becomes very interesting, rather fascinating indeed! However, until recently, I didn't give what I am about to say much thought. I didn't because I was brought up to think differently and taught the same. I was brought up believing that Jesus was in our hearts and in us. How can this be if he was recieved up into Heaven (Acsention) after his brief death and coming back to life? And who was supposed to act on our behalf as our new Advocate?

Jesus stated that the Holy Spirit gives "eternal life!" John 6:63 "The Spirit alone gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life." Thats huge. Why, because it changes that way most believers think about the purpose of each of the three in the Holy Trinity. Yes, thats right! There are three deity's that make our salvation possible; 1) God the Father and creator of the earth, man, and Jesus Christ, 2) the Son of Man or Jesus Christ, who made our salvation possible by dying for our sins (or becoming an atonement for our sins), 3) and the Holy Spirit, who now guides and influences us in our earthly walk towards the ultimate goal of Salvation!

We must understand that mankind was not the first being to fall short of the mark and commit sin. Satan, or The Deciever, fell long before we walked this earth. He became jealous of God and God's omnipresence, and wanted it for himself. This is why Satan and his angels, or the demons, are constantly attempting to decieve us and cause us to stray from God by sinning! Even though Satan has already lost the battle (Jesus Christ's sacrifice on the Cross), he will continue to try and make us sin or lose sight of our goal which is righteousness through adhering to God and His rules. We can still give in to sin by listening to Satan or following our own temptations and will to do wrong. This leads to eternal death if we do not correct (get forgiveness) our mistakes and if we refuse to continue to sin. God has a plan and until His plan has come to full circle, we must continue to live free of sin or we face sure death.

Now, after Jesus' action of atonement, God took Jesus back to Him to sit by His throne in heaven, but God decided to leave us another guide or "Advocate" to influence and guide us into eternal salvation with Him. This shows God's love for us. How much He truely loves and cares for us is made so clear by His divine nature. The "Advocate" God put here on earth for us after taking back His Son is known as the Holy Spirit. He is our current Intercessor and assists us in getting into the New Kingdom. The Holy Spirit will influence and guide us if we acknowledge him and his role in our lives as Christians.

We can see by studying the Book of Acts how much of a role the Holy Spirit played, plays, and will play in man's salvation! Listed are some passages which directly mention the Holy Spirit and his role in believer's lives. John 6:63, 12:23, 13:31, 14:15-31, 15:26-27, 16:7-10,11-15, Acts 1:1-2,5,8, 2:4,33,38, 4:24,31, 5:3,32, 7:55, 8:29,39, 9:17........ You have to actually read the Bible to see what God says. You cannot miss the awesome and fascinating stories and examples of how wonderful and glorious God really is if you study His Word. You will see that God has a plan and its in that plan that He tells us the steps we need to take in order to secure our place in Heaven. These steps are very easy to follow and understand IF you can understand each of the three and their roles in the Trinity. But, it's just as easy to miss these steps so reader beware! It requires patience and prayer to be able to understand God's intentions and directions which He lists in His Word. You cannot just flip through the Bible in a day and expect to understand its content and the meaning of that content. You must give the Word much effort and meditate on it daily to realize what it says. It takes knowledge of God, not man, to unlock the scripture's meaning. This knowledge is possible only with time and lots and lots of study. We will never be able to acomlpish absolute knowledge and wisdom and therefore, we should not even try! Satan did and was cast out of Heaven! We simply need to pursue God's meaning and direction in our lives. We are able to do this by reading His Word, obeying His instructions, and forming an intimate relationship with Him.

Because God is untouchable and we cannot physically see Him (only a few situations where a human did see God), He gives us the Holy Spirit to influence and guide us. God gives us His instructions, The Word, then provides us our Advocate (Holy Spirit) to guide us in adhering to or obeying His instructions. Jesus Christ was our Advocate during his short time here on earth and gave us the ability to obtain salvation by offering himself as a blood sacrifice for our sins. He will come back again to get us and take us back to Heaven with him to be with God. It is because of his next appearance that we should be focused on living our lives as God has instructed us to while we are still here on earth. If we do, than we can be sure that we will be going to live an eternal life with God when Jesus Christ returns.

If Jesus Christ is going to return, then that means that he is not here now, and this further supports the fact that someone is, the Holy Spirit. Without an Advocate here with us, we would surely be doomed. God knew this and this is why He left us the Holy Spirit! God has never and will never abandon His children!

John 14:15-31 "If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth! The world cannot recive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because you because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans---I will come to you. Soon, the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live. When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And becuase they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them."

Notice that Jesus says IF. This should not leave any doubt about the importance of following and obeying God's instructions or commandments!

This explains everything pertaining to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thats it! Pretty Simple~It has to be. Because there are so many people who will not or do not understand if it wasn't so simple. Humans (Christians also) have this inate tendency to complicate rather simple things into major things. It is this tendency that causes so much discontent and unrest with and among Christians. We can't just do what The Word says, but instead, we always seem to want to become fanatics or idealists and manipulate everything into a mistruth or untruth. We take God's Word and integrate our own bias and opinions into it to the point of actually changing what it says. Then, we begin to believe, through repetition of teaching these changes, what we think is the Truth........but it really is not. Be carfeul that when you read God's Word, you cleanse yourself of any subjectivity or sin, or what you read will not be fruitful, but instead, it will be confused and have no real meaning. This is why God states that before we approach Him with requests or prayer to first forgive anyone who we have an issue with.

Romans 5:3-5 "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develope endurance. And endurance developes strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."

You see, if something is not true, especially with God's intended message, than it does not matter who preaches or teaches it, it will be wrong. To teach God's Word in a manner different from what He has commanded or directed (Holy Spirit), is to sin! Luke 17:1 One day Jesus said to his disciples, "There will always be temptations to sin, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting!" That is a very loud statement! We must realize the importance and relevance of sending out the wrong message of God! Jesus plainly stated the result of sending out the wrong message. We (Christians) should all have the maturity to understand God's true meaning of sending His Son and the Holy Spirit! We cannot continue to live in denial. If we do not start understanding God's Word and what He really intends us to understand versus what we think he intends for us, we are facing sure eternal death.