Sometimes I Feel Like a Monster, Sometimes I Don’t…

In the Christian spiritual journey, I know that I struggle with keeping my promises to God. In fact, sometimes it makes me feel like a monster, although when I obey the Lord sometimes it doesn’t. Yet, for a while, I didn’t have any idea that Scripture speaks to this making me think that it was okay to make promises to God without consequences. When I failed, I knew I had the blood of Jesus to cover me.

Yet, in my twenties, I found Ecclesiastes 5:4-5. It says,

If you make a promise to God, don’t be slow to keep it. God is not happy with fools, so give God what you promised. It is better not to promise something and not do it. (NCV)

That gave me a whole new perspective, for I did not want to be a fool or a monster in the eyes of God!

Previously I wrote that if I failed at keeping a promise to God, I was covered by the blood that comes from Jesus Christ. Don’t get me wrong! I am not minimizing the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. There is nothing on earth (past, present, or future) that has the power that Jesus Christ’s blood does.

In fact, Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 enhances it. In a weird way, the breaking of a promise to God shows us how we desperately need Him and makes the breaking of that promise point to the cross and the ressurection.

Human beings are imperfect beings, thus no matter how hard we try, we fail in relationships to one another. How are we supposed to keep a relationship with God when we have trouble keeping relationships with ourselves? How are human beings supposed to manage our spiritual journeys?

I am realizing this fact to a deeper knowledge and wisdom that all of Scripture, especially Psalms, point to Jesus Christ, the only perfect human being. In fact, Psalm 14:1-5 expresses,

The fool says in His heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one. Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up My people as they eat bread and do not call upon the Lord? There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous. (ESV)

Some Christian YouTube videos:

“Monster”-Skillet

“Misconception”-Lecrae

“The Cross Has the Final Word”-Newsboys

“Sweet Victory”-Trip Lee

“Where is God when it hurts?” by Phillip Yancey (3)

“Often, the most intense pleasure comes after prolonged struggle.”-Phillip Yancey

Here are a few Christian YouTube videos and one Official Trailer to a movie called “Tortured for Christ”:

“Even If”-Kutless

“Even If”-Mercy Me

“Even When It Hurts”-Hillsong UNITED

“Tortured for Christ”-Official Trailer #1 (movie)

“Where is God when it hurts?” by Phillip Yancey (2)

“We, moderns, have cut us off from the streams of human history which has always accepted pain as integral part of life. Until very recently, any account of pain had to include pain as part of a normal routine occurrence. Now it looms as the great intruder.”-Phillip Yancey

Christian YouTube videos about pain:

“Mended”-Matthew West

“He Knows”-Jeremy Camp

“Broken Together”-Casting Crowns (this is a song about two broken people coming together in marriage with God as the center)..

A Life to Follow… Billy Graham imitated Christ’s life… Now, he is in Heaven just like Christ.

There are few people in this world in which us Christians can fully emulate. The apostles Peter and John who were given the almost impossible task of leading fellow Jews to Jesus Christ. Then you have Paul who was the apostle to whom was given the task to bring the message of salvation by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior to the rest of the non-Jewish world. For it says in 1 Peter 2:21,

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.” (ESV)

In his life (1918-2018), Dr. and Reverend Billy Graham lived the life of 1 Peter 2:21, and now, he is truly home in Heaven experiencing all the pleasures of living with Jesus.

Click this link to see, hear, and for some, listen to the final message to America by Dr. and Reverend Billy Graham:

“The Final Message to America”-Rev. Billy Graham

Determinism vs. Free Will

This TLC has determined this conflict that rages between these two camps in Christianity. And although you might think I would be leaning towards determinism by the phrase which I used at the beginning, “This TLC has determined,” you would naturally think I would say that determinism has my vote; however, that is not completely accurate.

I am a big proponent of free will as evident throughout my whole life. See, I am “wherever the wind takes me” type of personality. Just ask anyone who knows me real good. Do you remember the old TV show “Highway to Heaven” that played in the United States 1984-1989? Well, I am sort of like Michael Landon who played the lead. Except that I am no angel! I haven’t been stripped of his wings with probation on earth. I am a real human being struggling to fulfill everyday life with the Holy Spirit as my guide until one day I will meet God surrounded by His heavenly angels. 😁

This is the only way I know how to live. Yet, when I was younger I knew that John Calvin (1509-1564) was a French theologian to whom believed in determinism. Not familiar with determinism? Well, in Christian spiritual realm, what determinism’s definition is that before one was born God had predestined or determined where one is going to spend the rest of eternity-either in one of two places, heaven or hell.

This, I began to think about. “Hmm… Is this possibly true? I already know that God is omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent. But… How do us human beings have free will in living our everyday lives?” I was thinking to myself. Then the Holy Spirit gently nudged me, “Perhaps, God created human beings with free will, but He knows which way human beings are going to act throughout all time… Through Adam and Eve to when Christ takes His final rule.”

This pubescent TLC finally had the answer to a question that has haunted Christians for centuries. However, this TLC chose to keep quiet until this present time, although I told a few close friends over the years.

God (even though He is deterministic in nature as far as humans are concerned) gives us free will so that we will freely choose Him while we are here on this earth. Hallelujah!!!

Here are YouTube videos that apply:

“Free Will”-Michael Tait

“My Will”-DC Talk

In God we Trust? A Perspetive on Broward County High School Massacre…

Here in the United States of America, February 14 is supposed to be filled with roses, carnations, hearts, chocolates, and various other things to express “love” to one another. Yet, around 2:30 pm on February 14, 2018, a high school drop out murders 17 people at Broward Country High School in Parkland, Florida. At least 14 others were injured. How tragic! What a tragedy!

It is truly sad that that despite all of our human efforts, we can’t make headway in halting another senseless extermination of life. This has got to stop!!!

And it is not only in schools. What about the shootings in Las Vegas, Nevada, or the “underwear bomber,” or the one that comes up in many people’s mind, 911, where Osama Bin Laden was the mastermind behind the jets filled with people headed off to the Twin Towers in New York City. That was not the end of Osama’s terror spree as one was headed to the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the other jet was stopped in a field in Pennsylvania where the United States of America had it’s first capital. What are we supposed to do about it to prevent another tragedy?

In the United States of America, we are supposed to trust God. It even states it on our money, In God we Trust. Yet, sadly, we have not put that phrase into practice. We, however, like to use money for other things, and certainly not what it was intended for, to glorify God.

Instead, we have looked for answers in our own minds, to proud to say that we need help from God. In the Holy Scripture, it says in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that,

“If My people who are called by My name, humble themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (ESV)

Then, something like this happens where we pray to an imaginary god (an idol that we create to fit our own circumstances) and look to that god for answers.

Idol worship is not just physical images like is so often stated in the Old Testament of the Holy Bible. Even God says it as Moses descended from Mount Sinai. In fact, it was the first commandment in Exodus 20:3-

“You shall have no other gods before Me.” (ESV)

However, we have been trying to do it on our own even though it is on our money as In God we Trust. How tragic.

Now, this TLC is not saying that if we turn and do as 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “Tomorrow everything will be better,” not changing anything significantly. Isreal, through its long history is an example to the United States of America. No app will suffice. No technology will suffice either, although it could point us to the One who seeks after us.

Turn and repent to God promising Him that you will seek after Him even when times get tough (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Christian YouTube videos:

Watch “Faith to Heal the Land”

“If My People Called by My Name”

True Love!

Sometimes love gets a bad name. No wonder, all the auspices of bad love are confronting all people all the time. Not one of us is unaffected. In fact, TLC’s seem like they are under more scrutiny because they know the Author of True Love. Everyone is affected. Thank God that the story does not end there!

Although some delusions promise love, but all of them promise heartache in the end. Some of the delusions include lust, work, a hobby, sports, weather, even images of the Almighty. Most of these can be good for the soul, as God did not want us to take and make gods out of these potential idols. For that would be contrary to His will for our lives. However, since Adam and Eve first took a bite of that forbidden fruit, all people are under the same curse of sin, except One.

Yet this post is supposed to be about TRUE LOVE. Well, this is TRUE LOVE- “God loved the world so much that He gave His One and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NCV)

Here is a YouTube video that express His Love for you:

“Salvation is Here”-Hillsong United

Is believing in Christ actually all that it takes?

Maybe this TLC is making it to difficult to accept Christ into your soul so that you have access to God at anytime. For that, this TLC is sorry. However, if you are curious, like me, you would like an answer, right? This TLC is going to try and answer that for you.

I was always told that if you confess Jesus Christ with your mouth, given what He has done for every single person (from Adam and Eve to where clocks and watches are irrelevant), then you would be saved from eternal separation from God. One time. I still believe that is true. You have up to your physical death to accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ into your life as evidenced by Luke 23:39-43.

However, I think it is absurd that so-called Christians take eternal security for granted. This TLC is going to to give you an example that comes straight from the Holy Scripture. The apostle Peter declared that Christ had the words of eternal life (John 6:60-71), and then moments later Peter is given the ultimate insult as Jesus calls him satan at the instance where Peter had the things of man instead of the things of God at hand (Mark 8:27-34). Then you have thee instance where Peter denies ever knowing Jesus (Matthew 26:69-75). Yet, in Acts of the apostles it says God used him in order to bring three thousand to Christ (Acts 2:14-41).

How can Jesus Christ’s salvation work when you or I as TLC’s deny knowing Him? How can TLC’s regain God’s favor? TLC’s can not do anything apart from the blood of Jesus Christ in order for us to gain access to see God and all the splendor He has for us. I believe that God has already counted TLC’s in as far as the Book of Life, but I also believe that humility goes a long way in the Bible. Those that are “proud” of their eternal security are subject to lose it.

Jesus says in John 15:1-11 that He is the vine and TLC’s are the branches, but some TLC’s are just sitting back not doing anything. In verse 6, Jesus says that if anyone does not abide in Him, then that person will be cut off and thrown into the fire. Hmm… So that means TLC’s need to be careful and act with humility (Proverbs 15:33; Ephesians 4:1-3; Philippians 2:3).

By taking on Christ’s humility, TLC’s can effectively be Christ’s ambassadors. And Christ’s humility means that TLC’s have to admit and repent of when they are wrong, not take the pride of assurance that their place is secure in the God-ly realm.

YouTube Christian music videos:

“Nothing Without You”-Bebo Norman

“Humility of Christ”-Timothy Brindle

“At Your Feet”-Casting Crowns

Valentine’s Day Weekend

Surprise! This is Valentine’s Day Weekend, where guys are typically making fools of themselves trying to express “love” to a girl in the cheapest way possible in order so they don’t get “ratted out” by their girlfriends. Well, I know of a Special Someone who, instead of going out and making a fool of Himself at the “made it look like it was expensive but really wasn’t” in a town or a city, gave Himself through what is known as the Passion of the Christ. In the Holy Bible it says,

“God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him may not be lost, but have eternal life. God did not send His Son into the world to judge the world guilty, but to save the world through Him. People who believe in God’s Son are not judged guilty. Those who do not believe have already been judged guilty, because they have not believed in God’s One and only Son. They are judged by this fact: The Light has come into the world, but they did not want the Light. They wanted darkness, because they were doing evil things. All those who do evil hate the Light and will not come to the Light , because it will show the evil things they do. But those who follow the true way come to the Light, and it shows that the things they do were done through God.” (JOHN3:16-21 NCV)

“What you are saying that God loves me? What about all my troubles, my family’s troubles, my close friends’ troubles, or troubles in general that either I am in, my family, my close friends, or the current world is in? What about that?” Take it from someone who knows, the answer is on-going. But it first starts with Christ, not any imitation of Him. So we all need to remember this-

“For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23 ESV)

“In Christ, we are all set free by the blood of His death, and so we have forgiveness for our sins. (Ephesians 1:7 NCV)

Here is YouTube videos about salvation:

“I Believe in Christ”

“The Lord is my Salvation”-Keith & Kristyn Getty

“The Cost of Discipleship” (20)

“… baptism confers the right to all the activities of the body of Christ in everyway, in every department of life.”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

While this is the finish of my quotes from the book called “The Cost of Discipleship” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, this TLC wants to urge you to get this book in some form. If you prefer reading over listening, then you could always go to your nearest Christian bookstore and ask for “The Cost of Discipleship,” or your favorite online bookstore. If listening is more your style, then set up an account with Audible.com or Christianaudio..com or your favorite audio book site.

Here is YouTube videos that deal directly with this subject of baptism:

“Beneath the Waters”-Hillsong (LIVE)

“Changed”-Rascal Flats

“Baptism”-Randy Travis

“The Cost of Discipleship” (17)

“It can only do that if it takes Christ suffering as its basis. If not, it degenerates into a dreadful parody of the Lord’s own passion. Our whole motive becomes a desire for attestation (self-righteous suffering). We want people to see our achievements. and be put to shame. Our asceticism it now has become the way to salvation. (However, that is not salvation which gets you to heaven where God resides, rather it does the opposite focussing on oneself-Darren Beattie).”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Here is a couple of YouTube music videos that speak of righteousness:

“My Righteousness”-Go Deep

“Prayers of the Righteous”-Gen 14

“The Cost of Discipleship” (16)

“Asceticism means voluntary suffering. … There is always a danger that in our asceticism we shall be tempted to imitate the sufferings of Christ. This is a pious and godless ambition, for beneath it there lurks the notion of stepping into Christ shoes and suffer as He did and kill the old Adam. We are then presuming to undertake that bitter work of eternal redemption which Christ Himself wrought for us.”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

(If you have been keeping track of one of many TLC’s posts, this almost seems to fly in the face of what 1 Peter 2:21 has to say. However, it doesn’t. It is the meaning of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that to imitate the exact same sufferings that Christ went through in His Passion is a grave mistake. This to I would have to agree with. If we “imitate Christ sufferings” exactly, it won’t guaranty eternal life with our Savior; instead, it will put the burden of salvation from being apart from God in our own laps-a burden to heavy for us. Jesus Christ is the ageless way to salvation for us all-for the past, the present, and the future.)

Here is a couple of YouTube videos about suffering:

“O, Suffering Christ”-YouTube music video

“Christianity and Suffering”-a talk about the Christian and Suffering

“The Cost of Discipleship” (15)

“In the last resort, it is immaterial whether we pray in the open street, or the secrecy of our chambers. Whether briefly or lengthy.”-Dietrick Bonhoeffer

5 songs that speak about prayer to the Holy One:

“The Power of Prayer”-Matthew West

“Pray”-Sanctus Real

“When We Pray”-Tauren Wells

“Praying for you”-Lecrae

“Pray”-Manafest

“The Cost of Discipleship” (14)

“… Thus the essence of Christian prayer is not general adoration but definite concrete petition. The right way to ask God is to stretch out our hands and ask of One who we know has the heart of a Father.”-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“God Help Me”-Plumb

“Lord, I. Need You”-Matt Maher

“All My Hope”-Crowder ft. Lauren Wells