“If You Died Tonight?”-A Personal Matter For America And The Rest Of The World…

Several times I was asked this question, If You Died Tonight where would your soul go? Just as many times I was the one asking, “If You Died Tonight? where would your soul go?” It is the aim of the question to stir up some eternal questions. However, to my amazement when I was a younger Christian, the majority of the responses was apathy on the part of people, like each person didn’t even care. Like people had something else better to do with their lives than think about eternity. And after multiple tries, I personally stopped using the question “If You Died Tonight?” thinking it was not effective enough to get conversions on the spot or soon thereafter. Still, I thought that this question was a good one.

What if you were to get hit by a bus causing life-sustaining injuries? Or suppose you choked on a piece of food with no one around causing your death? Or say you were in an inescapable fire at your house? I’ve heard from many people that they “live in the moment,” thus causing to reject the question of eternity. As a young Christian, this was devastating. So, as much as I wanted to be a good representation of Christ, I decided to stop using that tactic.

Currently, it has been over 30 years since I last used the question “If You Died Tonight?” Although, recently, I came across this song by Big Daddy Weave called “If You Died Tonight” (listen to it by clicking on the colored writing). And Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit got the old convictions of my youth to rise again. What if you did die tonight? I don’t want to be gloomy and all that. For most of us, we will happily see another day of life, yet there is this portion that won’t get to see another day. Why you could die in your sleep?

It was reinforced by my personal devotions (a very important time in which I need help to dedicate time every day in which to spiritually grow). In reading Jeremiah 32:16-35, I was reading of how the prophet Jeremiah addressed the Lord God:

Oh, Lord God, You made the heavens and the earth with your very great power. You show Your love and kindness to thousands of people, but You also bring punishment to the children for their parents’ sins. Great and Powerful God, Your name is Lord All-Powerful. You plan and do great things. You see everything that people do, and You reward people for the way they live and what they do. You did miracles and wonders in Egypt. You continue to do them in Israel and among the nations even until today. So You have become well known. You have brought Your people out of Egypt,, using signs and miracles and Your great power and strength. You brought great terror on everyone. You gave them this land You promised their ancestors long ago, a fertile land. (Jeremiah 32:17- 22 NCV)

But the Israelites got spiritually comfortable, just like America is getting to spiritually comfortable in the area of spiritual matters. America finds itself “tolerant” of many different ways to god, not the way proclaimed by Jesus Christ in where He says that few will enter the narrow gate whereas many people are on the broad gate path ( Matthew 7:13). Read on, for Jeremiah is perplexed by the order from the Lord God:

“They came into this land and took it as their own, but they did not obey You or follow Your teachings. They did not do everything You commanded. So You made all these terrible things happen to them. “Look, the enemy has surrounded the city and has built roads on top of the walls to capture it. Because of war, hunger, and terrible diseases the city will be handed over to the Babylonians who are attacking it. You said this would happen, and now You see it is happening. But now, Lord God, You tell me, ‘Buy the field with silver and call in witnesses.’ You tell me this while the Babylonian army is ready to capture the city.” (Jeremiah 32:23-25 NCV)

The Lord God appears to immediately answer Jeremiah:

Then the Lord God spoke this word to Jeremiah: “I am the Lord, the God of every person on the earth. Nothing is impossible for Me. So this is what the Lord says: I will soon hand over the city of Jerusalem to the Babylonian army and to Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon, who will capture it. The Babylonian army is already attacking the city of Jerusalem. They will soon enter it and start a fire to burn down the city and its houses. The people of Jerusalem offered sacrifices to Baal on the roofs of those same houses and poured out drink offerings to other idols to make Me angry. From their youth, people of Israel and Judah have done only the things I said were wrong. They have made Me angry by worshipping idols they have made with their own hands, ” says the Lord. “From the day Jerusalem was first built until now this city has made Me angry, so angry that I must remove it from My site. I will destroy it because of all the evil people of Israel and Judah have done. The people, their kings, and officers, their priests and prophets, all the people of Judah, and all the people of the city of Jerusalem have made Me angry. They turned their backs to Me, not their faces. I have tried to teach them again and again, but they would not listen or learn. They put their hateful idols in the places I chose to be worshipped, so they made it unclean. In the valley of Ben Hinnom, they built places to worship Baal so could burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices to Molech. But I never commanded that you do such a hateful thing. It has never entered My mind that they do such a thing and cause Judah to sin. “You are saying, ‘Because of war, hunger, and terrible diseases, this city will be handed over to the King of Babylon.’ But the Lord, God of Israel says about Jerusalem: I forced the people of Israel and Judah to leave their land because I was furious and angry with them. But soon I will gather them from all of the lands which I forced them to go, and I will bring them back to this place, where they may live in safety. The people of Israel and Judah will be My people, and I will be their God. I will make them truly one people with one goal. They will truly want to worship me with all of their lives, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. (Jeremiah 32:26-39 NCV)

Here, in the United States of America, we have wars. Though as having the appearance of being financially wealthy, Americans are over 20 Trillion in debt to the Chinese government, which makes us poor. And poor people eventually find themselves hungry. Americans, too, are the most up-to-date medically speaking, but there are some “terrible diseases” such as AIDS and cancer or diabetes that although we have made significant advances in each of those diseases we can’t get them cured. So, America is in pretty much the same predicament as the Israelites were in at the time of the Babylonian Empire with the prophet Jeremiah.

For, at current, it seems like a majority of Americans are not concerned with following the ways of the Lord God. Think of drugs-prescription and “recreational” drugs. It is totally rampant out there where you literally have moms, dads selling their little ones to do a horrendous act to a drug dealer in order to get some drugs. Or even more detrimental, Americans are so busy with work in their social push to “keep up with the Jones,” they often do not spend quality time with their children, leaving devices or other things to raise their children. There are even worse situations than the two I have mentioned. But if we do not get our nation back to where God was with those who crossed over from England to what we now know as America, we are utterly doomed.

You may be asking yourselves, “What can I do?” The first, most important thing you should do is ask that eternal question, “If You Died Tonight where would you be, where would your soul spend eternity? Jesus gave Hs life if you would just believe. It would change everything, if you died tonight” (Big Daddy Weave, the album “Heart Cries Holy”-Studio Series).

So, this is crucial! True Life Christians need to take seriously the matter at hand, where would other souls spend eternity. Nothing else eternally matters. So what would you do If You Died TonightA PERSONAL MATTER For AMERICA AND THE REST OF THE WORLD? The clearest Scripture on this matter is John 3:16-21. Read it, study it, memorize it, meditate on it, and lastly apply it everyday till Jesus Christ comes back!

~Darren

* administrator/only blogger for http://www.TrueLifeChristianity.com

“The Insanity Of God: A True Story Of Faith Resurrected” by Nik Ripken

“… unless the reason why the people sitting around me in church, that Sunday, were not getting excited that the Easter story was because they heard the story so many times before.”-Nik Ripken

“Dead Man Walking”-Jeremy Camp

Is Moses Like Jesus Christ, And Is Aaron Like The Holy Spirit?

In my small church of about a hundred people plus in an area of the United States of America; in an area where there are a minuscule amount of true believers in Jesus Christ, whose state motto is “Live Free or Die“- a term coined by the historic General John Stark and in the town of Weare, NH. Over the years right up until this very day, that saying became popular among the residents of New Hampshire and was adopted as the state’s motto on July 31st, 1809 (Wikipedia, 2019). So, in my little church in Weare is at the top of a hill in which the message of Jesus Christ cannot be hidden, thus giving the phrase popular among Christians and even a Christian children’s song, “This Little Light of Mine,” we are figuratively a Light on a hill which is a chorus in that song. Well, it was attending this church, of where I am a member and an elder of this local partnership to spread the Word to local communities surrounding us, that I received one of the personal revelations I believe God has a part in.

So, in an attitude of prayer and worship on Sunday morning, I was ready for the revelation that God wanted to show me, as I always am through the song service portion or the message. For, even though I was ready for this, it always comes as a surprise. Well, this particular revelation came as more a surprise to me that I am now sharing with you. It is truly amazing that God would let me have the privilege of sharing with you in a blogging format. I believe that it was God who trusts me to reveal this to you that Moses and Aaron are a tectonic precursor to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Shortly after the singing was done to prepare the way for the pastor to speak at church, it has been our habit to gather the people who are responsible for the music, the soundboard people, those responsible for prayer before the gathering, the pastor, the coffee maker, and anyone else who feels called to arrive a half hour before service starts, to submit ourselves to prayer for the upcoming service. During that prayer, we usually have at least one person praying that God will use the pastor to convict souls of both the saved and the unsaved, that they won’t be afraid to ask questions, and the service will ultimately bring honor and glory to God the Father. This one was no different as the pastor is taking us through the book of Exodus.

This week, we are to the part of the book, chapter of 15 through 17, where the Israelite people are complaining to Moses and Aaron that the water that they had was bitter after traveling two to three days without water (Exodus 15:22-27). A seemingly valid complaint, to where my wife, Christine (a registered nurse with a B.S. from UVM), said the body can survive without food for an indefinite amount of time but water, that is essential to life. I could figuratively see that wheels turning inside her head as she made the connection on her own applying it to spirituality Tuesday night during small group that we attended. 😇

Then in chapter 16, the Israelites demanded food from Moses and Aaron in which manna fell from heaven in the morning and quail fell at night simply because of the Lord’s compassion. Looking back, the Israelites had something that the rest of the people of the world didn’t, the Lord guiding their way as referenced in Exodus 13:20-23. So in effect, the Israelites had nothing to be scared of, trusting that the Lord would provide direction, food, and drink. But still, they wanted a representative to go before them just like they did in Judges in where God would raise up a particular Israelite to save them out of the mess they had gotten themselves into by not obeying the Lord. And just in case, the Israelites wanted someone to blame in case “things” didn’t turn out the way they had envisioned.

Moses and Aaron were the leaders of the people of Israel in the Old Testament or the Old Covenant, just like Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are leaders of True Life Christians in the New Testament or the New Covenant which includes the Jewish and the Gentile people. I am going to attempt to draw a picture in your mind and soul about Moses and Jesus. In Exodus 33:12-15, Moses tells the Lord,

“If Your presence does not go with me, do not bring us (Israelites) from here” (Exodus 33:14 ESV)

Foreward to the Gospels, you find Jesus basically saying the same thing as evidence in the most famous prayer of Jesus Christ to His Father in John 17. Coincidence? I think not because the Bible is full of coincidences then.

You may or may not be tracking with me. But Moses is the forerunner of Jesus Christ, and Aaron is the forerunner to the Holy Spirit. Each of them, Moses to the Christ and Aaron to the Holy Spirit, provides similar roles. You see, Moses cries out to the Lord not to destroy Israel because of the sin they committed (Deuteronomy 9:26-29), like Jesus Christ who had to suffer all the trials, beatings, and eventually that horrifyingly painful death on a cross (Matthew 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22:47- 23; John 18-19) in order to be the suffering servant. Aaron is like the Holy Spirit in that never heard of them making the most out of each other through having the Holy Spirit is crucial to the Christians spiritual development.

Obviously, it is not a perfect comparison. Nothing ever is since sin entered the world fueled on by Satan, himself where he tempted Eve to take a bite from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (and Eve shared it with Adam, thus polluting the whole world with sin). It all can be found in Genesis 3.

You might be asking yourselves, “Ok, I am not fully on board with your thinking. How is Aaron like the Holy Spirit?” sort of doubting why you would pose this question, so you say it with a sarcastic voice. Aaron is crucial in the plan of Moses, just like the Holy Spirit is crucial to Jesus Christ’s plan for salvation to those of us who accept Him. And just like the Holy Spirit, Aaron doesn’t make much of himself as he communicates to all of Israel Moses’ plans straight from God. Who do you think spoke to the nation of Israel to tell them of all the plans God had for them during the Egyptian plagues?

Once again, this has faults if you take a closer look at it because we are all racked with sin. I am just asking you to take a five thousand foot view. I am asking you to have an open mind and soul that trusts in God’s plan of salvation.

Moses already knew Pharoah Ramses since Moses (the older son) and Ramses (the younger son) grew up together for a long enough time that they knew each other well. They knew each other through bad times and good times; they knew each other’s ticks and quirks. For in those times, Ramses did not ascend to the throne until his dad was dead. When Moses was forty years of age, however, Moses killed an Egyptian slave master who was seen by Moses for beating an Israelite (Exodus 2:11-15). A short time later had passed that Moses was found out. Shortly thereafter the King of Egypt (his half-dad) tried to kill him because Moses was picking sides between Israel and Egypt in my estimation. I would not be surprised if his half-dad (King of Egypt) was thinking, “I always had a suspicion about him, after all my daughter pulled him from the Nile from a basket that contained this little Israeli baby. This confirms it! I am Pharoah! Moses is going to regret what he did! Kill him!!!” So, murdering Moses ran off to Midian (Exodus 2:15).

There are even more things I could point out, but I hope you get the picture that Moses is like Jesus Christ, and Aaron is like the Holy Spirit. Perhaps this is a new revelation? Or an old one, but one that needed to be shared for those reading or listening to my blog.

Please communicate with me, especially if you think I have totally missed it with this one. Be sure and pray before you attempt to tear me apart over this. Remember, I am thinking God gave me this revelation; however, I could be wrong. It could be my sinful self. For those who take this blog seriously, I would not want for anyone to stumble in their Christian walk. Do not fight over this new revelation.

~Darren

* administrator/only blogger for http://www.TrueLifeChristianity.com 😇

“It Must Be You (Moses)-Bart Millard from MercyMe

“Confidence”-Sanctus Real

“The Insanity Of God: A True Story About Faith Resurrected”-A Book By Nik Ripken

“I absorbed the preacher’s words like background narration, while actually seeing in my mind and believing in my heart all that had happened during that Holy Passover week. I sense the love Jesus had for His disciples at the last supper. I felt the sadness, the grief, disappointment, and fear in the garden. I felt genuine outrage at the mistreatment of Jesus and the course of His trial and His execution. I desperately wanted to do something or wanted see God do something to make it alright.”-Nik Ripken

“What A Beautiful Name It Is”-Hillsong Worship

“Blessings”-Laura’s Story

I wanted to start this particular post by giving you the song “Blessings” by Laura’s Story (just click on the colored writing). In my opinion, it is one of the only ways, after you listen to this song, to expect what really lies ahead of you in the Christian walk.

Case in point, recently, I was challenged on a social media platform. For my cause was to promote the website, True Life Christianity, to get it more well known. In so doing, I came across this one particular individual who disagreed with the assessment that only through Jesus Christ, that Christ could offer hope, encouragement, and inspiration (1 Peter 2:21), which is the tag line under my site. It was the premise that he disagreed with-we have a choice-a choice whether or not to accept Christ with all of the promises that He gives in eternal life. Rather, only in this physical realm, we have to gain either eternal life or eternal pain or death (as we have a spiritual side as well as a physical side, although the physical, as we know it, only exists once). Through this physical life, Christians are not supposed to be surprised when we get mistreated over the name of Jesus Christ. Even Jesus Christ prayed it to His Father (I believe He prayed to His Father on many occasions-John 21:25), but it is only recorded once in John 17.

And everybody is subject to this-an eternity where we get to spend the rest of time with an Almighty God who graciously loves you and me, or get to spend an eternity with Satan and all his cronies, suffering for not choosing Christ, who came to die on that old, bloody, rugged cross only to be raised three days later (John 3:16-21).

Unfortunately, there are some who are going to ignore this message, and that is the product of free will. However, when I have to answer to Jesus, I will say I did to the best of my ability what the Lord Jesus Christ wants, and that is to proclaim His name through whatever means possible Thus, you have True Life Christianity, one of the means available on the internet to a by and large lost and dying world.

Well, during this debate on social media, he kept on using circular reasoning, claiming he was a Christian at one point in his life. He kept on circling back to why I wouldn’t believe him, that Jesus Christ wasn’t the Messiah, even claiming he was a cartoon character, that Judas Iscariot died for Him on that cross.

This particular individual went so far as to say the reason for the change in perspective was that he prayed to God to show him what the “truth” was. And he claimed that God showed him that He didn’t write or inspire anyone to write the books of the Bible (66 in all). Actually, I did not want to face that kind of blatant opposition, cause, I figured, it was pointless to save someone who is making an argument of the God I serve. However, after praying, I felt a nudge in my spirit telling me to challenge this man, so I did. Well, I did not know how much of challenge it would be.

Not a challenge causing me to doubt my beliefs. No. That is firm like the pressure to turn a piece of coal into a diamond, or like the pressure that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (better known under their Babylonian names-Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) faced when they would not bow down in front of a massive idol set in place by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (Danial 3). I could just see it now. With the threat of being thrown into the fiery furnace looming over them, they chose to stand for God, even though they didn’t have the assurance that they would walk out of the fiery furnace without a piece of clothing that they had on smelling of smoke. Well, maybe I was not under that sort of pressure-the literal pressure of physical death-but there was pressure nonetheless. See, social pressure in the country of America can have devastating consequences. Consequences like that of you will look like a fool to the American public through our media, but I would rather be a fool for God than have the assurance of obtaining worldly wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:20-21). Social pressure in the country of America can almost seem as bad as your physical death. However, still pray for my witness to him, as he is not truly converted yet. Pray to God that I won’t falter in order to be true in what many Christians believe.

Yet I could falter, like this incident that happened in my life a few years ago at my general doctor’s visit. While I was waiting out in the lobby, a guy sitting across from me said something about the shirt I had. It was a red short-sleeve t-shirt I had on with the big letters “I’m A Believer” embolden on it, then little letters with “KUTLESS” on the bottom corner.

The guy who was waiting with me in the lobby to see the doctor said, “I’m a believer” too, referring to the old secular song by “The Monkeys” (a musical group in the latter half of the 20th Century). I was praying just a few minutes before I left for the doctor’s visit that God would somehow use my shirt as a starting point for a conversation which I might be able to share the Gospel. I just smiled fearing the social stigma that would come upon me if I were to explain the Gospel to him. I felt like it would hurt my credibility in front of other people who had a doctors appointment at that physicians’ practice. Suddenly, I felt like the Apostle Peter when he denied knowing Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75). After I got through with my general visit, everything was fine with me physically, but spiritually, I let the guy down that was in the lobby with me. Yet, I know given the right circumstances, I would do it again. Just like the Apostle Paul, we Christians who seem to do what is right can slip up when we are under our own sinful power. Once again, Praise God that He doesn’t hold it against us if we only ask for forgiveness purchased by Jesus Christ’s blood.

Yet, I wonder, “How can God love me?” I battle with this question day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, even second by second. There is this song I would like you to listen to: “How Can It Be.” However, I find some comfort in this passage of Scripture: Romans 7:15-18. This passage of Scripture emphasizes that even the Apostle Paul battles with sin. For sin has no victory over the physical life of a believer as I would want you to take a look at a different passage of Scripture that deals with this one fact. It is found in Hebrews 12:1-4.

So, where do Christians receive the “Blessings” that God promises? I will tell you that going through the “hard stuff” with the Holy Spirit living inside you is a prerequisite to the most satisfying and eternal “Blessings.”

*In fact, there is an additional song I would like you to listen to; it is called “East To West” by Casting Crowns.

Author: Darren L. Beattie, BA, MSHS

“The Insanity Of God: A True Story Of Faith Resurrected” by Nik Ripken

“As he recounted what should have been a familiar story of all that happened to Jesus at the very end of His life here on earth, I found myself drawn into the story.”-Nik Ripken

“Draw Me Close”-Michael W. Smith

“Jesus, I Believe”-Big Daddy Weave

“No Matter What”-Ryan Stevenson

The Real Issue Pertaining To The First Amendment Of The Constitution Of The United States Of America…

For my readers or listeners all across the world, this week’s article has to do with America, the land of the free and home of the brave. My temporary home as I have an eternal home that I have with God the Father, Jesus Christ (His Son), and the Holy Spirit. But let me turn to our temporary home, earth. More specifically, America.

I know there is some potential to get political, especially how American news outlets are handling the Trump Presidency, right now; however, I will do my best through Jesus Christ not to get political. Yet, it may have political overtones, but it is certainly not political. Rather it is about The Real Issue With The First Amendment Of The Constitution Of The United States Of America… Here in America, Christians now have to be careful of what they say about spreading the message of Jesus Christ. Here in the United States of America and with those who want to exploit the American law, now you are instantly vilified even mentioning Jesus Christ other than foul language that comes protruding from your lips.

When I was growing up during the ’70s and the ’80s, you could see the start of the movement to get Christ summarily banished from this country with groups like the ACLU, PLANNED PARENTHOOD * which now is a cover-up for convenient abortions, and others. These groups are still in full force today. For in a very short amount of time (20-40 years as far as history goes), it has gone from people who freely talk about Jesus Christ with a little bit of social awkwardness back in the 80s to, now, where you have to be careful in where you mention the name of Jesus Christ for fear of being labeled a religious bigot. In fact, one of my Bible-believing friends said the state of California is trying to outlaw the Bible. Yes, you read me correctly. Liberals who think they know better than everyone else, have strategically gotten themselves elected to various state representatives and senators to make possessing a Holy Bible a crime. Prayerfully, it has not happened yet, but the state of California is inching ever so close if you are caught possessing a Bible, you could be sentenced to jail time or pay a hefty fine. It would be the same as carrying a book of hate speech. REALLY!!!

Is that what the Founding Fathers could have envisioned in the First Amendment concerning Church and State? Obviously, no they didn’t. In fact, this comes from http://www.partnerwithschools.org :

Separation Of Church And State

Separation Of Church And State Means That The Government Cannot Exercise Its Authority In Establishing A National Religion.

Schools constitute a local extension of the government which cannot make religion mandatory for all students. This clause of the First Amendment is the “Establishment Clause”.
This means that schools cannot have assemblies which promote religion. And classroom teachers cannot promote one religion (or nonreligion such as atheism) over another. The Establishment Clause limits the free speech rights of teachers, principals, and staff when communicating with students in schools. However, students and Christian leaders have free speech rights as explained in the student rights section.

THIS TERM HAS BEEN MISINTERPRETED OVER THE YEARS. OUR FOUNDING FATHERS NEVER MEANT TO SEPARATE STATE AND CHURCH, BUT INSTEAD JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT INTERFERE WITH RELIGION. ESPECIALLY THAT IT DOES NOT OFFICIALLY ESTABLISH ONE PARTICULAR RELIGION OR DENOMINATION OVER ANOTHER OR ESTABLISH NON-RELIGION OVER RELIGION.

It all began with the ruling handed down by the Supreme Court of America in 1962-1963 banning the Bible and prayer at American schools:
“One can argue, and some have, that the decision by the Supreme Court – in an of three decisions back in 1962 and 1963 – to remove Bible and prayer from our public schools, may be the most spiritually significant event in our nation’s history over the course of the last 55 years,” Jeynes said. Aug 15, 2014, Removing The Bible & Prayer From Public Schools

Unfortunately, it did not stop with public schools, as proven above. With the passage of time, America has we a United States Congresswoman that used the Quran instead of the Holy Bible to “swear in” by at the swearing-in ceremonies in 2013. Yet, I could have predicted this back when I was in high school over thirty years ago. In fact, I did in my head or maybe I told a few people. I got this prediction from a one dollar bill. It has scrolled on its back:

IN GOD WE TRUST

Upon further investigation of the dollar bill my family the “eye” at the top of the pyramid has a connection with Satan. That gives additional meaning to the famous words spoken by Jesus Christs when He says that the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV). Yet, the dollar bill loudly proclaim, In God We Trust.

It was somewhere in the late 80s that God gave me the vision of the United States of America had given to into the lust of money because the temptation was so great. God was nowhere to be found, andthe United States Government had a majority of people that did not swear by the Bible. Instead, the people did what was right in there own eyes similar to that of Judges 21:25.

To those of you who think that this is easy for me to blog such potentially harming words with the American government and all, on the contrary. I am really having a hard time staying on track since it is so easy to go down a variety of “rabbit holes” concerning the Real Issue Pertaining To The First Amendment Of The Constitution Of The United States Of America… But, as you recall, I have a promise to keep not getting political. Although it is a different time and culture, I think Christians should set the example for peaceably living with everyone. Romans 12:18 has this to say:

Do your best to live at peace with everyone. (NCV)

Obviously, there could be certain times in our lives as Christians where this is impossible. I would pray to the Heavenly Father through His Son (Jesus Christ) to instruct the Holy Spirit to give you direction on the way you should go, not to just get out of that particularly uncomfortable situation that you find yourselves in. Remember, the Holy Spirit led Jesus Christ after He was baptized into temptation while on a fast for forty days and nights. In fact, Christians all around the world should take what the Apostle Paul did in Acts 28:30-31 :

He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance. (NCV)

Some of you may think I have gone down one of those “rabbit holes” I have been speaking about concerning the Real Issue Pertaining To The First Amendment To The United States Of America… I assure you that I haven’t. The Separation of Church and State was supposed to be a good thing because the Founding Fathers of the United States of America would say, “We wonder how the U.S. Government could get so off track from what we were hoping to accomplish?”, if they were still alive today.

Let us begin with a little history lesson. Back in 1620, the Puritans (or Pilgrims) were finished with the lack of legislative rules to allow the Puritans to worship God the way they wanted to but were subject to the rules of the Anglican Church and the Church of England. After 50 years, the Puritans decided to hold a vote to sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a new land where they would be free to worship God however they wanted. But the Puritans had to make sure thàt the overseas trip had Christ’s approval. They determined this by raising of hands. Further, whichever had the majority, the Puritans saw it as God’s putting His seal of approval to whichever the Puritans choose. Shortly thereafter, the Mayflower was then commissioned upon the approval of the Puritans to set sail to a land of freedom that God approves of. (There is a YouTube video that describes the whole voyage of the Puritans and the Brittish ship, the Mayflower: https://youtu.be/fNNKGAybe08)

Where the group of inhabitants on the Mayflower landed is Plymouth Rock, Massachussetts. Plymouth Rock is where the Mayflower had landed blowing several hundred miles off course. And it is a couple hours from my home. If you get the chance please visit Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. However, the reason I gave you a bit of a history lesson was to confirm that the Christian God is in control. Nothing that happens to us, as human beings can escape God’s judgement. All of America will be judged, just like all of the people of the rest of the world will be judged. Whether you on Jesus Christ’s side or not. Yet, will we stand up for Christ even if it means going to prison for “hate speech?” Or pay a hefty amount in fines? Or do both?

My question for you is this: “Are you going to be bold for Christ while living peaceably?” So, despite what The Real Issue Pertaining To The First Amendment To The Constitution Of The United States Of America… says, are you going to live for Christ peaceably as much as it depends on you?

* although Casting Crowns addresses something personal in this song, I hope you get that it is a ““Slow Fade”-Casting Crowns from where we as Americans have been to (over the past 238 years) to where True Life Christianity is in the minority in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.

“The Insanity Of God: A True Story Of Faith Resurrected” by Nik Ripken

“… I remember it being sparkling day. The sun shone extra bright making the stained glass windows of the sanctuary glow with a deeper, richer color that I’d had ever noticed before. The congregation sang with more gusto than normal. And when the choir sang their especially triumphal anthem, I could feel my inner spirit soaring with them. And the unusual and powerful feeling I was feeling that morning didn’t even stop when the pastor began to preach.”-Nik Ripken

“We Are Privileged To Have Nik & Ruth Ripken”-An Interview

“Old Church Choir”-Zach Williams

Hopes Dashed… A True Hope Restored…

Let us define the word, hope.

“Hope” is commonly used to mean a wish: its strength is the strength behind the person desire. But in the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised and its strength is in His faithfulness.

Chapter 1: THE CHRISTIAN HOPE – Wiley Online Library

I have always been a guy filled with hope. Let me go on an exploration of my early life. For instance, I wanted to be a United States Air Force pilot at the age of ten (hope), but due to complications with my eyes, I reluctantly couldn’t. Hopes Dashed. But something inside of me kept on hoping that there would be a cure, and I was hoping that it would come fast before I graduated from high school. And it did. But, my life, so far, has not been what I hoped for, but I figured God did not want me to enlist. However, there was still a little hope in the form of surgery.

Yet, at the age of twelve *about two months before I would turn thirteen, I received an American football pass that I did not want to receive, type 1 diabetes. Contemplating how this one disease would change the rest of my life, that change was in a direction that I did not want to go or in a direction that I was not willing to venture down. The endocrinology staff calls this Diabetic Rebellion. And it would be a little over five years before I changed. But there it was. It seemed like it was forced upon me like some bunch of hooligans come to ransack your house with you being tied up and you can’t do anything about it. I felt like I was being told what to do by this horrible disease of diabetes. Another hope dashed.

While still dealing with my unwanted disease, I have been a Christian for most of my life (since the age of seven), and at the age of fourteen, I received my spiritual calling. Mistakenly, I thought that it was to be a youth pastor, and after a little less than four years my hopes were dashed.

See, I did all that my spiritual advisors-(my youth pastor, other youth pastors, other pastors outside of my church, and other pastors from outside of New England)-had told me to do if I wanted to head down the path of being a youth pastor. I preached wherever I had the opportunity. I preached in front of my own youth group. I preached in front of neighboring youth groups. I preached in front of youth regional conventions, Weekend Retreats, and summer camps. And I even had recognition from other pastors about my preaching abilities at a summer youth camp of over 300 teens were present when I came in first place in the preaching competition. But I learned to apply what I was reading in the Bible to my life from early on, and I knew from various Scriptures that God did not like pride (Proverbs 11:2; 13:10; 21:24 just to name a few). So…I was are always careful about pride. Even so, after I purposed and prepared my heart and mind to go ahead by doing the “Lord’s work” by going into ministry for the youth, God had another surprise for me.

Nothing was going to stop me as I was excited to start my way in preparing to serve God as a youth pastor. I, even made a vow to God that I would not use my “youth pastorship” as a means to get my own church. In due time, I had applied and got accepted into a Christian college. And the waiting game was on, for June 3rd, 1989 was my graduation date from high school.

A week later I would turn eighteen, but as I told you before, God had a big surprise for me. It came in the form of a horrifying car accident into a piece of granite that they had blasted through to make the highway I was currently on, just eighteen days after my eighteenth birthday. Around 6 a.m., I apparently fell asleep at the wheel going 70 miles/hour on the highway. Trying to correct my driving, I over corrected which sent me into that large granite boulder.

There I was. My brand new used sports car was trashed, and there I was with a severely bleeding head in which my skull was broken into so many pieces it was like a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. But, through providence, God placed a doctor that was right behind me on the highway there to give me medical attention, although I am sure he thought that there was no hope for me.

When I got into the ambulance, I am sure the EMT’s thought the same thing as the doctor. Amazingly, my whole body was intact except a broken right finger and my skull. In fact, most of my head was intact, but the part was affected was trashed. And there is absolutely no reason why I should not be dead or in a vegetative state right now except God.

Oddly enough, I still remember periods of my one-month coma, and I remember the three weeks that I thought I was in a bad dream. It was awful. I remember one night at the rehabilitation hospital, I said a prayer, and it went something like this:

“God, I am sick and tired of this bad dream. Please wake me up by morning! Just in case this is real, I will serve You for the rest of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Honestly, I did not think that I was in the rehabilitation hospital, but again a bad dream. By morning, though, my condition had not gotten any better, and suddenly the dread took over me. Hopes Dashed. However, I had kept this verse as a reminder to me, and it comes from Ecclesiastes 5:4 :

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. (NCV)

Suddenly I felt trapped by my own words that I said the night before, but I dare not have God think of me as a fool, so I did what I promised. It was that morning that made all the difference in my recovery-A True Hope Restored.

There is a whole book in the Bible dedicated to this, Hopes Dashed… A True Hope Restored. It’s The Book of Job. Job goes through some of the most horrific trials, and his wife and his four friends are of no help. Truly, Hopes Dashed… because he, himself, did not know that this was a testing allowed by God. However, at the end of the book, it is a story of A True Hope Restored… Just take a look by clicking the link above, The Book of Job.

It seems to me that God has designed each and every one of us to go through tragedy in order to experience the blessing of some sort. Just take a listen to “Blessings”-Laura’s Story. Finally, I want to leave you with a Scripture verse, and it comes from Romans 15:13 which says:

I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace while you trust in Him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit. (NCV)

Please click on the links that are most suited to you:

“Living Hope”-Phil Whickham

“Hope Changes Everything”-New Song

“Hope In Front Of Me”-Danny Gokey

“I Have This Hope”-Tenth Avenue North

“You Are My Hope”-Skillet