‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’

Jesus and children

The above title takes me back many years ago to my childhood days. That’s when my mom was the children’s chorus leader in our Sunday School opening each Sunday morning at our church.

Her role was to call the children forward from the pews to stand with her before the congregation. Then, we’d all sing a few choruses, some of which included motions, she’d chosen before heading to our classes.

I remember that “Jesus Loves the Little Children” was selected about as often as her most favorite song, “Jesus Loves Me.”

To be honest, I miss those times we’d sing these choruses including, “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”  We sang the words as they were written in our songbooks back then—

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world;
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in his sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

Since then, “brown” has been added to the chorus: “Red, brown, yellow, black and white” to make it more ethnically inclusive.

Yes, just like the chorus says, Jesus DOES love all the children of the world. In fact, our Lord demonstrates his love through his own examples and teachings.

I cite accounts from three different sources of the time some children were brought to Jesus for his blessings:

Matthew 19:13-15
13 Then some children were brought to Him so that He would lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, “Leave the children alone, and do not forbid them to come to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 After laying His hands on them, He departed from there. (New American Standard Bible, NASB)

Mark 10:13-16
13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He would touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” 16 And He took them in His arms and began blessing them, laying His hands on them. (NASB)

Luke 18:15-17
15 Now they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them; but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. 16 But Jesus called for the little ones, saying, “Allow the children to come to Me, and do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 17 Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” (NASB)

From these passages, there are five lessons we can learn about Jesus and his love for children.

#1 Jesus’ ministry included children not just adults. Wherever he went, families followed him—dads, moms, and children of all ages. Jesus knew the importance of having a godly home where children were taught moral values and truths that are good for a healthy society. Part of his mission was advocating that children be included for securing the future and passing forward the Good News of his Kingdom.

#2 Jesus reached out with loving arms to the children. You can just see Jesus and the children…He cuddled babies in his arms, bounced young children on his knees, held them on his lap, telling them fascinating stories filled with love, laughter, and sincere compassion for them. They looked up to him because they knew he understood them and stood up for them and their needs. They could see it in his eyes and hear it in his voice as he placed his hands on their heads (a common form of worship) and prayed for God’s blessings upon them. What a beautiful moment it must have been!

#3 Jesus did not forbid the children to come to him. Come to me” was Jesus’ invitation all throughout his ministry. He came especially for the weak, the sick, the poor—anyone society looked down upon. Children could also be frowned upon by grown-ups who saw them as immature, impolite, inexperienced, and apt to get into trouble. 

In all probability, this is what was going through the disciples’ minds when they tried to prevent the children from coming to Jesus. They didn’t want these pesky kids to interrupt the Rabbi from doing his work. What they didn’t understand was that the children ARE his work so he corrected them and set them straight. Jesus welcomed the children to come to him.

#4 Jesus wanted parents to bring their children to him. In the process of rebuking his disciples, imagine him encouraging the parents, “Hey moms and dads. Let your kids come to me, no matter their ages—newborns, babies, young children, teens—bring them all to me. I want to give them my blessings!” You could call it, an act of dedication.

I’ve performed dedication of children by their parents in church services and it’s a most humbling yet joyful, gratifying experience. Parents are reminded in this service to bring up their children in the nature and admonition of the Lord, thus setting the tone of having a Christian home through Christ.

#5 Jesus said adults must be like children for entering God’s Kingdom. This might seem odd to us seeing that children today are often told to grow up and act more like adults. But adults can act as childish as children whenever they get cranky, whine about getting their way, and throw temper tantrums over silly little things that don’t really matter. This is not what Jesus is getting at.

Instead, he was getting his followers to think and behave the way children are in all their innocence. Like children, we must have a humble spirit, loving trust, respect for authority, and an attitude that is quick to forgive if we expect to live in God’s eternal Kingdom.  

These lessons about the love Jesus has for all children are significant since there is so much abuse toward them in these difficult times. Children need to be protected from the perversions they’re being exposed to in classrooms and over the media. Sadly, the authorities-that-be treat parents and grandparents as “domestic terrorists” just for speaking out on behalf of the well-being of their children.

O how Jesus must also be saddened—and I don’t doubt angered, too—when children are mistreated and misused as if they were objects for the sheer pleasure and satisfaction of deviants void of any conscience. These are disgraceful persons full of evil intentions.

And they must be held accountable particularly for their indoctrination and exploitation of unsuspecting minors. Rest assured, God’s judgement awaits these people who bring such harm to children (Matthew 18:1-6).

Jesus loves the children and does not want their innocent little minds to be twisted and manipulated to believe false ideology—for example, in regard to their gender identity, what pronouns to use or not use, and the woke propaganda being fed to them.

Jesus loves the children so much that I honestly cannot imagine him being very pleased when “drag queens” are proudly and unashamedly parading in front of little children, leading them in “story time,” polluting their innocence with unadulterated filth disguised as “entertainment.” Surely, Jesus disapproves of this detestable activity.  

Jesus loves the children and does not want them to be mentally, emotionally, or physically scarred for life, for example, through so called, “gender reassignment” treatments and procedures. He abhors their being supplied harmful, life-threatening drugs. He doesn’t want them to be mistreated in any way. Regretfully, these kinds of actions are signs that we live in a decadent society that refuses to recognize him as the Lord and Savior to whom everyone must answer. 

Jesus loves the children and wants them to be saved. Indeed, children are precious in his sight for this purpose. Thus, he directs that they be raised and reared by godly parents where mothers and fathers teach them the Good News of salvation, to bring them into his wonderful Kingdom. That’s why he insisted, “Permit the children to come to me.”

Reflecting upon the chorus, “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” we are drawn to examine how much Jesus’ love extends to everyone, especially the young. Through him, God has a great plan that includes children for establishing his coming Kingdom. No child should ever be forbidden to have that opportunity.

And speaking of that chorus which I’m sure many of us can likewise remember…

The song, written by Clarence Herbert Woolston (1856–1927) has a most interesting history. For a well-written account of this children’s song, I refer you to an article by C. Michael Hawn titled, “History of Hymns: ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children.’”

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. Now, here’s the song presented by the Cedarmont Kids, https://youtu.be/p5LCvWddQHw

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Conquered and Triumphant

knight kneeling before jesus

It might seem strange to say that if you want to be triumphant over any challenge you face you must be willing to be conquered first. But if you’re a Christian, that’s exactly what happens when you give your life to Christ.

Having been conquered by Christ, believers are themselves made conquerors over the forces that would defeat us. Thus, the conquered in Christ are led by God to triumph over the world.

The minister and evangelist Frederick B. Meyers (1847-1929) referred to this fact, as well, when he wrote:

Those whom Jesus leads in triumph share His triumph. They may be a spectacle to angels and to men. Sometimes in the stocks; often accounted the offscouring of all things; yet, in the spiritual realm, they are made to triumph always. Conquered, they conquer; enslaved, they are free; last in this world, but in the front rank of heavenly society. Poor, beaten, vanquished soul, lift up thy head and rejoice; for if thou art conquered by Jesus, thou shalt be always made to triumph! (as cited in 1000 and One Thoughts From My Library, by Dwight L. Moody).

Meyer’s remarks are in reference to Second Corinthians 2:14 where the Apostle Paul wrote,

“But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” (Revised Standard Version, RSV)

This is Good News if you’re a Christian. You can be thankful to God if you are conquered by Christ. If you’ve given your life to Jesus through faith in him (Romans 10:17), repented of your sins (1 John 1:9), and been baptized (immersed in water) in his name (Acts 2:38), then in a spiritual sense you’ve been conquered in death but made alive in Christ. As Paul explains it in Romans 6:4-11,

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” (New Living Translation, NLT)   

Christians do not want to be conquered by a world lost in corruption and confusion with catastrophic consequences. The world consists of depraved minds given over to every form of evil it can conjure up. We don’t want to be defeated by a world filled with fear, insecurity, deception, and empty promises.

Instead, we want to be conquered by Christ who makes us triumphant over the world. For he is the One who sets us free, makes us strong, and gives us true hope so as not to fall into the traps laid out by this troubled world. This reminds me of the refrain in the old spiritual song that says, 

Give me Jesus, give me Jesus.
You may have all this world, give me Jesus.

By the way, note that the apostle says our triumph in Christ, “spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.” Just think of it: In a world that stinks of gloom and doom, our triumph in Christ spreads out Good News like a sweet, smelling aroma. Christ offers the most attractive way to deal with the problems brought on by a world that denies him and his teachings of truth.

The faithful identify in Christ not in themselves or what the world disguises as “good” but is really “evil.” We are able to triumph over this world’s evil because Christ is alive and working in his Church through his Power transforming believers into his likeness. Through him we will overcome the world as our hope is to receive eternal life when he returns (Romans 6:22-23). John wrote,

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.” (NLT)

There’s eternal honor and glory for those who’ve been conquered by Christ. Hopefully, you are one of them, “who shalt be always made to triumph!”

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. Let’s join with, “A Night of Worship, Praise & Thanksgiving” recorded live by Kingdom Musicians singing, “We Will Triumph in the Lord,” https://youtu.be/ht9nqFEXByM

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What You Can Learn From Failure


Like it or not, failure is part of our human experience. As much as we’d like not to fail, we must admit it happens. We may wish it wouldn’t. And we can try real hard not to, but we do.

In fact, failure actually comes naturally. You don’t have to put much work into it. For it’s said that the only thing in life achieved without effort is failure.

So, since it’s not a matter of if but when you fail, there are at least three ways you can react: (1) You can let it discourage you so much that you quit trying to do anything about it. (2) You can make excuses for it and put blame on others or the circumstances surrounding it. (3) You can face up to it and learn from it until you turn it into success. I assert the last one is the best choice.

We’d have a different world if some very successful persons hadn’t failed first. For example, did you know…

  • Henry Ford forgot to put a reverse gear on his first car?
  • Thomas Edison failed more times than can be counted but came up with 1,100 inventions?
  • Albert Einstein failed his entrance exams on his first attempt?
  • R. H. Macy failed 7 times before his store in New York caught on?
  • English novelist John Creasey got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books?
  • Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs?

I could go on with many other examples including some of the most righteous persons in the Bible who failed at one time or another in their lives…

  • The Apostle Paul, missionary to the Gentiles failed.
  • Peter, prominent leader of the Church, failed.
  • The apostles of Christ appointed to proclaim the Good News, failed.
  • David, Israel’s greatest king, “a man after God’s own heart,” failed.
  • Moses, giant among the Israelites, law giver, deliverer of Israel, failed.
  • Abraham, patriarch, man of faith, model of righteousness, failed.

If you are an open minded person, you will find that failure can teach you many things—namely, that…

  • Success isn’t automatic. You might have to fail many times before you see any sign of success. But if you work hard you will be rewarded in due time. (2 Chronicles 15:7)
  • There’s always something to learn. There’s much to gain through trial and error. (Philippians 4:12-13)
  • You are not perfect. Accepting imperfection enables you to expect perfection through the Lord who gives you wisdom and power. (Job 12:13, 16)
  • You are not alone. Acceptance that everyone fails helps you to keep failure in proper perspective pointing to the need to lean on God for help. (Romans 3:9-18)
  • Excuses are no excuse. God is the One in control. He is the main Source and Provider who helps us reach our goals. (Exodus 4:10-11)
  • It builds perseverance. You can endure to the end until it produces what is “perfect and complete,” (James 1:2-8).
  • You best look up. When you fail time after time it’s better to never give up but look up to the One who made you. (Psalm 121:1-8)
  • You have an important decision to make. You can give up like a child or you can grow up and learn from your experience. (Ephesians 4:13-16)
  • Now you know what NOT to do. If you’re wise you won’t make the same mistakes twice. Then, you’ll come closer to know WHAT to do.  You’ll learn to make the corrections or changes necessary to succeed. (Psalm 37:24; Proverbs 24:16; Micah 7:7-8)
  • You’re that much closer to success. There is no need to fear failure since success is on the way someday according to God’s plans. (Isaiah 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11-13)
  • To trust is better than to try. Trying and trying again is a start on your part, But trusting in the Lord time after time, will keep you going even after each time you fail. (Psalm 9:9-10; 62:8; Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • It presents an opportunity to start again. If you fall down you get up and start afresh committed to turn failure into success when all is said and done. (Isaiah 43:18-19; Philippians 3:13-16)

If you read each of these Bible references, you will find encouragement even when you fail. Through God’s beloved Son, Jesus, you can be assured that failure will not be permanent. For, in his time, God will correct all human failure (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

All things will be made new and perfect when God’s Kingdom comes. And complete success is guaranteed for all time (Revelation 21:3-5).

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. Learning from our failures is what counts as we aim toward success. Here’s Jason Gray as he sings, “Learning,” https://youtu.be/sGWi6KynB8s

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Be Revived Again!

Asbury Revival. photo jpg

They’re calling it, “The Asbury Revival.”

It all started the morning of Wednesday, last February 8, on the campus of Asbury University in Wilmore, Kentucky. The students gathered in the university’s Hughes Auditorium for their usual hour-long chapel service. But, as it turned out, the service became anything but usual.

The service kept on going 24/7, as hours multiplied into days and now weeks without any let up in sight at this writing. What happened was some of the students continued in worship after the service was supposed to end that day. Then, something special started to happen. More and more students on the campus joined in with those still inside the service. (See a report of what took place that day published in The Asbury Collegian.)

Soon, the entire auditorium was filled to the brim with worshippers. Meanwhile, people were eagerly waiting outside in the rain for hours to get in. It’s said the line of those wanting to enter the service stretched as long as half a mile. Thousands reportedly expressed their desire to take part with fellow worshippers, traveling long distance to attend the revival.

And so, from an ordinary gathering of students sincerely and humbly worshipping God in a chapel service, a religious revival was sparked. It ignited into flames of power and praise and heartfelt prayer. Hundreds testify how they felt the Spirit moving in their midst. And the news spread out like wildfire to gain international attention.

Due to coverage of the revival on social media such as TikTok, millions of viewers have been reportedly drawn to the non-stop worship. They watched for themselves professors and local church leaders as well as students singing praise songs, raising hands or kneeling in prayer, giving testimonies, reading scripture, and worshipping God in the ongoing revival. 

Since then, it’s reported that students and faculty from at least 22 other schools from various states travelled to take part in the service. It’s said at one time, there were upwards of 3,000 attendees, most of whom were out of state. As a matter of fact, the revival had grown so large that it had to expand over to additional facilities in town. On top of all that, several other schools and universities have been inspired to start their own revivals.

Where this all goes remains to be seen. But one thing appears evident: What happened is no mere coincidence. No one could have predicted this. It was a spontaneous event that soon became a spiritual movement.

For years, many believers have been calling and praying for a revival in our land, especially on college campuses. And now the Asbury Revival appears to be changing lives and leading countless persons to a personal encounter with Christ.

Since then, I’ve heard / read comments by attendees of the revival who given some amazing testimonies that can only be described as miraculous.

Many lives continue to be literally changed. Some tell how they felt the outpouring of the Holy Spirit—God’s Power. One attendee who was recently interviewed on radio said he witnessed fellow worshippers who’d experienced freedom from their addiction to porn and drugs. He saw how others were relieved from suffering mental and emotional issues. 

And there’s more….Persons at the revival describe how they felt a tangible presence of God and received peace and joy and blessings like never before. Some describe how they were personally released from their struggle with bitterness and anger and received spiritual healing. Others at the revival tell of recommitting their lives to Christ. Some even decided to enter ministry.

Evidently, a revival took place that day. Interestingly, it didn’t commence with any fanfare, entertainment, or intentional outcome. Rather, it simply arose out of spiritual desire, repentance, and devotion to God through prayer. It’s no more complicated than that.

It’s worth noting that the Asbury Revival did not start with thousands of worshippers in a fancy worship center. Nor did it happen through a fiery sermon by some popular charismatic preacher. It didn’t even require a lot of money, mass marketing, or gimmicks of any kind.

It only proves that revival is generated when anyone seeking the Good News of Christ will submit their lives to him. How many it takes to bring on revival is actually irrelevant. It doesn’t necessarily mean you must have a large church building and a huge crowd to start one.

But it does take gathering  sincerely and humbly in the name of Jesus no matter the number present. Jesus said if only two or three are gathered in his name, he will be there in their midst, (Matthew 18:20).What more do you need when Jesus is there? 

And it starts as each person obeys God’s Word by faith, repents of one’s sins, and walks in the newness of life in the name of Christ (Romans 6:4). In effect, God sends his Power to those who strive to follow him, thus bringing renewal and refreshment, a.k.a., revival.

It goes with the literal meaning of the word “revival”—“coming to life.” It’s compared to resuscitating someone back to life. The Apostle Paul metaphorically described it as being, “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 6:8-11).

Through Christ, we are therefore enabled to experience revival. It’s something we need, not on just one occasion or whenever there is a revival service taking place. In fact, we don’t have to travel very far to be revived. Actually, what it takes is to see that we get right with God, especially at those time we’re struggling to get back to the “full measure of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13), and the Power we receive in his name.

Speaking of being revived, I am reminded of an old favorite hymn we still sing in our worship services: “Revive Us Again.” The words of the song were written in 1867 by Scottish physician, Dr. William Mackay.

As the story is told, his godly mother gave him a Bible. On the inside cover, she’d written his name and date. The Bible was her gift to him at the time he was a young man of seventeen leaving home to study medicine at a university. 

But eventually Mackay, who was raised a Christian, drifted away from his faith. And he began drinking heavily. At one low point in his life when all he could think about was more money to satisfy his cravings, he pawned the Bible his mother gave him.

As time went  on, Dr. Mackay happened to be treating a young patient who was suffering from a very serious fall from a scaffold. The doctor asked the young man who could be notified of his injuries. The man replied that he didn’t have anyone. He was all alone.

He did request that the doctor contact the landlady to come and visit him in the hospital. The man owed her some money and, by the way, would the doctor please ask her to bring the book. When the doctor questioned him about the book, the young man didn’t say anything more other than she’ll know what book he was talking about.

All the while during his visits with the patient, the doctor saw the man was very at peace in spite of his critical condition. Judging from his disposition, he could tell the young man must be a Christian. But Mackay didn’t want to talk about that with him.

When the landlady brought in the book to the young man it was actually his Bible. He cherished it and held it closely to him for it gave him strength even though he was getting worse. Tragically, one week later, the young man grew weaker and died.

When Dr. Mackay was summoned to his room to take care of the deceased patient’s paperwork, the nurse asked him what she wanted him to do with the man’s Bible. Since there was no relative to give it to, Mackay said he’d dispose of it.

While the nurse was tending to the deceased’s body, Dr. Mackay picked up the Bible, opened the front of it and browsed through the first few pages.

Suddenly, the doctor got the shock of his life.

mackay_revive us again

William Paton Mackay (1839–1885)

Low and hold, inside the cover of that young man’s Bible was Dr. Mackay’s own handwritten name and the date signed years earlier by the doctor’s own loving mother. He surmised the young man must have purchased the Bible at the same pawn shop where he’d once left it.

Some of the pages had been worn and others loosened. He also found various verses the young man underlined. Mackay recognized these were the same verses that once were meaningful to him when he was young. No wonder the young man died in comfort and peace, he thought.

After that, Dr. Mackay was a changed man. Recalling those marked verses and those earlier days of youth brought repentance and restoration to his life. In the midst of tears, he asked God for forgiveness for all he’d done wrong.

The whole incident made such an impact on the doctor that he quit his practice and entered a seminary to become a minister in Scotland. He went on to write many hymns. But one song stands out in particular: “Revive Us Again.” It was inspired from the revival he experienced the time he  discovered the Bible his mother once gave him. 

I especially like the words in the hymn that says,

Revive us again; fill each heart with thy love;
May each soul be rekindled with fire from above.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, Hallelujah! Amen;
Hallelujah! Thine the glory, revive us again.

The song is taken from Psalm 85:6,

“Wilt thou revive us again: that Thy people may rejoice in Thee?”

Whether you’re in a crowded chapel service, or gathered with just two or three others, or alone with your Bible in hand, you can be revived, too. So that through prayer and worship you shall also find the peace, joy and love that comes from the Power of God through Jesus Christ, his Son.

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. Here are the Kramers singing their upbeat version of, “Revive Us Again,” https://youtu.be/K9FWq0eMqOE

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Experience the Highest Peace


It’s what drives people to seek professional counseling…answer ads guaranteeing “satisfaction or your money back”…purchase self-help materials…consult their horoscope…contact their meditation gurus…call or text their favorite talk show hosts…take prescribed medication…turn to alcohol, tobacco, or any kind of hallucinogenic substance…complain to their congressman…pour out their worries to a friend or maybe even to a stranger…

What do all these examples have in common? ANSWER: It’s the need to find peace of mind. After all, we’re only human you know. Who doesn’t want peace of mind to one degree or another?

The REAL question is, “Where can you get it and genuinely have it?”

I’ve already cited all kinds of ways we humans try and find it. But there’s one way I haven’t mentioned yet. It’s the Highest Peace that goes beyond the solutions offered by humans.

Consider the Source that makes this the Highest Peace:

In his letter to the Philippian Church, the Apostle Paul wrote,

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:7, Berean Standard Bible, BSB).

Here, the Apostle Paul is referring to the Highest Peace which comes from “the God of peace,” (Hebrews 13:20). He is the Source of all that exists—the one true Almighty God our Creator and Sustainer. Let’s take a closer look at this peace by answering three main questions:

One: What is the Peace of God?

God’s peace is highest and greatest for it is consistent with his moral attributes—namely, that he is holy, love, and truth. Because he is holy (Leviticus 19:2, Leviticus 20:7), God’s peace is morally pure. Because he is love (1 John 4:8), God’s peace is desirable and delightful. Because he is truth (Isaiah 65:16), God’s peace is trustworthy and true.

The peace of God is, therefore, perfect or complete. Since it is flawless, no other peace can substitute for his peace. It’s on account of God’s peace that peace of mind can be abundantly obtained and experienced.

The peace of God is part of his continual presence. It doesn’t come and go in time or change but is available 24/7. It is, in essence, reliable, endurable, and glorious.(1 Thessalonians 5:23; Galatians 6:16; 1 Peter 1:2; Hebrews 13:20).

It is noteworthy that “the peace of God” is why he can be called, “the God of peace,” (Philippians 4:9). God’s peace is active. Like oil in the ground, it’s riches are waiting to be discovered and tapped for all to reap and enjoy. It’s meant to be used but not abused or taken for granted. It’s rich in grace and ready to be claimed by anyone willing to seek and find “the God of peace.”

Two: What makes the Peace of God special?

When you therefore consider what the peace of God is, then you can appreciate what makes it so special. And what is that?

As Paul stated, it “surpasses all understanding.” And what does that mean?

The word,surpass” in the original Greek means, “to excel, to rise above, to transcend or be superior.” (Bible Hub)

The Greek word, “understanding” in this verse means, “the mental capacity to think or reason.” (Bible Hub)

Put it all together and Paul is talking about how the peace of God rises above and beyond our own human capacity to think or reason. This is what makes it so special. It comes from God, not from any other person.

If you could find peace of mind by simply telling yourself in the midst of discontentment or depression, “Self. I am now going to have peace of mind,” like flipping a light switch on, of course you’d do so. But that’s not how real peace—the peace of God—is obtained. You cannot instantly self-generate it through logic, emotion, or wishing for it.

But when you willingly accept it as the gift the God of peace wants you to receive, then you can come to know how special it actually is. Of course, faith enters into it. If you don’t believe in God and trust that the God of peace will give you peace, then you won’t experience it. And that’s the name of the game: experiencing THE highest peace that comes from God.

Three: What will the Peace of God do for you?

In Philippians 4:7, we are told how we can experience it: 

“The peace of God…will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Our “hearts” are our emotions and desires; our “minds” are our attitudes and knowledge. God will guard—that is, like a military sentinel, keep watch over—both our hearts and minds as we trust in his peace.

In that first question. “What is the peace of God?” I pointed out how God’s peace connects with his moral attributes. His attributes of holy, love, and truth dovetail with the peace we can experience:

(1) We receive peace of mind as we strive to live in the holiness of God through moral purity and wholeness (1 Peter 1:15-16).

(2) We also receive peace of mind as we strive to live in the love of God who fulfills our desire for satisfaction which brings joy and delight (Ephesians 3:14-19; 1 Peter 1:8).

(3) In addition, we receive peace of mind as we strive to live in the truth of God and, therefore, he enables us to be truthful, honest, and trustworthy according to his Word of truth (Ephesians 4:20-27; Hebrews 6:18).

The Way to Find Peace of Mind

This peace of God that guards our hearts and minds can only be experienced “in Christ Jesus.” When we willingly surrender our lives to God’s only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, then we can receive the gift of inner peace—including calmness, tranquility, rest—that comes with it. Jesus said,

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful,” (John 14:27, New American Standard Bible 1995, NASB 1995).

True and lasting peace does not come through the world’s ideas or recommendations. The world can only bring fake peace. It’s deceptive and distorted. Watch out for those movements that make you think you’ll find peace but instead will only bring heartache and disaster (Deuteronomy 29:18-19; Jeremiah 28:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:3).

The peace of God can only be experienced through the Son of God who brings us peace WITH God. The world cannot do that because it cannot do what Jesus does: Bring us into peace with the God of peace, his Father in heaven.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 5:1, English Standard Version, ESV).

The Bible says that due to our sinful nature, we are in a state of rebellion toward God, like two enemies. He is perfect in every way but we are not. So, we humans fall short of his glory (Romans 6:23).

It’s only out of God’s wonderful grace that the sacrificial death of God’s Son on the cross redeems us (Hebrews 13:20). Thus, through Christ, we are reconciled to God so that we are no longer enemies but friends (Romans 5:1, 2, 9-11). And therein flows the peace that transcends human understanding.

Here are some fascinating Bible passages that apply to the ways believers experience peace with God through the peace of God:

If you want inner peace then go to the One who will give you the Highest Peace and you will be highly blessed! (Philippians 4:6)

Good News of Peace to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. When you breathe in the peace of God you find rest and hope to carry on with peace of mind. Here’s “Peace,” https://youtu.be/uW6xcmqfiY4

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Getting to the ‘Heart’ of the Matter

Jeremiah 29_13

What would Valentine’s Day be without hearts? Not the kind, of course, in your chest that pumps blood throughout your body and keeps you alive. That would be kind of gross, wouldn’t it?

I mean, try to imagine this bloody, fist-sized muscle with vessels sticking up while pumping away depicted on cards, candy boxes, jewelry, clothing, advertising and the like. This picture of the human heart would probably not be very romantic-looking.

Actually, it’s the iconic shape of the heart that most commonly attracts us. It derives from that ancient symbol that has come to represent love as well as all that’s associated with it—desire, compassion, charity, and sacrifice.

Of all cultures, religions, and accounts that speak of the heart in connection with love, the Bible tells us what makes it most relevant and effective. It goes back to the establishment of God’s Laws when Israel was being established as a nation. It says in Deuteronomy 6:4-5,

Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (New American Standard Bible 1995, NASB 1995)

The love of God and the simple unity of God are the core of loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind. The Jewish people were taught there’s only one person who is God, the one who displays his love in glorious ways, He is above all and worthy of our worship. (Psalm 36:7; 109:26; Jeremiah 31:3; Zephaniah 3:17).

As a matter of fact, God IS love. One who loves God knows what true love is. Therefore, God’s love is our confession of faith as Christians, too. It ripples forth from our hearts like waves toward one another. For as it says in First John 4:7 and 8,

“7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.”(NASB 1995)

So, when it says in Deuteronomy 6:5 that we are to love the one God with all our heart, soul, and mind, what does that really mean?

Jewish commentary based on the Hebrew Text provides unique insight into the understanding of these key words (Source: The Soncino Edition of the Pentateuch and Haftorahs, Chief Rabbi Dr. J.H. Herte, p. 770):

With all your heart…

“Because there is one God, we must give Him undivided allegiance. The One God demands the whole of man (Smend). The rabbis explain with all your heart to mean, ‘with all thy desires, including the evil inclination’; i.e. make thy earthly passions and ambitions instruments in the service of God.”

With all your soul

“…The Rabbis take the words with all thy soul to mean ‘with thy whole life’; i.e. love Him with the heart’s last drop of blood, and give up thy life for God, if He requires it….”

With all your might

“With the full concentration of feeling and power.” One source asserts this includes loving God “‘whatever lot Providence has assigned to thee,’ such as times of bliss and happiness, and in times of distress and misfortune.” Another explanation is, “‘with all they possessions’; despite whatever material sacrifice thy loyalty to Israel’s God and Torah might entail…”

The one, true, and living God is the sole Source of love. He is the One who sparks our love for him. And through such love comes obedience to the principles that genuinely provide prosperity, orderliness, stability, and abiding hope.

What this means to us…

What God said to the people of Israel through Moses still applies to us in our time. In fact, it gets to the heart of matter (pun intended) when it comes to maintaining emotional and intellectual stability, morality, and spirituality. For God revealed his pure love in the perfect Person of his beloved Son, Jesus the Christ.

First John 4:9 through 14 continues,

By this the love of God was manifested [revealed] in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [atoning sacrifice] for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. 13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.”

John goes straight to the heart of the matter of love, making the connection between God’s love for us and our love for him. That connection is God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16). Indeed, Jesus echoed Deuteronomy 6:4-5 when he spoke of God’s Law and how it ties into the Royal Law, the Law of Love (Mark 12:28-34; Romans 12:9; James 2:8).

There’s a fitting analogy when you compare the functioning of the human heart and the sacrifice of Jesus who gave up his life on the cross to save us from our sins. Just think of it:

Human blood is literally pumped from the heart to all parts of the body to purify and cleanse it and keep it healthy and alive. Likewise—because of his heart of love for his heavenly Father and us, as well,—the blood of Jesus was literally poured out to cleanse us from our sins and save us from the penalty of our sins—eternal death. Thus, because of his sacrifice, we have the hope of receiving eternal life in God’s coming Kingdom.  (Romans 5:8-11; Ephesians 2:4-9; 1 John1:7).

Indeed, Jesus IS the heart of the matter. It is he who makes our love for God and one another come alive. Through the Power of God we receive in Christ we are able  to produce the fruit that benefits all who confess him as Savior and Lord (1 John 4:15-21; Galatians 5:22-26).

John goes on to write,

1 John 5 “1Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” (NASB 1995)

So, when Valentine’s Day arrives this coming Tuesday and you see all the many heart symbols on display, and should you receive something with a heart on it, remember where the heart of love truly comes from. The Good News is that when you get to the heart of the matter, your heart of love will be touched in endless ways (Ephesians 3:14-19).

Good News to YOU!
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Pastor Michael
P.S. When you give your whole heart to the Lord God through his Son you will have a wonderful experience that will change your life for the best. Here’s Brandon Heath singing, “Whole Heart,”  https://youtu.be/5z0vViy0uLU

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What You Need to Know About Attitudes

attitude emojis

The joke is told about an ill-tempered man who went to see the doctor.
“What seems to be your trouble?” the doctor asked kindly.
“That’s what you are supposed to tell me,” the man retorted.
“In that case,” the doctor said, “I’d like you to sit in the reception room for about an hour while I call a specialist. He’s a veterinarian and the only doctor I know who can make a diagnosis without asking questions.” (Overheard at the Country Café)

Funny joke. But someone who is really like this “ill-tempered” man isn’t so funny. I’d say such a person has an attitude problem. At least, that’s MY attitude about it! (ha! ha!)

I guess it takes somewhat of an attitude to talk about it. But what kind of attitude does it take, anyway? Hmmm! It gives us something to think about!

For, you see, I’ve observed there are three kinds of attitudes: good, bad, and indifferent. The good one is of a positive nature; the bad one, of a negative nature; and the indifferent one of a neutral nature.


Let’s consider that last one, first. Do you know someone who doesn’t seem to show any concern or interest in something? You ask them questions like, “What do you think of all these problems of lawlessness being reported in the news? What should we do?” Then, they shrug their shoulders and say, “Beats me. I don’t want to get into that subject, anyway. If I did have an opinion and told you, it might cause an argument. I won’t take any sides on the issue. I’ll just stay neutral about it.”

This kind of attitude reminds me of the story about a university professor who was giving a lecture to his class. He spotted one of the students seated there who was about to fall asleep. So he asked the student, “What is the greatest problem in our society—ignorance or apathy?” The student replied, “I don’t know and I don’t care!” (The Speaker’s Quotebook)


The second attitude is simply negative, or in other words, filled with pessimism while at the same time mostly void of confidence, hope, and all-around happiness. You ask such a person concerning their opinion on increasing lawlessness in the world and he or she will likely make a comment like, “The world is going to hell and we’re all doomed.”

We also hear negative persons always complaining, “It’s too good to be true.”; “It will never happen.”; “The future is dark,”; “I’m no good.” Their disposition is to be anxious, distrustful, bitter, hopeless, and even destructive. It ultimately leads to failure.

Negative people wallow in misery. And they seem to enjoy it even though they feel depressed. On top of that, they don’t mind making others feel miserable, too. Like the saying, “Misery loves company.”


Then, there’s that first attitude: positive. It’s the complete opposite of the other two attitudes. It’s both active and constructive. It shows initiative to move forward as it doesn’t give up building success for everyone’s benefit.

One with a positive mental attitude is not only optimistic but realistic, too. It’s not especially looking at the world through rose-colored glasses for this view will likely create the disillusionment that all’s well when it’s not. They accept the fact that not everything or everyone is perfect. And yet, that doesn’t mean there’s never room for improvement.

With a positive attitude, one accepts that God not only exists, but that he has set up standards of morality, order, and conduct (Exodus 20:1-17; Matthew 22:34-40). But if his standards are disobeyed, due to sin, there will be a price to pay (Romans 6:23).

That’s why God through his tender mercy is giving us time to learn and grow and repent (Acts 3:19; 17:30). Yet, those with the positive attitude also know that someday God will run out of patience and time to change will have run out (2 Peter 3:1-9). So, live each day for the Lord for no one knows how long until this time comes (Matthew 24:42-44). 

If you have a positive attitude you believe that there is a lot of good still left to do.  And you are glad to get involved in helping to make it so. So, when asked what you think about the lawlessness of society, the answer would be like, “Yes, lawlessness is a growing problem just as Jesus predicted would happen (Matthew 24:12) But I have faith that he will, number one, help us to endure through God’s grace; number two, provide opportunities to deal with it; and, number three, keep on proclaiming the Good News of Christ (Matthew 24:13-14; 28:18-20).”

And this leads us into…


Christians have much reason to be positive. They have God’s Power to guide and strengthen them in every circumstance of life. And this gives us an opportunity to rejoice always. (Philippians 4:4-13). Whatever temptation we face (including the temptation to have an indifferent or a negative attitude) we can take a positive outlook knowing God will provide a way to overcome it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

It comes with the conviction that a better day is coming in which all those who are saved in Christ will inherit an eternal reward when Jesus returns to earth (Romans 5:8-10; Revelation 22:12). Christians are positive because they realize that although there will be tribulation in this mortal life, they eagerly look ahead toward entering God’s glorious Kingdom.   

This is called, ”the blessed hope,” (Titus 2:13); “a living hope,” (1 Peter 1:3-5); and “the hope of glory,” (Colossians 1:27).

But there’s also another reality that comes with the truth that not everyone will be saved—namely, the unrighteous who reject Christ as their Savior and Lord. The Bible clearly says what their reward will be and it isn’t something that will be pleasant (Revelation 20:11-15; 21:8).

While this might appear as negative, the results will be positive because God’s perfect plan is to bring justice on the entire earth, rid the world of sin and evil once and for all, and restore this planet as it was in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 18:25; Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 3:10-13; Revelation 21:5; 22:1-3). Thus, we have a positive attitude knowing that our all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful God in heaven will keep his promises because of his holiness, love, and truth.


In view of these three attitudes, what you need to know is that a positive mental attitude is the best way to view life and find true and lasting happiness. An ill-tempered person will have difficulty accepting this idea. But it’s proven to work even when you are down and out. For God promises to his people,

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” (Jeremiah 29:11, New International Version, NIV).

From a Biblical perspective, only someone with a positive mental attitude will think and act according to these Divine plans That’s my attitude about it. What’s yours? 

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. For your inspiration, here are “20 Christian Bible Affirmations for Positive Thinking”—https://youtu.be/0Rp5FuGphko

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When God is Called on the Football Gridiron

prayer_players kneeling in game

It was thrilling to behold. It happened last Sunday afternoon (1/22) during a National Football League game in Orchard Park, New York.

I was watching the Cincinnati Bengals playing the Buffalo Bills in their American Football Conference divisional playoff game. Right as the game was in progress, I heard the fans in the stands burst out into a roar with cheers and applause and a standing ovation.

What was happening? Well, it wasn’t from something on the playing field. Neither was it from the sidelines or in the stands. No. It was something going on in one of the stadium suites overlooking the field.

For just when the fans erupted, the camera panned in the direction of someone in the suit. Then, the TV announcer raised his voice in excitement: “He’s here, Bills player, Damar Hamlin. Welcome back!”

Damar was being hailed as a hero. It was his first appearance in front of all the fans since going into cardiac arrest three weeks earlier on January 2, while playing in a Monday Night Football game in Cincinnati’s Paycor Stadium.

That’s when the Bills safety collapsed midfield right after tackling a Bengals player who’d caught a pass. During those crucial moments he was down, athletic trainer, Denny Kellington, reportedly came to the rescue administering CPR. The whole stadium was filled with fans who stood watching in stunned silence not knowing what was going to happen to Damar as he laid motionless on the field that night.

This is the scene that was still fresh in the minds of the fans three weeks later on Sunday when their hero appeared to them again. The timing was ironical: The two teams facing each other that afternoon were the same ones playing at that Monday Night Football game. 

Much improved yet still recovering, Damar could be seen through the suit’s window as he was wearing a hooded jacket, waiving to the fans, and saluting them. He was also raising his arms as though to urge their team on. The timing couldn’t have been better. It was right when the Bills was only 5 yards from crossing the goal line and scoring a touchdown. Damar then gestured his love to everyone for their support by forming his now familiar heart sign with his hands.

That Damar survived his ordeal and was able to show up at a game not long afterwards is nothing less than a miracle. It’s reported that survival rates for such a thing are fairly low—under 8 percent—for a patient who undergoes CPR until leaving the hospital. Indeed, his recovery did beat the odds. (Medical Express)

This drives home all the more the miraculous nature of Damar’s recovery. As one headline in the New York Post read, “Damar Hamlin’s recovery is the New Year’s miracle America never needed more.”

But, it needs to be remembered, miracles do not happen by accident. Miracles are the results of God’s work and—as in the case of Damar Hamlin—the prayers of many people on his behalf.

For in those precious moments when Damar’s heart stopped beating, players, coaches, and all others standing there on the gridiron, in tears, feeling helpless over the sight, suddenly dropped to pray to the Almighty for the player.

Amazingly, while medical treatment was being applied, players were no longer on one knee to make a social statement. No. This time they were kneeling to offer their heartfelt prayers to God for help in time of desperate need. Their appeal to a Higher Power seemed to signify something even more significant than the woke messages painted on the turf and printed on their helmets. Their public appeal to God yielded a true demonstration of unity, faith, and love.

Even more amazing was when the mass media started to advocate prayer. Who would have ever imagined that radio and TV announcers were going to say something like, “Football is now no longer important but the life of a fellow human being that’s on the line. So, let’s reflect on this as our prayers go out for Damar and his family at this somber time.”

And then there was ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky who actually paused to pray on air during the NFL Live broadcast—

“God, we come to you in these moments that we don’t understand, that are hard, because we believe that you’re God, and coming to you and praying to you has impact. We’re sad, we’re angry, and we want answers, but some things are unanswerable. We just wanna pray, truly come to you and pray for strength for Damar, for healing for Damar, for comfort for Damar, to be with his family, to give them peace. If we didn’t believe that prayer didn’t work, we wouldn’t ask this of you, God. I believe in prayer, we believe in prayer. We lift up Damar Hamlin’s name in your name. Amen.”

Fellow analysts with Orlovsky, Marcus Spears and host Laura Rutledge, also bowed their heads in expression of their support.

Many others continued to call on everyone to pray for Damar when the ambulance took him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. Right after the game was suspended that evening, the National Football League Players Association tweeted,

“The NFLPA and everyone in our community is praying for Damar Hamlin. We have been in touch with Bills and Bengals players, and with the NFL. The only thing that matters at this moment is Damar’s health and well being.” (Twitter)

The next day, Tuesday (1/3), Bengals owner Mike Brown released a statement offering thoughts and prayers on behalf of Damar and his family—

“First and foremost, the Bengals continue to send thoughts and prayers to Damar Hamlin and his family,” the statement began….“The Bengals are thankful for the love and compassion shown by all. Praying for Damar.” (Cincinnati Bengals)

Just 24 hours after his cardiac arrest (1/3), a candlelight prayer vigil for him was organized and attended by  Bills and Bengals fans gathering outside the hospital. There was another prayer vigil for Damar in Buffalo on Wednesday (1/4), as well.  People were holding up signs like, “#3. Prayers for D. Hamlin,” “Hope for #3 Hamlin.” (Three is his jersey number.).

The outpouring of support and prayer for Damar continued as fans were starting to hear some positive news. Doctors and family were saying that even while his condition was still listed as critical, he was showing some signs of improvement. By the end of that week, he was showing consciousness, making motor movement, and following commands.

Prayer was being answered. As each day went by, Damar was showing more progress. He was able to talk a little, ask questions (like, “Who won the game?”), and send messages….

“When you put real love out into the world it comes back to you 3x’s as much. … The Love has been overwhelming, but I’m thankful for every single person that prayed for me and reached out. We brung the world back together behind this. If you know me you know this only gone make me stronger. On a long road keep praying for me!  #3strong” (Instagram)

On January 7, Damar tweeted,

“Putting love into the world comes back 3xs as much… thankful for everyone who has reached out and prayed. This will make me stronger on the road to recovery, keep praying for me!” (Twitter)

Later, Damar tweeted to acknowledge that people of all faiths were praying for him—

“The love is felt, & is extremely real. No matter race or religion everybody coming together in prayer!” (Twitter)

It’s pointed out that of all faiths, Christians especially appreciate how prayer was so significant on behalf of Damar. A Christianity Today article reported,

“The National Football League has a strong—and in a good way—evangelical culture,” pastor and retired NFL player Derwin Gray told Christianity Today’s, The Bulletin podcast. “I don’t mean all the political nonsense. I’m talking about the Good News that makes sense.” (Christianity Today)

So, here we are within mere weeks of that terrifying scene when Damar nearly died on the football field and the prayers of millions continue to be answered. We’ve seen the proof as he waived to all his cheering fans in Buffalo just days ago.

I remember something said the following day by a well-known and respected football coach recalling the prayers for Damar…

Two-time super Bowl Champion, Hall of Fame Coach, and football analyst, Tony Dungy, spoke at the March for Life Rally, January 22, saying,

“It’s amazing to me that God actually used football to shine some light on the subject of life for all of us. Three weeks ago, during a game in Cincinnati, something happened that impacted our entire country. A young man Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills made a routine tackle, and his heart stopped beating right on the field,” Dungy began….It could’ve been tragic, but something miraculous happened. The team medical staff rushed out, they got Damar’s heart started again, but you know what? That wasn’t the real miracle. The real miracle was the reaction of everyone to that.”

Indeed, miracles DO happen. Prayers ARE answered. Anywhere, anytime, any situation God can and should be called on whether times are terrifying or terrific for our trust is in him.

As King David exhorted,

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge,” (Psalm 62:8, New International Version).

David also declared,

“Everything God does is right—the trademark on all his works is love. God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. He does what’s best for those who fear him—hears them call out, and saves them,” (Psalm 145:17-19, The Message).

It was during that Monday Night Football game, the world witnessed something that should never be forgotten.  At a time when many people would like to remove prayer from everything including football games, it’s worth reminding ourselves that when God is called on the football gridiron (or, any other place) something greater than a game takes place. Miracles DO happen!

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. We’re reminded that where ever you are, you can call on God and he will answer. Here’s a lovely song called, “Have You Ever Talk to God Above?”   https://youtu.be/Ba6mTUBH7PU

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The Right Thing to Do

Jesus_John 14_15

“Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do, and does not do it, to him it is sin.”
(James 4:17, New American Standard Bible, NASB)

Many years ago, when I worked in insurance, one of the sayings the company echoed to inspire us agents was, “Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.”

This was a good rule to follow, Biblical in fact. But not everyone followed it.

Every once in a while there’d be reports of an agent who wasn’t quite honest with their clients. They might purposely exaggerate the risks covered in a policy or try to pressure the client to buy something they didn’t really need, All this just to make sales.

In fact, I know someone personally who made up names of clients that he wrote on the policy renewal cards. His motive was mainly for breaking records and winning company prizes for being “top salesman.” Needless to say, when this was discovered, he was immediately fired and left to face criminal charges.

The right thing to do…

Which begs the question: What IS “the right thing”? How do you know what it is? Do you go by instincts? how you feel? whatever you want to think?

In the Bible verse I cited above, James is speaking of the right thing in accordance with submitting to God. For those who question whether or not God exists, or if they do not believe in him at all, this is not going to mean anything. But, for those who do firmly believe in God, there’s the conviction of pursuing and doing God’s will above and beyond our own will. James said,

“…you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and also do this or that,” (James 4:15, NASB).

Doing what is not right by not following God’s will is a serious matter. There may be a lot of things that seem right, but will lead to a dead end—literally. Proverbs 16:23 reads,

“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death,” (New International Version, NIV).

Whenever we’re told that something is right because it’s convenient, popular, or even “science,” our first priority is to seek God’s will in it. This was included in the model-prayer Jesus gave:

“Our Father who art in heaven…Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” (Matthew 6:10, NASB).

Jesus knew that God’s will is the primary requirement for doing the right thing. Through him, we know the right thing to do. He demonstrated it through his own instructions and example.

Jesus said, “Follow me…” (Mark 10:17-22).  If you are sincerely following him, you are doing the right thing. This is not to guarantee it will always be easy. Trials and temptations are part of the territory of doing what’s right.

In his book, Monday Morning Leadership, David Cottrell said,

“Doing the right thing isn’t always easy – in fact, sometimes it’s real hard – but just remember that doing the right thing is always right.”

This presents a challenge. This world is always defining what people think or feel is “right”. And if we don’t give in to their ideas, they will attempt to get us to do the wrong things.

The reality is, humanity is flawed due to sin and error. We’re better off doing what God through Christ says because one who does right will in due time receive the blessings that result from it. Even if unbelievers threaten or try to intimidate us in some way, we know that God will ultimately reward us for doing what’s right. The Apostle Peter wrote,

“But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats,” (1 Peter 3:14).

Let’s face it: The world tries hard to pressure us into believing that certain things once considered wrong are now right (Isaiah 5:20). They’ll go to any length to convince us that if we do what the Bible says is right, then we’re following something that’s out of style or not with the times. Thus, they’re obsessed with promoting radical changes in our culture relating to family, gender, education, human relationships and lifestyles under the assertion they are right.

But this is a ruse. It’s only to get us to conform to their own desires, to come under their control. We know their con. And we know it goes against the grain of wholesome, healthy living that comes by obedience to God. Yet, it’s worth our sacrifice for not giving in to their manipulative attempts.

If you want to get an idea of what is produced living rightly (“fruit of the Spirit”) as opposed to living wrongly (“sins of the flesh”) as evidenced in the world, read Galatians 5:19-24.

We, as Christians, strive to do what’s good and right because we know there’s a better Day coming. That’s the Good News that makes the right thing the right thing to do. For those who sow the right things will reap the good things that come from it, even eternal life (Romans 6:22; Galatians 6:8).

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. Here’s 11th Hour singing, “Doin’ What’s Right,” https://youtu.be/hvxjkcZgaPw

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Does It Really Matter What You Believe?

I Believe_Thinker

Sometimes you might hear someone say that it doesn’t matter what you believe. Their reasoning goes like this: “All Christians believe in God and we’re all going to end up in the same place anyway. So, it doesn’t really matter what a Christian believes.”

But we can object to this line of reasoning for these reasons:

One: What you believe will determine your behavior. For example, if you believed in atheism your actions and attitudes would be different than someone who is a Christian. You’d see no reason for being in a worship service. Instead, you’d be doing something else for this would be the last place you’d want to be—a place where people worshipped someone you believe doesn’t exist.

You’d also be interested in erasing anything that has to do with recognizing a Higher Power—such as, money (“In God we trust”); our Pledge of Allegiance (“one nation under God”); and any signs or pictures on public property that quote scripture or depict a Biblical scene.

And, unless you dare exercise your rights, don’t speak of God or the Bible or pray in school, for Heaven’s sake! In addition, given the way some radicals in our society are thinking these days, there are some things you can’t say you believe or don’t believe according to the Bible without being censored or falsely charged. Clearly, this situation affects the way people behave. 

Two: What you believe could ultimately determine your fate. Let’s say you had a real bad cough. So you went to the medicine cabinet and took out some cough syrup. At least, that’s what you believed it was.  But what you didn’t see was this little picture on the label that had a skull and crossbones with a word in capitals that warned DANGER. Just as you’re about to take a spoonful of this “medicine” it would be of utmost importance to change what you believe or else you will suffer a most deadly outcome. Yes, no matter what you want to believe about that bottle in your medicine cabinet, it won’t change what’s really in it! Reading the label would help, too!

Three: What you believe depends on your faith. But not just any kind of faith. Someone can say, “Yeah, I have faith. I believe there’s a God.” Theirs is a general faith that anybody can assert. James said to the church, “You believe there is one God; you do well: Even demons believe and tremble,” (James 2:19, New American Standard Bible, Revised Edition.). The point is, you can sincerely say you have faith that there’s one God but that’s not enough without showing it by your actions.

Genuine faith is boiled down to three ingredients in conversion: belief, confidence, trust. And this is how we put our actions into use as Christian believers. This is what saving faith does. It’s revealed by what the Bible calls, “THE faith,” (emphasis mine).

Jude says, “contend earnestly for THE faith,” (Jude1:3, NASB).

In Ephesians, the Apostle Paul said there’s only “one faith,” and he talked about attaining to “the unity of THE faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,” (Ephesians 4:5, 13).

For these reasons and many more I could list, it really DOES matter what you believe. In fact, what you believe will ultimately determine the outcome of your future. For John recorded,

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. (John 3:16-18, The Message, MSG).

In addition, the Apostle Paul declared,

9…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed,” (Romans 10:9-11, NASB 1995; Also, Isaiah 28:16; Romans 9:33).

Good News to YOU!
Pastor Michael
P.S. Here’s the soul-stirring song, “I Believe,” https://youtu.be/pj8OOHRTiWc

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