Wednesday, April 20, 2011

New Blog Site

From this point forward I will no longer use blogger as my blogging site. I have switched over to wordpress. My domain is Please be sure to check out the new blog. You can subscribe via email. I posted a new article today!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pt. 4 – Change Your Present

This week I have challenged each person reading this blog to take a self-examination. We examined our attitude, conduct, speech, representation and yesterday our future. Unfortunately, sometimes exams like this bring to light things we need to improve on. I know that there a certain things that I need to work on to better live my life for the Lord. I’m striving daily to work on those things so I can be a better reflection of the one who lives in me.

Maybe after taking a self-examination you feel as though there is no way that heaven can be your future because the things in your past are too bad to overcome. Perhaps you feel that you have no hope. If this describes you, I have great news! God can take someone with a bad past, use them for his glory and change their future.


Perhaps you’ve heard about Rahab before. This woman had so many things against her that it’s hard to imagine her future being heaven. First, she was a woman. Women were viewed as second class citizens. There was an old Jewish prayer that said, “I thank my God that I was not born a Gentile or a woman.”

Second, she was a Canaanite from Jericho which made her a pagan. Before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, they were told that God would drive away many nations, including the Canaanites, and they (Israel) were to utterly destroy them (Deut. 7:1-2). Why? The Canaanites practiced all different types of sexual relations that Israel was told to avoid (Lev. 18). The Canaanites were evil people.

Third, Rahab was a harlot. Her profession is one that our society, even today, looks down upon. Rahab’s past was unpleasant. She had three strikes against her and it would appear she was doomed. However, she was spared for her actions concerning the spies (Jos. 2) when the Israelites defeated the city of Jericho (Jos. 6). From that day forward she remained with the Israelites.

If the story of Rahab ended there, we would be left wondering what might have been. Thanks be to God that her story doesn’t end at this point. As one reads in the New Testament one finds Rahab is mentioned in the geneology of Jesus (Matt. 1:5) and is one of only two women mentioned in the great Hall of Faith (Heb. 11:31). It is pretty clear that this woman with a bad past didn’t let that keep her from having a bright future.


Most people, even if they are not religious, have heard of David. David was handsome, powerful and perhaps most importantly, the king of Israel that was chosen by God. Yet, David had a pretty messed up past didn’t he? He committed adultery with Bathsheba who was married to one of the soldiers (Uriah) in his army and she became pregnant. Instead of coming clean about the sin he committed, David tried to cover up his sin with lies and deception (2 Sam. 11:5-7).  He called Uriah home from battle in order to cover his tracks; when this didn’t work, David had Uriah murdered (2 Sam. 11:14-17).

Most people would read this and think that David was a man on a road to destruction. But that wasn’t David. Yes, he made plenty of mistakes. We all do! However, David is well spoken of throughout the New Testament. It is clear that he is a person who is held in high regard. Not to mention David was even described as a man after God’s own heart (I Sam. 13:14). When you consider all this and not just his sin of adultery with Bathsheba, it’s clear that David didn’t allow his past to keep him from having a bright future.


When I think about someone whose past was almost too bad to overcome, I can’t help but think about Paul. Before he encountered a name change he was know as Saul of Tarsus, a great persecutor of the early Christians. In fact, when Paul was giving a defense before King Agrippa he said, “And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them” (Acts 26:10). Paul had a pretty rough past. Apparently he felt it was so bad that he would tell young Timothy, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all” (I Tim. 1:15).  

Paul saw himself as the worst of all sinners, but God saw something else. God saw a man who was dedicated to what he was doing so God chose Paul. That’s right. Paul was handpicked by God to serve as His instrument to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15) and that’s exactly what he did, even considering his own life to be worthless except for the sake of the Gospel of Christ. Saul, a persecutor of Christians, became Paul, persecuted with Christians.  

Never Allow Your Past To Determine Your Future

Friends, I don’t know what your self-examination revealed, but I know this…there is no past so bad that God can’t help you overcome it. Rahab, David and Paul: Three people, three past and yet, three futures that were not determined by the past. Never allow your past to determine your future! Change your present situation with God and make heaven your eternal home.

Now that’s Something to Think About!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Pt. 3 – Choose Your Future

 We have spent the last two days examining our past. Today I would like for us to examine our future. The great thing about examining our future is that we have the opportunity to choose our future. What do you want your future to be? Personally, I believe in the end, everyone’s future will be one of two places.


When I think about the future I can’t help but think about heaven. I want heaven to be my future more than anything else. What about you? Do you want heaven to be your future? Consider if you will a few reasons why I want heaven to be my future.

Heaven is being prepared by our Lord. Jesus told his disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (Jn. 14:1-3). At this very moment the Lord is preparing a special place for you and me.

Heaven is beautiful beyond description. Paul said it this way, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Cor. 2:9). WOW! Paul says, “You can’t even begin to imagine what the Lord is preparing for you.” When you stop and take in all the beauty around you realize this…it was all created by God. And if God created the world and everything it, how much more beautiful will Heaven be. It’s going to be even better than we can imagine.

Heaven is the dwelling place of God. John wrote, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them’” (Rev. 21:3). I want heaven to be my future because God will be there.

Heaven is a place of no more tears, pain, or death. John continued his thoughts on the holy city with these words, “And He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4). When I think about this life and the things about it which I do not like, I think about pain and tears. Most of us have experienced a fair amount of pain and shed probably more tears than we can recall. Perhaps a lot of our pain and tears were caused by the death of those we loved. I look forward to my future being heaven so that I won’t have to experience anymore pain, tears or death.

Heaven is a place to be reunited with loved ones. After David’s child he conceived with Bathsheba died, he longed for the day that he could be reunited with Him again in heaven (2 Sam. 12:23). I have lost some people I love dearly. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about them and miss them. I look forward to my future being heaven so that I can be reunited with them once again around the throne of God.

Heaven will last forever. When you think about our Lord preparing a special place for us in the dwelling place of God, that is going to be more beautiful than we can fathom, where we will know no sadness and be reunited with our loved ones who have gone on before, the only thing that could make this place any better is the fact that it will last forever (I Thess. 4:17). Friends, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Our future can be HEAVEN or our future can be HELL…


I have heard very few sermons preached on hell in my entire life. In fact, basically all I can ever remember hearing is that hell is a place no one wants to go. Have you ever stop to think about why you don’t want your future to be hell? Consider a few reasons why I don’t want hell to be my future.

Hell is a place of separation from God.  Have you ever been away from someone you love for a long period of time? If you have then you understand how unpleasant it is. Friends, we were created for the purpose of having a relationship with God and communing with Him. The fact that a future in hell means being separated from God is a main reason I do not want to go there.

Hell is a place of no hope. When one reads the account of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, it becomes pretty apparent that the rich man was in a place where there was no hope. He was told that he could not pass from where he was in torment into the place where Lazarus was in the comfort of Abraham’s bosom (v. 26). No matter how bad he wanted out of hell, it was hopeless.

Hell is a place of torment that last forever. John wrote, “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name” (Rev. 14:11). I have had times in my life where I thought I was in torment or times where I was being tormented by someone. Each time that torment ended. For those whose future is hell, their torment will never end; they will have no rest day or night.

Hell was prepared for the devil and his angels. I think the most telling thing of all is that hell was not created for God’s precious children. Hell was created for the devil and his angels. Jesus said to those on His left, “Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41). I do not want hell to be my future because I do not want to spend all of eternity in the presence of the devil and his angels.

I’m sure if we were to take a poll, every person would say, “I want heaven to be my future.” However, the sad reality is that most people will miss out on heaven (Matt. 7:13-14). Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matt. 7:21-23). Only those who do the will of God will have a future in heaven. For everyone else, their future is something to be dreaded, hell.

As you examine your life, what does your future look like? Do you see yourself enjoying a future in heaven with the creator of all things or in hell with the devil and his angels? Friends, I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that we have the opportunity to pick our future. I pick HEAVEN…what about you?

Now that’s Something to Think About!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Part 2 – Consider Your Past Continued

Examinations are never fun. You never know what might be revealed. As we continue this self-examination let us examine a couple more important aspects of our past! Consider your past…


The tongue is very powerful. In fact, there are few things more powerful. James said, “For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well” (Jam. 3:2). Why would a person, who could keep from stumbling in what he says, be considered a perfect man? James goes on to tell us, “But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil full of deadly poison” (v. 8). He would be considered perfect because no man can tame the tongue. It’s too powerful. Since the tongue is so powerful, it’s vital that we use our speech for good.

When you think about your past speech, was your speech used to build others up? Paul said, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29). Have you ever had someone say something to tear you down? It’s not a pleasant feeling is it? The wise man described reckless words as sword thrusts (Prov. 12:18). Just thinking about how we use our words to stab someone like one does with a sword is painful. We must be careful not to use our speech in a way that tears others down.

Also, when considering your past speech, was your speech used for godly communication? Paul told the church at Ephesus that there should be no filthiness or foolish talk out of their mouths (Eph. 5:4). Have you said anything in the past that would be considered filthy or foolish? I’m afraid if we are honest with ourselves, the answer is a definite yes! We’ve all been down this road before, perhaps in ways we have never considered. Take gossip as an example. Wouldn’t using our speech for this kind of talk be considered ungodly? The Bible has a lot to say about gossipers, whispers, backbiters, etc. The wise man said, “Where there is no wood the fire goes out, and where there is no whisperer, quarreling ceases” (Prov. 26:20). Friends, we must be careful not to use our speech for ungodly communication.

Perhaps the best way to use our speech is for giving thanks. When Paul told the Ephesians there should be no filthiness or foolish talk out of their mouths, he ended with, “But rather giving of thanks” (Eph. 5:4). I know of no better way to use our tongues than to offer thanks to God for all that He has done for us. He has blessed us with far more than we ever deserved (Jam. 1:17). Have you used your past speech to offer up prayers of thanksgiving for all the good things that God has done for you? You should!

Another important aspect of our past to consider is our past…


When you think about the way you represented your family in the past, what comes to mind? A representation that made your family proud or a representation that embarrassed your family? The wise man said, “Let your father and mother be glad, and let her rejoice who gave birth to you” (Prov. 23:25). It’s important for us to remember that our family has worked hard to make a good name for themselves. We need to be careful in how we represent that name. We should always be mindful of the fact, “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches” (Prov. 22:1). We should want nothing more than to leave our family a good name.

We should not only consider how we have represented our family, but we should also consider how we have represented our Lord and His church. The church does not belong to you, me, elders, or any other man for that matter. The church belongs to Jesus. He told Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). Jesus purchased His church with His blood (I Pet. 1:18-19). When you consider your past representation of the Lord’s church, how would you rate yourself. Have you been representing in a manner that would be pleasing to the Lord? When people look at the way you are living your life, is God glorified? Jesus said, “Let your lights shine in such a way that others may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). The manner in which we represent the Lord and His church has a great impact on whether or not people will choose to be a part of the Lord’s church.

Friends, the first part of our self-examination is to consider your past. How did you do? If your self-examination has revealed things about your past that are not what you would like them to be, stop right now and spend time in prayer asking God to help you in the areas of your life where you need it.

Great! Tomorrow we will continue with part three of our self-examination, “Choose your future.” Until then…let’s keep on keepin’ on!

Now that’s Something to Think About!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Part 1  - Consider Your Past

Most people I know do not enjoy taking test or examinations. That was and still is the one thing about school that I enjoy the least. Most people probably do not enjoy test because they are afraid of the results that will follow from that test.
However tests serve a valuable purpose. They help us make an assessment on what is or isn’t known.

The Bible is not excluded from the practice of examinations. Notice some of the passages we find in the word of God concerning examinations:

              David reflected on how God gave a test to examine his heart (Psa. 17:3)

              Jeremiah exhorted Israel to take an exam of their ways (Lam. 3:40)

Paul encouraged the Corinthian believers to examine themselves when it    
came to the Lord ’s Supper (I Cor. 11:28)

Paul exhorted the Galatians to take an exam on their work in the Lord (Gal. 6:4)

Paul even encouraged the Corinthians to examine themselves and see if
 they were in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5-6)

Friends, we need to take an examination of our lives and see where we stand with God. As we begin this self-examination, let’s begin with our past. I could spend a lot of time writing about examining our past, but I only want to focus on four aspects of our past. We will focus on two today and two tomorrow. Consider your past…


Attitude is something that we take notice of in our society. We look at people and say, “Now there’s a person with a great attitude” or “Would you look at her, she has a bad attitude.” When you consider your past attitude, what’s it look like? Are you a person who has an attitude of love? The apostle Paul tells us that we can have faith that moves mountains, give all our possessions to feed the poor and even surrender our bodies to be burned, yet without love, it profits us nothing (I Cor. 13:1-3). It doesn’t matter what we do, if we lack love, we fail to meet God’s expectations for His children.

Jesus was approached and asked by a lawyer which command was the greatest. He responded, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost command” (Matt. 22:36-38). What’s interesting to me is after Jesus answered the question He added these words, “The second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (vs. 39-40). The lawyer only asked about the greatest command. He didn’t ask about the second greatest command. Jesus felt it was important to point out the importance of loving your neighbor to a guy who was only asking Jesus this question in order to test Him (Matt. 22:35).

Not only do we need to have an attitude of love, but we need to have an attitude of forgiveness. We all know people in our lives that have wronged us or hurt us. One of the hardest things to do is forgive that person.  Jesus teaches that we are to forgive others of their transgressions if we expect our heavenly Father to forgive us of our transgressions (Matt. 6:14-5). I have heard it said, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” Whether or not this statement is true, makes little difference… if we want God to forgive us, we must be willing to forgive others no matter how difficult that may be.  

Unfortunately, some people continue to wrong us time and time again. What about those people? Doesn’t there come a point when we no longer have to forgive them? Jesus was asked this very question by the apostle Peter. He said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven” (Matt. 18:21-22). Thus, according to Jesus if a brother sins against us 490 times, come that 491st time we no longer have to forgive, right? NO! Jesus was not putting a number on forgiveness. He was stressing that forgiveness is an attitude that we must all employ.

A second thing about your past to consider is your…


How have you conducted yourself in the past? This can be a scary thing to consider. We all have had those moments that we are embarrassed about when it comes to the way we acted in a certain situation. If you are like me, you just hope those moments are few and far between. Paul told the Philippians that their conduct should be in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel (Phil. 1:27). No matter what happened to them, he wanted them to live like Christians. Have you ever been in a situation that made it hard to be a Christian? Maybe it was working in an office surrounded by non-Christians or being in a school where it seemed very few people had any morals or values.  Paul says that it doesn’t matter the situation you are in, our conduct should always represent the Gospel.

I understand that this is not always easy. We have to remember that Paul was writing these words from prison. That couldn’t be an easy situation for him. What he is asking the church at Philippi to do is nothing short of what he himself was doing. Paul says that his imprisonment had helped to advance the Gospel (Phil. 1:12-13). Even in prison, Paul conducted himself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.

What about our past conduct? Have we conducted ourselves in a manner that is worthy of the Gospel? Friends, the way we conduct ourselves when we are out and about makes a big impression on the people around us. It is my hope and prayer that you conduct yourself in a manner that inspires others to live differently. Paul’s conduct even in prison made an impression on others (Phil. 1:14).

When considering your past attitude and conduct, how would you rate yourself? Would you honestly give yourself a pass or a fail? If the answer is you would fail, why not resolve to change that right now and go to God in prayer and asked him to forgive you and help you with your attitude and conduct.

Now that’s Something to Think About!

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Challenge To Choose
Our days are filled with choices. From the time we wake up until the time we go to bed, we make choices. Some of those choices are small and insignificant while others are more important and have greater consequences. Let’s briefly consider a few of the more important choices we all have to make.
The words we speak are an important choice we make each day. The wise man wrote, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Pro. 18:21). Our tongues are so powerful that they can bring death or life to the people to whom we speak. Have you ever had someone say something nice or encouraging to you? Those words made you feel better, didn’t they? Paul told the church at Ephesus the only thing that needed to come out of their mouths was that which built others up (Eph. 4:29). Each day we must choose whether the words we speak build others up or tear others down.
Not only are our words important but so are our actions. Every day we must choose whether or not our actions will bring glory to God. Jesus said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). When people look at our lives, what do they see? Do they see someone who is just like everyone else or do they see someone who is different, someone whose life reflects that of Christ? Paul told Titus, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him” (Tit. 1:16). Each day we must choose whether or not our actions bring glory to God or deny Him. 
Joshua challenged the children of Israel when he said, “Choose this day whom you will serve” (Jos. 24:15). That is the same challenge you and I have to accept the minute we wake up each morning. If we fail to make that choice each day, we are more likely to give in to the temptations we face. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down to the king’s idol because they had already made the choice to serve God (Dan. 3). Each day we must choose whether we serve God or the ways of the world?
We all are faced with choices each day. Although we face many different choices, some choices confront all of us. Do your words build others up or tear others down? Are you actions bringing glory to God or glory to something else? Is your heart devoted to the service of God or to the ways of the world? The choice is yours…I challenge you to choose!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What Are You Willing To Give Up?

What are you willing to give up for your religious beliefs? I dare say that most of us would be willing to give up almost anything for our religious beliefs, at least things that have no attraction for us. For instance, I would gladly give up alcohol and drugs because I have no desire to have either in my life. However, some people would choose the alcohol and drugs because either they enjoy them or they think alcohol and drugs make them look cool.  Still others are willing to choose sex, popularity and status over their convictions. What are you willing to sacrifice for your convictions?
Joel Northup was willing to give up a state championship for his religious beliefs. Northup, a sophomore in high school, refused to wrestle his first round opponent in the Iowa high school state tournament last week. His reason for forfeiting the match was because his first round opponent was a girl. Joel Northup felt that wrestling with a girl would conflict with his religious beliefs, because he would most likely have to touch her in inappropriate places.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of respect for this young man. He was willing to forfeit a match that he was favored to win, because of his religious beliefs.  By refusing to wrestle, Joel single handedly sacrificed his shot at a state title, something for which all athletes on the high school level strive. A lot of people probably thought he was crazy. Why sacrifice something so big like a state title for something so little as a religious belief? I mean, it’s not like he was going to intentionally touch and grope this girl. He was just going to compete against her as he would any other opponent on the mat.
When you read through scripture you find others who were willing to give up things of value and places of superiority for their beliefs and convictions. Take Joseph for example. While in Egypt his master’s wife pleaded with him to sleep with her. I have no doubts that Potiphar’s wife was very attractive. After all, Potiphar was an Egyptian officer in Pharaoh’s army. He was an important person in Egypt. However, instead of giving in to her advances, Joseph refused her day after day. Listen to what Joseph said, “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Gen. 39:9) Joseph was willing to give up sexual pleasure in order to remain true to His God.
Daniel is another example who was willing to sacrifice something most would consider important because of his convictions. Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians, when they invaded Judah around 605 BC, for the purpose of serving in the king’s court. In time Daniel became an important figure in the Babylonian empire. Each time a new king took the throne Daniel always found favor in his eyes. In chapter 6 Daniel refused to obey a decree to only pray to the king and not any other god or man for thirty days. Daniel was sentenced to the lion’s den. However, we tend to overlook that before this situation occurred, the king was planning to appoint Daniel over the entire kingdom (Dan. 6:3). Daniel was willing to give up prominence in the kingdom for his convictions and beliefs.
This list could go on and on. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were willing to give up their lives for their convictions (Dan. 3). All the apostles were willing to give up the pleasures of life for their convictions. Many of the early Christians were willing to sacrifice all they had for their convictions. Many men and women throughout history have been willing to give up pleasure and prominence for their convictions.  
What are you willing to give up for your convictions? Joel Northup was willing to sacrifice the Iowa high school state wrestling championship because of his religious beliefs. Jesus said, “If any man will come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). I hope and pray each one of you reading this is willing to give up and sacrifice everything that gets in the way of your relationship with God. In the end, that’s all that truly matters in life. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).
What are you willing to give up in order to stay true to your convictions? Are you willing to sacrifice something as big as a state title? Joel Northup was!
Now that’s Something to Think About!