Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Heaven is for Real

Have you seen this movie yet?  If you haven't I highly recommend that you do as we saw it this past weekend with a packed audience.

One thing that really hit me about the movie is the level of understanding that the people had about heaven.  They were scared and afraid to believe that Connor experienced heaven.  It was if they had faith to believe in their salvation, but did not have the faith or understanding about the beautiful heaven that awaits the believer.

Connor Corum
The little boy that played the part of Colton, Connor Corum, did an amazing job of playing that part.

Another thing that excited me about the movie is that Akiane Kramarik's artwork was included in the movie.  Akiane starting drawing her vision of heaven at around four years old.  I love this portrait of Jesus as this is rendering of Jesus is what Colton says is exactly what Jesus look like as shown below.

When you see the movie you will be thoroughly blessed and encouraged with great anticipation as to what you, as a believer in Christ Jesus, can expect when you arrive in heaven. 
Check out the "Heaven is for Real" movie trailer:

Saturday, April 12, 2014

My Story

Who I Was Before Christ - I remember as a young child I had trouble going to sleep every night because of thoughts of fear, i.e., “What if I die during my sleep!”  During my early years my parents were not Christians therefore I had not been to church or even heard about Jesus until I was around ten years old. At that time we were living in Des Arc, Arkansas and my Mom had started attending a little Baptist Church there in Des Arc.

My Mom and I went to church but my Dad stayed away as he did not want any part of church because of a bad experience with a so called Christian.  I remember my Sunday School teacher, my friend Jimbo McDonald’s mother, telling the class that she can always tell when a person dies whether the dead person is saved or not. She said that when a Christian dies they always have a smile on their face and when an unsaved person dies they always have a frown on their face. I don’t know how true her statement is, but it always made me think about becoming a Christian, but at that time I did not understand how.

My Mom accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior and was baptized in the White River. I remember after the baptism and when we were walking back to the car I asked my Mom if she was afraid of dying. She said, “No, I have no fear of dying at all.” I remember thinking to myself, “How can she not be afraid to die.” I knew nothing of hell at that point of my life, but I knew I was afraid of dying. Mom went on to say that she knows that when she dies she has nothing to fear as she will be with Jesus. After she said this I remember thinking I wish I could have this same peace she has.

How I Came to Know Christ - When I was around twelve years old I can remember going to church more than one revival meetings with my friends and whenever the altar call was given my friends all when down the isle to get saved at every alter call. They would ask me afterwards why I didn’t go the the isle with them. I remember saying to them that I don’t want to go down front just because a preacher scared me with his hell fire and damnation sermon. I said to them that I want to make my decision without being scared into it. I believe I actually accepted Christ in my heart during those days, but I refused to go down front because I didn’t approve the preacher’s tactics.

What Christ Has Done in Me - At age of twenty one I did finally walked down the isle and made my public profession of faith. I did not go because the preacher scared me into going, but instead I went down because I felt the Lord’s leading me to do so.  It was not any earth shattering experience as I've heard others testify.  The experience was a peace that confirmed to me that I now belonged to Jesus.

Since that time I have had a hunger for God’s word and I enjoy reading and meditating on His words everyday. He has given me the peace like my Mom has I mentioned earlier. He speaks to me though His words as I feed upon them and He cleanses me through the washing of His words. What a joy it is that I can talk with my Heavenly Father at any time and tell Him anything I have on my mind as He is my best friend. He always listens and never condemns me even when I’ve failed. He always hears my prayers and He always answers them in His on good timing. I have learned to relax and let Him be my source and my provider for all my needs. I believe in Jesus and trust in Him with my life on the earth and in the life to come. It is wonderful to not be afraid of sleep or dying because I know my spirit man will never die and Jesus has prepared a place for me in heaven to live with Him forever. Amen

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Jesus Gives True Rest

What is does it mean to REST?

As a verb it means:

cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength

be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position

As a noun it means:

an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity

an object that is used to support something

Whenever I read the scriptures I look for key words or phrase that have a specific meaning that I need to pay attention to as I read.  Just reading the Bible for the sake of saying I have read it does very little for me.  Whenever I read the scriptures I am reading words that are alive with the breath of God in them.

Instead of just reading I mediate on the words.  To me the word meditate means to chew on the words as a cow chews on it's cud.  Whenever I chew on my food I also swallow my food for nourishment of my body.  Whenever I chew on God's words I also swallow my food for nourishment of my body, mind (will, and emotions), and spirit.

God's words are alive and whenever I eat His words I am eating life giving nourishment for restoration and healing for my body and mind.  Be eating His words everyday my body and mind relax which gives me a peace like the peace that is shown in the picture above.  When I rest I recline or relax on Jesus and He wraps His arms around me with love.

This past week I was flipping channels on my TV and as I stopped on the DAYSTAR channel I heard a woman say the she discovered the true meaning of the word relax.  To her it means to let go.  I as I thought about it I have to agree with her.  To relax on Jesus you have to let go of the pressures and cares of this life.  To relax means me to let go and let Jesus take care of me.  In the parable of the sower Jesus talked about how the deceitfulness of riches and the cares of this life will rob us of our blessings whereas rest in Jesus gives us peace and joy not matter what our circumstances are.  His peace is worth more than all the money the world has to offer.
Believe means to Trust

Jesus said that if we believe in Him we are saved and will live with Him in all eternity.  The word
believe is more than just mental agreement.  To me the word means for me to put my total trust in Him in every area of my life.  It means for me to quit struggling in life and rest in Him, relax in Him, believe in Him, and trust in Him to take care of me in every area of my life on this earth and my eternal life in heaven.
If you have not make your decision to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior I pray that you will quit struggling and let go.  Let Him come into your heart and when you do your spirit man, that is dead spiritually, will be reborn in a new life.  The old man will be dead and the new man is alive in Christ Jesus for evermore.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

I Love You This Much

I Love You This Much
One day as I was driving home from work a picture came into my mind's eye as I was listening to a music CD.  The picture was of Jesus in front of me with His arms stretched out.  At first I saw Him nailed to the cross and then the view of the cross went away.  He was now standing in front of me with His arms still stretched out and with a big smile on His face.

I Love You This Much

He said to me, "I love you this much."  I realized then He was saying to me that He love me so much He gave all He had. His hands and arms were so full He could not add one me thing.  He was illustrating that He gave all He had and it was worth it all to Him and His Father.  He willingly gave up His life to pay the price for me.  There is no greater love than for one to lay down his life for a friend.

He moved His arms inward until His arms were pointed straight at me.  I did not move at first, but I saw His smile get bigger and He moved His fingers to motion for me to come to Him.  When He did I came running as a child wanting to be picked up and held by their daddy.  I fell in His arms with tears running down my face.  He wrapped his arms around my neck and said to me, "Well Done my child!"  I cried even harder, but they were not tears of sadness or sorrow.  They were tears of joy as these were the words I've been waiting for Him to say to me all my life.
I Love You This Much

God and Jesus both are examples to follow.  They are both givers.  They gave it all for you and me.  John says Jesus came to give life and to give it more abundantly.  I think the key to living life abundantly is by following His example by giving of ourselves, our time, our talents, and out money.  God is the one that gave it to us in the first place.  Everything is already His and He is our source and our provider.  He is the giver and we are blessed when we too give as He does.

I love the phrase "WWJD" (What Would Jesus Do) as it has so much truth in it.  The lesson for today is to do what Jesus would do.  He would give all of Himself by serving the needs of others.

This Is The Will of God in Christ Jesus For You.

One of my favorite scriptures is: 1 Thessalonians 5:18 New King James Version (NKJV) 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Everyday when I talk to the Lord I give Him thanks by saying things like "This is the day You O Lord has made for me and I will rejoice and be glad in it".  I also give Him thanks for all the wonderful blessings He has provided in my life.  I am excited because, as the Word says, "and your household", meaning all of my family are saved too.  What a joy it is to know we are called according to His purpose.  We all are called to accomplish a specific purpose that has planned for me.  My purpose is not the same as others and I do not have to compare myself with others.  I only have to to what He has called me to do.

One thing I must confess is that as my sons were growing up I did not teach this lesson to them.  I feel compelled to teach this important lesson now so that you will teach your children to give thanks, not only to the Lord, but to you and everyone they come in contact with.  For every big or little thing given to them.

This has been on my heart for many years when I first realized that I had not taught my sons to express thanks to those that do things for us.  I wasn't taught that way by my parents so I really didn't know any better.  What triggered this was one day my sons and I had dinner at a friends house and after the meal we all got up and left the table.  My friend  called me aside let me know I had disrespected her by not acknowledging her, as the host, by not saying how much we enjoyed the meal, and by not saying thank her for providing the meal.  Since then I have done a much better job of being respectful and giving thanks for whatever I receive from both the Lord and from individuals.

I'm sure you have probably learned that lesson already and are probably teaching your children that lesson, but if you aren't doing so I would highly recommend that you begin now.  I feel bad that there is so much that I didn't know to how teach my children better than what my parents had taught me.  I had as I only taught what I had been taught by my parents.

When you teach your children to make it a point to thank the giver (the Lord or an individual) and they will reap blessings back to them by more gifts from the giver.  All the giver asks if for acknowledgement of the gift and thanks for providing the gift.  Once you get into the habit of doing that the giver will naturally desire to give more.  If that giver is not appreciated for giving then the giver does not desire to give.

If you want to know what is the will of God concerning you - give thanks for everything.

In the next article I will share with you the importance of not only give thanks to the givers in our lives, but to be the giver to others that come into your life.