Archives For Christian Living

Hello and welcome back!

I saw something today that I would like to share with you.

I was driving down the street and noticed some activity taking place off to my right.  What appeared to be Christmas decorations were being installed by the city.  The closer I got to the intersection, I noticed that the wording on the sign read, Happy Holidays!

I understand the need for diversity.  I even understand the importance of social relevance.  What I do not understand is why there isn’t parity in America in terms of equal opportunity for Christianity as a religion.

“What?” you say?  “What are you talking about?”

I’m talking about an article in the Christian Post in on June 24th, 2013 which stated, “It’s illegal for Christians to pray in public school, according to the U.S. Supreme Court. But in Michigan, Muslims are being given special prayer privileges by school administrators, raising questions as about due process, equal protection, and freedom of speech for followers of the faith of America’s Founding Fathers.”

I’m talking about a school in Boston reportedly had a Muslim poem recital over the intercom instead of the Pledge of Allegiance on the 12th anniversary of 9/11.

I’m talking about a NBC news report on NBC News.com on January 31st, 2013, and I quote, “According to The Washington Post, about 10 Muslim students at Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Md., leave class for about eight minutes every day to pray. They are part of the school’s Muslim Students’ Association, Principal Cheryl J. Logan told the Post, adding that another student is hoping to raise his grades so he can join the others.”

“As an American, I would fully defend the right of anyone who had the desire to worship a 1/4” wing nut if they so desired.”

I’m talking about the seemingly unfair practices where Christianity is concerned.  Is it my imagination that Christianity is being discriminated against in the public school system? By the government?

Am I just imagining it?

First of all, I am an American.  I believe in our constitution.  I also believe that the first amendment of the constitution grants equality to all religious freedoms.  Don’t take me wrong in what I am about to say.

I am a practicing Christian and I will always remain one.

As an American, I would fully defend the right of anyone who had the desire to worship a 1/4” wing nut if they so desired.

Would I be attempting to deliver the gospel of Jesus to this person if I had access to them?

Of course!

However, I would still defend their right under the U.S. Constitution to worship as they please if they refused to act on the gospel of Jesus.

Here’s the rub.  It appears that the United States government at the national, state, and local levels are running scared and being desirous of following “Politically Correctness” for the sake of being considered a cultural bigot.  I leave room for being wrong but I do not see any other reason for this post-modern behavior.

Here is my opinion – how I really feel about it.  Christmas is Christmas.  It is a holiday.  Christmas is not just a holiday, it is the birth of Christianity’s Savior, the living Son of God.  For Christians, it is one of the most significant of our religious holidays.  We want it recognized as Christmas not just a happy holiday.  When I see Happy Holidays rather than Merry Christmas, I need a plausible reason.  I have not heard a truly plausible reason, have you?

I don’t condone bigotry or cultural bias.   I am a non-racist and happy that I am.  I am not approaching this question from any prejudices.  I am simply stating my opinion regarding the rightness of it.

This is a different type of blog post from my regular fare.  It’s intentional and directional.  It was time for a change!

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  Do you have an opinion on the above rant?

November 21st, 2013 Sharron Kay King Interview

 

This interview with Sharron Kay King will touch your life.

If you are a child of God, it will reinforce your conviction as you see the miracle of another life that was being devastated by the world turned around through saving grace!

If you are not saved, look and see how your life can be freed from the sentence of eternal death due to the unforgiven sin in your life.  Please listen to the Holy Spirit as he speaks to your heart through this divine appointment interview below.

________________________________________

Zach:  Sharron, would you bring my readers up to date on your gospel music career and winning female vocalist of the year?

Sharron Kay King:  I thank the Lord that He is able to work through me in touching the hearts and lives. For the past 23 years I’ve been a willing servant with a desire to reach the hurting through the words of my songs & testimony.

I’ve won a few awards through the years as well as being nominated for things as soloist, songwriter, mainstream artist & female soloist.  The one that I cherish most and means more to me than any of the others is receiving, The Award of Excellence in Music Ministry.

Zach:  Yes, I am sure that was extremely exciting for you!  Sharron, if you had to choose just one of the many wonderful songs that you have recorded, what would it be?

Sharron Kay King:  Probably My Best Friend. This song was my first attempt at songwriting after being saved and will always be the one that’s dearest to my heart.

“My family had given up on me and my own mother disowned me.”

Zach:  Wow, it’s one of my favorites too.  Are you planning a big Western United States tour for this summer?

Sharron Kay King:  As a matter of fact, it is in the planning stages now. In 2014, dates are being added to my schedule for June to minister in Texas & Oklahoma. I am also planning on visiting Ruidoso, New Mexico for the first time.

Zach:  Yes!  I will be so glad to get to meet you and hear you sing in person when you are in concert here at 1st Southern here in Ruidoso!

Sharron, could you give the readers a little background on yourself and how you came to saving faith in our Lord, Jesus Christ?

Sharron Kay King:  Zach, my life was nothing short of ending in 1987. I was 25 years old, a single mother of 3, a drug addict as well as an alcoholic.

I had nothing.

My family had given up on me and my own mother disowned me.

Looking up from the bottom I felt there was no hope for me. I was searching for answers to no avail. Deep in my heart I always desired to be a good mother and good person and most of all, a good daughter. I was lost.

After hitting rock bottom, the words of a Sunday school song came back to my memory. My granny taught it to me as a 5 year old girl.  I had been privileged to attend Sunday school with her— I think—about 3 times one summer.

Anyway, the words to Jesus Loves Me began flooding through my mind. The song’s melody would wake me up in the middle of the night and it would haunt me during the day.

I began wondering who this Jesus was! Conviction then set in on my heart and I thank the Lord for conviction!

Long story short, I found myself at an altar on July 25, 1987.  I completely surrendered my will to Jesus Christ that night.  He saved me, forgave me, and allowed me to feel a love that I had never known before.

I was free from every addiction of nearly 14 years. Oh!  The blood of Jesus that still washes white as snow!

Zach:  That is an awesome testimony, Sharron—thank you for sharing that with my readers!

How has God moved in your life since you have confessed Him as your personal Lord and Savior?

Sharron Kay King:  God has moved in my life in more ways than I can imagine. He totally restored my relationship with my mother and gave me a new lease on life. Allowed me to be that good mom that I always dreamed of being.

Not only did He save me that night, He has kept me safe in Him for 26 years.

Zach:  That is so inspiring.  You now share this amazing testimony and sing such inspiring music about our Lord!

Sharron, what is it like on the road—you know—meeting and greeting your fans all over the country?

Does it give you an opportunity to personally witness to people?

Sharron Kay King:   My life on the road! Ministry is a very lonely place, but a rewarding place.

It is a humbling experience to be in a service and begin to sing only to hear people singing my songs and worshiping Jesus along with me.  I remember one day as I was going through a check-out line with my son.

The cashier kept looking at me to the point I began to feel uncomfortable. She then looked up at me and asked, “Are you Sharron Kay King?”

I was shocked.

I answered and said, “Yes, I am.”

She smiled and started telling me what my music has meant to her.  My son looked at me as we walked away and said, “That was pretty cool!”

I walked away from there feeling very good.

Zach:   It’s so interesting hearing about life on the road for a professional singer and performer.  Thank you also for telling us about that encounter in the store!

You touch the lives of so many with your testimony and your Southern gospel music! Do you have any plans to release another album soon?

Sharron Kay King:  I’m praying right now about making my first Hymnal project. I love the songs of old. As a writer, I feel such conviction and compassion in the words from the old church songbooks.

It’s sad we don’t use them much anymore.

Zach:  I can hardly wait until THAT album hits the racks!  Sharron, if you could tell our audience only one thing about your life and career, what would be that one thing that stands out to you the most?

Sharron Kay King:  That I love the Lord, Zach. When I felt called into this ministry, I fought it. I honestly didn’t see what God could use with me.

Once I realized that I didn’t need a college education or a music degree, I realized that I just needed God to work through me.

It’s not about me or anything I am able to do.  It’s all about Him and His ability to take a broken vessel and mold us into a masterpiece.

Zach:  Thank you for a great interview, Sharron.  Would you mind if I place an audio file at the end of you singing, God’s Been Good?

He has certainly been good to you and I just want this interview to encourage people out there who don’t quite know where to start or how to turn to God?

Sharron Kay King:  Absolutely!  I would like to add that it doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done, or where you have been—Jesus loves you and He won’t give up on you!

Trust Him!

Zach:  Praise God for you, Sharron, and for the wonderful gift of music and vocals that so touch my heart and many millions as well!

Sharron Kay King: Thank you, Pastor Zach, for allowing God to use you in touching my life!

QUESTION:  How has Sharron Kay King’s testimony touched your life?

_____________________________________________

Songs of Sharron Ministry

 2013 ICGMA Horizon Female Vocalist of the Year

Sharron’s home state of Indiana is where she resided most of her life. Since 2008, she has resided in Georgia.

Award winning Singer/Songwriter ~ Full time ministry.

“Sharing the message of Jesus Christ through song, testimony & his word. I love Ladies Retreats ~ please consider giving me a call, I’d love to come worship the King with you!”

GUEST POST:  This post was written by a very good friend of mine, Pastor Alan Stoddard.  Alan is pastor of First Baptist Church of Ruidoso, New Mexico.  He presents a very important concept in this article.  I hope it benefits the reader as it has benefited me and my family.

_________________________________________________________________________________

I have wondered if a pastor could write a post like this one. A post that conveys the inside walls of the average pastor’s heart. Well, here is goes. Here are 7 things your pastor won’t tell you but wishes you knew. He would never want to be rude or callous in the matter. Yet know these things can help you partner with your pastor and spiritual leaders in accomplishing much for your church.

1. He cannot keep up with everyone in the church.

If your pastor serves a church of 100 or more, he cannot keep up with everyone in the best of circumstances. If you help him by making your needs exactly known, that will help. If you need your pastor, you should call and make an appointment so he knows exactly how to meet your need.

Pastors are like everyone else.

They are busy in personal and professional life.

The difference is your pastor is probably responsible for many more people than the average person. Don’t hold him to an unrealistic standard. He is not trying to avoid you. Try not to make him have to run you down. He probably has many of those kinds of situations. Make it easy on him and form him to meet your needs.

He will do it. Free him up to meet your needs while also allowing him time to interact with unbelievers. Get in a small group of your church. Let your needs to met there also.

2. He knows he is not perfect.

Your pastor knows he is not perfect.

At times that can be lost in the interactions within leadership. Some pastors are arrogant and have poor personal relationship skills. That is sad but true. Most pastors I know understand they are not perfect. And yes, at times pastors act like bulldogs and do not take their teeth out of issues when they should.

Yet most pastors are leaders, loving, and desire to feed and shepherd God’s sheep.

Yet your pastor probably gets nit-picked to death for things that are not that important. If you need to get something legit off your chest, take your pastor for coffee.

Love him.

Be gracious.

Let him know you are on his side. Don’t send him cheap emails. You make him have to decide to answer you in writing. Telling your pastor he is not meeting your standard for something is best done in person, not email or text.

The reason why people email or text or gossip the issue is because it is easier for them to perform “drive by” pot shots that way. In volunteer organizations, your pastor knows he has to be godly leveraging authority. He does not want to go to war with you. He wants to fight Satan. He knows he is not perfect. Be careful how you tell him that.

3. He works 7 days a week.

Yes, it it true.

Your pastor works 7 days a week. He does not mean to do it, but he does.

He always has someone reaching out to him in need (see #1). He gets a call at night. His wife counsels someone while on an off day. Someone is sick. Another dies. He prepares sermons because he had to adjust his weekly schedule because of other things that came up in the week.

Your pastor likes his work because he is called to it. He is not going to complain about it. He does want you to know that he works 7 days a week, but he is not going to tell you.

4. He wants you to help him grow your church.

Your pastor cannot do it without you.

He needs your help. He needs you to not only have ideas, but to implement good ideas. If you do not support the ministry of your church, your church will be limited. Your spiritual leaders need your support not gripes.

Your pastor would love for you to responsibly take charge of your own spiritual life. He wants you to take ownership in your church. He needs your help to grow your church.

5. There are always a few he cannot please.

Right now, there are a few people who love to nit-pick, harass, and stress out your pastor.

In every church there are a few people who not only have complaints about some part of the ministry, but they communicate those complaints in ways that are not godly or professional. They have no respect for your pastor. He does not mention these people.

If those few people were on a job, they would be counseled or fired. In a church, they can take potshots without consequence. Know your pastor cannot manage or lead some people. They will not let him. He needs your help in protecting him from negative people.

They are only a few, but they can be loud. Help your pastor manage them. Don’t be one of the few. Most of the time, the issue is they want the pastor to do what they want while they are unwilling to follow that same leadership themselves.

6. He knows he is accountable.

Your pastor may come across as not accountable to anyone. Yet he is accountable to God.

He is accountable to the spiritual leadership.

He is accountable to the church.

If your pastor lives with integrity, is not stealing money, is not sleeping with another woman, is not lazy, visits people, cares, etc., then give him a break. Encourage him. Don’t assume he is not accountable just because it is not the accountability you think he needs.

7. He is thankful for what you do.

Pastors in general are thankful for all you do.

He is appreciative for your generosity.

He loves you.

He sees your extra time you put in for God’s causes. He sees what you do for him and his family. He is thankful for his salary, time off, benefits, etc. He is thankful. Pastors need to actually express that fairly often somehow. Yet know that your pastor, even when he does not say it or express it often enough, he is thankful.

Question: What would you add to this list?

_________________________________________________________________________________

If you found this article interesting and beneficial, you may also enjoy another article of his that runs in this same vein beneficial as well.  It is called, 7 things people wish their pastor knew, but won’t tell him.

You can follow Alan Stoddard on his site AlanStoddard.com.

Hello and welcome back!

It’s good to see you and I have been praying for you since your last visit to the blog.

Yes, it’s true.  I pray for all of my readers each day.  I pray for your health and economic condition in these troubled days.  I pray for your loved ones, both saved and unsaved.

For the saved, I pray for God’s leading on their lives to be fulfilled.

For the unsaved, I pray for the Holy Spirit to lead them to the words of the gospel.  l pray for them to believe and find a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Today, I was just sittin’ out on my front porch – watching the changing leaves rub dryly against one another in a gentle breeze.  As I was watching (and listening) to the melodic sounds of fall coming down, I noticed this large dog.   I didn’t recognize it as belonging around here but I watched it come up over the rise across the street.

He stopped on the sidewalk for a moment and then crossed the street on a diagonal to my front porch just to the right of where I was sitting.  A small dog, a little male, that belongs to a neighbor was secured to a small tree outside of his residence.  He noticed the larger dog as it came closer to him.

What happened next was the catalyst for this article you are now reading.

That little dog began to make sounds I had no idea that he was capable of.  He began leap and lunge toward the monster dog, who was no more than 6 feet in front of him as if to say, “Come one step closer and it will be your last!”

Well, that big ol’ dog backed up one step, two steps – then turned and ran, making such a sissy sound that I could not help but laugh out loud.

I sat there, taking another sip from my cup of coffee, and sighed.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding…” 

Sometimes, size doesn’t seem to matter.  That large dog had a perception in his head that things were about to go bad for him in a hurry if he didn’t retreat as fast as doggily possible.  Which he did.  The small dog had a perception that, regardless of the big dog’s size status, he could take him and do very bad things to him in the process.

In reality, both dogs were very, very wrong.  The objective truth is the monster-sized dog could have eaten the little one and still have required more food.

In reality, the small dog – regardless of his confidence in his belief that he could defeat that large dog — was misplaced.

Problem:  Neither one of the dogs had a clue of that fact.

Outcome:  The large monster dog was unnecessarily defeated and the small dog won a battle that he didn’t deserve based on the objective facts.

Application:  Do not always believe in what you see. Rely on God.

Let’s take a look at this scenario from a Christian worldview.  Christians have received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (power from on high) at the time of their salvation.

The great significance of this scenario can be seen in 1 John4:4, “You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is from the world, and the world listens to them.”

Remember that large but cowardly dog?  The one that ran from the little one?  Let the large monster dog represent the Christian – filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit.  Allow the small dog to represent this evil, secular world.

Is my analogy becoming quite clear?

IF we are following Jesus and obeying His commands, the Holy Spirit is active within us and God’s power will protect us from any true harm from the evil one, if we trust and obey.  We obey even if we have to face death head on – we will be victorious by the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ!

If we truly believe, trust, and obey Jesus, then we stand on the Biblical promise of 2 Cor. 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and prefer to be absent from the body and at home with the Lord.”

Takaway:  Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways and He will guide you on the right paths.

Thank you for stopping by.  I will be praying for you!

Until next time,

Zach

QUESTION:  When have you relied on the Holy Spirit and seen the hand of God in your life prevail?

 

Hello and welcome back!

I’m excited today!  I want to share that excitement with YOU!  Share what, you ask? I was reading in 2 Kings this morning and I had just turned to 2 Kings 6 and began reading about the floating axe head.

If you are not familiar with this passage of Scripture, please read it HERE.

If you remember, Elisha took on Elijah’s position after he had been taken up to heaven in a chariot.  Elisha was then blessed with a double portion of the Holy Spirit.

In 2 Kings 6, Elisha was busily training new profits in prophet school when one of his students mentioned the fact that the quarters they were training and living in was just too crowded.

The student suggested the he and the rest of the prophets-in-training go to the river and each cut a beam from which a new dwelling place could be constructed for them to live and train.

Elisha said, “Sounds like a plan, go to it!”

We all know what happens next.  One student’s iron axe head flies off the handle and lands in the river.  It rapidly sinks to the bottom as iron has a tendency to do when it falls into water.

“Do you self-inspect your spiritual walk with Christ regularly?”

What happens next is what God gave to me this morning to give to you and to use to prepare my Wednesday night sermon!

What do we do when we lose our cutting edge in serving Jesus?

 Let’s look at three things in 2 Kings 6:1-6 for a solution:

  • The young prophet student lost his ax head making him unable to complete God’s work.  Have you ever lost something that made you unable to carry on with your normal routine?  I have.  I once lost my car keys.  It took me over 3 hours to get another one made and get on with my routine.  I also once lost my wallet.  Not only did I lose the money and credit cards, I had to take the time to cancel the cards and send off for another SS card, driver’s license, etc.  I also had to borrow $20 from a close friend until I could get to the bank for more cash. When we lose our cutting edge for carrying out our obligations to God’s kingdom, we become worthless in pursuing God’s work.
  • We must identify the exact spot where we lost our cutting edge.  Pray in Jesus’ name for help in remembering when you first list the cutting edge and what was happening.  Elisha asked the young student, “Where did it fall?”  The best way to find something is to remember where you last had it.  Did I begin to lose my cutting edge when I quit attending Sunday School?  Did I lose it when I started missing church?  Maybe I lost it when I thought I didn’t have time to read my Bible daily?  Could it be I have allowed sin to dilute my relationship with God?  Have I become complacent in my Christian walk?
  • When we pray and God points out where we lost our cutting edge, we must do our part to retrieve it!  Elisha raised the iron axe head through the Holy Spirit, but he didn’t put it back on the handle.  He told the young student to reach out and get it.  We must do the same when the Holy Spirit answers our prayer and points out where it was that we lost our cutting edge.  God wants you, like the young prophet student, to do your part in recovering your cutting edge for kingdom work!

What if the young student had regularly checked the security of his axe head to the handle?

Do you self-inspect your spiritual walk with Christ regularly?

We are told to do a self-examination to discover our spiritual “fitness” when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper.  Why not do it at the end of each day?  If we discover our axe head getting loose, we can tighten it before it falls off and we will not have gaps in our obedience to Christ.

Summary:

  • Admit you have lost your cutting edge.
  • Pray for guidance to discover the exact place you lost it (and what was happening at the time.
  • When God raises it up, reach out and put your cutting edge (axe head) back on the handle and serve Christ!

Until next time!

Zach

 QUESTION:  PLEASE SHARE A TIME WHEN YOU LOST YOUR CUTTING EDGE AND HOW YOU FOUND IT AGAIN.

The Forgotten Secret Of Life

September 28, 2013

 

Hello all!

It’s wonderful to see you all and to be able to share with you again!
I pray you are doing well and I want you to know that I pray for my regular readers and everyone who is drawn to my blog by the Holy Spirit of God. Praise the mighty and holy name of our Lord,

There’s just something about fall, isn’t there? Leaves are already falling from the trees where I live and the air has a definite tinge of Fall Festival about it.

I am reminded of the seasons of life as I walk familiar paths that I have walked through the years of ever changing seasons.

God’s creation reveals His presence as surely as His word. His word makes sense of the specific questions that crop up during the changing seasons of our lives, doesn’t it? For instance, when I was a child, I pondered much different questions than I did as a young adult.

The thoughts that troubled me in middle age have since been resolved and replaced by questions more appropriate to my present and final season.

In retrospect, I can see my past seasons as a classroom preparing me in advance for each progressing, future season which, in turn, prepped and prepared me for each proceeding one right up to today. I write this as I slide into position from fall to the beginnings of the winter of my life.

“I can’t even walk without I’m holding His hand.”

I enter it unafraid due to the successful and God-led path I have followed through the first three seasons—my undergraduate degree in life, if you will. I feel prepared to tackle acceptance as my post graduate thesis during this race of endurance towards the finish line of the winter of my life.

The goal of this endurance being the prize of eternal life with Christ forever.
It’s amazing to me how the winding down of our personal life clock seems to be at odds with our level of creativity and confidence that God will see us through in our quest to touch the lives of others in a meaningful and enlightening way.

The older I seem to get, the more ambition for the kingdom work I appear to have!  As I painstakingly continue with my manuscript and ministerial duties, I find these insightful moments from God refreshing my mind and clarifying my spiritual calling.

It is during such insightful moments, alone and in conversation with God, that I am reminded, “I can’t even walk without I’m holding His hand.”

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION: Do you have a salvation relationship with Jesus Christ?

Hello and welcome back!

It’s good to see you again, however, I would prefer better circumstances!

I am writing this post during my second day in ICU at Lincoln County Medical Center (LCMC) in Ruidoso, New Mexico.  I was stricken by what appeared to be a heart attack and later on found to be an Ileus (intestinal obstruction) and possible internal bleeding.

Heart attack or intestinal obstruction and internal bleeding?  Hmmm, let me think.

I think I will choose bowel obstruction and internal bleeding, thank you very much! 🙂

I apologize for being away from posting for so long, but daily duties of ministry have kept me inordinately busy. Now that I am resting comfortably (finally!) here in the hospital on my vacation, I am on my trusty iPad again! I must say, winding up in the hospital this past Sunday morning at 8:30 was unexpected to say the least!

What happened?

It started with a disoriented feeling, followed by an intense and increasing dull pain behind my breast bone.  In a few seconds, the pain had moved a little lower and I began to sweat profusely (more like I had just climbed out of a swimming pool dressed in my suit!). Then, the nausea hit like a ton of bricks from a two story building! When I arrived at the hospital, the doctor took the proper precautions for a heart attack.

After many tests and xrays, it was discovered not the be heart involvement but, rather, an intestinal blockage.  Thankfully it wasn’t a heart attack but an intestinal obstruction – so they have been treating me for that.

Enter, the fever.

After all seemed to be going well, I was found to be experiencing a low grade fever that managed to become middle grade within a few hours.  This led to more blood test which turned up a problem with my blood.  I was losing it! My blood volume had dropped significantly in a short period of time.  Tests did not reveal any occult blood so the mystery continues this Tuesday, June 4th, 2013.

My third day in hospital continuing, I am asking for prayer from my readers that the doctors discover the cause and repair it unless God decides to handle it supernaturally, as we all know He can do! At this point, it would be foolish to presume and say that I will be posting on topic soon, so I will just say, “If it’s Almighty God’s will, I shall be posting on topic soon!”

I , God willing, am looking forward to sharing many posts and spiritual edifications for years to come. As I was lying here in bed last night and the nurse had just finished drawing another series of blood draws, I formulated the title for this post and prepared a brief outline.

Below, are three main things a Christian needs to do when the unexpected happens:

1.  TURN TO GOD IN PRAYER – Don’t forget to praise Him and worship Him.  It is so easy to slip into the me,me,me asking for things and forgetting that we were created for the express purpose of worshiping and praising our God.

2.  BE A POSITIVE WITNESS – Remember who you belong to and who you are representing.  Be the reflection of Jesus the Christ.  Regardless of your unexpected situation, you represent the King of Kings, The Lord of Lords!  He is in total control so reflect His image and show a lost world your complete faith and complete confidence in His work on the cross and His promises!

3.  BE CONCERNED FOR OTHERS OVER YOURSELF – remember to care about and pray unceasingly for others.  When we put others above ourselves, we are truly walking closer in our relationship to Jesus!

Here’s thanking you all in advance for your prayers!

God willing, until next time!

Zach

Question:  Are you putting the needs of others above yourself?

What Made Easter Sad

April 1, 2013

Hello and welcome back!

Here’s hoping that you had a wonderful Easter Sunday weekend!

I pray that you found a gem to take home with you from the Easter sermon your pastor delivered.

After Easter services, Rhonda and I drove to another town close by to visit one of my congregation members in the hospital.  As we were driving by small parks in that town, we noticed all of the people who were celebrating Easter Sunday in the park.  We could smell the scent of burgers and hotdogs sizzling on the grill, hear the children running, shouting, and playing games, hunting Easter eggs, and watch happy faces having fun.

“Throughout those conversations, I never once heard the name Jesus mentioned during the whole meal.”

I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these families had been to church for Easter and then went to these parks to celebrate family and how many bypassed an Easter service entirely.  There was no way of knowing but many of the most favored spots can indicate early arrivals.  People usually need to arrive early in the morning to obtain places like those.

The person we went to see had already left the hospital earlier that morning so we stopped at a Golden Corral restaurant and had our Easter meal.  The place was so full and people seemed to be enjoying themselves.  It was packed.  It was elbow to elbow in there.  The smells of so many different and wondrous edible delights combined with the laughter all around us as we slowly made our way around to all of the food stations.

We made our way back through the happy throng to the table we had been assigned and began to say blessing over our food.   As we began to enjoy our meal, I also began to listen to the happy chatter around us.  Many conversations were happening at once.  I could make out the voices of elderly couples having lunch with their families, middle age parents with their children’s laughter, young adults trying to get their young ones to eat, etc.

 It was a normal holiday lunch meal taking place in that Golden Corral.  It was probably similar to many other holiday meals in thousands of restaurants around the world that day.  It was probably similar to the 100,000’s of meals being enjoyed by families in homes around the globe.

I suddenly felt very sad.

You are probably wondering how I could feel sad sitting in such a jovial and expressive environment with my loving wife as we enjoyed such a lovely meal.  Yes, the atmosphere was jovial.  And yes, the food was delicious.  What struck me as so sad is this:

1. Throughout those conversations, I never once heard the name Jesus mentioned during the whole meal.

2. What I heard was me, myself, and I conversations of accomplishments taking place, conversations about things that were owned, one-upmanship revolving around careers, etc.

3. In almost every conversation, I heard words that would have had television shows banned in a past generation. 

I may sound intolerant to many.

Perhaps I sound old-fashioned to others.

For some, perhaps I just sound old and prejudiced.

To me, it just made me feel…sad.

I left Golden Corral feeling a deep concern, not for myself, but for everyone involved in those conversations and everyone listening with joviality to them.  Is it just me?

Until next time…

Zach

QUESTION:  HOW DO I SOUND TO YOU?

Hello and welcome back!

It’s good to see you and I hope you are enjoying the site!  This will be part 4 in this series of posts.  If this is your first visit to the site, you may benefit by reading the first three posts of this series.  You will find them in the sidebar to the right under recent posts!

Last post, we left when God places the cherubim to guard and keep Adam and Eve from returning to the Garden and eating from the tree of life.  Let’s return, shall we, and see what happens next?  Yes?

Ok!  Here we go!

“Well,” Adam sighs as both Eve and he look back towards the entrance to the Garden, which is slowly disappearing in the distance, “Looks like we messed up bad, huh?”  He hitches his load and begins to slowly make his way up the incline and through the barren, rocky terrain they find themselves entering.

“I suppose so,” Eve responds, in a breathless expulsion of air, as she struggles with her smaller but necessary load of fruit and berries.  “Do you think God will ever speak to us again?” she questions as they both trudge onward.

“No idea, but I hope so. We best find someplace to settle and build shelter because it’s gettin’ late,” he suggests, as the sweat begins to run down his forehead and into his eyes for the first time in his life, “The animals seem different somehow, and I feel that they are looking at us in a way that is discomforting to me.”  They continue onward as the sun begins to get closer to the horizon.

“Yeah,” Cain mutters when they are deep into his field, “and just for making me look bad in front of God, I’m going to kill you!”

They keep up their pace for several hours until they are fearful to go any further.  Darkness begins to cover the land and the chill in the air begins to seep more deeply into their bones.

“Let’s camp over there under that tree, build a fire, and eat some of that fruit before we try to sleep, I’m starving!” Adam suggests while Eve continues on towards the tree he had pointed to. She slowly and  with unaccustomed stiffness — lowers her leather skin pouch — made from the leftover skins from which God had fashioned their first real garments.  The next morning, they set out again and finally settle into a nice area beside a stream that appears large enough to be flowing year around.

Much later, Adam and Eve are intimate and they later have a son from that union whom they name Cain.  Eve turns to Adam and joyfully exclaims, “God has helped me to produce a man!”  After more time passes, she produces another son for Adam and names him — Abel.  As Able grows older, his calling is to become a shepherd of his own flock.   Cain is drawn to the fields and cultivates them.  When the time comes, Cain takes some of the produce that he has cultivated from the soil of his field and presents it to Lord God as an offering.  Abel also presents to God some of his most prized animals from his flock along with their portions of fat.

God is very, very pleased with Abel’s offering to Him and shows his pleasure in it.  Cain’s offering, however, not so much — no, not at all.  Cain becomes infuriated with God over this and becomes very sullen, hostile, bitter,  and morose.

After a time, God speaks to Cain, “Hey, what’s causing you to look so down in the mouth?  Change your attitude and motivations, son, for offering your sacrifices to me and won’t I accept you also?”  Then God continues, “But Cain, listen to me now— if you don’t change that selfish and self-seeking attitude, you are going to fall deeply under the power of the sin that is ready to pounce right on top of you and devour you.”

God continues to look at the prideful and arrogant look on Cain’s features and continues, “Cain, sin would like nothing better than to take complete control over your thinking for that is its purpose and desire.  The choice is completely yours and it’s on your head to master it.”

For some reason this just seems to set and hard-mold Cain’s attitude completely for the worse.

Later, Cain is talking to his brother Able and invites him to follow along into his field.  Able says, “Sure, big brother, I have my flock fed and nothing really to do for the rest of the day so this will be a good time for us to get together!”  Able then continues, “Actually, we need this because you and I haven’t had much fellowship together since we both prepared our sacrifices for God!”

“Yeah,” Cain mutters when they are deep into his field, “and just for making me look bad in front of God, I’m going to kill you!”  Cain promptly overpowers his younger brother and kills him, shedding his blood right then and there.  Later, God calls out to Cain, who isn’t exactly overjoyed to hear His voice.

“Cain…Cain, where is your brother, Able?” God questions when he comes up on him.  Cain feels the all-knowing  gaze of God’s all-seeing eyes upon him as he looks at the ground in absolute dread and replies sarcastically through false bravado, “How would I know, do I look like my brother’s keeper?”

“Cain, what is it that you have done!” God announces with the tone of righteous accusation, “I hear your brother’s blood calling out to me from the very ground beneath your feet!”

Cain can only stand there, frozen in silence and dread but holding onto his sullen arrogance and pride as God continues, “You are now cursed and alienated from this very ground that was soaked with your brother’s blood and that swallowed it up and took it into itself!”  God then points His finger at Cain and finishes the curse, “This land will never produce a crop for you again so you will be forced to become a wanderer, restlessly moving from place to place throughout the world.”

Cain looks up at God, with eyes that plead for mercy — half whispering, half groaning through his still stubborn pride and arrogance — “This is too great a punishment to carry, Lord God!”  He slowly casts a glance around him and continues, “You are banishing me from the land, You are making me hide my presence from You and You are causing me to wander aimlessly from place to place — no place to settle — and anyone who finds me will surely kill me!”

God responds to Cain’s plea for mercy and says, “If anyone kills you, Cain, you will be avenged seven times over.”  God then places a mark to identify Cain — that if anyone finds him they will realize the punishment if they kill him.

Cain leaves the presence of the Lord, wanders until he enters an area east of Eden called the Land of Nod, and begins to wander that area—foraging to make his way.

[The end].

I hope that you have enjoyed my narrative of the Genesis account of the Fall as well as the development of the two, separate lines extending from Adam and Eve. My prayer is that I was able to paint a mental, pictorial portrait of these lines for you.  I also hope that the resulting two lines—the line from the first Adam to the second (the Messiah, Jesus Christ) that proceeds through the righteous line of Seth and the unrighteous line that progresses through the line of Cain will demonstrate the course of obedience and disobedience throughout biblical history.  I am equally hopeful that the shadows of things that follow throughout the Bible until today have been made evident to you as well.

Please join with us by subscribing to this site above and enjoy receiving my free, quarterly newsletter that I will provide you. This newsletter, All Things Christian, will present timely information and links to interesting Christian materials for you!  You will also be qualified to receive free gifts and information that non-subscribers will not eligible to receive.  You have my word that your email is safely kept and will never be given or sold to anyone.  We wish to keep you for ourselves in our Christian community!  🙂

Also, please consider the questions in bold below and respond as your responses help in creating a relevant and interesting experience for all Christians to enjoy and to join along with you here on the Christian site!  Thank you and enjoy this link to my other book blog site, 21st Century Confusion

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  CAN YOU SEE THE SHADOW OF A DISCIPLE’S WALK IN ABEL? CAN YOU SEE SHADOW OF THE UNSAVED BEING CAST INTO OUTER DARKNESS WITHIN THIS NARRATION FROM THE BOOK OF GENESIS?  WHAT OTHER SHADOWS OF THINGS TO COME DO YOU DISCOVER?

Hello and welcome back!  If you haven’t read the first, two installments for this post series, you can read the first post and the second post  before reading on if you wish.

Are you about ready to return to the Garden to the very place we were observing Adam and Eve last as they were making coverings for their bodies. Remember? It was just when we heard God call out to Adam?  Yes? Me too!

Let’s hurry back and get settled in and hear what God has to say about this trespass against Him!

[…continued from 03/16/13]

We were observing both Adam and Eve as they hurriedly prepared coverings out of fig leaves and vines.  Actually, they designed some pretty nice coverings — a little retro for my taste — however, very efficient.

Wait!  Remember last time?  Is that God calling Adam?!

“Adam, Adam — where are you?”  God calls out as He is walking in the cool of the evening.  “You’re supposed to be here like you are every evening for fellowship!”

“Here I am, Lord God, I heard you calling but I really don’t want you to see me and the woman naked so I was busy making some of these really eclectic coverings out of these fig leaves and threading them together with these small vines,” he stuttered, trying to get God’s attention off of the circumstances, “You think these duds will catch on?”

      “You are going to have to work your fingers to the bone and strain your back just to get anything to eat from the ground for the rest of your days.”

“Ok, stop with the pretense already, Adam, who told you that you are naked?  Did you get into the fruit of the only tree in the Garden that I specifically commanded you not to eat from?”

“Not really, it was this woman that you gave me, Lord God,” Adam whines and complains, “She just up and pulled one off that tree, took a big chunk out of it, and then had the audacity to hand it to me to eat.  I really had no choice! You know how a woman can be!” Adam responds as he hangs his head — trying not to make eye contact with his Lord and God — hoping his reasoning will appease Him.

God turns to Eve and asks, “Just what in the Garden do you think you’re doing?” he asked.

“Lord!” she stammers, “It’s that talking snake over there hiding behind the tree,” she answers with a tremble of fear and dread, “he made me do it!  He deceived me and I grabbed it and ate!”

God looks at where the woman is pointing.  He slowly approaches where the serpent is hiding and with a stern voice, he loudly declares, “Ok!   Because you have done this, I am going to curse you more than any livestock or any animal for that matter!” He looks at Satan and says, “You are going to crawl on your belly in the dust and eat it for all your days!”

He then turns and points at the woman and resumes His admonishment, “I’m placing a bitter parting of the ways — a hostility — between you and the woman,” he informed Satan, “and between your seed and hers!”  Then, with a final thrust, He continues, “He will grant you a fatal blow but you will only be able to temporarily slow Him down!”

Then God turns back to the woman and stares deeply into her eyes before saying, “As for you,” he declares in indignation, “you will have such pain when you have children that you will wish you had never been born!”  Letting that sink in, He then continues, “You will hurt for hours in giving sons and daughters to the man but you will always come back in desire for him, regardless of how bad having his children hurts and he will dominate you!”

He then turns to the man, walks over, points His finger at him, and commands, “As for you, it’s because of you that the very ground — that has lovingly begat the plants and trees here in the Garden for you — will be cursed!”  He waits for effect and continues, “You are going to have to work your fingers to the bone and strain your back just to get anything to eat from the ground for the rest of your days!”

God stares long and hard at the man again and resumes his curse, “All you are going to see are thorns and thistles in your way and you will have to fight for every square inch of space in order eat bread as you sweat for everything you grow!”  God then solemnly continues, “You will eventually return to the ground from where you were brought up out of because you are mere dust and to dust you will return because of your disobedience!”

Adam turns to his wife, “Oh man, I’m going to call you Eve — that means the mother of all living!”

God killed some game and made clothes for both of them.  Adam responded, “Lord, I really think our clothing design looks more pleasing to the eye but I recognize the value of the leather since I am going to have to bust my chops to feed all the kids Eve will have to suffer in bringing into the world.”

God then began speaking, “Ok, we have to place cherubim with those fancy swords to guard the Garden so that these two don’t eventually slip back in and eat from the tree of life and live forever!”  They watched the cherubim whirl their flaming swords around and around. God stated matter-of-factly, “Wow, they are a great creation! With these cherubim getting their fancy sword play on — I see no way those two will be able to get back in now!”  [to be continued…].

Until next time!

Zach

QUESTION:  HAVE YOU EVER SUFFERED CONSEQUENCES FOR BEING DISOBEDIENT TO GOD IN YOUR LIFE?