Baptism

Written by: George J. Elling

In this blog we will discuss baptism; what it is, what it means, and how it is performed at Baptist and similar churches.

What is Baptism?

Baptism is an act that is performed by most all Christian churches. While details of the act will vary, it is designed to symbolize what happens to a person when they receive Christ as their Lord and Savior. It represents and deepens the born again experience a person goes through when they put their faith in Christ. It is also usually performed simultaneously with a person formally joining a church if they have not been previously baptized.

What is the meaning behind baptism?

To understand the meaning of baptism we need to first understand what it means to come to Jesus Christ for salvation.

When a person comes to Christ or puts their faith and trust in Christ for salvation, they are “born again”, that is, they have a spiritual birth. The Bible says,

Therefore if any man be in Christ, 
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

If you think about it, this is like having a new birth, like starting over, but more than that. The person who has been born again has had a spiritual birth or awakening, and now has the life of Christ within them. The Bible says,

“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead
shall also quicken your mortal bodies
by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Romans 8:11

How is this possible? The Bible teaches us that when we put our faith in Christ we are identified with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection unto a new life. The apostle Paul described it this way:

3 “For what the law could not do,
in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us,
who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh;
but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death;
but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:
for it is not subject to the law of God,
neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit,
if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ,
he is none of his.
10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin;
but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus
from the dead dwell in you,
he that raised up Christ from the dead
shall also quicken your mortal bodies
by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
Romans 8:3-11

The Holy Spirit is the one who “baptizes” us into Christ when we come to faith. Spiritually we have died with Christ, were buried, and rose again to new life in Christ with the Holy Spirit indwelling our spirit. Thus, spiritually, we come to have Christ’s life within us, and we become a new creation (see above).

The act of baptism is designed to symbolize this process of dying, being buried, and raising to a new life in Christ, i.e., being born again.

How is Baptism performed at Baptist Churches?

The act of baptism uses water as a medium for the symbolic death, burial, and resurrection of the person who presents themselves for baptism. You will walk down a few steps into a tank of water, called a baptistry. Or, if the church does not have a formal baptistry, a natural body of water or a pool of water can be used. The pastor will be there with you. The pastor will ask you if you have placed your faith in Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. He will then allow you time to express your faith. Upon this profession of faith, the pastor then immerses you into the water and raises you back up.

If that sounds a little scary or awkward, it’s not. Before being baptized, candidates meet with a pastor or deacon to review the meaning and the process of baptism. At that time, you can ask any questions you have. If there are health issues which might make it difficult to be immersed in water, accommodations can be made. All of this can be discussed beforehand.

The Joy of Baptism

Baptism is a joyous occasion and a time to celebrate your new life in Christ with family and friends. It brings you closer to Christ as you identify with Him and follow Him in obedience to be like Him.

What Baptism is Not

Baptism, as simply a religious ritual, does not save you (see 1 Peter 3:21). The act of recognizing your sinfulness, and calling upon, and placing your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, saves you. This is the act of being born again by the Holy Spirt. Baptism symbolizes what has already taken place in a person’s life.

-GJE

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God’s Tumbler

Written by: George J. Elling

Did you ever wonder why the various people in your life are there? First there is family. They are there because of biological relationships and marriages. Then there are friends which we “pick” to be there. As the old saying goes, “You can pick your friends but you can’t pick your family.”

Next are people with whom we choose to have a professional relationship with, like doctors, dentists, auto mechanics, lawyers, etc. Then there are co-workers, bosses, employees, managers, business associates, etc. Some of us have teammates from a sports league or fellow volunteers from a charity we engage with. We may have fellow worshipers from a church or synagogue we go to. And, of course, there are those who are our neighbors and other people that don’t fit into one of the above categories.

We all interact with quite a few people in the course of a week. But, why are these particular people in our lives? Is there something deeper about why certain people are the people we interact with in a given week? Does it go beyond happenstance or “our choices?”

A tumbler is a barrel or a drum in which you place stones, or parts, along with some grit in order to polish them. Round and round the drum turns. The items inside are forced into each other, interacting with some friction, enhanced by the grit, to wear down the rough edges of the objects in order to achieve a smooth and polished result.

We, and the people in our lives, can be like the items in a tumbler. We are all going round and round, being forced to interact with each other, sometimes easily, and sometimes with a great deal of friction.

It is easy to simply view people in your life in terms of what they can do for you; a utilitarian view. You can also view people in terms of mission or ministry. These are people whom we are to “love on” and help. But, what if God has this particular set of people in your life to help shape and polish you as well as for you to help shape and polish them? What if you are in God’s tumbler?

This, of course, is not the only reason God allows, or places, people into your life. There are the practical and missional purposes as well. But, I think it is valid to consider how God is “polishing” your life when bumping up against others, especially when there is a bit of friction. We grow through struggle. This was true also of Jesus’ life. The Bible says;

“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.”
Hebrews 5:8

Jesus came in contact with all sorts of people during his life on earth. While he healed, helped, and discipled many, he also clashed with many. Some helped his mission, some ignored him. Some tried to control him, and some betrayed him. Through it all, the man, Jesus, learned experiential obedience to the Father and was made perfect, or mature. As a result, he became the man God the Father intended him to be.

After describing the work of ministers (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers), Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus:

15 “…But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
Ephesians 4:15-16

Notice in this passage the special work of each of the various parts of the body of Christ (not just the professional ministers) and that they contribute to your becoming the man or woman God intends you to become. Not a generic man or woman, but a particular you, a part of the body of Christ who measures up to the standard and stature exemplified by Christ.

But how does this happen? Well, for example:

From the irritating, we learn patience and to appreciate calmness.

From those who persecute us, we learn endurance and to appreciate peace and security.

From the educated, we learn knowledge and to appreciate how much there is to know.

From the lovely, we learn beauty and to appreciate beauty.

From the helpless, we learn to give and to appreciate how God reaches out to us.

From the lonely, we learn to be a friend and appreciate God’s presence with us.

From the dysfunctional, we learn to bring and appreciate order.

From the poor, we learn to give and appreciate what God has given us.

From the ones who truly love us, we learn what true love is and gain a desire to share it with others.

I could add additional examples of how we are shaped by those in our lives, but I think you get the idea.

So today, why not reflect on how God may be shaping and polishing you by the interactions you experience with the people in your life. Pay special attention to the ones you feel cause discomfort and friction. God may be using that person to polish your own rough edges. And remember, it is Christ in you (Colossians 1:27) who will give you the ability to see and understand what God may be doing. Welcome to God’s tumbler!

7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” 
2 Corinthians 4:7

17 “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:17-18

1 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 3:1-4

-GJE

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What is the Bible?

The Bible

Written by: George J. Elling

The word “bible” simply means “book.” It has sometimes been called “The Book” or “The Good Book” because it is the most widely published book of all time and because of its content.

Actually, the Bible is not really a single book. Its content was written over a period of about 1,500 years by approximately 40 authors. The subsections of the Bible, also called “books”, consist of various types of literature; from historical narratives to poetry, proverbs, letters, and prophecies. These books are grouped into two main sections: The Old Testament, originally written almost exclusively in Hebrew, and the New Testament, originally written in the common Greek of the first century A.D.

The first 5 books are called the Books of Moses, or the law (“Torah” in Hebrew). They tell us about the creation of man, how we came to be separated from a personal relationship with God, and the consequences of that. They also tell us about the beginnings of God’s plan to bring us back to Himself.

First God called a man, Abram (later called Abraham), to have faith in Him. From the descendants of this one man, God promised to bring blessing and created a nation known today as the Hebrew or Jewish people. Early in their existence, the Hebrews became enslaved in Egypt. So, God called another man, named Moses, to lead the Hebrew people out of slavery and give them laws and regulations to become the nation known as Israel. In this process, God entered into a covenant with the Hebrews such that they would become a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” with the task of revealing God’s Word to others. The history of Israel and God’s revelations through them make up the rest of the Old Testament until we come to the time of Christ, the Messiah.

Many people do not realize that the word “Christ” is a title and means the same thing as “the Messiah”. The term “Christ” is from the Greek and “Messiah” is from the Hebrew. Translated into English, these terms mean “anointed one.”

As God had sent a deliverer to lead the Hebrews out of slavery in Egypt, God spoke to the Hebrew prophets, priests, and kings about a coming anointed one who would be a deliverer to redeem all people of all nations from their bondage to “sin”, i.e., their acts and attitudes that fall short of God’s holiness and perfection. This sin is what separates us from God and from each other leading to conflicts. The Bible says:

“for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;”
Romans 3:23

The arrival the Christ and the consequential changes brought about in people’s lives is the story of the New Testament. The New Testament describes Christ’s coming as Jesus of Nazareth, his ministry on earth, his death on a cross, his resurrection to new life, and the development of the early church. The New Testament ends with prophecies of things to come.

The New Testament tells us that Jesus Christ’s death redeemed us from our sins and through his resurrection we are given new life, His life, in and by the Holy Spirit.  That is, we can now have a spiritual rebirth through the spirit. The Bible says:

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

Thus, the Bible is sometimes referred to as “the gospel” which means “good news.” Yes, the Bible has some hard things to say about us, and the people whose stories it recounts. But it also tells us how we can now be reborn spiritually, and in the future, experience a resurrection to life with God eternally and restoring the relationship we were created to have with Him.

How do you avail yourself of this opportunity for new birth, for a spiritual reset? The Bible says:

8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 
9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 
10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
11 “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 
12 “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 
13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Romans 10:8-13

You can call upon the name of the Lord by prayer. Prayer is simply talking to God by faith, out loud or silently in your heart. Express to Him your need for a Savior, or Redeemer, and invite Christ into your life to change you into the person He would have you to be. Then thank Him for His death on the cross for the forgiveness of your sin and for the promise of the Holy Spirit in your life. You will now experience a new life, Christ’s life in your heart.

To grow in your understanding and to express worship to God and to experience fellowship with other believers, seek out a good Bible-teaching church and go there. Ask God to lead you to the right church. As with anything new, it will take some time for you to adjust to what God is doing in your life now that you have placed your faith and trust in Christ. Also, spend some time reading the Bible each day to better understand what is happening in your life. I’d recommend that you start with the New Testament section of the Bible, the section that recounts the Life of Christ on earth and the teachings of the early church. In time you will learn about the Old Testament section of the Bible that recounts what led up to the arrival of Christ on earth and it will give you more foundation for your faith.

Additional Notes about the Bible Quotes:

The words after the biblical quotes, for example, “Romans 10: 8-13”, refer to where the quote came from in the Bible. First is the name of the book within the Bible (Romans 10: 8-13). In this example, the book is called “Romans.” The numbers after the book’s name refer to the chapter and verse, or range of verses where the quote is found (Romans 10: 8-13). In this example, it is chapter 10, verses 8 through 13.

If you are not familiar with the books of the Bible you can look them up in the table of contents in the front of most Bibles.

-GJE

©Mark Davis 2021

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Tough Encounters

The events of recent days have tried many people’s patience and understanding. We are seeing it all; from the sickness of the Covid19 virus to marches in the streets, to rioting and looting, and political intrigue. In the midst of it is easy to lose a focus on what being a Christian is all about.

Written by: George J. Elling

The events of recent days have tried many people’s patience and understanding. We are seeing it all; from the sickness of the Covid19 virus to marches in the streets, to rioting and looting, and political intrigue. In the midst of it is easy to lose focus on what being a Christian is all about.

Some side with a particular political or activist group. Some side with the police and others with the call to defund the police. Some identify with this racial or ethnic group and others with a different group. There are plenty of viewpoints to go around. As we all respond to people and the issues of the day here are a few things to keep in mind from a Christian perspective.

What has been happening is Nothing New nor a Surprise to God

There have been intergroup misunderstandings, dissentions, inequities and wars since the beginning of human history. Education, politics, police, armies, etc. cannot solve the basic problem of people’s hearts. Only God can change us from within. That is why Jesus told a very religious and pious man that he needed to be “born again” or “born from above” (John 3). God is in the business of changing us.

Also, remember that all of what comes your way is “filtered through the hands of God.” He knew this was going to happen and is with you through the midst of it.

“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Matthew 28:20b

Act as God did, out of Love

“For God so loved the world that He gave…
John 3:16a

God was under no obligation to rescue us and save us from ourselves. He acted from a pure, self-giving love. This type of love always has a cost. This is why God’s actions to save us are referred to in the Bible as redemption and as God “paying” a price for our redemption.

Jesus instructed us to love as He loved, and to go so far as to love even our enemies.

If we are to have this type of giving love for enemies, how much more should we have this love for those who simply disagree with us or advance a different cause? Also, note that we are to pray for those we believe persecute us. Some of our problems are because we are not praying for those we disagree with.

See people and people-groups as God does – See them from Above

Our basic perspective is very limited. All we do is see things from our natural limited point of view and time on this earth, which is all too brief and self-focused.

Paul wrote that he no longer saw people after the flesh, i.e., from the viewpoint of a natural man who is without the Spirit of God in his life.

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh:”
2 Corinthians 5:16a

Instead, Paul urged the following:

“1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
“2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

Colossians 3:1-4

Our present and future is not to be that of the natural man or woman who has not been born again of the Holy Spirit. We are to see people from the perspective of God and eternity. Our own rewards and glory will come when Christ is revealed again in all of His glory.

Resolve to be an Ambassador who is a Peace Maker

An ambassador is someone who represents another person or a country. An ambassador does not represent himself or his own self-interests. As we interact with others, we need to keep in mind that as a Christian we are to be ambassadors for Christ.

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.”
2 Corinthians 5:20

Christians are to be God’s ambassadors to bring about reconciliation between God and man and between men. Jesus taught his disciples:

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
Matthew 5:9

And,

10 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 
12 “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven:”

Matthew 5:10-12a

A peace maker is one who brings reconciliation. We should ask ourselves what would Christ have us do to reconcile a person to God and to bring about reconciliation between people we interact with.

Your actions are not to focus on You, but about the needs of Others

Your needs will be met in Christ:

“But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 
Philippians 4:19

With your own needs met in Christ you can move forward with confidence in helping others.

Listen carefully, you don’t know the Whole Story

Each person you meet is coming to you with a lifetime of experiences, both good and bad. They are most likely acting out of that compilation of cultural inputs, teachings, successes, failures, rejections, and hurts. So, listen carefully to understand before you try to speak. This isn’t about you winning a Harvard style debate. It is about you being an ambassador for Christ (see above).

19 “…Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.” 
James 1:19b-20

God is at work to Change You as much as He wants to Change Them

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”
Philippians 2:12

Each believer is called upon to apply the Word of God in everyday situations as part of “working out” or the “out working” of his or her salvation. As noted above, God knew you would be in an interaction with whoever it is that you are interacting with today. Now is the time to be the man or woman God intends you to be.

James teaches us:

22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 
23 “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
24 “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 
25 “But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein
, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”
James 1:22-25

God will bless us through interacting with others in a godly way in spite of tough or challenging circumstances.

Count it all Joy

James wrote:

2 “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 
3 “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 
4 “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” 

James 1:2-4

God is more interested in you becoming a complete man or woman in Christ with Christ in you (Colossians 1:27) than He is in your “solving” whatever challenge you are facing. The trial or challenge you face helps accomplish this goal. Therefore, rejoice in challenges as an opportunity to grow as a person and help fulfill the mission of Christ.

“And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Christ’s name).”
Acts 5:41

You also may be helping to fill up what was “lacking” in Christ’s suffering on behalf of others in the body of Christ. Paul wrote of himself:

“Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:”
Colossians 1:24

What you are going through is not without purpose for your life and others.

Take Courage!

As stated in the beginning of this essay, Jesus told His disciples that:

“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”
Matthew 28:20b

The apostle Paul was so convinced of his life being “in Christ” that he could therefore confidently say:

“For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
Philippians 1:21

In life, or death, Paul’s life was safe in Christ. Yours is too if you have received Him into your life.

Abide in Christ

Trying to do any and all of the above will be futile self-effort if you are not abiding in Christ. Give up on your self-efforts to control people and situations. You are not God. Give up on trying to have an immediate answer for everything and focus on Christ and His word. Jesus told His disciples:

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”
John 15:5

Some ways to abide in Christ include:

  • Read and meditate on God’s word
  • Memorize God’s word
  • Listen for God’s voice
  • Pray for God’s direction, for the needs of others, and to be an instrument of His love.

-GJE

©Mark Davis 2021

My Heart is Grieving

Written by: Pastor Chuck Anderson

January 6, 2021:

My heart has been grieving all afternoon. I fear that our beloved country has come to a crossroads and we will never be the same. Many of our cherished freedoms may soon be swallowed up by an aggressive socialistic agenda.

THE GRIEVING HEART . . . I was thinking about the One Who was a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” . . . the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not grieving over political things like many of us are . . . in fact, He is El Elyon, God Most High Who RULES in the affairs of this world.

Why do you suppose He would grieve? How about the MURDER of 3,000+ babies that die in the United States of America every day so that women can have their right to choose? How about PERVERSION that is so gross we are embarrassed to write about it? How about IMMORALITY that has become a way of life in America . . . even among people who profess to know the Lord Jesus Christ.

When a nation EVICTS God from public life and EXPELS Him from our public schools, we should not be surprised if we allow fraud, lying, and cheating to govern public life and even our elections. We may be bringing judgment and wrath upon ourselves!

THE LORD JESUS HAS A BROKEN HEART . . . and part of His sorrow is our LACK OF REPENTANCE and the millions of people that face a HORRIBLE ETERNITY without hope . . . and most of the people who are so lost have never even heard the good news of His love and grace.

America may change in the days and years coming . . . but the commission of each one of us who knows the Lord Jesus never changes: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them and HAS COMMITTED UNTO US THE WORD OF RECONCILIATION.” 2 Corinthians 5:19

While we still have time, let’s do all we can to tell a dying world about the Lord Jesus Christ Who is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life!” John 14:6

Many of you have made this past year a banner year in getting the gospel out. Thank you so much!

The New Year has begun . . . “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

Chuck Anderson’s website: https://www.discoveryworld.us/

©2021 Mark Davis

Continue Reading:
Discovery World
Egyptian Chariot Wheels Discovered in the Red Sea!
Guilty, Yet Free
Good News For A Bad News World
THE MOON HAS A STORY TO TELL!
Lost Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah Located Along Shores of the Dead Sea!
Historical Dinosaur Sightings!

Thankfulness

What does God’s Word say about thankfulness? Keep in mind that this just a small amount of the verses available. All of them just couldn’t be included in one place.

Philippians 1:3 – 5
3   “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4  “Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5  “For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;”

—  I Thessalonians 5:18
In everything give thanks:
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Psalm 95:2 —
“Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving,
and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”

— Psalm 100:4
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise:
be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”

Psalm 105:1
“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name:
make known his deeds among the people.”

Psalm 118:1 —
“O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: 
because His mercy endoureth forever.”

— Ephesians 5:20
“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Psalm 136:1
“Oh give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good:
for His mercy endoureth for ever.”

— Colossians 3:17
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed,
do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

John 6:11 —
“And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks,
he distributed to the disciples,
and the disciples to them that were set down;
and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.”

©2018 Mark Davis

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A Present Every Day

Written by: Mark Davis

Every day should be Christmas!
Every day that we get to live
As we live it, we call it the present.
We give and receive presents on Christmas.
Every day should be Christmas!

Sick or well, as we live, it is a present to us.
Enjoy your presents to their fullest.
We never know if we will ever get another present!
Thank God for your presents
By living for Him every day.

I just wrote that for you.
I hope you enjoy it and remember that it is true.
I pray that you feel better
and God performs a miracle in you.

Merry every day!
We love you regardless how you feel
and we hurt with you, for you.
God bless you.

 

©2018 Mark Davis

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How I came to know Jesus

benotashamed
By: Ron M. of Aurora, CO, USA

I was not married at the time my oldest daughter was born.

My girlfriend and I broke up, and I missed my daughter very much.

I would go into the bathroom and pray that God would return them back to me, and He would remind me of how I would cry and pray. Then He allowed me to remember the pain I suffered when I lost them.

He then asked me, “Do you want to go through that again?”

And, I said “No.”

“Then you need me!”

I ignored that conversation and went on with my life.

One day, a friend of my wife’s came over to update her life insurance policy, because she wanted to put me on it.

I offered him a beer and he said, “I can face reality!”

My thought was ‘what are you trying to say, that I can’t?’

The more I talked to him, the more I didn’t want him in our house.

He told me, “Without the Love of Jesus, you won’t go very far.”

I told him that I had work to do and then he invited me to go to his Church to see a play. I told Him I would go.

I went outside to do the work I had to do.

Just then, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how I used to cry to him and ask him to return my family to me.

I will never forget the last time that I asked God to return my family to me and He didn’t, so I asked Him to either return them to me or send somebody that will love me just for who I am.

To top it off, that day I met my wife! We have now been married 38 years now.

The day came for the play, and I went. They gave an altar call to come and receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior and I didn’t go. I told the Pastor after the service that I wanted to go down there, but he didn’t ask me If I wanted to accept Jesus as my personal Savior.

We left the church and went home.

A few months had gone by, and my wife invited me to go to her Church. I told her that I would go on Easter Sunday morning.

I was impressed by the church; it was very nice inside. I didn’t see any saints along the walls. I was a Catholic, so it was definitely different than the inside of their churches.

When the Pastor of the Church started preaching, he said, “What if Jesus would ask, ‘What are you here for? To show off your new clothes? If you are, get out of here, and don’t come back until you are ready to serve me for the rest of your life!’”

After the service was over, my wife asked, “What did you think?”

I said, “I won’t go back there again.”

The following year was one of the most difficult times I had gone through in my whole life. I quit my job and tried working for myself, but God saw to it that I couldn’t get any work. I could not even get a job, and I had very good working skills.

My wife told me to go apply for food stamps, and I said, “No!”

She said that I needed to swallow my pride and go apply the next day. We went, and we were rejected for any public aid.

What a shame that was to me!

As time went on, I was driving down the road and I got a very sharp pain in my blind eye, so I pulled over, got out of the car and laid on the grass.

I went to an eye doctor shortly after that and he said that I would have to have my eye taken out because it would cause more problems down the road for my other eye.

I left there in tears just thinking of losing my eye.

I called my wife and tried to tell her what was going on, but I couldn’t speak, because I just started to cry.

She said, “Don’t worry, God will take care of you.”

That night I went to bed and I fell apart inside and started to remind God of all of the things I had gone through. I said, “Why did you even create me? First, I lit myself on fire, then I had a dart stuck in my eye and went blind in that eye. I couldn’t look at anybody without being put down. I couldn’t even take off my shirt without somebody saying how gross I was, because of my burns.”

I told God to just take my life, because, “I don’t want to live anymore, but,” I said, ”I am sorry for everything I said, I am sorry and that I tried to live life my own way and I need a new life. I want Jesus to take over my life, now.”

Praise God, He gave me a new life!

The next day, my wife called told me to call this other doctor so I did. I explained to him what had happened and he said to come in to his office.

He examined me and said, “Let me relieve you of your heartache. I can save your eye but it will require surgery.”

I had the surgery done and had to spend the night in the hospital. The doctor came to visit me that night to tell me that it appeared to be okay. The next day I was taken down to get the bandages removed.

He said, “Let’s see if you can see.”

After he removed the bandages, I told him that I could see, and it was like the Lord was hugging me, and He and I were watching the doctor working on me. The doctor removed the bandages and I was able to see for the very first time in 25 years!

I am reminded now about how the blind man, in Mark 8:22-26, came to Bethsaida, and the disciples brought a blind man to Jesus and asked Him to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Can you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes, and his eyes were opened! His sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.

That is what I am looking forward to, the day I can see Jesus with both eyes!

Praise THE LORD for the blessings he has given me.

©2018 Mark Davis

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What God Can NOT Do!

 

The hypothetical question is often asked —
“Can God make a rock so big that He cannot lift it?”

We would have to say “no” because “nothing is impossible” for God. (Matthew 19:26) He is “all powerful” —

Jeremiah 10:12 — “He has made the earth by His power;
He has established the world by 
His wisdom,
and has stretched out the heavens by His understanding.”

This may surprise you . . . but there are several things that God cannot do that are contrary to His very nature:

1. God cannot lie because God cannot sin.

Titus 1:2 — “In hope of eternal life, which God, Who cannot lie, promised before the world began.”

James 1:13 — “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts He any man.”

2. God cannot break His promises.

Numbers 23:19 — “God is not a man, that He should lie, neither the son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has he spoken and shall He not make it good?”

3. God cannot change.

Malachi 3:6 “I am the LORD, I change not.”

Hebrews 13:8 — “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever.”

4. God cannot forgive sin without the shedding of innocent blood… HIS!

Hebrews 9:22 — ”…without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.”

1 John 1:7 — ”…the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sins.”

5. God cannot let anyone into heaven unless they sincerely believe in His Son, Jesus Christ, as their Savior.

John 3:36 — He that believes on the Son has everlasting life; and he that believes not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

6. God cannot let anyone into heaven unless they have been “born-again.”

John 3:3-5, 7 —Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
vs. 7 — Ye must be born again.

John 3:16 —
For God so loved the world (you)that He gave his only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him (in the fact that He came to earth to save all of mankind from their destiny of eternal torment in HELL by going to the cross and taking the sins of humanity on Himself so they can go to Heaven) should not perish (go to HELL for the rest of eternity), but have everlasting life (Spend the rest of eternity in HEAVEN).

How can you find out how you can continue on and commit your life to Jesus and become a TRUE Christian…? Click Here!

Tell us what you think about becoming a Christian – especially if you have made the decision to become a Christian!

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Riding in Tandem with Jesus Christ

I’d never heard this story until last week in church, our Pastor read it to us, and at that point in time, I knew that I just had to share it with you! It might not be ‘exactly’ the way I would have written it, but it seems to come from the same place where many of us either are at or have been, so I left the integrity of the story where the author, as I know it, meant it to be to reflect their story. So, sit back, and read the story… Oh, and, don’t forget to ‘Pedal’!

The Road of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer,
my judge,
keeping track of the things I did wrong,
so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell
when I die.
He was out there sort of like a president.
I recognized His picture when I saw it,
but I really didn’t know Him.

But later on
when I met Christ,
it seemed as though life
was rather like a bike ride,
but it was a tandem bike,
and I noticed that Christ
was in the back
helping me pedal.

I don’t know just when it was
that He suggested we change places,
but life has not been the same since.

When I had control,
I knew the way.
It was rather boring,
but predictable . . .
It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead,
He knew delightful long cuts,
up mountains,
and through rocky places
at breakneck speeds,
it was all I could do to hang on!
Even though it looked like madness,
He said,
‘Pedal!’

I worried and was anxious
and asked,
‘Where are you taking me?’
He laughed and didn’t answer,
and I started to learn to trust.

I forgot my boring life
and entered into the adventure.
And when I’d say, ‘I’m scared,’
He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed,
gifts of healing,
acceptance
and joy.
They gave me gifts to take on my journey,
my Lord’s and mine.

And we were off again.
He said, ‘Give the gifts away;
they’re extra baggage, too much weight.’
So I did,
to the people we met,
and I found that in giving I received,
and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him,
at first, in control of my life.
I thought He’d wreck it;
but He knows bike secrets,
knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners,
knows how to jump to clear high rocks,
knows how to fly to shorten scary passages.

And I am learning to shut up and pedal
in the strangest places,
and I’m beginning to enjoy the view
and the cool breeze on my face
with my delightful constant companion,
Jesus Christ.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore,
He just smiles and says . . . ‘Pedal.’

— author unknown”

Excerpt from Holy Sweat (page 51) by Tim Hansel

Tim Hansel didn’t actually write the story but it was included in the book he wrote called Holy Sweat. If you’ve never heard of Tim Hansel, that’s ok, I hadn’t either up to this point but I took it upon myself to find out something about him. I googled him (and the story) and came up with a wealth of information. I’m not going to tell his story here today because I’m here to talk about Jesus taking control of our lives, but I will tell you that if you are anything like most of us, you have had some circumstances happen to you that you feel shouldn’t have because you don’t know what you’ve done to anger God and draw His wrath upon you. That isn’t always the reason that things happen to us.

Let me tell you something, friend, Tim Hansel was a prime example of being handed a truck full of lemons and making lemonade out of it, and then selling it! Most of us would do extremely well to just be able to make lemonade.

I’m sure Tim would tell you that when you feel like you can get no lower or any flatter on your back and you feel that, if there is a God, He has totally forgotten about you, to lift your eyes a little bit higher than the highest mountain that you face and see the God that created the mountains and created you, and see that He is ultimately in control and that, as you most likely have recently realized, you are totally out of control!

So, keep pedaling! Let God do the steering, and let Him have control of the things that you don’t have control over.

In the time that I have personally been disabled (that, now being about 18 years), and having been also slammed onto my back, flat, with no physical control of any part of my body from my mid-chest down to my toes, and then eventually, after having been told that I would likely never walk or move again, I was able to learn how to move the bottom half of my body, although I still don’t feel much there, then later to be diagnosed with an incurable, inoperable, terminal, Stage 4 Carcinoid Cancer, which thankfully is very slow growing and hasn’t advanced much in the last 10 years but always stands ready to threaten my life once again at a moment’s notice.

I knew God and was ‘saved’ before all of this happened to me, but He has a way of using those low points in our lives to wake us up and get our attention (if we are really paying attention to our circumstances) and let us know that He is still there and wants to lead us on to bigger and better things.

Even though I was never fully ‘healed’ of my infirmities, I have learned that God has allowed these things to happen to me so that I can be used of Him.

He has allowed me to be put into circumstances that, if these things had never happened to me, I would never have been able to run into people that He wanted me to be talking to about Him, or to be in places where I would be able to console someone in similar circumstances (in one way or another, but I doubt and hope that no one has the same situation as mine) and to listen to their stories. Sometimes they are in need of guidance that I can give them and sometimes I am the one in need of guidance from them. But either way, I am always blessed to be able to talk to those people and hopefully be a blessing to them.

I learned many years ago that regardless how I feel at the time or whatever condition/circumstances that I find myself in, there is always someone in a worse way than myself and, because of that, I have no right or reason to feel sorry for myself. It may not make all of my pain go away but it puts me in a state of mind where I am not concerned with my own infirmities but rather in tune with others and wanting/willing to help them, even if it is nothing more than just a prayer – which, possibly, might actually be the best ‘help’ that I could be to them because, much like them, I have no more control over their circumstances than I have of my own.

I have also learned that He keeps me in a position where I am always reliant on Him and I can’t make it without Him, whether it is through pain and my physical problems or through my finances. He always keeps me right on the line so that I am always looking to Him for support.

You have probably heard the saying, ‘barely able to keep my head above water?’ I picture someone in water deeper than they are tall and they have their head bent back so that their mouth and nose are barely able to gasp for air, but something else that I see in that picture is the person’s eyes. They are also above water, even though sometimes the water may splash over them and blind them for a second or two, they are above water and which way are they pointing?

They are pointing UP!

I wonder why that could be… maybe to be able to look in the direction of the Creator – the ONLY ONE that has any control to either drain some of the water from the ‘pool’ (for some of us almost all of the water drains out) or to build up the ground beneath us to give us a better toe-hold below them.

But either way, God, our Creator, the only One that can control the winds and the seas or make the hair on our head grow (if you happen to have any), but in any case, He even knows how many hairs you have on your head. He is the one that puts the wind under the wings of the birds of the air or the air in your lungs.

He is the ONLY ONE that has ANY control over your particular situation.

He may keep your head ‘barely above water’ so that He can use you to be the example to someone else to show them how you are able to breathe and ultimately look to God in your time of need and so that they can see how God actually meets your needs!

A dear friend of mine told me this week about how he had been feeling a bit down and he was grumbling to God and others about things going on in his life. He had looked on his phone (that is how he gets his reminders of what to read for his ‘time with God’, otherwise known as ‘devotions’) one morning and saw the link to his daily reading. As he opened it up the top of the page read: “QUIT WHINING!”

Friend, are you missing something in your life right now? Do you feel like someone is just walking all over you and you can’t take it anymore?

Read the story again!

Let Jesus take control of your life right now. If you don’t know how to do that, please let me know on my ‘Contact Page‘ and I will get back with you and we can chat about it, confidentially. But ultimately, friend, please talk to God about it. Turn your life’s controls over to Him and let Him drive your tandem bike on this wonderful ride we call ‘Life’.

If you feel like you want to read some more about this subject, I’ll leave you some more links at the bottom of this page to take a look at. Don’t just let this go though, friend! You can’t do it all on your own.

© Mark Davis 2017

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