Left Behind

It was nearly 8:30 pm on Wednesday night, when the message had just been preached. She was impressed by the Holy Spirit to sing, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” As I sat back and listened to the singing congregation, I gained a new understanding for the message behind the lyrics.  Though we have sung this familiar song on more than one occasion, today the words to the song really stood out.

“I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back. The world behind me, the cross before me. Though none go with me, still I will follow.” Do we really understand what that means?

Noah, Lot, and many of our ancestors did. How do I know? The bible tells of how they were faced with the very same decision. They had to choose to either follow God or get left behind. In the cases of Noah and Lot, they chose to follow God. Then, the world they knew was ultimately destroyed because of its sinful nature. That glimpse into their past, our past, shows us the lesson that hopefully our generation must learn before it’s too late. Any path or lifestyle that is not Christ-like will not lead to salvation but destruction.

As a Christian, you must decide to either get left behind or leave behind the things and people who will stand in your path towards salvation. We were born alone and so shall we be when we face His judgment. God is the only one who ought to stand before us. As Christians, we acknowledge that we are the followers of Christ and no one else.

It means that our parents, siblings, children, colleagues, spouses, friends, NO ONE can stand before us. We are to let no one cause us to get left behind. The end of time is near. Our probationary period is nearly over. Have you chosen a side yet? Christ or Satan? Heaven or Hell? Life or Death? Time waits for no one. Christ is preparing to leave His throne to return for His children, will you be among the ones that will step ahead or get left behind…forever?

One Nation Under God

For they are a nation void of counsel, neither is there any understanding in them. [Deuteronomy 32:28 KJV]

As the power of government changes from hand into another, many Americans are watching attentively to see what their new leadership will hold for their collective future.

Many people have grown anxious, fearing only the worst. While others feel that the change in power–from Democrat to Republican–will be a change for the better.

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. [Proverbs 29:2 KJV]

Though only time will tell which side made the correct assessment, there is one side, however, that hasn’t even been factored into the equation. While we argue which political party is evil, God was and will remain in control.

As Christians sadly, we have allowed the separation of church and state to be mirrored in our own lives. How could we, the bearers of His name, choose to place state over church? Though Christ never encouraged disobedience, He was never ashamed of His faith even at the brink of His crucifixion. Can you say the same?

While we as Christians debate between the victories and debacles of each political party, we have forgotten about the very words that we have recited in our nation’s Pledge of Allegiance since 1954. What ever happened to “one nation under God?”

Founded on Christian beliefs, the United States of America has lost its way. We are a lost people. Our only guide, the one true leader, reigns above the earth on His heavenly throne. The sooner we begin to accept Christ as our personal Savior, choosing to follow in His footsteps. the better our lives and the lives of our future generations will become.

Christ was no Democrat or Republican. He was indivisible. He is the king of kings, who became a condemned man in order to save all peoples.

Do not look unto our nation’s government for leadership, look towards Jesus and Jesus Christ alone.

Have you progressed or regressed?

Just four days shy of the new year, 2011, many Christians are undergoing what some may call a cleansing or purification process. It is always during the last few days of the year, that we take the time to reflect on the past and the many experiences we have witnessed. What have we learned? What were the lessons we walked away with? Have we changed?

It is during those last few days that we really begin to ponder on whether we have progressed or regressed. Have we taken a step forward or continue to move backwards? The truth of the matter is, we forget to reflect on one important factor…have we inched closer to or further from the cross?

Most of us remember the story of the thieves who were nailed to a cross and placed on both sides of Jesus Christ. Read Luke 23:33-43 KJV.  As Jesus hung on His cross awaiting death, one of the thieves teased him, telling him to save himself and them as well. However, the other thief knew Jesus had done no wrong and didn’t deserve the cruel punishment he had received. The thief acknowledged his own sin and guilt. It was at that moment, when the thief confessed, Jesus said he would be saved and join Him in His kingdom.

As the years go by, do you know whether you have grown or shrunk spiritually? How? Your church attendance, the number of ministries you’re involved in, your praise team performance, or swaying sermon will not guarantee a place for you in the kingdom of God. The only actions that will save you and seal your place beside Him is the confessing of your sins; accepting Christ as your personal Savior; and submitting to His will each and every day, regardless of where you are.

Many of us are occasional Christians when we ought to be Christians 24/7. We put on a show when people surround us, but when we’re alone, we act like fools. Christ sees it all. Though we may fool ourselves and others, we cannot never fool He who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient.

As 2010 comes to a conclusion, I challenge you to make a commitment–a covenant with Christ. One that you cannot break. For 2011, ask Him to help you inch closer to and not further from Him. I pray that your faith, your communication with Him through prayer, and knowledge of His word will increase. I pray that 2011 will be the year of  rededication and consecration for all of us. We have all fallen short of the glory of God, but He is merciful towards us. He has given us many opportunities to seek Him, because He loves us.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [John 3:!6, 17 KJV]

Time is running out. Have you progressed or regressed?

Pray without ceasing

Through the trials and tribulations of life, there is one thing that most Christians never do–PRAY. Whenever we are in a bind or up against a wall, we call our friends or family, but never our heavenly Father. Why is that? Is it because we fear His response? Is it because we know what He would tell us to do?

The Lord knows our hearts. He also knows what’s best for us, but sadly we don’t seek him as our lifeline. Instead, he is our last option when we’ve surpassed our point of desperation. How painful it must be for Christ to see His children suffer and not seek His presence! How sad it must be that our advocate now stands on the unemployment line, because we do not allow him to represent us before his Father!

With the nationwide season of thanks behind us, and the so-called celebration of Christ’s birth before us, will we as Christians continue to align ourselves with the very person we avoid? Why do so if our actions contradict the character of Christ?

In prayer, there is strength. In prayer, there is deliverance. In prayer, there is peace. In prayer, there is an open line of communication with the one who is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

We have one of the most powerful allies anyone can ask for. In times of war, it is he who we must fight alongside. Better yet, he would rather fight the battle for us. A battle against Christ is automatic defeat. Nothing and no else can give us that guarantee.

Though he faced hungry lions and was put in a fiery furnace for his obedience to God, Daniel prayed without ceasing (Daniel 6). Imprisoned by King Herod, Peter prayed without ceasing (Acts 12). Hours before he was to be betrayed, then crucified, Jesus prayed without ceasing (Matthew 26). If prayer was a viable resort for them, then why not for us?

Lord, you spoke well when you told your Father that we knew not what we had done. Centuries later, your children are still lost–including myself.

I pray that you never let us go. I pray that you will continue to advocate for us. I pray that we quickly open our eyes and realize the many blessings you have bestowed upon us–the many opportunities for second chances. Lord, shine your light so that we may see through the darkness. Save us Lord, for we need you now more than ever.

A Season of Thanksgiving

Millions of people from around the world will gather at the table to give thanks for life, health, family & friends, and of course the food.

What are you thankful for? How has God blessed you this week, month, or year? Have you ever testified of His goodness? What has stopped you from sharing His love for you with someone else? Your testimony must be heard.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. [Psalms 100:4 KJV]

As we sit at a table covered in food and surrounded by family and friends, I pray that you remember God’s many blessings upon you. Remember to always thank God, not just on this day but always. Most importantly, remember to thank Him publicly so that others may know that He is still the King of our lives, He is the alpha and omega, and that he continues to keep His promise–to provide for His children.

Let us also remember the less fortunate. Those who may be without shelter, family, love, hope, or food. Let us always continue to fulfill our Christian duty to our fellow man.

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. [Matthew 25:35-36,  40KJV]

The Shopping List

With Christmas just one month away, more and more Christians are not only in the stores for gifts–they’re also shopping for a mate. As the winter season inches towards us and the last of the leaves fall from the trees, an increasing number of single men and women are looking for companionship.

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. [Genesis 2:18 KJV]

In Genesis 2, Adam was responsible for the Garden of Eden. He had named all of the animals and began to notice a pattern. They were all paired–all except him. It didn’t take long for God to create a female companion for Adam, named woman and later Eve.

Companionship is an experience that is wanted by many. There are even those who pray for Jesus Christ to delay His second coming, because they haven’t found their soulmate, gotten married, and had children. The pressures of society and our peers have enabled us to be selfish, lustful, and in hot pursuit of “the one.”

How many of us have decided to take matters into our own hands? How many have even drafted a list of qualities? There’s nothing wrong with the list, but many of us have replaced reality with fantasy. For women, we want a tall, handsome man who is charming, has a car, earns a high salary, and takes care of his family. For men, they want an intelligent woman with a great body, who can cook, and knows how to care for children. He or she may be right in front of us, but because we are not willing to be open-minded and reasonable adults, we remain blind and alone.

Our guide to life, or the bible, we are given examples of what happens to those who have chosen to aggressively pursue their wants and not their needs instead of trusting and waiting on God.  Though we may “know” we want this and that, God already saw the outcome of our choices. God gave us free will, he isn’t a dictator. He will do everything in His power to help us avoid pitfalls, but we have to be willing to obey Him.

Let’s take for instance the story of  King David and Bathsheba in 2 Samuel 11. David was king of Israel, a nation that was in battle. While his army was away, he remained home. One night, he saw Bathsheba, a married woman whose husband, Uriah was fighting for Israel and King David. Regardless of that, King David slept with Bathsheba and impregnated her. He later tried to cover it up by sending for Uriah and hoping he would sleep with his wife, but he didn’t. Instead, King David had him sent back into the battle and placed in the front lines where it was certain death. Bathsheba mourned the death of her husband, married King David, and later bore his son.

And when the mourning was past, David sent and fetched her to his house, and she became his wife, and bare him a son. But the thing that David had done displeased the LORD. [2 Samuel 11:27 KJV] And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. [2 Samuel 12:13-14 KJV]. And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the LORD loved him. [2 Samuel 12:24 KJV]

God allowed the child to die because he was conceived through adultery, but God bless David’s second son, Solomon who later succeeded his father as king of Israel. In 1 Kings 11, Solomon followed in his father’s footsteps and had many wives, which displeased God.

But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: …And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart….And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice…[1 Kings 11:1, 3, 9 KJV].

Not everything that is pleasing to our five senses, especially sight, is good for us. Sometimes it’s just better to avoid temptation and walk away for the sake of our souls and peace of mind. Sadly, too many of us fall victim to our wants and desires. We fail to place God’s wants and desires for our lives before our own. In the end, we’re the ones who reap what we sow.

No shopping list can guarantee the right mate for you. The height or size of one’s bank account cannot accurately reflect true happiness. If God has not revealed to you who he or she is, it’s better to wait. You won’t always have the opportunity to receive store credit, a full refund, or let alone make an exchange.

Choose Today, Whom Ye Will Serve

Blackberry vs. iPhone. Facebook vs. Myspace.  American Idol vs. America’s Next Top Model. Jay -Z vs. Kanye West.

Whether it’s television, social media,  music, or the latest toy in technology,  Christians have vowed their loyalty to the things of the world and not Christ.

How many of us have used these communication tools for our own personal and selfish gain and not for ministry? How many of us spend more time on the materialistic and worldly things rather than in God’s word? Lastly, how many of us have yet to realize that we have switched teams altogether?

No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. [Luke 16:13 KJV]

Time and time again, we have told not asked God to take a back seat while we engage in the things that please us. Every day, we find ways to put Christ in the background and not at the forefront where He belongs. Christ is no longer the driver, but the backseat passenger with no input whatsoever on the direction our lives ought to take. It has become second nature to us that we don’t even realize that it’s a problem to begin with.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. [Exodus 20:3 KJV]

History has a funny way of sharing the lessons that our ancestors have learned the easy way —or the hard way. Despite our unrestricted access to the recollections of the past, we freely choose to fall victim to the very same traps.

Choose today, whom ye will serve. There has to come a point in our lives, when we must stop and think. Realize that the things and people we cherish the most, can and will perish. Realize that the activities we enjoy, can only provide you with temporary pleasure. There is nothing as everlasting as the love of Christ or the salvation He has promised us.

Why have we as Christians become so foolish, putting our lives in the things that cannot offer us a lifetime guarantee or warranty. Have we forgotten that anything manmade is doomed to perish–doomed to fail. Only God is constant, reliable, solid, unbreakable.

Open your eyes and see the things of the world and in the world will come to an end. Just be careful not to become a part of that final chapter.