There are arguments for God and arguments against God and none of them matter. I could give you a hundred reasons why I believe God, satan, heaven and hell exist and you could give me a hundred reasons why you believe they don't. Christian apologists are on TV and radio daily giving Bible scriptures, archiological findings, and fulfilled prophecy as reasons to believe. Atheist and agnostics are busy at work denying all that and giving their reasons why there is more likely an alien behind it all than a deity and selling evolution as the reason for everything.
None of these arguments matter. A person will either see God in everything or not see a god in anything. Arguments rarely convince anyone.
As they say, the proof is in the pudding. The end result will be it's own proof. In other words, things are the way they are and no manner of good argument can change it. One believes there is a God, a devil, a heaven and a hell. Another believes we are the result of chance and have evolved over time and when life is over, it's over; there's no heaven, no hell, no creator and no afterlife. At the end of these two lives the truth will be known and there will be no doubt remaining. The end will prove itself.
Decide for yourself TODAY! Don't look at the arguments; don't decide based on someone else's beliefs. Look around for yourself. The real evidence is there! Please don't place your eternal existence in the hands of someone's argument! Be honest with yourself and find the truth; today's decisions carry eternal consequences. Don't be led astray by fancy words and popular speakers; you won't be able to blame your decision on anyone else. As much as you love your parents, don't decide based purely on what they believe, whether they believe in God or not. Decide for yourself and let your own heart be the judge.
Arguments can be so persuasive and it's easy to just pick what's popular or maybe what your friends believe and not have to put any effort into it. Please don't do that. I believe in God and in everything the Bible says and I want you to believe it too because I want you to live forever. But I don't want you to believe what I believe just because I believe it and have persuaded you! I want you to settle the matter in your own heart and know that you know! It is the most important decision you will ever make and should be treated that way.
It is one thing to ask for, receive and interpret someone's opinion; it is another to accept a pat answer at face value without ever digging into it for yourself!
I write these things to Christians and Atheists alike. A Christian who doesn't know why they believe is not a believer, but a hoper. An atheist who doesn't know why they disbelieve is not an atheist, but a fool.

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Real Christians go to church. I've heard that all my life and I've always believed it to be true. We need each other. We were created to work together; to draw strength from each other; to pray for each other. But it seems to me that more and more people are using the fact that they "go to church" as an excuse not to be what Christians are first and foremost supposed to be; lights! It's great to tell people that you go to church and talk about how wonderful your church is and to invite them to services. But regardless of what you say, they will be watching what you do! Talk is cheap and actions do speak louder than words!
Matthew 5:16 says,"Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your father which is in heaven." Works don't get us into heaven, only faith in Jesus does. But our works are what people see! When we act like Jesus, people see Jesus! Our actions can bring glory to God or disgrace to God. Living a godly life is the greatest witness we have. Being merciful, kind, generous, faithful, caring, forgiving, uplifting and friendly will not only make people want what we have, but it will cause them to want to listen to what we say! In other words, live like Jesus and people will see Jesus!
Going to church is a needful thing, but we all know people who are there every time the doors are open and are ill-tempered and unpleasant to everyone in their everyday lives. They are the reason lots of people associate churches with hypocrites! And there are people who won't set foot in a church who will only see Jesus if we show them Jesus through our godly lives! The old cliche is true; we are the only Jesus people are going to see! They will judge Him by us!
James 1:27 says, "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of God our father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." To be like Jesus is to be helpful to those who can't help themselves (and who no one else seems to want to help) and to be unselfish and forgiving and merciful to everyone.
Church attendance is good, but don't let that be the sign of your Christianity. Let your light shine outside the church and let people see in your life the Jesus you serve.

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John and Jesus

John 3:30 - "He must increase, but I must decrease."

After baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River, John told his followers that he had to decrease and Jesus had to increase. John had come into the world preaching repentance. His work was to "prepare the way of the LORD". Jesus came preaching "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" and said "be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.".
John was saying, not only must I as a man decrease, but the message I came to preach must also decrease because a greater man and a greater message has arrived. John was a great man, but Jesus was the greater. Repentance is good, but perfection is better. According to Jesus, "Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.". Jesus, on the other hand, was the son of God; the new Adam; the savior of the world. It is good to repent of our sins and be forgiven, but it is better to be perfect (mature) and not sin in the first place. Prevention is better than cure.
Thank God we can count on His grace, mercy and forgiveness. But we must not allow ourselves to think it's alright to sin because we can "make it right later". First of all, we are not guaranteed a "later"; secondly, it is not a sign of maturity for a Christian to think like that. As we let Jesus' message of perfection increase in our lives, we will be able to let John's message of repentance decrease because mature Christians will not give in so readily to the temptation to sin.

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Have you ever prayed and asked God the Father to make you like Jesus? I have and I'm sure you have too. If you love Jesus you want to be like him. We know that Jesus pleased the Father and because we want to please Him too, we ask to be made into Jesus' likeness. I think it's a prayer that God answers because it's His will for all Christians to be like Jesus. Jesus is our role model.
But why is it that after praying that prayer we are surprised when unpleasant things start happening to us? People start to lie on us; they try to mar our reputations; good friends abandon us; the devil attacks our every human weakness. Did we not realize what we were asking for? Paul says in Phillipians 3:10 "that I may know Him (Jesus) and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings...". If we want to know Him in the power of His resurrection, we will also get to know Him in the fellowship of His sufferings! Remember what He went through?; His trusted friends abandoned Him; the "religious authorities" condemned Him; people lied about Him in court; the crowds sang His praises one day and shouted "crucify him!" the next!
When we ask to be like Jesus and mean it in our hearts, we will be. But, count the cost; the road is straight and narrow and not everyone will be willing to pay the price!

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When God created Adam and Eve, he put dominion in their hearts. God placed them in the Garden of Eden and gave them dominion over all the animals and the garden itself. They were created to rule and reign over all things, under God's ultimate authority.
Many things changed after the Fall in the Garden. Our adversary, the devil, perverted every legitimate desire God gave us; food, sex, pleasure, dominion. God created eating to be enjoyable. He could have made food very boring and we would have just "refueled" every day. God created sex between a husband and wife to be enjoyable. Procreation could have been painful and dull instead. God could have created us to feel pain and lack of pain and left pleasure out altogether! God created us to enjoy our lives, but Satan has made perversions of the very things God meant for healthy pleasure! We have people who are literally eating themselves to death because they are "hooked" on food. We have people preying on young children sexually, infidelity in marriages and pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry because people are "hooked" on sex. Things created for our enjoyment are destroying us!
Dominion has been perverted as well. We were created to rule over the earth and all the animals, but always under God's authority. It is a "given" that He is the head of all things! But our desire to dominate has been perverted to make us want to rule our own lives even to the extent of denying God's right to rule over us! We were given rule over the earth and over the animals; we were never given rule over other people or over ourselves! God is our ruler! We are not our own!
Everything belongs to God because He created everything. The created thing has no legitimate right to say to the creator "You have no right to rule over me.". We are God's property whether we admit it or not. The irony is, if we let God rule over us, He will work everything together for our good. He is not a tyrant, He is our Father! His desire is to bless us and give us our desires!

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The Kingdom

Jesus came preaching the Kingdom of God. Paul went about preaching the Kingdom of God. We are told to preach this Kingdom to all the nations. With all this talk about a kingdom, why do so many Christians seem to think Christianity is a democracy?
The USA is the greatest country that has ever existed and our form of government, democracy, is the best form of government ever known. Some people seem to think that because we see the USA as a Christian nation that the kingdom of heaven must be a democracy as well. It is not; it is a kingdom! Kingdoms play by different rules!
In a kingdom, the king is sovereign. He is all and all. He owns everything and everyone is under his supreme authority. Decisions are not made by majority vote, nor are they made by commissions or councils; all decisions are made by the king as he so desires.
Citizenship in a kingdom is not a right but a privilege and is at the behest of the King. The King is solely responsible to protect, feed and provide for every need of his citizens. The citizens are responsible for obeying and honoring their King, thus staying in right relationship with him (righteousness).
Study the scriptures and learn to see God's ways through the workings of a Kingdom and you will begin to see things differently. Many "mysteries" will be opened up to you and you will see answers to many of your questions about why things happen as they do.

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Has God ever done something and you just didn't know how to deal with it? His ways are not our ways and sometimes He makes things happen, or lets things happen, and we just can't seem to fathom His reasoning! I believe one of the big reasons we struggle with God's decisions is that we don't understand mercy.
If three cars are driving down the highway and all three of them are speeding when they pass a police officer and he pulls one of them over and lets the other two go, is that unjust? Most people would say yes, it is. Human reasoning says that it is not fair. If the police officer let the two go because he knows them or is related to them or is biased for the two or against the one for any reason then, yes, it is unfair. But, if the officer randomly chose the one for no biased reason, then it is not unfair; one received justice while two received mercy! God is no respecter of persons. In other words, He loves everyone equally. He is not biased either for or against anyone. If one receives mercy and another receives justice, the one who received justice has no legitimate complaint; if he is guilty then justice is deserved! The fact that God chose to show mercy to the other one is not his business! God said "I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy." It is His to give as He sees fit!
In one parable a landowner pays the same wages to workers who worked only one hour as he pays to workers who worked all day long. Those who worked all day long complained that it was unfair. But the landowner said "Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?". The fact of the matter is, God's mercy angers us if we are the ones who received justice. We have no legitimate complaint. If we are guilty then justice is just. But the fact that someone else received mercy while we received justice seems unfair to us.
We need to see things from God's perspective. We need to understand and remember that He is perfect. He is just and faithful and there is no darkness in him.

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Burdens and Yokes

Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28

The Pharisees and other religious men of Jesus' day were notorious for rules and regulations. They were always coming up with some rule, some addition to the laws of God, that would make people more holy. God's ten commandments became ten commandments with thousands of religious add-ons. The people of that time were under such a load of burdens that everyday life was difficult simply because of all the rules they had to remember and abide by! These rules were thought up by religious leaders to make people appear more holy. To them, appearance was everything! Jesus scolded them when he said in Matthew 23:4, "They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help.". The yoke of these laws was very hard on the people and they had no one to help them.
I believe we have many Pharisee wanna-bees around today; churches are full of them. Adding their own little spin to God's laws to make themselves appear more holy, more religious! Beware of these people; they will load you down with such a burden that you won't be able to bear up under it! Don't look to them for help in carrying the load and heaven help you if you stumble under the weight! They will stone you in a heart-beat for your failures!
Please remember this one thing; you will stand before God for yourself. You and you alone will answer for your actions (and inactions). You won't be able to blame someone else for your mistakes (my mother didn't love me; the devil made me do it; my DNA was corrupt), but you won't have some religious lawmaker standing there to condemn you either!; it will be you and God! The Bible tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. In other words, your relationship and fellowship with God is the most important thing in life and we'd better take it seriously, but that relationship is between you and God; no one else has the right to load you up with their rules and regulations!
I believe this is exactly what Jesus was talking about when he said "Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.". Jesus' yoke is easy and His burden is light. Take the burden off your backs that men have you carrying and take up Jesus' burden; it is easy and light! Jesus is your Saviour, not men! What does it matter if they think you are religious enough?! If Jesus is satisfied with you, then all is well with your soul!

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Leave the Past in the Past

A wise and godly man once said, "Live your dreams, not your memories.". What excellent advice for us all! Too many times we allow our memories to destroy our dreams. We let the problems or mistakes of our past short-circuit our dreams for the future. We mourn over past sins and never get around to making our dreams come true!
The past is past. That's the short but true answer. There's nothing that can be done about it now. We can learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them, but other than that, they're just excess baggage that will destroy our future. Let it go! Live your dreams, not your memories! We have control over what we will do, but none whatsoever over what we have done. If we continue to dwell on the past, the future will be tainted.
One of the ways satan gets the best of us is by making sure we don't forget the mistakes that we've made. He wants us to be continually reminded of the things we've done wrong and the things that have gone wrong for us. He wants to kill the future by injecting the past. He knows that he can't harm us, because we are protected by God's lovingkindness; so he tries to get us to destroy ourselves! And his plan works too many times! We curse our future by dwelling on our past! Something bad happens in our lives and satan tells us that we deserve it because of something we did sometime in our past. If we believe him, we will accept that bad thing and live it out even though it is not God's will for us! It's not about what we deserve; it's about God's grace! Grace is unmerited favor! It's a gift!
If we have asked for God forgiveness and repented of our sins, then our sins are forgiven and never brought up again (unless we bring them up!). God forgives and forgets! If he doesn't remember our sins and shortcomings, why should we!? We shouldn't! If God doesn't hold it against us, what right do we have to hold on to it?
Please stop letting the past rule your future. Let go of all that baggage and live your dreams. Stop believing satan's lies and live in God's truth. He has cleaned your slate and given you dreams and He means for you to live them out!

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you; plans not to harm you, but to prosper you. Plans to give you hope and a future.

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Not Trading Places

Some people seem to have everything; money, fame, friends, cars, etc. It seems as though good things just fall out of the sky right on their heads! Some are movie stars, some are business people, some are lawyers or doctors, some are politicians and some just inherited from someone else. They don't seem to have the struggles that we have. They don't know what it's like to run out of money before running out of bills. They don't know what it's like to have to order from the "99 cent menu" when you really would like the $6 burger with everything. They don't know what it's like to limit what you spend per child for Christmas when you want to get them everything on their list.
And what makes it really difficult to understand is how they can treat other people with such disregard and still prosper! They don't seem to care about anyone but themselves. They use their money to please themselves without giving a thought to anyone else. They can spend $1000 a night for a hotel suite knowing that people are sleeping in the alley in a cardboard box. They can spend $5000 a plate for a political luncheon knowing that some people put their children to bed hungry most nights. They do whatever it takes, cheat anyone they can, bend (or break) every rule, just to get ahead and stay ahead. Being wealthy is never enough for them; they want to be richer than anyone else. How can they live like that and prosper so much?
It is an age old question. Jeremiah and many of the old prophets cried out to God about the injustices of their time and asked God when he would repay people for their crimes against humanity. They asked God why he allowed these people to prosper when they were so evil. We are still asking those questions today.
I must admit, I wish I had some of their money. I get a little envious of their comfortable lives. And I wonder why they are allowed to keep prospering when they obviously don't care about anyone but themselves. But I would not trade lives with any of them! I would never consider, not for one microsecond, trading my life for theirs! God has blessed me with enough to live on. He has blessed me with good health and healthy, well-behaved children. He has saved me from Hell and given me everlasting life with him. Would I like to have more here on Earth? Yes, I would!; but not at the expense of my soul! I know where I am going when all this is over! And I wouldn't trade that for every penny ever minted and all the comforts and all the fame in all the world!
I am not saying that every person who is rich or famous is evil, nor am I saying that they are all going to Hell! I am no one's judge; God will judge us all! I am saying that even though you may not have everything they have here on Earth, but have Jesus, you have everything to look forward to! Don't ever consider trading your morals or your soul for money. Being rich and famous for 100 years could never be comparable to an eternity of peace and health and joy in the presence of God!

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Father God

How cool would it be if your dad was the President of the United States?; Or maybe a Congressman or Governor or even Mayor? What if he was the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company or maybe the president of a huge bank? Think of the perks! Sure, the President of the United States is supposed to look out for and take care of the needs of the whole country, but think of how much more his own child would be given! I love and watch out for all the little children living in my small neighborhood, but my own children get my special attention, my very, very best! So just imagine what the children of these wealthy and important men would have at their disposal!
Well, guess what?; If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, your father is much more than any of those guys! Your father is God! He is the supernatural, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, creator of all things! Yes, it is true that God loves everyone in the whole world and that he sent his son Jesus to die for all; but those who choose to believe in Jesus and follow him are God's children and they get his special favor! The Bible says that we have an inheritance from God along with Jesus! Jesus is our brother (the firstborn among many brethren!) and we are God's family as sure as he is! That sounds almost too good to be true. Maybe that's why so few Christians realize and believe it! And maybe that's why so many of us live such desperate lives, poor and downtrodden, even though our father is Almighty God!
I'm not trying to take something that's not mine or ascribe to myself something I don't deserve. I am just repeating (and believing) what the Bible says. Faith in Jesus Christ saved me from sin and washed me clean and made me righteous in him. His Holy Spirit came and filled me and made me a new creature in Christ Jesus. I was born of his Spirit and made one with him and so now I am a child of God! It was all God's doing; None of it was because I deserved or earned it. But I will take it any way I can get it!
We need to learn to live as the children of God and enjoy his love, favor, blessings and all the benefits of being his children! I'm not talking about greed, if you're really his, you won't be greedy because that is not a family trait! I'm talking about a father giving to his children out of the love in his heart and his children receiving and enjoying what he gives. I don't love my heavenly Father because of what he gives, but because of who he is. But I will receive with joy and thanksgiving anything he wants me to have!
Psalms 103 says "Bless the LORD, Oh my soul, And forget not all his benefits....". There are benefits to being his child. It is his good pleasure to give to us all that we need. We must learn to enjoy him to the fullest.

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We need to take a lesson from the trees. In the summer, trees put out beautiful foliage and deep green leaves. But in the winter they drop all their leaves and look so drab and gray, almost dead! It looks like winter really makes it hard on them.
But things are happening behinds the scenes (or should I say, underground) that we don't see. The trees are working on their root systems. Their roots are digging into the ground, tunneling down toward the warm, moist soil that lies way down deep. You can't tell by looking at their limbs or branches, but the tree is not only alive, it's vibrant! The tree uses this season to plan for the next!
The reason trees can put forth such beautiful flowers and leaves in the spring and summer is because of what they do in the winter. Next summer when the rains stop and the sun beats down on everyone with it's almost unbearable heat, the trees roots will be way down deep past the point where the sun dries up all the moisture! The rich, moist soil down deep feeds up through the branches into the leaves and allows them to be beautiful and bountiful!
We need to learn to let those cold, gray seasons in our lives become root growing times for us as well. Everyone goes through those cold, gray times in their lives. It's like winter to our souls! We feel so alone and useless! Those are the times that we need to draw near to Jesus. He is the vine and we are the branches; We get our life-giving nutrients from him. In those wintry times learn to grow on the inside and wrap yourself more tightly around him. Let your roots grow and increase in him. If we do that, we will find that when the sun does reappear, we will produce much more fruit and be much more "drought tolerant". The hot sunshine of this life won't be able to dry us out and damage us. We will be feeding on the deep, moist, cool soil way down deep in Christ Jesus!

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He's still listening

Just words to another song that helps me each time I hear it. It is peace to my mind and strength to my soul to know that God is listening. He may say yes, he may say no, or he may say wait; but He's listening and he always answers.

God, our Father, once again,
I bow my head to pray.
You are my Father and my friend
and you hear every word I say.
A prayer for forgiveness, a desperate cry for help,
or praise flowing from a thankful heart.
Like each time before, I come knowing you're
still listening.

Conversations are two-sided; someone talking and someone listening. He's listening. Are you talking to him?

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