Sunday, April 26, 2015

God’s Undeniable Love

One of the greatest gifts God has given me is understanding His unconditional love. Coming to know this wasn’t easy. I had to learn it the hard way.

There was a time in the past when I didn’t believe in God. I lived my life according to my will. I relied on myself for everything. My mom did take me to church. The knowledge of God was there, but I never made the connection.

I would like to share with you an incident from my past where God made His love undeniable.

In the summer of 1992 I had reached the lowest point of my life. My fiance called off the wedding. Her news floored me. I became devastated, hurt, and confused over her choice of walking away.

I had envisioned a lifetime full of romance, happiness and growing old together. I imagined being a father. Looked forward to taking on the husband’s marriage responsibilities. Now those family aspirations shattered. I felt cheated.

Her broken promise pierced a hole in my heart, and the excruciating pain that followed was unlike any I had ever experienced. My emotional immune system damaged, and the door for suicidal thoughts swung open.

Her decision to walk away enraged me. Resentment overtook my heart and bitterness oozed out of my emotional pores. I wanted revenge. So, I assassinated her character by telling everyone her deepest and darkest secrets she had confided in me. I made it known to everybody the injustice she had inflicted.

A subtle depression began brewing in my soul. The emotional anguish over the event dominated me. The more I thought about her rejection of me, the stronger I felt about committing suicide.

I was in a constant mental battle contemplating taking myself out of this world or continue living in the sea of misery. Every morning I struggled to crawl out of bed. I didn’t want to face life because the pain of rejection was overwhelming. I hated her for turning my life inside out.

My desire to live began sinking into the black hole of despair. My spirit was evaporating from my soul. I was losing the fight, and I couldn’t stop the inevitable.

Work, family, and friends had no effect in pulling me out of the insanity of wanting to commit suicide.  I was a master of disguises and convinced those around me, everything was working out. But, deep inside my conscience the depression reached its boiling point.

No matter what I tried to avoid those avalanche of negative thoughts only made matters worse. I had reached that point where I was powerless over their paralyzing grip. Something had to give, and I decided to end it all. There was no turning back.

 I activated my designed plan to kill myself. My suicide method of choice was carbon monoxide poisoning.  It happened on my lunch hour. I lived close to my employer and going home was normal. I drove in the garage. Leaving the car running and closing the garage door sealed the deal.

I sat in the driver seat with all the windows down. Nothing seemed to be happening, so I got out of the car and lay down on the concrete floor up close to the tailpipe. I began breathing in the exhaust fumes. That was the last thing I remembered.

God wasn’t going to let me die because He loved me. The Lord had other plans, and it was all about living.

God had sent one of my brothers to assist in saving my life. I later found out my brother had an intuitive feeling to stop by the house. Here God’s mysterious hand was at work because my sibling told me he was pondering over not stopping by the home. The Lord made sure he would help rescue me.

The next memory of this experience was waking up in an oxygen chamber at a hospital. The doctors had to flush out the carbon monoxide poisoning with pure oxygen.

 I’m not sure how long I stayed hospitalized, but upon release I had to spend time in a mental institution. After a few days of psychiatric evaluation and the green light from the medical professionals, I returned home.

Looking back on this episode of my life leaves no doubt in my mind the love of God. To come out of the fringes of death without any physical or mental difficulties proves the Lord does show mercy. God’s healing power is astonishing because sustaining no brain damage from the lack of oxygen is only by His grace. Those facts are undeniable!

The Lord has repaired my soul and mended my heart. Today I have a joy for God. I am grateful for His gift of life and cherish devoting my will over to His protection.

Over the past 23 years, there have been other troubles in my life. Marriage, divorce, death of a parent and alcohol abuse. Those difficulties did cause havoc in my life. But on that day in the summer of 1992 when God stepped in and grabbed a whole of me the pain from those woes never brought on suicidal thoughts.

God’s undeniable love continues to impact me in a profound way. The inner peace I have found in trusting Him with all my affairs is the difference maker. There is no tragedy in life that I haven’t been able to overcome when I surrender them over to God. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Embracing Christ’s Way of Praying

There are a lot of different ways to pray. Each of us has formulated an effective communication with God. The Lord’s answers to our prayers are undeniable. And the inner peace Christ gives especially in times of distress motivates us to continue.

When I first learned how to pray it seemed as though God wasn't present. I had to learn how to pray through the emptiness and move beyond the doubt. Persistence was the key. Perseverance paid off, and God allowed me to feel His presence. From that point forward prayer became a daily necessity.

Praying is as essential to my spiritual well-being as are air, food and water are for my physical survival. If I didn’t breathe, eat or drink my body would shut down, get sick and die.
The same holds true in my spiritual life. When I deprive my soul of God's spiritual nourishment, my heart hardens, my spirit dies, and my mind corrupts me.

Without prayer, Christ's protection from the cruel world is unavailable. I am vulnerable, weak and live in darkness. With it, I’ll be under God’s umbrella and can weather any storm life throws my way.

I still have times when I miss the mark with my prayers and feel disconnected. This usually occurs because my approach with the Lord is incorrect. The culprit is my lack of sincerity.

When my heart is not in the right place, I tend to go through the motion instead of humbling myself. My attitudes and behaviors suffer and others experience my unpleasant side.

Recently I was writing an article to submit to Seek Magazine, a publication from Standard Publishing. The list of themes based on Luke 18: 9-14 concerning prayer. The one I chose was Humble Faith.

When I was seeking Christ's guidance for the material to write about He brought me to the Gospel of Matthew Chapter 6:5-14. Here I found myself up close with Christ’s precise commands about praying.

 As I began studying Jesus’s key components in regards to prayer, they began being a part of my daily devotions. The spiritual energy it releases continues to exhilarate me.

Let's take a look at those crucial instructions from our Messiah.

"And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward." (Matthew 6:5)

Here, Jesus defines prideful praying. Christ pointed out; there is no need to bring attention to ourselves when praying. Hypocrisy breeds self-righteousness because pride is its core. Praying in that manner is full of conceit and deception. It discounts the truth of God’s word.

"But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6)

God wants our undivided attention, alone and behind closed doors. That command eliminates distractions and places us at His doorstep.

Even Christ took time away from the Disciples to pray.

 “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed,” (Matthew 26:39)

Jesus revealed two more commands about praying:

"And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think they will be heard for their many words. (Matthew 6:7)

The Messiah tells us to be simple with our words. Christ identified the way God doesn't want us to speak with Him. Long-winded prayers based upon suppositions are unwise. No one knows the way God will respond to prayers. Heathens don’t acknowledge God. They are self-absorbed and self-seekers.

Then the Messiah explained how to avoid the action of the heathen:

"Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him." (Matthew 6:8)

  God, our Creator, knows all our needs. There isn’t anything the Lord doesn’t know about us. In King David’s devotion to God he discovered the truth behind Christ’s words and left us with this:

"You know my sitting down and rising up;

You understand my thought afar off.

You comprehend my path and my lying down,

And are acquainted with all my ways.

Since there is not a word on my tongue,

But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether."

(Plasm 139: 2-4)

Then Christ puts it all together in the Lord’s Prayer:

"Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.

Your will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgives our debts,

As we forgive our debtors.

And do not lead us into temptation,

But deliver us from the evil one.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory

forever, Amen

(Matthew 6: 9-13)

  This magnificent prayer is the greatest way of following God’s will and has been for centuries. God made sure we knew exactly the way He wants to us to praise, glorify and honored Him.
God commands us to ask for His daily bread. The Lord forgives us and tells us to forgive others.

God's also made it clear that when we follow those commands temptations won't dominate us, and He will deliver us from evil.

When you embrace Christ's way of praying there is no way to go wrong. Jesus’s is an unshakable foundation for eternal life.

How does the Lord’s Prayer draw you closer to God?

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Jesus’s Sacrifice for Our Salvation

   The events of Holy week have some significant Christian facts that are undeniable. They paved the way to God’s new covenant (salvation) with humans through the sacrifice of His Son Christ Jesus. Those ancient truths and the Holy Spirit have allowed us to live with Christ.   

Palm Sunday

       Palm Sunday was a time the Jews rejoiced and praised Christ. They welcomed Jesus to Jerusalem by placing palms on the ground. They cried out, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9)
They wanted to catch a glimpse 
of the One, who had been so unusual in the way He lived God's truth. A few days later most of them shouted out “crucify him.”

   We gather together to celebrate the reason behind Palm Sunday. Our Messiah’s entry into the Holy City of Jerusalem. On this day of the calendar, we begin a week of meditating over God’s plan for our eternal future.

The Lord’s Supper

     The Lord’s Supper was the last time Christ revealed to the Apostles certain truths that would take place.

  First The Messiah pointed out His betrayer at the celebration of the Passover. Each one of His Disciples asked if they were the one. And when Judas asked Jesus if it was him He replied “You have said it” (Matthew 26:25).

  During Jesus’s last meal, He took bread and broke it. Describing this was His body given up for them (Luke 22:19). He directed them to do it in remembrance of Him.

When we surrender our wills over to our Messiah, the spiritual food we need is abundant. It’s coming to the Lord’s Table we discover the nourishment of God’s grace. There is no greater fruit than the one Christ has harvested through His death, resurrection and Ascension.

   Then our Savior took the cup and revealed to the Apostles the meaning behind His death. (Luke 22:20) He made it known that His death was the fulfillment of His Father’s will for the remission of sin.   

Until we can admit to our innermost selves that Jesus is the Savoir, there is no way we can find salvation. We must deny ourselves and follow Christ. No matter how faltering, our wayward ways are, the only thing necessary is to exert ourselves back to God. Anything less prevents us from God’s mercy.

The Messiah foretold Peter’s denial. Peter reassured Jesus there was no way he wouldn't stand by His side.  Peter was unable to stop the fear from paralyzing his faith and denying Christ. Christ anointed Peter as the Rock. But he succumbed to the pressures of definite persecution in association with Jesus.

   When I deny Christ, I too have to weep in sorrow. My weakness of the flesh always brings me to my knees. It’s not until I humble myself before Christ that I find the inner peace that removes my denial. Repentance is the key to making amends with Christ. And the more willing I am to repent the purer my heart becomes.  

Good Friday 

Christ demonstrated perfect courage at His crucifixion. Judas’s betrayal of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane brought the world face to face with God's mighty bravery. Our Messiah offered no resistance.

Even though Pontius Pilate found no crime, Christ committed He still gave the order to execute Christ. He turned Him over to the Roman army. They inflicted Him with horrendous acts of physical mistreatments. Christ withstood all the torture they threw His way with dignity.

Christ's human pain on the cross was tremendous. The nails that secured His flesh to the wooden cross caused excruciating pain. He knew this was God's will and was willing to pay the price for the salvation of man. His selflessness demonstrated God’s unconditional love for His people.

The moment Christ cried out “Father ‘Into Your hands I commit My Spirit” (Luke 23:46) he died. God’s new plan was now in place.


Easter is the day Jesus’s great promise to the world (John 2:19) became a reality. He destroyed His temple and raised it back up in three days.

Christ has risen and the victory over sin complete. Our Savior has taken our souls under His protection and care. We no longer have to live outside God’s Kingdom. We are reborn and through the Holy Spirit we experience salvation. 

Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation is undeniable. We experience this truth by abandoning ourselves to God and devote ourselves to Christ. Daily devotion to Christ is living in the spirit of Easter. Once Christ gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, then we have to continue seeking Christ, so we can stay on the narrow road.