Category Archives: Life

Are you Ready?

Life after Death

1 Chronicles 22:5b, “So David made abundant preparations before his death.”
 
I know it sounds a bit morbid, but the truth is, we must always be ready to die. Over 151,000 people die every day, and unless we experience the rapture – – one of these days we too will be part of that 151,000!
 
We must always be ready and guard ourselves from the thought that it won’t happen to me, because it can happen to any of us, anytime (James 4:14).
 
I was reading a chart on the odds of a person dying based on age and gender – I found it fascinating. If you’d like to check out the odds, I’ve provided a link below, but keep in mind that odds are not gods, and the one living God has already circled the day of our departure on His calendar ‘cuz we all have an appointment with death (Hebrews 9:27). 
 
Question: What will we leave behind and what are we looking forward to?
 
David is a great example for us in the way he made “abundant preparations before his death” (let’s take some time to ponder that concept). 
 
You probably know the story, how David had it in his heart to build a temple for God – but he wasn’t allowed to because he’d been a man of war. God chose David’s son Solomon instead – but David didn’t get bitter, he got better and did all that he could to help his son and the nation of Israel to have a place where they could honor the Lord, David invested into their spiritual lives. What about us, what are we leaving behind for both family and flock?
 
And what are we looking forward to – Heaven or Hell? With or without God? (see Revelation 20:11-15). Not everyone goes to heaven, only those who are prepared by placing their faith in Jesus Christ. David was a true believer, he was ready to die, he knew he was going to heaven (Psalm 23:6)…how about us?
 
So…beloved, buy life insurance, settle those differences with loved ones, say what needs to be said, and do what needs to be done. Leave godly things behind and look forward to God ahead – ‘cuz at the end of the day, it’s not until we’re ready to die, that we’re actually ready to live.
 
Your brother in Christ,
– Manny 
 
Odds of Dying – Link

The Most Asked Questions in America

Question

Okay, so I just read an article that covered the most googled questions for all 50 states in the USA. Wow, what a wide spectrum of questions we have from sea to shining sea, and like the sea, they’re deep – big time!

Here’s a sample:

Alabama: “What is love?”

Florida: “What is my life purpose?”

Idaho: “What is the relationship between religion and science?”

Illinois: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Indiana: “When will the world end?”

Louisiana: “Is masturbation a sin?”

These are some deep questions, far beyond what we might typically suspect people are asking nowadays. Love, life, purpose, religion, science and sin? Hmmm, maybe people aren’t as superficial as we thought, at least not deep down inside, or in the privacy of their own keyboards and computer screens. Perhaps people really are looking for answers to the big questions of life.

As I was reading, I noticed, many of those winning questions had to do with death. For example in Montana and New Hampshire the top question asked was, “What happens when you die?” Massachusetts was similar, “Is there life after death?” Here in California they asked, “Why do we have to die?” And then my heart just sank when I read the most asked questions in the state of Maine: “Why do I want to die?” and New Mexico, “How to commit suicide.”

Maybe you have some of those same questions. If you do, I just want you to know that there is a God who loves you and has a lot of life for you to live. Please, don’t give up. I know, I know…it’s so hard sometimes, and it’s harder to believe when you’ve gone through those epic tragedies that rock our world. But I know a mom who lost her little boy to cancer, I know a woman who was raped, I know a young mommy whose child was molested, I know a grip of sons who have never met their dads, and all of them are living their lives with purpose, not necessarily understanding everything, but finding a supernatural healing for their hearts from the God of the universe. You need to know that God is able to take even the tragedies and calamities of life, and somehow, someway, turn them into victories. I’m not saying that the event itself was good, not at all, but it can be used for good as we trust over time (Romans 8:28). Remember, we’re not home yet, “we’re fish out of water,” and keep in mind that pure and perpetual good will only be found in our homes in heaven.

Maybe your mind is messing with you; if so, you’re not alone, it could be drugs, demons, or flat out depression; all I can tell you is that there is power in the Name of Jesus. He died for you on a cross, they put Him in a grave, but He rose from the dead 3 days later. If you put your trust in Him you will be saved and set free; you’ll find hope and healing for your heart. Jesus is real, He’s alive, and He’s right here for you.

Its not just you, your keyboard, and your computer screen…God is there, God is here.

Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Whoever you are, I want you to know the reason I write is because I love you, and the God who made you is right here just waiting for you to come to Him, because He loves you with a perfect love.

– Manny

Some thoughts on Prayer

prayer

Mark 14:35-38, “He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

We learn so much about prayer and submission through the wonderful example of Jesus.

Just the very fact that He earnestly brought His burden to the Father is a lesson in-and-of itself. How much toil and needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry all to God in prayer!

As Jesus prayed He brought His request (that the cup would pass), but He also brought a heart that was bound to do His Father’s will (such a beautiful balance between James 4:2b and 1 John 5:14 – look it up later). After 27 years of Christian life, this is finally beginning to sink in – God’s will is infinitely better than mine. We should always tag our prayer with that genuine request to God, “…nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

And then there are those guys we identify all to well with, the motley crew of disciples. Sleeping when they should have been praying. Have you ever done that? Jesus tells us why, “…the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” The inner man longs to pray, even loves to pray, but the sinful nature within us, despises prayer, even hates to pray.

Let me encourage you to go to the “Garden,” stay awake and spend time in prayer; the devil is on his way, and trust me, you will need the help of no one less than God Almighty.

Presidential Election 2016

american-flag

So, we’re 2 days away from electing the 45th President of the United States of America. This is monumental in many ways. We say things like the very survival of our nation, the future of our nation, it’s the world our children will live in. I’ve spoken to many people who have different reasons for the candidate of their choice. For some it’s economics, and different opinions on how the poor and middle class might benefit. For others it has to do with refugees and their cries for safety within our states. Many have told me that it has to do with the demeanor of the candidates, the presentation of the president – they say it reveals deeper concerns, and in all honesty, I understand the sincerity of these citizens, and I am so blessed that when we go vote this Tuesday (and we should all vote), that we can vote having prayed first, and with clear consciences before God. I thoroughly value and respect our freedom as Americans.

For me, however, it usually boils down to other issues, especially the right to life. Since abortion was legalized, we have killed over 58 million babies.

I have a hunch that if Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Isaiah were around today, they’d be preaching, crying out, and warning the USA that if we don’t stop killing our children, and offering them to the god of Molech, then the judgment of God cannot be averted. If we don’t grant them their right to life, then neither will He grant us our right to life. The only exception should be if the life of the mother is at stake, which is understandable, just as one would choose people out of a burning car one person at a time. But most children who are aborted are killed for convenience, and God sees that.  We must not approve of politicians, lawmakers, or laws that end the life of 1 out of every 5 children. Our next president will select at least 2 Supreme Court Justices, and this has the potential to end the murder of innocent children…so in the fear of God, I will vote for the 1 who vows to place conservative and moral judges in power…for the man who will fight for their right to live.

We need to protect the first and second amendments; guns don’t kill people, people kill people; and if God allows us to suffer persecution as Christians, and to lay down our lives, so be it, but to voluntarily relinquish the freedom of Religion and the right to preach and practice the full counsel of God, would be a failure on our parts.

So church, go and vote; vote on capital punishment according to Romans 13:4; consider the epic laws that hang in the balance including the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana; select and elect leaders as God would lead you, personally.

In our church we have an American flag on display; it’s not for show, or simply because other churches have flags, it’s because I love this country, I believe God has blessed the United States of America in so many ways, I stand and salute and wholeheartedly believe we must do everything we can to return to One Nation under God.

I believe God can use politicians, but at the end of the day, the responsibility is primarily given to the Christians. God help us to take to heart that most appropriate passage in, 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Happiness?

 

Denmark

According to a recent UN Happiness Report, the nation of Denmark is the happiest place on earth (and all this time I thought it was Disneyland!). After Denmark was Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and in case you’re wondering, the United States of America came in at 13th place.

Sooo, what do you think? Is it wrong to want to be happy? What exactly is it anyways, and how is happiness attained? Would you consider yourself a happy person?

I’m not sure where you’re at, but I would venture to say that most Christians immediately raise their red flags when it comes to being happy. Most Christians would rather use such words as” joy” and “holy,” not happy. I completely understand and for the most part agree, but at the same time I don’t think it’s wrong to long for happiness.

Happiness is not bad, but joy trumps happiness. I love it when my children laugh and smile, and I’d venture to say that God smiles when we smile for good reasons. But the truth is, happiness is not found in a country, it’s found in our Creator. Happiness, and yes, better than that, joy, is found in knowing God and doing His will. If you want to be happy, remember, it’s more important HOW you live, than WHERE you live. Rather than moving your family closer to Denmark, why not try moving your heart closer to God? Happiness has to do with feelings, emotions, and circumstances, while joy has to do with faith, convictions, and trust in God no matter what the circumstances might be.

The article had some “ok” tips on being happy, such as, connecting with people, doing things for others, caring for your body, noticing the world around you, learning new things, having good goals, bouncing back, being positive, and being part of something bigger than yourself. But sad to say, the article missed the most important ingredient of all – GOD. No one will ever find happiness apart from God and a personal relationship with Him established through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Allow me to me close with a few Scriptures on happiness, and some very brief comments.

Psalms 146:5 “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God.” Here’s a person who not only has God, but whose hope is in God. Does that describe you?

Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.” Seriously, happiness happens when we know God’s Word and we know how to apply it to our lives – this is wisdom, understanding, happiness, and holiness (by the way) – and the only way you’ll “find” is if you “seek.”

Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.” This is a rather ironic verse, and a good one to close with – because instead of wanting happiness for ourselves, it’s vital to seek happiness for others, especially those closest to us. If you do, and if that’s your goal – guess what? You’ll get a healthy dose of happiness for yourself. Remember that saying, “A happy wife is a happy life!”

A closing prayer, “Lord, I thank You for Your amazing grace – that I have You, and I can hope in You. Please help me to live out all the beautiful truths You’ve taught me from Your Word, please grant me that wisdom. I know happiness, holiness, and miles of smiles will be found there, Lord; I know that love and laughter and the fullness of life are found only in You, and Lord, this is epic – please, please, please help me to bring happiness to my wife, may that day become a reality, when she says, ‘He made me happy…’ and Lord, one more thing (I don’t know how this all works), but I would love to make You happy too (to please You)…in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Every Day’s a Gift

hands-holding-monarch-butterfly

Ecclesiastes 7:2, “Better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart.”

The 3rd weekend of October was pretty tough; 2 funerals and another death in our midst.

Solomon teaches us something very important, that it’s better to go to those places where mourning is taking place, because that is the end of all men; and the living will take it to heart. Another translation puts it this way, “It is better to spend your time at funerals than at festivals. For you are going to die, and you should think about it while there is still time.”

Not a scare tactic, but a simple reality – one day, and it could be any day, our life will end – we need to take that to heart, ponder, prepare, and live our lives in light of that truth.

Do your best to consider each and every day as a gift given to you by God; don’t waste your time complaining or focusing on the negative, life’s too short for that. Life really is a gift, don’t waste it! That can happen so easily – even with people who have so much potential, if they allow themselves to get caught up in the things that don’t really matter – things that are terrible, or even trivial.

Remember that saying, “Only one life, soon it will pass, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

When life is over, and our family and friends offer our eulogies, what will they say? Think now, ponder, even plan, and give them something good to share. Let them say our life was about the Lord – that we loved Him with all of our heart. Let them share that our life was about people. That we did our best to love those people who crossed our paths, especially the ones within our homes.

Hopefully one day the consensus will clearly be, that Jesus was our Lord – and in the end…we ended up being a lot like Him.

Your brother in Christ,
Manny