God vs. Satan – Continued

I came across a Facebook post from a friend of mine that sited some very appropriate and timely information I hope will highlight the battles we are all facing in the spiritual realm, whether we believe it or not.

To quickly recap, my post last Sunday talked about a research study that revealed more Americans believe in Satan than in God. If you missed it, please check it out.

With that fact in mind and the information below, I hope you’ll begin to see more clearly why America, and the entire world for that matter, is in such a chaotic mess dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, as well as every other painful and fearful circumstance we may face in life.

I believe Satan is real and he can only do what God allows him to do. When Satan and his angels were cast out of Heaven, God allowed him to become ruler of the earth for a time.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him . . .Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (Revelation 12:7-9,12 – NKJV)

The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, everything he (Job) has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger’. . .The Lord said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he (Job) is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’” (Job 1:12, 2:6 – NIV)

“The time for judging this world has come, when Satan, the ruler of this world, will be cast out.” (John 12:31 – NLT)

NOTE: The Scripture verses sited are my contributions and not part of the Facebook post I am referencing.


God’s Voice              Ψ Satan’s Voice

Stills You                                        Ψ Rushes You

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 – NIV)

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” (James 1:19 – NIV)

Leads You                                       Ψ Pushes You

“He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them His way.” (Psalm 25:9 – NLT)

“…He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:3 – NKJV)

Reassures You                                Ψ Frightens You

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 – NIV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2Timothy 1:7 – NLT)

Enlightens You                                Ψ Confuses You

“There was the true Light (Jesus Christ) which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.” (John 1:9 – NASB)

“Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death.” (Psalm 13:3 – NKJV)

Encourages You                               Ψ Discourages You

May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2Thessalonians 2:16,17 – NIV)

Comforts You                                   Ψ Worries You

“But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name (Jesus Christ), He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.” (John 14:26-WBT)

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6: 31-34 – NIV)

Calms You                                         Ψ Stresses You

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6,7 – NIV)

Convicts You                                    Ψ Condemns You

“…The Lord is coming with countless thousands of His holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 1:14,15 – NLT)

“And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’” (John 8:11 – NKJV)


I hope and pray the Scripture verses above will bring comfort to your soul as we continue to battle the invisible forces of the coronavirus, and more importantly, the invisible powers and principalities of the air know as Satan and his demonic forces.

“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15 – NIV)

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

 

Shocking Statistics: God vs. Satan!

Due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19), it seems more American political leaders, healthcare professionals, first responders, TV news commentators, and more of us common folk are talking more about the need for prayer to end this pandemic and heal our land.

In my opinion, more people praying is a very good thing. However, after reading the article below, I’m beginning to ask myself a couple of very serious and relevant questions:

  1. Do people really understand who they are praying to?
  2. Do people really understand the eternal significance of believing more in Satan and less in the God who created, and is in complete control of all things, including Satan and his fallen angels!

More Americans Now Believe In Satan Than In God!

By Jessica Mouser, April 21, 2020

The third and latest report in Dr. George Barna’s American Worldview Inventory 2020 evaluated the perceptions of God that people have in the U.S. Among the survey’s most surprising findings are that more Americans believe in Satan than believe in God and that more people believe that Jesus was divine and a sinner than believe he is divine and sinless.

“All of the spiritual noise in our culture over the last few decades has obviously confused and misled hundreds of millions of people in our nation,” said Barna. “The message to churches, Christian leaders, and Christian educators is clear: we can no longer assume that people have a solid grasp of even the most basic biblical principles, such as those concerning the existence and nature of God.”

Barna: Church Leaders Cannot Make Assumptions

The American Worldview Inventory 2020 is a series of 12 bi-weekly reports Barna is releasing through the Cultural Research Center (CRC) at Arizona Christian University. Barna is the Director of Research for the CRC, which studies the relationship between faith and culture in the U.S. The latest report, “AWVI 2020 Results – Release #3: Perceptions of God,” explores whether or not Americans’ views of God are orthodox.

The study found that 51 percent of Americans believe God is an “all-powerful, all-knowing, perfect and just creator of the universe who still rules the world today.” This is a significant decline from 30 years ago when the number was 73 percent.

When asked about the existence of Satan, 56 percent said, “Satan is not merely a symbol of evil but is a real spiritual being and influences human lives.” Forty-nine percent, on the other hand, said they are not entirely sure that God exists. The authors conclude, “Americans are now more confident about the existence of Satan than they are of God!” There has also been a striking rise in the level of skepticism about God’s existence. Thirty years ago, only one percent of Americans said “a higher power may exist, but nobody really knows for certain,” but now 20 percent agree with that view.

Confusion also exists as to the nature of members of the Trinity. Forty-four percent of Americans said that, during his time on earth, Jesus was fully God and fully man and that he sinned. That is compared to 41 percent who said he was fully God and fully man and that he did not sin during his time on earth. Furthermore, fifty-two percent of those who answered did not view the Holy Spirit as a personal being, but rather as a manifestation of God’s power.

The report outlined which U.S. demographics are most and least likely to hold a biblical view of God defined as “one who created and controls the universe; is omnipotent, omniscient, and without fault; and is just in His decisions.” The group with the highest percentage of this belief in God (97 percent) is, unsurprisingly, people who hold a biblical worldview. The South is the only region of the U.S. where over half of the residents have this view of God. The group that is least likely to have this understanding of God is adults ages 18 to 29.

Another notable finding of the study has to do with which denominations saw the greatest decline in a biblical view of God.

The data show, “The largest declines in possession of an orthodox, biblical perspective on the nature of God since 1991 were among individuals who attend Pentecostal or charismatic Protestant churches (down by 27 percentage points).” Adults ages 18 to 29 came second at 26 percentage points, followed by adults born before 1946 (25 points) and women (25 points). Only one group saw an increase (two points) in orthodox belief in God, and that was adults whose income level is at least 20 percent above the national average.

Majorities of Americans believe God loves them unconditionally (71 percent) and has a purpose for everything that happens to them (66 percent). However, the study also found that “a mere one out of three (34 percent) who have a biblical view of God also believe that He is involved in their life.”

What Does This Mean for Church Leaders?

Pastors and church leaders cannot assume that people in their congregations believe even the most basic tenets of the Christian faith. Dr. Tracy Munsil, the Executive Director of the Cultural Research Center, concludes:

“Biblical beliefs that used to be thought of as ‘no brainers’ can no longer be classified as such. The fact that four out of ten adults believe that Jesus Christ—who came to earth to save us from our sins—was Himself a sinner and therefore in need of salvation is mind-boggling. Add to that the fact that more people believe in the existence of Satan than the God of Abraham, and you cannot miss the breadth of the spiritual crisis in America today.”


There’s no doubt in my mind that if one believes in the theory of evolution versus the biblical account of how the world was formed and how civilization began, then it’s no wonder that fewer people believe in God today than ever before.

This is what has happened to America since the long standing tradition of prayer and Bible reading in our public schools was considered “unconstitutional” by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1980’s. As a nation, we are reaping what we have sown!

I’ll close with these two questions for you to ponder:

  1. Will the COVID-19 pandemic wreak enough havoc, and cause enough pain, suffering, and death to not only wake up America but the entire world as well?
  2. If not, what will it take to turn people’s hearts and minds from a greater belief in Satan (the father of lies, the great deceiver), to begin believing more in the God of creation and His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the only One who can offer eternal life, versus eternal damnation with Satan and his followers?

“Jesus said to His disciples, ‘I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 – NIV)

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

Never Say “I Can’t”!

Inspiration, Motivation, Determination, Perseverance, Courage and Guts!!!

That’s what you’ll witness in the short video one of my high school classmates sent me.

I’m sure everyone of us is more than tired of all the emotional, and maybe in some cases, the physical pain being caused by this invisible coronavirus pandemic. Not only in our own lives, and the lives of our loved ones, but in the lives of most everyone in the entire world!

Just as my high school classmate encouraged me to share the video below with everyone, I’d like to encourage you to do the same. I hope you’ll agree that it’s a keeper for those moments when things don’t seem to be going so well.

When you think you’re having a tough day, view this video for some inspiration.

Such a struggle, yet always a smile on his face! A real Superman!

By the grace of God, one day in Heaven, that little boy will run with perfect new legs into the arms of Jesus and give Him a big hug with his perfect new arms and live happily ever after in eternity with Him! “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:4 – NLT)

Things may not be so bad in our lives after all! And, even if they are, a new perfect body and new perfect life are waiting for you too if you’ve given your life to Jesus Christ and have received Him as your personal Lord and Savior.

Please take some time to remember and pray for others you may know who are struggling to make it through another day. While you’re at it, say a special prayer for the little boy in the video even though we don’t know his name or where he lives.

God bless his big heart, and God bless you and yours as we weather the storms of the coronavirus.

And most of all, let us not forget to count our blessings each and every day, no matter how big or small they may be. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2,3 – NIV)

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

 

 

Thoughts From The Front Lines!

Our oldest daughter has been a Type 1 diabetic since the age of eleven and is a nurse.

During her twenty four years, and counting, on the front lines of healthcare, she has worked in a nursing home, for hospice, and in one hospital for the majority of those years. Needless to say, she is no stranger to pain, suffering, heartache, and death.

She gave me permission to share a couple of posts she made to her Facebook page, about a month apart from each other. The posts offer some insight into her thoughts and experiences.


Looking At Life Through The Eyes Of A Nurse

March 30, 2020 – Weekend update: Thanks to all who texted, messaged and video-chatted to check on me. I went on Sunday (assigned to the COVID-19 floor), and had a surprisingly positive first-time experience. With so much uncertainty and negativity circulating, it’s important to try to find the good. Soooo:
1. When I headed into work yesterday I knew that I was covered in prayers, as were all of my coworkers. Thank you. It makes a difference.
2. I was paired with a “veteran” covid nurse who was amazing to work with! Because of her, I just may volunteer to go back. Seriously.
3. I know that I protected myself as best I could with the resources that were provided to me. It wasn’t perfect and I know every situation is different. And we still have so many needs, but it was doable.
4. I know that there was great wisdom in staffing two nurses per group of patients, which encourages the wearing of the N95 mask for only about two hours at a time. So smart, because wearing it is a lot different than just being fit tested for it.
5. But more importantly than all of this, I know my God. He says in His Word, He is my refuge and my fortress (Psalm 91:2). He says He will go before me, and He will never leave me (Deut 31:8). He says He is an ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1). He says I will be victorious in 1 Corinthians 15:57: “But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And one more of my favorites from the mouth of Jesus is John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Even COVID-19!

April 24, 2020 – Introducing our masked daughter, the nurse, and our two masked granddaughters. And, no, they aren’t going out to rob a bank, they are just following COVID-19 guidelines like most everyone else in the world should be following right now!

Hinson Girls Masked Up

In our daughter’s words: Being out and about yesterday (with almost everyone else in town) brought to mind some words I’m just over:

“Essential” – This term was seemingly reserved for certain occupations and businesses in the beginning, but the longer we “stay-at-home” the huge truth is that every person and their jobs are essential. You’re essential, and you’re essential! Everyone is essential!!!

“Virtual” – From e-learning to participating in extracurriculars to taking trips, it is not the same. I also realize, though, that it’s an attempt to make the best out of the current situation, especially for children. Speaking of trips, I so need the beach right now, but I’d settle for a dine-in lunch at San Jose’s with my mom. 

“New normal” – The way we have been instructed to live is not normal, and it doesn’t have to be forever. While I respect the rules, it just feels really weird to have to stand behind a barrier at Publix, inside a tape-drawn box on the floor, and wait to scan my app until the bagger is finished (the nice cashier actually gives those specific instructions).

One of the things that has kept me sane through all this is that I get to interact with and touch and talk with the patients I care for each weekend. These people have no family or friends with them. They are experiencing the epitome of quarantine, if you will. Granted they’ve been admitted to the hospital for various reasons, but not one patient has told me to stay six feet back. Everyone of us needs the touch and fellowship of others on a regular basis. We will hug again, people, and not just those in our own homes!

Words I’m not over and which speak life to the weariest of souls:

“Grace” – So thankful for grace! Whatever it means to reopen is going to be and feel different for each state, each family, each person. Whether you think the reopening is too soon or too late, my hope is that we can give and receive grace accordingly.

“Hope” – Whatever the economic and emotional fallout for our nation, or individually,
“In Christ alone my hope is found, He is my light, my strength, my song, This cornerstone, this solid ground, Firm through the fiercest drought and storm…” (from “In Christ Alone” by Adrienne Camp).


Well, those are some of the transparent behind-the-scenes thoughts from a nurse on the front lines.

Our daughter, whom we love so much, pray for so fervently, and whom we are so proud of for courageously and unselfishly sharing her God-given gifts and talents with those who need it most.

To God be the glory.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

COVID-19 Public Service Announcement

In case you missed the latest communication from the White House on the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the information below, copied from one of the online news outlets, offers a brief overview of President Trump’s 3-phase plan.

I have also included a link at the end of this article which provides the complete details of the official 3-phase plan.


President Trump’s 3-Phase Plan For Reopening America

President Donald Trump’s new guidelines for reopening parts of the country recommend states and localities confirm a two-week downward trend in coronavirus symptoms and documented cases before starting to ease lock downs while assuring hospitals have adequate capacity and robust testing in place.

The administration envisions states or localities meeting those criteria each time they progress through three phases. It’s not prescribing target dates for meeting each phase, and officials acknowledged restrictions could snap back if there’s a resurgence in cases.

Here’s how the new guidelines envision easing social distancing restrictions:

Phase one: Restaurants, movie theaters, sporting venues, places of worship and gyms can reopen if they observe strict social distancing. Elective surgeries can resume when appropriate on an outpatient basis.

Schools currently closed should remain closed and visits to senior living facilities and hospitals should be prohibited. Bars should remain closed. High-risk individuals should remain at home.

Phase two: Schools and organized youth activities like camps can reopen. Nonessential travel can resume, and people can start circulating in parks, outdoor recreational areas, and shopping centers while avoiding gatherings of more than 50 individuals unless unspecified precautionary measures are taken. Restaurants, movie theaters and other large venues can operate under moderate social distancing rules.

Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place, and employers should continue to encourage telework whenever possible. Common areas where people congregate in close quarters should be closed. Bars can operate with diminished standing-room occupancy.

Phase three: Vulnerable individuals can resume public interactions but practice social distancing. Employers can resume unrestricted staffing of workplaces. Large public venues can operate under limited social distancing rules. Visits to senior care facilities and hospitals can resume.

The document also outlines “core state preparedness responsibilities,” including having adequate testing and screening, the ability to supply enough protective gear and medical equipment, and plans to surge intensive care beds, if needed.

The big picture: It leaves the final say in any loosening of restrictions to state and local officials, adding that governors should work on a regional basis to progress through the phased recovery.

The document repeats past federal guidance on personal hygiene including urging people to wear masks or face coverings when in public. Employers should consider temperature checks, social distancing, and doing their own testing and contact tracing. It urges barring anyone with symptoms from returning to work until they are cleared by a medical provider.

Here’s the link to President Trump’s Official 3-Phase Plan for opening up America again.


Praying you and your families are staying safe and well during these trying times, and for better days ahead real soon!

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

The Greatest Day On Earth!

Happy Easter to all!

Even though the coronavirus (COVID-19) has crippled and stifled normal activities everywhere, Christians around the entire world will still take time today to enthusiastically celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from His grave. He is King and Creator of the Universe, Lord and Savior of all who believe and trust in Him alone for salvation to eternal life. “On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16 – NIV)

Easter Sunday truly is “The Greatest Day On Earth” for those who believe Jesus Christ is who He claims He is. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” (John 14:6 – NIV)

Through the blood Jesus shed on the cross our sins are forgiven once and for all. And, because Jesus defeated death when He arose from the grave, He also promised that all of His followers, past, present, and future, would also be raised from the grave to eternal life with Him and God the Father. “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (John 14:2)

Sadly, many today still believe He was a liar and/or a lunatic when He walked the earth more than 2000 years ago. Along with the biblical proof there is additional historical proof that He is who He says He is. You can read Josephus-Complete Works to learn more about his accounts of the historical Jesus.

Josephus was born in 37 A.D., about three or four years after Jesus was crucified. I think it’s safe to say that by the time Josephus was a young teenager he certainly would have heard about Jesus’ grotesque death and miraculous resurrection from many people still living in Jerusalem. Josephus visited many of the same cities and towns that Jesus spent time in, and he spent a great deal of time in Jerusalem.

It is said that historical scholars down through the centuries continue to look up to his writings as the only contemporary reference in history containing valid references to Christ, with a description of Him in minute detail.

In the third paragraph of the eighth book of Antiquity of the Jews, Josephus writes, “Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ (Messiah, God’s Anointed One – my words, not Josephus’ – nevertheless accurate); and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”

Yes, by the grace and power of God, that “tribe of Christians” is still not extinct, and has been growing by the millions ever since Christ left this earth to prepare a place for us. In fact, some of the largest numbers of conversions to Christianity today can be found in places where the persecution and death of Christians is running rampant. Especially in Muslim and atheist countries on the continents of Africa and Asia.

Why would anyone be willing to suffer, and even die, for expressing an unrelenting faith in a liar or lunatic?

Whether or not the coronavirus is the beginning of the end for this fallen world we live in, Christians and non-Christians alike should do their part to help defeat this invisible enemy we are fighting against.

However, Christians know that humankind can only do so much. Although we are all rooting for doctors and scientists to come up with a cure for this virus, Christians also know that the final outcome of all things and all events are ultimately in God’s hands.

We may not understand it or like it but we place our faith in the One who created the entire universe and all that is in it and on it. And, we trust God for the outcome because His way, His will, and His timing is always perfect. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in Him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.” (John 6:40 – NIV)

This is what Christian faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and our risen Savior, Jesus Christ, looks like.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:1,2,13-16 – NIV)


He Is Risen! THANK YOU JESUS!!!

During this Easter celebration, may the Grace, Mercy, and Peace of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit be with you and your families now and forever.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

Have You Lost Your Focus?

I hope and pray this message finds you and your family safe and well as we all continue to weather the storms of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

As we remain hunkered down in our bunker, my wife and I just finished watching several online church services with great and timely messages given by pastors we have come to personally know and love. The worship music was also awesome and very uplifting, just what we needed!

One message in particular seemed very fitting for the times we find ourselves in right now. The theme of the message was “Learning to see better in the dark, or in the dark times in our lives.”

Today is Palm Sunday. It is the day Christians around the world celebrate the day Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem to face His enemies who were preparing to arrest Him and ultimately crucify Him for crimes He never committed.

He knew very well the painful future He was heading toward, and He knew very well how excruciating the pain would be until He took His last breath. Nevertheless, He kept obediently moving toward that dreadful end rather than running from it. “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42 – NLT)

In our pain, whatever it may be, the lens of faith can get out of focus. In our pain, we can find it very difficult to focus on much of anything else but our pain! And unfortunately, that can lead to a myriad of other problems if left unchecked.

Here are four points we should all try to remember when it comes to dealing with pain and the dark times in our lives:

  1. Pain has the potential to push us closer to God. A couple of great ways to start drawing closer to God are committing to daily prayer and reading the Bible.
  2. Pain has the potential to point out changes we may need to make. Whether it is physical pain, financial pain, marital pain, or anything else, we have to seriously ask the hard question, “What do I personally have to do to help resolve this pain in my life?”
  3. Pain has the potential to be the greatest platform God may use to impact someone else’s life. Many years ago, before becoming a Christian, my gambling habit led to serious financial pain in our household. Once I was delivered from my gambling habit, I used that experience to help many other individuals and families work their way out of the painful reality of debt and the mismanagement of their finances.
  4. God has the power to change our perspective in the midst of our pain. We live in a fallen imperfect world, therefore no matter how hard we try to run or hide from pain,  some painful event will always catch up with us sooner or later! It’s how we ultimately deal with it that counts. Will we include God in the process of working through it, or not? “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” (John 8:12 – NIV)

Dark days in our lives and pain usually go hand-in-hand. My prayer is, today, you will make Jesus Christ the Light of your life. “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2Corinthians 5:17 – NLT)

Do what you can to address the pain in your life, and let God do the rest. And, may the peace of God that surpasses all understanding be with you and yours always.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

 

How To Teach Your Children To Drop Out Of Church

There usually is a silver lining in every bad news scenario if we look hard enough.  With the coronavirus still threatening the entire world, it seems the silver lining in this one may be more people drawing closer to God through prayer and online church services.

However, if you are concerned about the spiritual direction our youth and young adults are heading in these days, the comments and charts below, by Jared Wilson, are worth reading and taking to heart.


Jared C. Wilson  |  March 10, 2020

A recent LifeWay study confirms the church dropout rate for young adults continues to hover around 70 percent. “The good news for Christian leaders is that churches don’t seem to be losing more students than they were 10 years ago. While the dropout rate stays roughly the same (actually down 4 percent), the outlook on dropouts returning is actually looking worse.

Dropouts_1

However, the difference in the dropout rate now and then is not large enough statistically to say it has actually improved,” said Scott McConnell, executive director of LifeWay Research.

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There are definitely some things we can do to work against this distressing trend.

The epicenter of influence on kids to or away from church is in the Christian home. So, working backward, what are some ways religious families may be reinforcing the dropout trend, despite their own hopes? Here are six:

  1. Attend church sporadically.

If you treat church like an option, your children will too. If going to church is contingent only on nothing else going on, if sports or hobbies or vacations frequently take priority over gathering with God’s people, how could this not over time imprint itself upon your kids?

  1. Complain about your church.

We were extremely careful not to complain about problems at church, or even discuss disappointments or circumstantial discouragements, in front of our kids. We didn’t want them to come to see church as a place that discourages mom and dad. We didn’t want them to nurse any grievances against even the idea of church because of our thoughtless exposure, of our hurts about it to them.

If your kids are constant witness, even at a young age, to your complaints, disappointments, disgruntlements, conflicts, or even gossip related to the church, you nurse their gradual disillusionment.

  1. Insulate them from the rest of the body.

I’m convinced this is one of the biggest reasons kids raised in church drop out of church. Their experience of the church is limited wholly or mostly to youth group culture. Everything revolves around their interests or even entertainment. They are not integrated into the body. They do not engage with the inter-generational beauty of the whole church.

  1. Ignore their crucial questions.

Parents and leaders who do not equip students with apologetics or direct answers to cultural questions teens are asking about gender, sexuality, race, and the like. All of these common phenomena implicitly tell students that church is not a place where they can get answers for real life.

If we are not helping students shore up their faith with answers to questions they will eventually face at college or beyond, we should not be surprised when they decide church has no vital place in their lives. We should not be surprised in fact when they decide Christianity doesn’t have the intellectual or cultural gravitas they need in the real world.

  1. Church hop.

There are obviously good reasons to leave a church. But families that hop from church to church as kids grow, or tastes change, or disappointments accumulate, train their kids to treat church not like a family one commits to through thick and thin but like a consumeristic product one can always throw away for a perceived upgrade. And this is just one step away from deciding church in general isn’t useful.

  1. Marginalize or muzzle the gospel.

In 2010, the True Love Waits campaign analyzed the results of years of their campaign to encourage sexual purity among Christian teenagers. They were shocked. The campaign that largely focused on the risks of pregnancy and disease, and the biblical prohibitions of sex outside of marriage, had virtually no effect on even churchgoing kids who had explicitly pledged to remain virgins until marriage.

Co-founder Richard Ross reflected in a Christianity Today article about the findings: “The promise is kept most tenaciously by teenagers who have moved beyond moralistic therapeutic deism and who adore the King of Kings with awe and intimacy.”

“For teenagers who know Christ,” Ross continued, “that is a far stronger motivator than a desire to avoid disease and pregnancy. Risk avoidance is a weak motivator during adolescence. . . . Teenagers need to know about the risks of promiscuity, as well as about the benefits that total life purity brings. But the most powerful way to impact prom-night decisions is for parents, leaders, and peers to more fully awaken teenagers to God’s Son.”

The law is good and must be preached. But the law cannot do what only the gospel can.

The church is the family made by Christ’s gospel. He has broken down the division between us with His blood and united us to each other by uniting us to Himself by our faith (in Him alone). When you push the gospel to the periphery of your own religious interests and your own consideration of the church, it has the effect of disconnecting students from the only power we have to win them to Christ’s body.

If, for instance, church is a regular Sunday for you but not a gospel-driven priority of your daily life—in prayer, in fellowship, in service—you show your kids that church is simply a place to go, not a people with whom you belong. And if you raise them under the shadow of the law rather than the light of Christ, you make engagement in church look like a means of earning credit with God or meriting his favor or looking religious or “spiritual,” all of which is a recipe for burnout and maybe even spiritual depression. Center on the gospel in your daily life and pray your kids flourish under grace.

If you’re interested in ensuring your kids become part of the dropout stats, any or all of these six practices are a great means of “discipleship.”


I hope you’ll agree, this is not the kind of “discipleship” our youth and young adults need!

Praying you and your family are staying healthy and growing closer to God through a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

A “PERFECT” Song In Fearful Times

I pray this short post finds you, your family members, and your friends in good health and free from the ravages of the coronavirus as it continues to wreak havoc around the world.

If you believe in the power of prayer, please continue to pray with me and the millions of people around the world who are asking for God’s grace, mercy, peace, protection, and healing in the midst of so much fear, stress, anxiety, and sickness.

This week, instead of consuming your time with a lengthy post, I want to share a song with you that has touched my heart to the core. As often as I’ve listened to this song, I still find a great deal of peace and comfort in the words and music every time I play it!

The name of the song is “PERFECT” rearranged and sung by a lovely young lady named Philippa Hanna. I hope you’ll give it a listen. It’s about four and a half minutes long and I’m betting you won’t regret the time spent listening.

Enjoy it by clicking HERE.


Praising the Prince of Peace, ALWAYS.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!

The Power Of God & The Coronavirus

I don’t believe anyone living today has ever witnessed anything with the potential to completely devastate and wipe out the world’s entire population like COVID-19, better know as the coronavirus!

It was on December 10, 2019  in Wuhan, China that a seafood merchant in this city’s Hua’nan market, first started to feel sick. Thinking she was getting a cold, she walked to a small local clinic to get some treatment and then went back to work.

Eight days later, the 57-year-old was barely conscious in a hospital bed, one of the first suspected cases in a coronavirus epidemic that has paralyzed not only China but practically every other country around the world, and has crippled the global economy in many ways.

The first known U.S. coronavirus case was announced on January 21, 2020 in the state of Washington.

It’s a flu-like virus that spreads very quickly and it appears no one is immune from it. However, as we have learned thus far, seniors with current chronic and severe health issues are at the greatest risk and most vulnerable to contracting this virus.

The good news is much is being done quickly by both the private sector, governments around the world, and especially the United States government at the local, state, and federal levels, to provide the policies, equipment, and tests needed to combat the spread of this virus.

I think we can all agree the coronavirus has caused a lot of anxiety, fear, and pain in more folks than just those who have been diagnosed with this virus.

Anxiety and fear of the unknown, of sickness and death, and of having our lives turned upside down with school closings, business shutdowns, childcare issues, travel bans, food, medicine and healthcare shortages, and the list goes on and on!

So, how and why did all this happen in what seems to be the blink of an eye, and what does the coronavirus have to do with the Power of God?

Well, in my opinion, it all depends on who you ask.

An atheist or humanist would probably say it’s just a random occurrence (stuff happens), or look for someone to blame for failing to anticipate such a catastrophic event, or try to find a way to blame it on climate change.

Panic, chaos, and uncertainty would run rampant. Without a belief and trust in a Sovereign God, the remedies and solutions to problems are left in the hands of imperfect humans without Divine guidance!

A Christian or God-fearing individual would say something quite different. We understand that all of God’s creation is under His complete and sovereign control. Nothing that happens in this entire universe He created, good or bad, escapes His eyes and His ability to control the outcome if, when, and how He desires to deal with it.

Christians also understand that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not the author of evil and does not will bad things to happen to His created order. However, He has temporarily given limited power and authority to another who is the author of evil, lies, and deception, and allows him to wreak havoc on individual lives and world events with God’s permission.  His name is Satan, along with his band of fallen angels!

Because most Christians believe the Holy Bible (God’s Word) is infallible (cannot err) and believe it is absolute truth, here’s what Christians know for sure.

The Bible tells us one day a great tribulation, or great distress, is coming before God ends all life on earth.

Jesus answered His disciples: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect (Christians) those days will be shortened.

Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven, with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect (Christians) from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.'” (Matthew 24:4-14,21,22,29-31 – NIV)

So, why did God allow the coronavirus to impact the entire world at this time? Your guess is as good as mine. He’s God and we’re not!

Did He allow it because it is the beginning of the end? Who knows!

Did He allow it to give us a glimpse into how quickly something can happen that turns the entire world upside down and into mass chaos? Who knows!

Or, did He allow it for either or both of the above reasons to powerfully grab the attention of those who are still lost and wandering aimlessly and fearfully through life without any hope or purpose for what tomorrow may bring?

If that happens to be you my friend, here is the most important question you should be asking yourself right now: “Where do I want to spend eternity once God does pull the plug on my life, and on the entire world, to end it all”?

The “Good News” is you can secure your place in eternity living with God and His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, in the new Heavens and new earth He has promised. Or, you can roll the dice and keep doing what you’re currently doing, hoping for a different outcome. Someone once said that’s the definition of insanity!

Here are the next steps you can take right now to secure your relationship with Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It’s as easy as ABC:

  • Acknowledge you are a sinner in desperate need of a Savior who can forgive your sins and offer you eternal life.
  • Believe Jesus Christ is fully God, fully man, sinless in nature who came to earth through a miraculous virgin birth offering Himself as a perfect sacrifice, shedding His blood on a cross for the forgiveness of your sins, and was raised from the dead so you too will be raised to eternal life with Him. Put your faith and trust in Him, and Him alone.
  • Confess your sins to the Almighty God who created you and receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (John 14:6)

Then, ask God’s Holy Spirit to come into your heart and mind as your Comforter, your Encourager, and your Guide to convict you of evil temptations and sin and empower you to repentance (changing your heart and mind to turn from sinful thoughts and actions).

If you have prayed to receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, let me be the first to welcome you into His Kingdom as my new brother or sister in Christ!


May the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

See you next week for more Wisdom Matters!