Tuesday, September 11, 2012

God Where are you?

Most of us have experienced something tragic in our lives.  And when that happens, often times our response is..."God, where are you?"  Those words might be a knee-jerk reaction or it might be a question we know we'll never get an answer to here on earth.  Nevertheless, the feeling is there.

I have heard throughout the last few years a number of people ask questions in regards to 9/11.  "Where was God that day?  Why did he let that happen?"  Well...there is an answer.  One that will be useful to you anytime you reach a point of despair.  The story I'm about to share with you is a God-thing.  Told only by the one that knows......

I was there....

You say you will never forget where you were when you heard the news on September 11, 2001.  Neither will I.  I was on the 110th floor in a smoke filled room with a man who called his wife to say "Good bye".  I held his fingers steady as he dialed.  I gave him the peace to say, "Honey, I am not going to make it but it is okay...I am ready to go".

I was with his wife when he called as she fed breakfast to their children.  I held her up as she tried to understand his words and as she realized he wasn't coming home that night.  I was in the stairwell of the 23rd floor when a woman cried out to ME for help.  "I have been knocking on the door of your hear for 50 years!"  I said, "Of course, I will show you the way home - only believe in ME now".

I was at the base of the building with the Priest ministering to the injured and devastated souls.  I took him home to tend to his flock in Heaven.  He heard my voice and answered.

I was on all four of those planes, in every seat, with every prayer.  I was in the hearts of the believers there, comforting and assuring them that their faiths had saved them.

I want you to know I saw every face.  I was in Texas, Virginia, California, and Afghanistan.  I was standing next to you when you heard the terrible news.  Did you sense me?

I want you to know that I saw every face.  I knew every name - though not all knew Me.  Some met ME for the first time on the 86th floor.  Some sought ME with their last breath.  Some couldn't hear ME calling to them through the some and flames "Come to ME...this way...take my hand".  I offered.  Some chose, for the final time, to ignore ME.  But I was there.

I did not place you in the Tower that day.  You may not know why, but I do.  However, if you were there in the explosive moment in time, would you have reached for ME?

September 11, 2001 was not the end of the journey for you.  But someday your journey will end.  And I will be there for you as well.  Seek ME now while I may be found.  Then, at any moment, you know you are "ready to go".

 I will be in the stairwell of your final moments.


As we remember today, I hope that you find something in this posting that allows you to be comforted knowing that God is present and that no matter what you are going through, He has been and forever shall be there.

Pastor Jim
(God letter reposted with permission from My Father's Voice)

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Kneeling in the mud and dirt I am a not the proud soldier I once was. My armor is dirty and dented.

My sword lies useless on the ground chipped and worn.

My shield is battered but whole.

His banner, my Lords banner, the banner that I raised for him lies beneath me, torn and worn.

The enemy surrounds me; they know that I am beaten. The hate that radiates from them is overwhelming. It poisons me with every breath. The leader of this dark band hisses laughter mixed with excitement. He hates me and all my kind.

Oh how I once was proud. My armor shown brightly and my weapons gleamed with righteous fury. His banner was held high for all to see so that they would know that I serve him who sits the throne. 

When the Enemy came I beat sword upon shield, lowered my visor and marched to war with hymns upon my lips.
Now I am broken and afraid. I feel his presence behind me.

My King is there watching and waiting.

I have failed him, I know I have and I will not look Him in the eyes for I am ashamed.

If I were Him I would do the same, I would let the enemy take me for I am unworthy of carrying his banner, of championing his cause.

The Enemy sees this and acts. The Leader, corrupt and decaying draws a sword blacker than night so that he may make the killing blow and seal my fate forever.

Everything slows down.

I feel the breeze against my skin; I hear the sword arcing down to finish me.

I have been forsaken, I am alone and I will die.

Yet I still breathe. The sound of sword on sword rings out amongst us all. My King stands above me shielding my body with His.

“This one is mine” he screams to the enemy “you shall not have him” and charges forth to do battle.

My brothers come to my side and lift me up. 

They place my sword in my hand, shield on my arm and raise his banner once more.

“Come” they say “for the enemy is routed and you have served well.” 

I found this in recent studies.  Remember, ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  But we are not in the battle alone.  The goal is to serve the risen King and to do it with brothers who come around each other.  We support each other in any circumstance with love and conviction, not with judgement and condemnation.  Be sure men, that even though you may be the one who is up at the current moment, there will come a day when the encouragement of a brother may be all that stands between you and the the lost wilderness.  Will you not come together and lift a brother to remind him that the battle has already been won and that they have served well.  Will you not come together, and help a brother or sister to stand.

The key for victory for the enemy is for him to guilt us into believing that we have failed, that we are worthless, that we are alone.  My challenge to you is to find that one, two, three or however many people you can to come together to provide support to each other in your time of need.  Surround yourselves with people of like faith who when you fall (and we will all fall), they will lift you up, dust you off and get you back in the fight.  The battle is already one, you just have to keep going.

I pray blessing, health, and love for each of you.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim

Friday, June 1, 2012

Holding on to Hope

There are few sadder sights on earth than the sight of a man or woman who has lost all hope.  In difficult times, hope can be elusive, but those who place their faith in God's promises need never lose it.  After all, God is good; His love endures; He has promised His children the gift of eternal life.  And, God keeps His promises.

Despite God's promises, despite Christ's love, and despite our countless blessings, we still lose hope from time to time.  When we do, we need the encouragement of Christian friends, the life-changing power of prayer, and the healing truth of God's Holy Word.

If you find yourself falling into the spiritual traps of worry and discouragement, seek the healing touch of Jesus and the encouraging words of fellow Christians.  If you find a friend in need, remind him or her of the peace that is found in a relationship with Jesus.  It is Jesus who promised "I have told you these things that you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33).

The world can and will be a place of trials and tribulations.  But we can be secure, knowing that Jesus is with us as we trust in him.  God has promised us peace, joy, and everlasting life...and God keeps his promises!

Many blessings to you today.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Are you stuck in a dark cycle?

Over the course of the last few weeks, the rain has been coming.  Not just for me but for many that I know.  The challenges that are faced by believers that are based in the attacks from Satan are never more present than when good things are happening.  Because when good things are happening, we tend to take our eyes off the One who is actually with for us.  We get distracted from God, and when we do...BAM!  The enemy lights us up.

We talk often about breaking cycles...yet this is a cycle that we constantly find ourselves in.
We pray...
We ask for forgiveness...
We get close to God...
Good things happen...
We get distracted...
We get isolated...
We feel badly...
We try to hide...
We feel worse...
We try to make ourselves feel better by doing things we know we shouldn't do...
We feel worse...
We pray...

In that cycle, feel free to substitute the word we with "I".  Because generally when these situations are occurring, "we" feel very alone, unworthy, and horrible.  Read the story of Adam and Eve after they ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge (Gen 3:8 - And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden).  They hid!!!  Does that sound familiar?  When you are not walking in harmony with God's wishes or trying your hardest to, do you hide?  I do.  I withdraw.

But scripture gives us great news and an opportunity to break the cycle that we find ourselves in.  Please take a few moments to read Psalm 25.  This psalm is a plea for deliverance and forgiveness.

Psalm 25:16 - Turn Yourself to me, and have mercy on me, For I am desolate and afflicted.

Psalm 25:20 - Keep my soul, and deliver me; Let me not be ashamed, for I put my trust in You.

Two verses that provide us instruction and guidance for what to request from the Lord and how to do it.  No matter what your situation, the Lord is there with you.  I want to include a song for you that helps me when I have those moments where I am down.  Where I feel like I am not good enough or that what I am doing does not matter.  We do not have to stay in that cycle that leads to destruction. We can remember that God loves us no matter what.  Enjoy the video, may it bless you.

Remember that God loves you and so do I.  I am praying for many blessings for you this day and in the days to come.

Pastor Jim

Friday, April 13, 2012

During Difficult Days

We also have joy with our troubles,
because we know that these troubles produce patience.
And patience produces character,
and character produces hope.
Romans 5:3-4

All of us face those days when the traffic jams, harsh words from a loved one, or even the smallest thing that goes wrong just sends us off the deep end.  But when we find ourselves overtaken by the frustrations of life, we must catch ourselves, take a deep breath, and lift our thoughts upward.

Although we are here on earth struggling to rise above the distractions of the day, we need never struggle alone.  God is here - eternally and faithfully, with infinite patience and love - and, if we reach out to Him, He will restore our perspective and peace.

Sometimes even the most devout Christians can become discouraged and we are no exception.  After all, we live in a world where expectations can be high and demands can be even higher.  The enemy knows how to use those situations and how to make us feel low and not good enough.

If you find yourself enduring difficult circumstances, remember that God remains in heaven.  If you ever become discouraged with the direction of your day or your life, lift your thoughts and prayers to Him.  

He is the God of possibility - NOT - the god of negativity.  He will guide you through your difficulties and beyond them.  Then, you can thank the Giver of all things good for blessings that are simply too numerous to count.

If you are in a low place today, as simple as it may sound, take a look at your perspective.  Lift your prayers to God.  And start counting the blessings that you can name.  Name them out loud.  Verbal praises to God are like a beacon of light that forces the shadow forces away because dark can not live where light dwells.
As you are able to articulate even the smallest of blessings even if you start with waking up this morning, they will lead to others.  As you label more and more of these, hope will build.

No matter what is going on remember the following verses

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
Can affliction or anguish or persecution 
or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
As it is written:
Because of You
we are being put to death all day long;
we are counted as sheep to be slaughtered.
No, in all these things we are more than victorious 
through Him who loved us.
Romans 8:35-37

No matter what the circumstances.  You are victorious through  Jesus who died for you.

I pray for blessings for you today.  May you know that no matter the difficulties, troubles, or tribulations - you are loved and you ARE victorious.

God loves you and so do I.
Pastor Jim

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Got Strength?

God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10)

Even the most inspired Christians can, from time to time, find themselves running on empty.  The demands of daily life can drain us of our strength and rob us of the joy that is rightfully ours in Christ.  When we find ourselves tired, discouraged, or worse, there is a source where we can draw the power needed to recharge our spiritual batteries.  That source is God. 

God intends that His children lead joyous lives filled with abundance (John 10:10) and peace (2 Thes 3:16) but sometimes, abundance and peace seem very far away.  It is then that we must turn to God for renewal.  When we do that, He will restore us (as long as we allow Him to).

Today is literally brimming with possibilities.  Every day is, whether we realize it or not. In addition, every day God is working in us and through us.  Our job is to let Him do his work without interference.  Yet we are imperfect beings who, because of our limited vision and faulty belief that we must have control, often resist God's will.  And often, because of our stubborn insistence on squeezing too many activities into a 24-hour day, we allow ourselves to become exhausted, or frustrated, or angry, or discouraged, or any other feeling that you can fill in the blank with.

Are you tired or troubled?  Turn your heart towards God in prayer.  

Are you weak or worried? Take the time - or more accurately make the time - to get deep into God's Holy Word.  

Are you spiritually depleted?  Call upon fellow believers to support you and call upon Christ to renew your spirit and your life.  

Are you overwhelmed by the demands of the day? Pray for the wisdom to simplify your life.  

Are you exhausted?  Pray for the wisdom to rest a little more and worry a little less.

When you do these things, you'll discover that the Lord always stands ready and is always able to create a new sense of wonderment and joy in you.  He will renew you.  He will recharge you.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on His law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season,
and whose leaf does not wither
Whatever he does prospers.
(Psalm 1:2-3)

I pray today that you will go to God and tell Him of your troubles, fears, worries, and exhaustion.  I pray that you feel a peace that passes all understanding and that you will allow Him to work within you.  Let Him give you strength.

Many blessings to you this day.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Breaking Away

Don't criticize one another, brothers.  He who criticizes a brother or judges his brother criticizes the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor (James 4:11-12)

From experience, we know that it is easier to criticize than to correct; we understand that it is easier to find faults than solutions; and we realize that excessive criticism is usually destructive, not productive.  Yet the urge to criticize others remains a powerful temptation for most of us.  Our task, as obedient believers, is to break the twin habits of negative thinking and critical speech.

In the book of James, we are issued a clear warning: "Don't criticize one another, brothers" (v 4:11).  Undoubtedly, James understood the paralyzing power of chronic negativity, and so must we.  Negativity is highly contagious: we give it to others who, in turn, give it back to us.  Thankfully, this cycle can be broken by positive thoughts, heartfelt prayers, and encouraging words.

As you examine the quality of your communications, can you honestly say that you are an encourager and not a critic?  If so, keep it up.  But if you are one of those people who is occasionally (or frequently) overwhelmed by negativity, and if you pass that negativity along to your neighbors, it is time for a mental housekeeping.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7)

You can use the transforming power of Christ's love to break the chains of negativity.  Think positively, give heartfelt prayers, encourage others, and above all else, ask Jesus to guide your every word that it may be pleasing to him.

Many blessings to you this day.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim

Saturday, February 18, 2012

God Never Promised a Rose Garden

How often do you face situations where you look at God and ask "Why?"  How often do you look at your life after you accepted Christ or perhaps even before and ask yourself "When is the good stuff going to start?"

How often do we believe that because we are in with the good crowd - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, that life should go smooth for us?  Yet when we become creations in Christ, suffering becomes part of the territory.  Suffering may take many different forms.  If we look into scripture, we can find numerous stories of those who suffered.

Joseph - Joseph, chosen by his father to be the best of his sons.  Marked as special (remember the robe and the dreams of all bowing before him?).  Sold into slavery by his brothers.  As the Lord was with Joseph even in slavery, he rose in station.  Until he was attacked again by false claims and thrown in jail.  He remained in jail but he never turned his face from God, he remained faithful.  He did not give in to sin, he did not give up.

Job - Job lost everything - his wealth, health, and family. My wife despises stories where one bad thing happens one right after the other.  This is one of those stories, because the hits keep coming one on top of the other.  The pain, the suffering, the trials, the disappointments; they keep coming. In the end because Job stayed faithful to the Lord, he was restored.  He was more than restored.  He was truly blessed.

Paul - Paul had one big thing going for him which many of today's "suffering faithful" seem to have missed: He was told up front to expect mistreatment.

In Damascus, a couple of days after his encounter with Jesus, Paul was visited by  Ananias, who told of the plans God had for him. "(Saul) is a chosen vessel of mine to bear my name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name's sake" (Acts 9:16).

Paul knew going in that suffering was part of the deal. This is completely in line with our Lord's statements to the apostles in Matthew 5:11-12 and Mark 10:29-30.

But these three stayed faithful.  They recognized that there was a choice in each trial and tribulation that they faced.  They could have turned away from God, they could have given in.  But instead they stayed faithful.  In their darkest hours, God was with them.  In our darkest hours, God is with us.

We all have choices.  We are not the victims of our circumstances unless we choose to be so.  Faith believes that with God, we are never victims. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).  We can take our situations and grumble, fuss, and complain.  We can blame those around us.  We can blame God. Or we can stay focused on God and have faith in our sufferings.  If you read on in Hebrews, there are many accounts of people of the bible who lived by faith, yet did not receive fully God's total reward.  That will come later when we can all rejoice in God's perfect gift together.

Let me leave you with this:

When we are faithful in the midst of our sufferings, 12 good things happen.

God is honored,

Jesus is pleased,

And the Holy Spirit is given a situation He can use for God's purposes.

The devil is infuriated,

Our enemies are puzzled,

The critics of the church are silenced.

The church itself is strengthened,

Believers going through tough times are encouraged,

The unsaved observe and want what they see.

You yourself are blessed and strengthened,

Your reward in Heaven is great,

Your reputation goes through the roof (Luke 6:35).

For believers -- for faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus -- suffering is not "par for the course."

It is the course.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:2-3)

Despite what you may be going through today - success or suffering - keep your eyes firmly on the Lord.  Keep yourself grounded in prayer.  Jesus warns us that the road will be difficult.  There will be struggles.  It is easier to quit.  That is what Satan wants.  He wants you to throw in the towel for the promise of how easy life will be.  Trust me, it won't be.  

It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually.  If we choose to.

Many blessings to you today.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim

Saturday, January 28, 2012

He is with you!!

The last time we were together, I spoke about Footprints in the Sand.  Remember that the Lord is constantly walking beside you, no matter your circumstances.  The Holy Spirit continues to convict me that there are many out there that need to know even more that the Lord is with you.

A resounding theme in Men's Ministry this year is to be Courageous.  The movie being a great catalyst to jump start a fire in not only men but all of us to be accountable, prayerful, loving, and involved.  We are not put here to just float along or just get by.  God has a great purpose for each of us.  But often we are afraid.  I am a firm believer that God speaks to us but often times we do not listen or do not like what he is saying.  Even more, we are afraid to step out and do what he commands.

1 Samuel 15:22 (NIV) says "Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of the rams."

There are multiple scriptures that discuss the theme that to obey is better than to sacrifice.  I have listed some of them here for you for your studies (Psalms 40:6-8, Psalms 51:16-17, Matthew 12:7, Mark 12:33, Proverbs 21:3)

What does that voice tell you to do?  What do the other things tell you in order to get you not to?  Do you heed God's word and direction or do you allow what life throws at you to stop the things that God has in store for you?

It is my belief that out of everything that can hold us back, it is our fears that are the most paralyzing.  What do you fear?  Do you fear being good enough?  Being forgiven enough? Smart enough? Pretty enough?  Fill in the blank, what are you afraid of?

God's promises and His plans are spelled out in the Bible for all of us.

Isaiah 53:5 (NIV) - But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

1 Peter 2:24 (KJV) - Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on a tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Two different time periods in the bible - both Old and New Testaments - telling us about the payment made for us. If we accept the gift, if we follow God's work, that makes us good enough.

But sometimes we still are afraid.  We need more encouragement.  The Lord tells us in different spots that he is with us.

Deuteronomy 31:6 - Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Joshua 1:5 - No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life.  As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5 - Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:8 - The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

The actuality of God's plan - the sacrifice of his Son.  The ultimate sacrifice given in love for you and I that we may draw close to God.

The promise of God's love and support - he will never leave you nor will he forsake you.

What do you have to be afraid of?  He is with you.  Right beside you.  Walking with you.  Carrying you when you need it.  Rooting for you when you are brave.  Whispering encouragement in your ear when you are not.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 - But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Be bold, branch out.  Be obedient to what he is telling you.  Seek his guidance in all things and do what he tells you. 

Hebrews 13:6 - So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?

What is stopping you today?

I pray for blessings in your homes and lives.  Know that God is with you.  He loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim

Monday, January 16, 2012

Time To Ride Again

Let me start by apologizing for not writing for the last few months.  I could make excuses, but I won't.  The simple truth is that I had a bout of not knowing what to write or what to say.  Ultimately, I allowed myself to stop listening to what God wanted me to do and so I did nothing.  Please forgive me.  And to those readers who challenged me by reminding me that this blog is about God and the need for everyone to know Him...Thank You.

Let's ride again together!


One night a man had a dream.
He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.  
For each scene, he noticed tow sets of footprints in the sand;
one belonged to him and the other to the Lord.

When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.  
He noticed that many times along the path of his life 
there was only one set of footprints.
He also notice that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.

This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way. 
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, 
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most
you would leave me."

The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child,
I love you and would never leave you.  
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

Often we feel alone.  We feel deserted.  This may be by those that we surround ourselves with, it may be loved ones, it may be God.  But we have to ask ourselves.  Have we really been deserted or in contrast have we actually pulled away from everyone else?
God speaks to us in numerous ways.  So does the enemy.  My last post talked about being courageous.  I can honestly say that after writing it, I got scared.  The last few months have definitely been ones where when I look back, I will see only one set of footprints...and they won't be mine.
But the good news, no the great news, is that when we trust in God, when we turn back to Him, he is ALWAYS standing right there waiting for us.  I heard my pastor say this week that God never moves.  He is right there where you left him.  In my mind, in my vision, that is right next to me.  Carrying my burdens, my doubts, my fears...and doing so with love.

If you have been afraid.  If you have turned away.  If you have been doing nothing.  God will always take you back.  Will you let him?

It is time to ride with the Lord again.  Whatever reason you haven't been doesn't matter any more.  I have included the following song for you.  Listen and remember that He is with you always.

I wish you may blessings this day.  God loves you and so do I.

Pastor Jim