Faith, Observations, Short Stories

Cast Your Cares


Cast your burden on Him.

GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

(1Pe 5:4-7 NASB)

I threw hay once. It was in the early 1990’s. I spent an entire summer throwing hay and cutting down trees for the winter season. Missouri can have very cold winters.

Well…anyway, hay. The farmer (Bill) drove the tractor that pulled a wagon. The farmer’s Son stood on the wagon and caught the hay bales that were tossed up to him. He neatly stacked the bales on the wagon.

My job? I was the idiot who agreed it would be GREAT fun to run along both sides of the wagon, grab a bale and toss it to the guy on the wagon. In those days, I ran long distances, and I was a weightlifter. So, how hard could throwing hay be…right? Right? Ok,…it was hell.

The bales were in rows on both sides of the wagon and staggered so that, when you grab a bale and toss it, you can run around behind the wagon and up to the next bale just in time to grab it, spin and toss. As soon as you tossed that bale, you had to run right back around the wagon for the next bale in the first row.

We tossed hay from daybreak to dusk. We stopped every 30 minutes for food and water. We did this all summer. There were several farms all along this rural route in Missouri, and my Cousin’s neighbor, the Farmer, said he’s delighted to gather all the hay and stow it in the barns for the local farmers. There was nothing he loved more than to spend the day riding his tractor and singing hymns.

All. Day. Long.

At the end of one day, just as the sun was setting, and we had stored the hay in the loft and barn, the Farmer looked out at the field and pointed out I had missed a bale. I looked. My heart sank. Way off on the other side, out in the field we just cleared, you could just make out this lone bale. Guess whose job it was to drag his tired butt all the way over there to get that last bale and bring it home? Yup. It was my job.

Carrying that one bale all that distance after a hard day in the sun was more work than anything I had already done that day. The burden was too great. I thought it would kill me before I got it to the loft.

When I got to the loft, Bil, the Farmer, chuckled and held his hands out to me and said, “Here, I’ve got this, you go rest.” I nearly wept from the relief as I stripped down and washed in the trough he had set up. My burden was no longer mine.

I had blessed relief.

THAT, my dear reader, is exactly what it means to cast your cares on the lord. You may be the reason you are so burdened, but you cannot manage it. Only God can. He is waiting with outstretched arms, telling you to let him have it. It is, after all, no longer yours.

Your burden of sin and arrogance and living a fallen life is why Christ died on the cross. He didn’t die for your sins..no. He died for YOU. He died OF your sin. He took your burden and dealt with it, and asked you to rest.

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” – Jesus

(Mat 11:28-30 – NASB)

Cast all your cares on Him. He will give you rest.

Let’s be about it.

I love you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior.

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com  (Write me, sometimes, I’d love to hear from you)

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Faith

God’s Gift of Salvation – An Inconvenient Truth


God’s Gift of Salvation

We are all going to die someday. Where will you go when you die? The Bible teaches us how we can know for sure that when we die we will go to heaven. There are 4 things we must know to be able to go to heaven when we die.

1. We are sinners. As the Bible says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Sin is falling short of God’s perfection. Everyone has sinned many times in life. We have all lied, or stolen, or cheated, or done something wrong at some time in our lives. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10).

2. We deserve Hell. Realize that there is a punishment for being a sinner, and that punishment is death. “For the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). Not only a physical death, but also a spiritual death. The place of spiritual death is called Hell. “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rom. 21:8). There is probably no person alive who can say that they never told a lie. We all have sinned and we all deserve the punishment of Hell for our sin.

3. Jesus died for our sins. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Jesus willingly went to the cross, shed His blood, and died for our sins. He paid the price for our sins. He suffered the punishment that we deserve. When He was on the cross, Jesus suffered Hell for us. Hell is a place of total separation from God. When Jesus was on the cross, God the Father separated Himself from God the Son. That is why Jesus cried out “with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? That is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Jesus was experiencing separation from God the Father. He was suffering the Hell that we deserve. He was paying for our sins.

4. We must receive Christ by faith. In order to become a Christian, it is not enough to know that we are sinners, that we deserve Hell, and that Christ died for our sins, but we must receive Christ by faith. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8,9).

Notice that we cannot earn our way to heaven. We obtain salvation through faith, not by works. Faith basically boils down to placing your trust in something or someone. If you are sitting down while reading this, you are placing your faith or trust in the chair that you are sitting upon. Faith requires more than just an intellectual belief; it involves an action of your will. For example, if there were a pond covered with ice, and there were people standing around saying that the ice could hold them up, but they were not willing to walk on the ice, then they would only be demonstrating an intellectual belief and not faith. If they stepped out onto the ice, they would be demonstrating faith.

One can place their faith in Christ by simply calling out to Him in prayer, for the Bible says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I expressed faith in Christ by sincerely praying a prayer like this:

“Dear Jesus, I am a sinner. I deserve Hell. Thank you for dying for my sins. Save me. Come into my life. Make me the kind of person that you want me to be. I thank you that you have and that you will take me to heaven when I die. Amen.”

If you sincerely pray that prayer with all your heart, then the Lord Jesus will come into your life and forgive your sins, and save you from an eternity of Hell. If you were to die tomorrow, you would go to heaven. Not because you are good enough to get there, but because you have received the payment of your sins. It is that simple.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (Jn 5:24)

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Faith, Observations, Stuff

Let It Rain


Cloud Over Little Man Another day has almost come and gone
Can’t imagine what else could go wrong
Sometimes I’d like to hide away somewhere and lock the door
A single battle lost but not the war

‘Cause tomorrow’s another day
And I’m thirsty anyway
So bring on the rain

– Jo Dee Messina & Tim McGraw – “Bring On The Rain”

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

DAYS LIKE THIS

The Flight Attendant brought me a fresh, steaming cup of coffee. I had been up since 4:30 in the morning, and was on the last leg of travel that would get me to Chicago. I hoped the coffee would wake me up enough to make this final leg of my travels.

As the flight attendant hurried down the aisle of this tiny and overcrowded jet, I stirred in my sugar, and lifted the cup for a sip. Just as I did, the flight attendant came rushing back down the aisle, stopped suddenly next to my seat, and turned around to talk to another passenger. As she turned, she forgot to tuck her elbows in. Her right elbow struck the bottom of my coffee cup just as I was taking that first sip.

Hot coffee splashed all over my face, my glasses and my shirt. I cleaned up as best as I could under the circumstances, but reeked of airliner coffee the rest of the day. I was finally wide awake. The coffee had done its job.

Our flight landed and was delayed on the tarmac because the gate was still occupied by another jet.

After debarking, I headed to baggage claim B, where my ticket, and the flight attendant, said our bags would be found.

It took an additional 30 minutes for the bags to get to the wrong baggage claim kiosk. I wouldn’t have discovered this if I had not heard another passenger ranting about how the bags ended up in the wrong place. The electronic board at baggage claim happily claimed that my bags would be at claim B, even though the bags were being offloaded somewhere else.

The delay of the jet getting to the gate on time, and the confusion in baggage caused a delay in getting to the shuttle for the hotel. I ran as fast as a fat guy could run, but arrived only to see the tail pipe of the hotel shuttle bus speeding away. I called the hotel. They said they will send the shuttle back, but I would have to wait.

Two hours later, the shuttle returned. On my way to the hotel, I was lectured on what the shuttle schedule is, and why it is important to be on time. It would have been pointless to tell the driver about my adventures with the airline.

While I was in training class, my computer crashed and had to be replaced with another one. After that, the software we were learning how to use kept failing to do what it was advertised to be able to do. In order for me to complete my training labs, I had to shut down the program frequently, restart, and continue on where I left off.

BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!

Before I left for my trip to Chicago, my company issued cell phone decided that it needed to reboot itself repeatedly then die. It is now dead. I get a “New” one this Monday.

LIFE LIKE THIS

During a lull in training, I thought about these things. The cell phone, the coffee, the baggage, the hotel shuttle, and the computer issues. It occurred to me that my life is generously peppered with little events like this.

LATELY

Lately, it seems as if my life has been one interesting event after another, peppered by occasional bouts of normalcy. The frequency of these interesting events has increased ever since I started my job at this internationally famous company. I do NOT hold them responsible. I merely use this event as a time marker that earmarks when things really started getting even more interesting in my life.

My boss wrote me, regarding this run of “luck” I seem to be having, and asked,

“David, Have you always gone through life with that little cloud over your head that follows you everywhere? Eleanor (A co-worker who issues our phones) and I were talking about you…and all the things you have had to endure since you have been with us. Satan is really trying to trip you up, isn’t he?”

IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT

Chinese Symbols for CrisisThe Chinese symbol for crisis is shown here. It is two symbols meaning “Danger” and “Opportunity”. They occur simultaneously. How you handle them is what determines if it is a crisis or not.

Jesus never said that becoming his disciple would protect us from life’s circumstances. – Jim Richards, “How To Stop The Pain”

Even Jesus was tempted in every way we are all tempted. In Matthew 18:7 Jesus said, “It is necessary that temptation comes.”

The Opportunity

The opportunity my circumstances bring me is the chance to allow the Spirit of God to work in my life, making me a light and disciple of Christ.

The Danger

The danger is that I will not.

Problems happen.

That is not how the bumper sticker says it, but you get my drift.

I used to get seriously angry at all these little paper cuts. I am learning, through experience with the Holy Spirit, that blowing up only means I get to do it all over again.

I handle big events rather well. It is the little, niggling, “dogs chewing at my shoes” events that tend to bring out my worst.

Even though God Himself tempts no man, God is not going to stop problems from coming your way any more than He prevented them from happening to Jesus.

We are not better than our master.

How we deal with circumstances is what tells the rest of the world how much we really believe Christ changes our lives.

There is a season for everything under the sun.

This season of interesting events lead me to either cling to God in faith, or curse God for allowing them to happen. It all depends on how well I chose to understand what the Bible actually says about pain and suffering.

Whether these temptations are genuinely from Satan or are just life happening becomes a moot point. Jesus said, “Woe to the world for such temptations to sin and influence to do wrong.” And “Woe to the person on whose account or by whom these temptations comes!”

The World and Satan are in league with each other in that, if they have to go to hell, then so do the rest of us.

If I have said I do not have to go to hell on account of Jesus and his finished work on the cross, then I have told the World and Satan they can stuff their ambitions for my life.

Satan and the World do not like it when a sheep tells them to stuff it. So they fight back.

We either trust our Shepherd to take care of us, or we don’t.

So…let there be clouds, and let it rain…I was thirsty anyway!

Romans 8:28King James Version (KJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Now,

Let’s be about it!

Love always, and it’s good to be back in the blogosphere.

David Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

We Shall Speak the Truth in Love…but We SHALL Speak the Truth!



In case I have never told anyone, I believe Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, who died of all my sin, and rose again on the third day to prove he is worthy to be my lord and savior. Because of this, I have inherited all that Christ has given in order to save me. This is part of the exchange on the cross. All that is unholy and sin became Jesus’, and all that is holy and righteous became mine. My righteousness has nothing to do with me, or anything I can do to please God. It all rests entirely on Jesus and what He accomplished in my place. Becoming what Jesus is, is what is known as laboring to rest in the finished work of the cross.

So, what am I? I am like you, someone who has sinned. Perhaps my sin nature was a bit more indulgent than yours. Perhaps not. Any sin separates us from God and demands a verdict of eternal damnation. In God’s eyes, all my sin is forgiven. In God’s eyes, I am His beloved child. In God’s eyes, I am no longer judged worthy of hell and damnation because I have accepted the mission of Jesus and the finished work of the cross. My fleshy character has to die, because it is dead, and will continue to die as I rest in the character of Jesus.

I am also someone who STILL sins. Just like you. I still sin, but I do not desire sin. Not any longer. I desire God and His kingdom. His grace sustains me as the Spirit of God leads me to a life that is better than the old life I lived. I am not alive anymore, but Jesus lives in me. I live this life because of the faith of Jesus that resides in me. I live this life because He lived me and gave His life for mine.

What I have described above is what GRACE is all about. Grace is unmerited favor. Grace is bestowed on me because I have accepted a free gift. That gift was paid for in blood. Jesus’ blood.

God’s grace continues to this day. That is why this planet still exists. He is showing us how patient His grace is, so that, somehow, you will have the opportunity to accept this free gift too, instead of living your eternity in hell. Hell is reserved for Satan and his minions, and all who refuse to accept this free gift.

This is grace, and it is free to anyone who will accept it.

Here is the truth, however…

No one wants God on God’s terms. If they believe in God at all, it is through a filter of righteousness (Self), that tells God why all the good stuff they have done in their life merits passage into Heaven.

We prefer to earn what we cannot possibly earn because we are too proud to accept the free gift of Grace given to us.

The truth is, some Christians have made Jesus noting more than a role model, a buddy, someone who looks at your foibles, chuckles, slaps you on the back, and says, “Keep trying, buddy, I am rooting for you.” Part of this is true, but the tools of Satan is to mix truth with error.

The error is in believing that Jesus is no more aware of a divine standard than we are, and He is simply walking through this life as befuddled as you are, but maybe a bit smarter about negotiating the mine fields of life. This inclusive theology waters down who Jesus is, and leads millions to a false sense of security. After all, we need to make our march into hell as pleasant as we can, don’t we?

The truth is, some Christians believe that their particular religious dogma has cornered the market on God, and God HAS to be pleased with our efforts. They like to invent an agenda, map out a plan, and insist that God approve of it. This is especially true if our map started in the scriptures.

Here is an example:

I recently attended a Men’s Prayer Breakfast. The theme of that breakfast was, Psa 127:1 “Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it;…”

The guest speaker rhapsodized about how it is our responsibility to build a Godly home. Which is true, but not the truth.

The speaker exposited that we have to work hard to make sure we are doing all we can to build a home that God will be proud of. The emphasis continued to be one of self-effort, self-righteousness, self, self, and self…ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

After all was said and done, I was asked what I thought. I spoke the truth. That unless the LORD build the house, they labor in vain who build it.

I was in my home turf with this synagogue of fellows, as I was raised in this particular works righteousness religion.

I suggested, and I mean this, I was kind, polite, and friendly, charming… everything that my best friend, Mark, would have suggested I be…I suggested that we look again at this verse and underscore WHO is responsible for the building.

(I was once one of them, and I know how easily they get provoked to self-righteousness and anger, and how swiftly they run to their own ego when they are cornered.)

I suggested, ever so gently that, unless God moves us to build the house, and unless He leads the building, and unless the Holy Spirit empowers this project, nothing we do will last. I suggested that any fool can build what looks like a godly home, a godly church, a godly reputation, but, inside, can be full of empty promises, lies, deceit, and vain imaginations. If this were not so, all churches and all homes that appear to be Godly would be winning souls faster than water could be gathered for the baptism.

The stony silence I was greeted with was deafening. The party was over.

The Truth is… We do not really want the truth so much as we want reassurance that the lies we tell ourselves are the truth.

My only claim to anything is that Jesus Christ is my lord and savior. He died for my sin. I accept that I am a sinner, saved by Grace.

I would not be able to comprehend why grace is being applied to my life, if I first didn’t understand that there is sin, and a need of repentance.

Grace juxtaposes the image of what God is trying to give you against the reality of the hell you will receive if you do not choose His free gift.

Is Jesus my friend? Yes, He said so himself. It’s in the bible, look it up.

Jesus is my friend because I have believed in him, trusted him, and accepted this free gift.

When He became my savior, and the spirit of God entered me, I was driven to the inescapable conclusion that I also want to be just like Him, which made Jesus my Lord, as well.

Somewhere between the dogma of the self-righteous religions of this planet, and the idea that Jesus is your buddy, we have to come to terms with the truth of the Cross. The truth of why the cross was necessary. The truth that none of us, none of our religions, and none of our watered down lies of Jesus will ever save us from the hell we deserve.

Jesus IS the good news. Jesus is all of the Gospel. There is no separation of eternal life and the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross. You cannot have one without the other. To live otherwise is to tell God you know better than He does about what is best for your eternal soul. This will not comfort you while you are in Hell.

The truth is, if Jesus can redeem someone as vile and dangerous as I was, then He can redeem anyone. The truth is, none of us, not one, can do anything at all worthy of Heaven, unless Jesus Himself does the thing through us.

When you accept that you are a sinner, and that your religion, or lack thereof, is not going to save you, and you turn to Jesus Christ, and see what He has done to grant you eternity in Heaven, you will be saved.

I was told that I must be soft and sweet when I deliver these next few messages. I was told that I must separate grace from truth, because truth is not palatable, and will scare people off.

I hold that if you are not cognizant of the truth, any effort you make at making Jesus your Friend will be wasted in regret. You will never know Grace apart from the hard truth.

The truth is, you can do nothing at all apart from Christ.

The truth is, you cannot have Heaven and bypass what Christ did on the cross.

The Truth is, your deciding whether Jesus is Lord or not does not negate the fact that He is Lord whether you acknowledge it or not.

The truth is, in the end, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is lord.

Time is running out. Churches have failed Christ. We all have to stop and tell the truth and know the truth.

Grace reveals God’s love against our overwhelming sin. Grace reveals a truth that simultaneously hurts and heals.

Truth reveals Christ.

It pleased God to send His own Son to the cross so we, you, His creation, will not have to face His wrath.  Jesus already absorbed God’s wrath.  Sin is paid for.  You are saved, if you believe what Jesus said about Himself.

Unless we first come to grips with our sin, and the overwhelming Grace God continues to show us, and until we accept this free gift of Salvation, we will never truly understand the depth of the powerful relation Jesus will be in your life. You cannot be His friend unless you first accept what he did for you. When that happens, you will see that he did not come here to build a religion, but a relationship.

Before any of my Hyper Grace friends ask me if I had thought twice about the gracelessness of this tome, and considered what Jesus would have done…I leave with this thought:

Still, it is all on His terms.

Let Him be about you.

I love you in Jesus Christ, and because of Him,

David G. Perkins

Sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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Faith

What’s The Difference?


Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly (publicly), I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].

(Mat 7:21-23 AMP)

 

SEEING A TREND

I correspond with Christians all around the world.  While revival is happening all around the world, something else is happening here. Many of my American friends are telling me they are leaving their churches. In the last two weeks, I have had no less than 5 individuals tell me this. Many of these people are leaders in the Faith. Some of these people young Christians like me look up to. Last week, I was talking to my neighbors; A husband and wife, about my age. Known for their long relationship with their church, I have pictured them as being steady and steadfast rocks. Their love for Christ and devotion to His call is strong in them. This couple told me they are leaving their church, after being faithful to their church for decades.

Two people I look up to as Spiritual elders in my life told me the same thing.

The reasons others are giving me for leaving their churches are starting out to sound like the reasons Sandy and I don’t really want to join a church. We are not alone. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The trend is this: People who are genuinely interested in a relationship with Jesus Christ are starting to be excluded by churches who are more interested in marketing their church, and sacrificing their relationship with the living God for the idea of what God stands for.

WAIT A MINUTE, DAVE! WHAT ARE YOU SAYING???

I am saying this, and I am not the only one saying this. The new social experiment in American Christianity is to be so inclusive that we exclude why we are even calling ourselves Christians. We have traded our relationship with Jesus Christ for a cheap backdrop with a picture of Jesus hanging on it. American Churches are more interested in marketing their churches than in living the life of Christ. We have a business plan; we have a committee for entertainment, and publicity. We have become so relevant to everyone that we are becoming irrelevant to those who follow Jesus and to those who genuinely seek the Lord our God.

I have met many imitators. I once was one. I know what I am seeing when I see it. We, as individuals, and as a congregation, have become more concerned with being liked, and with being popular. We mistakenly believe that the more people that come to our building every Sunday is an indicator of our doing the right thing. Being popular is not our call. Behaving in a way that makes us popular, just to pack the pews will make us irrelevant to Christ.

I have met Church leaders all over America who have no knowledge of the scripture, but they know how to make you feel good and comfortable with your own ignorance. I have seen for myself that the minute you start asking the hard questions of the Bible, that you suddenly become less welcome in that church. After all, we are here to have fun, and fellowship, not to learn the deeper things of Christ.

We have all become salesmen of the Gospel. We have turned Jesus into a marketable commodity.

THAT WASN’T VERY NICE, DAVE. WHERE’S THE GRACE IN THAT?

This isn’t nice or comfortable either: The genuine Children of God are not a club that includes everyone BUT genuine believers. We do not have something to sell. We have a relationship with Christ. We are being made into the image of Christ. We are not salesmen of the idea of Christ, just so you can be comfortable knowing about Him without the conviction it takes to follow him.

Paul was the Apostle of God’s Grace. PAUL SAID IT BEST: 2Co 2:17 For we are not, like so many, [like hucksters making a trade of] peddling God’s Word [shortchanging and adulterating the divine message]; but like [men] of sincerity and the purest motive, as [commissioned and sent] by God, we speak [His message] in Christ (the Messiah), in the [very] sight and presence of God.

Here is the Grace: In His patience with all of us, God desires that we KNOW Him and His ways. Being this full of Love for us all, God applies His mercy toward us, and by the power of His grace, delays the final day of reckoning so that all peoples will come to know Him through Jesus Christ.

YOU ROB HUMANITY WHEN YOU EXCLUDE THE TRUTH

Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. [Deut. 30:19; Jer. 21:8.] Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. [Ezek. 22:27.] You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad (worthless) fruit. A good (healthy) tree cannot bear bad (worthless) fruit, nor can a bad (diseased) tree bear excellent fruit [worthy of admiration]. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits.  (Mat 7:13-20 AMP)

Just because it looks like a Church, just because there is a fabulous floor show before the preacher comes out, just because the preacher woos you with his glib wit, and humility, does not mean you have gone to a building whose interests are that you know Jesus personally.

There are MANY Mega-Churches in the land. Not all are hucksters of the Gospel. But the ones who are all about marketing and being appealing to everyone, for all the wrong reasons are driving sincere believers away.

Jesus said that if He is high and lifted up, he will draw all humanity to himself. If what you are lifting up is the idea of Jesus, not the knowledge of Jesus, if what you propound is a sack full of sweets and goodies, you have taken people off the path of genuine knowledge of Christ.

Here is the hard truth. There is one God. He created us. We decided to break off our relationship with Him. In order to heal that relationship with Him, he sent Jesus, His only son, to take all of our sin, and all the consequences of sin, and become those things. That way, the judgment of God could be satisfied. God poured all his wrath on Jesus, and sent Him to Hell in our place. When we believe this with all our hearts, and confess with our mouths that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, we become His adopted children.

From that point on, it is all about learning how to build a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. THAT is the truth.

KNOWING THE PATH IS NOT WALKING THE PATH

There will be millions of people headed to hell who know a LOT about Jesus, but never knew, or cared to know, that they could have had a real relationship with Jesus. Jesus became all our sin so we can become all of God’s children. God is calling us to a path that leads us to a sincere and real knowledge of Him. He is not interested in your marketing plan, or budget, or entertainment quotient. God is interested in YOU. God loves you. He is not in love with the idea of you, he loves YOU. He proved this when He sent Jesus to die in our places.

God is calling us to know Him through Jesus Christ. We are called to walk after Him. The more we identify with Jesus, and become just like Him, the more Holy Fruit we will produce. When we do that, more humans will be drawn to Jesus, and their salvation will be assured. You cannot do this with just a nodding glance a Christ.  If your church is standing in the way of the real knowledge of Jesus Christ, then leave that place, it is not of God.

The worlds stated goal is to change the way everyone thinks so we can all be just alike. The world has openly stated that Christianity is one of the religions that they cannot include because it is “intolerant”. By intolerant, they mean we have the raw nerve to say that the only way to God is through Jesus Christ. This calls for a real relationship to Christ, not the idea of a relationship with Christ.

REVIVAL

Churches all over the world are having real revival. They are having this revival in the very teeth of deadly opposition. The reason they are reviving from their slumber is because the uncompromising word of truth is being preached, taught and LIVED out in the individual lives of the revived.

It is better to not go along to get along if it means you have to give up a genuine relationship with Christ to get along. People the world over are being put to death for their faith. In the meantime, American Churches are no longer being a congregation of genuine believers.

It is time to put the toys away and start seeking the Lord, here in America. Don’t shut out real believers just because they do not fit into your marketing plan. If your plan is so important that you have to shut out genuine believers, then your plan is not of God.  If the conversation of genuine believers makes you, O Church, UNCOMFORTABLE, chances are, you have not known Jesus Christ.

Seek the Lord while He may be found. But do NOT make the mistake many people have, and think that just because you go to a place that calls itself a church, that you are among believers. You do not become a believer OR saved just because you attend a church. That would be like saying you became a Cheese Burrito because you went to Taco Bell.

HERE”S THE GRACE

The sin is not that you are lost. The sin is not accepting the free gift of salvation. If you do that, you are still dead. The sin is not in going to church. The sin of the church is believing that it is the answer when Jesus alone is the real answer.  The real church’s job is to uphold every believer, and lead others to Jesus.

Salvation is free. God loves you unconditionally. Jesus did not come here to establish a religion. Jesus came here to destroy all religion in exchange for a relationship with the Living and only God. Every religion on earth knows this, and despises Jesus for it.

God created you and loves you dearly. He is calling you back to His love. The way to get there is through Jesus Christ. There is no other way under heaven to know God.

Grace is why God has not already destroyed this planet. He is waiting for you to know Him through Jesus Christ. Stop being fooled by the joke “church” has become, and start knowing who Jesus Christ is. He is waiting to embrace you. Church is where real believers meet and share the love of the Lord. It is not about entertainment. It is about sharing the joy of the Grace of God through Jesus Christ. Church is about meeting the lost where they are, not where we say they have to be. You are the church, if you are a believer in Jesus.  When two believers meet and share the joy of the Lord, there is church.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

If what you have is what church really is, then you can expect genuine revival in the land, and serious opposition to your meetings. This is being proven true all over this planet…except America.

Let’s Be About It.

I love you in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.

David G. Perkins

 


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Faith, Observations

Lessons Love Taught Me


 

The old man sat on the swing under the large sycamore tree. It was his little slice of heaven, his place to sit and watch, to see what else nature could teach him. Ancient and strong, the sycamore’s branches stretched far and wide, shading a very large portion of his back yard. Sunlight filtered green and golden through the giant leaves that sheltered all that sat in her shadow. Years ago, he had hung that porch swing on the low, horizontal branch, itself large enough to be a tree trunk for a smaller tree. Just like that old tree, my grandfather was ancient and strong.

Grandpa Perkins had been a woodsman most of his life. Felling timbers for International Paper in Sarepta, Louisiana, he had worked hard all his life. When he had grown too old to be a woodsman, International Paper had him spend the last years of his work life cleaning out the chimney stacks at the mill. That was just as hard, and even more dangerous. There were no real “Safety” regulations back then. Safety meant getting the hell out of the way before a block of ash fell on your head because you jarred it loose cleaning the stacks. He had grown up in a hard world, and learned the ways of the woodlands, and earned his keep off that woodland. Even as an old man, he looked to me to be strong enough to snap two by fours with his hands.

Momma told me to wait until after grandpa had his coffee before I pester him. So, I stood at the back door, looking out the screen, waiting for him to put his cup down, signaling he will be receiving an audience. Grandpa had an old border collie, named “Pup”. That old dog stood guard while Grandpa drank his coffee. When he heard the cup settle down next to the old swing, he would turn and wag his tail at Grandpa, and receive a good scratching between the ears for being a good dog. Pup growled low at most people who came up, but he treated me like I was his best friend.

Momma told me not to go out there and talk Grandpa’s ears off. So, I walked out there quiet as a church mouse, and, after giving Pup a good solid hug, I crawled slowly and quietly in to that old porch swing and just sat there, as silent as a tomb. Grandpa, Pup, and I would sit like that for the longest time. No one moved. There was no talking. The only sound we heard were the sound of cicadas or a slight breeze jostling the leaves on his prize “Cane Pole Garden”, and the chickens clucking in the yard. There was hardly any reason for us to chat. Grandpa was a man of few words, but even if he were a chatterbox, it seemed like it wasn’t necessary for us to have to talk. It felt as if all our talking happened through our hearts.

Eventually, Grandpa would turn his tired blue eyes on me, squeeze my knee, and nod. It was the benediction on a long and silent communion we alone had shared. It was time to do the chores.

His property was small for that part of Louisiana, but a poor woodsman could barely feed his family, let alone have a good stretch of land. What he had, he made the most of. He had a garden, he had chickens, and he had his famous cane poles, growing along the fence line. Grandpa grew the strongest and straightest Bamboo Cane Poles in North Louisiana. People came from far and wide just to try to get one. He had over a hundred poles growing at a time, but very few of them passed his standard of what makes a really good cane pole. What other men would accept as passable, Grandpa threw in the fire for kindling. Our first chore was to cover our mouth and noses with damp cloth and cut down some of the Bamboo Canes. Cane fibers would get in your lungs if you didn’t protect your breathing. Those fibers were like tiny spears that could penetrate your lungs. We had to cover up so we wouldn’t inhale them.

After that, he would choose which ones were worthy of being a Grandpa Perkins Fishing Pole, and have me strip all the tiny branches and buds off the pole. I had no idea I was working hard, all I knew was that me and my Grandpa were doing stuff together. I didn’t care, I was happy as a pig in slop just being around Grandpa. He taught me how to keep a really good cutting blade and a really good chopping blade. You don’t just go up to Bamboo poles and start hacking away at them. There is a way to cut them down. It is an art, and done right, means less hard work, and more poles to dry and season. I was too small to cut the big poles, so Grandpa had me clear the little bamboo from between the big ones. He said they would never grow to be a good pole, so they had to go. It was my job to make them go away. I felt like a real lumber jack cutting down those poles.

Grandpa was a woodsman, and being a lumberjack was mostly what he did. He taught me how to pick the right axe for the job, how to sharpen the axe, and keep it sharp. Out there, in rural Louisiana, there was no going to Home Depot to get a new axe or axe handle. I still have one of his axes. The one with the home made handle. That handle is better built than any I have used from a factory. Trust me; I have broken many axe handles, except that one. Grandpa taught me several lessons on that. If you want it right, do it yourself. Otherwise, you can’t say a word about it. Protect your tools, and they will feed you.

He showed me the different ways of cutting wood, and what type of strike did the most good for the type of tree you are felling and cutting up. He said that a man has to keep good care of his axes and saws because they took care of him. Besides, dull and badly kept blades made for twice as much work for half the pay. I had no idea what that meant at the time; I was just overjoyed to be around him, and him letting me inside his world.

Grandpa was known for being an outstanding fisherman. Louisiana is “Fisherman’s Paradise”, and Grandpa was famous for knowing all the hidey holes where all the good fish were. It was his secret, shared with no one else but me and my big sister, Carol. We would go out while it was still dark. I was little, so Grandpa already had the boat hooked up to his old Ford truck, and warmed up. He sat me in the passenger’s side and I fell back to sleep. The next thing I know, we are at Bodcau Bayou, near Minden, Louisiana. After swearing me to secrecy, we would launch our john-boat out to those hidey holes. Grandpa taught me how to hold a pole and how to “hear” the fish through the line. He showed me how to set bait, how to cut bait, and what to do when I catch a fish. Catching the fish was the fun part. Cleaning it was another. But Grandpa taught me that God gave us fish so we can catch them, eat and enjoy them, and be happy. Grandpa was very happy about fish.

I didn’t set out to learn how to make fishing poles, or cut timber, or catch fish, or sharpen axes and blades. All I wanted to do was hang out with Grandpa because I loved him so much. Learning how he does things was a byproduct of that relationship. He loved me very much, and gave me good things; simply because I thought he was more important than all the fish in Louisiana.

 

Seeking the kingdom of God…and all these things.

 

God brought all this to my remembrance yesterday. I cried happy tears at all those sweet memories. To this day, I still do those thing he did because I loved being with him, and he was a good and gentle teacher. That is the message God is trying to get through our sheepish skulls. Do you love God for all the stuff he will give you, or do you just love God, and want to be with Him? Sandy and I are facing some challenges in our life, right now, and we have been praying our hearts out over them. That is when the lessons my Grandfather taught came to my mind. I never asked Grandpa for anything, I just wanted to be near him and love him.

Am I to the point where that is why I want to be with God, or do I want to be with God because I want stuff from Him? Either way you go, God will be there with you. The difference is, if you hang out with Him simply because you love Him, all the rest of the things you seek will simply happen as a consequence of His love for you. In the meantime, He will help you grow up to be just like His beloved Son, Jesus. After all, it was Jesus who introduced you to God.

Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. Seek Him and His kingdom (Which happens to dwell in you already), and ALL these things will be added to you. You will be just like Jesus then. You might be the only Jesus people meet before they die.

 

Grandpa Perkins, with my Big Sister, 1952

 

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Faith, Observations

Reckless Abandonment


 

These are the free gifts of God, through Jesus Christ.

These are the free gifts of God, through Jesus Christ.

I rode 12 miles on my bike today. I know, that doesn’t sound like much, especially considering just a decade ago, 30 to 50 miles was my norm. Today, though, 12 miles was perfect for me. One thing bike riding does for me is burn out the extra energy I seem to collect. I am a physical/tactile learner, but I can be easily distracted if I don’t take time to get physical. I hung up my Superman Cape about a decade ago, so bike riding, I feel is the perfect way for me to blow steam. While I am busy working my rotund body, my mind is able to float free, get creative, imagine, explore, think, and sing. (My mind sings loud, when it sings…it comes with its own orchestra, too!) So, while the singing and orchestra was playing gently in the background (I love to take the Old Hymns and arrange them for a Solo singer, with vocal back ground, accompanied by a Knabe Baby Grand Piano, and the London Philharmonic. I KNOW! That’s a lot to put on one bicycle!)

Where was I… OH, singing quietly in the background… riding my bike. OK, so there was my mind, singing, flying high, praising God. My mind started looking at how far I have come since I first set out to ride around Pearland. Baby steps. I reflected on how much has changed in a year, in a decade, in my life. In my younger days, I was an adrenalin junkie. Suddenly, I realized when it began.

THE WELLS FAMILY REUNIONS

(Please wait while the Orchestra changes to nostalgic background music)

When I was little, the Wells Family Reunions were my favorite part of summer. Going to them meant seeing all my cousins, Uncles, Aunts, and my Grandmother Wells (A woman of God if ever there was one.) I haven’t thought about them in decades. Flashes of memory came to me…swimming like a tadpole in the big pool at the Carthage, Texas park. Next to the swimming pool is a large pavilion that can seat a couple of hundred people. We had picnic tables lined up everywhere, and food everywhere. After “Uncle Lindsey” gave his traditional (ONE HOUR LONG) blessing on our gathering, we dove into the food in supreme Southern Baptist Style. Herschel H. Hobbs would have been proud of this “fellowship”. After victuals, the Wells family participated in their favorite sport – GOSSIP. They way this worked is, all the hens sat at one group of tables, and all the men went outside to smoke and tell their balderdash about their triumphs and failures. After a few minutes or so, you had to rotate through the crowds, so you can catch up on any gossip you may have missed, and “share” the gossip you just heard. After a few minutes of this, we kids would decide that there had to be better adventures for us outside. If we dawdled, our momma would swat us on the hiney and tell us to “git!”. And we got.

When I was little, my big brother was the daredevil. So were my cousins, Jackie, Gary and Jeff. I was the observer. I really wanted to participate in their fun, but I was “the Brat”. During one of these reunions, I watched my brother and cousins and sister swinging on the swing set. From my perspective, they were flying high in the air. After flying so high, they jumpped out of their swings. The goal was to see who can fly the farthest. I wanted to do that, too. I would wait my turn, but my brother would say, “Scram, Brat!!”. And he would take the swing out of my hands. That was OK, it’s how brothers are. Things got better when we got older. But back then, I was just a Brat.

My Uncle Dan was my all time favorite Uncle. I loved him with a fierce love. I thought he was the funniest, most interesting person in the world. He was a sailor in WWII, and boy did HE have some stories! He could also tap dance like a fiend. He was able to make me laugh so hard my belly would hurt.

Uncle Dan must have seen me trying to break into the line at the swings. He came out and gave the big kids some money to go get a coke (In the South, in Texas, EVERY carbonated drink on earth is a coke, OK?). When they left, he asked me, “Wanna Swing?” I nodded my head yes. He picked me up and put me in the swing. He pushed me hard and I went higher than I had ever gone before. I laughed and screamed at the thrill of flying so high. He shouted, “Wanna fly like them (My cousins)?” I laughed “YES!”, and boy, did he push me really high. It scared hell out of me. I dug my feet into the ground on the down swing and hopped off. He asked me if I was scared? I told him I had never been that high before and it scared me. He told me, “Well, if you really want to fly, you have to try, and I promise to be there if you fall, OK, sport?” I said, “OK!”, and shook his hand. In those days, in the South, when a man shook your hand over a promise you made, it means that he believes you will keep that promise, and it means you absolutely keep that promise. A hand shake meant more to a man back then than it does today.

I got on my swing and screwed up all the nerve I could muster. Uncle Dan told me that, when he was on a boat in “The War, in the Pacific”, the air planes were shot right off the deck of the ship with a giant sling shot full of steam. Then he said, “Pretend you are flying that airplane, and I am the sling shot.” “Ready…Set…GO!”, And he pushed really hard, and made the sound of steam blowing out. He pushed me harder than I have ever been pushed before. And I was FLYING!

The exhilaration was magnificent. I couldn’t get enough. Uncle Dan must have pushed me forever, but he never grew tired. Eventually, I grew quiet. He asked me if I am still having fun. Uncle Dan was always about having as much fun as a person could have. He stopped the swing, and came around front. He asked me what I wanted to do now. I told him I want to jump from the swing, too, like the big kids. He looked me in the eye and said, “Well, a boy has got to earn his paratroopers badge.” He told me how to time my swing and jump, and how to fly my arms while I am air born, and how to land with my knees partially bent, and how to roll when I land. We pretended a few jumps, after which, he said, “Boy, I think you are ready to earn your wings.”

I was excited and scared, all at the same time. He reminded me, “Now lookie here; If you fall, I will catch you. OK?!?” I nodded my head. He counted down and pushed and made the steam blowing noise, and I was flying again. He said, “When I say GO, you bail out, cause the Japs have shot your plane full of holes! (I had no idea who the Japs were, but I trusted Uncle Dan.) He pushed me harder and harder, each time. I had NEVER been this high EVER, and I was beyond scared. Uncle Dan shouted, “GO!, GO!, GO!” and…

I ejected from my plane, flack filling the air as the Zeros buzzed past, firing their 30mm machine guns at me.

Then the reality hit me. I wasn’t over the Pacific, I was flailing upside down in mid-air in Carthage, Texas. I closed my eyes, put my arms over my head, and hoped for the best. I felt sick to my stomach as I fell, knowing I was going to hit the ground really hard. I was really scared, now. I had not yet, at this point in my young life, broken any bones, and I was imagining what all my broken bones will look like to my Mom, who would surely spank me for being so careless.

Uncle Dan caught me.

UNCLE DAN CAUGHT ME!!!!!

I laughed really hard at the relief of not splattering on the hard Carthage playground soil, and at the joy of knowing Uncle Dan was as good as his handshake said he was. He tickled me hard, and we laughed. Then he said, “You ready to go again??” I yelled, “YES!!!”. He said, “OK, but this time, I believe you can land on your feet. Wanna try?” I was not afraid anymore. I knew that if Uncle Dan saw I was in danger, he would catch me, like he did last time. That was the first time I ever knew that it was OK to make a mistake. Uncle Dan was going to be there to catch me. I became fearless. I wanted to show Uncle Dan I was fearless, that I was a big boy, and was ready to jump out of any old airplane. And I did, over and OVER until I think Uncle Dan was exhausted.

He stopped the swing and said, “I think you earned your wings, young man! Lets go celebrate in the pool with a coke.” And we did. I learned that, sometimes, you just have to have a joyful sense of reckless abandon in order to Accomplish your goals.

BACK ON THE BIKE

(As Josh Groban steps up to the mike, the orchestra plays the opening to “You Lift Me Up”)

By this time, I had ridden eight miles. I was on the return leg from Hwy 288, and I needed to stop at the 3rd Pond from home, and rest. The sun didn’t feel THIS hot when I left the house. Things started to go black, so I got off the bike and sat down. When I came too, and I could see again, I grabbed my water bottle and drank it dry. As I sat, feeling the cool breeze blowing off the pond, I thought about that family reunion and my Uncle Dan. That must have been, I dunno, 50 years ago? I couldn’t remember. But I remembered how brave I felt because Uncle Dan helped me learn to jump out of the swing. I sat and thought about all the daring things I have done since those days. I learned from Uncle Dan that I can do it if I believe I can do it. I don’t have to be afraid.

That is when it hit me.

I am a very young Christian. I know that because of the exchange that took place on the cross, Jesus took away all my sin and failure, and anything that separates me from God , and became all those things, and died of them. Jesus promised me that, now that I am a Child of God, I have all His inheritance, and that as long as I seek God and His kingdom, that:

John 14:26 – New International Version


the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – Jesus

and

Romans 8:15 – New Living Translation


So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”” – Apostle Paul

I know now that, no power of hell, or fear of man can pluck me from my Father’s Hand. I now know, HE will be there to catch me when I fall.  I can grow in all ways to be like Christ. This doesn’t mean I will never fall, but it DOES mean the Holy Spirit of God will be there when I do.

Romans 8:1 – English Standard Version


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Apostle Paul

God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit will not condemn you, call you a failure, or judge you when you fall.  God has already poured all his wrath out on Jesus at the Cross.  In God’s eyes, you are His innocent Child, covered by the blood of Christ, filled with the Faith of Christ (Galatians 2:20), and filled with the Holy Spirit of God.  He will teach you how to fly, and how to land on your feet.  He will grow you up in all ways to be like Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior, and our Brother.  God the Father is not like an earthly parent who will condemn and criticize you when you fail, but He will demonstrate His love toward you and raise you up to be just like Jesus, His only begotten Son.

We are heirs and adopted children of God, and nothing in Heaven, on Earth, or anywhere else,  can take us away from Him.   No religion on earth can do for you what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Your religion says there always be one more thing, one more level, one more way to tell you that you still have to prove your worthiness to the Living God. Religion will give you an opinion of God.  Religion will give you the rules you must follow to please God.  This is all any religion can do for you.  God is our Father. When Jesus said, on the Cross, “It Is Finished”, all judgment on you stopped.  All that is left is the Grace and Mercy and Love of God toward you.  God loves you and accepts you right now, just as you are. You do not have to change one thing to come to God. All you have to do is believe:

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  –  John 3:16 – 17 – Words of Jesus, the Savior of Mankind.

There is no other message for mankind on this earth. This is THE truth.

I am free to trust God in all things. I am free from the judgment of Man. I am free from the wages of Sin and Death. I am all that God says I am. I am an Heir with Jesus. I am righteous because of Jesus. I live in abundance through the faith Jesus has placed in me. I plant my tiny seed of faith in the garden of Jesus’ faith, and grow a mighty tree. I do not have a theological opinion of God, I have a relationship with the Living God, my Father, through Jesus Christ.  Jesus came here to destroy all barriers between you and God. He came to re-establish the relationship we lost in the Garden of Eden.

If you will accept him, You will be a new creation. (II Corinthians 5:17). You can trust with reckless abandonment that God is your Father, that you are His child, and the Holy Spirit will be there to catch you, and will teach you to be just like Jesus. IF you will accept this one and only truth.

Let’s be about it!

I Love you because God loved me.

David G. Perkins

sammy.snardfarkle@gmail.com

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