Posted in Bible Studies

God’s Word Is Life

Oh, if I could only wrap myself in the word of God and make it my blanket, my head would snuggle in its phrases and my heart would feel its warmth in delight. If within its pages I could lose myself and never return, I would ask God for others to do the same, and swim in the ocean of its truth to experience the breadth of God’s love.

God’s word is life. God’s word is love. God’s word is everything anyone would ever want, because everything is what God’s word is. It discerns. It reveals. It cuts to the bone to expose the innermost secrets:

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

Oh, how wonderful God is to have opened salvation to us through Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. For only through Jesus, the Word, can we attain salvation (John 1:1-4, 14). Line upon line, verse upon verse; every word from God’s mouth is a light on to my feet. It builds. It edifies. It supports the church on a cornerstone others have rejected. And it floods the spirit of those wanting to know what truth is.

Be enraptured by God’s word. Be enthralled by it. Grow in its knowledge and in its depth. Know that he gave us this moment in time to draw nearer to him in absolute adoration and joy for him. For the joy of reading God’s word is life on to the reader.

Let us read life into our lives.

Posted in My Journey

Our Life Renewed

God is perfect. Jesus, his son, is perfect. No human being can come close to being perfect without the help of the Holy Spirit. Jesus speaks about perfection this way:

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

If we Christians cannot attain perfection without divine intervention, how is it that Jesus encourages us to be perfect? How can we become like God when our sins keep us separated from the one being who embodies love?

Of course, there is a fallacy to this argument. The mistake lies in the belief that our sins separate us from God. In reality, Jesus paid for all our sins with his shed blood, and we can now approach God’s throne clean and unblemished (2 Peter 1:9). Every time we ask God for forgiveness, we become new again. Every time God forgives us, we no longer need to harbor the guilt of our sins. We become unbroken and live again. That is God’s gift to us for believing Jesus is his son. His grace sets us free from the penalty of sin, which is death (Romans 5:15).

The joy of the gospel is not that we are free to do whatever we want, because that would be selfish on the part of every Christian, but that Jesus conquered death by rising from the grave to sit at the right hand of the Father (Acts 2:32-33). The good news is the elect have hope in Jesus with the promise of eternal life. That promise goes beyond this tiny speck of a life we are now living, and transcends into eternity (Psalms 8:3-5).

Therefore if some come to you and say, “Jesus is over here!” and then you see the object of their affection is this world and everything in it, do not believe them. Material wealth perishes, as does the recognition of others (Romans 8:6). And if some say to you, “Jesus is over there!” and you find they are looking to themselves for approval, do not believe them. None can buy their way into the kingdom, for the kingdom of heaven is God’s gift to those who believe (Romans 6:23).

Instead, pray every day for the kingdom to come and for God’s will to be done. Bless those who curse you. Give to those who beg, and strive to be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Audio transcript:

Posted in My Journey

God’s Perfect Purpose

Jesus saves. God’s glorious work lives in Jesus’ perfect sacrifice for others, saving them from the penalty of their sins. Oh, what a wonderful, delightful and pleasing sacrifice that was to God the Father, creator of all things. He purposed his son’s destiny from the very beginning and gave to humanity the very desire to seek eternal life through him. Jesus is the only satisfying need we have that will render us complete.

The apostle Paul wrote about this to new believers who sought encouragement regarding their salvation:

“For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

Our faith as Christians in the one who is our savior, Jesus, is a testament to those who are seeking him but have not yet found him. For when we demonstrate our love for him, by keeping God’s word and testifying in his name, then truly we are preaching the gospel not only by works but also by faith. By believing that Jesus is the son of God will we rise to eternal life. The Book of Hebrews speaks about this faith this way, “But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls” (Hebrews 10:39).

Therefore, whatever may be holding us back, whatever we may fear, let God’s purposed reason for our existence (Romans 8:28), proclaiming Jesus as his son, fill our hearts with joy and give us hope for the kingdom to come.

May God bless you all, and may peace dwell in your hearts and in your minds.

Audio transcript:

Posted in My Journey

Everlasting Life Through Christ

Eternal life is God’s gift to those who believe Jesus is his son. Not many promises to God’s elect are as direct, as resilient, and as foremost, as that written by the apostle Paul in the letter to the saints in Rome. And few promises stand out as being the one promise for which every Christian ought to aim:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Jesus said about the resurrection to everlasting life, “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mark 12:25).

Jesus is talking about us and about our destiny. We may think we know where we are going, perhaps assumed true, or even accepted what others have told us, but our Savior and King says it plainly that we will neither marry nor be married when resurrected. We will be as angels but not angels; for Paul says we will ultimately judge the angels, “Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life” (1 Corinthians 6:3).

Our lives are in preparation for a time far greater than the mortal life we are living today. Eternal life promises a life with God the Father and Jesus sitting at his right hand, glorified with them and judging the world, as Paul says in verse 2, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?”

The destiny we look to is beyond anything we can imagine this life can provide. The ultimate joy we will experience once we die will not compare with the lifetime of pain we may have had to endure by claiming Christ as our savior.

Yet God’s rich favor over our lives is worth more than mountains filled with gold and chests brimful and running over with jewels. Nothing comes close to what we will have after this life.

Let us count it all joy to know God loves us that much to have us live forever.

Posted in My Journey

God’s Love for Us

God saves those who believe Jesus is his son. Through him, people will have salvation from the penalty of sin, which is death. And by no other name can anyone find salvation.

As deceitful as the human heart is (Jeremiah 17:9), God gives life to those who sincerely repent of their sins. He calls those who are willing to change their lives, those who are broken and sorrowful, and those who are remorseful for what they have done (Matthew 22:14). Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we Christians can overcome. Of ourselves, we have no power to do anything, but with God’s spirit, all things are possible (Luke 18:27).

The joy we have comes from knowing Jesus is living inside us—now, at this moment. He is living inside us, making us aware of the battle that rages deep within our hearts. As much as we want to obey him, keep his commandments, and love others as ourselves, the old self does not want to stay dead in that watery grave of baptism. Our flesh fights against the spirit and we end up doing what we do not want to do, as the apostle Paul said:

“For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:19)

How awful we are that we would ignore the things we ought to do to want to sin. Yet, Jesus living inside us makes us aware of just how ugly sin is. And we pray about it; and we ask God to forgive us; and we ask him to wash away our sins with Jesus’ blood (Acts 22:16). And because we are sinners, and God hears a penitent heart (Psalms 51:17), he forgives us, not because he has to, but because he wants to. Could God have loved us any more than for him to give his only son as a sacrifice for our sins (John 3:16)?

Oh, how wonderful God is! We may sin, but his love for us is greater, taller, stronger, deeper and wider than anything we could ever imagine.

For this reason, nothing can come between God’s love and us.

Posted in Other Things

How Do You Enjoy Life?

Before I begin, I cannot say how thrilled I am to welcome summer. Because of this, I will be taking the next several months off and will be coming back in the fall with all-new articles. Until then, you can catch me on Twitter where I am updating my “Year of Thanks” tweets, and on Instagram where I am posting photos of life as it happens.

In the meantime, this is what is on my mind this week:

What is it that makes some people jolly and others miserable? In fact, let me turn the question on its head. Does money buy happiness? After all, is that not what everyone looks to when thinking about being satisfied?

I am sure that if you think about it for a moment, money is the furthest thought on your mind when it comes to happiness. Right? We all want love, joy, peace, comfort, none of which we can attain without first understanding what happiness is.

Ah, but I hear someone say, “Money will certainly buy me comfort—a new sofa, a new bed, a new car, house, wardrobe.”

Yes, I agree, but for how long? Once the newness fades, then what? I can see why some folks end up in a cycle of going to work, buying stuff, paying the bills for the stuff they bought, and going out to buy other stuff to protect their stuff. Meanwhile, as the home becomes fuller, life becomes emptier.

This is why I would like you to think about this next question. Take your time and really think about it. If you want, you can leave a comment—or not. It is entirely up to you. This is all about you, and you really do not have to share a thing.

So here is my question:

How do you enjoy life?

Again, take your time to think about it. It all has to do with the perception of happiness. What do you perceive happiness being?

I will start it off. For me, happiness is spending time with my family, sharing experiences with friends, and praying and listening to God. Add to that good food, travel, and fulfillment with everything else that I do, there you have a perfect composite of me enjoying life.

Now, what about you?

Posted in My Journey

Transformation

Seven weeks have passed since I last wrote. Right now, I am not quite sure how I can express my gratitude to all of you who have sent me the kind words you did. Believe me when I say that your words have lifted my spirit and allowed me the ability to keep moving forward.

As many of you know, I have taken a much-needed rest from blogging. It is not a decision I made without consulting my family and friends. Quite honestly, I have missed the daily grind of producing three posts a week while also maintaining a rigorous writing schedule for my future books. However, the time away has given me the opportunity to reevaluate my life from a spiritual perspective.

Before I continue, let me just say that I am fine. I had a scare in early January when a problem in my neck had resurfaced, and as time went on it had steadily gotten worse. I had something similar happen to me four years ago when my left arm went numb due nerve problems stemming from my neck. So imagine how I felt when the same thing was happening to me all over again. I could easily have pricked my left index finger and not feel a thing.

I am still not ready to come back in full force, but when I do, nothing will stop me from completing my life mission. You have my word on that.

So why am I here, then?

I have had something happen to me. For those of you who believe in a higher power, this is one of those stories. I will understand if you feel uncomfortable for what I am about to tell you. If you want to leave, I will understand. A few months ago, I would have scoffed at the idea of a miracle as well. But miracles do happen, and it happened to me.

This is the part where you can keep reading or stop, because this is the part where I bring God into the picture.

For several years I have done nothing more than write about zombies and about the horror genre. I have written about other things, too, but most of my writing, especially my books, focused on the zombie apocalypse. Now you might wonder what could have possibly happened to me that would have caused me to rethink my creative direction. After all, the zombie genre is hot. What writer would not want to be a part of it?

To give you a bit more context, during my time away I was also going through a transformation of sorts where I felt a calling to do more with my life. The more I resisted, the more it became evident to me that there was more happening than what I would have wanted to admit. That resistance came from a root of bitterness that had sprung from deep within my soul. I had no idea it was there. It had been there for years, and it took me by surprise when I eventually began dealing with it this weekend.

And when I say dealing with it, I mean going militant in order to flush it out of my life. This entailed a lot of bible study, a lot of prayer, and going back to church. That last part is the kicker. I have not been back to church in two decades. I have attended annual Easter and Christmas services in the past, but only because I had to, not because I wanted to. When I went back to church yesterday, I went back because I wanted to.

And that is when the miracle took place. The root of bitterness left me, and I could feel God’s spirit flow through me, filling every part of my being. I had someone pray over me, releasing me from the burden of sin. I could hear God’s voice telling me that salvation is now mine. Some may laugh, but it did happen, and I will forever lay testimony to his glory for him taking me by the hand so as he may lead me to still waters.

There is more.

In all this, something else happened. I think I now know what I need to do. All the writing I have done, every single post I have written, every book that I have published has been nothing more than training for the real writing.

After praying about it and talking it over with my family, I think what God wants me to do is write about everyday people and about how God touches their lives. The real superheroes are those folks who go to work every day and are examples for everyone else to follow while God works through them to perform great miracles. I believe that. I believe it so much that I confess I have written a superhero book called Resilience, but I will set it aside as a means to glorify God by presenting him my industry instead. More than anything, I would like him to work through me so that I can give honor and glory to him. It might sound crazy, I know, especially after everything that I have written about in the past.

But let me ask you this—are not the craziest ideas the ones that change the world?

So in the next little while, as I try to figure this whole thing out, you may see more of me, writing about things I may have not written about in the past. And I might create things I did not know I could create. Because, really, what I want to do above all else, is glorify God with the works of my hands.

It may seem like a crazy idea, but the craziest ideas are the ones that change the world.