Are You Making a Difference?

Are you making a difference in the lives of those around you? Each one of us has people in our lives that we can influence. People that we can make a positive difference in their lives. A difference that can have eternal consequences. It doesn’t matter who we are, we all have our sphere of influence. That sphere of influence may be only a few people or it may be thousands of individuals. What matters is that we make a positive influence in the lives that we touch.

Are you making a difference for Jesus? Are you using the gifts and abilities God has given you?  This is what the parable of the talents is about. By using the gifts God has entrusted us with here on earth will determine what we will be entrusted with in Heaven. (Matthew 25:14-30) (Luke 19:12-27)

If we are living for God, he will put people in our lives that we can help. Everyone will someday spend eternity either in Heaven or Hell. We should be concerned that those we know and love spend eternity in Heaven with us. How sad that anyone should be lost because we were afraid to reach out to them or don’t want to make the effort.

If we can make a difference in just one life. If we introduce just one person to Jesus Christ and eternal life. That person may lead their family and others to Christ, and then those lead others. We have no idea where it could lead.

Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the apples in a seed. It is the same here on earth when we sow seeds of salvation.

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Following Jesus and Fishing along the Way

My latest book is a little different. I love the outdoors and spend a great deal of time outside. We are blessed to live in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Penisula. This book is a collection of forty plus stories and lessons learned from a lifetime spent exploring and enjoying the great outdoors. 

Following Jesus Cover

The adventures began in the hills of southern Indiana in the 1950’s. It was a time when hunting and fishing were just a part of life, and life itself was simple. From the hills of southern Indiana, I eventually end up living in the vast forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

For nearly forty years, my wife Linda and I have resided on a small spring fed lake smack-dab in the middle of the Hiawatha National Forest twenty miles from the closest small town.

When you spend a lifetime in God’s great outdoors, you will naturally have many adventures. Some are humorous, some may be dangerous, but all of them leave their own story and lesson in life.

A sample of the stories included are:

Terror in the Night * Never Pick a Skunk Up by the Tail * Treed by a Bear * Suicide Cave * The Shrinking Catfish * One Mad Water Moccasin * Bear Attack

Forget the Past – The Future Matters

sunrise and man praising

Do you keep thinking about the mistakes and bad decisions you made in the past? Are there things that you keep thinking about, wishing you had done differently? Are there sins in your past that you remember with shame? We all remember the errors of our past occasionally and think about what we should have done differently, not realizing the negative impact it is having on our lives.

At Easter, we are reminded of the price Jesus paid for our sins on the cross. Before that, we lived by the law. Mankind was constantly coming before God with animal sacrifices, seeking His forgiveness. But at the cross, Jesus was the sacrifice for our sins. He shed His blood as the ultimate blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin once and for all.

Because of his blood, our sins are covered. “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7)

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace..” (Ephesians 1:7).

“For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

When we ask His forgiveness, He will forgive us and never remember our past sins again. They are covered by His blood forever.

“For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) (Hebrews 8:12)

Because we are human we cannot live without sin, but because of God’s amazing grace, we can remain pure in His sight. God’s grace is not a one-time whitewash of our sins. It is never-ending. We are going to make mistakes. We are going to fail. However, grace is an on-going cleansing process, as we daily surrender ourselves to Christ.  

We are washed as white as snow (Psalms 51:7)  (Isaiah 1:18).

If God has forgiven and forgotten our past, why can’t we? Satan will use our past against us. It is not just the past sin in our lives; Satan will use any mistakes, bad decisions, relations, and etc, that we have made. Anything in our past that we regret is fair game for him to use against us to drag us down with guilt, shame, or regret. If Satan can keep us dwelling on our past, then he is also keeping us from looking to our future and focusing on today and tomorrow. Dwelling on our past robs us of our joy for today and our vision for the future.

The past is over and done with. It is time to forgive ourselves and others. Ask for forgiveness if that is needed, then move on.

When we keep dwelling on our past, we are denying the power of the blood Christ shed on the cross at Calvary. In essence, we are saying His crucifixion was in vain. There is absolutely nothing we can do to change the past. It is over, done with, it is best by far to move on. 

With Jesus, our past is past, only our future matters. He loves us and wants us to be joy-filled and happy. He only wants what is best for us, and that is in our future, not our past.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

 

Jesus is Alive!

Jesus tomb

The tomb is empty

The life of Jesus is a part of documented history. No historian of any credibility would deny that Jesus lived. His life, crucifixion, and yes, His resurrection also, is recorded history, not just in the Bible and by religious writers, but by secular historians of His day.

Over 500 people saw Jesus alive after His crucifixion and burial. Before His resurrection, the disciples were afraid and hiding. After seeing and speaking with Him, they were no longer afraid. They boldly proclaimed the good news of Christ dying for our sins. Because of this they were tortured and suffered horrible deaths. Would they have done this if His resurrection was a lie? The disciples were closer to Jesus than anybody. They would have known whether it was real or not. Nobody will die for a lie, but they will die for the truth. Because they had seen Him, touched Him, spoke and ate with Him they knew He rose from the grave and was alive. They knew He was in heaven with God the Father, for they watched Him ascend to heaven from the Mount of Olives. Because of this, they each endured pain, hardship, and death in order to spread the good news of Christ. They knew beyond any doubt, that the grave couldn’t hold Him; that He was alive, and one day they would be reunited with Him in heaven.

Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad and other so-called gods are dead. You can visit their graves. They are still there, only the tomb of Jesus Christ is empty. Only Jesus shed His blood as a sacrifice for our sins, that we may have eternal life with Him in glory.

Who will you put your faith and hope in? Who do you trust your future too? A god that is dead or inanimate, or a God that is alive and loves you?

Jesus is Alive!

Jesus: Can We Believe What the Gospels Say About Him?

But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.” G K Chesterton The more childlike we become —…

We know that the Old Testament contained 60 major messianic prophecies and 270 minor prophecies or conditions that were fulfilled by one person. That person was Jesus Christ.

Professor Peter Stoner and his mathematical class, overseen by the American Scientific Affrication, determined that the chance that any man might have lived to the present time and fulfilled eight of these prophecies is 1 in 10 to the seventeenth power. Or to put it in perspective that would be like covering the state of Texas 2 ft. deep in quarters, mark one quarter, bury it somewhere in Texas, blindfold a person and tell him to go find it on the 1st try. They determined that the odds for someone to fulfill these 8 of the prophecies were 1 to 13 trillion.

But what about the New Testament Gospels, can we believe the gospels about His life, crucifixion,  and resurrection? Continue reading

Shroud of Turin

Shroud of Turin

The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man who is alleged to be Jesus of Nazareth. The cloth itself is believed by some to be the burial shroud he was wrapped in when he was buried after the crucifixion. The shroud is kept in the royal chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist in Turin, northern Italy.

The origins of the shroud and its images are the subject of intense debate among theologians, historians, and other researchers. Diverse arguments have been made in scientific and popular publications claiming to prove that the cloth is the authentic burial shroud of Jesus, based on disciplines ranging from chemistry to biology and medical forensics to optical image analysis. In 1988, radiocarbon dating tests dated a corner piece of the shroud from the Middle Ages. Certain shroud researchers have challenged the dating, arguing the results were skewed by the introduction of material from the Middle Ages to the portion of the shroud used for radiocarbon dating.


The image of the “Man of the Shroud” has a beard, mustache, and shoulder-length hair parted in the middle. He is muscular and tall (various experts have measured him as from 1.70 to 1.88 m or 5 ft 7 in. to 6 ft 2 in). Reddish-brown stains are found on the cloth, showing various wounds that, according to proponents, correlate with the yellowish image, the pathophysiology of crucifixion, and the Biblical description of the death of Jesus.

Forensic doctors have interpreted markings on the cloth as follows:

1. One wrist bears a large, round wound, apparently from piercing (the second wrist is hidden by the folding of the hands)
2. Upward gouge in the side penetrating into the thoracic cavity.
3. Small punctures around the forehead and scalp
4. Scores of linear wounds on the torso and legs.
5. Swelling of the face
6. Streams of blood down both arms Continue reading

Jesus: The Living God

Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad are dead. You can visit their graves. Most have monuments at their gravesites. They are still buried jesusin the ground. You can visit the grave of Jesus Christ, but there is no monument because he is not there. The grave is empty! Jesus is alive! He is with the Father in heaven, as our intercessor to the Father.

Only Jesus rose from the grave and is alive today. Over 500 people saw Jesus after his resurrection. They witnessed the fact that he was alive and well after his crucifixion, death, and burial.

Not only does the Bible attest to the fact that Jesus rose from the grave, but there were secular writers at the time that acknowledged his resurrection.

Only Jesus loved us enough to die for our sins. Only Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3)

Are you putting your faith and hope in a dead god?  Can they do any more for you than a god made from wood, metal, or stone?

Or are you trusting your eternal future to the living God? The one who hears and answers your prayers. The one who loves you and only wants the best for you. The one who chose to die for our sins. The one who wants us to spend eternity with him in heaven.

Jesus is alive! Ask him to show himself to you. Be sincere. Be open and God will make himself known to you.

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

Jesus is waiting just for you.