Expect the worst

Posted: August 5, 2015 in Uncategorized

If you were walking alone in a seedy back alley at midnight, your ‘spidey’ senses would be heightened. In fact, you’d expect danger.

If you could visually see the spiritual realm, 2 o’ clock on a sunny Sunday afternoon would hold just as much danger as that dark alley.

Satan’s minions, masters in the art of deception and destruction, are lurking, setting traps, waiting to snare you. It’s their 24/7 job. Your best chance at avoiding these snares they have set for you is knowledge.

If you recognize the trap, you stand a better chance of avoiding it.

If It Looks Too Good…

it probably is. No matter how good a situation looks, you need to question everything. Does this situation lead me closer to God or will it take me further away. Will this situation, though good, keep me from experiencing great. This is important because good is the enemy of great.

Good is the method Satan employs the most. When you settle for good, you never realize all you have compromised.

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible even the elect.

(Matthew 24:24)

The Art Of War

Knowing your enemy is the key to victory.

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” (Sun Tzu, The Art Of War)

Game Advantage

I love the Call of Duty game franchise and I stand in line with my boys at every midnight release. The first time I play the game on campaign mode, I make it a few minutes and get killed by unexpected hidden enemies or sudden ambushes. I get to try this level again, but this time I know what to expect, and I make it a little further. I repeat this until I beat the game.

The second time I play the game I know where the enemy is and I expect the attacks, so I am prepared. I know what to avoid and when to fight. I beat the game quickly and almost effortlessly.

Now when one of my sons plays the game, I can coach them and tell them where the danger is. They don’t make the same mistakes I made and they don’t suffer as many casualties. This is why sales of Game strategy guides exist and sell so well.

Strategy Guide to Life

Your life experiences and the Bible are your strategy guide to successfully help you navigate the enemies territory and beat him at his own game.

Cheat Codes:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. (Psalm 119:9)

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

(Isaiah 30:21)

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (spiritually)

(Joshua 1:8)

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

Download your cheat codes into your memory today.

Defeat the enemy and win the game.

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Dim your light

Posted: August 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

Dim your light? You are probably asking yourself how that lines up with what Jesus commanded:

In the same way, let your light shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Matthew 5:16)

Sounds contradictory right? But hang with me for a minute and the fog will lift and all will seem right in the world again…okay maybe not, but at least you will understand what I mean when I tell you to dim your light.

I am fascinated with astronomy and I love it when we are expecting a meteor shower. I always stay up late, throw a blanket out on the lawn, and wait for the show. The problem that always plagued my view of these spectacular events was light pollution.

You see, I lived in the city most of my life and all the lights from the city made it difficult to see the stars, let alone meteors.

It was frustrating but there was nothing I could do about it…or was there?

Darker the sky, brighter the stars

Sometimes I would drive out into the country away from all the city lights and the sky would look darker. The stars radiated like diamonds. I would see many meteors, sometimes 60 an hour.

Once I went on a mission trip to Belize. We traveled deep into the jungle to teach children at a missionary camp about Jesus. The first night, I was absolutely amazed at the brilliance of the stars against the ink black sky. I could even see the Milky Way. I saw meteor after meteor streaking across the sky. They were so bright that they left tracers.

I asked the locals if this was a scheduled meteor shower and they told me it was not. They informed me this happens every night, even where I lived in the States. They said we just can’t see it because of the light pollution from our cities.

When a jeweller wants his diamonds to sparkle he spreads them out over a black fabric. The darker the fabric, the brighter the diamonds.

Dim your Light

    The more we try to promote ourselves and our abilities, we ultimately drown out the Light of Christ. The brighter we shine the harder it is for others to see the Star of our light, Jesus. It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus.

Don’t allow light pollution from your life to impair other people’s view of Christ. His light needs to shine above all others.

You don’t have to pretend to have it all together. You don’t have to wear a happy mask to hide your pain. You don’t have to hide behind the facade of a perfect, trouble-free life.

It’s okay to let others know you struggle, we all do. Let them know that Christ is your strength in those times of weakness. The darker the situation in your life, the brighter Christ will shine. Remember: the darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

Let the light be a reflection of Christ

“In your unfailing love, silence my enemies; destroy all my foes, for I am your servant.”

(Psalm 143:12)

This was King David’s prayer request. ‘Kill my enemies.Make them pay for what they’ve done to me.’

Can I get an amen? How many of you feel like this on a daily basis? How many times have you wanted to cry out to God, “Kill my enemies, but slowly, so they suffer.”?

I wrestled with this all day yesterday and spent the night in the emergency room until 3:30 this morning with irregular heart palpitations caused by anxiety.

Flashback 24 hours ago

I purchased an SUV yesterday to replace my truck that had been totalled when someone ran a stop sign last month.

The young guy I bought it from is in the military and said he shared the same faith in God I did. We were both in the same fire department although at different times and his uncle has been my friend for 14 years.

He told me the motor and transmission had been rebuilt 8000 miles ago at a ford dealership. He told me lots of other great things about the SUV. I asked him if there was anything at all wrong with the car that he knew of. I said if there is please tell me and let me move on. He and his father looked me in the eye and said assured me nothing was wrong. I decided to buy it. I paid him and we went to the tag place to complete the title transfer. We laughed and joked together. We talked about my ministry and his little girl.

Twilight Zone

I returned to his house to put my new license plate on and drive home. The SUV travelled less than 2 miles from his house and the back wheel fell off. I immediately called him. No answer. To make a long stressful story that ended in a hospital visit, I will just tell you this, the engine needs to be replaced. The transmission is shot. There were no pads left on the brakes. The wheel bearing had disintegrated resulting in the wheel falling off. There is more to this horror story but I think you get the picture.

He knew all of this. He knew I would not make it home safely. He deceived me. His father deceived me. They used God to instill trust. And I wanted that same God to kill them both. I’m sorry but I need to be transparent. ‘Make them suffer God, slowly.’

Then I thought maybe God might take too long in dishing out some cold hard justice, so I spent the afternoon stuck on the side of the road devising a plethora of ways to get even. I got this one, God. I know you are busy running the whole world so let me handle this one for you.

I wondered how this one slipped by God. Wasn’t He looking in my direction while they were setting me up to lose my money? I reasoned with God. Hey I know you dropped the ball here so you can make it up to me by letting me get revenge. Just a little fire bomb to destroy the 5 cars parked in their driveway. You know something small. Just give me that God. You missed the opportunity to protect me so let me settle the score. You owe me that much at the very least.

Father forgive them

So as I mentioned earlier David prayed for God to kill his enemies. I like his style. Whack them God. Send some plagues or an Angel of Death or something cool like that.

But as the day wore on I started thinking about Jesus. I envisioned him being beaten and spit on. His beard being ripped out. Hanging on a rough wooden cross, not the smooth shiny kind we wear around our next. Abandoned by his closest friends.

His prayer…not like David’s. In fact, completely opposite. “Father forgive them.” Forgive them? Really? Are you kidding me? Don’t you see what they are doing to you? They deserve swift and severe retribution. You can’t let them get away with that!

“Father forgive them.” Jesus’ prayer was so different from David’s prayer. I want to pray David’s prayer so bad but who am I called to imitate? David or Jesus? Am I a follower of David. Am I considered a Davidian or am I a follower of Christ? A Christian?

Surrendered my rights

Rationally I believe I deserve justice. I want them to pay for what they did to me. I’m human, it’s how we are wired since the Fall in the Garden. But you see, 20 years ago I was rewired. I gave up my rights to hate and revenge. I am renewed in my thinking and how I respond to people who wrong me.

God softened my heart.

God was not looking the other way. He wanted me to practice what I preach. To truly love and forgive my enemies. He was pruning me. Shaping me into what he wants me to be. A creature in His image.

I learned that all this stuff I say I believe is just theory until I put it into practice. I need to walk rough roads so I can grow and lead others down the path of righteousness.

I read somewhere that hatred is a poison we drink hoping others will die. My anger and hatred landed me in the hospital. But the doctors can’t fix a heart problem that only God can. I repented and woke up lighter today. I am thankful for the lesson and do not take it lightly.

I hope and pray you can pray, “Father forgive them.”

Forgiveness sets a prisoner free

That prisoner is you

Drop the stones

Posted: July 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

Would you have condemned me to hell?

Seems like an odd question but one that must be asked.

You see, I was a terrible person, a sinner. I did bad things all the time. I stole things. Lots of things. From good people. I had a vocabulary that mainly consisted of foul language.  I sold drugs. I lied. I cheated. I hurt people. I served one god, myself.

If you knew me in my “pre Jesus” state, what would you have done? Would you have befriended me? Would you have loved me? Would you have prayed for me? Would you have invited me into your home? Would you have visited mine? Would you have invited me to your church? Would you have told me about this Jesus that could save me from my self- destructive ways? Would you have snatched me from eternal separation from God?

Most of you that are reading this want to tell yourself yes, of course I would but I respectfully disagree. I can disagree with confidence because of my experiences.

You see I lived in a small town, only 1.9 square miles. This small town had 33 churches in that 1.9 square miles. Thousands of people attended these churches. “Good” Christian people. People that would answer yes, of course to all my above questions.

Here’s the stark reality, no one did. In fact they did the opposite. They avoided me. They told their children to stay away from me. No one told me about Jesus or that he loved me. They said things about me and crossed to the other side of the street when they saw me. They went out of their way to avoid eye contact. They could not wait until I got what I “deserved” They would have the last laugh when I was “burning in hell”. Then I’d be sorry.

Nothing New

Their behavior was nothing new. Jesus dealt with these types over 2000 years ago.

Remember a guy named Zacchaeus? The terrible tax collector? The cheat? The filthy sinner? Let’s look at Luke 19:1-9:

Zacchaeus the Tax Collector

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. 2 A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. 3 He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. 4 So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

You can see in verse 7 what the “Good” Christian folks and religious leaders not only thought but voiced out loud. They had no plans on sharing any good news with Zacchaeus. They were even upset that this Jesus dude was going to his house for some wine and wings.

We claim to to be “Christians” which is to be “Christ-like” and yet we are not Christ-like. We don’t treat unbelievers the way Jesus did and still does.

It happened again in Luke 18:9-14:

The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector

9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

This could have been ripped from any number of Facebook statuses today. I have seen many people who claim Christ, put down and judge unbelievers. They bash lifestyles and I’ve even read some that said they could not wait until these people burn in hell.

The same thing happened in John 8:1-11

8 1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.

2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. 3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group 4 and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” 6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.

But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. 7 When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. 10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

11 “No one, sir,” she said.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

Once again the religious people were there to condemn and Jesus offered forgiveness. He said, “Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone. That’s what I want you to take away from this.

Paul said it best in Ephesians 2:1-8:

2 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

Drop the stones

That’s what we seem to have forgotten. We were and still are sinners saved by grace and mercy. We all deserve hell but God sent his Son Jesus, who willingly came and died a brutal death so that the person you can’t wait to see, “Get what he deserves”, wouldn’t.

Don’t be the hand that holds someone down

Be the hand the raises someone up

Vengeance Is Mine

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

There is so much evil in the world but this is nothing new. From the moment Eve’s teeth pierced the skin of the fruit, evil prevailed. It has resided among us for centuries but the invention of the Internet has given it a broader stage.

We are instantly aware of evil the moment it occurs. Social media allows people to broadcast their opinions to the masses. Opinions once kept to themselves, now free to blast from the safety of their keyboard.

Immorality is the rampant topic of the day. Right is wrong and wrong is right. We are fooling ourselves if we think this will ever right itself. This world is ruled by the enemy of our soul. The enemy of our God and Savior.  We cannot expect anything less than pure unadulterated evil.

We must face this simple truth,  if we claim Christ we paint a target on our chest. We are the enemy. We are what’s wrong with the world because the world is evil and we are lights exposing it. We do not belong here. This is not our home. We are foreigners, aliens among  the citizens of this broken world.

We will never fit in and that’s okay because we were not meant to. We don’t go with the flow. We do not take the wide road with the many, but the narrow path with the few. We will suffer and we will rejoice because our Savior suffered for us. He died so that after we have suffered in this life we will rejoice for eternity in his presence.

Do not shrink in the face of persecution but boldly face it, but in love not retaliation. When they hurled insults at Jesus he did not open his mouth in defense but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. God is your defense attorney and the judge of those against you. But if God is for us who can be against us for greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.

Put on your helmet of salvation and strap on your belt of truth. Clothe yourself with the breastplate of righteousness and protect yourself from the enemy with the shield of faith. Take up the sword of the Spirit and slay the enemy with the truth, in love.

You are in God’s army. You will be attacked. Don’t be surprised.  There will be casualties but you will awake in the arms of Jesus. So boldly take up your cross and follow the example Christ gave us. Die to self so you live as Christ. Fight the good fight while the light remains for darkness is upon us and is ever present. Stay alert for your enemy the devil is a roaring lion seeking to devour you. Stand firm great is your reward.

2 Thessalonians 1:5-12New International Version (NIV)

 All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might  on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you. With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we approach this years conference I decided the was appropriate.

Regener8td's Blog

The title to this blog could mean one of two things; first I think attending a Christian writer’s conference is a waste of time and money or I believe they are not a waste of time and money.

I just returned from my annual trek to Langhorne Pennsylvania where I attend the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writer’s Conference and I decided after attending this conference for the last 5 years, it was time to put my thoughts on paper so to speak.

I have realized several things over the years:
If I was not a writer I would be a writer’s conference groupie. I would go just to hang out with some of the most amazing people I have ever come to know and love. I am so very blessed by the friendships I have made. The four short days we see each other seem to fly by in seconds and…

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Is God really in control?

Posted: June 12, 2015 in Uncategorized

Is God really in control?

Does He really know what He is doing? Can I trust Him to do what is right? Is He making this up as He hovers above the earth is a distant dimension? Does He even know what’s going on down here? Does He even care?

If I was God…

I’ve heard people say this many times, “If I was God I would…” then they spout off all the things they would do differently. I always want to to say, “Well we can solve that right now, you are not God.”

I’ve heard people say, “If God does not come soon then He owes an apology to Sodom and Gomorrah.” As if they are sitting in judgment over God’s actions or seemingly lack thereof.

I read countless posts on Facebook from Christians, complaining about our government and our President. They say he should not have been voted in for a second term. They say that he is ruining America and will destroy our religious freedoms. They cast stones at him and his character. They call him names. And urge fellow believers to take up their cause to impeach him.

To all that I ask again, “Is God in control. Did God allow our President to be voted in again? Could he have prevented if He wanted to? Could he have caused him to have a heart attack? Could he have allowed someone else to win?

The answer to all of these questions is, YES. But apparently God allowed Barack Obama to win for a reason. A reason we might not know or understand. It’s God’s plan, not mine and not yours.

Wrong message

When we carry on and complain about what is happening in our world, we send the wrong message to unbeliever’s. We are calling into question whether or not we truly believe God is in control.

We place ourselves on the Throne and insinuate we could do a better job if we were God. Our words fall on God’s ears like a fist shaking in His face, “Why don’t you do something.” When in fact what we are really saying is, “Why don’t you do things the way I want you to?”

We see a tiny miniscule piece of a very large puzzle and we think we have it all figured out. “This is how I would do it if I were in charge.” Well guess what? You are not, God is and always has been and always will be.

Apples and oranges

Trying to compare how you would do things versus how the God of the universe, the Creator of all things, would do something is just plain ridiculous. Comparison is futile.

But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'”

Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? (Romans 9:20-21)

Did you get God’s memo?

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.… (Isaiah 55:8-9)

I started out asking you some questions and I want to leave you with the answers.

Yes God knows what he is doing:

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13)

Yes you can trust Him to do the right this…always:

For the word of the Lord is right and true;

   he is faithful in all he does.

The Lord loves righteousness and justice;

   the earth is full of his unfailing love

(Psalm 33:4-6)

No He is not making things up as He goes along:

I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times,

what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ (Isaiah 46:10)

He is very aware of our current situation:

The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. (Proverbs 15:3)

And yes, yes he cares about you so much that when someone asked Jesus how much he loved them, Jesus spread out his arms on the the cross and said, “This much.”

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Sleep well

God is in Control