Welcome to my blog! I hope to be a resource to help you in your walk with God. Now more than ever we need to get back to the basic fundamentals of moral living and take a stand for what is right and truthful with God as our ultimate authority. His Word is reliable and preserved and can be trusted, so that is the basis for my advice and teaching. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or topics you would like me to cover. I look forward to sharing what God has placed on my heart. See my website at https://www.lovinggodministry.com/ for books and music I have written that will enrich your life!

Ezekiel 22:30: "And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none." Let's stand in the gap together!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

What Unifies Us?

I heard Ben Carson speak recently.  I'm not endorsing any particular candidate, although I do like him.  He said some things that really made sense.  He said (and I'm expanding on it) there are people out there who are devisive, trying to get brother against brother, whether it has to do with our physical appearance such as the color of our skin, our religion, our gender, or whatever it may be.  This is not a war against women, or blacks, or homosexuals, or Christians.  This is the UNITED States of America.  I'm not saying that there is no truth, because there absolutely is, and we need to defend truth and promote it and teach it.  But when people are not focused on teaching truth but are rather trying to divide people against one another, that is destructive.  We can agree to disagree, and should be able to have intelligent discussions and debates with one another without turning to violence, ridicule, or bullying, which includes crybullies and cyberbullies.  Ben Carson said there are plenty of things that unite us, and let's focus on that.

So I was trying to think of a list of things that do truly unite us as U.S. Citizens.  What are those things that most everyone can agree on?  Here's my list, and let me know if you can think of others.

1.  Everyone wants to be treated with dignity and respect.
2.  Everyone wants to be loved.
3.  Everyone wants to have the freedom to speak their mind and be heard and understood.
4.  Everyone wants to be able to love and care for their families, which includes providing for and protecting those they love.
5.  Everyone wants to be able to worship as they wish.
6.  Everyone wants to be able to live their convictions.
7.  Everyone wants to be able to follow their dreams.
8.  Everyone wants to feel safe.
9.  Everyone wants to be able to learn and grow.
10.Everyone wants to be happy.

Our United States Constitution and Bill of Rights was designed to protect these things.  This country was designed to have freedom of religion, not freedom from religion.  This country was designed to enable families to protect each other with fire arms, not take them away.  Our country was designed for men and women to work and provide for their families, not be provided for by the government.  This country was designed to allow invention and imagination to flourish, including entrepreneurs, so that we can create new things and new businesses, making improvements in our communities as we work together successfully.  It was not intended to tax these businesses to death so that they have to outsource and move overseas.

Education is meant to enrich people so they can branch out and contribute to society.  It is a privilege to be able to learn, and not something to be dreaded or fought against or even demanded, but embraced.  We are not to covet, but to earn.  This is the American Way.  If our thinking is not in line with this, then we need to re-evaluate our motives and intents, and decide if we are truly Americans.  If not, then we must consider what country we should belong to.

People immigrate because they believe in the culture of that country, and feel they can best thrive there.  Many have come to America for opportunity, because of the American Way and the freedoms it embraces.  That unites us into a melting pot.  It has been said we are not a melting pot, but a tossed salad.  We have seen that does not work.  Yes, we can have our own freedoms of religion and individuality, as long as we are united in our culture, and acclimated into a unified nation that shares the values it was founded upon.  Why?  Because that works.  Those values make for a strong society, built upon strong individuals that make up strong families.

Selfishness needs to be put aside, and we have to stop thinking of ourselves in light of what's in it for me, but rather what's in it for us?  United we stand.  We have common threats and enemies.  Let's remember as we celebrate Thanksgiving what we are truly thankful for, and look for ways to unite rather than divide.  Speak and embrace truth, but always with love, always with respect.  God bless you, and God bless the United States of America!

A Country Without a Man music video

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Great news! "Sold Out! for God, Family & Country" is available for preorder!

I believe we need to expose our minds to more good things, such as positive messages from the Bible to build our faith and glorify God. My songs combine beautiful, enjoyable music with lyrics that have substance and good doctrine.  

That leads me to my great news! Amazon has my "Sold Out" album up on their website for preorder, will be available 12/1/15. It's available now from Tate Publishing and Tate Music Group if you don't want to wait, but it's cheaper through amazon.com. It's a 2-disc set, 16 songs total, and there are samples of every song on amazon.com that you can listen to now. It's my best album yet - I hope it lifts up your spirits! It makes the perfect Christmas gift! 

Preorder Sold Out! from amazon.com (and listen to samples!)

Buy Sold Out! now from Tate Publishing

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Abiding in Jesus

John 15:4-11: "Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

There are a few things that stand out to me in this passage that I read this morning.  I think of my apple tree, and how some of the branches grew no leaves this year, or just small, withered leaves, and no fruit.  Other branches flourished with apples, bending from the weight.  They made large, red, juicy, sweet apples.  The branches that grew nothing need to be cut off, because they are just blocking the sun, or keeping the other branches from spreading out.  They don't look good, either.  They look dead.  They don't match the beauty of the tree as a whole.  A good gardner would trim off those dead branches and allow the tree to flourish so it can make more fruit.  We had a really good crop this year, and it was a blessing to have so much fruit that we gave some away to our friends, family, and neighbors.  We also didn't mind when the deer and bugs ate some that fell on the ground.  There was plenty for everyone!  What a blessing!  I made a lot of apple crisp this year.  Yum!

Another thing that comes to mind is that I don't have to feel guilty when I realize that my talents are small, except when God intervenes.  I am a writer that just cannot sit and write something amazing on demand.  It has to come from something the Lord has laid on my heart.  Then it just flows out.  It must be inspired from reading the Word of God.  That's how it's meant to be.  It's not that there is something wrong with me, it's that I naturally will get my nourishment from the vine so I don't just wither and die in my service to Him.  Oh, how we need to be in the Word every day.  We can't just get by praying; we need that connection with Him, hearing what God has to say, not just us saying what we need.  The answers are not within us, but within the vine.  The branch itself is not self-sustaining.

Lastly, isn't it wonderful that God doesn't just care about the fruit we produce, but about us having joy?  He wants our joy to be full.  Joy is not dependent on circumstances.  It is there as a baseline, and as things around us happen that scare us, worry us, demand from us, etc., we can keep our joy through it all, which is the answer to anxiety.  We will not be overcome by our circumstances, but rather cope with it as it comes, with joy in our hearts that is there to stay.

He also wants us to know His love.  If we obey His commandments, we will abide in His love.  We are to continue in that love, and share it with others.  As we bear much fruit, our Heavenly Father is glorified, and again, that is how it is meant to be, and that's the source of our joy.

Christians, don't go around fruitless, joyless, and tired and worn.  We were meant to bear fruit - much fruit!  Make sure you are connected to that  Vine, Jesus Christ.  John 15:23: "He that hateth me hateth my Father also."  He has shown His love to you.  The flip side to John 15:23 is true also.  If you show your love to Jesus, you show your love to our Heavenly Father.  Abide in Jesus today.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Are you sliding?

A term we have often used when referring to a Christian who is getting "sloppy" in his or her behavior or attitude is "backsliding."   Well what exactly does that mean?  My Pastor, Dr. Chris Atkinson from Meriden Hills Baptist Church, preached a wonderful sermon this past Sunday morning  on "The Slippery Slope of Sin."  You can hear the whole sermon by clicking on this link: http://meridenhillsbaptist.org/sermons/the-slippery-slope-of-sin/

However, I am going to just post the outline, as it's a great outline to remember.  The passage of Scripture is Romans 1:28-32:

Romans 1:28-32King James Version (KJV)

28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; [NOTICE THAT RIGHT HERE IT CHANGES FROM NAMING SINS TO NAMING PEOPLE'S CHARACTER] whisperers,
30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

The whole issue with trying to avoid a slippery slope is to avoid a downward slide into deeper and deeper sin that will have undesirable consequences.  Think of going down a metal slide, and how hard that is to stop when momentum has begun and the slide is slippery.  You don't usually stop until you hit the bottom.  What is the bottom?  Well, sliding on a playground is a lot of fun!  Sliding into sin seems fun at the time, but where it leads you is somewhere you do not want to be!
1.  A tempting thought can become a sinful desire.  Resist that thought!  It's not sin yet!  Don't worry if sinful thoughts pop in your head; this is just the result of being sinners in a sinful world. These thoughts are going to come.  They do not become sin until you stop and coddle that thought, fantasizing, developing that thought into a desire.  Then it becomes sin.  
2.  A sinful desire can become an evil deed.  Evil deeds don't just happen.  They start with a desire, which might have started with a hateful thought or a lustful thought, and was dwelled upon until it developed into a plan of action, and an evil deed was done.  Repent and confess to God that sinful desire, naming it what it is, before it turns into an evil deed!
3.  An evil deed can become a wicked habit.  When you commit an evil act, it may shock you at first, but it can become addicting, and you may find yourself doing it again and again until it no longer pricks your conscience.  You have now developed a habit, and may eventually lose your sense of guilt about the wicked deeds.
4.  A wicked habit can become a corrupt character.  When you become a person who can do evil things and not feel guilty over it, or you can easily ignore the guilt and now this becomes a lifestyle for you, you have found yourself with a changed character and maybe even personality. Your mood may be different, and the good character you once possessed is now replaced with a corrupt one. 
Note: Your conscience can become what the Bible refers to as "seared."  One test of your salvation is that a true Christian cannot sin and enjoy it; the Holy Spirit will convict the Christian that it is sin.  However, a Christian can quench the Holy Spirit if rebellion continues, and that is a terrible place to be spiritually.
5.  A corrupt character can become a deadly destiny.  James 1:15: "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death."  It can lead to physical death, as you are hanging around the wrong crowd, or inheriting the natural consequences of sin.  The severity of the consequences depends on the sin committed.  If you never trust Christ as your Savior, it could lead to spiritual death as well, as you chose a deadly destiny instead of a destiny of life through Christ.
God can't bless you in the pigpen.  Come home!  That is the good news; just like the prodigal son came home, so can you.  See Luke 15:18-29.  You decide when to stop the slide.  You don't have to go all the way to the bottom.  Pray and with God's power, you can have the victory, get off the slide, and God will bring you back up and restore you.  You may still have consequences to pay, but He will help you through it, and you will have a changed destination.  If you are truly a Christian, God's child, then you can't lose your salvation, but you could have broken fellowship with Him.  Repent, and that can be mended, and you can once again walk in the joy of the Lord!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Is your smartphone an idol?

See the link below for a test to see if your smartphone or other electronic device is taking the place of God in your life.  Replacing the smartphone for God in some verses helps us to measure how much we rely on worldly things rather than God, with whom we should be building a trusting relationship.  I didn't think so at first glance, but I am indeed guilty of this (my PC), and need to prioritize better in my own life.

Smartphone idolatry

Friday, November 6, 2015

A Message From My Heart

Honest reflection is very healing.  I realized again that inadequacy is what I have to offer.  I have people in my life who love me and support me, and they are kind.  But when I really think about what I have to offer the Lord, I come before Him with my knees to the ground and my hands held out with meager talents and gifts, and tears in my eyes.  I want Him to use me, and all I can give is what He has given me. I have developed some of those skills and talents, but they are still meager.  Believe me, He is not using me because of my ability, but rather my availability.  It is nothing good in me.  I am honored to be used by God, to be on His team, but I am one of the "little guys", the one last picked on the dodge ball team, so to speak.  It reminds me of the song, "What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb.  If I were a wise man, I would do my part, yet what can I give Him? Give Him my heart."

I have not much to give.  I consider myself a "passer."  I'm just passing along God's truth.  I am not a gold vessel, but a clay vessel passing along a rare and precious medicine that heals souls.  I asked the Lord to give me a verse, and Psalm 96 came to my mind.  As I opened my Bible, there was a bookmark there from our missionary to Russia, and this verse was staring me in the face: "To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house" Isaiah 42:7.  I looked at it and read it several times. Is that the message God wanted me to see?  We obey and we tell of God's wondrous works because He wants us to bring healing salve to the blinded eyes, a key to unlock the chains that bind sinful men, and light to illuminate the dark world.  

I still wanted to look up Psalm 96, and was so pleased at what I read.  It reminded me of Psalm 66:2 I read this morning: "Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious."  That is what we should be doing with our voices, singing forth the HONOR of God's name, respectfully, making His praise (not our own) glorious.  Our music should reflect Jesus'  honorable name and character.  Here's what Psalm 96  has to say, and it's one of the most beautiful passages of Scripture to me right now:

 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.
Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.
Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
13 Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

God is going to judge the people with HIS truth, the truth from His holy Word, the Bible.  We need to proclaim that any way we can.  If we are going to be judged by it, we better know it!  And we are to worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness, with fear and reverence.  What kind of offering are we giving to Him?  Are we declaring His glory among the heathen, and his wonders among all people?  Are we giving unto the LORD the glory DUE UNTO HIS NAME?  It's due Him!  We owe that to Him, because He alone is worthy, no other god but the one true God alone; there is no other true God.  He will judge, He will reign, and let's be ready for that day. If we have our reservation for heaven all set, then let's be in the business of bringing more people before His presence so they can see His glory and choose (or reject) Him. They won't see Him if we are blocking His majesty.

I now can go to my events with new meaning and purpose. It's OK and actually good to realize how inadequate we are in and of ourselves. It's healing power. I will continue looking for opportunities to share what the Lord has given me, and win or lose on my part, all that matters in the end is that I brought glory to God, and did my part in declaring His majesty. That's what we are commissioned to do, and I have found a way to do it - through my writing of books and songs.  May GOD ALMIGHTY get ALL the glory due His name!  John 3:30: "He must increase, but I must decrease."  That is the heartbeat of my soul.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Accident or Design? in English and Chinese

A friend of mine, George Zeller from Middletown Bible Church in Middletown, CT, shared this with  me, and I thought it was an excellent argument for intelligent design.  You know what went through my mind as I looked at it and thought about people denying there is an Almighty Creator and Designer?  "So silly!"  It really is absurd to think that all the complexity around us in nature occurred by chance, by nonintelligence.  It makes no logical sense.  Take a look at this link, and see if you still disagree with me.

Accident or Design? in English

Accident or Design? in Chinese