Archive for December, 2010

Ben, Hugh, & Ed

12/30/2010
Coat of arms of Syria -- the "Hawk of Qur...

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The story of Ben, Hugh, and Pastor Ed

There was once a guy named Ben. Ben was the  president of a foreign nation. His vice president was named Hugh. The presidential pastor was named Ed. This is their story.

Ben on a campaign early in his life asked Hugh to be his running mate. Hugh was a simple civil servant and truly believed in his friend Ben’s ability to lead their country out of poverty and bad investments. Very late in Ben’s life, he became very sick, and as an old man did not believe he would live through this sickness. About this time, Ben sent Hugh to see Pastor Ed for guidance because Pastor Ed was very close with God and could even make predictions of what would happen by praying for visions. Pastor Ed prayed and by the end of his prayer was crying. Hugh asked what was wrong and Ed replied: “Ben will die, but not from this sickness. You will take advantage of him over becoming power-hungry and murder him while he rests to become president”. Hugh did not believe any of this to be true, he did not believe he was capable of such a thing, but eventually it would become a historical fact that it happened. Hugh went against his God, and his pastor friend Ed and one night quietly murdered his mentor and long time friend Ben in his sleep.

I wrote that story to explain something very important in history. We are capable of terrible things when we let our ambition overshadow our faith in God. You see, Ben in this story was actually King Ben-Hadad III of Syria about 3,000 years ago. Hugh, our main character was actually Hazael (later known as King Hazael of Syria) and our Pastor Ed is actually the great prophet Elisha of Israel.

Most crimes are simply crimes of opportunity. Temptation, especially when shrouded in power and wealth is a great tool of the Devil to take us off the path that Christ has laid for our feet. Be mindful of those temptations as they are all around you, especially in the business world. Just take a look at CSPAN if you need a closer look at what too much power or ill ambition can do to you.

God Bless,

Chris

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Be BRAVE

12/30/2010
Cover of "Ticket to Heaven"

Cover of Ticket to Heaven

Have you ever had an opportunity to minister to someone about Jesus? Have you ever backed away from the situation because you were afraid of what they may think of you. This will be a brief writing, I studied Phillip the Evangelist today. After Stephen was stoned to death Phillip decided to flee to Samaria of all places to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ. On his way there a random messenger of the Ethiopian Queen in a chariot stopped beside him on the road, he had heard bits and pieces of Jesus work and they began talking. Scripture says immediately that Phillip began preaching the Word to the man and before it was over he had won a soul for Christ. The shining moment here is not that he saved this messenger’s soul, but that he showed no fear in witnessing. How many times have we been asked about our church or what we do at our church and backed down from the question by making some joke or changing the subject. Pastor Chesnee spoke once of this and though I can’t recall the exact sermon in its entirety, ever chance that I pass up my conscience eats at me the rest of the day reminding me of how inspired I was by her words on being brave in the face of fear when the call to witness comes. It is my prayer for you this week that you won’t back down, as I have in the past and you will be up front, honest, and sincere. After all, you never know who you may grant a ticket to Heaven for in doing so.

Imagine how proud Phillip would be.

***Don’t forget to email cw0(this is a zero!)5@rocketmail.com with the subject “register” to get your name in the hat for one of the prizes I am giving away to thank my awesome readers. You can register ever day right up to the point that we reach 600 readers but be aware that time is getting close for this, we need less than 20!***

Chris

Baby Dedication

12/30/2010
Simeon the Righteous

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Simeon was a devout priest of the Jews. He received a message one night from an Angel that he would not die until he had given the 40th day blessing to the Messiah. History actually puts him about 200 years old during this part of the Book of Luke. Amazing longevity. In Catholicism he is a Saint and on February the 2nd Jesus’ “baby dedication” is celebrated in much of the world. I think I will do something special on this day in the new year as well. Sadly, my own son Christian has yet to be dedicated but it is on the immediate list of things to do in his life. Candlemas is the name of that holiday. I gave this brief history to tell you how important I believe dedication to be. You can google Simeon the Righteous and find tons of paintings depicting him blessing Jesus as well if you are curious. If any of you new parents are questioning the importance of this symbolic event maybe the fact that your very own Savior was dedicated will encourage you. I have seen a friend’s little girl be dedicated and it was truly wonderful to see the looks on their faces and I am sure yours would be just the same.

Thank you to my readers did not receive the email update on the pages progress for taking your time out to read my pieces. The page currently has about 550 readers according to Akismet stats and anywhere from one to seventeen readers at any given time. For this I thank you very much. This has developed into a ministry that I did not originally see it becoming and I could not be happier with the progress.

Don’t forget about registering for the prizes that I am giving away to thank you all for reading. We are nearing 600 readers and once we hit the mark I am doing a drawing. Find out how to register at the following link. https://fyi5.wordpress.com/2010/12/29/prize/

God Bless

Chris

Imagine The Love

12/29/2010
Castle Hill, New Zealand

 

“Murder Jesus and release unto us, Barabbas

This was the essentially shout of the Jews to Pilate when he gave them the choice between the two. Can you imagine being Jesus, knowing what you were about to undergo for the very people who were condemning you? The love he must have had, to endure crucifixion, beating, public embarrassment, his face being spat in.

Barabbas was a political refugee, in his own words. He rebelled against every form of government he was ever put in front of. Every form of faith he was put in front of he spat in the face of. His hands were stained with the blood of innocent men, women, and children. Yet this crowd deified him in the place of THEIR Savior. Yet Jesus still died for them, and you. I just wanted to write briefly today to remind everyone exactly how much He loved, and loves you still.

In your darkest hour, you have a light in Jesus.

Chris

The mother who did not want her baby

12/29/2010
A mother holds up her child.

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This story is a very uplifting one. For every child born to every mother throughout time, even if nobody else was happy to greet the child with warmth and love, at the very least the mother was. Except one. In the Old Testament we all know that part in Chronicles that for what seems like days goes on about the families of the kings. Who was whose grandmother, grandfather, child, mother, cousin, uncle etc. It is possibly the most dry and boring part of the Bible. Yes I just called a portion of the scripture BORING. This whole part of the Word, is strictly for the Jews to be able to trace their family trees and later, be able to use to advance themselves by saying they were from royal blood lines. One name, and only one name however stands out and seems out-of-place. Jabez (which means “he who brings sorrow) was born to a very sad and depressed mother. Scripture says that nobody, even her, rejoiced at his birth. She names him Jabez because he would bring her great sorrow. She did not want to be a mother. Later in his life, after fighting all adversities of his name sake, Jabez turned to God. He prayed that God bless him in more ways than anyone could count and gave his lift into the service of his Master, the Father of all creation. God granted his wish and he would go on to make his mother change her mind about him by doing great things that brought great blessings from God to the people. This briefly mentioned man in the Bible, is a PERFECT example of how the child that no one, not even his mother wanted was still desired by God. God proved this. Just as the Church is now responsible for bringing souls to Christ Jesus, the people of Jabez’s time did nothing to honor him at birth, nothing to encourage him, he had to do it all himself through God. He had no Church to turn to. The modern Church has no excuses for turning anyone away, and though I hear examples of church’s turning people away for different reasons, I am thankful to be a member at one who encourages every person, of every shape and size to worship at the foot of the Father together. Even someone who society has no use for, has a place at God’s table (the church).

The following were facebook comments on this post:

Amanda Watkinsu write these?!? I looked through several of them and realized you were writing! This is awesome Chris!!!

December 29, 2010 at 6:28pm ·

God Bless

Chris

A story of greed

12/28/2010
Elisha (right) Refusing Gifts from Naaman

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The lessons of Gehazi:

The lessons of Gehazi are few and simple to explain. Gehazi was the man-servant of Elisha the prophet, and served him well up until his great sin. The King had requested, while Elisha and Gehazi were there that he may bow to his statue idol. Elisha permitted it seeing it as a sin, but too small a sin to interfere with the more important matters at hand. By bowing and accepting this fake “god” Elisha would have been made wealthy as a king himself yet refused. Buy Gehazi seeing that Elisha gave the king a pass decided to do it behind his back to obtain wealth for himself. One split second decision condemned him to Elisha’s curse of leprosy and exile. Was it fair? After a lifetime of service? It does seem a bit harsh, but he was a direct friend and servant of God‘s main prophet at the time. He was the front man of the church, the poster child if you will. If the people saw a man doing something that would knowingly endanger the doctrine of God, what validity would the church then have? I do not condemn anyone for smoking or drinking in moderation, that is their private business and I don’t think God will keep them from Heaven because of it. But if a member of your church see’s you getting smashed at a bar and picking a fight with a stranger, how can you expect them to follow your guidance Sunday morning??

God Bless

Chris

Like father like son

12/27/2010

(The Lessons of Menassah)

The history here is brief. Arguably the greatest king to reign over God’s people was King Hezekiah. Sadly he had no children and on his death-bed he begged God for a son to succeed him. God had purposely not given him a son because he foresaw the future. After tireless prayer God decided to grant his wish and gave him health long enough to finally have a son named Manasseh. Manasseh would become King Manasseh upon his 12th birthday. The youngest king of Judah and the longest reigning king from the House of David (55 years). After being crowned he overturned everything his father had ever done to lead the country in the ways of God. He turned it from a beautiful museum into a common whorehouse or crack house even. He even had Isaiah and Habakkuk hunted down and murdered or put asunder. He would be invaded later in his reign and jailed in a far off land where he begged God, after seeing the error of his evil ways, for forgiveness. God granted that forgiveness and gave him his freedom while returning him to his burned down kingdom to fix all he had broken. This is a story of a son who turned from the ways of his father and lived to regret it until finally turning back to his father and his God’s plan for him.

I had dozens of things I wanted to write about his reign and the lessons from him until I got to the end and it all made sense. I was not reading about Manasseh turning away from the lessons of the great Hezekiah. I was reading the story of my early life. My father was a man of God. A very well-respected musical talent, and a respected church leader while I was growing up. I turned from the ways he had taught me in my youth and cannot even begin to tell you how many wrong doings I regret and wish I could change. These days, my Dad would be the first to tell you that he is imperfect. Often times he does or says things that remind me of the lessons of my own childhood and I can’t help but smile, usually wishing I had taken that advice back then. While I am not, or have never been royalty. I definitely believe I studied this story for a reason, and treasure the lessons learned from it.

Facebook comments about this post:

    • Steve WoodsonI am so proud of you son and indeed I would and do admit that I am far from perfect. The important thing is what is in our hearts. What we do may not always be perfect but God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

      December 27, 2010 at 7:49pm · · 3 peopleLoading…
    • Lisa Strickland Efird Excellent and well written Chris. God’s word has so Many good “lessons” in it….. The older we get, the more discernment we have about ourselves, our rights, our wrongs, our relationships, and most importantly, God. : )

Grace & Blessings

Chris

Can “you” trust God?

12/21/2010
Dune on Cape Cod near Provincetown

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Trusting God is not always as easy as it sounds. The simple sounding question: “Can you trust God” is actually two questions wrapped in one. The first of which being “can you trust God to be there when you need him most?”  Times like: a miscarriage early or late into the pregnancy, suffering from a depression so bad that it actually puts you out of work and stops you from being able to earn a living for the very family’s finances that have you stressed to begin with, or what about a new parents passing away? These all, sadly have either happened in my family, to me personally, to amazing and dear friends, or members of my church family in just the last twelve months. These all seem like absolute crimes against us, at times, committed by God personally. Ever walked through a children’s cancer ward? But the Word tells us that God gives us the good and the bad both. Sometimes, to us, in seemingly unfair proportions. Take this story for instance.

The man with the majestic castle built on the sands of the most beautiful beach on Earth will eventually see his possessions washed to sea and blown away in the wind. This will happen long before the humble man, living in a one bedroom lower-income home,  built firmly up high on the strong rock foundation. We all know that this metaphor doesn’t mean anything at all about the homes themselves, but is about the actual men. The guy in the castle, envied by his neighbors and peers and viewed as the guy who has it all. While, the meager life of the humble man may lack in material greatness his is built on a strong foundation. A foundation of faith. He may or may not have been blessed the way that the brash, wealthy guy was. But, he never cursed God for his social or financial short comings, or his problematic children. Instead he praised God through the very eye of his life-storm and came out with a better appreciation for the immaterial, important things in life. The legacy of the rich man would be long forgotten by time while the legacy and story of the humble man would go on to inspire billions throughout the ages.

When God puts us in situations where we question God’s presence in our lives instead of giving God the time he wants to show us His way for our lives. Expecting God to give you a reason for every little thing that occurs in your life is insane. He doesn’t serve us, we serve him.

The second question within “Can you trust God” is simply, “Can you trust God?” Do you personally have the ability to let go of your problems and let God take control. We know that He will be there, He is always there. He made YOU, the air you just breathed into your lungs, and all of the knowledge over time that has built the very technology in order for you to be reading this right now.

He created man from the dust, or sand of the Earth. Since that time God has tried to show us that we are to move away from that sandy foundation of our inner selves.  He has given us a Rock to build our foundation on. His only son, Jesus. God wants us to leave that flimsy foundation of sand and instead, build upon the solid Rock. It is your choice. Do you want a legacy of sand, washed to sea or blown in the wind, completely forgotten by history with the exception of a footnote in a wonderful metaphor? Or a family. Built on a foundation that cannot be shaken?

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God Bless, and since I will be taking time away until after Christmas, have a very, very Merry Christmas.

Chris

Asa

12/20/2010
Asa of Judah was the third king of the Kingdom...

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King Asa was the third king of Judah, and the fifth king of the House of David. He was the grandson of King Rehoboam, the great grandson of King Solomon, the great-great grandson of King David, and lastly, the father of his successor King Jehoshaphat. His reign was around 44 years, and a great one at that. He became king in a time of separationism. Idolatry had taken strong hold on God’s people and largely due to his mother and father. He was a man of pure heart and regardless of the path his family laid for him, he knew that statue worship was not the way of God. Therefore, upon his coronation the first steps he took were to begin the removal of all of the idols, including the massive one his mother personally had made and put in the palace gardens for her and her followers to worship. He made quite the public spectacle and point in doing so by buring it in public. His goal was to cleanse the faith of the nation and bring them back to God. Though he faced many adversaries in doing so, again including his own mother he achieved just that through a strong will and faith in his Heavenly Father. This goes to show you that regardless of your families past, and your predispositions in this world that you are not imprisioned by their deeds or thoguhts. You are not bound by their chains. Your legacy can indeed begin anew as well as your family’s legacy by the first steps you take today.  Please enjoy this video, as it clearly and simply states everything you have read thus far but in a more modern sense of course. After viewing and reading I hope you can learn from Asa’s example and begin taking the steps of faith that will carve your family’s legacy for decades to come. (be sure the volume is up) 

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  • Phillip Owens likes this.
    • Phillip Owens Both the video and the story were very uplifting.Thank’s Chris.
      December 20, 2010 at 4:47pm ·
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God Bless

Chris

Lessons of Hiram the artisan

12/18/2010
Peterborough Cathedral, stained glass window. ...

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Hiram was the greatest artisan the people of Tyre had ever seen. He could sculpt, paint, write, forge any metal, and cut any stone to great specifics. Therefore when it was time to build the Temple of God, once King David had passed away and King Solomon now reigned, they needed the absolute best in the business to oversee and create the Temple to God himself’s specifics.

The Temple of Solomon was the crown of art in the old world. There were many much larger on much grander scales but none could match its artistic perfection and beauty. It was during this time that King Hiram of Tyre wanted to lend his hand and send his servant who shared his first name, to the aid of King Solomon. This was truly the honor of a lifetime for an Israeli Tribal Era artisan. Hiram the artisan was born of an Israeli mother and a Gentile father, thus he got his artistic artributes from his father, and his faithfulness in God from his mother. He most decidedly had religious sympathies and feelings as his outstanding work in the Temple would go on to show us. He was “filled with wisdom and understanding”. These two things are direct gifts from the Holy Spirit. As Jesus would later bestow these same traits on artisans of the New Testament Era.

I won’t go into every particle of the schematics of building the Temple, you can read them for yoruself. But if all of the historical documents and legends are true, there has never in the history of life, been an equal in elegance and beauty. I decided to write this piece on Hiram the artisan for two reasons. The first being that we know the names of many of the worlds great artisans, yet this is one that generally escapes history buffs lectures. I feel that a man that could create something so beautifully close to perfection that God himself was proud and impressed, should be remembered by all believers. Secondly to use him as an example, if God can take a humble artisan from Tyre (a kindgom all to its own during this time), a man that history has truly all but forgotten, and inspire and empower him to make something like this, then I believe any believer who has a gift from the Creater, and has decided not to use it for whatever the reason, I must believe that they are rebelling against their very selves. Some are athletically gifted and are viewed as role models and given that platform to voice their faith in  the apropriate times. Some are given the gift of ministering to those in need. Whatever the gift you have been given, please, for your own sake, use it. It is after all, what you were made for.

God Bless

Chris