What is True North?

{You will find this post on my web site under the title “What is True North” but for those who don’t get around to exploring my page I thought it would be good to post in my blog for all to read.}

What is True North?

In a Word Christ!

I have had this concept of True North in my head for many years. We all have an ultimate destination at the end of our life, most would say that destination is some form or concept of Heaven, unfortunately for many they are on a wrong path.

We as Christians have been given all we need to reach our destination, eternity in the presence of God. An infallible map (the Bible), an experienced guide (the Holy Spirit), protection from the storms (our Father GOD) and the key to finding our destination our compass (Jesus Christ).

Christ is clear  in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  When you have your heart focused on Christ, if He is your Savior you will reach your destination. You will find True North, your eternity will be in the presence of God in all Glory. In the simplest understanding of the Gospel, Christ is all you need, not religion, law, creeds, theology or even absence of sin. That simple Gospel is the foundation of my personal faith.

That being said God has given us so much to help us along our journey. Let us start with the map, the Bible, unless you are really adventurous you don’t head out in the wilderness without a good map. We as Christians have the ultimate map written by the one who created the terrain we are set to walk through. Make sure you are intimately familiar with the map before you go on with your journey.

God has also given us a guide in the Holy Spirit, it is always a good idea to listen to your guide. Some times we can’t see were we are going fog, storms, treacherous pathways, darkness, confusion can place us in very dangerous situations. God has given us the ultimate guide one who is always with you waiting to give you guidance and wisdom if you are not to proud to ask.

As for protection, shelter from the storm, God the Father Himself is constantly watching over you. There is not one stumbling stone or peril that he is not completely aware of that you will face in your journey. He will protect you and if needed carry you through anything you will encounter as long as your trust is in Him.

That is what I see when I talk about True North. It probably has some theological and doctrinal holes in it, but that’s okay, the way I read it the only theology that has ever saved anyone is “Christ Crucified”! He did it for you, he did it for me, if I don’t see you before just head True North and we will meet someday.

God is Good!!

Satan’s Ways (The 5 D’s that lead to defeat)

This morning I am going to expound upon my Pastor’s sermon this last week because it really relates to where I am in my walk and with my writing. It’s also some really good stuff and probably most of you will relate as well. Thanks Pastor Sung for the inspiration.

Satan hates us! It doesn’t matter if  your preaching to five thousand, or encouraging the neighbor through a hard time with the love of Christ, he hates you for talking about Jesus! He knows he can’t beat Jesus, but he will do everything he can to defeat and destroy those who follow Christ. The good news is no matter how hard and destructive the battle those who are truly in Christ are just as victorious as Christ himself. The key of course is Christ and his power within us!

Pastor used a couple of analogies from the military that I thought were very appropriate since we are in fact at war with the enemy of our soul “Satan”! You don’t successfully go into battle without knowing two things, your strengths, weaknesses and resources, and your enemies strengths, weaknesses and resources. When the United States went to war with Saddam Husein in both Gulf Wars, even though it was pretty apparent we out resourced them in both technology and might, we still had to know our enemy to minimize loss to our troops. We had to be aware of the resolve of our enemy regardless of how sure the ultimate outcome. Satan knows he can’t defeat Christ, but his resolve is to cause as many casualties as he can, in spite of his ultimate defeat.

I want to go through five tools Satan uses against us to destroy our effectiveness in the battle to save the souls of those who Christ loves.

1. Discord: Have you ever been in a Church or heard of one that has been completely torn apart by discord. Disagreement over trivial differences in opinion. Before you know it there are two opposing sides, at war with each other, and ultimately the Church becomes a bomb ready to explode and completely useless in changing peoples lives. Whether in a Church or in personal relationships Satan loves discord. We tend to focus on the disagreement rather than the one who can bring agreement and that fits Satan’s plan perfectly. There are few things more unappealing to a non believer seeking answers than Christians fighting amongst themselves. If it is causing division and discord it is not from Christ

2. Distraction: Satan knows if he can get your attention on anything other than Christ you become unproductive for Christ. It can be something very good and pleasant: Vacation, new stuff, new relationship, unexpected windfall of money or something unpleasant: job stress, bad relationship, unexpected bills or just the stuff of life: tired, tv, busyness. It doesn’t really matter to him as long as your focus is not on Christ and His Kingdom. Life happens to all of us and distraction is part of that life. How you handle distraction will determine how victorious you are in life. We need to reset our default point of attention, where are mind always wanders to when distracted, from things of this world to things of HIS Kingdom. Every good thing comes from Christ and every bad thing can be conquered through Christ, so why do they all take are mind off of Christ?

3. Discouragement: Satan is great at discouraging, and it seems that we as humans are amazingly easy to discourage. I will step to the front of the class on this one! We as believers should be totally and completely immune to discouragement. We have the God who created everything telling us there is nothing he won’t see us through and yet we doubt and get discouraged as soon as anything doesn’t go the way we had it planned. I think the key here is “the way WE had it planned”. Satan can’t do anything about God’s plans, but he sure can screw up ours! He will do anything to make us feel like we are inadequate and unable to accomplish the things God has set before us. Trust in God, not what you think or feel, just GOD!!! Remember that God’s ways are not our ways, do it God’s way and there is no room for discouragement.

4: Deception: Satan is the father of lies, the great deceiver, he is good at it and he knows it. He started with Adam and Eve and has been honing his craft for centuries. Without the light and love of Christ no one is above his ability to deceive. We have all grown up in a very “if it feels good do it” society which lends itself to an attitude that is very susceptible to deception. Sin is not sin it’s a disease that can’t be helped so don’t judge them. God would not want you in a bad marriage, if your unhappy just leave. The bible was written to a different culture, things are different know, so we need to interpret it differently.  I could go on and on about how Satan, the prince of this earth, has planted so many deceptions into our society that take us away from the true Word of God. By the way just because it comes from a pulpit doesn’t mean it’s not deception. Trust the Word and the God who wrote it. If it doesn’t point to Jesus be wary!

5: Destruction: This pretty much sums up the other four! Satan wants to destroy you! He wants to destroy the Church! Ultimately he wants to destroy Christ, but he knows he can’t do that, so he will put his full effort into destroying us. He will try to take away everything that makes us strong and stable, whatever that may be, so that we allow him to destroy all hope. With out Hope we have nothing! We need to understand, we cannot be destroyed, unless we allow our own destruction. If Christ is for us who can be against us? The answer is nobody!!! not even Satan. We are victorious, the Kingdom of Heaven is secure, and that is our home.

Kind of long but I hope it is useful.

Know thy enemy, and remember he loses!!!

GOD is GOOD!!!

Please comment, I value your opinion.

 

June a very long month.

I am not sure what it is about this month but it seems to be lasting forever and filled with a tremendous amount of distracting busyness. Consequently I’ve have been sidetracked from my writing. I have had several days of extreme determinism to get in here and give an update and before I know it a couple days have gone by and I still haven’t written anything. To those of you who actually are following my blog I apologize, and wish I could say it will never happen again, but that would be foolish.

We have been so busy traveling or working all month, totally busy but accomplishing nothing. We had a health scare with my wife Pricella, that thankfully God took care of and it turned out quite well!! Praise God!! Traveled to Eugene for a Birthday, Sacramento for fathers day, and my wife left me all alone for five days to go on a trip with her sister. On top of that of course was work and traveling back and forth to Susanville for that. This is where you just totally start feeling sorry for my hectic life because of course none of you ever have to deal with busy lives. Any way I’m done complaining, at least for the next couple hours.

Actually like I have said before God is so Good and I am an extremely blessed man. I was able to teach this last Sunday at my Church. Pastor Sung was doing an event for Korean War Vets so I filled in for him. It was so awesome to be able to teach God’s Word, I hope it was a blessing to those who heard it. I love to teach, I just wish speaking was as easy as writing, there’s not nearly as many “Umms”  when you write. Thankfully when you teach the Word it’s hard to go wrong. The audience was also great, what a wonderful little church with a great group of people.

The other thing I’ve been doing is working on a novel that I started probably 12 years ago and then stuck in the closet. The idea has always been nagging at me but I haven’t taken the time to work on it so I have started again basically from page one rewriting what I have and hopefully adding some improvements. Pray for me on this, that God gives me words to fill the pages, I would like to have something that resembles a book by this fall. I also want to work on some other writing projects that I have in mind as time allows.

Any way God Bless and I will be back tomorrow to continue regular programming!

GOD is GOOD

Memorial Day

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend. I also hope that whatever you did you took time to honor our lost heroes. Memorial day is for remembrance of those who have lost their lives in service to our country, and they deserve that honor and more, but I would also like to thank all the rest who are serving or have served to defend our freedom. Every person who has ever wore an American military uniform is a hero!! Thank You and God Bless all of you!!

I personally have never served in the military, I would have if needed but at the time I was at that age things were pretty calm in the world. We had a President that actually meant what he said and there were few who wanted to test him. They actually had more people volunteering to serve than they needed, so our school hardly even was visited by any recruiters. Thank You President Reagan.

I haven’t  been unfortunate enough to have lost someone close that was in the military and I am very grateful for that. So to say I understand the pain of that kind of loss would be ridiculous, but my heart does go out to all the moms, dads, husbands, wives and children who have personally lost there greatest hero’s. Nothing can replace that loss, we cannot bring them back, but we can honor their sacrifice. We need to defend here at home what they died on foreign soil for, FREEDOM!! Life in the greatest country the world has known, I did not say perfect, but history shows we are the most giving and compassionate nation  to foreign countries both allies and enemies, the world has ever seen. We need to make sure that we remain the nation that these men and women died for! Not some subservient pawn of the U.N. or any other foreign government. We also need to keep our government here in Washington accountable to the people who have given them the power that they have or remove them. We have always been a great nation and we can remain a great nation as long as we stand firm to the ideals and convictions that have gotten us to this point in history. If you are not involved, you need to get involved, before that is no longer an option. VOTE! I could tell you how I would like you to vote, but that’s your choice, just make sure your being heard. Honor those who died so you could have that right!

I would like to honor two vets in my life that to me are great heroes. My dad who passed away about eight years ago served in the Korean war. I regret that I never talked with him much about it, so I have limited knowledge of what he went through. I do know that as an only child and son of a farmer under normal circumstances he would not have been drafted but they needed him so he went. As I write this I am very sad realizing how little I know about his experience, friends he lost, things he saw, questions I can never get answered. But I did know him and not only was he a hero in the war, but he was an amazing honorable hero to everyone who loved him throughout his life. Thank You Dad!!

Kirk Kirkland, my father in law was also in the Korean war. He was captured and kept as a prisoner of war for around two years. Like most POW’s it’s not an easy subject to talk about but I have had the honor of hearing bit’s of what he went through. All I can say about his experience and any other POW’s experience is they are a special kind of hero! No one who hasn’t been there can even attempt to understand what it is to be a POW. If you know a POW make sure you honor them and thank them. Aside from losing your life defending our country it’s one of the greatest sacrifices a soldier can endure. Thank You Kirk!!

God Bless every United States service man and women and Thank You!

GOD is GOOD!!!

ODG Day G.K. Chesterton

“If I did not believe in God, I should still want my doctor, my lawyer and my banker to do so.”

G.K. Chesterton  1874  to 1936

I know it’s not Monday, but oh well. G.K. Chesterton was an author and poet who wrote everything from fantasy fiction to christian apologetics. Though some of his works were a little controversial he was well respected for his writing. As another example of his wit he wrote “Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.” I kinda like the way he thinks, it’s quite logical!

It’s funny how people around you that know you are a christian tend to mock your faith until something bad happens in their life. Then all of the sudden your the man with the connection! “Can you put in a good word for me with the man up stairs” “I know your a christian so could you pray for me”.  Like this quote, make sure you have key people in your life that are close to God, you never know when you’ll need that connection. It’s really sad that they don’t see the reverse hypocrisy that they so condemn in the church. You have to just shake your head and pray for them, usually a little deeper prayer than just the current calamity that caused the request. Some times I wonder if you prayed for God to make things a little worse they might just seek God themselves.

The thing we have to remember is God loves all, both the mockers and the saints, and he wants us to love them too. We can’t choose who to show God’s patience and love to. It’s not optional! I was for years a mocker of the church, my sister put up with my stupid counter logic and ridiculous questions for years. But deep down I took comfort knowing that my sister had an in with God. It wasn’t till I met my wife that I truly turned my heart to God and sought my own relationship with him. I know there are so many people that are relying on someone elses faith as a fire escape when things go bad. They really do need our prayers.

Short post today, talk more tomorrow!

GOD is GOOD!!!

 

 

True North Trek John 1:6-11

Okay back to the book of John! If your lost go back to my other post and reread it, I had to. So last post we discussed that Jesus is indeed God. As we continue on in John we will find that Jesus is indeed God! See a pattern?

John 1:6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

So this is not the book of John, John, this is John the Baptist. As was prophesied in Isaiah he was sent by God to prepare the way for Jesus. If you look in Luke chapter one you will see that John’s birth was pretty miraculous in that Zechariah and Elizabeth were unable to have children until of course God stepped in. The story kinda sounds like one from the Old Testament, Abraham and Sarah, you should read them both. Any way God sent John to point people to the Light, Jesus is the Light of the world. Darkness cannot prevail against Him! John as you will see in the coming verses is very careful to make people realize he is not the light. He wanted to make sure people knew that Jesus was coming to give light to all who believe.

John was witnessing about Christ, Christ at this time had not come out to proclaim who he was. John was preparing the world for that time, which was very soon. Right here is where reading the other Gospels helps with the time line of things. John isn’t as concerned with the order of events like the other Gospel writers were. But if you read the other gospels you will find that John’s ministry preceded Christ’s and then when Christ revealed himself John’s ministry was complete. Now John had a pretty big following, he could have kept going and  probably built a huge church, raised lots of money in the name of Jeeesuus! But he knew his purpose! POINT TO CHRIST!! Christ is the ministry, our ministry is to  point to Christ, there might be a few around these days that have kinda forgot that. If what you are doing in the name of Jesus is not fully and completely pointing to Christ you need to reevaluate your motives. Pray about it and listen, God probably has a pretty strong opinion about where your motives should be.

Verse 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Not much has changed in 2000 years, the world still rejects the Light. The created rejects the Creator. People don’t recognize who Christ is and yet he is the one who breathed them into existence. Baffling isn’t it! I was thinking this kind of destroys all our excuses for not sharing the Gospel. If the creator of the universe gets rejected, we can expect to maybe get shut down every once in a while ourselves. But the good news is, well, The Good News, rejection by some doesn’t change God’s grace to those who believe.

Have a wonderful week! We’ll talk more tomorrow.

GOD is GOOD!!!

 

Blessings

I had the most awesome day yesterday! Went down to Sacramento to have lunch with my son Brad to celebrate his 25th birthday. Sad to think he is my youngest. Went to Thai food with him and my beautiful wife. Then took him to REI to get some new climbing shoes. What a great blessing he is! He is going to be starting school to get his fire sciences degree and just started the summer season at Cal Fire. Very busy, if not working he’s off climbing a cliff or some other wild adventure. Brad if you happen to read this, I couldn’t be prouder of the awesome man you have become. Draw near to God, he wants you to know him better. Remember no matter where you are you’re in his hand.

After we left Sacramento we went to Paradise to catch the last game of the season for Easton and Eli. They are doing so well with their baseball, and they are getting way to big! Princess Ema of course was there, adorable as usual. Josh and Jessica are such good parents, I am so blessed to have such an awesome son and daughter. It was great spending a couple hours with them.

I am so blessed, family is priceless. Never be to busy to enjoy your family. All the other stuff will always be there, cultivate the things that have true value, your relationship with God first and then all the people he has placed in your life. Material things are nice, and I have my share of meaningless things that I really like, but all that stuff passes away. People are what’s valuable, they are priceless to God, and should be as much so to us.

I have missed several days this last week, sorry about that, lots going on. I hopefully will be back on track this week. I have several projects I am working on so keep me in prayer. I think the next several months are going to get real busy and exciting in what the Lord is doing in my life. I pray that I keep hearing his voice and not my own.

God Bless You!!! I will be back later today with more.

GOD is GOOD!!!

True North Trek : Luke 4:16-21 and Isaiah 61:1-3 Part 3

So lets wrap this little study up today.

Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion–to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

The year of the Lord’s favor refers to a law given to Moses where every fifty years all debts were forgiven, Hebrew slaves were set free and land that had been taken was returned to the owner or his family. Also known as the year of Jubilee. We as believers have entered into a sort of “year of the Lord’s favor” when we accepted Christ. Our debts have been forgiven, we’ve been set free and we no longer belong to the world but have been returned to our rightful master CHRIST! Probably more appropriately called the time of the Lord’s favor because it will last till Christ return’s and then beyond that it gets even better for those who are in Christ.

The day of God’s vengeance is also to be proclaimed. Those who reject Christ will know God’s vengeance, whether they accept it or not they need to be told there is a choice. God’s vengeance is designed for Satan and the fallen angels not for man. He want’s none to perish, but he is Holy and Just so some will perish of their own free will rejecting Christ. Everyone has a choice, live in God’s favor, or suffer God’s vengeance. It is surprising and sad how many will knowingly choose the later.

And then he promises comfort for those who mourn, to give you a crown of beauty instead of ashes. The oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair. I am so thankful that I have God’s comfort in this world. That I have a Joy and a Hope beyond the trials of this life. It is so easy to wear this garment of praise when you understand what God has done. How amazing it is to see people who once wallowed in dejection, hopelessness and despair now walking in victory with a garment of praise covering their life.

We will be called Oaks of Righteousness a planting of the Lord to display his Glory. After God cleans us up, heals our broken hearts, sets us free, comforts our mourning and secures our eternity with him, he uses us to show his splendor and declare his Glory on this earth. What did we do to deserve this? NOTHING!!!! that is why it’s called GRACE. Our one and only contribution to this is belief. Accepting Christ’s gift and resting in God’s grace. And yes of course there’s the whole repenting and changing our behavior and attitudes, but the truth of it is,the Holy Spirit does most of the work there too.

We have such a powerful and glorious Gospel, but to be effective we have to believe it and apply it in our lives. I read of a pastor who was asked one day “If the Gospel is so great why isn’t everyone a christian?” The pastor responded ” If soap is so good, why isn’t everyone clean?” Does the fact that there are dirty people testify against the value of soap? Of course not, it works well, you just have to apply it.

God Bless your day, I hope this study was good and helpful.

GOD is GOOD!!!

Comments welcome

 

 

The Gospel and the Bible

I talk about the Gospel a lot in what I write, because it’s important, it is in fact the single most important thing you will ever hear. The Gospel means “Good News” that is how God describes the fact that he sent his son to die for humanity so that we could have fellowship with him. Good News seems a little inadequate to describe what God has done for us. I think maybe something like “The extraordinary, amazing, unfathomable why in the world did you do this for me news” is more fitting. Of course the Bible would be a whole lot bigger if we used all the words needed to describe the awesomeness of God’s grace. My point is if all that is going thru your head when your sharing the Gospel is “Good News” your missing so much. If Good News is how God describes it, it should take are breath away every time we think about or share the power of God’s love for us!

We are funny people, we are so excited to share when good things happen to us. “I just got a raise” “Look at my new car” “We just had our new Grand baby”. So many things are good news, and of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing that. We get joy in sharing and most of the time the receiver of the information is made happy also. Good things are, well, good. If you are a Christian you are in possession of the Greatest of Good News, and yet we so often don’t share it. We will tell our friends and neighbors about the great fun we had on vacation, but not about the God who created the universe that also died for them on a cross. Now more than ever this world needs GOOD NEWS, don’t keep it to yourself.

I also wanted to talk a little about the Bible, God’s awesome instruction manual/love letter to humanity. The words in this book contain all you need for life and Godliness all the wisdom you will ever need, all the comfort you could ever want. It’s words are powerful, gentle, convicting, uplifting everything you need. The deal is it needs to be read! If it remains closed, on your night stand, in your car, on a bookshelf or even packed around everywhere you go, but never opened it will do you no good. You might as well be packing around a dictionary or the latest best selling novel.

There is a bookshelf God has designed for his Word, it won’t hold this physical bunch of bound printed pages. This book , the Bible is just a means of transferring God’s Word into that bookshelf, your heart. That, like I said, requires the information entering your brain (reading and studying) and by the power of the Holy Spirit being written on the tablet of your heart. Imagine your heart with a slot in it exactly the size of your Bible. That’s a big hole, your hearts not going to function well until it’s filled.

Read your Bible! It will transform your understanding of the God that Loves you so much. Don’t rely on second hand knowledge read for yourself what God has to say to you.

You can’t know what you haven’t learned and you can’t learn what you haven’t made an effort to know.

Hope all is well and the Grace of God is on you!

GOD is GOOD!!!

ODG Monday Hudson Taylor

“At the timberline where the storms strike with the most fury, the sturdiest trees are found.”

Hudson Taylor

1832-1905

Hudson Taylor was a christian missionary that spent over 51 years in China. He was very passionate and influential in his work to spread the Gospel of Christ throughout China. He knew full well what it meant to be in the fury of the storm.

We complain a lot, at least I do, about tough situations, trials, illness and all sorts of stuff. I know people that even complain when things are going pretty good. I think it’s controlled by the whinny gene, and some of us have very healthy whinny genes. Then you see people who are so solid nothing seems to shake them. They can be in a place where it appears the whole world is falling in on them and there faith is never shaken. What makes them different? I want to know, cause I want to grow up to be like them!

Have you ever been to the timberline, or to the coastline where the wind just relentlessly pounds the trees? You get some gnarly bent over beaten up trees. These trees sometimes don’t look nearly as healthy as the ones on the lower slopes or inland a little ways. But you subject the “healthy looking” trees to the same elements and they are likely to blow over and not survive the beating. The trees facing the storm have put down roots, they have adapted to survive what nature throws at them. There strength has grown stronger from the storm.

It’s amazing how easy it is to draw spiritual comparisons from God’s wonderful creation. If you protect yourself and never take a risk, you will be like the pretty trees. You’ll look great but you won’t be much good in a fight. We often talk about the bulls eye on your back when you become a Christian, Satan has it out for you. In my experience there is some truth to that, but a lot of us have kind a hidden the bulls eye. Let’s camouflage it with a lot of life so we don’t look like a threat to him. Fact is most Christians probably don’t concern him much, he hates you!, but your not a threat. He has his eye on those who truly take the call of God seriously. They are the ones he wants taken out. They are also the ones who know he can’t take them out!

I have been in both places throughout my walk with Jesus. There have been times that the call of God has been so strong and I have committed to serving no matter what. The attacks were relentless, anything to discourage, confuse, and distract came my way. But God’s power and Grace was always the victor, he carried me through, life was meaningful and exciting. Other times I have stepped back from ministry, not because God wanted me to, and things were pretty easy. I was no threat to Satan and pretty much useless for the Kingdom of God. The problem with that is you also feel empty, unfulfilled and like your useless to the Kingdom of God! You also don’t want to get back in the game cause you’ve given Satan the power to intimidate you into complacency.

The only battles Satan wins are the ones you choose to fight without God. If you are in the battle with God, doing what God has called you to do, life is amazing! Your fighting on the winning side, it may not always be easy, but your always winning. Get in the battle, grow some tough bark, put down some roots and make Satan know who’s side your on. Let the storms make you stronger.

I hope God is speaking to your heart, planting a call and a desire to go out and touch your world with the amazing gift of Christ! Be Bold!! Our side wins!!!

GOD is GOOD!!!

Comments welcome