True North

COMPASS -- Efraim Stochter -- PX

 

In routine life on Planet Earth, there’s one rather ordinary looking piece of equipment that is used by thousands of people every day. It’s called a compass. Hikers, hunters, military personnel, navigators on ships and planes, and even  12-year-old boy scouts and girl scouts out on field trips use a compass as a normal part of their activities. Most of us have used one at some point in time, or at least played with one just to see how it works. Its job: to make geographical directions clear so that we can find our way safely and expeditiously from one point on this earth to another.

But that compass will not help us — it will, in fact, lead us the wrong way and get us into trouble — it is fails to point its arrow accurately to the North. It it’s off just a tiny bit, it can cause us to go miles in the wrong direction and totally miss our destination. That compass must point its arrow to TRUE NORTH, or it does us no good at all.

Now for individual journeys from one geographical place to another, any average compass in good working order is good enough. But what about our life-long journey — our time from birth to death — when we make our way along the road of life with all its twists and turns and possible detours? What provides our source of accurate directions for that journey?  Well, there’s only One who knows for sure how to navigate that life path successfully and wind up at the right places at the right times — as well as how to wind up in the right place at the end of the journey — and that person is our Creator — the One who made us to live this life in the first place.

We hear people today talk about how different people have different “moral compasses”  — to each his own — everyone lives by his own standards. But the truth is that all moral compasses that don’t point to Jesus Christ are extremely faulty and will lead the followers into trouble — and eventually into destruction.

Jesus Christ is the only TRUE NORTH. If our life compass focuses on Him, we will be able to stay on course — with joyful results. It if does not point to Him, we’re lost — in more ways than one.

I hear people say things like this: “Well, there are people who do good an live right in this world who aren’t Christians.” And i agree that I know some people who love their families and who try to live by rules that are, for the most part, kind. But the fact is that the only reason those people act as positively as they do is that they’ve been taught the basic rules of God’s Word.

Now they may not recognize those words as coming from the Bible. And they may not have learned them in a church. But they were influenced by others — even by the laws of the land — to understand a lot about what’s right and wrong. Every law of the land in any nation that protects people and guides them to act in ways that avoid hurting someone else came originally from the plans for living right laid out in God’s original law.

The truth is that the only foundation any society — indeed any human being from Adam and Eve down — has for determining what’s right and wrong is God’s Word. That’s why God gave the original ten commandments: so man would know what was good and what was evil. And all the civilized nations in the word have laws that follow those ten commandments. No human being came up with those ideas on his own. His Creator taught him right and wrong.

Why did the Creator need to teach man? Because the only good there is in the universe is in God Himself and what proceeds out of Him.

Let me say that again: There is no good in this world except what proceeds out of God. Man is born sinful — selfish, self-centered, and out for himself alone. Prove it you say? Look at any little baby. He wants his needs met, and when they’re not met, he cries — and cries — and cries — until Mom and Dad stop whatever else they are doing and give baby whatever it is he wants.  And as a child grows, he knows to focus on his own needs and wants without being taught. His wants come first.

Most parents — if they are responsible in their child rearing — begin teaching their children about kindness and consideration for others at an early age. But those things have to be taught. They never come naturally to any human being. Goodness, kindness, and generosity are learned behavior — coming either from instruction or environmental influence. There is no inherent good in any human being when left on his own.

The Word of God says it simply and succinctly when it says, “There is none good but God.” (Luke 18:19) and “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10 and “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).  There is no inherent good in any human being when left on his own.  He must receive his goodness from God.

Now, living on this earth in the right environment may help some people soak up understanding of some of that goodness. And they may exert some effort to make it active in their lives. Anyone who gets out in the rain gets wet. Anyone who gets out in the sun gets warm. But those conditions are superficial and temporary. So, in the same manner, anyone who is reared and nurtured in an environment of good, loving ways will, no doubt, soak up some of that attitude and that philosophy of life — and its accompanying behavior.

But as with the sun and the rain, those things are superficial and temporary. They will carry that person only so far and for only so long. He will ultimately fail in his morality and goodness. I have lived 72 years on this earth and been actively involved with thousands of people from all over the world, and I have yet to see an exception to this rule. Nor do I know any other people who have come across an exception. No human being other than Jesus Christ has ever lived without failing in morality and goodness. Until we receive Jesus Christ and put Him in control, everyone of us fails to live up to the goodness of God — the goodness required to be fit to live with Him for eternity.

The only good we know and do apart from Jesus is what we acquired by osmosis because God’s goodness managed to penetrate our soul a little. But without our spirit being born again by the entrance of Jesus Christ, that “goodness” is nothing but a garment we wear. What’s inside will eventually come to the forefront. And, yes, I realize I am repeating myself here, but with good reason. My experience with humanity has taught me that very few people can capture and hold onto a new concept the first time they hear it. And, for many people reading this article, the concept I’m sharing is new indeed. So explaining the same truth again — and in slightly different terms — is a safeguard and an insurance that more people will grasp this truth and let it help them move forward to what they need.

The exciting part of this truth is that once Jesus is allowed to come in and take control, His own righteousness is transferred into our being. At that point, we aren’t just trying to be good and do good because of some training that will eventually fail us. No. Jesus gives us His own inherent goodness and holiness. It becomes who we are because He has become the controller of who we are. We are one with Him.

And since He alone is TRUTH (John 1:17; John 14:6), He provides the infallible compass for our life from that point through all eternity. Do our souls and bodies sometimes fail to measure up? Yes, but Jesus, our unerring compass, lovingly points us back to the right direction, and the wrong steps we took gets corrected so that we don’t ever get completely off course again.

Jesus Christ is our TRUE NORTH. If you haven’t yet made Him the compass of your life, right now is the best time to do it. No matter how far off course you are at present, if you’ll turn your life over to Him, you will immediately see where “True North” is, and you’ll never have to worry about being lost again on this journey through life. Not only that, you’re guaranteed to wind up at the destination you were always intended to reach — in this life on earth and for eternity.


photo credit: Efraim Stochter (MW) @ pixabay.com



 

‘QUENTON’S HONOR’ – Now Available on Amazon

QUENTON FRONT COVER -- NICE AND SHARP FROM CD FOR KINDLE - croppedWhat happens when twenty-first century technology comes face to face with the most powerful force the human race has ever known? Find out in this story of intrigue, romance, courage, and faith:  QUENTON’S HONOR.

A man’s love for his country; a man’s love for a woman.

Securing a nation; capturing a heart.

It’s a story of patriotism.  It’s a love story.  It’s a story of one man’s journey to God.

American industrial magnate Quenton Sutherland’s efforts at humanitarian aid carry him on a fact-finding tour into the Middle-Eastern hotbed of war-torn Pakistan. While there, he uncovers a terrorist plot involving three cells already poised for attack back in the U.S. Before he can foil their plan, he is taken hostage to prevent his exposing their plot.

In the days that follow, Quenton comes face-to-face with his need for the God he abandoned decades before — while he, along with investigative journalist Honor Fairfield, and the Department of Homeland Security, begin an ever-twisting adventure and discover life-changing connections that none of them could have foreseen.

I wrote this book years ago, and it was first published in 2004. But this is the first time its been offered in paperback through Amazon. I still love the story. Even though I’m the author, the story still makes me cry in all the right places, makes my heart beat faster with each embrace of the lovers, and thrills my soul when the characters encounter a God whose love is focused on blessing them every step of the way on this journey.

The story has been called a cross between ‘You’ve God Mail’ and ‘Song of Solomon.’ I don’t know about that, but I do know amazing things — even spiritual things — can happen through the wonders of computer technology and in the world of cyberspace. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

Get your copy in paperback or digital here.
The E-book is on sale for $1.99 through June.

You can read a short sample at this link, but bear in mind that Amazon’s samples on the product page are sometimes a little screwed up. Hopefully, you’ll at least get enough of the text to make a decision on whether the story’s for you or not.



 

There Is A Cure

The truth of Jesus Christ’s complete redemption can be told in any form. In this post I’ve set God’s truth into Cinquain — one of my favorite poetic forms.


SATAN CAST DOWN - GOLD LARGER

Virus:
To lots of folks
It is a scary word.
But there’s a name that can kill it:
Jesus!

Disease
By any name.
Must bow to Jesus’ name.
His sacrifice redeemed us from
Disease.

Have faith.
Get in His Word:
He says it’s medicine
For every ailment we can face.
Trust Him.

(Scripture References: Acts 3:16, Philippians 2:9-10, Galatians 3:13-14, Proverbs 4:20-22, and Psalm 107:17-20)

 



 

‘HEALING IS FOR YOU!’ – Free to Read Online

 

HEALING AMAZON COVER - front only

HEALING IS FOR YOU! — FREE TO READ ONLINE — or JUST $0.99 TO DOWNLOAD to your own digital device.

If you’d like to stay focused on healing and health instead of disease, let me remind you that my book “Healing Is For You!” is free to read online. I’ll put the link below. This book will strengthen and energize your faith for receiving healing and continued health from the Lord.

Also, I have arranged for the e-book version from Amazon to be available for only $0.99 through the end of April. That’s the lowest price Amazon will let me offer.

The book is available in paperback as well, of course, but that takes longer to get a copy than digital. The only difference in the digital is that it does not include study questions, and it has only 33 healing scriptures in the last chapter instead of the 100 scriptures in the print version.

If you do not have a Kindle, that’s no problem, because Amazon offers a free app for any digital device, and you can download it easily from the same page where you order the e-book. I’d offer the e-book free as well if I could, but $0.99 is as close as I can come.

Here’s the link for the free read version:
https://healingfromjesus.wordpress.com/healing-is-for-you/

Here’s the link to the $0.99 e-book:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01GAYZ2J8

If you don’t feel that you need this faith encouragement personally, pass this post on to someone who does need it.



 

What’s Stronger Than Corona Virus???

MEDICAL BAG - with crossWhat’s stronger than Corona Virus?

The Word of God
The Blood of Jesus
The Name of Jesus
Our Redemption From the Curse (which includes all sickness of every conceivable kind.)
_____________
The Word tells us in Galatians Chapter 3 that we who belong to Jesus Christ are redeemed from all sickness and disease (the curse of the broken law).
The Word tell us that we are healed by the stripes of Jesus Christ. (Isaiah 53:4-5 & 1 Peter 2:24)
The Word tells us that we are protected from all sickness and disease in God’s “secret place” (Psalm 91)
The Word tell us that we have power and authority over ALL the power of the enemy. (Luke 10:19).

So let’s do a better job of acting like we really do believe our Father’s Word. We who truly believe what the Word of God says need to be binding ourselves into strong agreement in prayer, taking authority over the Corona Virus and commanding it to stop it’s progression in our nation. Yes, it’s true that everyone who lives here is not a believer, but we as believers — who live in a nation ordained by God for His own purposes — have the spiritual authority to bind that disease from our land and keep everyone here safe from it — even those who don’t believe. The medical community has already admitted that they cannot overcome this thing. But we, the church of Jesus Christ, can. SO LET’S DO IT!!!



 

The Amazing Story of the Real St. Patrick

ST. PATRICK BOOK AMAZON FRONT COVER BRIGHTER

I’ve shared this story several times in article format over the past 9 years, but never put it all together in a book that was available on a world-wide market. But now it’s available through Amazon in paperback and digital.

The little-known, but true story of one of the most amazing soul-winners in the history of the Kingdom of God. St. Patrick of Ireland’s life of ministry is replete with astounding miracles and spiritual experiences that match those reported in the chapters of God’s Word.

And Patrick is credited with bringing at least 70,000 people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ — without the use of any transportation except his feet and his horse, and without the help of electricity or modern technology on any level. The story related in this booklet is taken from Patrick’s own writings and sidesteps vague legends to give the reader powerful truth that will encourage and inspire the faith of everyone who wants to serve God.

Short and easy to read. Get a copy today and an extra for someone whose faith you want to inspire.

PAPERBACK:  $4.00

DIGITAL:  $0.99



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My Journal Page for Ash Wednesday

My journal page for Ash Wednesday – Week 1 of Lent.

ASH WEDNESDAY INK SKETCH

I’m committed to doing one page with a Lenten theme for each of the 6 weeks. I’m not focusing on “making art,” but on what this season means to me. I have a 6 x 6 journal that I purchased last year to record scripture-related art that meant something special to me. I began the first page of that journal with the first week of Lent last year. Now, with this year, I will actually finish the last 7 pages of the journal with an entry for each week of Lent and one for the week of Easter. I think it’s rather amazing how that worked out.

(For any of you not familiar with the tradition of placing ashes on the forehead to publicly recognize the need for repentance and the beginning of this period of Jesus’ suffering for us, I’ll tell you that the spot on her forehead represents those ashes.)



 

My Cadillac For Your Camel – (text & video)

(I originally posted this article almost 7 years ago. But this week I began thinking about the truths expressed in it, and I felt it was time to give it a fresh audience — and to put it into video format as well. You’ll find the video below the text. I trust it will bless, whichever format you choose to experience.)


CAMEL'S IN DESERT

We all live by a value system of some kind. Each possession, each day, and each person in our lives has a different value, and sometimes that value changes. The title of this article is a joke, of course, poking fun at the truth that most value is relative. But what makes it relative? What, in the final analysis, determines an item’s value?

There are millions of affluent citizens of several nations who value their Cadillacs — or a number of other expensive automobiles with big gasoline engines — as one of the most important and life-enhancing items they could own. On a roster of possessions that represent the most positive assets in life, those glossy, high-powered autos head the list.

But let that Cadillac owner find himself stranded in the middle of a blazing desert: sand blowing into every nook and cranny, including his engine — no roads of any kind — no gas stations.  Suddenly, a slow-moving, bad-smelling, comically-proportioned camel is worth a whole lot more to that guy than the Caddy, and he’d gladly make a trade. Value.

By the same token, a woman who finds herself happily married to a kind, thoughtful man will value that man highly — more highly than any of the other people in her life. Her next-door neighbor may be married to Attila the Hun, and she finds herself valuing her time away from him with others much more than she does him.

The woman who’s wished all her life for a huge two-story home with five bathrooms, and who has the money to care for that house and hire help — as well as be free to stay home and enjoy it most days — will value that house highly. But the gal who struggles to make ends meet by working three jobs and going non-stop from sun-up to sun-down will value a one-bedroom apartment that is easy to clean and maintain with no extra fuss.

So what is it, really, that gives something its value? It seems that it is the owner of that ‘something.’  The person to whom the thing belongs and for whom it fulfills a purpose or meets a need is the one who imbues it with its value.

Well, I, for one am thrilled to realize that truth. Because I know for sure to whom I belong.  And I know for sure — because He told me Himself — what service I perform and what needs I meet for Him. Nor am I an isolated case. There are millions more just like me — yet unique at the same time — and bearing equal value in the eyes of our owner.

My owner is the God of the universe, the Creator of all things — including me. His Word tells me clearly (Revelation 4:11) that all things — including me — were created by Him for His pleasure. And, in fact that is my number-one job: to give my Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ pleasure. Surely, I am assigned to do other things: to love others; to teach them what the Word says about Jesus and how He, as God, came to save us from our own sin and rebellion; and to show by my whole life the true nature of God. But those assignments do not substitute for God’s original purpose in creating me: His own enjoyment of a family just like Him.

But not only does He own the whole human race because He created us. When we rebelled against Him and turned away, breaking our relationship with him completely, with no hope to get it back, God came in the person of Jesus Christ and paid the supreme price to buy us back into His possession. He made us the first time (an easy and delightful experience for Him); He bought us the second time (a gut-wrenching, horrific, thoroughly bloody experience for Him).

But you know what’s really interesting to me?  The Word of God tells us in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus faced all of that sacrifice for us — laying aside the privileges of Divinity and re-defining Himself in human flesh, living a life never once stained by sin, and taking our sin and the horrible shame, beating, crucifixion, and separation from God that we deserved — because He saw something beyond that sacrifice that would give Him so much joy that it far surpassed the evil He would have to endure.

Now, tell me please, what joy could the Lord of the universe – Creator of all things — what possible joy could He have been missing that made such a horrific sacrifice necessary? The only thing He was missing was a relationship with man. Since man, by his own volition, had irrevocably broken that relationship, nothing could restore it at that point. The only hope was if God could find a way to “re-create” the human race — to make them righteous enough again to fellowship with Him.

The triune Creator had everything else He could possibly want, but not one of those things could give Him the joy that His relationship with us could give. Dear friend, it was for man — for you and me — that He longed. It was for you and me that He made the decision to suffer such agony and death.

So how valuable are we? Is there anything in the universe that could be bartered for you and me? Is there anything that can be offered to Jesus Christ in exchange for His relationship with us that would tempt Him to give us up? Not on your life, my friend!  He already made that choice, once and for all, when He laid down everything else for us.

Remember, He didn’t just decide to come down to earth for a moment in time and go through the motions. He came down to go through the reality of taking on our sin, taking on our separation and banishment from the Father God, taking on our death. His only hope was in the eternal Word of the living God, who had spoken that He would raise Jesus up with new life once the legal price for sin had been paid in full. Had that Word failed, Jesus would never have seen Heaven again, and we would be lost and undone — without God and without hope — forever.

But He did see Heaven again. He came up out of that grave with eternal life to offer anyone who would accept the sacrifice He had made. (John 3:16-18, 1 John 5:11-12). So when we accept His sacrifice and accept Him, that new life comes into us and we are “born again.” (John 3:3-5). We become “a new creation: a new species,” created in the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself. (2 Cor. 5:17).

Yes, it’s easy to identify Jesus Christ as our owner — twice over. He created us; then he paid for us. A critical reader will stop here and note the fact that I am repeating this point for the third time in this article. And he would be correct. I am repeating this astounding truth so many times because this world has a way of draining it right out of us. It’s so easy to give mental assent to what we’re discussing here but miss the power of it as a reality in our lives. So once more I will remind all of us:  He laid everything on the line — Heaven, His eternal throne, His own life — for us. And therein lies our value.

It doesn’t matter how we feel about it. It doesn’t matter what we think. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the situation. Our worth is set for eternity, and no one — absolutely no one — is going to get Jesus to trade us for anything else at all.


photo courtesy of BeautifulFreePictures.com