And you will hear a voice say, ”This is the way; turn around and walk here.” Isaiah 30:21 

I personally am not a user of GPS. I prefer my old trusty Atlas, having said that I realize that neither are perfect. I guess I am one of those who just like to see where I started from and where I’m going. And anytime I’m traveling in unknown territory, you can bet your boots that I have my nose stuck in one. My trusty map allows me to mark off my progress and to see how much farther I have to go. 

The Bible and my Atlas have a lot in common. Pick a verse, any verse, and you're on your way. God orders your steps. He goes before you, and He even tells you that you ought to be on the narrow road rather than the broad one. Matthew 7:13-14. There is not a one of us who at times think that we’ve lost our way and when that happens there isn’t any reason to go into panic mode. Read on. When Jesus' disciples asked Him how they could get where He was going, He replied, "I am the way" You can't get lost when you trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, He will show you the way. 

Truth be known most of us feel like we’re going in the wrong direction because of the fast pace we live in today. We want everything instant and accurate! Neither GPS or our maps can keep up with today’s pace, we’re continually straightening out winding roads cutting through mountains and building bridges over rivers but God’s Word and His directions have never and will never change.  We seriously need to read Isaiah 30:21 again, again and again. Folks, If we have a Christian relationship with God, if our prayer life with him is what it should be, He will direct our steps. But if our ears are not open to hearing His voice, and our heart unyielding to his nudging, we won’t have a clue as to which direction to take and we will remain lost. Perhaps lost forever.

So get into that map of yours out. (The Bible) dust it off, learn to look at the direction your life is taking. And remember you know exactly where you’ve started from and where you're headed, so always take the narrow road rather than the broad one.  Keep your eye on the Way, and you'll make it to your destination which is your heavenly home. 

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Habakkuh 2:18  What profit is an idol when its maker has shaped it, a metal image, a teacher of lies? For its maker trusts in his own creation when he makes speechless idols!

The 14th. of this month, (September) Was my 6th. year anniversary of never failing one day to read a minimum of 5 chapter of the Bible daily. Will this get me into heaven? Definitely not! But it does keep me in God’s Word and that’s important to me.  

Personally I’m bothered by the false idols of today, not that their any worse that they were in the Old Testament days.  As we read through the Old Testament we can find perhaps as many as a 100 or more examples of idol worship. How arrogantly would it be for us to think that we’ve come so far from that very same way as it was in Habakkus’s time?  

To most of us it would seem insane that we could fashion an idol out of wood, bronze or gold or anything else and then worship it and expect some miracle from it.  We know in our mind and in our heart that God is the only One worthy of worship as He is our Creator, but still we do worship the created. We do indeed!

Perhaps you don’t think that true in today’s society?  How about extreme environmentalism where man worships the earth, which God did in fact created?  Or how about trusting in money to get you everything you want from position to health and to security?  Some of us even worship our ownchildren, sure we do, we building our entire lives around their every little needs and wants.  We are all guilty of worshipping  idols that aren’t worthy of our devotion.  There’s definitely nothing wrong with taking care of planet earth, or making money, or loving your children.  All of the above mentioned are good things.  But when they are the main focus of our lives, they are our gods.

Habakkuh rightly points out the absurdity of putting our trust in and directing our worship towards idols we’ve created and expecting them to better our lives somehow.  Only God Himself is worthy to be praised and He deserves our full attention and our praise.

I’m also troubled by those that seem to worship Hollywood stars. You can’t turn the television on now today’s that they aren’t praising some so called star for their performance although they were 99% naked and in some cases 100% completely naked and yet a good percentage of people idolize them and see them as celebrities worthy of praise.

Idolatry is a sin! It’s a sin in any shape form or fashion.  Having said this I would remind everyone that Jesus Christ taught about both heaven and hell more than anybody in the Bible. So, hell or lake of fire and heaven are real. You and I will go either to heaven or to the lake of fire. It's wise to find the truth about how to go to heaven, rather than convincing people that they are on their way to heaven and there's nothing wrong with worshipping false idols. The truth is better than a positive attitude. It may save people from the lake of fire Jesus talked about.

We would do well to remember that nothing escapes God’s judgment.


                                                                                                                                     By: Rocky Hankins

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~In the midst of pain and suffering some people find it very hard to believe.  Its a challenge beyond their belief to think that things can be better than they are at the present.

This is understandable, after all, even the disciples who walked with Jesus were completely devastated after His crucifixion.  Jesus had told them over and over, the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes.  He also told them He had to be killed, and after three days He would rise again.  Did they believe Him? No,most of them doubted what He said.  Just like most of us do, they couldn’t see past their human perception or expectations to claim God’s promises.

They were heartbroken and felt helpless when Jesus was crucified because they thought it was all over, their Messiah had been murdered.  They had witnessed him cry out from the cross in agony and pain, they had witnessed Him give up His last breath.  Their hopes and dreams were shattered. Oops, they had forgotten that Jesus would be raised in three days. Do we ever forget?

How often do you and I get caught up in the attitude of helplessness and defeat in this old world? We get overwhelmed by our circumstances and limitations and we to forget just like the disciples forgot.  If we could only see past our imperfections what a difference it would make in our lives and we to could be radically changed as the disciples were after Jesus’ resurrection.  Help us Lord not to forget.

We would all do well to remember the life changing truths that the disciples learned after Jesus rose from the grave.  Jesus triumphed over death and it changed their lives forever and it can do the same for us today.  Jesus promised to pay for our transgressions and deliver us from the grave.  Do we believe that?  Can we really trust in what He said? Folks, There was no power on earth that could have stopped Jesus from what He did for us on the Cross, not the Sanhedrins, nor the Roman army.  Remember they tried, Oh, how they tried.

Regardless of what we face or how overwhelmed our situation may seem the Lord can make it all disappear, He conquered the grave and He can conquer any problems that we encounter in life. Remember Jesus can be counted on to keep all His promises so fear not, trust in Him in ever situation that you encounter and place Him in the center of your life.  Walk with Him, talk with Him and let Him be the compass and guiding light in your life.

The disciples learned that nothing, not even death can separate us from God if we’ll only trust in His Son, Jesus.  They for sure thought they had lost Him on the Cross, but His glorious resurrection showed them that they could never be divided from Him again.  I ask you to keep reminding yourself of God’s truths and His triumph over death because He is the way to truth and eternal victory over death.  May He fill your heart with love and joy that passes all human understanding in this Easter season of your life.

                                                                                                                              By: Rocky Hankins

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This is my body, which is given for you.  Do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of My blood.  Do this in remembrance of Me as often as you drink it.  For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again. 1 Corinthians 11:24-26

Does it really make a difference how we approach the communion table? According to the Scriptures it does. As we prepare ourselves, there are three things we should always remember, according to I Corinthians 11:23-30.

First, we should look back as stated in verse 24. We must be reverent and we must be appreciative of what Communion is about, These verses also speaks of intimacy and fellowship with Christ.  So in looking back, we should look back all the way to the Cross.  We are to remember what Christ accomplished as He was nailed to that Cross.  And what He accomplished by allowing Himself to be nailed to that Cross should tell each of us just how much He really and truly loves us.

Second, we are to also look ahead. The Scriptures say to do this until he comes again 1 Corinthians 11:26. The first time Jesus came to this earth, He came to suffer and serve when He comes again He will come as a Conquering King. Communion also reminds us that Jesus will come again. What an awesome thought. We can thank God that He provided us a life line, or in death we would have been swallowed up in darkness and total separation from God. 

Third, Communion is a time to look deep into our hearts. As we look we should ask the Holy Spirit to show us any areas of our lives that may not

be pleasing to God for that is why we examine ourselves as stated in verse 28. Once we acknowledge these areas, we are to repent of these sins and ask for God’s forgiveness. If we fail to do this we are not honoring the body of Christ as stated in verse 29. This is not a good thing!

So we should approach the Communion table forgiven of our sins with peace and joy in our hearts. We should come in reverence and complete honesty as required by God’s Holy Word.

Gracious Heavenly Father, we ask you in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, to bless the bread and wine that feeds your people that they might eat and drink in remembrance of the body and blood of your Son, Jesus Christ and witness to you, and to others, that are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus, our Lord, and our Savior and always remember Him and keep the commandments which He has given to us, and that we be filled with His Spirit. Amen. 

                                                                                                              By: Rocky Hankins

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Are you worried about something or someone?  Do you fret over petty things that you really have no control over?  Are you worried that you might loose your job?  Will I be sick and unable to work and feed my family?  Will it rain, sleet or snow tomorrow?  Who has the answers to all these questions?  It isn’t me and it probably isn’t you either.  There is only One who knows what tomorrow or the day after will hold and that’s God.

Why do we get so stressed out that we get sick at our stomach? The next time you find yourself in this predicament I challenge you to pick up your Bible and go somewhere that is quite and read Isaiah 41:10. Don’t just read it and lay your Bible down, let it sink in and ask yourself do you really and truly trust God’s Word or do you think some of it might be true or that it doesn’t always apply to you?

I am here to tell you that God’s Words are as powerful today as they were when they were first written.  If God inspired the writers of the Bible to write His Words than they surely must be true.  What better insurance do any of us have other than the Word of God Almighty.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish. Isaiah 41:10-11 (IV)

 Not only does God's blessing rest on us, his presence goes with us. We cannot ever be in a place where He is not with us.  If you have any doubts read Psalm 139. His presence and power will uphold us and strengthen us. No matter what may happen in our physical bodies or our physical worlds, God has given us the ultimate victory over all our enemies and all wickedness and evil. Its best that we believe what God says in His Word because one day we will kneel at His feet and confess that He is what He says He is and His Words are forever true.

My testimony is that I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God and someone once said if God said it I believe it and that holds true for me and I hope and pray that it does for you as well.

Dear Heavenly Father! You are not only the God of the heavens, but you are also my God. You know me and care about me. You hear my cries for help and mercy. You share my struggles and burdens. Please deliver me from all my enemies and short comings, both physical and spiritual, and give me boldness to stand firm in my faith and share it with others. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen. I encourage you to take to heart the promise in this verse. There really isn’t any reason to worry ourselves sick since God has promised to be with us and never forsake us. So please don’t allow yourself to become depressed over everyday pitfalls because God will give you His strength and hold you up with His powerful right hand.  What better guarantee is there in this world?  I dare say there isn’t any!!

Trust God completely and He will surely bless you!

 

                                                                                                                                By: Rocky Hankins

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Most Christians have either said or heard someone else say that God accepts us as we are. When we take the time to consider this and really search our hearts we’ll find that this at best is only partially true. At worst, it can be used as an excuse to continue doing things that are hurtful, harmful, evil or all of the above. If God accepts us as we are, then what’s the point of bothering with all this right and wrong nonsense? Let’s just live and do whatever we want like they did in Noah’s day, because God accepts us as we are, right?

No! If we chose to believe that, we’re missing the point completely. The biggest and most dangerous problem with this feel good, milk toast, attitude is that it completely removes the need for Jesus, our Lord and Savior. It makes His life, death and resurrection completely meaningless. Jesus ends up being belittled to suit our convenience, rather than being elevated to his rightful position as our Lord and Savior.

If we believe that God accepts us as we are; then the key to our salvation is God’s unconditional acceptance of us. In reality, the key to our salvation is the free gift of grace that has been given to us through Jesus Christ. God does indeed meet us where we are but he does not accept us as we are. This may seem like splitting hairs to you, but trust me there is a big difference between being found and being accepted.

Please allow me to use an analogy.  We are all given a ticket, you got your at conception, just like I did mine, this ticket is good for one admission into heaven.  I pray that you haven’t lost or misplaced yours and if we turn that ticket over we’ll find some small prints just like we do in most contracts, credit card agreements and so forth.  The difference is that this small print comes from the BIBLE and it clearly tells us that the ticket is 100% redeemable (at death) it also states what the obligations are on both parties concerned. (God and Us) You my friend must figure out what those obligations are if you don’t already know and the place to find them is in His Word.

This ticket contains some “GOOD NEWS” but it also contains some bad news.  I would encourage you with all my heart to read what it says in its entirety because there are penalties when we don’t know or we choose to not follow the rules precisely. 

Jesus is going to return one day, we have His Word on that and when He does He will bring with Him complete and indisputable knowledge of how each of us have lived our lives and at that time He will punch our ticket and His angles will ushers down the isle either into heaven, the GOOD NEWS or hell, the bad news, heaven leads us into eternal life with God where there will be no sickness, no heart ache, no pain and suffering, no gossip, or disease; just eternal and complete bliss, hell on the other hand will lead to a path of complete distruction, eternal punishment and complete seperation from God Almighty.  Jesus is going to find us where ever we are and its my prayer is that we will be standing there with our ticket knowing without any doubt what so ever that when its punched we’re instantly in the presence of God and His Son, Jesus.

God loves you and He does accept you where you are but there is a vast difference between God acceptance us where we are as opposed to accepting us as we are.  We are sinners, why? Because we do things that aren’t acceptable to God the one who ultimately decides where we spend eternity.  Most of know the rules, we’ve been taught them all our lives yet we think somehow we can tweak the rules in our favor and God will over look the bad things because after all we did a few good things in our lives.

 All our sacrifices, good deeds, our money, or who we know will be of no value what so ever unless we confess that we acknowledge that God’s Son, Jesus, died on the Cross, as a sacrifice for our sins, past sins, present sins, and future sins. When we made this commitment, and accepted God’s free gift of grace that is given through His Son, Jesus, this is the moment that we are accepted by God and the GOOD NEWS becomes the determining factor of where we’ll spend eternity.

All the bad things we have done in our life becomes irrelevant. What matters is what Jesus has already done.  The truth is when God invites us into relationship with him, he offers this to us no matter where we are in life. Still, it is vital that we recognize this is simply the starting point of conversion, rather than the final destination of being a new creation in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17. God wants us to change, and He will work in all Christians to change them and shape them to being more like Jesus. However, the process of being a new creation gets ugly, before it gets beautiful. In Romans 6, Paul writes:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

Having an encounter with God is certainly the starting point,but it isn’t enough. The Pharisees of the New Testament had countless encounters with Jesus, who had come to them as God incarnate, yet they still refused to accept the fact that Jesus was the Messiah. God isn’t interested in random encounters. His desire is that we would be in an eternal relationship with Him, one that is only possible when he accepts us because of who we are in Christ, not who we are in ourselves.  Get your ticket out and dust it off, turn it over and start reading the small print because YOU are under an OBLIGATION that DETERMINES your DESTINY.  No way to escape it.

 

                                                                                                          By: Rocky Hankins