I Do Miss Him

I thought I’d write on the topic of grieving my late dog Leo who passed away over a year ago. I wrote this in a book that when we love someone a lot we also will miss a lot. I would be lying if I said I didn’t still miss him. I did get another tremendous dog Joby who has helped me navigate through the grieving process by the grace of God and I take nothing away from him, by saying I still miss Leo.

As I thought about it, Joby would have never come into my life if Leo was still around, so there is always a way to count God’s blessings. And I know God works through him at times, because there are moments when I reflect on Leo and it will start making me a bit sad, and here comes Joby just putting his head on my shoulder as if prompted by God to do so, and this has happened several times in the past year.

When Leo was diagnosed with deadly lymphoma, we became quite closer and we were quite close before this time. Each day was magnified, another of God’s blessings as I look back. We were battling each day not knowing if Leo would see the next one. If anyone had a loved one go through this, you know exactly what I mean. You aren’t looking forward to next year or even next month, it is a day by day gratefulness. You don’t draw away, you get closer.

There is also some guilt to navigate through during that time, because you are always trying never to waste a day on them on other things which do tend to come up. And with a dog, they are always at your mercy so they obediently will do anything you task them with. I had some anger with myself at times for getting to captivated on anything other than Leo, but being as considerate as he was, he never seemed to mind.

I learned never to take the people we love for granted through Leo. “Maybe next time” or “next year” doesn’t seem to fit right now. And now Joby is reminding me of this as well, another one of God’s true blessings. The sad circumstance of losing Leo was definitely an eye opening learning experience. He was great in every way, a companion I counted on through everything, and now he was gone. Writing about him has been a great therapy as well as knowing that God is right here with me. Through it as well, some people I never expected to support me, did and still do. They could have fell off long ago and I still would have appreciated them, but they continue to help me in ways they don’t realize. Remember this with a friend who has went through a loss, they might seem to have bounced back in many ways, but know part of them will still grieve the loss no matter how long it is, be there for them. You will know who God placed there for you by who doesn’t fall away quickly, the “I am sorry for your loss” and then they are gone.

One other thing I learned from the experience with Leo, is that you know who you truly love if you cannot imagine your life without them, because I said it is a day by day love, a not taking for granted type of love. I couldn’t imagine my life without Leo at the time, all I could do is hope for another day with him. But don’t fret, God will give you more love in your life, more that you cannot imagine living without. He makes that oh so clear if we just LOOK. And there might someone or something you have this with but never really thought about it that way, don’t take them for granted. Do what you can do today, tomorrow is never promised as Jesus taught.

Those memories of Leo are something I will always cherish and learn from! I still miss him as life goes on by the grace of God.

A lyric from the Mamas and Papas song “Monday Monday” comes to mind as Leo died on a Monday morning. “Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn’t guarantee, that Monday evening you would still be with me” “Oh Monday morning you gave me no warning as to what was to be, oh Monday Monday how could you leave and not take me”.

A Question of Faith

Luke 7:48 Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

I posed a question to Roman Catholics recently, “can a sinner approach Jesus Christ directly for the forgiveness of their sins, and would He forgive them”? They need to answer “YES”, which is the correct answer.

But then they go onto say, they would rather approach forgiveness through their church, through their priest. Many are completely blind to this and their complete lack of faith in Jesus Christ. Why is it a complete lack of faith? Because given the choice of going DIRECTLY to the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and a fallible church and/or sinner priest, the Catholic choses their church and priest instead.

They either need to acknowledge that they replaced Jesus with their church in this, or that they don’t really believe there is a direct access or if they do, they don’t believe Jesus will forgive their sins. Which means they don’t believe IN Jesus.

Any sinner has 100 percent direct access to God through Jesus Christ, 24/7/365, His office is always open. He can handle millions if not billions at the same moment as well in hearing a confession, in forgiving sins. He doesn’t need to eat, sleep, or a donation in order to do so. So why would someone who claims to believe in Jesus then seek their forgiveness elsewhere? It makes no sense, but you need to really think on the question of faith here.

Look at Roman Catholics, they claim a faith in Jesus Christ, but then seek a priest, their pope, their sacraments, Mary, RCC “saints” for the forgiveness of their sins? Their statement of faith in Jesus is unequivocally FALSE! And I for one am bold enough to state this. By directing forgiveness of sin AWAY from Jesus Christ, you are telling God that Jesus is really NOT the Messiah, that He is NOT the head of the Church. Roman Catholics have this idea that Jesus just gave up all His authority to their church. And there is absolutely NOTHING in Scripture which commands that a sinner seeks a RCC priest for the forgiveness of their sins through a sacrament. Every Christian example is a direct confession of faith to God through Jesus Christ.

The question is clear and simple. If you direct access to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of ALL your sins, why are you not using that access? Could it be you really don’t have faith in Him, but displaced that faith in mankind instead? Yes!

Is it OK to Complain to God?

Is it OK to complain to the Almighty God? My answer is yes and no. We read in Scripture of the right way to complain of our daily problems which would the answer “yes”, but there is never a time to complain about the job of which God is doing which would be the answer “no”.

If you are in are relationship with God, complaining our pressures and stresses to Him becomes natural. Granted He knows all of these things before we bring them up, but you are telling God “I trust You enough to tell you them”. So there is a good way to complain and it does it bring us closer to God because it grows our faith that He is listening.

There is also a bad way to complain, which would be questioning God at His will or the complaint being that He did not live up to your expectation or placing any blame on Him. Again, He knows of your unbelief, but a spoken word against God is called blasphemy, a sin. People nowadays throw God’s name out as if were nothing, there is no fear of Him. Each time we take His name in vain is a sin. Yes even the most prevalent “Oh my God”, that would be taking His name in vain. Or using Jesus Christ’s name as a curse word, that also would be taking God’s name in vain, a sin.

So approach God with reverence, speak to Him as your Father in heaven. If you struggle, it is perfectly OK to complain these things to Him. Ask Him to help you through these struggles, and He will. As your faith grows, you will find your conversations with God becoming easier, your prayers to Him are also easier. You won’t have to keep saying His name, as if He didn’t hear you the first time, you know He is listening to each word.

What is Idolatry

1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.”

Idolatry is a sin, a much hated sin of God. It the equating or equaling of a human or invented god or anything for that matter with God. Giving His attributes such as omniscience, omnipresence, or omnipotence to any of His creation is called idolatry. The premise of idolatry is the idol. Now some might be confused as to what things would be an idol. Such as then saying “your parents” or “your spouse” is your idol and thus you commit idolatry. Not necessarily. The sin of idolatry needs a component of the idol as I mentioned, the equaling or equating that idol with God or in some cases flat out replacing God with the idol. So if you aren’t equating your spouse for example with the Almighty God, thus you are not committing idolatry.

Idolatry was a common sin among the Jews in the old testament. They would worship other gods, giving these other gods the same power as the Almighty God and thus commit the sin of idolatry.

Where is idolatry most present? Believe it or not, it is a common sin among those who claim they follow Jesus Christ. In many churches for example who will elevate a created being into basically a deity. The Roman Catholic Mary is a prime example. Now Roman Catholics will ask you not to believe your eyes and ears as they commit this sin, but it is in fact idolatry if you study the focus they have around Mary by their various feast days, their many doctrines invoking her name, their prayers, their various shrines and parades for her. Praying to Mary for example is a form of idolatry, because one would have to believe she in omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient in order to bypass God who is in Heaven.

Logic would tell you that atheists do not generally commit this sin of idolatry. Why? Because they don’t believe God exists, they are not equating anything to Him in a religious sense. Now if they claimed to be a “god” in their own right, they would commit the sin of idolatry or if they claimed by superstition a created being was omniscient, or omnipresent, or omnipotent, they too would then commit that sin. So I am not saying they don’t commit this sin, they just don’t do it as often or as prevalent as those in religious communities.

The common perpetrators of idolatry are religious. They have formed idols either by wives tales passed down or by superstition. An example would be kneeling in front of a statue or shrine, they are equating by superstition God’s omnipotence. Another example would be a ritual or gesture they would make to ward off evil for example, this is idolatry because again it presumes the gesture is channeling God’s omnipotence. Anything that would take the place of God Himself encompasses idolatry.

If you find yourself in a religion practicing idolatry, repent of this! God hates this sin!

Driving Through the Storm

2 Corinthians 5:7 “For we walk by faith, not by sight.

My thoughts tonight flashbacked to my first job as my dog Joby did something remarkable. I inadvertently threw his training dummy off a bridge over a lake as I was trying to throw it on the bridge for him. In landed in the middle of the lake. Joby was a little tentative as a young puppy with the water, so it took a lot of lessons to get him to swim and get over his fear.

I pondered what to do, if we should just leave the dummy. But I had another idea, I would see if Joby would trust me and swim out and get it. This would be a monumental task, as he never swam that far in his short life. So instead of thinking about it any further, I decided we’d try it. I got Joby into the water who then followed me along the bridge, he was placing his whole faith in me. Then I pointed out to the dummy, and there he went, just a year old. He let all that fear behind and retrieved it without hesitation as I cheered him on, a very LONG swim for any dog. I praised him for this! I think he knew he did something great, hearing the excitement in my voice.

But flashing back to this idea of walking by faith, it brought me back to my first job. A co-worker and I were on the road early one morning with separate trucks going to do some field work. We were both quite young and eager to complete our work. On the way the sky got totally dark, the winds picked up, and a torrential downpour started along with hail. My co-worker was behind me, so I got on the radio and told her that we had no place to go but forward. I had thought she would have stopped as I kept driving right through the storm. I couldn’t see a thing except the side of the road. About 15 minutes of this, the sky lightened and I looked in my rear view mirror and there she was! She didn’t stop, she placed her faith in my ability to get us through the storm. It gave me an immediate profound and lasting respect for her just as I did had for Joby today and his accomplishment. They removed all of their fear, something that is unnatural in doing. Walking by faith and not by sight is not a natural ability.

Tying all of this to faith in God, He must also feel somewhat that way when one blindly follows Him, as we remove all fear. If He has graced you with a new heart, the unnatural became a new natural. Because it is a trust in Him that no matter the storm or circumstance, He can see that you are still following Him! It is when we stray off course, when we stop trusting His lead, that is when things go bad. Born-again, we now walk by faith, not by sight! You can’t be trusting in God if you are doubting Him, if there is fear. It is when the skies in your life turn dark, that’s when the test of saving faith in God comes. When you are tasked to blindly do something and just have faith that no matter what the outcome, no matter if your very life depended on it, that God will see you through that storm. You keep driving, you don’t stop, you swim out in the middle completely trusting in Him without hesitation or fear or doubt as an analogy to the examples I gave above.

Scripture teaches us that it is FAITH which pleases God. And I will bet you can think back on your life whether it was a young child or a pet or a friend or family member who blindly trusted you, and the satisfaction that gave you because they placed their faith in you to see the task through, even with their very own life.

I do believe God gives us at times examples like this so that we know that our faith in Him is not in vain. That He deeply cares about us just as we do the loved the ones in our lives. What a great God He is!  So today, if you have not done so, place your whole faith alone in Jesus Christ!  Believe that He is the Savior, that He redeemed you from ALL of your sins, and repent of them. Nothing more than faith, of which He grants by grace, pleases Him!

Fundamental Christianity

Upon my rebirth, I saw a coined term in regards to what I was witnessing, I was called a “fundamentalist” or “fundie” by some. I shrugged it off because if being fundamental means using Scripture strictly as the ultimate authority for the practice of faith in God and the sharing of His Gospel, sign me up! I take that as a badge of honor.

Modernistic “Christians” shirk at the fundamentals of the Gospel, because for one thing they aren’t actual Christians but are trying to play a part of one. They want Christianity to conform to the modern ills and sins of society, so fundamental basics of Scripture which do not coincide with this are rejected, twisted, and perverted.

If you are a Christian with Scripture as your authority, indeed you can go back many centuries to find a Christian who believed and teaches the same thing you are learning from God. That is the thing about the Gospel, its power to save a person in the first century is the exact same as it is 2021. It needs no refining, no embellishment. Jesus does not change according to the century, sin is still sin and the same sins are still being committed.

The applications from Scripture might conform to a modern age, this would be common sense. But the central truth of Scripture from that application does NOT change, it remains fundamental and essential. There were no computers just 100 years ago for example, but the fundamental applications from Scripture still can be applied to whatever the era requires.

The problem comes in when some try to change the central TRUTH of Scripture to meet the application which is always shown to be sinful. Gay marriage for example in the U.S., would be one of these circumstances. The only way for the application from Scripture to conform to that sin is by changing or perverting the central truth from Scripture. Many churches are under God’s wrath and condemnation for doing this, and Scripture actually warned us several times that this would come.

The hard truths from God’s revealed word will NEVER change, no matter what the sinful majority say or vote for. So we must always be discerning truth from error with Scripture as the ultimate answer and authority. Many councils for example convened through the ages under the veil of religion and pseudo Christianity to attempt to surpass the truth in Scripture. The council votes, and now it is a new truth while the sinner who is not discerning this by Scripture nods their head in laziness and pride.

If you are called a “fundamentalist”, a “fundie”, take heart! You are part of the Kingdom of God! You WILL be hated by the unbelieving world, you WILL be persecuted for those hard truths from God which are not negotiable. You may lose everything and everyone in your life on this earth, but they will NEVER take your eternal life way from you!