Easter Thought – 2018

We come to the season, again, of celebrating Christ’s resurrection. When I approach this holiday (my favorite by far) in my prayer time with the Lord, I constantly find myself at a loss for words. What can I say? The only thing I have to say is “thank You” to go or His working. The Lord Jesus, the Messiah of the whole world, came here to do what we – humankind – could not. He reached down from heaven in order that we could have a relationship with Him.

I heard a quote a couple years ago and wrote it down so I would never forget it. The quote is:

“Religion is man trying to reach up to God;
The Gospel is God reaching down to man.”

—Unknown

Humankind has been making religions (even the Christian religion) as monuments trying to stand on them to reach God since the time of Babel. It continues today, is a steeple not simply a tower to reach God?

Christianity wasn’t meant to be this. Jesus’ teachings are scarce on the subject of the Church and corporate worship of Him, focusing rather on the day to day lives his followers. We do have the “Upper Room Discourse” in John 13–17. This preaching is familial, relational, and about love. Love for one another (fellow believers) as He (Christ) loves us (the Church/Believers) is laid out as a new commandment. We are to love one another and through this we show our love for the Lord!

Paul’s clear mission for the Church was unity and love as well. (Paul refers to this in Colossians 2:1–2 by hoping our hearts might be knit together in one heart through love.) This is the theme repeated time and time again through the Bible – let alone the New Testament. This is the call: Not to a religious experience, but to a relationship. Let us dwell on our relationship as we go through our day. Jesus’ resurrection provides for this relationship. This is the whole point.

Praise the Lord!

I hope you all have a happy Easter.

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Thoughts on Choices

Choices are hard!

There’s nothing which makes them easier. We stress out over the choice, the results, what other will think. (So often, though, when we finally make a decision we feel free, our stress melts away.) We pray over the choice, we pray over the results, we look left and lean right, we look right and lean left. Our stress stems from chaotic unknowns, from feeling as though we are out of control.

But the problem in our lack of control is something which goes unnoticed in our daily lives until circumstances rub our noses in it. The fact is we are not in control, God is in control. We worry so much about time, about decisions, about control yet our illusion of control once released will free us to see God’s will in our lives. This is not an easy principal.

To move my point home, I want to bring a verse to your mind. This verse comes from the book of wisdom in the Bible: Proverbs. “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9. This verse gives me my whole view point on how our lives work. We make plans, we decide to do things, and the Lord works through what happens in our lives to accomplish His will. So, what does this mean to us about our choices? Does it mean they’re worthless, or does it mean they make no difference in the end?

I would make the argument of our choices still being important. Our choices shape who we are, allow us to grow, turn us into the people we are today, and effect who we ill be tomorrow. God above all things wants a relationship with us. This means allowing us to grow and become fully mature beings. So, what about making choices? That’s where this whole thing started. Everything I’ve written doesn’t make it easier to choose between one option and another.

We pray over our choices. We pray for wisdom. Ask our pastors, elders, and counselors for insight. Even then, we still struggle to choose. I want to inject some peace into your life. (This is not my insight and I don’t have considered myself to have mastered it, yet.) If we ask God for something is He not faithful to give us an answer? We act as if He doesn’t. We ask for wisdom then act like God won’t give it. James, the brother of our Lord Jesus, didn’t agree. He wrote: “But if any of your lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who give to all generously and without reproach, and it will be give to him.” (James 1:5)

If we have this promise from God, about giving us wisdom in His word can we not trust it? If God says He will give us wisdom then He will. Choices, then, become easier: Pray for wisdom, make a choice knowing God is faithful. That’s it! If you’re feeling stressed remind yourself God is in control.

These are my two verses on making choices. God takes care of us and ultimately works all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). Remember this and calm your stressed life down. Find wisdom in your life, from counselors – may they be elders, pastors, parents, or others – but also ask God for it.

Good Luck!


Note: I wrote a personal thought on choices back in 2016 on my personal blog and planned at the time to write one for Believe Better Ministries. I did not accomplish this at the time and 2017 slipped away without the thought having been written. I apologize for all who were waiting for this since I posted I was going to write it. I pray this brings you some peace in making choices.

August 2017 Update

Hey everyone, I want to be better about posting updates here. We’re looking for volunteers currently in a number of places; not just here but also at BOG Ministries. If you would like to get involved in our ministry here, we have a multitude of positions we would love to fill. We are looking at expanding our scope a little bit and we would love your help as we do so.

We are moving forward with so many things. I do plan on having the next episode of the BSB Vidcast/Podcast out this month – most likely very close to the end of the month. I am continuing work on the Believe Something Better Commentary series and I think we are on track for the first volume (though in actuality it looks as though it will be the 55th volume in order of Biblical layout) to be finished by November with subsequent publish in December or January. I am currently finishing up Second John and will be moving on to work on Third John soon. I am rather excited about this whole thing. It always feels good to have some fruit from your labors.

I am hoping to actually put out the eBook of the of the Psalms by RB and I hope to be putting out the second set soon. I enjoy poetry and write it as my mind wanders. I hope you enjoy it too.

All in all, I am hard at work and the BOG team is hard at work. Currently the work for the BOG team is the Gospel of John and after I am finished working on 1 John – Jude I will be putting together a short amount of info to go along with John in order to have an outreach book available. This would be BOG Ministries’ first piece of work in print and we have the same feeling as I stated above, fruits from our labor.

Pray for us as we continue down the road, running the race which is laid before us. We look forward to hearing from any of you who wish to get in touch. Our e-mail lines are always open. Feel free to e-mail us when ever you want!


RB

Update – July 2017

Hello everyone, I am just wanting to give a quick update. We’ve been rather sparse this year on the number of updates. I have to admit I have been really busy so far this season and I’ve been rather preoccupied. This does not mean I am doing nothing. We are hoping to bring out the first official volume of the Believe Something Better Commentary Series this Fall/Winter. This Volume will encompass 1 John – Jude. I believe in actual numbers, though being the first one published once everything is said and done it will be the 53rd volume in the series.

I am hoping to move onto James, or 1 & 2 Peter after 1 John – Jude is finished. We will have to wait and see what the Lord provides in this. I am currently reading my NIV Study Bible which my parents gave me years ago.

Don’t forget to connect with us on Facebook, or send us an e-mail. We look forward to hearing from everyone! As always prayer requests are welcome and keep us in your prayers!

Update and 2016 Prayer Challenge Final

Well everyone, today I am bringing you the final update on my 2016 Prayer Challenge which I undertook last year. It was 366 days which taught me so much. The Lord really showed me so much through out my days of prayer. The very fist thing I learned is the blessings which come from being proactive in our relationship with God rather than reactive. This was so important because most of the time our relationship with God is reactive, something happened so we pray about it.

When this dynamic changes and we enter a paradigm where we are being proactive (actively seeking God first) we start to see how this relationship edifies every part of our lives. I am hoping to scan the 366 days worth of prayer journal entries, but am not making any promises. I’ve also apologize I know in the original post about the challenge I am supposed to type up the entries and post them as a PDF, but after trying I have come to realize I just really don’t have the time.

The other things which I learned was how vast the chasm is between the trials we go through and how we view those trials. I went through some hard times with friends this last year and through the prayer life I had with the Lord this last year I was able to thank Him for the blessings I was receiving as I grew through these trials. My friends were viewing the problems totally as negative, but I was able to look at the positive, because the Lord opened my eyes.

I have a few updates on the projects which I am working on: Breath of God Ministries is coming under the leadership of Believe Better Ministries. This does not mean the goal for BOG Ministries is going to change any, but rather it will just be under the headship of Believe Better Ministries, who will hold the publishing rights to the BOGV.

I am continuing hard at work with my study of the word and the production of the BSB Commentary series and am hoping to finish 1 – 3 John this year. This would finish off the first volume in the series. (1 John – Jude).

We are also still collecting stories from those who wish to participate in the Experiencing Something Better. We look forward to hearing from you all.

That is all for now we hope you all had a good January and February!


RB

New Year’s Thought – 2017

Well 2016 is over… I think it is safe to say it was not necessarily a great year for everyone. My thoughts here have been about my blessing of this year. I committed to a prayer challenge last year and I have come through it. One of the things it taught me was not allowing my relationship with the Lord not be reactive but proactive. What I mean by this is in this prayer challenge it has pushed me to confront issues with the Lord before they come up. I’m not just praying over the problems which have occurred in my life. I’m praying and talking with God over my day to day things and having a good relationship with him.

My thoughts on 2016 is I am just so awed by the blessings the Lord has given me and continues to give me. I am so thankful for the people in my life and how they have helped me grow. I have such a great relationship with my siblings. I’m so blessed by my siblings and how they present the love of God for me.

A lot of people, some pretty famous people, died this year, but you know what, (and this is going to sound callous, but,) it doesn’t really matter, at least not to the most of us. Yes, their families are mourning over them, but for the rest of us their death affects our lives just as the death of the countless thousands dying ever moment. There is only one death which affects our lives and we need to honor. But what’s more it is not just His death which we are honor, it is his resurrection. I bet by now you can guess of whom I am referring: Jesus, our Lord and Savior. He is the only death which matters.

Keep your eyes focused on that and focused on taking care of those around you and maybe we can make 2017 a better year than 2016. This year I will be finishing the latest round of Bible read through and really, I’m rather excited to start from the beginning again.

God bless you all and keep your eyes focused on Him.

Thoughts on the Election

With the election over people on both side are feeling lost, disenfranchised, and even scared. I’ve personally read social media messages by those on both sides of this political season filled with anger hate, and discrimination. Some of these posts were written by friends of mine whom I know Christians. Now before we go any further I am not one of those people who thinks Christians are any better than non-believers. I had this whole argument lined out about redeemed vs. perfected, but I’m going to skip it. Suffice it to say Paul (who wrote almost half of the New Testament) called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and said “For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing” (Romans 7:19 ESV). So, yes, all Christians are sinners.

But as I was praying the last night (the 8th) before I went to bed and before I knew the outcome of the election. I prayed a specific prayer:

“Lord Jesus, my sovereign Master and King, as the people of my country choose their next leader, I lift up to You the decision. You are king of all and in control, Lord, lead the decision. But, also, help us to know You are in control over this situation. With a political season which has been so divisive in not just our country, but in Your body, help us to come together unified in love and our common faith. Lord Jesus, You are our head, You are our Savior. Help us to turn our eyes away from petty man-made doctrines and institutions and turn our faces back to You.

I love You, Lord!

—Amen.”

We need to be healing the wounds! We need to be coming together unifying. Christians are not called to do what they are doing. We are called to live quiet lives (1Thes 4:11; 1Tim 2:2), be subject to all authorities and human institutions – including paying taxes (1Pet 2:13-17; Rom 13:1-7; Titus 3:1;), and pray for our leaders (1Tim 2:1-2). These things leave no room for us to be making snide remarks or posting angry things on social media. Christians should be those who are gracious enough to be empathetic, for we have a God who knows what we feel, who shared humanity and gives us grace freely.

Finally I will close with my prayer today when I found out the results the election:

Lord Jesus, my Master and my God, with Trump becoming president lead us and how we should go. Lord God, You are the one who really is in control, You direct the steps of all mankind. I will put my trust in you, not in the institutions of this world.

Jesus, You You are my King!

I love You, Lord!

—Amen.”

Pray for his leading in your life, but more than that, go be a sibling, parent, cousin, aunt/uncle, husband/wife, or just a friend, love someone and help them when they need it.

A New Year’s Thought – 2016

2016 is upon us. A lot has happened to me over this last year. I have changed some goals in my life and made some important new ones, but really my thoughts at the New Year always turn to the past. I said the same thing last year. “Is the year really over?” I think to myself. Yes it is and I should glorify God in that not complain how fast the time is starting to go. Time speeds up as you get older because so much more of it is already in the past, but the Lord knows this and takes us through it.

We should be looking forward to His glorious return! That is where our eyes should be fixed. Maybe this year, maybe this very month or maybe, even, today He will return. This is where our focus should be. Otherwise the Lord said that the day shall come as a thief in the night. To that end I want to keep my focus not only on the future but on God. I want every iota of my focus on God throughout the whole day, every day.

A friend of mine challenged me with something that is apparently going around the Christian Blogosphere: “The 365 Prayer Challenge”. (For 2016 that will have to be “The 366 Prayer Challenge”.) The challenge is one that no blogger would misunderstand write 365 (or 366 this year) prayers out. One for each day. At the end of the year post them in either a PDF or some other downloadable format, or straight to the blog. This challenge is to keep your focus on God throughout the whole year of 2016.

I want to do it. I want to keep my focus on God 24/7/366 for the year of 2016. I am also challenging you out there in the Blogosphere and Podosphere. Write down a prayer every day, there is no length requirements, just pray. I will be posting mine as a PDF attached to my New Year’s thought for 2017.

Let’s make 2016 the year of Prayer!