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Sep

14

Daniel, What’s Your Problem?

By pastorbillwalden

Daniel 8:27 And I, Daniel, fainted and was sick for days; afterward I arose and went about the king’s business. I was astonished by the vision, but no one understood it.  

The book of Daniel contains many of the prophecies given to Daniel regarding future times, including what is called “the last days”. Daniel received many visions from God, and those truths affected him greatly.  Daniel actually suffered because God gave him insights into the things that would come to pass.  Daniel suffered because God revealed truth to him.

Understanding the truth of God is certainly meant to be liberating.  Jesus said, “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”.  (John 8:32)  Many of us have experienced the freedom which comes from knowing and embracing the truth of God.

However, not many of us consider that knowing the truth can also cost you.  It can sometimes intrude upon your comfort and your sense of well-being.  Knowing the truth of God can sometimes bring you great pain, great consternation, great concern, and physical discomfort.

Here are a few examples…

Proverbs 16:18  Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

You may have a friend or loved one who is proud, arrogant, and haughty.  You know that eventually, they are going to fall, and that there will be some kind of destruction, some kind of suffering.  You love them, and care about them, and though you know that they need to discover humility, you hate to think of what it will take to get them to the place of humility.  Your confidence in the truth of God’s word makes you sick over your friend’s impending fall.

Galatians 6:7, 8  7Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

This verse brings the Christian great concern and heartache over the spiritual condition of loved ones who constantly “sow to the flesh”.  We know that corruption of some sort is guaranteed to come into their life.  It may be the corruption of a sinful life, with all the fallout that happens when people reject God.  It may ultimate in eternal separation from God. Because you love this person, it makes you sick to think of what their future looks like if they continue to only “sow to the flesh”.

Daniel believed what God revealed to him, and it affected him, because of the sadness and destruction of what God showed him would take place.

As a Christian, I know that God is good, merciful, loving, etc., but I also know that he is holy, and will judge the nations.  Knowing the truth of God made Daniel sick.  Jesus was known as “a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief”.  (Isaiah 53:3) The Apostle Paul wept over those whom he described as “enemies of the cross”.  (Philippians 3:18)

Those statements are not shared as an excuse for a Christian to have a sour life.  There is much about which we ought to be joyful.

But my point is this:  Somehow, some of us have decided that the Christian life should always be about being up, happy, joyful, about never feeling down, never being serious, etc. That is a narrow and incomplete understanding of the Christian life.  I agree that there is much to be joyful about, but there is also much over which we may, at times, grieve.

So, if you find yourself sorrowful over sin, yours or someone else’s, that is appropriate and right.  If God has revealed a great truth to you, it may cost you some joy to carry that truth in your heart.  You may discover that you are feeling “Daniel-ish” at times…even physically sick over the sadness of certain situations in the world.

And if you work or live with a Daniel, give him/her some extra grace.  They are carrying a burden that you may not understand.

Oct

21

180 The Movie

By pastorbillwalden

Dear friends….please take 33 minutes to watch this documentary video.  

It is upsetting, shocking, and compelling, but it brings forth some facts and asks some questions that need to be considered.

http://www.180movie.com/

Oct

7

Thoughts on “Fixing People”

By pastorbillwalden

Christians have unique struggles when it comes to dealing with people. 

By God’s grace, we have been granted insights into wonderful truths about God.  His indwelling Spirit helps us discern truth from error.  His Word gives us wisdom beyond our natural instincts.  His Presence within us brings tremendous healing.

We then encounter people who have problems, and we are rightfully eager to share the truths of God with these people that we care about (or ought to care about).

Often times, we can inadvertently be so eager to help these people “do better”, “be healed”, “see the light”, etc., that we rush ahead to the goal of what must feel like to some, “fixing a problem”, instead of  “loving a person”.

I fall into this mentality at times.  I don’t mean to, it’s just that I am “in a hurry”, and I need to quickly “dispense the medicine” and move on to whatever is next. I don’t mean to be that way, but sometimes I am.

Now the Holy Spirit blows like the wind (John 3:8), and no two situations are ever exactly the same, but consider this as you may be trying to help people…

We need to genuinely love them, listen to them, and not be in a hurry to “fix them”.

Unbelievers are often quick to love folks without trying to fix them, or at least that has been my experience.  I am sometimes amazed at hearing how unbelievers spend countless hours helping friends, loving kids, doing good deeds, etc.  It is no wonder that many folks are attracted to those who show such acts of love with no strings attached.

Christians know that man’s greatest need is a relationship with Jesus.  All the good deeds in the world will never replace salvation through Jesus Christ.

I am not suggesting that we love people so that we can “earn the right” to speak into their lives.

I am suggesting that we love them because Jesus loves them.  Period.

Just some thoughts….

Feb

10

Judgment & Forgiveness

By pastorbillwalden

There is a great and awesome day coming when Jesus will judge the nations. It will be a day of blessedness for some, and a day of terror for others. It will be a day of perfect clarity in the minds and hearts of all humanity. It will be a day of overwhelming joy and horrible regret.

Matthew 25:31, 32 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”

I find it very interesting that many do not consider the judgment of God to be true.

The understanding and expectation of judgment is put into the heart of man by God Himself.

Read more »

Feb

10

Judgment & Forgiveness

By pastorbillwalden

There is a great and awesome day coming when Jesus will judge the nations. It will be a day of blessedness for some, and a day of terror for others. It will be a day of perfect clarity in the minds and hearts of all humanity. It will be a day of overwhelming joy and horrible regret.

Matthew 25:31, 32 “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.”

I find it very interesting that many do not consider the judgment of God to be true.

The understanding and expectation of judgment is put into the heart of man by God Himself.

Read more »

Jan

27

Most Is Not Enough

By pastorbillwalden

The heart of God is amazing.  He is far beyond us regarding His concern for people.  Every one counts.  God is concerned for every person on this Earth.  He cares for the ones that we overlook and that we might sadly consider “out of reach”.  He seeks those ones who would take “too much effort” to love and care for.  He is concerned for the “less thans” and the insignificant.  He seeks those who have estranged themselves from Him, either through negligence or by determined choice.

Read more »

Jan

21

His Will And Way

By pastorbillwalden

The man or woman who walks with Jesus will be concerned about people.  They will notice the needs of people, as did Jesus, and as He still does.  Jesus will use His present day disciples to meet people’s needs.  We who follow Jesus must be sensitive to how He is leading us to minister to others.

Matthew records for us what has come to be known as “The Feeding Of The 5,000.”  The actual number of people was more than this.

Read more »

Jan

12

Dealing With Accusers

By pastorbillwalden

Most of us don’t like being disagreed with. All of us resent an unjust accusations, especially when they comes as we are trying to do good.

Jesus sought to heal a paralytic man, and was accused of blasphemy. Jesus was trying to enhance a man’s life.  Blasphemy was punishable by stoning.  The two positions couldn’t be further apart, but notice Jesus’ desire to win his accusers to Himself.

Read more »

Mar

6

A Simple, But Profound Blessing

By pastorbillwalden

I have come to greatly enjoy writing, and receiving feedback on my thoughts. I never would have guessed this even a year ago, but it has been a great discovery.

Some of the unique blessings of writing online is the immediate exposure of your ideas to an audience that wants to hear from you. I can also receive feedback very quickly. The process is amazing.

And honestly, I like the idea that my thoughts mean something to someone. We are all like that.

I am a pastor, and by nature, a communicator about Jesus. My blog stats tell me that some people find my thoughts interesting. I like to share, I like to be heard, and I like feedback.

Delays in communication can inhibit my interest in writing and communicating with people. I have some ideas for a book, but there isn’t any immediate feedback during the book writing process, so I blog instead. Immediate gratification is what it’s all about, right?
;)

I’d much rather talk than write. I’d much rather write online than send a letter. I have gotten quite spoiled at being able to interact with people very quickly. That’s how I want it. I can’t imagine living in a time when there was only communication by letters carried by men on horses.

That brings me to the point of this article.

One in every hundred Americans is currently in prison. Some of them are in their cells 23 hours a day. I am talking about a 5′ x 10′ cell, designed for one man, but holding two.

I am not writing to talk about poor prison conditions, or how we should treat prisoners, or get tougher or softer on prisoners. None of that is my point.

My point is this: I take for granted my ability to communicate freely with other Christians all over the world. Life in prison can be quite limiting for those desiring edifying Christian interaction. If a man or woman wants to have true Christian fellowship in prison, there aren’t a lot of options. Some of these folks are denied access to chapel services for good or bad reasons. Sadly, most prisoners aren’t seeking deeper and more meaningful spiritual interaction, from what I have heard.

One option is to write to inmates, or at least send them articles, Christian literature, etc. Caution is always needed about revealing personal information, etc. You don’t have to be a writer to communicate ideas with prisoners. You can cut articles out of magazines, or print blog articles of your favorite online writers. Find articles that speak to your heart, and let someone else’s writing do the talking for you.

Or you may be blessed to be able to write and express yourself. That’s great too.

Long story short: Pray about being able to encourage a prisoner in the Christian faith, or about sharing Jesus with an unbeliever who is incarcerated.

Feb

11

Susan’s And My Friend

By pastorbillwalden

I am posting a recent comment by Susan regarding a young man who is a mutual friend and loved one. We are both privileged to know him. I really mean it when I say privileged. My coming to know him was through some tragic circumstances, and it is always bittersweet to see him, since he is now in prison for life. My visits with him are far more sweet than bitter.

A person who is living for Jesus, even under the most difficult circumstances, can make times of visiting really sweet. Such is my experience with our common friend. Every time.

All who know and love my friend understand the limitations and imperfections of the human justice system. We understand what the law sees and what it doesn’t see. We understand that man’s inability to bring perfect judgment is the nature of the world we live in.

None of us are trying to overturn the judgment that was made. In our hearts we wish it were different, because we have a perspective that only a few have. We also undertand that we are not feeling the incredible pain of others, who would also disagree with the judment in an opposite fashion.

I thank God that we have a judicial system, but it is not perfect. Thankfully, as Christians, we live under God’s grace and not just human law. God’s perfect grace tempers human law, at least within the soul of a child of God. Our friend has an eternal perspective that tempers what could be a deadening sorrow of the soul.

He is following the admontion of the writer to the Hebrews, who said, “…looking unto Jesus…”. (Hebrews 12:2) That decision brings life to him in the near lifeless world he now inhabits.

Finally, these comments are not intended to criticize the system. Rather, the focus is to point out a young man whose life has been radically altered by his sin and the sins of others, but who is choosing to live for Jesus, in spite of the wrongs done againt him, and the wrongs he himself has done.

Here is Susan’s post, which I wanted to highlight. I also wrote about our friend on November 14, 2007, in an article called “The Birth Of Compassion”.

Here is the link to that previous post: http://pastorbillwalden.wordpress.com/2007/11/14/the-birth-of-compassion/

Susan wrote:
Yesterday, I visited a young man who is in prison for life. He made some huge mistakes, and now he is paying a terrible price. Yet every step he has made behind bars has been a step deeper, and farther, with God. I feel truly privileged to be a witness to what God is doing in him, and to be his friend.

At the same time, to see such a young man living in such dreadful conditions, and to know he will spend his whole life, maturing, growing old, and dying, in a crowded and dirty cage, fills me with such bitter sorrow at the waste and suffering, and such disillusionment with a society that would perpetrate this and feel righteous about it, that I am tempted to the despair spoken of in Pastor Bill’s writing. (Referring to the “Things Unseen” post, February 9, 2008)

What saves me from giving in to it is that I see, before my own eyes, God’s power at work. I know that what He has begun in this young man, He will finish, and what looks like dead-end hopelessness is in reality the anteroom of fulfillment. I praise and thank our God for the blessed hope only He can give.