The Identity Theft that Changed the World

images-55One of the most pointed and enlightening statements of Jesus in scripture is found in John 10:10, where he said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”. In this small short statement Jesus gives us the agenda of the enemy and God the Son’s plan for our lives. The enemy wants to steal from us and ruin our lives, but Jesus says He Himself has come to give us life to the fullest. Yet, we must realize this abundant life Jesus is talking about is to be lived out in a real world filled with pain, rejection and failure. Jesus isn’t talking about


Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems.


a perfect heaven but a “heaven on earth” reality in the midst of the storms of life. Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of these problems. Scripture warns us that we live within a warfare that can destroy our faith, devastate our self-worth and send us into depression. That’s been the plan of the enemy from our beginning.

I remember the feeling that came over me when I found our shed had been broken into and the power equipment had been stolen out of it. It was feelings of violation and confusion, let alone the anger that rose up, because someone had the nerve to trespass against me. In this world there are those that look and connive to steal from others!

One thing is for sure; to those that have never had identity theft happen to them it might seem a very small and distant thing. Yet the reality is that the rise of identity theft is running rampant through our society. Whether it is a headline news story or a person that we know, we have all been made aware of this evil scheme to steal from the innocent.

In Gen 3:5-7 we see the biblical story of Adam and Eve’s epic sin in the garden. We have heard the story many times over of the original sin that sent man headlong


Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.


into a spiritual spiral through life. The enemy stole their identity through his deception. But, unless we examine the nature of their life before the fall we can’t comprehend the magnitude of the result of the enemy’s plot, which caused them to lose their significance.

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God. They were living in intimate fellowship with God where they were secure and free. Created to reign over all the earth (Gen. 1:26-28). Their purpose was to reflect God’s glory and demonstrate His holiness through humankind. (Ps. 99:3-5) To meet their spiritual needs God walked and talked with them personally. Through intellect, free will, and emotions, God showcased His glorious character through mankind.

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them. Through this sin all of mankind has lost his secure status with God and began to tumble down a miserable slope of distorted and warped feelings of inadequacy, rejection and shame. This tragic event has robbed man of his original identity and plunged him into a struggling journey of searching for significance.

Yet, that’s not the end! God has sent His son, Jesus to redeem us and restore us back to that original position with Him. We are His sons and daughters made in His image! Jesus has restored our true identity on the cross. (Jn1:12, Rom 5:8, Gal 4:6, Eph2:6) Will you receive the truth or are you still listening to the lie of the serpent?

 

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

  1. Have you or anyone you know ever been stolen from or had their identity stolen? How did it make you or them feel? Explain?

 

  1. When you read the story of creation and Adam and Eve’s life in the garden how do you picture it? When it says that God walked and talked with them, how does that make you feel knowing that is exactly how God planned for you and Him?

 

  1. Do you realize the privilege we have in Jesus? When Paul calls us children of God in Rom 8:16   and heirs of the God in , what does that mean to you?

 

 

Quotes to Tweet: 

Abundant life is experiencing God’s love, forgiveness, and power in the midst of life’s problems. – billvirgin.com

Adam and Eve were magnificent creations, complete and perfect in the image of God.    – billvirgin.com

Through the deception and plot of the enemy, Adam and Eve sinned and had their identity stolen from them – billvirgin.com

 

#RejoiceWhenTheHeatIsBeingTurnedUpInYourLife

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The Highest Call to a Believer is …

images-53Whether it’s dreaming to be a lead singer of a band or a top billed movie star or MVP of the Super Bowl we are infatuated with importance and becoming what we believe is success! Isn’t it amazing how we, as well as our whole society identify with what we feel is the most important position.

Unfortunately, we have allowed that exact thought pattern to invade the church. In an era of a mega churches on ever channel and ministers of the Gospel being exalted as we do to rock stars, it can distort our understanding of what is


What we think is important and successful to God is often totally opposite and upside down to what is in God heart.


viewed a success in God’s eyes. We have been deceived in thinking the most important thing we can do to honor our Lord and Savior is found in the limelight. We have been distracted from our heart devotion to God to become defiled by our own determinations to be famous.

I am reminded of God’s word in Isa 55:8 that says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.” What we think is important and successful to God is often totally opposite and upside down to what is in God heart. Even though being a successful minister, and ambassador is important and needed in the body of Christ it is not the highest call of God for us.

Jesus sets the record strait in the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42, where Martha had welcomed Jesus into her home. I can only imagine like most women Martha was getting things ready and wanting to serve Jesus with the best of


We have been distracted from our heart devotion to God to become defiled by our own determinations to be famous


her abilities. I am sure that Martha wanted nothing less than to please and honor Jesus. But when she saw her sister whom was just sitting at Jesus’ feet and not helping with the serving she was distracted and became agitated and frustrated going to Jesus to complain. We read in verse 40 where Martha says, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” Martha’s words reveal that she was not only distracted from what was important, but discouraged at Jesus for not helping and disconnected from Mary due to offence. I think if we are honest we can all identify with how she was feeling and reacting.

Jesus addresses this viscous cycle that we find ourselves often caught in with what is important to Him. He says to His host, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. Jesus calls Mary on the carpet and gets her focus on what is important. Her heart was in the right place; Martha was trying to be a good host and desired to please Him. Yet, even though her motive was right her method was off.

Jesus’s words in vs. 42, “only one thing is needed” expresses the necessity of what Mary was doing. He lets us know that her action was needed, was good, was her choice and ends with a promise that would never be taken from her. What was Mary doing? She was sitting at Jesus feet, listening to His words. This isn’t about a posture but is about the priority of Gods people positioning themselves in God’s presence, pondering His words and understanding His promises.

It is our intimacy and worship before the Lord, which is of most importance to God’s heart. (Ex. 28:1-4, Deut. 10:8-9) We are created to worship Him. (Jn. 4:23-24) I encourage you to be established in what God thinks is priority and not be distracted. Then and only then should we venture out to be about His business!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:

  1. Do you remember growing up wearing your NFL teams sports jacket or dressing like your favorite movie star? What kind of things did you do to mimic those you thought were successful? Explain? 

 

  1. What do you think are some of the most import jobs you can do for God? How would you describe sitting or standing before the Lord? Is it talking about a posture or position?

 

  1. Describe what kind of benefit there is in ministering to God? Are we wasting Time? Shouldn’t we be about His business? How would you encourage others to value a place of prayer and worship before the Lord?

 

 

Let The Pit Produce Your Purpose

images-46It’s amazing how fast things can change around us. Many of us have had some event or situation in our life where something had happened which altered our surroundings and radically changed us from that moment forward. Those earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude.

In Genesis we read a story of a young man who’s life went from being spoiled and loved by his parents to separation and devastation throughout much of his life. We read in Gen 37:18-20 where young Joseph was going to check on his older brothers who were taking care of the family’s sheep. “Now when they saw him afar off, …they conspired against him …said to one another, “…Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit”. These were his family, stepbrothers who should have protected him, but chose to bring hurt to him by throwing him in a pit. They stopped short of killing him physically by selling him into slavery aborting any life desires he might have had. Let alone they lied to their parents that wild animals had viciously killed Joseph. Needless to say, this was a life-altering situation brought on by selfishness and jealousy among family members.

It’s hard to believe that those that should bring safety and encouragement through life’s struggles can sometimes bring the most damage and devastation. Whether it is co-workers, teachers or even those you’re related to they can at times bring the worst destruction in our lives. Life can be fragile and altered many times


Earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude.


where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. We can feel like the popular commercial that states, “I have fallen and I can’t get up”. This advertisement goes on to advertise an emergency button that you can have so during these serious situations you can call for help. You and I can also have in place a much more effective response for our cry for help. That is firstly, our personal relationship in Christ, secondly a strong support by family and friends of faith, as well as thirdly, our own fortitude that comes from confidence in God’s purposes for us.

It is so important that in these times we have our foundation already established in Christ so that our eyes are kept on the one where our help comes from. (Ps 121:2-3) Jesus said in Matt 7:24-25 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.” We will have storms in our


Life can be fragile and altered many times where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. Who will you call?


lives for sure, but they don’t have to wipe us out completely. We can take our deepest pit and allow God to turn it into our strongest purpose to help others. Joseph went from the pit to Potifers house and even through a dark prison season. He could have and possibly did entertain the thoughts that God didn’t care or was punishing him, but ultimately we read that Joseph kept his eyes on the Lord. He knew God was a God that would bring justice in this situation. The end of this incredible story is that God used this incredible tragedy to bring triumph to His people through Joseph. God brought young Joseph from a pit to a palace with a purpose to help others!   I encourage you even though you have fallen into a pit to not stay there but look ahead for your palace!

 

Thoughts to Ponder:  

Have you ever had a situation in your life that has altered your future course? Or maybe you have a close friend that has gone through some tragedy that changed their life. Explain?

As you read the story of Joseph being thrown into a pit by his brothers and then being sold into slavery, what comes to your mind? What do you think brought on such hatred for their younger brother?

Describe what kind of support or helpful measures you have in your life to keep get you out of a pit if you ever fall into one? What do they look like in detail? How would you encourage others to be equipped to overcome adversity in their lives?

Quotes to Tweet:

  • Earth-shaking events can either bring a positive or negative outcome depending on our faith, support and personal fortitude. – billvirgin.com

 

  • Life can be fragile and altered many times where we find ourselves in a deep pit very quickly. Who will you call? – billvirgin.com

#IHaveFallenAndCantGetUp         #DontStayInThePitLookToThePalace          #LetThePitProduceYourPurpose

I am not some Grasshopper I am a Kings Kid?

images-4There are only a few things that come to mind when I think about grasshoppers. They’re great bait, they were fun to catch when I was a kid and they make a horrific mess on the windshield. So what on earth would make ten distinguished representatives describe themselves as grasshoppers? There are certain profiles that depict our personalities and compare them to certain animals, but is a grasshopper really something that has any good features to compare us with? I choose to say no!

In the story of God’s children coming out of their bondage and come to the verge of their promised land, we find a very interesting statement that was made. Let’s look at a few passages in this story in Num. 13, 14.

First we are introduced in verse 2 where God tells Moses to have each of the twelve tribes pick out a representative to be a part of an exploration team to the land that God said He had given them. Remember, God had delivered His children from


Don’t “blow it” when finally arrive on the brink of your destination, your God given inheritance as a child of the King, which was divinely hand picked by God.


being abused slaves through demonstrating His power through incredible signs and wonders. God even wipeout the enemy that was pursuing them without even having the Israelites lift a finger. Now they are on the brink of arriving at their destination, a land that was abundantly blessed with God’s goodness! It was their inheritance as His children, which was divinely hand picked by God.

Now after forty days of exploring we read in Num.13:25-33 as they bring back specimens of the new land. The twelve give their report before all the people saying how great the bounty of the land was. But then ten of the twelve began to take a serious noise dive from the positive to a deep negativity spreading their fearful propaganda to all that listened, saying in vs. 30-33 that there was no possible way they could occupy this land of inheritance. They concluded with these words in vs 33, “There we saw the giants …and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” What? They’re calling themselves grasshoppers? If there is ever a bad confession that is it! The sad thing is this isn’t just a bad confession but is evidence of a much deeper problem. It wasn’t just a bad choice of words but was the results of not understanding or knowing who they were!

Jesus says in Luke 6:43-48 that the fruit of our lives come from our heart and specifically says in vs. 45, “For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”


When you face difficult situations are you quick to declare “you are able” because of your confidence in God or that you’re nothing but a grasshopper?    


Also in verse 46 Jesus brings out that the people He was talking to were speaking words but they weren’t in their hearts, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say? Solomon says in Prov. 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”

God had called these people His children (Ex. 3:10, 6:6-8) and confirmed it through fighting for them and showing His power in their behalf many times. Yet, ten of these men evidently were lacking that understanding in their heart. The result was it brought devastation and hindered them from receiving what was theirs.

Where do you stand? When you face difficult situations are you quick to declare like Caleb and Joshua in vs. 30 that “we are well able” because their confidence in God or that you’re nothing but a grasshopper? Do you realize that you’re a child of God (Rom 8:15-17) or just caught up in some sort of empty religion?

Walking On The Water Isn’t For The Faint Of Heart

images-15I know that there are many individuals who like me grew up in Sunday school hearing and envisioning Peter the disciple who walked on the water and then the following week at the city pool we would try and mimic the Bible lesson as we took a step on the water. No matter how many times we sunk, we would keep trying again and again with no avail. There’s definitely something to be said about the raw undefiled faith of children.

Peter and the other disciples in Matt 14:24-33 were in the small boat going to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. They had just experienced Jesus feeding the multitude, but like so many of us, the disciples still didn’t have a grasp on who Jesus really was. They were still on their journey of getting to know who Jesus was. The scripture says that in the wee hours of the morning that Jesus comes to them walking


There are no shortages of excuses that can talk you and I as adults out of what God wants for us      (tweet)


on the stormy water. I just want to say that it doesn’t take very much to frightened people from 3 to 6am in the morning. Let alone a person who they don’t recognize walking on the sea. Yet, even after Jesus calms their fears by letting them know it was He, Peter still questions Him in verse 28 with a proposition of “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water”. So Jesus does and Peter climbs out of a perfectly safe boat onto the turbulent water.

There are no shortages of excuses that can talk you and I as adults out of what God wants for us. To often we have allowed things that we are familiar and comfortable with to become a type of security blanket in our lives, keeping us from ever experiencing the reality of who God is and what His plan for us is. It’s like the baby, who grows and matures and one day comes to the point of having to let go of their baby blanket that gives them a calming security. There’s really no protection ability or safety value in the tattered frail blanket, but it’s something that a child has


Only one disciple up until now has that testimony walking on water! (tweet)


for much of their young life giving them a disillusion of security. In the same manner many adults have settled into a place of comfort and dependability to a point of repeating the same cycle of the security blanket?

Most of the disciples like Peter had grown up spending much of their time on boats and relying on them to keep them safe. Now, Jesus challenges Peter to get out and walk to Him in the midst of a storm. So putting excuses aside and looking to Jesus through a deeper belief of who He is, got out of his comfort and walked on the water. He experienced God in a way that none have ever been able to experience before. Only one disciple up until now has that testimony! The others stayed in the confinements of what was safe and normal to them.

Therefore, there comes a time for each of us also to quit making excuses and get out of our boat and walk on the water. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are and who cares what others are saying, it’s time to focus on what Jesus is saying. You see it’s not a matter of how bad the circumstances are but what were focused on! Our eyes must be fixed on Jesus!   Paul says in Heb. 12:2, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith”.

 

Mothers are God’s Kiss on Every Home!

IMG_3544In a day where there was no canned “Spaghetti O’s” to be easily opened for dinner or a ready roasted chicken at the local grocery store. Or even any of the conveniences mothers have today, such as disposable diapers, automatic washing machines, packaged baby food and just add water-canned milk. Susanna Wesley raised her children in a pleasing manner before God.

In Prov. 31 we read King Solomon’s insight about a mother that is pleasing to God, he writes in verse 27, “She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. The successful mother in God’s eyes is one that watches closely over her household. The phrase used here in this passage is to peer into the distance and keep a watchful eye out for her children. A mother is anything but a second-class citizen. A mother is one that is constantly working and tending the needs of her children preparing them to survive the future.

Susanna and Samuel Wesley had 19 children. Nine of which died while in their infant stage of life. Four of the children that died were twins. And tragically, one of her other children was accidentally smothered by a maid. To say the least


If Jesus honored and cared for His mother I think we should also!   (tweet)


Susanna’s experience as a young mother was far from being a life of ease. Many that has never been in the shoes of motherhood picture it as a life with your feet propped up with a bowl of your favorite delicacies in front of the TV watching “Soaps” and talk shows. But as we see in the life of Susanna Wesley that this “male-absorbed” disillusionment is most certainly farther from the truth of the reality. Can I hear an Amen from the mothers of the world? Susanna Wesley seized her opportunity of nurturing up her children in the ways of God with a tenacious spirit like none other. She actually impacted the world by training up her children to change the world. John and Charles Wesley grew up to be mighty ministers of the Gospel and founders of the Methodist church. She could have said the devastation of loosing children and being overwhelmed by the ones she had left, is too much and curled up in a fetal position for her remaining days, but she didn’t at all. She embraced the challenge


Mothers are Gods Kiss to every Home!   (tweet)


with a God ordained calling. Susanna would give each of her children quality time with her individually. She also was very adamant that her children were receiving correct teaching from the scripture weekly even with her husband being gone often ministering. These simplistic but deep teachings became books later. One of the most important habits she had was always making sure she had her time with the Lord. She knew where her source was.

            Being a mother is down right hard Work. I am not sure if it is totally true or not, but through the grapevine of media it has been said and repeated that by the time a child reaches 18, a mother has had to handle some extra 18,000 hours of child-generated work. In my guess-estimation I would say that mothers have done a lot more work than even that statement says. Becoming a mother is definitely not for wimps! Mother’s are God’s gift to the home!  Abraham Lincoln said, “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” I am so grateful for my mother who is now enjoying her reward in heaven.  I remember her prayer walks as if it was yesterday. I took all of her hard work for


If Mothers Ever Go on Strike we are in Trouble   (tweet)


granite and her Godly example as normal. But now as I reminisce i wish i would have spent more time of thanking her and honoring her for all she did for me. My mother like most deserve to be honored. Jesus had an earthly mother and honored her. In John 19:26-27 we read where He made sure she was taken care of before he died.

We ourselves need to take heed to Jesus’ example and the exhortation in scripture to honor our mothers! (Eph. 6:2) Our mothers are God’s kiss to each home. Mothers shape each of us to conquer and impact the future.

I Have Fallen and Can’t Get Up

images-11Have you ever gone through a tough situation and cried for help and no one responded? It can be very discouraging. How about when you cry out to God and it seems He is not hearing you. You might feel a sense of despair and all alone.

David recorded many of his emotional valleys in his Psalms to the Lord. In Ps 39:12 he says, “Hear my prayer, O Lord, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears”. I believe many people can relate to his cries for help. David like many others have come to a place that they are desperate for God to hear their cry for help. It reminds me of an incident I heard where I grew up.

A adventurous hiker was hiking up a rugged Idaho creek some years back. He was going down the path all by himself enjoying his journey when the rock he stepped on shifted and sent him tumbling down the steep rocky ravine. As his body slammed up against a tree and settled in an outcrop over-looking the creek, He knew


God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer!         (tweet)


that his leg was badly broken. Unable to walk and being much to far to even crawl he lay hopeless in the back-country of the Rocky Mountains with the curtain of the day closing.

Barely surviving the frigid cold night he began to yell for help until he hardly had any voice. His journey had come to an abrupt stand still and his future was becoming more hopeless as the day went on.

Then, across the creek and up the ridge came the noise of a chain saw cutting wood for the soon coming winter. The man collecting the fire wood was getting frustrated at his kids who were constantly interrupting him as he cut the fallen tree, shutting off his saw he began to scold them. As his children defended their case they said, “we thought we heard someone yelling for help”. He listened and heard nothing so he continued with the chain saw.

The hurt and almost lifeless hiker knew this was his only hope and began to scream even more. The wood-cutter’s kids knowing they heard a cry for help risked getting in trouble and interrupted their dad agian. Seeing the urgency in their eyes he stopped and walked to the edge of the ravine. He listened and moments before he gave up he heard the faint cry for help.

Though this story ended with a good ending it is unfortunate that in our society there are multitudes of individuals that are crying out for help. Many have gone down a path in their life thinking they are fine and then abruptly interrupted by tragedy. These circumstances will bring the most independent person to cry out for help in desperation. But will there be a answer?

We read in Ex 3:7-8, where God speaks to Moses saying, “I have surely seen the oppression of My people … and have heard their cry … I know their sorrows.” God had heard the cry of His people and understood their sorrows, for they were in bondage to the Egyptians as slaves. God sees the oppression of those that are in desperate situations. In this passage God says, “So I have come down to deliver them”. God hears the cry of His children and as a earthly parent responds how much more will your heavenly Father answer! (Lk 11:11-13) If you’re in that place now, hang on for He hears and will deliver.