Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

My New Bible Study Program

Introduction

I started my Bible Study Program a month ago. I wanted to give it 30 days before I started writing on commenting on what I’ve learned. The results have been amazing.

Background

I grew up in a very secular household. My mother’s family was German Presbyterians, my father Italian Catholics. My parents never debated about God. No one was right or wrong.

For some reason, we never discussed religion. For my dad, God seemed to be a private and personal thing with him, and I didn’t want to intrude upon it. I grew up without religion simply because no one made any effort to teach me about God or any religion.

My father wanted me to be baptized by the Roman Catholic Church. I think this was more a tradition than anything. From the time, I was three years old until I was six my mother took me to a local Presbyterian Church. I attended Sunday School, but the lessons never stuck. When I six years old I told my mom I didn’t want to go to back to the church, and we never did.

After my parents divorced when I was ten, my Dad took me to Catholic Church once or twice a year.  With my brief experience of the Catholic Church, I had no direct experience of the “Divine.”

The rituals of the Catholic Church seemed very formulaic. My memories are of sitting, standing, and kneeling. The congregation said memorized verses at designated times. The service finished with believers making the sign of the cross and saying, “In the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

The Catholic Church we attended didn’t seem to have a social connection. The whole experience seemed very isolating and without emotion. That is the sum of my religious experience and training.

Becoming a Christian

I felt a stirring in my heart to commit to Christ. I made a simple declaration to bring Christ into my heart. The decision gave me a sense of purpose I have not felt since I was deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.

My decision to follow Jesus Christ has changed my life forever. I am determined to get an education equal to the great task of serving the Lord. A sign of my spiritual decline would be my neglect of the Bible. When I started my Bible Study, I knew nothing of God or His word.

Getting Ready

Now I see myself as a prayer warrior, an athlete in training. I try my best to study God’s word for at least an hour a day. Exposing myself to the inspired message of God has made me a happier and better man.

Going from non-belief to belief has been a transforming experience. My identity as a believer in God has changed my life. It has been a happy, satisfying, and comforting new way of looking at the world. I could never keep quiet the still small voice in my heart that kept speaking to me. I tried to be indifferent and respond to the gentle moving of the Spirit of God.

I knew the time had come to get serious about knowing the most person in human history– Jesus Christ. I didn’t know anything about His life, His teachings, or even His impact on the world. My Biblical knowledge was starting from scratch.

I know it wasn’t just about what I knew but that I knew Him.

Thru the Bible Network

I started with Dr. J. Vernon McGee, a Bible teacher, theologian, who was also a radio minister from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. In 1967, he began broadcasting the Thru the Bible Radio Network program.  Dr. McGee’s program is a systematic study of each book of the Bible, where he takes his listeners from Genesis to Revelation in a five year “Bible bus trip,” as he called it.

Dr. McGee has an easily recognizable, heavy West Texas twang. He sounds like President Lyndon B. Johnson. His 30-minute program is designed to guide listeners through the Old and New Testaments in just five years. I learned he died in 1988.

The world has changed a lot since the death of the Dr. McGee, but the daily messages remain intact and are an excellent reference tool for any beginning Bible student. Dr. McGee uses cultural references that date the program. (Still, every once in a while, you hear mention of the Soviet Union or the Vietnam War.)

I believe Dr. McGee teaches straight out of God’s word, and I think God honors that even though he has been dead for 30 years. His mission statement is ‘The whole Word to the whole world.”

How Bible Study has helped me

I use Dr. McGee’s book and study material. His commentary is helpful and has encouraging interaction with God through His Word. His book is full of discussion starters and suggested questions to help me with my study of the Bible.

I value the time I have with God’s Word. Studying it first thing in the morning allows me to make it a priority. I start each Bible study session with prayer. I humbly ask God to help seek the truth in what I read in the Bible.

The best way for me to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to live my faith through personal and physical example. Studying the Word of God has become one of my greatest treasures and hope in a new and better life.

Bible Study has helped me in four areas of my life:

  1. Help me to grow in my love for Scripture and the Lord.
  2. Gain wisdom and knowledge that the Bible teaches.
  3. Internalize the Word of God in a way that transforms my life.
  4. Getting to know Jesus Christ as my Savior and Redeemer.

I don’t know where the Lord is leading me. I am excited about the great adventure and blessings by walking with God in faith. I know God is always faithful to His promises.

Praying- Source: thoughtco.com

Israel on the World Stage

“Israel was not created in order to disappear- Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.”

– President John F. Kennedy

Known as the Holy Land, Israel is home to many sites holy to Muslims, Christians, and Jews like the Western Wall, Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Al-Aqsa Mosque. These are sacred places of world’s three greatest religions. Israel is the home of modern Jews, where old and new meet in cities like Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

Blessed art thou, oh Lord– in Hebrew.

Our father, which art in heaven– in Latin.

God is great. There is no God but God– in Arabic.

To the world’s three principal monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Israel is hallowed ground. Yet, the state of Israel is equally and very much a part of the material, modern world. A world of high technology, of robust parliamentary democracy. The spiritual, the material, the physical are all a part of the modern Israel, and it accommodates them all.

The honey-colored stones of Jerusalem, Israel’s political and spiritual capital breathes the long checkered history of the Holy Land. Jerusalem is a city besieged, captured, laid to waste and rebuilt, over and over again down through the centuries.

Jerusalem was first declared Israel’s capital over 3,000 years ago by the legendary King David, but became so again only after the state of Israel was reborn in 1948. The rebirth of the nation of Israel was the crowning achievement of political Zionism. Zionism was a movement launched by a visionary Viennese journalist named Theodor Herzl (1860-1904). Herzl dreamed of a land where Jews would not be an alien and often despised minority, but a home in their own promised and ancestral land.

The dream of Israel may have remained a dream, but for two World Wars.

World War I destroyed the Turkish or Ottoman Empire, of which Palestine was apart. The end of World War I, brought a declaration from the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, that after the Allied victory, that the Jews would be allowed to establish a homeland in Palestine.

The inter-war years saw the rise of Nazi Germany, whose leader, Adolf Hitler, had an obsessive hatred of the Jews. Hitler plunged the globe into World War II, after his invasion of Poland in 1939. World War II ended with the destruction of Hitler’s thousand-year Reich. Nazi Germany ended, but not before the slaughter six million European Jews in the Holocaust.

The Holocaust drove the survivors of Jewry, under the leadership of the charismatic David Ben Gurion (1886-1973), into the enormous effort needed in the rebirth of a Jewish State. But there were other claims on the Holy Land, both spiritual and material.

There the world’s Christians, whose Redeemer lived, taught and died there 2,000 years before. And there were Muslims who believed their founding Prophet, Mohammad, ascended from Jerusalem to heaven. Most loudly, there were the Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, whose people had lived in Palestine during the almost twenty centuries of Jewish exile from their homeland. Back by their fellow Arabs across the Middle East, the Palestinians claimed the Holy Land was theirs by right.

The issue of statehood was resolved in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. The struggling, infant Jewish state defeated the combined armies of its Arab neighbors. Later, with generous assistance from America, consolidated its place in the world in the next few years. Now, despite five more wars and decades of terrorist attacks, the Jewish state is clearly a permanent fixture on the world stage.

The Holy Land

The Joy In Jesus

How do you write about the most important and intimate thing ever happen to you?

To be honest, I never thought I would write this story down.

For one thing, I felt I was simply too new to being a Christian. For another, I thought it was beyond my ability to do such valuable work. I have written about many things, but how do I write about the most important and intimate thing that has ever happen to me?

I want these posts to be an honest heart-to-heart talk about the most delightful thing I had ever done. I want to share with you how I am I living an abundant life full of real joy and happiness. I want to tell you the recipe that has taken my life from good to great- The Lord Jesus Christ.

A number of friends urged me to undertake this very important task. I knew that by writing about anything that has been accomplished in my life, has solely been God’s doing, not mine, and He- not I- deserves the credit. I also wanted to record this momentous time in my life.

Simply put, because I love Jesus I am never discouraged. I feel that I have found the key to better and happier living. I feel I am constantly in the presence of the Spirit of the Lord.

I try to live what I write. I don’t want my faith to be hollow words. I want to show you the reality and revelation of my new and glorious life. I know a lot of people are hurting, feeling pain from a life that seems unfair and unfulfilled. I will tell you my story and how I came to victory with Christ. I will tell you how I was set free from my sorrow, pain and regret and became a very happy Christian.

I am a new Christian. I am only in my first few months in my commitment to serve Jesus Christ. It has been thrilling for me to watch my faith and knowledge of the Lord grow. I want to share only two messages with you. Number one is my love for and joy in my faith in Jesus Christ. Number two, I want to share the tremendous and many benefits that my life has taken on since I gave my life to Jesus Christ.

These posts are really more in praise of the Lord than anything else. My honest hope is God will use these posts to help ease the journey of others in pain, out of hope and into something more in their lives.

I make no claims to be a perfect Christian or a Bible scholar or even a good Bible student, but I do feel God wants me to share His love through these posts. I write these posts entirely for His glory. I felt his Presence as I write, and I am often overwhelmed by my total love of Jesus. My eyes fill with tears of joy and I had to stop writing. Other times I got so excited and happy I laughed out loud. A constant and consistent feeling of love of God’s presence was present in every word.

My life did not become perfect after accepting Jesus Christ. I still deal with problems, including illnesses and chronic pain, but my life does seem easier because I share it with the Lord.

As I look back on my journey through life, many events (especially Iraq and Afghanistan) tend to come together in my memory as one. Each adventure had unique characters, but time and space have made a few very memorable.

I owe an enormous debt because of the help of my family and friends. I have genuine gratitude to so many great people in my life. I have tried to be as accurate as possible in summarizing events and conversations. However, I have come to realize how memories fade with the passage of time. I did my best to record events as I recall them.

I feel above all things I am writer and storyteller. This story is the most important I will ever tell. The story is about how I came to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I felt inspired and even called to tell the story of accepting the challenge of following Christ. The hardest and best thing I ever did was to turn to Christ in repentance and faith and to follow Him in obedience to His will.

For me, the message was very clear and specific. To talk about what the Lord has done for me by His death and resurrection, and the need for me to respond by committing my life to Him. His message was my past was forgiven, and I had a new life in hope as I turned to Him. In these posts, the reader will discover how I seek (however imperfectly) to follow Jesus Christ.

Through God, I got a new vision for His plan for me and a neverending happiness that I wanted to share. I have learned much from reading about the lives of great men and women of the past. Maybe my story will inspire others, I can only hope so, then the effort has been worth it.

God bless, and thank you for taking the time to read my post.

A Confession of a Struggling Christian

“But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” – Psalm 86:15 (NIV)

I am a writer. My job is to tell stories. What follows is the best story I will ever write and my favorite story to tell.

Source:pixabay

A Thank You

Thank you, mom and dad, for being excellent parents and letting me always know I was loved. Thank you, Muna. You are my wife and my life. My love for you grows daily. You led me to the Lord every day by your example of faith and love.

This past year has been the most wonderful of my life- and the best is yet to come. Thank you, Steve Bruhn, for leading me to Christ and providing the best example of what a Christian man can be. Thank you Jerry Glesmann for being the best big brother, I could ever have. Our daily talks provide encouragement, love, and faith. You truly are the bravest and kindest man I have ever known.

Thank you to all my friends and family who read my daily diatribes. These posts are an expression of appreciation, gratitude, and meaningfulness. You have shared your spiritual insights, faith, and good advice. God bless you and thank you for letting me share my story.

Why?

This post started trying to explain my faith. I wanted to share a few simple thoughts on my life and how turning it over to Jesus has helped me. I did my best to capture the message God laid on my heart.

I hope to share three messages with you. Number one is my love and joy for God and the hope and inspiration I found in accepting the salvation of Jesus Christ. Number two, I wanted to share the excitement and benefits following Jesus Christ has done for my life. Number three, I want to tell you how my walk with God has helped me through some very difficult times, even as my memory and health seem to be getting worse and not better.

This post is really about how God has eased my journey through life. I am not a Bible scholar or even a good Bible student, but I did want to share with you a story I felt is my best story. I believe God wants me to share this story. I have felt His Presence as I have written.

There are times as I write I felt the total love of Jesus, my eyes filled with tears and I had to stop writing. Other times I was overcome with sadness, shame, guilt and I lost my bearings, and I had to stop writing. The only thing that was constant and consistent as I wrote was my feeling of God’s presence, love, and understanding. This is how I feel every day of my life after giving it to Jesus Christ.

A Declaration of Dependence

On July 4, 2016, I am part of a tour group visiting Normandy. We are here 72 years after D-Day. Our tour guide today is Rudy. He is a local Frenchman who spent a decade living in Minnesota. His English is better than mine.

Normandy looks like the coast of Oregon. It has ancient trees, mossy growth, a rocky coastline with craggy cliffs, with a constant rain that makes everything damp all the time. Rudy takes us to the Normandy D-Day Museum.

It’s the beginning of July the weather, and the weather is miserable. It’s cold with clouds, drizzle and sometimes hard rain. By mid-morning, we are all rain-soaked.

The Americans had a tough mission on D-Day. The Germans are an experienced army. They’ve conquered have of Europe and won battles against the Allies in Africa, Italy, and Russia between 1942 and 1944. The Germans are dug-in. They’ve been preparing months.

On Omaha Beach, there is a 100-foot bluff overlooking the beach at Pointe du Hoc. The Germans placed concrete gun emplacements on the hilltops. These fortifications make it tough for American naval gunfire to reach the German defenders. The Germans plotted every square inch of the beach. They cover every square foot with obstacles, mines, artillery and machine gun fire.

Conversion

On that windswept beach, on July 4, 2016, I was “born again.” Unlike most spiritual conversions, mine was not dramatic. The change in me was quiet, almost boring. To me, it was a simple thing. I had found God. And, most important, God had found me.

There was no flashing lights or clanging of bells. Something was missing in my life and now had been replaced with the Lord. This was not an earth-shattering moment of ecstasy just a warm, solid feeling of complete confidence that God was in my life.

That by trusting God and accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior, my life would be better and fuller. My life changed for the better that day. I have strived every day since to be worthy of that great gift.

Happiness

I don’t know much, but what I learned that day changed my life. I was sorry for the things I had done and sorry enough to do something about it. I feel God gave me a “new start.” My past was forgiven, my present secured and my future guaranteed.

I try to pray three times a day. In the morning, at night, and once somewhere in the middle of the day. The middle one is my saying thanks for all the great things in my life and for help with all the things I don’t understand. There’s a lot of that.

When I really need the Lord in a hurry, I use a little mantra I learned to get me in touch with God, “Lord, please see in me, and be in me.”

I pray this prayer before I write something. I clasp my hands and say, “Lord, make me useful to myself and help me to remember that until I am, I can’t be helpful to others. Help me to remember that you are my creator. I am what you made- sometimes the thumb on your hand, sometimes the tongue in your mouth. Make me a vessel which is dedicated to your service. Thank you, Lord, for your many blessings. Amen.”

Praying- Source: thoughtco.com

Easing my Burden

Even in the tragedy, God has given me hope and love. His love has given me a promise of a better tomorrow, eternal peace, and everlasting life. Faith has given me a reason to stay up late at night and get up early in the morning.

I still feel grief and sorrow. Occasionally I still suffer from depression. But now my pain and feelings of sadness are different, lighter and far less devastating. A void existed in my life that God has filled. I’m not talking about joining a church or finding religion. I’m talking about living a life filled with peace and happiness.

Muna and I joined a great, Bible-based church and we try to keep God first place in our lives. I still struggle in my personal life, but prayer, faith, and love for God have made my life better. I am the best version of myself I have ever been because of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for letting me share my story. God bless you, all.