Before time began, Love was thinking of you . . .

When God was contemplating creating men and women – in his image – he had a lot to think about. He decided that, like himself, he would make them able to decide for themselves if they wanted to love Love or whether they would rather live for themselves. God knew before the foundation of the earth that though God would make men and women Very Good, Adam would fail to protect Eve, Eve would be deceived by satan and men and women would rebel against him, against Love. God decided that the soul that rebelled against Love could not live with him, it must have its own place to exist away from the Love it hated with such passion. Previously God had made a place for satan and demons, and God now decided this is where those people who hated Love would reside after they had died a Second time.

Though all people would hate Love, Love loved all people, each person individually. Love decided he would take the place of people that hated him and suffer and die for their wrongs himself. And so Love was crucified before the foundations of the world. And God decided, Love would rise again to bring Love to all that wanted him.

His love is greater than my sin

Just as Martin Luther was trying to correct the Catholic Church and not harm the same (with his 95 theses), I am not against the Wesleyan Church. I love the people there and God is using them mightily to spread the love of Jesus. The problem is, as I see it, that the security God describes in Scripture for the Christian, namely that we can know, for sure, that we can never be separated from Jesus no matter what we do, has been exchanged for the lie that we can never know for sure we are going to heaven (until we are in heaven) because we may “reject Christ” before we die and go to hell.

I started my relationship with Jesus by believing he is who he says he is and then learned I have eternal life:

13These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:13 (NASB95)

I believe that once I trusted Jesus, He took responsibility for me becoming like Him; from start to finish:

6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 (NASB95)

When I first trusted Him He said He would be with me always, forever, unconditionally:

16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever;
John 14:16 (NASB95)

5 Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
Hebrews 13:5 (NASB95)

He said, “No one” (and that includes me), can snatch me out of Jesus’ and the Father’s hand; He said, I will never perish; He said, I have eternal life:

27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;
28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.
29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:27–29 (NASB95)

Paul the Apostle says that neither the future (things to come) nor me (I am a created thing) can separate me from God’s love in Jesus:

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38–39 (NASB95)

The following verse shows that though we may grieve God (and rejecting Christ would grieve Him), he does not separate us from himself.

30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 (NASB95)

Some verses appear to contradict the above verses. Below is an example. How does the previous scriptures affect our understanding of the following passage? How does the last statement, “for He cannot deny Himself” affect our interpretation?

11 It is a trustworthy statement:
For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
If we deny Him, He also will deny us;
13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:11–13 (NASB95)

Unfortunately, Wesleyan teaching gives Wesleyan Christians no basis for believing they are going to heaven. Rather, they are told IF they don’t “reject Christ” before they die they will go to heaven. Wesleyans never know for sure if they are going to spend eternity with Jesus until they are actually in heaven, because they don’t know for sure if they will ever reject Jesus while they are on earth.

I have peace and freedom and security knowing my future is based on Jesus’ character and ability to bring me to heaven with him, not on my feeble, inconsistent attempts not to reject Christ in my own strength.

You may ask, can I abuse that freedom to the point of license? Absolutely. And Jesus will chastise me even up to the point of physical death; because He loves me. But he will not leave me, he will not reject me. Even if I reject Him. Because He cannot reject Himself.

One Pastor asked me why someone can be a Christian for years and then leave their relationship with Jesus. He implied this proves that a Christian can “lose their salvation” or “reject Christ.” My answer is that they were never in a relationship with Jesus to begin with, it only appeared they were following Jesus.

This Pastor parodied my statement by use of a computer analogy, he said:

“That’s like saying, If I am entered and then deleted, I was never entered.”

However that is NOT what I am saying.

I am saying:
If I leave it is because I was never entered; I acted like I was entered; then I left because I was never entered.

Consider the following:

19 They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us.
1 John 2:19 (NASB95)

Jesus’ love is greater than all my sin, past, present and future.

Picture a child, throwing a tantrum because they didn’t get their own way from their father; saying, “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.” Their father still loves them. And their relationship is not based on the child’s perspective. It is based on the Father’s love, which is based on Jesus’ love when He suffered, died and was raised on the third day.

Water for kids #8 (Victory)

Last Sunday, on October 20, 2019, in the very cold morning and very warm near noon, Jeremy ran and I walked 13.1 miles. Jeremy’s time was 2 hours and 49 minutes and 34 seconds, my time was 4 hours and 41 minutes and 20 seconds. “Our whole bodies hurt” is, of course, an understatement. But we were happy that we finished.

Thank you for praying, thank you for reading, thank you for giving. Over $600,000 dollars was raised by Team World Vision as a whole during the Metro Health Grand Rapids Marathon. And over 13,000 kids will get clean water in their village and be able to go to school and lift themselves out of poverty.

I raised with your help, and the help of my wife putting out a Facebook plea during the marathon, around $500. That is 10 kids lives changed that is directly attributed to you. Thank you.

And so, it is over.

Or is it?

The day before the half-marathon I signed up for next year. The wisdom of which I challenged the next day during the middle of the half-marathon :>)

I hate to ask people for money, even for worthy causes. So, this year I asked through WordPress and Facebook, because it was emotionally safer. Over the next 52 weeks I am going to ask you to put $1, $2 or $5 a week towards the lives of kids you may never meet, and for water you may never drink . . . this side of heaven.

Mathew 25:34-40, NASB95

“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

Again, it’s your money, it’s your choice, and there is absolutely no pressure.

But I find fun in giving.

If you want to help kids next year, you may want to get a jar or envelope or something to separate the money, and put a few dollars away each week. That way it will be easy to give next year.

Water for kids #7

With the help of Jesus and my son Jeremy, we walked up and back down our hill covering 3.01 miles in 1 hour and 2 minutes. We also went up and down 416 vertical feet or 41 stories. Jeremy went with me the whole way, even though he wasn’t feeling the greatest; he had been to the dentist today and was tired and had a small headache.

Jesus and you make a great team as well. Jesus said he would supply food, clothing and shelter to those who put him first. And sometimes he gives extra that you might want to use to help supply water to a village and set the children free to learn how to get out of poverty.

It’s your money. It’s your choice. No guilt trip here. God will accomplish this with or without me or you.

But I find fun in giving.

Please use the link below if you would like:

https://teamworldvision.org/participant/James-McNaughton/

There may be a security issue with the above link. Please go to:

https://teamworldvision.org

and then use

James McNaughton

Thank you!

Water for kids #6

First of all, I take full responsibility for my actions, or rather lack thereof. I have not trained much in the last four weeks or so. Even though once I start to walk, I love to walk, and I love the feeling when I am done; I haven’t won the battle in my mind of getting out and starting in about a month.

I really don’t understand this.

I have been filled with the fear of walking or rather the pain of walking. And I know that this fear comes from satan and all I had to do was take one step (pardon the pun) toward walking and the fear would dissolve into the lie it is . . . But I chose not to take the step that would have led to freedom from my fear. I chose “safe” failure.

If I don’t finish the 13.1 miles in a week from today it is my own fault . . . It is not satan’s fault, because I have not been tempted beyond what I am able to resist. With the temptation, Jesus has provided a way of escape (just walk outside and start) so that I might be able to bear the temptation. I can’t say along with Flip Wilson, “The devil made me do it!” Or, rather, not do it.

If no one else has benefited from this experiment of faith and lack thereof, I have benefited. I know what it is like to try something far beyond my comfort zone and have initial success. And I know what it is like to cave to fear when success is in sight.

Now, only Jesus can get me across that finish line. Please pray for me. But, more importantly, pray for the water carrying kids. I can fail and go home and have clean water right in my home.

They cannot.

Fifty dollars provides one child a new future. Just click the link below.

https://teamworldvision.org/participant/James-McNaughton/

You can be greater than the greatest

Jesus said,

“Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 11:11). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

“Among those born of women” – those who are not indwelt by the Holy Spirit or, not born from above, or not born again.

Others may have been as great as John but none greater. John’s greatness was his level of practicing the spirit and the letter of the law without being indwelt by the Spirit of Jesus.

“Least in the kingdom of heaven” – those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit of Jesus, or, born again, or, born from above.

Those in whom Jesus lives through the Holy Spirit are holy and Jesus is able to love more in, with and through them than John could without the Holy Spirit of Jesus.

Of course, I could be wrong. Please let me know what you think…

Don’t take me back…

Someone wrote about not going back to where they lost their way with Jesus… But to go forward with him, into the unknown, with a fresh spirit.

I constantly wonder, how much of my rude behavior is me, and how much is faulty chemistry in my brain? I used to be able to miss meds for longer. I missed my morning meds but took my anti-psychotic at 7am and was still rude in the morning meeting.

A client suggested I set a morning alarm. Then my wife suggested it, and acted on it, by setting an alarm. We will see if this helps.

I am responsible for how I treat people. If I wasn’t then the whole world could claim they are not responsible for their actions. But there are reasons why you act negatively and there are reasons why I act negatively. And I hope you will extend me grace and I hope that I will extend you grace.

So I come to the place where I wish I could just go back to where I was with Jesus. Before having a bad attitude. Instead, I have to trust Jesus that he is enough to deal with my “now” and my “future.” And of course the “now” means more apologies. And the “future” means responding to the now set alarm for meds.