Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Imprints In My Soul

Today marks four years since my mother went home to our Heavenly Father. I thank God for all that she taught me! Our God is truly an awesome God. There is joy in losing a loved one who has a relationship with The Lord Jesus Christ.

Hours, days, weeks, and months have passed
Since a hug, a kiss, or a story has been told
Though years have elapsed, I’m still motivated by
The imprints you left in my soul

Prayers every morning on the way to school
Talking to God. Learning how to stay connected
Prayers every night as we would kneel by the bed
You asked Jesus for my soul to be directed

Yeah I learned to pray the Janet Armstrong way
And it made a man who talks to God everyday

One of my first books was a children’s Bible
A story was a must each night
Fascinated by the Ark, the lion’s den, and the Cross
At age four I gave my life to Christ

A Proverb a day to keep the devil away
As a child you asked me, “What would Jesus do?”
A thick study Bible, a concordance, and highlighters galore
Mom, my love for the Word stems from you!

Each Bible lesson was a Janet Armstrong blessing
And it made me a preacher that can’t stop pressing

Always giving time, energy, and whatever you had to help
A child or anyone in need succeed
When running on ‘E’ somehow you found more
And now I live for the same thing

People often misunderstood choices you made
The most selfless life I’ve seen by far
You would cry, shake it off, and let God have His way
I watched you, Mom, in deep respect, in awe

Each time you got back up. Yeah, Janet Armstrong was tough!
And it made me bold for Christ, but grounded in love

Years have transpired since I’ve seen you Mom
I miss you every day. I think about you all the time
But, I thank the Lord Jesus Christ for your imprints in my soul
Continually molding my heart, spirit, and mind

The imprints you left in my soul
Training wheels for The Lord to make me whole
I’m the man I am today because of the woman you were
And these imprints you left in my soul

My wife, children, and progeny will be endlessly blessed

By these imprints Janet Lillian Armstrong left in my soul

© 2013
HC Armstrong

Monday, December 30, 2013

New You-Monday Motivation

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 6:11 English Standard Version

In Christ we are born again! Unsaved people are dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). Paul refers to them as sons (and daughters) of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2). The word ‘dead’ here carries the connotation of being unresponsive. Unsaved people are dead to God (all they can do is sin), but in Christ we have new life! Through Christ’s saving power we have life anew.

In Christ you are dead to sin! If you are truly saved, then sin has no power over you anymore. No more than you give it. You are dead to sin. You don’t have to give in. The habit that has been plaguing you for years. The mindset you want to break so badly. That thing…those things you hope no one ever finds out about you. None of these sins can enslave you! Child of God you are dead to sin and alive in Christ. The same power that conquered sin when Christ rose from the dead lives in you!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Just For You-Friday Freedom

“Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: Philippians 2:9 (KJV)

Be exalted with Jesus. Learn to live a life of service and humility. Trying to reach greatness yourself will only get you what you can offer yourself; not much. But God can lead you to real greatness in life. Learn to live like Jesus lived and love like Jesus loves. Humble yourself (before God humbles you) and be great!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! No, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! No, not one!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just For You-Thursday Thought

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men Philippians 2:7-8

Are you better than Jesus? Many of would say there’s an obvious answer to that question, but their actions may say otherwise. Jesus knew what it meant to be humbled. He obviously knows what it meant to put the needs of others before His own. Many of us today don’t understand and don’t want to experience that kind of humility. Everything is about us. Where we work, where we live, social status, and the like. But humility is a part of godliness.

Jesus showed us what the true path to greatness looks like. He gave us a model to follow. Life shouldn’t be about building yourself up or seeing how much stuff you can get. Your life should be about following Jesus and learning to live the way He lived. Sometime that will involve giving up what you want for the good of others. Do you want to be like Jesus?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Does God Love Everyone?

Part 2: Does God Love Everyone?

Does God really love everyone? Many in the gay movement would say that those who disagree with their beliefs are fueled by hate. In my last post we delved into the question, “What Does The Bible Actually Say About Homosexuality?” Now we will try to understand what love truly is. This question has been bounced around for centuries and has become even more prevalent in the midst of the homosexuality movement. Well before we try to understand if God loves everyone we should define love. The word ‘love’ is tossed around so much that some would say it has lost its meaning. We say we love our cars, our favorite song, and each other. But the love God has for us is different than any type of love that exists.

I said it before and I’ll say it again; God loves every person and hates every sin. As Christians we believe that man is separated from God because of our sins (Isaiah 59:2). A perfect God cannot have a relationship with sinful people. That is why God had to send Jesus. No matter how hard we try we cannot work our way back to God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Sin is so ugly someone had to die to pay the price. And that is what Jesus did on the Cross. God extends the opportunity of salvation to each and every person that lives, but He doesn’t force us to accept Him. That is not love. Therefore He gives us a choice. God loves us enough to die for us yet also loves us enough not to force us to love Him in return. Just think about it. In relationships sometimes we have to let people go if they don’t want to be with us. Would it be love to kidnap and force someone to be with us if they did not want to? Of course not.

Those who do not choose Jesus are separated from God. If they die in that state they die apart from God and will therefore spend eternity away from Him in hell (Revelation 21:8). Real followers of Christ don’t want anyone to end up in that situation. Neither does God.  Many people who are unsaved cannot realize God’s truth because their minds are clouded by their sins. I believe that hurting someone’s feelings temporarily, but ultimately leading them to eternal salvation is better than letting them continue to live apart from God and spend eternity away from His goodness. And so does God.

Most people look at love as being nice or just doing what the other person wants. The ‘love’ that most people refer to is just about making friends and family feel good. But God’s love is a higher form of love than anything humans can ever know. His love is the Greek word agape. When the Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8) this is the type of love it refers to. Not just a brotherly love or a romantic love, but a selfless and sacrificial love. Agape love is ultimately displayed in Jesus dying for our sins. God loves us enough to tell us when we’re wrong so that He can make us right. This type of love is beyond feelings. It tells the truth and may hurt our feelings at times. But it is for a greater purpose.

When a school district won’t let a young boy who identifies as a girl use the girls’ restroom, then people call it hate. When Christians explain the importance of a child having a father and mother, then it is being close-minded. When Christians calmly and intelligibly explain that our faith condemns homosexuality, but we truly do love all people; they say we are intolerant. We love you enough, God loves you enough, to tell you the truth in an attempt to let Jesus save your soul and allow you to love your best life.

If you don’t know Jesus, then be honest with yourself. You’re missing something. There is a gaping hole in your soul. Sometimes you lay awake at night wondering if God exists and if He cares. Even in crowds you feel alone. God does care. He loves you, but He will not force you to love Him. Let go of your sin and accept salvation through Jesus Christ right now!

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins 

may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may 

come from the Lord, 
Acts 3:19 NIV

Just For You-Wednesday Word

Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:]
Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained Philippians 2:5-6 (Amplified)

The Lord Jesus had no need to try and hold on to His godliness. Whether He was in heaven with the Father or on Earth with us, He was still God. Jesus knew that changing His position did not change who He was. Nothing could do that. He is God through and through. And nothing could ever change that.
If you are a child of God, then nothing can change that. God may be calling you to a place that seems beneath you. God may be leading you to something uncomfortable. However when you know who you are as a child of God none of that matters. ‘The Message’ says this very clearly:

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. Philippians 2:5-6

Your position does not define you. You are a child of God no matter what!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Just For You-Tuesday Truth

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Philippians 2:4 (KJV)

Humility is the path to true greatness. We search all over for what we think we need. “How can I reach the next level?” “What can I do to get ahead?”  “What will benefit me?!”  We’re always looking for ways to build ourselves up. But we are called to put others needs before our own. When you elevate others, then God will elevate you.

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” The mindset of humility. The mindset of service. The attitude of surrendering to God’s plans.  You don’t have to search far and wide to find real success in life. The path to rising high starts by going low. God may call you to exactly where you don’t want to go. But that’s just how He works sometimes. Humble yourself like Jesus. Be great.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Just For You-Monday Motivation

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus  Philippians 2:5 (KJV)

Christ lowered Himself just for you! In His coming to Earth as a little baby God displayed the ultimate form of humility. When we get too focused on the world everything becomes about us. We think that we should have the best and be in everything. But sometimes God calls us to humble ourselves. This is how we identify with Christ.

Most of the times what God calls us to us uncomfortable. But do you think that Jesus was comfortable as He lowered Himself all the way down to the level of a mere man? No. However, He knew what the Father’s plan was and how it had to be accomplished. And now the name of Jesus is above all names. When you accept God’s plan and humble yourself you will be exalted. Your humility is the path to your greatness!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Like Him-Friday Freedom

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 esv

People pay tons of money for spiritual conferences to try and get closer to Christ. Some people think you must get to a far and secluded area simply to hear God’s voice. However the only way to get closer to Jesus and also be more like Him is to study His Word. When you study the Bible the Spirit of God will teach you spiritual things. You will start to understand somewhat how God thinks and start to think like Jesus. You will understand why you have to go through trials sometimes. You will discern why you don’t always get your way. You will know with confidence that you can trust the Father totally and completely. Real Bible study brings you closer to Jesus and causes you to act more like Him!

He rules the world with truth and grace

And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness

And wonders of his love

And wonders of his love

And wonders and wonders of his love

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Like Him-Thursday Thought

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 
1 Peter 1:16 esv

What does it mean to be like Christ? Preachers talk about it. People sing about it. The term “Christ-like” has become very common in the local church. But what does ‘Christ-like” really mean? Too often we make the center of the Christian life our actions. We focus on the actions, but not a change of the heart. An attempt to change your actions without a change in your heart will always end up in failure.

Jesus’ life was sinless because He was always full of the Holy Spirit. Therefore His heart and mind were always on following the Father’s will. He constantly denied Himself and sought God’s plan. This is where we need to be. Stop trying to change your sinful actions and figure out the motives behind them. When you develop a deeper relationship with The Lord you will have no choice except living a more righteous life. Why? Because you are constantly giving God more of your heart. Does God have your heart? All of it? Your lifestyle is your answer.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What Does The Bible Actually Say About Homosexuality?

God loves every person and hates every sin. That is the basis and heart behind this series of articles being written. Prayerfully through the truth of God’s Word unsaved people will accept Christ as Savior and Christians will come to know Christ better. I love you all!

Part 1: What Does The Bible Actually Say About Homosexuality?

There is so much talk about homosexuality today. To say the topic is hotly debated is an understatement. From President Barack Obama openly condoning homosexual relationships to Jason Collins being celebrated for "coming out", the homosexual lifestyle is becoming more accepted in our society. In many cases people are being shunned and ostracized for not agreeing with the gay movement. However, from a Biblical standpoint there is no question as to how God feels towards homosexuality. But I am not attacking nor singling out homosexuals. God set the parameters of marriage as one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18-25). Any sexual activity outside of a heterosexual monogamous marriage is sin (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Therefore homosexuality is just one sin of many sexual sins. It is just as wrong as heterosexual sex outside of marriage, phone sex, watching pornography, and masturbation (if you don’t see a problem with any of these you need to study God’s design for sex and marriage).  Let’s look at what the Bible actually says about homosexuality.

Old Testament - Leviticus 18:22 NIV Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable

Don’t waste your time finding another version that says what you prefer. ‘Detestable’ here is translated from the Hebrew tow`ebah which means disgusting or abominable. God calls homosexual relations disgusting.

New Testament - Romans 1:26-28 NIV Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Homosexuality is clearly labeled here as shameful and unnatural. It leads to a hardened heart towards God. Why? Because this lifestyle goes against God's natural order for humanity. God gives these people over to a depraved or reprobate (translated from the Greek adokimos meaning ‘not approved or unfit’) mind. The Lord lets those who practice homosexuality indulge in their desires, they don’t see the error in their ways, and are therefore lost in this sin and a lifestyle that rebels against God. If you practice homosexuality and claim to be a Christian, then you will never experience God’s intended purposes for your life.

Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Bible. Words from the original text are displayed so you can see that homosexuality is condemned in the original text. Therefore the fact that God strongly disapproves of homosexuality is not a concept made up by man. The purpose of this message is to make clear what the biblical stand on homosexuality is. I don’t expect everyone who reads this to change their views, but please stop trying to make the Bible say something that it does not.

The God of the Bible strongly condemns homosexuality. If you are a Christian and you say that God has no problem with homosexuality, then you are lying on your God. Hopefully this post aids everyone who reads it in clarifying what the Bible says about this particular subject. Any person involved in a homosexual lifestyle or any other habitual sin is not experiencing God’s best for their lives. If you are bound by this or any other sin I want you to know that God loves you. God’s love for you is not dependent on your actions. But the only way to get to know Him is through accepting Christ. Jesus will accept you just the way you are. Admitting you are a sinner and believing that Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead is all you need to do have Jesus come into your life forever (John 3:16). However if you are caught up in any sin it will be really difficult to come to Christ.

I love you, but more importantly Jesus loves you!!!

Like Him-Wednesday Word


Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

The Lord works in us what pleases Him, not us. At times that is a hard concept to grasp. We think we know what we want. We have an idea of how life should play out. We want all of our blessings to come quick and all of our experiences to be painless.

That is not how God works. We see the world with our limited knowledge. God sees everything through His omniscience and omnipotence. He knows what He is doing. There are reasons why He takes you the way that He does. He knows that the difficult experiences have potential to make you more like Jesus. What He is doing may not please you, but it pleases Him. Just trust Him.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Like Him-Tuesday Truth

 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 esv

Pain causes us to identify with Jesus Christ. If we had our choice we would obviously choose a different way to draw nearer to the Lord. However, this is the path that any true disciple must tread. In Acts 5:40-42 the disciples were overjoyed after being beaten for preaching in Jesus name. Why? Because they were considered worthy to suffer for the name of Christ. A sincere follower of Jesus will suffer with joy knowing that they are becoming more like Jesus.

Christ commands you to carry your cross daily. That is, to take on adversity just as Jesus did. Just think about it. When do you read your Bible the most? When do you pray with the utmost fervor? At what times in your life do you seek God the most? When you are suffering! Don’t run from trials. Inadvertently you are running from growing in Christ. Accept suffering for Christ as a privilege and a necessary means to grow!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Like Him-Monday Motivation

"For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son..." Romans 8:29a esv

God has one ultimate goal for you. And that is to shape and mold you into the image of His Son, Jesus. When we first get saved we are a large lump of raw material. It contains great potential, but little value. When a potter molds clay some sections have to be removed, others reshaped, and so on.  As vessels of the Master, He sometimes removes desires and people out of our lives. He sometimes puts us through things to change the way we think and behave.

Often times what God puts us through hurts. But the prize is worth the pain! There is something in this world that no one can do quite like you. Why? Because God has ordained it for you. But you have to be prepared for His work. Every strain, every struggle, every tear should be leading you to lean more and more on Christ. And as your spirit matures along with your mindset and actions, you will walk into that perfect plan the Lord has just for you. The prize is worth the pain.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Get Back Up-Friday Freedom

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.
Psalm 37:4 esv

As people of God we must realize that we are not perfect. However we do have the power of the Almighty God on our side. We are not slaves to sin, as unsaved people are. When we slip we should have the resilience to recognize our sin for what it is, confess it, and continue to walk where Christ is leading us. We all make mistakes. That’s life. However we are to learn from our mistakes. The real mistake for a Christian is when we slip and stumble, and do not learn anything from our experiences. 

“We fall down, but we get up
We fall down, but we get up
We fall down, but we get up
For a saint is just a sinner who fell down
And got up…”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Get Back Up-Thursday Thought

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

Psalm 37:4 esv

Is there anything that you can not overcome? Most people are experts at telling someone else how good God is and that He can help with anything. However, when it comes to our own issues we tend to feel less confident. If there is something we have been struggling with for a long time it becomes easier to give in. But God is truly able to break any habit, mindset, or addiction.

The sixth chapter of Romans helps us understand that through Christ every believer is dead to sin. Part of accepting Christ is dying to your old self and receiving a new life; a fresh start. Plain and simple, if you are a true Christian, then sin has no power over you. No more than you give it. God will help you overcome. All you have to do is yield yourself to HimAre you willing to do that?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Get Back Up-Wednesday Word

If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.

Psalm 66:18 esv

Do you ever have that disconnected feeling? A Christian caught up in sin loses fellowship with God. You can never lose your salvation, but you can lose good communication with Christ. Your prayers feel empty and useless. In life you have no direction. There seems to be some kind of overwhelming wall between you and Jesus. This is the result of regarding iniquity, or simply holding on to sin, in your heart.

Light and darkness cannot inhabit the same place. Jesus wants to fill up your heart, but He and sin do not mix. The Holy Spirit longs to saturate every aspect of you, but light and darkness simply will not coexist. Examine yourself CONSTANTLY to identify areas of need. A life of resilience and repentance will cause you to progressively draw further away from sin. God knows that you are not perfect, but He does expect to see progress. God is concerned about the heart!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Get Back Up-Tuesday Truth

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

Psalm 37:4 esv

Resilience means being able to withstand or recover from difficulties. We all go through difficult times. This is especially true anytime you step outside of God’s will. Getting caught in a cycle of sin will be detrimental to your Christian walk. The only way to avoid this from happening is repentance. True repentance, however, is not just saying ‘sorry’, but a change of heart and mind.

We all sin; no matter what we try to portray to others or even ourselves. Still, the person with a heart after God will feel grieved because of their sin. The only way to withstand the difficulties from sin in our lives is to repent; to turn away from our wrong actions. This is how you restore fellowship with Christ and experience His peace. You are not perfect. God knows that, but He also knows if you are sincere.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Get Back Up-Monday Motivation

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;
24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
    for the Lord upholds his hand.

Psalm 37:4 esv

When you slip God is not surprised. Nothing we do is a surprise to the Lord. When you sin God does hate your actions, but He does not love you any less. Sometimes we can get so disappointed in ourselves that we actually run further and further away from Jesus. But when we sin God is not waiting to beat you down. No, He wants to build you back up!

When you slip and stumble accept it for what it is. You have sinned. But now it’s over. Look back to see how you can avoid the same situation in the future, but move on. God knows that you are not perfect. That’s why you need Him. Confess your sins to the Lord, dust yourself off, and continue to walk with Him. Real discipleship is not displayed through perfection (which is impossible), but through resilience.