Wednesday, November 16, 2016

God is Our Savior

I am the mother of two lovely daughters and the step-mother of a handsome son and his beautiful sister. These are my children and the love that I have for my children is immeasurable. The thought of giving them up for anything is unimaginable. Now consider that the Almighty God loves his son to an infinitely greater degree than any of us can comprehend. We are all God’s children and God loves all of his children dearly.

The Ultimate Sacrifice
Jesus gave us a lot to be grateful for. He is  a Savior who lovingly sacrificed his life for us.
John 3:16 New International Version (NIV)
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Thousands of years ago, when our sins became so many and needed to be reconciled, a sacrifice ultimately had to be given in order to remove our sins and cleanse our souls. Jesus, God’s one and only son, stood in as the human sacrifice for our sins. Jesus bore the pain for us so that we would not have to. Jesus gave up his life for us.

When I put it in a human perspective, I can’t imagine how grand of a sacrifice this is for God to give up his sinless son as a token for the sins of others. I look into the faces of my children and ask myself, “Could I do that?” And then I am overwhelmed when I realize that this is exactly what our Heavenly Father did for us. He sacrificed His Son for our past, present, and future sins. It is in this realization that I know the magnitude of God’s love for me.

Forever in the Kingdom of God
God loves us in a way that is undeniable, indeed. The only sacrifice that could have paid for our sins is a person who was pure in body and spirit. That person was Jesus Christ, God’s one and only son. To pay for the sins of the world, God gave his son as a sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven and so that we could have a way to develop and maintain a loving relationship with the Almighty God.

Brothers and sisters, we receive the blessing of forgiveness because of the Lord's sacrifice. All Our Father asks in return is that we believe in the Lord, Jesus Christ. For that, we are rewarded a life forever in the Kingdom of God.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Be Fruitful and Multiply

In 2012, I started an online church called Christian House International (CHI). In all that time, two people visited my church. I don't have a pushy personality and I figured I would leave it up to God as to who would attend my church and who wouldn't. Like a good little Christian, I didn't fret. Years went by and those same two people were as loyal as could be. They read and liked every sermon I posted. I was happy with that. I patted myself on the back and felt accomplished. You see, my goal in life was to save one soul, and so I felt like I was accomplishing something wonderful by saving two souls. Then I read the verse about being fruitful and multiplying.

There is something about Genesis 1:28
Genesis 1:28
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Be Fruitful and Multiply
I asked myself, “Is saving one soul considered multiplying? Two?” The answer is, Hardly!
I was drawn to pause and take note of myself and consider whether or not I was truly serving God as a good little Christ follower is expected to do. I worked diligently on the website, writing sermons and posting them to various social media sites, hoping to encourage more readers. Still, with all that effort over a period of four years, only two people showed up. I was happy to receive them. After all, I was delivering God's words and they were reading God's words.

I am growing an apple tree. It is a young tree and this year it produced four apples. With all those branches on the tree, only one branch produced four apples. That's hardly what I would call a fruitful tree. Genesis 1:28 makes me realize that although I was doing good work, I was not doing enough to be considered fruitful.

Feeling unworthy, I proceeded to delete the CHI website. I deleted the CHI Facebook page. Afterwards, I sat in a quiet place. I prayed. And then I sat some more and prayed some more. Then in the way our Heavenly Father works, I was hit over the head with a ton of bricks.

Revamp! Refine! Redo!
The message came through loud and clear… Don’t try to be all things to all people. Be you! Share you! Share YOUR experiences. Speak from YOUR heart. God speaks to my heart and what He wants me to do is speak from MY heart, because that is where the message lies. He gives me the message that He wants me to deliver to others.

Wow! I get it now. Instead of curating content from other Christ-centered people, God wants me to share the message that He delivers directly to me. He wants me to share His message to you… the message He gives to me… He wants me to give to you.

The New and Improved Christian House International
My church, Christian House International, was established on April 8, 2012. From then until 2016 the church stayed in existence to serve two people. On October 17, 2016 it is now more than just a church. It is a place where people can come to know the word of God through scriptures. I hope to be a vessel that saves more souls. I plan to write more and to be more involved with sharing the message of our Heavenly Father.

This is a new venture for me. I ask that you would join me in spreading the word of God. If you read the future messages delivered and if they move you, I hope you voice your opinion in the comments section. I hope you “Like,” “Follow,” and/or “Share” Christian House International. The more we share, the more lives we save.

May God bless you. In Jesus’ name.
Rev. M. C. Bertrand

Photo Attribute: By Kurt Stüber , CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Monday, November 14, 2016

Pray for our Leaders

1Timothy 2:1-2
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

A Clergy’s Point of View
Clergy people are reprimanded for mixing religion and politics. But, this is a temporary limitation which will end as soon as the President Elect takes office. So, please consider this message to be a message of spiritual guidance about the state of the country following the election and the concerns, and anxiety that many people are feeling and who are expressing their upset in the form of protesting and violence.

Tell me, please, what is with all of the violence? I understand protesting and wanting your voice to be heard. But, really, why are people being so violent over the loss of the candidate who they wanted to win? 

Facebook Posts
I point you to a Facebook post that I wrote soon after the election. After seeing and hearing all the violent reaction because the election did not go their way I felt compelled to write the following:
"Don't people know that God is the one who decides who is elected? Sure, we all get out and vote, but at the end of the race, God wins. Sometimes, we look at life from our own set of circumstances. When God speaks in our lives, we listen. We are not the only ones in his grasp. Perhaps God is working to open the eyes of the people. Perhaps it is President Elect Trump's time to learn and to grow through God's grace and direction. Let me tell you, most of the time the person I voted for does not win. I accept that. It was a race and someone had to win. Once the winner is claimed, I settle myself down and get behind the winner because that winner is the one God wanted to win regardless of what I think or want. Now is the time to pray hard and ask God to hold the new president in his hands and direct him the same as he directs us all. Things will be alright. God will make sure of it. If you believe in God, then you know the race ended exactly as he wanted it to end. To the protesters... stop protesting. It's done. To the people who are sad... stop being sad. Start letting Mr. Trump know what you want. Write letters. Send email. Tweet him. Get your message to the president in a way that is civilized and respectful. He will respond to you. I know because whenever I send a letter to Mr. Trump he (or someone at his office) responds."
I received multiple responses, all positive. Here are a few responses. I share two that represent the general response received from Facebook friends:
M. G. wrote:
Interesting that in the Old Testament God used secular kings to confront His chosen people, even heroes of the faith! God is sovereign, good, and cares about every detail of our lives.”

A. N. wrote:
“Beautifully stated, Marlene Bass Bertrand! We have to learn and be humble to accept and respect that majority of people had elected the new president. Don’t let the REAL DEVIL get the best of us because he loves to bring destruction to God’s children. I love C. S. Lewis’s book, The Screwtype Letters. Here is a powerful reminder for us:
My Dear Wormwood,

Be sure that the patient remains completely fixated on politics. Arguments, political gossip, and obsessing on the faults of people they have never met serves as an excellent distraction from advancing in personal virtue, character, and the things the patient can control. Make sure to keep the patient in a constant state of angst, frustration and general disdain towards the rest of the human race in order to avoid any kind of charity or inner peace from further developing. Ensure that the patient continues to believe that the problem is “out there” in the “broken system” rather than recognizing there is a problem with himself.
Pray for Our Leaders
1 Timothy 2:1-2 urges us to pray for our leaders. Whether we like who the newly elected president is or not, at noon on January 20, 2017 Donald John Trump will become the leader of the free country of America. As Christians, our duty is to lift him up to the Lord and pray faithfully that the Lord will guide him through his term as the president.

I urge everyone to get behind Mr. Trump and pray for the Lord to guide this country in a way that helps us all become safe, healthy, and prosperous.

In Jesus’ name we pray.