Category Archives: Religion

How Great a Love!

wcrossblood75Happy Valentine’s Day!  If you have a sweetheart, perhaps you have plans for roses and dinner reservations.  If you don’t you may hate today or feel a bit meh.  This year like most I will not be having a fancy dinner or getting someone flowers, but I am still feeling the love.

You may know that I work part time for Real Remnant Radio as their News Director.  I record three news stories a day that play at the top of each hour.  Today in honor of Valentine’s Day I decided to do something a little different;  three mini devotionals on God’s Love for you and me!  They are only a minute or two long.  I hope you enjoy them and realize together with all the Saints how much you mean to God!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Teen Challenge of Arizona Pays it Forward

It was a beautiful Saturday in De Anza Park where every day isn’t the 4th of July.  Rather it is “home” to dozens of homeless.  Te Teen Challenge of Arizona Tucson Men’s Center decided that they could help.  With the assistance of some local churches thye collected clothes, blankets and other items to distribute to the homeless in the park.  They also handed out Bibles and prayed for those who would let them.  Here’s more on how the morning went:

Why Christians Care (or should) About Traditional Marriage

MarriageIt’s one of those wonderful times in human history where I can comment on two of my favorite subjects in the same subject; Religion and Politics!  It is an amazing opportunity to pretty much offend everyone I know.  Fasten your seat belts, here we go!

The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on whether laws that outlaw “gay marriage” should be ruled unconstitutional. (I know, there is more to it than that, but effectively that is what is going on). If you are on social media as much as I am then you already know that EVERYBODY is talking about this. There are symbols you can use as your Facebook profile pic that declare you believe marriage is between one man and one woman, or that you think everyone should be afforded equal access to holy matrimony.

It is interesting to me to see how my Christian brothers and sisters are handling this controversial issue. Some are holding strong to their beliefs that marriage IS defined as between a man and a woman. Others think that God loves everyone and He approves of same sexes wedding.  Others (like me until now) are remaining silent on the issue.

Hopefully I will be able to demonstrate that God Himself defines marriage as between one man and one woman and that it is very important to Him.

For the sake of time and with the hopes of not boring my non-Christian friends too much I will get to the heart of the matter. God cares that marriage is between one man and one woman because that is the way He set it up. He set it up that way for many reasons. For man to be fruitful and multiply comes to mind.  Therefore as a practical matter certainly same sex marriage violates natural law. But there is a much deeper issue at work here. God says that marriage is a picture of Christ’s relationship with His church! Don’t take my word for it. Look at Ephesians 5 starting in verse 25:

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

For a Christian it should be clear. Marriage is not just about a man and a woman; marriage is a picture of God’s love for people and how that dynamic looks. Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Marriage is a picture of Jesus’ sacrificial love for the church! Every time Satan is successful at chipping away at the family and traditional marriage then he is also chipping away at the best example that God put on the Earth of His love for us.

You say, “but Mike, Jesus Himself never said that marriage was between a man and a woman.” And I would answer, yes, yes He did. Check out Matthew 19:3-6

The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?”
And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”

You can read the same account from Mark’s point of view in Mark 10.

Jesus points out that, “at the beginning” God made them “male and female;” and a “man is joined to his wife.”

If you are a Christian who thinks that gay marriage is fine because it isn’t hurting anyone then I challenge you to think again. The attempt to redefine marriage is also an attempt (whether knowingly or not) to redefine what the relationship between Jesus and the church looks like.

The war is not against flesh and blood but it is a spiritual one.  Pray for our country.  Speak the truth in love.  Don’t be surprised if you are hated for what you believe.  Remember what Jesus said in John 18:

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.

Back-to-School Bash Dust Storm

You may know that my “real” job is being the web and video guy for Teen Challenge of Arizona.  I love telling the stories of what God is doing through the ministry.  A week or so ago the Phoenix Men’s Center had it’s annual Back-to-School Bash.  This year we had a twist.  A Haboob hit shortly after the event started!  No one panicked.  No one left.  The volunteers and Men of the Center all pitched in to make sure everyone stayed safe, got fed and got backpacks full of school supplies.  Here’s Mike with more:

May Your Righteousness Exceed that of the Pharisees!

The Purpose of the Law?  Pastor Duane Sheriff with the most important hour of your day, and possibly your life.  Don’t be self righteous! Be righteous by Faith!!!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or download the 5 hour series here: https://www.dsheriff.org/secure/product-detail2.aspx?id=MS-78&ListType=Mini

Learning to Be Content

Philippians 4:10-12

10 How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. 11 Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. 12 I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.  (NLT) (emphasis mine)

It has been an exceedingly tough year and a half for me.  I have wrestled with many things and I have wrestled with God about many things.  The biggest challenges for me have been trying to find goals to aim myself toward and the other has been even tougher.  Being broke.  So broke that I was spending even more money that I didn’t have on late fees on late rent and insufficient fund fees to the bank (automatic withdrawals to pay bills is not always wise!).

There have been some extraordinary occurrences in the past 18 months as well.  Successes and challenges in the political arena and extraordinary success with some of my videos.  I even had one story make it on Glenn Beck!  Amazing!  And even though all of that notoriety is fun, it doesn’t pay.  I am trusting that it is all leading somewhere, but in the meantime it was discouraging to be on national TV but at the same time having to walk to work because I couldn’t afford gas for my car.

But God has been showing me some amazing things in the middle of all this struggle for money and goals.  The main message has been, quit struggling, trust and wait.  To say that is not easy is an understatement.  How can you not struggle when you feel like you are a chunk of taffy in a taffy machine?!  The best answer to that has been in the period of my want and need God has shown up in many extraordinary ways.

The biggest and best is the way he has used my friends and family to help support and encourage me!  Especially some dear friends of mine who hired me to do work, fed me when I was hungry and spoke life and encouragement when inside I felt like I was dying.  God Himself is constantly reminding me that He is with me, that He hasn’t forgotten me and that He has a wonderful plan for my life.  Just trust, wait and be thankful.

Lately I feel like I am turning the corner.  I am still struggling with my finances, but at least my rent and car payments are now on time.  I’ll take that victory.  My dear friends are now like family.  Another great gift.  My family is closer then ever.  And I am learning to be content with less.  Granted I still haven’t arrived, but as I struggle less and trust God more I continue to see and feel Him encouraging me.  I have learned so much in the last year and a half.  Lessons that will serve me well in the future.  The blessing of friends and family and God’s Love are more precious then a winning lottery ticket.

“Things” are coming a bit more into focus for me.  I am blessed to be a blessing even if that has nothing to do with cash on hand and for that I am thankful.  Still waiting on some things, but wrestling less with God and trusting Him more.  After all, He has the master plan!

Rejoice!

Last night was the second Tucson Fall Banquet.  The banquet series takes a break today before resuming for three nights in the Phoenix area.  (you can find out more here)

As you probably know, Teen Challenge of Arizona is my employer.  I maintain the web site and do some YouTube videos.  It is a very rewarding job as you can imagine as we see literally hundreds of boys, girls, men and women set free from drug and alcohol addiction every year.  My small role of support allows me to tell some of the amazing stories of how God is saving lives through the ministry of Teen Challenge.

This years banquet theme is Rejoice!  Philippians 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always and again I will say, Rejoice!”  The banquets are more then just our major fundraiser for the year.  They are also an opportunity to share the amazing things that God is doing and to Rejoice! in them.

One amazing story I got to tell after Fall Graduation is that of Karami’s and how God not only saved her life and changed her forever, but also changed her Dad and her entire family!  Karami and her family shared from the stage last night.  While I didn’t record that, I can share part of their story with you via this YouTube story I put together at graduation in September:

Reasons to Rejoice! indeed.

Tired of Backsliding

Originally posted at EmbraceGrace.org


Today is the 14th of November and that means Proverbs 14 is part of my daily Bible reading. That is, when I am being obedient and actually doing my daily Bible reading.

As I was reading Proverbs 14 this morning I didn’t get too far before I had to pause and contemplate verse 14.

14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways,
But a good man will be satisfied from above.

I think we all get frustrated with life sometimes. Disappointed that things didn’t worked out the way we planned or the wait for a promise was just a little (lot) bit longer then we expected. These are dangerous times for the Christian. If we don’t stay close to God and stay in His presence we can allow ourselves to get upset and even angry with God. If left unchecked that can lead to bitterness and a dry spirit. (don’t ask me how I know that : )

In these times (which I hope you never experience) it’s easy to turn to “comfort sins.” Those bad habits the old man used to have that want to come back in and enslave again. It can be as simple as overeating comfort foods or much worse. Certainly the comfort food analogy applies.

If you’ve ever been down this dark path even a little ways (I imagine it may be more common then people like to admit) and back again then you already know the wisdom of God through Solomon in Proverbs 14:14. You will grow tired of being backsliden (new word alert!) in heart. You will have your fill and the Holy Spirit will make you sick of it! Thank God for that!

There is a way back. Even better, there is a way to avoid this backsliden condition to begin with. Run to God every day! Stay close to Him no matter what. Share your troubles with Him. Lay your burdens at His feet. If you pick them back up an hour later, lay them at His feet again! He cares in a very personal way for you and the more you spend time with Him, the more you will see Him working in big and small ways in your life.

God is getting you through whatever it is. If you are frustrated and fall, let God pick you back up. Confess your sins to Him. Turn away from Backslideness (an even better new word alert!) and into His loving arms. Then you will be back on the track to being a good man satisfied from above, no matter what your circumstances.

Take Up Your Cross

Originally posted at EmbraceGrace.org


24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
– Matthew 16:24-25

Does God want you to have a wonderful and blessed life? I would say that the answer is yes. As we are diligent to obey Godly principles in our business dealings and personal dealings it brings success and love into our lives. We will find favor with God and Men and as we draw near to God we become blessed to be a blessing.

However, there is another side to following Christ. One that is vital to keep in mind so as to keep from being discouraged when difficulties come. See, the world may not appreciate that you like to do things the right way. The world doesn’t like when you speak out against abortion for example, or if you try to lovingly remind people that sex outside of marriage is not God’s best. The world hated Christ and if Christ is in you, the world will hate you too. That resistance can show up in a thousand ways. Betrayal from a friend. Loss of a job or promotion. Ridicule and insults and even death at the hands of people who don’t know Jesus.

When Jesus said, “Take up his cross and follow Me” think about what that symbolizes. Think about what happened in that barbaric Roman practice of Crucifixion. The “guilty” party had to carry his own cross through town to the Crucifixion location. (in Jerusalem’s case, Golgotha) As the condemned carried his cross through the crowd he was insulted, spat upon, ridiculed, cursed, had rocks thrown at him, etc. He had already suffered 40 minus one lashes and the insults to injury were not a minor thing. After walking the gauntlet it was time to get nailed to your cross followed by a slow, painful suffocation. (no wonder Jesus was sweating blood in the Garden of Gethsemane when He was considering about what was to happen to Him)

When Jesus says we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him it is not a small requirement. I think that it’s important that we keep it in mind always so we aren’t surprised when the world attacks the Christ in us.

The minute you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior you have grabbed a hold of your cross. As Jesus works in your life and changes you and you start to become more like Him, the world is gonna start to notice and not everyone is going to be thrilled. As you reflect the Holiness and even Love of our Savior don’t be surprised if you have to endure insults, ridicule, harassment, being spat upon and even death.

Jesus said in Mark 10:29-30

29 So Jesus answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, 30 who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.

(emphasis mine)

I love the Good News! Jesus died our death so we could live in God’s presence for eternity. Jesus came so that we could have an abundant life! There are vast rewards in this life and especially the one to come. You will be rewarded for every cup of water offered to another in His name. But don’t be surprised if the world is not always for you and is even vehemently and violently against you. Take up your cross. Follow Christ. It may not always be fun, but it will be worth it.

Revelation 12:11
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.