Religion

Holland, William 2016                   William Holland

Living on purpose with William Holland

I  was at my daughter’s house the other day painting one of her bedrooms – and, yes, these are things that retired fathers are happy to do. She was in another room organizing a closet while listening to the radio and a very interesting song came on.
I am not really familiar with a lot of pop music but the Michael Jackson song The Man In The Mirror was playing and I listened intently. Certain tunes from time to time have a tendency to stick in our head and, throughout that afternoon, I continued to think about the depth of the song’s lyrics.
I was amazed how a simple idea about stopping to take a serious look at who we have become could be relayed into such a powerful life-changing message. Transformation is a major component within the meaning of life and what the Bible has been trying to communicate since the beginning of time.
Each week, I encounter people who are in different stages of their lives and part of my mission as a minister is to help and encourage them, however the Lord leads. Over the years, I have come to realize that, when life becomes so filled with activity, we seldom stop to think about the association between our priorities and time management.
And then, one day, we face the sobering reality that we only have a certain amount of time left to do what is important, along with the sad conclusion that much of the past we could have done better.
It is wise to ask ourselves periodically what is really valuable in this life and to understand that we will be recognized for how we live more than for whatever we accomplish. The Christian theme is blended with love and in, the end, our love will be the foundation of our legacy.
Here are three words that are not rules for religious legalism but are meant simply to encourage our spiritual development and accountability.
Reflection: It is encouraging to think about how God has protected and blessed us. I can promise that you and I will never win all the races but, just because we lose a few, it does not mean we should stop trying.
If there are dysfunctions in our past that have caused us problems, we can sincerely ask Him to show us today what they are and He will help us adjust our attitude.
Examination: Experience is an excellent teacher. It is true, we are sinners and have made mistakes but, when we think about missed opportunities, we can also see the mighty hand of God intervening and delivering us from many harmful situations.
Conducting a personal inventory is a humble process through which we face our fears and discover ways to improve by drawing closer to God. Forgiveness and restoration are his specialty but his grace is not an excuse for our apathy.
Direction: God has a plan for everyone. Our destiny is a unique blueprint that was custom designed for us to follow but his desire for our life is not automatically accomplished. We are given a choice in how we will live and this freedom allows us to be arrogantly independent or to yield our will and humbly invite Him as our personal Lord to lead and guide us in his ways.
The Man In The Mirror might have been a catchy song but personal change is not a popular subject and it doesn’t help that our prideful nature is always ready to defend our actions by declaring how the world needs to accept us as we are.
Be encouraged today and know that God has a glorious vision for all of us and longs to continue doing a mighty work in our heart! It is his desire to see us succeed and He promises that, if we continue to fervently pray and seek his face, we will be transformed into a reflection of his image!
Taking personal responsibility for the way we are is a result of becoming serious about pleasing God.
William Holland is an outreach minister, chaplain and author who has his own Christian website, billyhollandministries.com. A resident of Kentucky, where he lives with Cheryl, his wife of 39 years, he sets out each week to find thought-provoking messages of inspiration, hope and encouragement for our readers.

Holland, William 2016                   William Holland

Living on purpose with William Holland

Have you ever caught yourself judging people by their appearance? It is amazing how full of righteous pride we can be while living in denial about it.
We’ve all heard stories about the person who drives into the car lot in a modest vehicle and, from a general perspective, seems just plain ordinary. He heads straight toward the most expensive models as the sales people watch and secretly mock him instead of waiting on him.
Finally, one of them approaches to ask what he
is doing, completely unaware the man is extremely wealthy and could easily purchase the entire dealership.
So, why do we act this way? Because, sadly, our mind is trained to make instant judgments based completely on the outward image.
I have noticed in my own life that, when I am busy running errands around town and just wearing a T-shirt, cargo shorts and a baseball cap, people hardly speak or acknowledge me but, when I am dressed in my suit and tie, especially my fire-department chaplaincy dress blues, I receive all types of friendly nods, smiles and the admiration of respect.
I can be waiting in line looking like I’ve been mowing the grass and no one seems to care but, when I am dressed up, I hear responses such as “just one moment sir” or “sorry to keep you waiting” as if my appearance alone is worthy of a higher level of attention and consideration.
How often have we read Christ’s words “judge not lest you be judged” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” but, for some reason, believed they always refer to someone else?
The idea is for all of us to realize that pride is ugly and tries to convince our mind that we are better than other people. The truth is that we are all pitiful sinners and need to pray for humility so that our eyes can be opened wide enough to stop associating value with appearance so we can start seeing what is true and good in everyone.
A man sat at a metro subway station in Washington and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played for about 45 minutes during rush hour and it was calculated that,
in that time, more than 1,000 people passed by him on their way to work.
He had opened his case while he was playing and every now and then someone would toss in a little something. While he was there, only six people actually stopped for a moment to listen to his music, no one applauded and only one person commented that
he looked familiar.
When he finished playing, the violinist put a few dollars and a handful of coins in his pocket, packed up his instrument and quietly walked away.
No one had realized he was Joshua Bell, one of the most renowned musicians in the world, and that this violin virtuoso had just performed one of the most intricate musical pieces ever written using a Stradivarius valued at $3.5m.
Here he was playing incognito as a starving artist when, only two days before, he had been the talk of the town at a sold-out theater in Boston where the seats cost an average of $100.
So what was the difference? His metro mini concert was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about human perception, value and significance, and concluded with the thought that, if our lack of sensitivity can prevent us from recognizing and appreciating the awe inspiring, then what else might we be missing that is happening all around us?
Jesus taught in Matthew chapter 25 that our attitude toward other people is actually the way we treat Him and, sometimes, I seriously wonder whether we would even recognize Him.
It is important to renew our thinking and look beyond our judgmental first impressions so that we might respect and see all people the way God sees them.
Kentucky resident William Holland is an outreach minister, chaplain and author who has his own Christian website, billyhollandministries.com, and sets out each week to find thought-provoking messages of inspiration, hope and encouragement for our readers.

A DEER Park resident has set out to reveal how God is now bringing about the redemption of Earth just as Jesus brought redemption to mankind in a book just released nationwide.
Michael Cotie’s book, Tribulation’s Final Judgment, seeks to unravel the mystification that many people feel when they read the Bible’s book of Revelation, which appears to prophesy the way in which the world will end.
In it, the South Dayton Baptist church pastor simplifies scripture with an in-depth view of God’s judgment of mankind in the Tribulation, the prophetic messages Jesus revealed to the apostle John beginning in chapter 11 of Revelation.
Published by Tate, the book is available through bookstores or online from the publisher at tatepublishing.com or from barnesandnoble.com or amazon.com.

Living on purpose with William Holland

The United States recently celebrated the 60th anniversary as our national motto of “In God
we trust”, which was established as a law passed by the 84th congress and approved by president Dwight Eisenhower on July 30, 1956.
As Christians, we are confident this declaration originates from the Bible with passages such as Psalm chapter 16 verse 1 that says: “Preserve me, O God, for in Thee do I put my trust.”
That sentiment has been well documented throughout our nation’s history as a spiritual acknowledgment of our faith in the God of the Bible.
One hundred years before “In God we trust” became our national motto, urgent appeals were made from individuals such as the Reverend MR Watkinson
in 1861 to inscribe our faith
in God on our currency.
As a result of the growing desire of the masses, Salmon Chase, US treasury secretary under president Abraham Lincoln, responded fervently by instructing James Pollock, director of the US mint in Philadelphia, to begin the task, writing in November 1861: “No nation can be strong except in the strength of God or safe except in his defense. The trust of our people in God should be declared on our national coins.”
It is recorded that Pollock warmly accepted the instruction, writing in October 1863: “Its legends and devices should declare our trust in Him who is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Let us reverently acknowledge his sovereignty and let our coinage declare our trust in God.”
On March 3, 1865, congress unanimously passed a proposal to approve the motto for all US coins. And on July 11, 1954, a month after the phrase “under God” was added into the pledge of allegiance, congress voted to incorporate the motto on all United States currency.
In 1950, “In God We Trust” was inscribed over the south entrance to the US senate chamber and, in 1962, it was inscribed above the rostrum
in the house of representatives.
On February 9, 1961, president John Kennedy spoke at a dedication breakfast of International Christian Leadership and is quoted: “No man who enters upon the office to which I have succeeded can fail to recognize how every president of the United States has placed special reliance upon his faith in God.
“Every president has taken comfort and courage when told, as we are told today, that the Lord will be with thee. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee. Fear not – neither be thou dismayed. The guiding principal and prayer of this nation has been, is now and shall ever be “In God we trust.”
In a March 19, 1981, proclamation for a national day of prayer, president Ronald Reagan declared: “Our nation’s motto, ‘In God we trust’, was not chosen lightly. It reflects a basic recognition that there is a divine authority in the universe to which this nation owes homage.”
Here are more quotes from our 40th President:
“Without God, there is no virtue because there is no prompting of the conscience. And, without God, democracy will not and cannot endure. If we ever forget that we are one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.”
“I believe with all my heart that standing up for America means standing up for the God who has so blessed our land. We need God’s help to guide our nation through stormy seas. But we cannot expect Him to protect America in a crisis if we just leave Him over on the shelf
in our day-to-day living.”
“Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant and
the rule of law under God
is acknowledged.”
Sadly, we are witnessing
a falling away from spiritual truth that includes reverential fear toward a holy and sovereign God to intervene into the affairs of mankind. It is good to have a noble motto but, like all good intentions, it is only as strong as the convictions behind it.
William Holland is an outreach minister, chaplain and author who has his own Christian website, billyhollandministries.com. A resident of Kentucky, where he lives with Cheryl, his wife of 39 years, he sets out each week to find thought-provoking messages of inspiration, hope and encouragement for our readers.

Terry Melancon              Terry Melancon

Pastor’s pulpit with Terry Melancon

Fear has taken our nation by storm and caused many others to be fearful as well. It’s as if fear has become the norm in society; everywhere you turn, people are afraid of this or that.
They’re afraid to go out shopping, to go home after work at night, to speak to others for fear of retaliation.
Movies and video games feature demons, murder, perversion and genocide – everything God has called an abomination – no wonder people are afraid. There are drive-by shootings, stabbings and bombings, which have manifested fear of dying. There is fear of losing jobs,
of divorce and of debt.  Roosevelt, Franklin D 32 president
So much is happening all around that it’s enough to have one ask where God is.
Terrible things are happening all over the world but none has taken Jehovah by surprise.
Psalm 2:1-4 reads: “Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his anointed, saying ‘let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us’. He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision. For I am the Lord,
I do not change.”
God is not a man, even though some call Him “the man upstairs” because they lack reverence or respect
for Him.
Psalm 37:9-11 reads: “For evil doers shall be cut off; but those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look carefully for his place but it shall be no more. But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”
God is not a man that He should lie, nor is He the son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Luke 21:25-28 reads: “What are you afraid of? Have you forgotten what Jesus said; there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring.
“Man’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things that are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now, when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption draws near.”
Fear has captivated nations and caused many to tremble, asking: “What if?” But God’s eye is upon those who live right and his ears are open to their cry. The face of the Lord Jehovah is against those who do evil.
People are striving to live the American dream. Someone once said: “Just reach down and grab ahold of your boot straps, lace them up, get started and you’re on your way.”
You don’t need anyone but God, the one who makes his sun shine on the good and evil alike; with Him, you can make it on your own merits. No one makes it in this life without his involvement.
All that we acquire in this life comes from God Almighty and, when you think you have arrived, be careful lest you fall. When you leave God out of your life, you have exactly what we’re now seeing in this world – chaos.
So recognize that God
is in control and you’ll have no fear of losing anything. When the thought of fear enters your mind, take control of it immediately by repeating what God has said.
At 2 Timothy 1: 7, we read: “God has not given us the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” In other words, your fear doesn’t come from God but from your inner thoughts.
What we allow to enter our soul – our mind, will and emotions – and what we watch and listen to daily plays a vital part in developing or fighting fear. Stop feeding yourself things that generate fear and start feeding yourself the word of God.
Perfect love casts out fear because fear involves torment. But he who still fears has not been made perfect in love. The more we focus on Christ, the more the perfect love of God begins to grow within us and remove all fear.
Evil has been around since God’s creation but He is sovereign and is still on the eternal throne.
Read Romans 8:35, 37-39: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulations, or distress, or persecutions, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
“Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So, what are you afraid of?
Terry Melancon is a lay pastor at The Fellowship church in Texas City.