Saturday, April 13, 2024

Set Apart

Set Apart 
by David Brenneman 

‭"Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine." Leviticus 20:26.
It's a very big deal to the Father. Have you ever considered that?

Have you ever considered that the only things that you can take with you when you die are what you've done with, to, and for others?

Most might have heard an old phrase "your reputation precedes you".

Throughout His ministry here on Earth...Jesus's reputation preceded Him. Yet after every encounter with people...He got away to pray and be with His Father. 

Daily cleansing isn't just for the pores of your skin. Daily cleansing from life is a requirement in Spiritual growth and your Spiritual well-being. 

My interactions with people are very limited. Even though many think otherwise. I get tunnel vision when I work on practically everything that I do. Personal interaction clouds my thoughts so I really don't engage much in small talk while working. What's more is that I hold Colossians 3:24-34 as a standard.  

It's not in this aspect of my life where I feel set apart...it's in this aspect right here that I do. In my doing my part in showing up when and where Jesus wants to meet me, then we write.  

Some have tried to point to things that I have done that they referred to as my legacy. I really didn't consider those things as that. I highly doubt that should a day come where an obituary of me would be written that those things would be mentioned.

In your life there will be something that sets you apart in the work of God in your world for the kingdom of God. Everyone who is in the body of Christ is specifically set in that position by the Spirit of God. The Bible tells us that. This means that all who are in Christ Jesus are set apart for the work of service to God.

The Church of Jesus Christ is to be active, not as inactive as a couch potato. We're not to bash people over the head with the Bible but rather do as the Bible says...let your light so shine before men in such a way that people see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. 

We're in such a sensory saturated world. Trying to take the thoughts, feelings and emotions that belong to Christ Jesus and disburse them to people or events that do not matter in light of knowing Jesus.

Do you commit your way to the Lord? Hmm?

Do you set aside time before your day and before it ends to be with Jesus in some way? If you are in Christ isn't whatever is important to Jesus important to you?

Jesus was very intentional on setting the perfect example for His Disciples. We see the results in the lives of the Apostles. We see it handed down to the first Elders. The first Deacons and Deaconesses. We see it in the first Pastor. All written in the New Testament for our instruction. 

The next thing that we learn...is that there are no insignificant parts of the body of Christ. We are set apart from the world to serve our risen Savior, Jesus Christ, and regardless of what our role size might appear to be...it's significant in the eyes of God the Father and God the Son and God the Spirit. 

Some are living lives in Christ in such discomfort and pain. This does not mean you aren't able to fulfill your ministry in Christ. Continue in prayer until your heart and mind understand what it is you are to be doing. 

Jesus never moved on to any new city or place until He got word from His Father. Jesus always did what was pleasing to His Father.  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6.

A group called Casting Crowns had a song a few years back that has a very significant line in the lyrics. "I will praise you in the storm...". 

Regardless of what we face...we need to have the mind of Christ. Praising God in our struggles sets us very much apart from the world. 

If indeed you are saved...you are set apart for the work of God in Christ Jesus. That's what matters and what gived significance to your life. 

Find out when Jesus wants to meet with you and show up. Downsize your time spent on fruitless endeavors. Be intentional on being the holy, set apart, person you are to be as unto the Lord Jesus Christ. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Friday, April 12, 2024

You Cannot Serve Both

You Cannot Serve Both
by David Brenneman 

‭"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31.
‭"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality." Colossians 3:23-25.
"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh." James 3:1-12.

Are the commands of God cumbersome? Are they not for our benefit, even if we do not understand them as yet?

In Proverbs do we not also read about the profit of the discipline that comes from Jesus?

Our world is certainly the perfection of fence riding. Of teaching people from their youth on up that it's ok, it's beneficial even, to live for yourself and to balance that against what anyone else wants including God. That 50-50 is ok.  

In Christ there's a significant challenge to that. In Christ we're to deny ourselves taking up our own cross and following Jesus. There's no fence to stand on, lean on, or sit on.  

My Dear Reader...Satan's the owner of that fence. Vain and empty philosophy is only rooted in the wiles of the Devil.  

Satan's schemes include the belief that this or that desire isn't really sin because it's not hurting anyone. 

Satan's schemes include the belief that sensual desires aren't necessarily bad if you find yourself enjoying it and that's all that matters. 

Satan's schemes involve compromise on every level of intensity.  

We cannot live a life that exemplifies the so-called best of the world and a life that's fully devoted to Christ. A life lived in pursuit of worldly gains rather than a life pursuing whatever the Spirit wants gets you nowhere. 

People today...it's mind boggling to see...do not understand what idolatry is. They only have a cursory knowledge of adultery. They dismiss the true effects of cursing.  

Such has happened so often that the scars have formed an an insensitivity to the things of God has occurred.

‭"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them." Romans 1:18-19.

A severe irony is we live in a society of purported fact checkers. People and artificial intelligence programs that supposedly seek out false narratives, false news stories.  

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Romans 1:25.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15.

Are you living a diligent life in Christ? Are you absolutely sure?

Are you holding onto things that God's word has defined as idolatry, or other sinful practices?

Are you at all walking in the Spirit?

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." Galatians 5:16.

Are your desires in agreement with the desire of God for you?  

Right about now is when most minds cry our with "where's the fun in that?!".  

We're not too keen on the truth of God's word when we're not realizing that we're at war. We're not too keen on the truth that we have an enemy when we come to Christ for salvation. We're not too keen on the truth that our sin nature is on the side of our enemy. We have that sin nature until God calls us home or the Rapture of the Church happens. 

We're not too keen on really believing that God's truth in His Word is absolute truth. It's not to be bent to fit our personality or personal desires. 

We cannot live a life that has both pure water and filthy water coming from the same vessel and be glorifying God in the process. 

Take inventory of your life. 
Take inventory of your so-called successes.
Take inventory of what you hold dear to you.

Take inventory of where you really are in life with Jesus.

We're to live lives that cause others to see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. We're to live lives that are a testimony to the greatness of our God.  

The great revivals of the past came about solely because the Spirit moved people to the point of self examination and facing the truth about themselves and their relationship with Jesus.  

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation. 


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Scripture with Scripture

Scripture with Scripture 
by David Brenneman 

I was reading in Daniel this morning, both Chapters 9 and 10, and my Bible reading plan took me to Luke 4:1-15. What's amazing to me is that Daniel makes mention of the Messiah's arrival and in that very passage in Luke...Jesus arrives after the temptations of Satan to really begin His ministry.

My Dear Reader...this is but a single example...many many more exist that support the validity of the truth that Jesus Christ is that Messiah. What's more...look for yourself...look specifically and ask the Spirit to open your eyes. Jesus Himself, after the resurrection, had a moment with some Disciples to open their minds to learn from Moses til then of Himself in the Scriptures.  

While tools such as apps, study guides, books, exist...please do not place them as equals to your Bible. Flavors of Bibles exist from various people. Be wary of some of these because just because their notes are in them it doesn't make them the Gospel.  

The absolute best example was what is written of the Berean Church. Paul or others might teach something, but, they would always go to the Scriptures to see if they were so.

Now, I highly doubt that they would simply go on their own interpretation of the Scriptures. Prayer and seeking the guidance of the Spirit have to be integral to learning concerning the Bible. Jesus said that He, the Spirit, would teach them all things. He didn't say that the Spirit and a list of as yet unlisted people would teach them all things. 

The unfortunate truth is many many people are going to be ashamed to learn the hard truth of their lives concerning what they have stood on all their lives. That they were mislead to believe things that were not of God. Jesus Himself said that there will be people such as this whom He will say to depart from Me for I never knew you. 

A profound fact is that Satan is a believer in God. A second profound fact is that Satan knows the Scriptures front to back. None of these facts or any others that define Satan or his minions...makes them saved individuals.  

You can believe in the authority of Jesus Christ and yet not be saved.  

Paul wrote an admonition to be sure of your salvation. We also read the instruction to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Set your mind on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world.  

Yesterday we looked at Titus.  

Worldly desires aren't just sensual pleasures...it's vain philosophies. It's the truth that a single properly placed pebble can alter the course of a river.  

False teachers abound in our world today. Streaming content floods the internet on this topic.  

What's made matters worse is that while electronic media versions of the Bible are everywhere. You absolutely should procure a physical copy of the Bible. It takes seconds to manipulate an electronic document in small ways and nobody would be none the wiser. Whole school systems edit whatever is taught in public schools in this way.

While it's good to have the ability to search the Scriptures electronically, you need to know how to do it physically as well. Scripture says, ironically, that days are coming when it's going to be difficult to have a Bible. Jesus said that all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus are going to be persecuted. It's a matter of minutes to wipe out all digital versions of the Bible if some government chooses to do so.

Most of the western world isn't facing such persecutions. But unfortunately those days appear to be on the horizon. 

The Spirit is to be teaching...and we as the students...need to be listening and doing whatever He is teaching. His work in teaching is for our sanctification. His work is transformational. To make us more like Christ Jesus. 

While I like to learn things...what I learn of things in this world aren't necessarily going to transform my life. At least never to the degree that the work of the Spirit of God will do for me, to me, through me towards my life in Christ Jesus. 

Being in the Scriptures is something that's just the very same thing that Jesus said in the Gospels. He made mention that there were many people who longed to see His day and did not see it. Who longed to know the things that they now knew. Many millions never got to see the complete Bible and longed for it.

A life in Christ means making important to us whatever is important to Jesus. It's going to mean changes in what is a priority. Going to mean the world not understanding. Going to mean the world getting mad at us because of the stand we take in Christ. 

Jesus also said...to take heart...for He has overcome the world. 

Begin today if you've never committed to daily reading in your Bible. Ask your Teacher, the Spirit of God, to open your mind to the truths of God's word. Class is in session for as long as we breathe. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What Drives Us...Seriously

What Drives Us...Seriously 
by David Brenneman 

‭"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you." Titus 2:11-15.
How seriously do you want to know Jesus? How seriously do you take His commands?  

"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”" Matthew 28:18-20.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his [a]life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."" Matthew 16:24-25.

Our days have meaning if we're looking. If indeed Christ Jesus is your Lord and Savior you have more than a worldly life to live. In Christ we have purpose and a purpose. 

We have purpose to obey all that He commanded us.

We have a purpose to do our part in the body of Christ while we yet live here. 

These things ought to drive us, not be carry-on baggage to places we go, other things we do.  

A friend of mine daily looks to the list of the Life Principles of Dr. Charles Stanley as a 30 day daily reminder list. Today's is along the lines of God moving Heaven and Earth to show us His Will. 

Indeed when you read the book of Daniel, God indeed moved and Daniel was shown the will of God in the future of his people. 

We read in 2 Thessalonians 4 that the will of God for us is our sanctification. Not necessarily our health, wealth or prosperity. Not necessarily success as the world views it.

Success in God's eyes includes what the world calls an untimely death. Success in God's eyes includes going through things like cancer. It includes many things that the world absolutely will never understand because why? Because as the Bible says they are spiritually discerned.

Even in the realm of Believers we may not get insight from God. Sometimes, again as shown in the book of Daniel, there won't be others who will be able to explain the situation from God's perspective.  

The opening passage from Titus..."For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

We have a path to walk in life. We sometimes mistakenly get the idea that there's the path we want and the path that God desires as being different. They should be one and the same. He's to be our Great Shepherd. The One who leads. Up the mountains, down into the valleys. Teaching us through His Spirit.  

We are in the most distracted generation since pre-flood Earth.

The world today is actually getting drawn every direction possible exponentially. It's actually a significant rarity to hear of Believers getting away from the world to be alone with Jesus.

While the world calls much of what's possible and available to mankind as hopeful and encouraging...compare those things with Scripture. All things are what?  

"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12.

Garbage in Garbage out. 

Proverbs teaches the value in being careful of what we take into our hearts and minds.

Our lives are supposed to be such that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. 

It's what's supposed to drive us. 

Worldly desires are going to be extremely tempting. Satan designed them to be. He’s had a few thousand years to understand how to get under people's skin. 

What drives you? Does obedience to God's Word drive you? Do you have an undocumented list of exclusions in regards to living life for Jesus? A list of stuff that you have been content with calling acceptable behavior that God's Word says isn't?

Take stock in your life...look carefully to see if indeed you are walking around Jesus or walking with Jesus. Whether you are beside Him or have gotten ahead of Him or even lost sight of Him.

You are alive and breathing.  
You have hope because He lives.
You can still take a step and be where you are supposed to be in Christ.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

There have been Signs...

There have been Signs...
by David Brenneman 

Many many people have written many hundreds of predictions about the future. But out of all...only the Lord God who predicted everything about His human birth, life, death, burial and resurrection...pulled it all off. Absolutely nothing about the life of Jesus hasn't happened.  

In every shape and size of natural event experienced by mankind people look for signs among them. 

With all that was absolutely right about Jesus...why aren't more paying attention to what He said of His return?

To start...He said plainly that no man knows the day nor the hour. It wasn't even known to Him yet. The decision was made by the Father.  

Then He teaches by way of His own words what to look for that will lead up to that return by Him. Later the writers of the New Testament shed other lights on how the world will be before Jesus returns. 

But why do people persist? Mainly because they actually think so highly of themselves that they think they can figure out God without His help. Pride. Satan thought the exact same way leading up to the crucifixion...then Jesus arose from the dead and showed him oh how wrong he was. 

We face many who are like those Daniel faced whom are knowing that to bring us down they have to attack what we believe in Christ Jesus. 

Satan's still the somewhat master manipulator of this world. Somewhat because he must obey God with regards to the affairs of mankind. This is seen in the behind the scenes story of Job.

With all that there is in learning about Jesus...understanding signs and wonders really isn't all that important. The sanctifying work of the Spirit of God is about there being more of Jesus in us than us in us. It's not about all that other stuff. While yes those the King entrusted with talents knew someday that the King would return...two of them were about the King's business until that day. They knew that they didn't know when He would return so they remained ever watchful and ready.

We are called to be about the Father’s business. Sharing what Jesus has done with us, for us, in us. We don't save people...Jesus does. We have a purpose in life that's not about predictions regarding the future. We are set in the body of Christ Jesus as the Spirit sees fit to place us. There are no unuseful people in the body of Christ.  

What's also to be considered is the events of nature with regard to the end times as depicted in the Bible are NOT subject to our interpretation. They are not predicated upon events happening. If Jesus wanted a blizzard in Florida today it would just be happening. The depiction given in the book of Revelation that essentially describes an unusual eclipse...does not need to happen at the times we can calculate for a normal eclipse. 

These things are proven in the story of King Hezekiah. To move the shadow back up the steps required moving the whole planet we are on.
Nature, all creation, obeys the will of God without question. Joshua was told to have the Levites carry the Ark of the Covenant into the Jordan River at high tide. When their feet touched the water the water rose up in a heap and everyone crossed over on dry land. Not muddy ground. Nobody got wet.  

Lions in the den with Daniel...were told by the Spirit to leave Daniel alone and they obeyed without question.  

The Red Sea parted for the children of Israel to pass through on dry ground as well. 

Nature only appears to roll on through as if in chaos. But nothing, not a single hair on anyone's head, nor a single tear shed, not a single cry from even a hungry animal escapes the notice of God.

The Bible says all that. If the Bible was entirely correct about Jesus...
If Jesus is the only one who perfectly called His shot concerning His death, burial and resurrection...
If Jesus, after rising from the dead and bringing 500 others back to life to testify...

If indeed all these things are absolutely inerrantly true...what manner of child of God ought you and I to be?

We too ought to make whatever is important to Jesus, important to us. 

Forgiveness is not an option. 
Loving others is not an option. 
Time with Jesus daily is not an option. 
Praying isn't an option. 
Time learning from the Spirit through the Word of God isn't an option. 
Setting your mind on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world is not an option. 

There more than enough in just that list of non-negotiable, non-optional, segments of the Christian life to keep you and I going. 

Those aren't optional. That third person with the entrusted talents? He essentially sat on what he was entrusted with. Was too worried about how he would be viewed by others. Afraid to the point of inactivity. Afraid of his Master. Afraid of what others would think. In all of that he missed out on the blessings of his Master. 

Are you about the things that matter to Jesus with regards to you? Are you listening too much to what the world says is important and are inadvertently disregarding the Word of God? Are things like worldly success driving you or is pleasing Jesus driving you?  

There will be no signs except the sign of Jonah. As it was in the days of Noah. People marrying and being given in marriage until Jesus closed the door to that impossible boat that would be humanities future. No signs other than the preaching of Noah that every single person ignored, laughed at, mocked, ridiculed but those whom Jesus saved.  

In many parts of the world we saw a wonderful sight yesterday with that eclipse. Conspiracy theories abounded. Yet here we are today. 

The judgments of God are not bound by the laws of nature. 

Will you be ashamed at His return or will you be found by Him doing what you are here to be doing?  

That choice is yours. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation. 

Monday, April 8, 2024

Adversity and You

Adversity and You 
by David Brenneman 

‭"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” Daniel 4:37.

"The dark moments of our life will only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose for us." - Life Principle #7, Dr. Charles Stanley.

In the book of Daniel we see this play out in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar. In Habakkuk we see that adversity was in his future and was predestined by the Lord concerning Israel. 

In all the prophecies of Israel going into exile and when they would return...follow this principle. 

In the adversity shared by the children of Israel before, during and after Joseph...this too followed this principle.

Adversity lasted another 20 years for the beggar that Jesus did heal eventually. Huh? I believe that since later on in the Gospel accounts that the beggar who was at the Temple whom Jesus healed says he had been in that state for most all his life...that quite possibly the young boy Jesus saw him.  

It's possible that many were in adversity for decades because Jesus's ministry hadn't began yet. 

In our lives...what can we say?  

We often face adversity for many reasons. Sometimes it's on account of our deeds or maybe not. Sometimes it's because of our maturity in the faith whereas we are able to endure while someone else isn't strong enough in their faith to make it yet. Sometimes it's us, sometimes it's not.  

The result ought to be the same as a well known hymn writer said "To God be the glory great things He has done. So loved He the world that He gave us His Son. Who yielded His life an atonement for sin. And opened the life gate that all may come in. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!"

My life has had more than it's share of various adversities. As long as I live and breathe, there will be more. 

We come to Christ for salvation...the Spirit begins the work of sanctification in us. Our adversities are the fires of purification being turned up to remove the dross of our lives. Purifying what remains. The process requires a time of specific heat to a specific point for a specified duration. That's the well guarded secret of smelting...and is referred to in the book of Psalms. 

It does hurt, it is painful. Jesus said that all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus are going to be persecuted. Painful days are a part of life in Christ. Painful days accompany workouts. Muscles get stressed and stretched. At the end the body is more useful for greater feats hitherto impossible to have achieved beforehand.

Recognizing the Spirit in your adversity is important. It's vital to not losing your head over the situation.  

If you're not seeing the Spirit of God in your adversity...either He’s that involved or we are in for a long period of His work in us.  

It's taken years, decades, to see the whittling away of me in me...and it's ok. 

Huh?

We come to Christ with a ton and a half of blind baggage. We come with chains of practiced sins for some that are going to take time to break. We come with things that are of no Earthly good to the mission and ministry of God in us.

They gotta go. We have to let go of them. Willingly or unwillingly they will be revealed and will be addressed. Some will appear to be adversities.  

I can relate, in a very small way, to these people Jesus healed who were in their adversities for longer than He was there on this Earth. 

Their lives would have been radically different had they not had their adversity. Jesus wouldn't have been glorified in the ways He was on the days they were set free. 

My day of freedom is yet future when I eventually step into Heaven. 

I was born partially blind in 1 eye. There's many things that billions take for granted in seeing that I will never know. 3D movies. Knowing what a sunrise or sunset looks like with two good eyes.  

This isn't a pitty party. God made me this way for His glory. I would likely be a very self-centered, arrogant, person without my infirmities. 

Does not Scripture say that He is the Potter and we are the clay? Does it not say that as the Potter, He has every single right to make vessels of honorable use and for common use?

There's purpose to everything Jesus does. We sometimes are granted the briefest of understanding about these things, sometimes not.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Period. 

Earlier, before his dream that lead to his exile from his throne, it never crossed his mind of what was coming. After Daniel's interpretation, he wasn't taking it seriously. A year later...in the moment the Lord spoke from Heaven to him that prophesy and he felt his pride being ripped from him...King Nebuchadnezzar knew who really ruled. He learned it was not him.  

We can be so full of ourselves that the option to drive us to our knees is an option. 

But it is only going to last as long as is necessary to achieve the will of God for us. 

Growing in Christ is more important than anything we hold dear in the world. Take up your own cross and follow Me! You cannot hold your own cross AND anything or anyone. 

Are there things you're holding on to that aren't beneficial to growing in Christ that He's said need to go?

Are you in the midst of adversity right now? Know that Jesus is there in it with you. 

At no point are we to take a seat in the valley of the shadow of death. He will take us through it. 

Search me oh God and know my heart today...as another hymn says.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation. 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

We are NOT Defined by Our Sins

We Are NOT Defined by Our Sins 
by David Brenneman 

Nightmares come to probably everyone regardless of age. Last night was one for me.  

Satan's not to blame for it anymore than him being personally involved in my life. It's a fools cop-out to keep blaming ours sins on his involvement in our lives. Satan does not have that attribute of God where he can be everywhere at once. He is absolutely not omnipresent. My sin nature does its own number on me in most debacles of my struggles. 

The same goes for everyone since Adam and Eve. Same is for all yet to be born.  

My first course of action this morning has been to remind myself of who I am and who's I am. My identity isn't in this mortal flesh nor is it defined by the environment in which I live move and have my being. When I heard the call and came to Christ Jesus for salvation, I was adopted into the family of God. I am a child of God. Heir to the Kingdom of God. Sins forgiven.  

Our enemies are all who oppose the will of God for all in Christ Jesus. 

We who are in Christ are a new creation. The old things have passed away behold new things have come.  

My Dear Reader this is the same for everyone who is in Christ Jesus. The same battles in varying degrees affect every single Believer. 

We face those in-your-face battles as well as pacifistic battles where it's just our thoughts and feelings carrying us into temptations we don't realize until it's too late to get out of.

Another aspect of being alert is to be aware. Self awareness is both necessary and critical. Knowing that if you aren't careful stepping into a cow pasture you will indeed step in something you'd rather not will go along way. 

My Friend, we can find ourselves in that cow pasture without leaving our bed. We can find it in our living room. Our car. In front of the television. A supposed innocent movie. A supposed innocent sporting event. Reacting to people in those settings rather than understanding the root cause of what just provoked our own reactions. 

We are being trained by the Spirit to fulfill our purpose in being here. Our sanctification. We are being trained to know the enemys of God and Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  

We are admonished not to let out guard down. There's no time to let out guard down. We want a time where we can, but my Dear Reader, that will only be in the perfect peace and protection of Heaven. 

Not here.

Here we fight what?

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:11-13.

We must realize some very distinct attributes of this.

Demons and Satan cannot indwell a Believer's life. They cannot be where the Spirit of God resides. It's impossible. This is another key reason we are admonished to be sure of our salvation. 

Demons are real. They are as real today as they were 2,000 plus years ago. I have met more than one very very real demons.  

Demons will respond to every single command of God. They must obey God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  

Expect them to entice every single Believer towards apathy. Towards what I'll call downgrading sins. To not think that particular sin is all that bad.  

Expect them to convince you to hoard God's blessings "just in case".

Expect them to lull you into a false sense of peace and security. I do believe that the pre-ministry precautions that Jesus told the Disciples applies to all who are in Christ Jesus. 

"Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16.

Lastly...and by no means is this a complete list...they cannot read minds. Expect them to influence your environment in order to manipulate your mind but they cannot read your mind.  

It's why there are indeed times where I pray silently. They cannot know what we pray to Jesus about when done silently. I know that Jesus knows my heart. If people don't get me, I know that He does. 
I know if people turn on me, He never will.

I know that I am forgiven, not forsaken.  

"I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
And I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true
And it's my joy to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
You are my King
You are my King
Jesus, You are my King
You are my King
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
(Amazing love)
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor You
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
(Amazing love)
Amazing love, I know it's true
And it's my joy to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
In all I do, let me honor You"
-Newsboys Released 2003.

We are in a war. We aren't dismissed from nor will ever be excused from it until the Rapture of the Church or we are called from this world. The battles are real, the war was won at the cross of Jesus Christ.  

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.