Tuesday, June 18, 2024

If God Says It's Bad...

If God Says It's Bad...
by David Brenneman 

‭"Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." 2 Timothy 3:12-13.

‭"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

The other day something happened that I have rarely ever heard in a public place, in a store even. Discussions on the true state of the world. Of the evil of these end times in which we're living. Several men talking about what the Bible says about it and what we're living in today.

What I contributed to the conversation was to consider how bad bad is as God defines it. Bad to us isn't what's bad to God because our ways, our views, on life are stained by sinful worldviews.  

Evil is among us. The Church's power in Christ Jesus can both resist and defeat it. Indeed the Bible says that the very gates of Hell will not be able to take the onslaught of the Church. 

So why are so many people embracing this world today rather than resisting?  

Evil men and impostors...these are from within the Church. Getting people to accept and believe falsehoods. Telling them what their itching ears want to hear. Not telling them what they need to hear. 

It's been a sort of common joke that common sense is dead. People who actually are still yet critical thinkers are rapidly becoming a rarity. Those who speak up are ganged up on to be silenced.  

One second after you have breathed your last, your decision of either accepting Christ Jesus as your Savior and Lord or rejection of Him is going to be evident to you. 

While yes this world is absolutely not getting any better, the reason has always been because of sin. 

Whereas evil is both gaining ground, the true Church isn't assertive enough. So in the truest sense things really are going from bad to worse.  

Where are you in regards to the offer of salvation through Jesus Christ alone? Millions of people died last night. Some from accidents while driving or riding with someone else. Some from natural causes. Some from nothing more than they weren't able to handle life and they took their own. 

While indeed life is harsh these days, nobody was promised a rose garden. Whether you are saved or not your life is going to have ups and downs. Good times or harsh times. The promise of God in Christ is that when you place your faith and trust in Him, you're never going to face anything alone ever again.

I work with many people who aren't saved and I can't imagine how difficult their lives are with what they say they are going through. They are on their own under that crushing weight.  

What's worse is our society has crafted laws to keep the truth of God from them in the workplace. 

Tolerance is 'preached' by the unbelieving in our world but at the same time they force what they believe onto the rest of us. This is not how trust is built. 

Evil is getting worse. Our tolerance of it is also increasing. 

Literally our pain threshold is increasing in dealing with this present darkness.  

It's ever more important to know that you know that you know that you are saved. That the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ alone is yours.  

The Bible says that no one knows the day nor the hour when Jesus is going to come back. It's going to be so quick that the world will go into crisis mode immediately. THE Antichrist will show himself and the way the world will be...the world will follow wherever he leads.  

You cannot wait to the last second to receive that free gift if you cannot know what is going to be that last second. 

Nothing in your world that you call living life is more important than setting that question: where are you going to spend eternity?

As for me and my house...we know this world is not our home. We're just passing through. We know that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, was cruelly beaten and crucified. Arose 3 days later as both Christ and King.  
We know and believe that Jesus is our Savior and Lord. Read Romans 10.  

How evil is evil? It's replete with deceptions. Truth twisted and now accepted by the world as new truth. 
Those who believe Biblical truth are canceled, ostracized, mocked, scorned, murdered. That's the kind of evil in our world that's going from bad to worse. Jesus said it would be just as it was in the days of Noah. In those days selfishness ruled. Everything about faith in the Lord was rejected by mankind. 

‭"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these." 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

Please don't wait any longer. If you haven't come to Christ for salvation yet...think long and hard about it. The curtain will fall so fast that you're going to miss it. The Bible says that it will be in the twinkling of an eye.  

For those reading this who are saved...live it out no matter what your life is like no matter where you are. Pray without ceasing. You are not alone. 

All that remains of history is this short period between now and the Great Tribulation, and a 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ. No centuries, no millennia. After the reign of Jesus Christ, time ends and eternity is where all mankind will be. Either in torment paying for their own sins or in peace with Jesus Christ. 

‭Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."

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

Monday, June 17, 2024

What's Your Attitude Towards Serving?

What's Your Attitude Towards Serving?
by David Brenneman 

‭“Your words have been arrogant against Me,” says the Lord. “Yet you say, ‘What have we spoken against You?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept His charge, and that we have walked in mourning before the Lord of hosts?  So now we call the arrogant blessed; not only are the doers of wickedness built up but they also test God and escape.’ ” Malachi 3:13-15.

It's, to me at least, a danced around subject.  While many many times the subject of serving is brought up in sermon and in conversation...the obvious issue isn't approached. 

What is your attitude towards serving your Savior and Lord?

What is your definition of serving your Savior and Lord?

These two must be looked at to find out where you are with regards to it.

Many wonder about the state of the world with regards to the Church's influence and impact upon it.

We can read of what the Church's impact and influence are SUPPOSED to be in the New Testament.  But if those whom claim to be Christians are only being Christians on Sunday Mornings and possibly Sunday Evenings and maybe Wednesday nights...there's your probable reason for a weak influence. 

You who are claiming that your salvation rests in the Lord Jesus Christ...YOU are the Church wherever you are.  Your life is in service to Jesus wherever you wake up.  In your going out and your coming in.  

Akin to this is your worship time. You choose to also worship during your week or you choose the world's music to influence your heart and mind.  Worship does not end when you walk out of the Church building.  On the contrary, that's when it's to begin.

If you're not setting your mind on the things that are of God...it's no wonder your life will be one battle after another.  It's no wonder you find yourself as Malachi wrote earlier in this chapter with a purse full of holes.  

It's incredibly important to realize that your life in Christ is a 24/7 deal. 

He isn't a butler. 
He isn't your servant. 
He isn't omniscient, omnipresent, for His health.  He's in you and for you to grow in Christ. To become less like you've been and more like He is.

Turn on your radio, your television, your web browser, your podcasts...who is being fed what by what you are choosing to eat?

Yes, it's food...ironically...food for thought.  

You are not going to find the kind of peace that passes all understanding if you aren't doing life God's way.

Being busy all the time for the wrong reasons is foolishness before God.  Making excuses for why you aren't doing more with Jesus or for Jesus is why the Church today does have so many splits.  Of why the supposed hands and feet of Jesus are idle.

Going back to what you are feeding yourself...your list of excuses. Are they going to hold up before Christ when you give an account of your life?

Millions of people have a hoarding problem.  I don't mean physical things although that's a multi billion dollar industry.

It's hoarding thoughts and feelings, actions even, that aren't doing anything to show Jesus Christ alive and well in our lives.  People aren't seeing Jesus because we're hiding Jesus by what we are choosing to keep engaged with in our lives.

Hoarders can't figure out how to live without something. A form of separation anxiety arises.  What will become of this or that?  My Dear Reader...you die today and none of it will matter to you. Guaranteed.  All unbelievers in Hell are not concerned in the least about cars, houses, family heirlooms. 
All Believers in Heaven aren't concerned by those things either.

These same-said people aren't concerned about what they didn't finish. Not at all concerned about not being able to work more.  Not at all concerned about what other's might be thinking. Ironically fears do not exist in either place.  Worries do not impact either. 

What's possible is eternal regrets.  Regrets that they didn't use their time, energy and efforts better for Jesus than they did.  That they didn't realize how fruitless their lives were in living for self.  
Those in Hell, many regrets concerning rejection of salvation through Jesus Christ. 

Jesus has a plan and purpose for each person in the body of Christ. 

The body of Christ is a fit body. 
It's a healthy body.  The Spirit sets us in the body of Christ as He sees fit.  In Heaven there will be no denominations. Just the Church, the Bride of Christ.  Get over that denomination thing.  

Maybe this has caused you to think about your attitudes during your week.  If so...good.  

If in your life you have run from serving because people have attacked you or your family.  Think of it this way. Read your Bible. You're in good company.  Return to God and submit to His plan and purpose for you.  

Jesus IS returning some day soon. 
Jesus IS going to have all Believer's give an account of their lives before Him. 

You're not going to have an excuse to stand on. It says every one's deeds will be tried by fire.  What remains will be for Jesus.  

Think about what you are choosing to engage in your life. Think about your attitudes towards your salvation.  Think about whether you are living for Jesus or for you. 

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

Sunday, June 16, 2024

What to Do. What to Do?

What to Do. What to Do?
by David Brenneman 

‭"We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;  in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  Do not quench the Spirit;  do not despise prophetic utterances.  But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;  abstain from every form of evil.  Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." 1 Thessalonians 5:14-24.

2 Thessalonians 4:3a says "For this is God’s will, your sanctification." Here too is another pointing out of God's will. "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing;  in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."

We aren't the architects of our lives.  This life we live isn't our creation under Heaven.  Elements of our personality are used, the gifts and talents graciously bestowed upon us by our Father in Heaven, are indeed the ingredients but its far from being our sole discretion in direction. 

We come to Christ for salvation yes.  We should also have of first importance what is of first importance to Him who saved us. 

In Christ we are to grow in Christ. We are to be diligent to be the disciple that we are in Him.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  This isn't at all lending to any idea of whatever is leftover goes to God. 

Malachi is a book of admonishing the people of Israel.  Jesus is calling them out.  He was being offered sacrifices that even He says "try offering that to your governor!".

Would you describe your offerings of your life to Christ as being your absolute best?  Your best efforts? Your best attention? Your truly best?

You can do as they did...say whatever you want towards me or anyone about how devoted and dedicated you are...Jesus knows all. 

Are you being honest with yourself and your Savior?  Put it all on the table.  No distractions no playing of games.  

My Dear Reader, if you indeed believe the Scriptures, you know there's a day coming soon where your life will be laid bare before Him.  What you have done in your body for Christ is all that will matter.  You're either adding to that or you're taking away from that which you will offer to Jesus. 

Do you at all talk to Jesus daily?
Do you at all consider Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs?
Do you at all attempt to stand firm in the Lord?
Do you at all seek that which is important to Jesus?
Do you at all abstain from every form of evil?  
Do you clutter your mind with useless endeavors? 
Do you listen to yourself more than you listen to the Spirit?
Do you justify the habits you have rather than eliminate what's not helping you to live healthy in Christ?

These are just samples of food for thought.  Look at all that the Lord Jesus rebuked Judah and Israel for.  Look at all that Jesus personally rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees for.  Look at His corrections towards His Disciples. 

You will know if you are willing to see.  This is part of that wisdom we are to ask of God for.   To clearly see and clearly know what God wants of you and for you.  

It may not remotely look like what you think it should...and that's ok.

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.

This says what He will do when we trust Him completely.  Note it doesn't say He will explain it all along the way. 

Jesus said to come as a child. Children hate lengthy explanations. 

Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus...but to trust and obey. 

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

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Small and Great All to the Glory of God

Small and Great All to the Glory of God 
by David Brenneman 

No matter what you are dealing with or are facing, "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,is the answer. 

Jesus trusted in His Father with all His heart and trusted not in His own understanding. In all His ways He acknowledged His Father and His Father made His path straight. 

No matter the cells in the body, all work together for good for that body when it comes to the body of Christ. It doesn't matter if all you've ever done is greet people kindly to those men who are called to preach the word of God. Skin cells or major organs in Christ all have a plan and purpose for the glory of God in Christ Jesus. 

All too often many people don't think their being at Church matters. That it's not in them to get involved. That there's nothing for them that they can or would like to do. 

If we take that mindset then those to whom have realized their life in Christ has something for them to be doing are going to have all that much more to try to be doing rather than the whole body working as it should. 

You, my Dear Reader, know all too well what happens when parts of your own body don't cooperate with other parts of it. It's not a good thing. 

The opening paragraph or two came to me before I went to bed last night and I was awaken from sleep to make sure I wrote it down. 

Jesus lived out Proverbs 3:5-6 daily. 

He often spoke openly to His Father about how right He was. 

You have a plan and purpose in life that's much greater than you can possibly imagine. So do I. We must submit to the training in righteousness that comes from a life IN Christ. Our training is ongoing. Our training is for God's will for us.

"Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you." 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8.

Living life isn't to only be our pursuit of happiness. Of our pursuit of our ideas concerning peace and love. 

Our lives are in Christ, therefore, we have an in Christ purpose for our here and now in human history. 

We don't tell the rest of the body of Christ "you're on your own. I'm saved so that's all that matters".

When we ignore God's calling for us, that's pretty much what we are saying. 

We also can't let fear of what might be for us to keep us from serving in the body of Christ. We'll surely talk ourselves out of it. 

We also cannot let past experiences of serving that we only concluded didn't go well to keep us from present and future service to the body of Christ.  

This line of thinking is our trusting in our own hearts and not what Proverbs 3:5-6 speaks to. 

We will always get in our own way. 

Truth be known, we in the Church can do so well at hindering the work of God in Christ Jesus that Satan's minions don't need to get involved. 

‭"and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you," 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

Essentially to do whatever it is that God's got in mind for you to be doing...not trusting in your own heart and mind. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Do it as unto the Lord Jesus Christ. 

My Dear Reader, the Church should never be cowering before the world. As it's written in the Bible, the Church should be busting down the very gates of Hell. The power of God in Christ Jesus is what powers the Church when the Church is being the Church as the Spirit directs and leads.

Our world says to put our needs, our joy, our happiness, our health, our financial situation, our well-being, our this our that, ahead of our lives before Jesus. 

We do that and the will of God for you that is your sanctification is put on the back burner.  

We have a God given purpose for each of us in the body of Christ. 

Find it, do it, to the extent that you do it as if you were presenting it to the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. To your Savior and Lord who lived that sinless life, was cruelly beaten and crucified, was nailed to the cross and arose again 3 days later. He did all of that to give all the chance at a new life in Christ. 

Whatever the Spirit has for you...find it. Purge from your heart and mind whatever is keeping you from presenting your part in the body of Christ to Him as a holy offering.

From the least to the greatest in the body of Christ, Jesus will acknowledge personally when He returns. From the smallest to the greatest He will acknowledge. 

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. 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. 

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

Friday, June 14, 2024

Wishing You Were Here

Wishing You Were Here
by David Brenneman 

‭"But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while—in person, not in spirit—were all the more eager with great desire to see your face. For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us. For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? For you are our glory and joy." 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20.
Many years ago there was a song by Mark Wills called "Wish You Were Here". Interesting that I heard it again the other day and read this today.  

Oh how the exact polar opposites that exist between the foreboding of Hell vs the beyond imagination of Heaven!

We cannot fathom nor begin to understand how wonderful Heaven is. We cannot know the levels of joy at being in the presence of Jesus. I imagine that when Jesus arrived in Paradise in that 3 day window after being crucified, the sounds of rejoicing there drowned out those attempting to get Jesus's attention from those in Sheole.

We cannot know, but, we can imagine to some degree. There's no pain, no suffering of any kind. There's continual worship going on. There's the anticipation of Jesus getting up to return to get His Church.

People, in their current state arriving moment by moment. Not yet having received their glorified bodies.

It's really unfortunate that so many so-called churches and people in our world believe and teach others that good deeds would get people into Heaven. This isn't what the Bible says. Only a life that has placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation by faith will ever see Heaven.  

There's nothing anyone can do on their own to be good enough to get into Heaven. Being baptized doesn't open that door either.  

Jesus Himself said that there will be many people who will claim to have done many things in His Name but whom never came to Him to be saved who will be told to depart from Him for He never knew them.

Focus on that last part. Never knew them. This is way more than an implied requirement. A close, personal relationship is what Jesus wants with us. No casual relationships. No use of name dropping that bears no fruit. 

Jesus had an intimate relationship with Adam and Eve before the fall of them through sin.  

Jesus's sacrifice on the cross opened the door to each of us for a vibrant intimate relationship with our Creator.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, my Dear Reader, you will not see Heaven. 

Biblical truth be told, those who have not come to Christ for salvation, only find themselves entering Hell when they die. 

That place that Jesus describes as a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth. His description of the Rich man in torment is what every single person is greeted to upon arrival.  
Eternal agonizingly painful existence with no end. Paying for their own sins for eternity because they choose to reject Jesus's free gift of salvation. 

My Dear Reader, the Bible says clearly to be sure of your salvation. 

You will never see Heaven or those whom you knew who are Christians again if you yourself are not in the body and family of Christ Jesus. 

Jesus is at the door of your heart knocking. But you must be the one to open it for Him to enter. 

For those who are Christians...stop hiding that light of Jesus Christ in you. Let your light shine before men in such a way that people see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. 

This present darkness is getting darker still because both the times in which we live and the growing silence of Believers.  

Jesus will return at such a time as the last person who is to be saved is saved. The Church's mission is to preach the Word. To make disciples. There's a line drawn in time by the Father between those of this generation coming to Christ for salvation and those who will be saved throughout the Great Tribulation.  

Being sure of your salvation is of paramount importance. Do not try to rely on how good a person you think you are. There's no chance at all that people who do not have Jesus as their Lord and Savior will ever find a peaceful afterlife. None. 

If you are on the fence about coming to Christ, realize as well, there's an enemy of Jesus Christ who's trying to keep you there. He owns that fence you sit on. He doesn't want to lose anyone else. 

His name is Satan and he started this rejection of Jesus Christ before history began. Worldly fables show him as reigning in Hell. Truth is he's never been there, has never seen it, and he himself wants nothing to do with it.  

But this is about you. 

You need to be sure of your salvation. You need to be in a right relationship with Jesus. You need to develop that relationship daily through talking to Jesus. Through reading His words to you in your Bible. Making the changes His Spirit wants of you to grow you in Christ.  

If you want to see Jesus's Heaven...salvation through Him is the only way.  

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

Thursday, June 13, 2024

We Don't Always Know What We Don't Know

We Don't Always Know What We Don't Know 
by David Brenneman 

‭"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:2-27.
We all, whether Believers or not, are easily deceived by the god of this world, or even more simply, by ourselves. 

We can think well of ourselves.
That we're doing ok. That we've pretty much got a good thing going concerning living life. 

We can...but sometimes...we try to hide the truth from ourselves and others. 

Read in Nehemiah 8 and 9. A people who were indeed broken in heart stood to hear the book of the Law. Heard of how greatly they and their ancestors had been towards their Holy God, the Lord of Hosts. 

A tender heart that is obedient to the Lord, one that listens, is one that grows in the Lord. 

Watch enough videos of supposed real life people with problems and honestly it can make you weep for mankind. Pride and arrogance, self-willed, self-centeredness is rampant in this hour in which we live. A world with nothing but anger at a low boil and whether or not they admit it, it's directed at God.

Scripture says that there's coming a day when enough will be enough. The "fullness of the Gentiles" it says. Jesus will return and remove His Church from the playing field of life. From the world picture.  

We are a people who can choose to be ignorant or educated. We can choose the way of the world or the ways of God in Christ Jesus.

My Dear Reader you face that choice every single moment of your day.

In everything from clothes to wear to hygiene to walking vs running. To smiling to frowning. To seeking God's help or to putting a hand up to God and essentially telling Him you got this. 

We are not going through this life on our every whim. Our lives, especially in Christ, are happening for a purpose. One purpose. To get the most out of it requires a life that looks to the wisdom of God in Christ Jesus and not to ourselves. It's to understand that there's reasons for how life is and that understanding only comes from hearing from God. 

But oh so many of us aren't good listeners. Been reading Dr. Charles Stanley's book "Listening to God". 

You should get it. In Nehemiah 8-9 we read of these in this remnant of people confessing their sins and the sins of their fathers. Then...comes the listening part.

Don't jump to the conclusion that God wouldn't speak to you. If we actually read the part in James of asking for wisdom we see that listening is a requirement to asking God for wisdom.

If we look around at our lives and are not seeing a life that's about Christ then who's life is being seen?

If we are exceedingly blessed and are not helping others, who's life is being seen? 

Would anyone after you leave this world say without question that you were a follower of Jesus?  

Regardless of how wonderful life might look for you, anyone's days can be numbered. God's called countless billions of people from this world who were perfectly healthy with no notice whatsoever. 

Stepping into eternity is everyone's next step after death. Where you spend it is your choice. The cross of Jesus Christ brought choice to receive or reject His salvation and His plan and purpose for each Believer. Those who reject Christ will face eternal separation from God, paying for their own sins. Those who had their sins wiped away through the saving grace of God in Christ Jesus will know His rest and peace in their next step into eternity. 

My Dear Reader...as the children of Israel had said to them, so does God say to you. Before you today is death and life. You must choose in every day and moment of your day to follow Jesus. Whether the world agrees to it or not. All Believer's answer to God. Believer's who intentionally choose sin over obedience will have troubles. 

We are exhorted in the Scriptures to have the mind of Christ. To not trust in our own understanding. To trust in the Lord with all our hearts. In all our ways acknowledge Him and He will make our paths straight. Pray with both speaking and listening on our part.

We are told to consider our ways. 
So say I to you...and myself. 

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

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Patience and Perseverance

Patience and Perseverance 
by David Brenneman 

"James says that the testing of our faith produces patience. “Patience” is not a passive term but an active one. It is not a resignation to whatever happens but a strong and tough resolution in the midst of very adverse circumstances. It would be better translated as “steadfastness,” “perseverance,” or “brave endurance.”

William Barclay points out that the endurance of the early Christians was not a passive quality: “It is not simply the ability to bear things; it is the ability to turn them to greatness and glory. The thing which amazed the heathen in the centuries of persecution was that the martyrs did not die grimly; they died singing.”" - Dr. David Jeremiah Devotional "What to do When You don't know What to do".

Being patient certainly isn't one of my forte's. It's not something that indeed most people excel at. 

"To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins. Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you." 2 Peter 1:1-12.

Perhaps in various ways and times in my life, things seem to drag out. That I can't figure out why I am where I am, doing what I am doing. 

Hindsight shows these as stepping-stones of other things that were yet to come in God's plans for my life.

I would be lying if I said it was enjoyable, because it wasn't. 

Truth be known, I really don't want what brings me glory in this life, I want people to see Jesus, pointing people to Jesus. 

Learning to slow down and to let go of things that aren't for me to do or to complete has been a really difficult but necessary thing for me. 

There are times when frustration wants to settle in because of wanting to see a conclusion now.

My Dear Reader, it's a truth of life, that we may not be the one to finish something that God's working on. 

Indeed the Scriptures say that He has set eternity in the hearts of mankind. All the while we also read in those same Scriptures that the success of the Church is built upon those who came before us.

If it's this way with the Church, it's this way in life outside the Church.

We may merely be the tipping point for someone's journey to finally say yes to Jesus. We do not save anyone. Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life...no one comes to the Father but through Him.

All credit for anyone finding salvation goes only to Jesus through the work of the Spirit of God.  

Then...then...comes the work of the Spirit of God in each of us. There's a saying that says "we catch em, Jesus cleans em". We are all such as Andrew: Jesus is here. The Savior is here. Come and see!

We become His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them. 

That same process we read the Disciples going through is ours to go through as well. Learning all that we read in 2 Peter 1.

Patience and Perseverance is a slow methodical process. We are living in an ever increasing impatient world. Fast today isn't as fast as what's on the market tomorrow. What's being missed by the multitudes is that to get these wonderful advancements is their giving up their privacy and their security. Handing control over for a subscription for ease of use. 

It's also causing people to think that they can hand over thinking to a machine. To supposedly make life easier. These machines, this Artificial Intelligence has no morals. 

We were created to have a deep relationship with Jesus Christ and to worship God our Creator. To get there with a whole heart requires our learning how to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.

It requires setting aside our wants and desires to learn from our Master. He said His sheep hear His voice. His sheep hear His voice and learn what it means to be His sheep. We don't know the things of God.  

In the story of David and Goliath. King Saul had David put on armor. David tried walking around in this and took it off, he had no understanding of how to use it. Later on in his life as King himself he knew all about that armor.

We have the full armor of God. We are to clothe ourselves in His righteousness...this armor of God. We need to only be wearing this. Not this and various things of our lives too. Learning to be patient and learning perseverance is part of our training in righteousness. Part of our learning how to be His sheep. 

Are you at all seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness? Seeking first means its what's defining everything else afterward. 
Seeking first means not your understanding that's paramount but His for any given day.

While my mind and heart are decluttering since we moved, I know I still have a ways to go.  

I look back and see where God's done and is doing His work in me.

It's a process, a lifelong process, my Dear Reader. Remember what I call the Miyagi principle. Things not what they appear to be. Wax on wax off, sand a floor, paint a fence, were all in training for a technique that Daniel's body was not used to nor knew anything about.

Our lives are not what we think they are about. Our Savior and Lord is growing us in Christ. Our Savior and Lord is using us to grow others in Christ. Our Savior and Lord is using us to draw others to Himself. Our Savior and Lord is using us and others to prepare this world for His return. Those are the priorities. 

To those who are already in Heaven...nothing about this world matters other than their direct prayers to Jesus concerning those whom they have loved who are still here and their hope that they find Jesus too. The only treasure in Heaven is people. 

So don't grow weary in doing good. 
The Bible teaches us that. 

Keep on keeping on with being in your Bible and making prayer a priority. Speaking to and listening to your Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. 

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