Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Driving Forces

Driving Forces 
by David Brenneman 

It always amazes me to watch compromise happen in the lives of people right before my eyes.  It possibly is seen in other's as they might be aware enough to examine my life.  

Compromise and justification tend to go hand in hand.  A compromise is often justified before its enacted upon. 

Dr. Charles Stanley's comments on these two verses are about how we're viewed by others who meet us in life after we've come to Christ for salvation. 

Would people see a different person in you?  Would there be as some have compared it to, enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?

What's the driving force in why you do do what you do do do?

Are you intentional in your actions before others?  Do you justify your actions when they don't align with the example of Jesus?   As we saw in Proverbs yesterday, God doesn't like that phrase "I was just joking" with regards to deceiving others. 

When your life is seen do people see a conformist or a person who stands on what they believe in Jesus?  

Fitting in isn't all that it's cracked up to be as far as worldly mindedness goes.  If you have to compromise your obedience to Jesus in any way...my Dear Reader...the price is too high. 

"and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:4.  

"You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we." 2 Corinthians 10:7. 

"We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Someone recently said again something that I have heard for many years. I believe it was Dr. David Jeremiah in his study on Romans 8.  That Jesus is either President or the resident in our hearts.  That which we feed is what grows within us.

What is getting fed within you my Friend?

You will know them by their fruits, Jesus said.  He also said He is the vine, we are the branches...and that apart from Him we can do nothing.

In reading this morning, a hymn written in 1912 by James Rowe came to mind. 

I was sinking deep in sin,
Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within,
Sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me–
Now safe am I.
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

All my heart to Him I give,
Ever to Him I'll cling,
In His blessed presence live,
Ever His praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul's best songs;
Faithful, loving service, too,
To Him belongs. 

Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

Souls in danger, look above,
Jesus completely saves;
He will lift you by His love
Out of the angry waves.
He's the Master of the sea,
Billows His will obey;
He your Savior wants to be–
Be saved today.

Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

If indeed the love of Christ has lifted you...does your life show it?  Would those who aren't in Christ yet see something in you that was different?  At some point, if not at all times, all Christians are under the worldly microscope.  Being on our best behavior is not really an option.  

Just as in agriculture, all it takes is one wrong move, one wrong step, to ruin a year's worth of work.   We can, through carelessness, ruin the work the Spirit is doing in others. 

Is doing whatever is right in God's eyes important to you?  It's going to probably alienate you from some people.  It will probably draw ridicule from some.  However, it might be your obedience in your walk with Jesus Christ that causes someone to take that step themselves.  

Your walk with Jesus is supposed to cause others to glorify your Father in Heaven.  

So what's driving you?  Do people who see your social media pages see someone walking with Jesus?  In your goings and coming do people see Jesus in you?   

It's probably going to mean not fitting in with some circles of people. 

Is living the Christian life the way the Spirit is teaching you bothering you or is it encouraging you?  We cannot live a life pleasing to God by having Jesus be the resident of our hearts. 

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

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Set Example

The Set Example 
by David Brenneman 

"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬.

"But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;  and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Ephesians 5:3-5.

"So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “Was I not joking?”" Proverbs 26:19.

Ephesians 4:29 "Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.

"but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6.

Wow...I  certainly am not one to be able to find a path to the Scriptures as many men of God whom I have known can do or have been able to do.  

So many people tend to not take the Word of God seriously.  While there might be a time and place for humor...care must be taken to not tarnish the name of Jesus Christ to the world by our words, deeds, and actions.  

We already have read of taking every thought captive in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 and the reasons why.   We are here in this life to represent Christ to a fallen world.  We're not here to promote idolatry in any fashion or form.  We've been chosen by God to be children of God not to participate in the deeds of darkness. 

The Scriptures tell us of the horrific abilities of the tongue.  Of how it can build people up or tear them down.  Yet the seriousness of that teaching gets lost when it's either convenient or when society or social pressures dictate.  

Growing up there was indeed the peer pressures to conform to how to treat others and it had nothing to do with Godly teaching.  In as far back as elementary school children get taught how to use words to harm others and to get others to do your bidding.  There's Scripture that tells us to avoid abusive speech in Ephesians 4:31 "All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness.".

We are to live life in Christ in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.  Glorify our Father in Heaven can be read as praise our Father in Heaven.

As directed to write in other posts, so it's repeated...we justify too much in our lives to please the world around us rather than God.  

Too many professing Christians are living lives that aren't much different than those in the world.  You cannot tell them apart. 

Which is extremely dangerous!  Jesus testified that MANY will say to Him that they did many things in His name and HE will tell them to depart for He never knew them.

Do you, my Dear Reader, want to be known by the Lord Jesus Christ or be known by the world?  

Are you going to be told you represented Jesus well or will you find nothing but shame on that day of review?

Course jesting...there's no place for it in Christ.  Joking about hating others for any reason has no place for it in Christ.  There's no joking about human lives in Christ.  We are to live lives in Christ that reflect Christ.  We are to speak words that edify, that lift up one another in love. 

So what that the world will think us to be odd or weird.  They are in darkness. They are going to.  All Christians are in training to become fully devoted followers of Christ Jesus.  We are to be living transformed lives.  We aren't to be living conformed lives. 

It's a very sore subject to me when people joke about hating other people for things as stupid as rivalries.  I was subject to a lot of verbal abuse in regards to this when I was younger.  As a young adult onward I have seen such verbal abuse hurt others in regards to their testimony in Christ.  

When you participate in the deeds of darkness do you not realize that you are harming your own testimony in Christ?  

When you justify your actions, even your purchases, to embrace idolatry, do you not think about that testimony?

Growing in Christ, because of all that He did to save us, forgiving each of us for our sins, is to be our most important priority.  We're not to be conformed to the world.  We're not to seek to fit in.  We're aliens in this present world.  The command from Jesus is firm.  "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 28:19-20.

Learning how to be like Him and teach others to do the same.  

The set example is Jesus Christ Himself. 

It probably steps on toes...but when you get dressed are you promoting idolatry?  Paul said that if he did anything to cause someone to stumble he would never do it again.  Would anyone say that of you?

We're to live life in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven, period. 

The deeds that we do in our bodies that were done in obedience to Jesus are the only valuable things that matter. 

The set example is Jesus Christ. 

Set your mind on things above and not on the things that are of this world.  Doesn't say anything about when you get time, to consider it. 

Are you living a life that shows Jesus to others or a life that lifts you up?

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

As I heard Dr. David Jeremiah say in his study on Romans 8. Jesus is either resident or President of your heart.  Which is He?  You must choose who's acceptance means more.  Jesus or the world. 

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

Sunday, November 26, 2023

Joyful Yet Serious

Joyful Yet Serious 
by David Brenneman 

‬‬"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;  because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1:13‭-‬16‬.

Dr. Charles Stanley's comments on verse 13 stood out to me last night. Especially when reflecting on misdirected feelings and emotions that so many people, probably including myself, have in our world today. 

"The Christian life is both a joyful experience and a serious business.  It takes conscious, deliberate, Spirit-filled action to ponder God's grace and Jesus' return in such a way that it positively shapes how we live."

For decades, if not centuries, we have been enticed to turn our thoughts and feelings towards things of this world that in reality belong to Christ Jesus. 

We have a pandora's box of possibilities spread out before mankind unlike any other time in human history unequaled since the days of Noah.  

What's been as interesting is the justification of it all.  Of how we can swiftly and convincingly justify our turning life into something that isn't taught in the Bible is possible...and living with it in complete comfort. 

Jesus taught something that relates to this.  "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person through whom the stumbling block comes!" Matthew 18:7.  

Would you, my Dear Reader, even ever look for stumbling blocks?  Would you recognize these in your own life?  Probably not.  Satan's gift wrapping techniques are second to none.  His abilities to convince sinful human beings to embrace little things to trip them up and to be able to live with the consequences is unparalleled. 

He absolutely hates it when we indeed are aware of his schemes and teach others to be on the alert for them.  Which is why so many Pastor's, these Men of God, are in battles daily to stay in the pulpit.  

Most people would not recognize a stumbling block on their own unless they consider consulting someone wiser than themselves.

Sometimes, as it was with myself on at least one occasion, the Spirit pretty much slapped me upside the head to get my attention.  To make me look at what was true, not what I had accepted as true.  I say at least one time because when we are serious about walking with Jesus, more and more things will be shown to us to get rid of from our lives.  It's on us to obey.  When we dismiss those spiritual promptings we will likely be forced to live with the consequences until we do agree with the Spirit. 

What are you embracing in this world that the Bible specifically speaks against that really is what God said it was?  Look at the sheer volume of times and things that the New Testament tells us about idolatry.  Are you taking what belongs only to God and give it to what in reality is an idol in God's eyes that you've convinced yourself isn't?  Who's truth will win the day? 

The Disciples were taught by Jesus concerning Spiritual life in Christ.  It isn't for the faint of heart.  It's serious business.  It's going to produce joy unspeakable and will be full of glory for Jesus when we stand before Him to give an account of our lives.  

We are taught through many letters in the New Testament to be on the alert.  Well...are you? 
We are taught to put off the old self and it's practices...well...do you?
We are taught to do whatever we do as unto the Lord...do you?  Should Jesus Himself be sitting or standing there with you, would you still be thinking, saying, or doing whatever you are engaged in?  
Are you using your time wisely for the days are evil.  

We are so disconnected from the life that God desires for us by our justification of what we have kept in our lives that shouldn't be there.

We aren't going to see where or when our justification to embrace what God says is an idol will cause someone to put off coming to Christ for salvation.  

Our useless outrage at things in this world could be keeping those who were ready to come to Christ from doing so...do you realize that?   

Paul taught "And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:12-13

Joy may or may not be seen by us in this life while we obey and follow Him.  We either cause people to come towards Christ or to walk away by our lives that are seen. We are supposed to be the light of the world.  

Consider it well just what all you have embraced in this world.  

Consider it well just what you may be doing that is showing the world that you aren't a fully devoted follower of Jesus. 

For many who are putting Christianity under a microscope, it's all or nothing to them.  They either see people being Jesus to the world or they see fakes, frauds. They see nothing that attracts them to the love of Christ when they see words and or actions that show nothing to do with Jesus. 

In Proverbs there's words of warning against even doing things that are even joking around in people's lives.  

Saving people is the highest priority, outside of protecting the Word of God, for the Spirit.  He’s always about the Father’s business and always finds joy in those who live in Christ as they should.  Is the first to celebrate those coming to Christ for salvation.

A Life in Christ Jesus is both a joyful experience and a serious business. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Being Ready, Don't Worry

Being Ready, Don't Worry 
by David Brenneman 

"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:  preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,  and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5.

"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8.

"At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth.  The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." 2 Timothy 4:16-18.

The grouping of the Scriptures was intentional.  In the first, we read of basically what the title of this blog post begins with.   Being ready, a reminder to Timothy to stand firm.  To suit up, putting on the whole armor of God. 

The second group is that reminder that he wasn't to worry, not to trust his eyes. The Lord would be with him too.  He was already told to not let people look down on him because of his youth.

That last group has to do with faith history to remember all that the Lord Jesus had done with, through and for Paul...that He would do as much, if not more, than those things for Timothy.

There's times, many if not most times, that I know not where these posts come from.  I am indeed an aspiring writer, but being eloquent in writing, still isn't my forte.  When I meet with God for these posts, it is in utter amazement to see what results.  My hope and prayer is that through these, people come to Christ for salvation or come back to Jesus to live the life He intended for them.  Speaking boldly through these writings is the work of the Spirit, this isn't of me.  In person it takes quite a bit to get me to speak with boldness.  Likewise Timothy was being admonished to stand firm in what he's been taught and to lean on the Lord Jesus as his strength.  People would fail him, much as many had with Paul. 

People probably wouldn't understand what directive that Paul was, through the Spirit, giving to him.  That's ok. It's why it's ok for me as well if others don't understand concerning me.  God's will for you isn't what it is for me, outside of our sanctification.  We all have our own purpose in the body of Christ.  We are not to shrink away or to run from it.  We are to embrace it.

At first, many years ago now, it terrified me to write such spiritual things.   There's a great responsibility in doing so.  It was tge Spirit telling me that He would give me the words and the opportunity, it would be on me to obey.

For you, my Dear Reader, obedience is on your doorstep.  Jesus IS opportunity knocking.  Jesus is there in you and for you. People need to know about the love of Christ Jesus for them. Not telling them is prolonging the return of Jesus Christ. 
Jesus isn't willing that any should perish but that all come to Him to be saved. 

Are you being called to do something and aren't out of fear?  Look again at these passages. Be encouraged by what Paul told his son in the faith.  Opportunity is knocking just for you and His name is Jesus.

Is it scary? It can be.  3 people were given gifts by a certain King before a journey.  All were to give an account of them upon the King's return.  2 did very well, 1 went and hid what he was given, doing nothing, and consequently bringing dishonor to the King.  

As the great hymn says "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross!" 

Are you going to bring honor to the name of Jesus or are you going to bring shame on yourself for running from His call for you in Christ?

Is a life of comfort and ease more important than obedience to God's will for you?  Are you actually participating in deeds of darkness by justifying your idolatry in this world?  The Scriptures say that we are all tempted in the same ways. 

Have you been trying to keep the clothes of your old self, rather than to discard them in favor of what you have been given in Christ?

It's time to be in the world but not of the world.  It's time to stand firm, regardless of what the world has to say about it.  

Perhaps you are the one who will be witnessing to that last person who will accept Christ right before His return.  

Be ready, don't worry.  Obey.

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

Friday, November 24, 2023

Richest, Most Addictive Temptations

Richest, Most Addictive Temptations
by David Brenneman 

It's said that medical professionals have determined why certain cookies are as addictive as they are is that the peculiar chemical makeup impacts the same brain centers as crack does towards a person on drugs.  Satan's gotten people to create such things.  

The propensity for evil desires is within everyone.  The ability to twist and distort reality is ever present.  When something works to effectively keep either from the truth of God or keep people from living out the Word of God, Satan catalogs that and uses it on whomever is receptive. 

Our world is filled with countless modern marvels.  Abilities heretofore unheard-of. 
What we were able to do even 20 years ago pales in comparison to what can be done today. 

Over the decades Satan's convinced Believer's to embrace things that are indeed what the Bible calls practiced sin by repackaging what those sinful things are.   Introducing idolatry on a scale that mankind hasn't seen since the days leading up to the Great Flood in the book of Genesis. 

People laying aside Christ-like attributes in the name of competition. People justifying cutting people down in the name of entertainment.  People enjoying berating and belittling others in the name of a sport.  Oh its not entirely sports.  People have been severely injured by just wearing the wrong costumes in the wrong place. 

To read what Paul wrote, points people to being aware of the schemes of the Devil.  Awareness so that you do not fall prey to those things or those ideas. 

I endured much at the words of people growing up.  Other children in school were not kind.  Verbal warfare was constantly happening.  We can really really see, if we are willing, the truth of what the Bible says about the tongue being the very center of iniquity. 

"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 3:2-12.

Satan's schemes require Godly wisdom to identify and to avoid.  Scripture says that if anyone lacks wisdom to ask of God who gives freely to all who ask. 

We can, unfortunately, find enjoyment in hurting others by our words and our actions.  That's our nature, not the new nature in Christ Jesus.  That's us as sinful human beings.  

Today's known as Black Friday.  As some have taken to describe it, it's a day where people trample others to gain things the day after they are thankful for what they've been given by God. 

Our world is filled with candy coated, sugar drenched, "Oreo" cookie laced, temptations that are meant not only to be addictive, but are made to escalate and get worse.  We can, in this very moment, talk to a handheld device and do a thousand times more damaging things to our hearts and minds than were possible 20 years ago.  We can use powerful technology for good or evil based solely on the desire of the person wielding it.  

We are warned in the Bible yet people are so drawn in, so given to the addiction, that they can't see how it's a problem.  

When the Spirit says to put on Christ, do you really think it's like clothing to take off later on when life doesn't seem so difficult?  When we are told to lay aside the old self and its practices, do you not realize that it's a moment by moment danger?  We read of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.  Do you not realize that wasn't given as a suggestion for your downtime moments? 

If you took that as seriously as the Spirit intended you to, would you have still embarked on that train of course jesting you did in the name of "fun"?  Would you still have verbally abused another because of entertainment?  

My Dear Reader, do you not realize that every careless word we will give an account of?  Do you really want to keep adding to your personal shame on that day?

Consider well what the Spirit teaches concerning the characteristics of Jesus Christ.  Are the fruits of self more evident in your life than the fruits of the Spirit?  

When words come forth from your mouth, would people be edified according to the need of the moment, giving grace to those who hear?

We must choose who will be followed. Either the Spirit or the world. 

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

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Who Gets Your Happy?

Who Gets Your Happy?
by David Brenneman 

Something or someone will get your happiness.  You will decide who's worthy. 

The big question is how much, if any, does Jesus get?

Satan has for so long come up with ever more subtle ways to draw what ought to be what goes to Jesus and gets people to place it elsewhere.  

Our sin nature really knows no bounds.  

Consider it well just how many times that the Lord cut short the lives of people because of the intensity of the evil present within them.  He saw their beginning from their end just as He knows yours.  He saw that they wouldn't ever come to Christ for salvation. Saw that they would either draw themselves or many others from the plan of God for mankind.  

On many occasions I have heard people say in interviews that someone left this world too soon.  Most people want to use their wisdom to question the wisdom of God.  To refute what He has decided. 

Today's decade of people is attempting, and sadly successfully so, to redefine what God's Word says is sin AND sin's consequences. Giving a perception that indeed what is evil isn't so bad.  That things done in jest aren't so bad, aren't so sinful. 

Truth is the Spirit teaches the same yesterday, today and forever. 

Truth is Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

Truth is that no matter how someone or something appears to bring happiness at the cost of grieving the Spirit, it's not beneficial or good for those growing in Christ. 

And indeed when we embrace with joy those things that do not give rise to growing in Christ, we only hurt ourselves and the people that the Spirit has put in our paths. 

"I am not serious! I was only joking!" Oh, my Dear Reader, on many occasions, after such things were done to me, I was not laughing.  I wasn't at all joyful.  Was not at all joining in with them in their definition of fun times.  The test of time shows yet the pain of such things. 

The Bible teaches us not to participate in such things.  

All it takes to harm a growing plant is one single wrong move.  A single incident can cause months, if not years, of attempting to repair itself. 

Paul wrote of us needing to encourage one another all the more as we see the day of Christ drawing near.  To lift one another up.  To make disciples in the name of Jesus Christ.  Putting off the old self and its practices. Putting on the new self, putting on the whole armor of God.  

We will give our joy, our happiness, to things and people to whom it is misplaced.  Most that I have encountered in my travels do not see the harm in trash talk.  Calling it harmless fun. Calling it something other than harming another. 

I am very thankful for those who chose to go the other way with regards to how they treated me.  Those who chose to get to know me rather than not. 

I am very great for the people who became friends by actually trying to get to know me rather than thinking the risk wasn't worth it. 

In my life I have had lessons where God's shown me of my misplaced joy.  Of various things or groups of people whom were placed higher on the shelf, put on the center stage of my heart.  

Question any and every single decision in your life when you at all begin to think about how to downgrade the consequences, of how you can justify.

We who are in Christ are supposed to reflect Christ.  He is the light of the world. 
Our happiness is going to either go towards what is God honoring or its going to go towards something or someone who isn't. 

We will either obtain harmful scars from our decisions or will build up endurance to withstand greater attempts to dethrone Jesus in our hearts.

Satan's schemes are to get people to willingly dethrone Jesus with us.  Trying to make the things of this world look so juicy and good that what Jesus offers looks so much worse. 

Robbing people of joy in the name of anything isn't honoring God.  Several times in the book of Proverbs its written of the harm in saying "I was just joking!"

It's incredibly difficult to be thankful towards people when they've made decisions that took away other people's joy. 

This Thanksgiving, examine your choices. Be sure that you're walking with Jesus as the Spirit has directed.  That we're uplifting others.  That we're encouraging them all the more as we see the day drawing near. 

Many questions are rhetorically asked in regards to decisions in the Bible.  

Growing in Christ means letting go of the things of this world.  It means to embrace what Jesus would embrace.  It means looking for the things of God that the Spirit is wanting and waiting to teach you. 

Temptation abounds in our world. 

Don't let it rob you of true joy in Christ.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Where are you walking?

Where are you walking?
by David Brenneman 

We all walk a path in life...where are you going?

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17.   Is this a reflection of your life?  That something new is at work in and through you?  That, from the outside looking in, it would be said of you that you're walking with Jesus?

Do you see this in yourself that the Spirit is directing your paths?  Proverbs 3:5-6 "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." Or "Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord,
How then can man understand his way?" Proverbs 20:24?

Is this also evident in your life? "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10.

Rooted and built up.  Established is perhaps a stronger, better, way to state that.  

In our first year in our new-to-us home, we had 2 very tall pine trees.  After a professional evaluation, it was determined to have them removed because the roots were too shallow.  The right kind of storm and they would come down, perhaps into our property, perhaps into one of our vehicles or the house.  As to a way to say it, while the outward appearance was vibrant growth, these were not walking in the ways of the Earth to be long-lasting trees.  

People who are left behind often reflect on the lives of those who were recently deceased, trying to find fitting words to convey how special these people were to family and friends.  My life, as it is, if so described, I would want people to know that it was evident that I loved Jesus and wanted others to come to Him for salvation too.  Nothing else of my life is as valuable as that to me. 

When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word What a glory He sheds on our way! While we do His good will, He abides with us still And with all who will trust and obey. 

Would people say they saw you trusting and obeying Jesus?  Would they say that you pointed people to Jesus?  

I really do not want people describing me as loving anything in this world.  Because I do not love any of my possessions.  Nor have I loved any of the places that I have worked.  

We are either walking with Jesus or we are not.  We are to be following Jesus, not to be the ones directing His paths.  Disciples are followers, not the ones telling the Master how it is or how it will be. 

Would you take a look at your priorities?  Do you engage in things, go places, do life, in ways that are not that of a follower of Jesus Christ?  Do you justify trash talking others?  Do you persist in going a way that will not be God honoring in the end?  Does the work of your hands build you up and not others in the faith?  

Rooted and established.  Jesus said He is the vine and we are the branches.  That if we indeed abide in Him we will bear much fruit. That apart from Him we can do nothing.  This is to say that what we would be doing apart from the will of God would be worthless, a waste of time and resources.  We, in essence, be hearers of the word and not doers of it. 

Is finding out what God wants for you important to you?  Are you reading His words to you?  Are you talking to Him as one would respectfully talk to your Teacher?  In any classroom setting that I have ever been in, to disrespect the teacher would never go well for the offender.  

If we truly mean "your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" wouldn't it be seen in your life?  

Take a good look at your priorities. 
Take a listen to yourself as you speak to yourself and others. 
Take a look at even 24 hours of your life. Who got those minutes?  Were they spent wisely as the man who built his house upon the rock?  Were they spent as the other guy, on the sand?

Are you really honoring your Teacher or making sure the honor goes to you?

What we do for Jesus is what will survive that trial by fire.   Everything else will be counted as a waste. 

It's not too late.  Start today with a new commitment to being the follower of Jesus Christ that you ought to be.  Be prepared to let go of the things that will not bear righteous fruit in your life.  If you are truly giving your life to live in Christ to Him alone, there will be things, habits, and other things to let go of. 

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.