Wednesday, July 31, 2019

That Same God

The heroes of the faith had one thing in common: they were all ordinary people with no power of their own. The difference is the mighty presence of God. Times may change, but the effect of God's presence remains the same. - Blackaby

John MacArthur had a couple of good books out a while back "12 Ordinary Men" and "12 Ordinary Women". 

Really look at those men and women in the Bible.  Look at the lives they lead. Look at where they were and where God took them.  Even the 'bad guys'.  The opportunities missed by even the enemies of God left them without excuse.

By no means do I count myself among the pillars of the Bible such as Peter, Paul or John.  However I don't need to compare myself to them.  As Christ said "What is that to you? You follow Me!"

There's a song by a group called Newsong called "That Same God"

Back to the wall scared you’ll fall
What you gonna do
Day and night don’t know why
It’s like the world’s against you
You’re prayin’ for a breakthrough

There was a day when your faith
Couldn’t be held down
God was near enough to hear every word
But somehow, you wish He heard you right now Don’t you know

The same God with you then
Is with you now
The same God who led you in
Will lead you out
So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down
The same God, the same God
Is with you now

Oh, can’t ya see
Everything happens for a reason
There’s a time
There’s a place for every season
He knows what’s best for you
So don’t be afraid


Just keep holdin’ on
Just keep holdin’ on
Just keep holdin’ on


The same God, is with you now

Yeah, He’s with you now

In Romans, where my reading is taking me now, Paul goes on and on to explain that as of the Cross of Christ, there is no longer a difference between Jews and the rest of the world.  The God of the Jews is also the God of the Gentiles. Gentiles being everyone else who isn't a Jew.

We are all answerable to our Creator.

We are all given a choice to follow Christ.
We are all given, in Christ, the same power to do what we read about in the Bible that was available to those pillars of the Bible.

Our faith and obedience, our relationship with Jesus determines where it goes.

God is only awaiting that last person who will be saved before He calls all the believers who are alive and all those who have gone on before to be together with Him in Heaven. 

I personally believe that the last to be saved will be similar to the thief on the other cross.  He or she won't have time to go to school to learn more about the Bible.  He or she won't have time to be brought to Sunday School, to many sermons.  Won't have time to develop a quiet time with Jesus.  Won't have time to learn how to witness to others.  Won't have time to understand the deeper mysteries of God.   The thief didn't.

This day you will be with me in Paradise.

We Ordinary people whom God has chosen and received have but one mission.  Tell others of the things God has done.  Who knows who that last person will be?

We Ordinary people of God have the same God as those we read about. 

Take note of who the Father didn't choose to be Disciples.   Jewish leaders. Not the Pharisees and Sadducees. Not the high class of the society.  He chose normal everyday people.  A tax collector, fishermen and the like.   There wasn't anything extraordinary about them.  No highly educated.  They were the same as you are.

But what about my past?

So, what about it?  Peter denied Christ. Matthew was a tax collector, despised by his own people.  You have James and John who had a reputation.  You have Paul who had been running down people everywhere just for being a Christian.

Your past is just that, the past.  God can still use you.  Your past may hold the key to someone you will meet that nobody else could get through to.  Ever think of that?

A Pastor who had been through years of painful recovery from a horrific accident was unsure of how he could be used. Yet in every place he went after he could walk again, God mightily used his experience to reach the unreachable.  People who thought they were too far gone.

Let me tell you, dear reader, as long as you are breathing, you are not too far gone.  

The only people who have no hope of a useful life in Christ are those who are dead.

As long as you are breathing there's hope!

There's a place for you in God's Plan.  There's something for you to do.

Be in your Bible.  Be praying to God.
Be who God's creating you to be. 

Peter didn't stay the way he was.
Paul didn't stay the way he was.
John, James all the rest. Didn't stay the way they were before they met Christ.

Isaiah exclaimed "Here am I, send me!"

Just be willing and to go do what God has for you to do.  If God's in it, there's no way to possibly fail.  If God's not in it, there is no way for it to succeed.  Ask for wisdom to know the difference.

Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us.  He is here with us just as He was in the lives of those you read about.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Effects of Sin...

King David wrote often and with great detail about sin. About its wear and tear on the soul, on the body as well. 

Spurgeon wrote for this morning about Peter's denial of Christ and how gut wrenching it must have been all his days even after being restored by His Savior.

Blackaby writes "If you allow sin to creep into your life, if you refuse to obey your Lord, if you do not reconcile with those who have hurt you, your spiritual vitality is waning. You may assume everything is fine, but when you pray, answers do not come as they once did. You once had a positive effect on those around you, but now your influence is negligible or even harmful. Your life once brought reconciliation, but now you experience problems in your relationships. Those around you who have relied upon your strength are discovering that you are not as helpful to them as you once were. Your lack of spiritual power is not crying out for attention; but you are seeing subtle changes in your spirit and in your relationship with God. How can you stop this spiritual decline? You must regularly repent of any sin. You must invite God to search your life to see if there are attitudes, relationships, or activities that need to be removed. You must fervently obey His will. If you walk with God in this manner, you will grow in spiritual strength and be used mightily by Him."

Think about it.  As the Daily Bread for today wrote, quoting C.S. Lewis's work "The Screwtape Letters"...temptation begins with us as it did with Adam and Eve.  Something forbidden by God that begins with "did He really say..."

Sin is why this world is perishing. It's not global warming. It's not going to be cured by making everyone accept everyone regardless of what they believe.  It's not going to be cured through medical research.  It's not going to be some utopia like is written about in science fiction.
It's not going to be brought about by any agency of mankind.  Not going to happen.

What is going to happen is that sin WILL be dealt with.  There's a significant day coming whereas Jesus Christ is coming back to bring an end to it.

What's happening in this world isn't global warming.  It's the world being made ready for the events in Revelation and other passages in the Bible.  Jesus said that though no man knows the day nor the hour, he WOULD see the signs.  Just as you can look at the sky in the morning and can interpret whether it's going to be a scorcher or a rainy day. 

Sin is what we are born with. But sin doesn't have to be master over us. There's freedom in Christ.

We are thinking beings.  Regardless of how it comes out of our mouths we were born to be thinking beings.  Adam was born a perfect man.  Brain power was to be unrivaled until Eve was created.  The only other born with a whole, perfect brain was Jesus.  Adam was able to name everything that's on this planet.  Everything.  Every tree, every animal, even every insect.  Nothing was dangerous to him.  He was able to touch and see everything that God created that was good.  Every insect wasn't out to bite him. None of them did.  A bee, a yellow jacket, a wasp or mosquito could land on him as a butterfly might.  A cobra could sleep beside him with ease. All the animals we fear today were of no threat back then.
Sin wasn't in the picture. 

Eve was born and Adam enjoyed sharing this world with her.  They were able to see and enjoy God's perfection in creation.  There was no doubts about anything.  There was no ridiculous ideas about evolution.  There was no talk about a flat Earth.  No strife. No protests. No shaking a fist at God to tell Him that His rules were wrong and unfair.

Then Satan did his thing and as you read in Genesis, the fall of man came because of "Did God really say..." sin was born, the world was cursed.  It twisted and messed up all the perfect world.  Even then this world longed for the day when Christ would come.  Jesus said of His entry that if those whom rejoiced be silent the rocks would cry out.  This world wants sin to end.

Sin is why we have diseases. Sin is why we have strife. Sin is why hate exists. Sin is why there is a separation between God and man.

Sin is why you ache every morning. Sin is why you must toil each day.  God said that you would.  It's in Genesis as part of the curse.

Sin is why there's animosity between man and woman.  Sin is why relationships fail.
Sin is why your heart breaks at seeing injustice. Sin is why marriages break in two.  Sin is in every part of your world.

But there's hope.

The hope is only found in Christ.
He made a way when there was no way.
He lived a sinless life.
He even prayed for you!
He died a horrendous death on a cross to pay the penalty for the sins of mankind.
He still prayed for you!
He took all the punishment meant for you upon Himself.
Then 3 days later arose from the dead to claim His glory, to claim that which He lay aside to go through all of be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

He still prays for you.

He isn't willing that any should perish but that all would receive His free gift.

That's why the Day of Judgement isn't here yet.  It's coming but it's not here yet because He loves you that much.  He doesn't want you to go to Hell.  But the choice is left in your hands.  He prays but will not force His Salvation upon you.  The choice is yours.

The consequences of sin hurt. It hurt Peter all his life.  I can't imagine what he lived with. But at the same time I can't imagine what he lived with concerning how greatly he was used of God. God's Grace brought Him through.

Sin sours everything, everywhere.
Think about your choices today.
Think about what it is you do.

Satan would have you believe "Oh that's not that bad. Oh, come on, it'll be ok. It'll be fun!  You want to be accepted don't you? You want people to think you're weird? You want people to..."

It always starts with something small. A little compromise here. A little there. It won't hurt anyone.  Next thing you know your house is full of idols.  Your passion and enthusiasm isn't for God.  It's for things or even people in a way that God never intended. You will look back and not even realize how subtle the changes were that brought you here today.

But consider this, you can go to the head of a river. Where it begins. Take a load of small rocks. Start making a new path, one small rock next to the other. Draw a new line with them. Keep on going with this. On both sides.  Before long you have redirected the entire river downstream.  Look back at the beginning.  You probably won't see where you began because of being so focused on the rocks you were putting down.

That's sin and temptation. 

But how do you get back to where the river was going right?

On your own, you can't.

God can make a way and did!

Jesus is the way to Salvation. He is the only way.  Not Allah not Mohammed, not Buddha.  Only in Christ is Salvation.

Sin pollutes and destroys.  Forgiveness is available only in Christ.  Only in Christ are you able to resist temptation.  Only Jesus can deliver you.  He can restore broken relationships. He can heal lives. That's Resurrection power.

Are you at the end of yourself yet?

A believer or not, sin will be dealt with.
Every man and woman will give an account of their lives before Jesus.
Nobody escapes that.  The chief question is why should He let you into His Heaven?

He is the only way, being good or having lived a good life isn't enough. You were born into sin. Only through Jesus can that sin be washed away.  Righr now it's in your DNA.

Search online for the Romans Road.  Look for it.  Read it.  It's time to stop running.
It's time to realize that you have a God shaped hole in your heart that everything in this world can't fill.  It's time to truly be loved for the first time in your life.

It's not a get out of Hell free card.  It's going to transform your life.  It's a new relationship unlike any other with Jesus.
It's not for you to keep on living your life the same old way. It's about what Jesus wants to do with you. 

You need to choose.
Nobody can choose for you.
It can't help you after you are dead.
Nobody can save you once you are gone.

You were not promised a today. 
You were given a today.
You were granted a today in order to make things right between you and your God.

Choose wisely.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Oh Believer, You Are

You are continually on God’s mind, and He is always thinking of you for your good. You are continually before His eye—the eye of the Lord never sleeps, but is perpetually watching over your welfare. You are continually in His hand, so that no one will be able to pluck you from it. You are continually on His heart, worn over it as a memorial, like the high priest carried the names of the twelve tribes over his heart forever. You always think of me, oh God! The heart of your love continually yearns for me. You are always working things out for my good. You have set me as a seal on your arm (Song of Solomon 8:6). Your love is as strong as death; many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it (Song of Solomon 8:7). Surprising grace! You see me in Christ—and though I am abhorrent in myself, you see me as wearing Christ’s garments, washed in his blood. And so I stand accepted in your presence, continually in your favor—continually with You. - Spurgeon

Oh Believer, you are the Beloved of God.
Consider what Spurgeon says for this morning!  In it is nothing less than overwhelming encouragement! 

We are so much more than Satan ever wants us to believe we are.  In Christ we are. In Christ.  Not in ourselves but in Him.

The love of God is so overwhelming! 
It wraps us in the perfect blanket. 
It fills our soul in ways nothing ever will.

Yey, dear reader, why do we look to the world for acceptance? Why do we look to others here to be accepted?

It is only in Christ are we to look for acceptance.  Not in what any man or woman will say of us.

I used to really put myself on a gauge of acceptance with others around me.  I would get either excited or depressed over people coming into my life or leaving it thinking it was something that I did. I would spend an incredible amount of time trying to self examine to look for reasons.

What I was missing was that I only need be concerned about what Jesus thinks of me. Where I am with God is everything.
When He tells me to write, I just do. When He says that He has me in His hands, He does.  When He says He is at work in my life, He is. 

If He is...why would I or should I, look to others to be my joy or my peace? In Christ is where my joy and peace are. 

The Love of God - MercyMe

The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell
The guilty pair, bowed down with care
God gave His Son to win
His erring child He reconciled
And pardoned from his sin

Could we with ink the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
Were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry 
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky

I have a joy and peace that are there because of God.  Many think that there's times when I make hasty decisions concerning Spiritual matters.  No, the choices come from prayer, and if things work out, they do. If not, it's not on me, but on God to give new direction.  He puts us places for a reason.  To interact with people at that moment in time for a reason.

As Spurgeon pointed out, God is always working things for our good.  Paul had many friends in many cities.  He was at the places God took him for those seasons. 

But to really see that we are continually on God's mind.  Wow. It honestly gives me pause to consider my thoughts, actions and motives.  As despicable as we are in our sin, the Father sees Jesus in His pure white garments, not us as we are.  He sees us washed in His blood.  He sees those who are beloved. 

If you are not a believer, if you have never come to Christ, what's holding you back?
Until you do, the opposite of what Spurgeon says applies to you. Your sinful garments remain.  God the Father sees you, in all your sin, not Christ. 

What is holding you back?  It's a free gift this Salvation in Jesus Christ.  He paid the price, He did it all to make it possible for you to become a child of God.  To have your sins washed away.  To be made pure before God.  It's much more than escaping Hell. It's a love relationship that is practically indescribable that awaits you. A life of new experiences with Jesus that would never happen apart from God.

Is what you are holding onto that important that you would go to Hell to keep it?   People on their death bed have cried out in anguish and pain. Tears falling, refusing to take God's gift even when they know Hell is now very real to them. They cry out at the heat, the fire, the pain but refuse the lifeline. 

Every life paved with good intentions that is apart from God leads only to Hell.

Grace and mercy are awaiting you if only you would let go and receive His free gift of Salvation.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, will not perish but have everlasting life.  John 3:16.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Are we doing what God Wants?

This particular morning has me thinking about many things.  I am still in Psalms, reading what literally is a Diary of David. 
Reading in Acts, as well as Spurgeon's Morning and Evening. Blackaby's Experiencing God.  

What I am drawn to is that question that is the subject of this post. 

If we are honest with ourselves, do we really want what God wants?

Doing church things isn't necessary doing what God wants.  Serving in half-way houses. Serving in other places that help the homeless.  Even where you work.

The question remains.  Are you really doing what it is God wants of you, or are you hindering someone else who really is supposed to be serving in that role?

I have met many men who, honestly, you could just tell they were meant to be a Pastor.  They were and are truly blessed to be where God has them or had them. You meet others who are called Pastor who are nothing more than hired hands or men with a business agenda.  They do not have a Pastor's heart.  Those men just do not belong in those positions.

But it isn't just Pastors. It can be Deacon's or other roles in the church from volunteering to teachers.  People put in roles they weren't meant to be in. 

I am by no means trying to dissuade people from serving.  Absolutely not.  Scripture says to be sure of your calling.
In other words make sure what you think is correct.

We can also be a stubborn lot.  Who likes to lose? We can be involved in things we really shouldn't be and can't understand why God's taking so long to make their circumstances better.  Maybe, just maybe, we won't be the answer.  Maybe it's meant to be someone else. 

I have been there in this.  For many years I tried to be help others.  I was in over my head and too stubborn to realize until I found myself drowning to know enough to stop.

I wasn't meant to be their savior.  That's Jesus's job.  Not mine.  This had to do with a time in my life a long time ago.  But it is evident that I should share this today. 

We need to be sure that what we are doing aligns with what God is doing.

We could be going through many stressful situations that we weren't meant to go through.  We could be in the way of someone else's blessing. 

As I was saying earlier I have seen quite a bit when it comes to people serving.  It was interesting that Dr. Michael Youseff was talking about Martha and Mary today.  The infamous story about one having issues with the other about helping.  Maybe that's what brought my mind to this. 

Sometimes there are just battles that we fight that are not ours to fight.  We are stressed and anxious about them because it's not meant for us to fight them.  No where in the Bible did anyone God call to fight sit n stress out as to how it was going to unfold.  God's plan was executed perfectly every time. 

I have said before that I can tell God's thinning out my wants and desires.  I am learning to let go of many things and to focus on what's been put before me to do.
Not what I could put before me to do.

I was asked yesterday how I know so much.  I read a lot. Watch instructional videos a lot. I ask questions a lot.  There's a saying that I use as well.  "There's a lot that I can do. I just need to make sure that I am supposed to do it "

I CAN help quite a few people.  But is it for me to do? 

Sometimes people think that they are irreplaceable. 

True story here...get a bowl of water.
Put your hand in it and be still.  Don't move.  The water becomes calm.

Remove your hand.  The water ripples and slowly settles down.

That's you in a situation and you after you leave a situation.  Someone else will take your place.  They will learn what you did and things will go on.

So make sure that you really are doing what God means for you to be doing.

Nobody is irreplaceable. And maybe someone else is who God has intended to be where you are in order to teach them and help them grow.

People learned after I left working where I am today 5 years ago.  I came back 5 years later. It was still there. I am helping them to relearn some things but I was meant to be there years ago and am meant to be where I am now.  Just as I was meant to leave 5 years ago as well.

Be sure of the calling with which you have been called.

It's amazing to me that in this time around I am doing more but am not stressed.  It's because I am doing what God wants me to do. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Not a choice...

I often wonder if I am that stubborn child who sits at the dinner table. The child who is being told to eat something that doesn't sound good or smell good.  My mouth is pursed and I keep moving it away from the spoonful trying to get in.

Yes, I wonder how often I am that way before God.  How often throughout my life have I made things all that much harder because I refused to go where He pointed or refused to do what He clearly has pointed to.  Justifying it in my mind that He can't possibly mean for me to do that. 

About 3 years ago God brought me to the point of brokenness in a way that I had never experienced.  I mistakenly attributed it to someone else at the time, but to be sure, it was God.  That series of events at that time was insanely painful. It hurt! I was crying.  I was in anguish over something that I struggled with all my life.

Forgiveness.  More specifically, me forgiving myself.  I used to beat myself up over past and current sins at the time.  I was angry at myself.  I had no idea until those moments of brokenness that the burden was that heavy. The anger was that deep.

Forgiveness isn't an option for believers. It indeed may be the vegetable that we have been avoiding eating, but God has all night.  He's not like our Earthly parents. He doesn't need to sleep.  He's got all the time in the world.

There's much pain involved in forgiveness. Not just of myself but of others.  But as a good friend pointed out, you don't need the other there in order to forgive them. 

Honestly I can't calculate the volume of loss to the joy that I could have experienced decades ago had I simply done as I was commanded and embraced forgiveness.

I have known people who were adamant about forgiving but not forgetting.  How Biblical is that?  I get the notion of not forgetting what caused the problem.  But holding it permanently against someone is tantamount to a condemnation that we are not authorized to do. 

My heart was changed 3 years ago.  God did a miracle in me. He went beyond that with me then and is still working in me now.  I can speak in front of people now.  More than I ever used to do.  I can see more and understand more from my Bible.  I have very little that I am able to be afraid of. Life is getting a bit simpler.

Jesus is keeping His promise to make me into something more resembling of Himself.  We are His workmanship.  Meaning He decides what we WILL be like.  Those vegetables will be eaten.

Jesus took every single sin. Every single offense against a Holy God and nailed it to a cross.  He forgave every single sin of mine.  He remembers them no more. 

Our enemy would love nothing more than to have unforgiving believers.  That's the perfect hypocrisy to him.  Keeps them together and apart at the same time.

I am speaking of me in this post.  Of all the conversations that I have had recently, I am not directing this post towards any one person.

I had a lot to let go of.  A lot still has yet to be done.  I can see that and I am grateful for the fact that God's not done with me yet.

Letting go hurts.  But it's something that has to eventually happen. The peace of God will fill you and it will just blow your mind as to what possible reason you could have had for not obeying. Why?

We don't have a Savior that doesn't understand our sorrows and hurts.

We don't have a Savior who doesn't care.

He was battered and bruised by His own creation.  His own creation so turned against Him that murder was all that they could do.  He was brought to death's door and still told the Father to forgive them.

There's so much more to life than holding onto things that we are better off letting go of.

I thank you Jesus for your forgiveness of me.  Helping me to forgive me.  Helping me to embrace your forgiveness of me.
I think of the passage that says that he who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it is sinning.  Lord help me to always be ready to forgive.  To let go of and to forget as you have of my sins.


Who Put it there? Lord, you know...

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us," Hebrews 12:1

Inasmuch as I have obviously overlooked it, did you catch it?

Yet my own thoughts went to the one who showed me the question.  There was but one response.  Lord, you know.

Who set this race before us?  Some may call it the rat race.  Some may remember a song by the group Alabama. I'm in a hurry to get things done, I rush and rush...

Life is ongoing.  Another artist had a song called This Highway Leads to Glory. In it he describes the path of his life.  That there are all kinds of exits to take you off of it. 

Still others write about life being a story.  Life is a story.  It's his story.  It's about how God so loving those in this world so much that He couldn't sit back and allow the punishment of sin destroy it completely. 

But going back to what caught my eye.  That is set before us.

God puts a life within us to live. Many legislators think it's their purview, their right, to redefine life.  That's not a right of the created.  That alone belongs to the Creator.  The pottery has no right to tell the potter, why did you make me this way? Why did you bring me into this world?  Why did you make me male and not female? Why was I born here and not in that other country? Why, why, why?

Sound somewhat familiar?  It should.

"Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?  Romans 9:22-24

"What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?"

From the moment that we are a being until the moment we close our eyes for the last time, what is before us is set before us by God, our Creator.  Life isn't about what we make of it but what God's making of us through it.  Of how our lives intersect and interact with others.

The only other influence is the destroyer of life.  Satan.  He wishes nothing more than to be God. He will try to go to any lengths to do so.  He wants the glory of God. To be worshipped.  He is but a created being who fell from God's Plan for him.  He has to obey the rules set for him.
In that plan it has to do with working out our Salvation in Christ. 

Another Scripture says that God causes all things to work together for good for those who are called according to His purpose.  Satan will try, up until he is cast alive into the Lake of Fire, to reach his goal.  That created being can't cope with the fact that he has barriers.

But this set before us thing.  What is set before us?  Choice.  What is life if it isn't choices? We can choose to go right or left. Choose to go up or down. Choose a yes or a no. 

God does have a wonderful Plan for you and me.  But the greatest part of it is this life that is set before us is but the beginning. What is a lifespan in light of eternity?  It doesn't even register.  

When we realize that Jesus doesn't hate us, that He isn't out to grind us in the ground. That He DOES want what's best for us. Who else would be able to see every possible aspect and outcome of any thought we could ever have?

Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so. Little one's to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes! Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so. 

Consider how deep the love of God is for you.  Consider that the life in front of you wasn't meant to be walked alone.  Prior to sin, Adam and Eve knew that perfect fellowship with the Lord Jesus.  Nobody born since has had that specific kind.  But we can come close. We can choose this day to acknowledge Him and see where He wants to take us.  Remember we are the sheep, not the Shepherd. Where He leads me I will follow. Hmm. Yet another hymn. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Not what you think...

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:8

In this, I am still learning. Prayer isn't for me what it was before.  It isn't a repetitive grocery list. Persistent prayer isn't repeating that same thing over and over. 

I am learning of the personal conversation that it is. Yes, there are burdens of the heart.  Family, friends and acquaintances and situations to be sure. 

But what got me this morning was were my mind went after reading this verse.  King David to be sure.  Moses as well.
How do we become as they before God?

How do we become known as a man or woman after God's own heart?  How do we?

There are those who struggle with public speaking.  For the longest time that was me. Scared me to death.  In the last several years God changed something in me. For some reason it's not a problem anymore albeit under the right circumstances.  Life changes us for the better if we let Jesus do the changing.

I have been trying to remember when I pray that I am having a conversation with God.  Not sending up a list of selfish wants and desires that have no emotion behind them. 

I know people who repeat the exact same thing every time in their prayers.  I know others who say that their prayers are between God and them. They refuse to pray outloud. 

I would dare to wonder what would happen to the Church if we would pray as David wrote in Psalms.  With that kind of heart.  Maybe then there wouldn't be as much isolation between people who attend.  

And before people try to defend their position...yes isolation between people who attend church exists.  How else do you explain the fact that most never speak to another church member until the following Sunday?

People aren't bearing one another's burdens.  If that were true, what I wrote a few days ago might very well be happening.  Where there actually might not be very many in a service on a Sunday because of people truly living out bearing their burdens together.  If Jesus's first concern is the individual over the group...why isn't ours?  He leaves the 99 to search for the one, right?

Consider the early church.  So many Pastors preach about wanting the Holy Spirit to bring that kind of growth in the church back again.  Yet they hand him a virtual list of what they believe they can't do by their actions. 

It is often that various things happen to us that are beyond us.  What do we do?  I have done, to my discredit, isn't to immediately go to God. Eventually, yes, I am in prayer about those kinds of situations.  But oh that my mind would always go there first.  We are a stubborn lot.   Always trying to fix it ourselves first, then, when it's really broken, we ask God for help. 

Yesterday I was going to mow the lawn.  The side discharge chute was missing. It's the removable type.  So I started with the tunnel vision of methodically moving things to look for it. Many times it's removed to store the mower. After a bit I tell my Wife that it's missing and we need it to mow. Still hadn't prayed yet. So we both looked where we were. I hadn't prayed yet. Resigning myself to needing to either order another or seeing who might have one locally, I told my Wife we need to scour the lawn because it had to be out there somewhere.  A brief prayer of Help! Escaped.  Moments later my Wife went just about right to where it was.  I had walked around and hadn't seen it.
How much of that wasted time could have been averted if I had asked for help sooner from Jesus?
Prayer history should be on our minds when situations strike.  Of when God has already met needs in His own ways.

We have been in another city, over 2 hours away, and God put new gutters on our home when we weren't able to get there to do it.  That was a result of prayer. 

God's goodness and Grace have beyond measure covered my ignorance and self will.

How often do you, in your prayers, tell Jesus that you love Him?  It's not just something that you say to others.

How often do you have a conversation with Jesus?  Not just the list of things that are keeping you awake.  I am not saying that you shouldn't pray for specific people or situations.  Scripture says that's the right thing to do.  But not meaningless repetition.  Saying things for the sake of saying them.

As I read Psalms it makes me see how much emotion was in David's heart.  When he was wrong, or wronged.  When he was being chased.  After he had sinned.  After he had repented.  Solomon's writings sure had emotions too but it was David whom God said was a man after his own heart.

It would be amazing to go to a church service and find the sanctuary full of people meeting with others, bearing their burdens together to the point that the service doesn't start 'on time'. 

Who says it has to? 

Many pray for the Holy Spirit to move in their church yet won't allow Him out of His chair to do what needs done! 

Some have read stories of a man in disguise who is put off by everyone as he enters the church building.  He eventually makes his way to the front of the church.  After a time he asks to speak.  Before them all his disguise falls off and they see that the one they would have nothing to do with was Jesus Himself. 

Well, the Holy Spirit is also referred to as the Paraclete. Another of the same kind.  Meaning another just like Jesus.

Too many Churches are interested in entertainment not in accountability and Discipleship.  Not in repentance or sanctification.  Not in bearing one another's burdens.  Getting what they can get out of church not what they can bring to help.

These are the things to pray for.  Tender hearts. Moldable people to God's will. People sensitive to the needs of others.  People who are willing to spend time together outside of a Sunday morning only in order to fulfill what the rest of the beginning of the book of Acts speaks of the Church being like.

Banners and books by Pastors aren't needed in Churches today.  Sensitive Spirits to the Lord's leading are what's needed.  Praying for your heart to be useful to Him.  Bearing your heart open before Jesus will take you places you never dreamed possible.  Past your fears beyond your perceived desires. 

Go back to Psalms again.  Look at David's heart in a new light.  See what you can do differently.  When we gave our lives to Christ...we gave up our right to our life.  We gave Him the right to full access to our hearts. Not just what we wanted Him to fix.  Don't tell the Spirit oh you can't go in this room, it's not good.  He will go anyway.  Because to make us Christ-like means full access to everything.

If you haven't prayed today...well.. you have something to think about now don't you?  Is your life about you or your relationship with Jesus?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Get off the Sidelines!

He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. James 5:20

One of the Christian's greatest deterrents from sin is the life of another Christian. Some Christians maintain that it is none of their business if another chooses to sin. They are convinced that they are being judgmental if they respond to someone in sin. The world persuades them not to get involved, but this inaction prevents them from being an effective intercessor. - Blackaby

It has always angered me to hear anyone flippantly say "Now, now! You shouldn't judge! That's what the Bible says!"

No, it does not. 

Entering into condemnation against someone isn't the same as making an evaluation of their condition.  Entering into condemnation is what it is referring to as 'judging'. 

If you read the Scriptures properly, they empower the believer to do more FOR each believer and non-believer, not shut them down or give an excuse to shirk their duty as a Christ-follower.

Which is exactly what Satan wants believers to do.  Shirk their duty so that he has more time to do more damage to both!!

As Blackaby went on to say, Jesus wept over city's.  He prayed over them. He did as He wants us to do, intercede on behalf of others. 

To do nothing in the physical world can land YOU in jail if it was well within your power to save someone.  It's been in the news. It's easy to look up. Willful negligence is what they call it.

Isn't a soul more important than the physical body? 

Some say "well...I can't say anything because I did that too."  No...quite the contrary, God brought you through it to be able to identify it in order to help others!

Many Christians make up excuses as to why they won't help another person.  They are saved so everyone else is on their own!  That's the reality of that line of thinking. 

Scripture says quite the opposite.

Matthew 18 for example.  Read it.

We aren't to be armchair quarterbacks.  We aren't to be spectators in this life.

Our job as believers is to represent Christ to this world.  He never once ignored anyone who came to Him in His earthly ministry.  Scripture says He never would entrust Himself to man because He knew the heart of man.  But compassion, and love underwrote everything that He did.

Even when He was angry at the Pharisees and Sadducees He still loved them.  He evaluated (judged as we say today) their hearts and even on the cross interceded.

We are so concerned about so many things that affect us, but miss the point that everyone affects us.  We affect others. Our actions and inactions affect others.  A timely word spoken at the right time can change the course of a life.

"Hey! You don't want to go in there!" out loud vs thinking 'Oh man, if I say something then, I have to get as dirty as they are in trying to get them out!  I might get hurt trying to help them. Maybe if I just ignore them and keep on moving someone else will do something.  I did that too so I really can't say anything.'

You see how much more effort we expend trying to avoid doing what's right versus just doing it?

Scripture says to pray for those who persecute us.  Says to help a brother in Christ.  Not to avoid them. 

We are indeed to make judgment calls on people.  To use sound judgment to be able to help them properly. 

Jesus was brought a woman caught in adultary.  He heard the accusations.  He waited for them to stop.  He evaluated her. He evaluated them.  He judged the situation fairly.  He didn't join in with them.  He simply told the truth.  If any there were any there without sin, cast the first stone.  Interesting thing is, only He was qualified to to that.  They all left, from the oldest to the youngest.  Then it was just her and Christ. He asked her where her accusers were. Then showed compassion. He forgave and didn't enter into condemnation against her.  He made a judgment call about her but wasn't judging her.  Go and sin no more. Grace, pardon and forgiveness.

We would see healthier Churches if more of this would permeate the culture.  Quit walking past people because it would ruin your schedule and you might miss the service.  How about EVERYONE missing the service because lives mattered?!?!?

How about that?  What if we got so involved with what's going on in each other's lives that there was hardly anyone in a Church service?

I have heard talk from many a preacher about wanting today to be like it was in the book of Acts.  Well guess what people!  Get people past themselves and past this thing about not getting involved in other people's apparent problems and then you will see a Church like it was in the book of Acts.

People come together for a service and then never see each other again until the next isn't a good thing.  That's doing exactly what Satan wants.  Not what God wants. 

So start today with prayer.  Start interceding on behalf of others.  Start being the Church.  The Church is a body.  All parts must care for the other parts.  A hand can hold a rag to work with the other hand to add soap and water.  Together they can clean the body.  On their own they are essentially near useless. One hand that doesn't use all the fingers isn't very useful.  It goes on and on.

Pray for your own heart.  Pray for others.

Get away, far away, from this not getting involved. 



Before you do.  Pray before you speak.  A harsh word at the wrong time will not help.  But at the right time can save.  Ask for wisdom from God.  Scripture says He freely gives it to those who ask.

From what I have seen, there's a huge amount of wisdom residing in Heaven that had never been asked for.

Prayer can go where you cannot.  I can testify to that personally.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

What Can I Say?

Philips, Craig and Dean have a song call Your Grace Still Amazes Me

Here's some of the lyrics.

"My faithful Father, enduring friend
Your tender mercy is like a river with no wind
It overwhelms me, covers my sin
Each time I come into your presence I stand in wonder once again

Your grace still amazes me
Your love is still a mystery
Each day I fall on my knees
'cause your grace still amazes me
Your grace still amazes me

Oh patient savior, you make me whole
You are the author and the healer of my soul
What can I give you lord what can I say
I know there's no way to repay you only to offer you my praise"

If we are honest, and here and now I am, we don't go through a day without some sort of wounds.  We get scraped, bruised, sometimes beaten down by people or events.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:12b–13

Think about that passage in light of what you are going through.  Think about the fact that if we are doing as He says that there's going to be hurts, pains and sometimes suffering because we choose to obey Jesus.   Paul was warned by many that the path of his life was going to be distressing. Bound and in jail if he persisted in heading for Jerusalem.  He knew.  But he also discerned that the warnings only served to tell him to prepare.  Be on the alert.  Jesus stood by him to tell him not to be afraid, don't hold back.

In prison or not, those who suffer because of doing what Jesus wants of them have every right to praise God.  We deserve Hell as everyone else who has been born into sin deserves.  Yet for the believer, God's grace - His unmerited favor - covers.  It wipes away the guilt, the judgment, the condemnation of sin. As the song says, it amazes me.  How much worse is sin than I understand it to be!  It was so repulsive and disgusting that the Father couldn't look at His own Son!

Trials will come. Temptations at every turn.  Another artist had a song about the highway that leads to Heaven.  That it's no easy ride. There are all kinds of exits to take you off your path.

Temptation is never a roadside neon sign saying "Here's one!"  Temptation is soft, delicate, delicious and inviting.  It's intent is to lure you in.  It's chains are made of silk yet to those within them it's like iron.
They don't think that the bond can be broken. 

But Grace.  Go back to that.  The grace bestowed upon those who believe. 
When grace is applied to the believer, the Father only sees Jesus, not us.  He sees all that we can be and will be over time.

There's many who are going through oh so rough a patch of road.  Grace sustains.

“Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today.” Exodus 14:13 NLT

Consider that...not every fight we face is ours to fight.  As Spurgeon wrote for today, often it's just for us to stand still.

Grace helps with that.  When we realize how far His favor reaches in the good and bad times, standing is what we need to do until God either removes the obstruction in front of us or makes a new road.

Oh my dear reader, grace, God's unmerited favor, is what held Jesus on that cross.

With a thought, He had the power to obliterate the universe but didn't because His love for you was that great.  His love for you made Him stand in the gap between judgment from the Father and you. Judgement because sin demands it. The wages of sin, what you get from it, is death.  A permanent death sentence.  All mankind is born as dead men and women walking. It was because of what Adam and Eve did that brought that. It's the consequences of them sinning.  But God couldn't leave us like that.  He prepared a way and stuck to it.  He who new no sin became sin on our behalf.  Grace was bestowed. 

Think about the fact that Jesus cried out with a loud voice!  Satan was ecstatic!  He was fist pumping, he was jumping up and down.  He was celebrating!  He had done it! He had won! It took 33 years to put a stop to this 'Plan'.

Then came the words he didn't want to hear. "It is finished!"  Consider that all it would have taken for Jesus to have given up was to say nothing. He could have cried out something else to put a stop to it all.  After all he was beaten, bruised all over, a crown of thorns was beat onto his already wounded head. He had stakes driven through His body into a cross. Which was unceremoniously dropped into a socket in the ground.  His body had long since stopped sweating, blood was dripping.  A thought.  All it would take is a thought and it all could go away.  The anguish could go away.  Seeing His earthly Mother broken.  Seeing the people He loved...which actually was everyone including those who were against Him.
Yet in all that...a single thought of His could have ended everything...He chose to bestow Grace.  In the moment of time when He could have saved Himself, He could have put His own wishes before all of us, He chose to save us. He believed His Father that should He go through with this, that He would yet again take back up that which He lay aside to go through this.

Satan was crushed.  Literally.  His rejoicing was ended. He was enraged.  How could it be?  Yet it was.

So what does he do? Go after everyone whom Jesus taught.  Try to squash this before it gets started.  Put an end to this Plan.  Yet God's empowerment through the Spirit prevails.  Grace prevails. 

To frustrate you and keep you from learning that Grace is meant for you is what's on his agenda.

It's still a mystery to me of what could possibly be within me that Jesus could love. I see my sin. I see my life. But no, I really don't.  Jesus sees me, sees my life as it will be. Because of His work, I will become what He died and arose again to make possible.

Don't see it in your life?  Are you saved?  If not, why not?  Jesus is your answer.  Come to Christ while you still can.  You found this blog, look up Romans Road in Google.  Find the peace you have struggled to find but couldn't put into words.

Someone asked Jesus how much do you love me?
He stretched out His hands and died.

Then came back 3 days later to say, Come, follow Me...

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Many are the Afflictions

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

Psalms 34:18-19 NASB

Many are the afflictions...

I would be lying if this isn't what the last 24 hours haven't felt like.   Like one thing after another after another bombarding me.  Almost tsunami like in the ever increasing wave upon wave.  Nothing huge in its own right but in volume, yes.

Things that ought to have worked out well did not.  Things happening on more than one front.  In a way, it was to me like the beginning of the book of Job in its own way. 

But in all of it, God saw me through what is now history.  It's in the past.  Gone.

Think about that.  All the efforts you will put into today will not last.  Do you make the most of your moments? 

In all I do I try to be true to what I believe in Christ.  I may not understand what it is that I go through or why, much as Job, Joseph, Moses, John, James or others didn't.  Think about James for a moment.  Here you are, supposedly one of the 'Sons of Thunder" and not too much beyond the Crucifixion, you are killed.  No big career as an Apostle.

I don't tell you all my woes on here and won't go into detail because it's not what this blog is for.  It's about sharing what God's shared with me. 

I really didn't know what I was to be writing about this morning until I had finished my own Journal entry. 

We all will face affliction.  Yet as another verse that I had read stated that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who come as children do.  Children trust implicitly.  They love unconditionally.  They have no preconceptions.  No preconceived ideas of how life is supposed to be. 

Will today be better than yesterday? I do not know.   All I know is that it matters not.   What matters is that in everything we are to give thanks.  I am thankful not just that the burdens of yesterday are through, but that in everything it could have been worse.  I could have gone through things without God.  Thankfully that is something that I will never know.

Think about that.   As a Christian there will never be a day when you will find yourself going through a day alone.

If you are reading this and are not a Christian, every day you live you go through it alone.

I have the promise and privilege of Jesus saying He will never leave me nor forsake me.  Jesus has never lied nor is He capable of doing so.

I have a new day in front of me.  One with hope written all over it. As another passage reads, this is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

I may yet have another day similar to yesterday but I know this day, like all before it has my Savior at my side.  We leave each morning together for work and spend the day together.  If I am going through difficulties it's because I have something to learn or it's because there are others who aren't able to handle what they could be going through. So the burden is shared. 

In Christ I have all the power of Jesus in me.  I don't understand it all but that's what Scripture says.  I am being molded and shaped.  I am being made into the image of Christ.  My life is not my own, I was bought with a price. 

Hope is only possible through Christ.
It matters not what this life throws at me as long as I remember that.

When I only look at what I see, I will always have moments of fear. But when I am granted to see things as Christ does, the fear goes away. 

I think of Elijah's prayer.  Open his eyes that he may see.  And the army of God that was there filled the countryside.

Today is no different for those who are in Christ.  The army of God fills the community and country.  We may no longer be a Godly nation, but this nation cannot remove God. Legislation nor words of man can ever force the hand of God to leave.

Thank you Jesus for your faithfulness in these troubled times.  Thank you for your promises.  Thank you for never leaving me alone.  Though I may be battered on all sides you are there. Though the enemy may scoff at me, my head is not dropped in failure, it's lowered in prayer. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Are You Blind?

Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
2 Corinthians 4:4

When you are blinded, you cannot see things as they really are, even though others around you see them clearly. You cannot experience the full reality of all that is around you. You may feel you are experiencing all that there is to life, yet you may be unaware that you are missing what God desires for you. You may even be in danger because of your blindness and not know it. - Blackaby

Who is the god of this world? Satan.

Having been born into this world partially blind, this passage always is a reminder to keep looking at things differently. Because in life, I do see things differently.
Whereas most all of you see a full range of things with 2 eyes, my life, in essence, is like looking through a camera all the time. 

But inside, I can be as blind as anyone, as everyone.  Inside, unfortunately, I have better than 20-20 vision on most days about my sin.  It's not pretty.  King David lamented his Spiritual condition often. Likened it to wasting away. To groanings that ate away at him. To tears that never ended. It bothered him.  It bothers me.
It should bother you.

The current state of where you are Spiritually is beyond more important than where you are physically.  The decisions you make in the physical realm impact your Spiritual realm.  All the time.

Look at the basics.  Food. Food can lift your spirits or send you to misery.
Activity. Doing good to help others can lift your spirits. Striking out senselessly tends to dampen your spirits.  A birthday can perk you up, a funeral sombers you.
It goes on. Excitement and depression are based on your intentions and interactions in this world.

Satan has used sensory overload rather than sensory limitations to blind those of this age.  And like the cattle, who get used to a yoke, we blindly step in and do.  We are stuck with 24/7 news and information.  So much of a bombardment that, unlike the age of newspapers, we don't have time to digest anything.  The next package of information is already here before we can properly parse out what we have been told. 

Why? Because he is afraid of those who have the time to think.  If we do as Christ often did with His Disciples, to stop, unplug, get away, then we will begin to use the brain we were born with.

Why do some people live longer than others?  The worries of this life are no longer important to them.  The newer house, the newer car. The recent expensive vacation.  The frequent road trips. The...fill in the blank.  They come from a generation that had better priorities. 

I often just want to unplug.  The goal of sensationalism in journalism is to work people up.  Journalists used to respect the separation of your personal life from the world.  They used to be impartial.
Wake up, right now, they are on the payroll of the god of this world in trying to TELL you what to think, how to live, what to say.
They are no longer there to just impartially tell you the news. Every television news network has agendas. This cause, that cause.  Show partiality towards this religion over that one. Show the world that sin is ok.  Do they do that? Yes!  They are the biggest most widely used method of promoting homosexuality.  The President isn't lying when he calls them thd fake news media.  They aren't reporting real news, they are reporting what's important to their boss. Satan.
Now not all are all in on blinding you. But the majority are.  Even if they aren't aware of it.  Ratings being what they are.
But that's just one facet of blindness.

We are individually affected by our choices.  We were born to be choosers.
We choose to go down many of the roads we do. We don't give God the time of day until a crisis hits. Then we cry out to Him.  He's God after all, I might not be there for Him but He's always supposed to be there for me. Wake up. God's not your Swiss Army knife.  He's not even duct tape. Nor a 1,000 use paperclip.  He's no Genie in the bottle. Going Poof! What do you need?
Every time you have a problem.

Blinded as we are, we only regain our sight when we come to Christ. We only know what life is, after we are born again and open our spiritual eyes for the first time.  Then we see because now the light of Christ illuminates the world around us.
Scripture says in Romans that we were once dead in our trespasses, our sin. Dead means the body isn't functioning.
The eyes don't work. 
Some may remember the movie "The Green Mile". Dead man walking!

Dead men have no rights, no life to live.
They don't experience anything.  Think about that 6 foot box in the ground in the Cemetery.  See anything happening?
That's you before Christ. 

We are born into a death sentence because of sin.  We are all born into blindness.  Satan knows the Bible. He's aware of every verse.  His minions are fully aware of every verse.  They know the power of God.  They know they cannot go after any who are born again in Christ without the permission of Jesus.
They are very aware of every single aspect of your life.  They know what bothers you and I.  They know our limitations and what it takes to get to us.

They have but 1 mission. To keep people from knowing the truth.  To keep them blinded. Didn't realize you have been manipulated all your life did you?  If you have had your eyes opened by Salvation in Christ, then your attacks are different. The mission of Satan and his minions is to make you as ineffective as possible. To shut you down. Keep you from being what Christ is making of you.  To put up smoke and mirrors to deceive you.  To try to blind you again.

Nicodemus was one of the greatest teachers of the Law. Yet he was blinded.
Paul, when he was Saul, was as taught as Nicodemus.  Jewish leaders were all manipulated and blinded by Satan to kill Jesus.  Thinking they were doing service to God.  Which was all part of the Plan of God.  When the promised one came, the Holy Spirit, eyes were opened. Thousands of once dead and blind people awoke to the truth of God.  Lives were changed.
Priorities changed.  It wasn't the world that mattered it was people.  Idolatry was on a crash dive. Those who made idols to sell were outraged.  Their livelihood was threatened.  They were going after the Church, after the Apostles. To kill them to shut them up. To find a way to get people to want their idols again.

Sounds familiar.  In this day and age, you remove idols from your life, and from friends and family, let alone the culture in which you live, attacks come  upon you for doing so. 

Get laughed at for getting serious about your walk with God?  Get joked about for getting rid of things from your life that God has shown you are dragging you down?  Have you gotten told you are...well..fill in the blank.

I have been there.  But let me be very blunt.  It was no joke as to why Jesus was beaten and nailed to a cross.

Those who are in blindness aimlessly attack those who are not.  All the jokes about zombies. Another movie comes to mind, the Matrix.  Morpheus said that if a person wasn't freed from it, they were a part of it.  Interestingly, that description almost compares to being saved.  Until you come to Christ, your blindness and your unprotected Spirit, are pawns of Satan, the god of this world.  If you're not saved, it will be easy to scoff at that and say you aren't.  But if you are honest with yourself.  Really honest.  You know something is missing from your life.  You can't put a finger on it but you know it to be true.

Scripture says every single person is born with a God shaped hole in their heart.  We are missing only what Christ can fill.

Come to Christ, open your eyes for the first time in your life.

Already a Christian? Wipe your eyes.
Our lives belong to the one who saved us. It isn't for us to be self-centered.  As the early church did, our lives are about others.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Your right to Choose

Saw an interesting phrase this morning.  "We weren't born winners and we weren't born losers. We were born choosers."  Truth.
Go back to the book of Genesis. Adam and Eve were born into a world of choice.  The Lord had Adam choose what to name His creations. Adam named every animal.  Adam and Eve were shown their choices of living.  They chose to listen to the serpent.  They chose to sin. The death sentence that came as a result has been ours to live with.  We were born into sin but choosing still was ours. Choosing to live for God or or to live for ourselves. 
We choose. The part that is lacking to us is what was lacking in Adam. Wisdom.
We all think we are wise in our own eyes.  We all think we know what is best.  If we did, there would be no poverty in this world. There would be no strife. There would be nothing but peace.

Truth is that choice is what brought Christ to be born as a baby.  Choice is what was before Him as He grew up. Choice was thrown at Him in the wilderness as Satan tempted Him. Choice was with Him as He was beaten and bruised.  Consider that He had the power to obliterate everything with a thought, and chose the punishment for our sins instead.
Choice is what kept Him on the cross.

He chose to save you, if you would but only choose to accept His free give that His choices made possible.  Our choice doesn't end when we come to Christ. Each moment of every day we choose to be obedient or not. We choose to live as we know we ought to or not.

What's your choice?  There are consequences to choosing.  Who says? The Creator of the Universe.  The Creator is the only one who has the power to establish the rules of life. 
He has been gracious thus far in not willing that any should perish, but that graciousness will have an end.

Making wise choices is only possible by constant contact with the source of wisdom.
In prayer and daily living. Before the fall in Genesis, Adam and Eve lived in harmony with God. Walking and talking with Jesus.

So the choices remain the same for you as they did for Adam and Eve.

Nobody doesn't choose.  That's a lie.  Satan owns the fence of indecision that you may be sitting on.  Scripture says there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth at the judgment seat.
Weeping because they thought they were wise and chose well. But they did if they didn't choose Christ.  Gnashing of teeth because in their defiance they raise a fist at God, in denial that He has the right to set the rules over them.
Remember Legions of angels fell with Satan.
They have no hope of returning to God.
They chose unwisely. 

Don't you do the same.
But time is running out.  It is a limited time offer.

Is you being right more important than realizing that God really is?
Who wins out, the toddler in his or her tantrum or the parents?  Inevitably it's the parents.

Your stubbornness will never prevail.  Your fears of what might happen to your life are unfounded.  "I'm doing good. I'm ok." Isn't enough.  "But what if He asks..."
Look, He loved you enough to die for you.
Let that sink in
He loved you enough to die for you.
If He didn't care for you and what happens to you, why would He die for you?
Let that sink in.

And really realize that if you are a Christian you still have choices to make.
And really realize that if you are not a Christian you have only one choice to make.

Make it a good one.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

What of you?

Now the Lord had said to Abram, “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

The most dramatic changes in your life will come from God's initiative, not yours. The people God used mightily in Scripture were all ordinary people to whom He gave divine assignments that they never could have initiated. The Lord often took them by surprise, for they were not seeking significant mandates from God.
- Blackaby

Out of Spurgeon's for this morning he mentions someone who was quoted as saying "Anyone who has spent 5 minutes in Heaven knows more than all the theologians on the Earth."

All of us who have come to Christ have an assignment.  We all have something that either we are doing now or haven't begun yet.

Think about where you are and what it is you are doing. If you aren't apart of something special with God, ask Him what it is you should be doing.  We are a part of the body of Christ.  A body has uncounted billions of cells with a purpose.
There's a reason for each to be where they are and what they are doing.

It took most of my lifetime to get to where I am today with this blog. Which I am convinced is of God.  I could say that it was my jumping the gun decades ago that ruined its true beginning, but that's not entirely accurate.  For one, the technology wasn't there. There were no blogs, no smartphones. No easy means of looking up Scriptural references and thoughts.  My maturity in Christ would also need development.  Jesus didn't hand the Disciples the Gospels at the beginning of their ministry and say Here ya go! Don't mess it up! Catch ya later!

They weren't ready.  Just like often we aren't ready, but we are in training.  To be His workmanship means a work in progress.  Not ending.  Sometimes suspended but not ended until the mission is completed.

So look around your life.  You may have a big assignment on par with the Apostles or on par with just helping others. But trust Him, not me, He has something for you to do for Him.

In the parables of the landowner.  The workers were given assignments.  All of them.  They all gave an account of their actions.  All of them.

So pray. Ask what it is He has for you to do.  Don't be fearful of what it might be.  I was at first but it was senseless.  What He had for me to do is beyond anything I could ever imagine.  It's been awesome!

Friday, July 19, 2019

It's About Time

I am fascinated when God shows Himself or something that I could never see on my own.  It's awesome to experience even when all around me chaos seems to win the day.

We often get into familiar ruts of life, see this, and know that will happen.  Do this and this will be the result.  Touch a button and soon you are performing what used to seem to be magic, sending a message via text to another person. The magic wears off and we droll on through the day not thinking about what's behind things.
Oh that just happened, or this is going on, but we lack being impressed by it.

There's a saying that familiarity breeds contempt.  We often get bored by what we do and go through that the miraculous just isn't seen for what it is.

I often go back to the words of Jesus when He said we need to come to Him as a child.  A child never loses the sense of wonder.  A child trusts implicitly. A child believes unquestionably.  A child is moldable. A child can be taught new things because all things are new to them.

Why do you think Satan chooses to heavily invest in the twisting and perverting the teaching of children?

If he can manipulate a generation or so he can build an army of adults that will do his bidding.   Look around you.  Look at our public schools.  It's already happened.

But going back to the thoughts of today.  It was pointed out in a devotional this morning about smooth sailing Christians and those whose lives seem to have been very rough.  In the lived of those who had it rough, they will see more of God's character and truth than those who had it smooth.  Moses wouldn't have known all he did about the Lord had he not had the rough road he traveled.  Joseph wouldn't have developed into the man of God he did had he not been down his rough road too.  Samson wouldn't have cried out to God with a sincere heart until he was brought to his knees in troubles. 

We can and do pray for each day.  For the strength to make it through.  For peace.  For health.  All good things, but where would Psalms 23 be?  If we are His workmanship, it means disturbing, painful,  often difficult times in our lives to make is more Christ-like.  Put yourself in the place of that used, worn pot in the sink.  You have to make it look like new.  At a minimum you need something abrasive to clean it. You have to scrape.  You have to introduce heat of the water to aid the soap.  None of which is pleasant to the pan!!!  Yet after time and effort the result is something wonderful.  A tool useful to the Master.

As our character is shown God's character, we learn what we should be like.  A Disciple followed the path of his Master.  Where he went you went. He went through dangerous situations, so did you.  He climbed mountains, guess where you were going.

Children learn about their parents in the same way.  They see, they do.  Not always a good idea in some cases but the truth is there. We should be looking to God with anticipation, not in regret, when it comes to learning from Him.  Maybe regret isn't exactly the word.  But in a state of depression. Like it is someone who we really, if we are honest, don't want to be around.  Because we THINK we know what will be expected of us. 

Truth is that's a lie.

The more time you spend with Jesus the more joy you will find.  Things you once declared as important to you, you wonder why they were important at all.  Your behavior changes.  You can't help but mimic all the good and right things you see in Jesus. You test the waters and find out the little steps of faith are getting you somewhere.  All the sudden you look back on your life and see that you have been walking on the water and didn't know it.

Ask Jesus to show you more.  Ask Him to reveal truth to you. Then...LOOK for the answers.  We pray but don't look for the answer because we think we know what the answer should be.  So we miss it.

Look at what Jesus is saying to you.
Expect a rough road and be glad for it so that you see more of God in your life.

It's an interesting fact about Howard Hughes.  The man had absolutely anything anyone could want when he wanted it.  Yet he was one of the most miserable men when he died alone.

So having a smooth life with no trouble at all doesn't make you better at all.  It is quite the opposite.  With everything you remove yourself from everyone else.

The prayers are throughout Scripture.

Pray for God to show you more of Him.
Then expect Him to do just that!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

What God Desires...

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Your relationship with God ought to bring you more joy, satisfaction, and pleasure than any other relationship, activity, or material possession you have. Scripture exhorts you to delight yourself in the Lord, finding your greatest pleasure in God and the things dear to His heart. How can you find pleasure in what God enjoys? Only as you spend time with Him will you begin to take delight in the things God loves. As you spend intimate time with God and allow Him to show you your situation from His perspective, you will begin to see things as God sees them. As you adjust yourself to God, your heart will begin to desire the same things God's heart desires. When you pray, you will find yourself asking for the very things God desires. Matters foremost on God's heart will be preeminent in yours. Your first request in prayer will not be for yourself, but for God's name to be exalted and His kingdom to be extended (Matt. 6:9–10).
- Blackaby

If you look back on your life, as I often do with my own, hopefully you can see the fingerprints of God.  That you see where He's done things in your life.  That you see where the impossible has happened. 
If not, stop and consider it!

All too much of this world wants us to delight in it. In adventures, in movies, in celebrities, sports or sports figures.  Everything can have the potential of drawing us away from delighting in the Lord.

Our delights should be the same as His. Not the other way around.  The only way that can happen is spending more than a Sunday morning with Him.  More than a brief thanks for a meal. 

A good example is what leads me to write this blog.  Time in my Bible Plan. Time reading what other Godly men have written.  Time.

We will never know everything about God, yet we know we can get huge glimpses through His Word.  King David was called a man after God's own heart.  Read Psalms.  Look at everything that was on his mind.  Look at the emotions.  Look at his heart!  Abraham was called a friend of God.  What makes a good friend in God's eyes?

We are distracted by so many things.  Yet like in Jesus's admonition regarding Mary and Martha, those who intentionally spend time with Jesus will not have that taken away from them.  The greater thing for us isn't hours in front of a TV. The greater thing isn't a football game.  The greatest thing is time with Jesus.

It's sad how people can't find the time to be with Jesus yet have season tickets to games.  They have an all-pass for a movie theater yet don't have the time to open their Bible.  They have even allowed all the activities of their kids in school to take the place of time with God.  Their busy lives have no room for Jesus. 

What did Jesus DO, not just SAY?  "Come, let us get away from the crowds..."

Even constantly doing church work can be a distraction from spending time with Jesus.  Yes it can if it's taking you away from true time with Jesus!  Again, look at Mary and Martha.  What was the one doing?  She was doing work around the place, in her eyes, for Jesus! 

Time with Jesus will help you understand more things than you realize.  You open up your heart, He discloses His to you.
You ask for understanding, He opens your eyes to see. You ask for His wisdom and thinking becomes clearer.

You just sing praise to Him and sometimes He opens up the Heavens while you do and you find yourself singing directly to Him.  You can see into Heaven.
It actually happened to me yesterday.  Philips, Craig and Dean song called the Revelation Song. Was going through my head in parts. So I called it up on my playlist.  I had a moment between running tests and closed my eyes and tilted my head upward.  In my mind, I could see my hands uplifted and in my heart was singing that song up to my King.  It was awesome! I could see the Heavens open!
I really didn't want to go back to work after that.

So consider your life.  What is really important to you?  Many preachers are trying to get the Church back to what it was in the book of Acts, well that will only happen when people go back to putting God first.

In the Old Testament, many times, many many times, they were ordered to cast out the idols that were among them.

Isn't it time you did the same?  What's ensnared your heart and mind to keep you too busy to get to know your Savior? 

Cast it away.  Return to obedience.  Return and as it says in Scripture, there's more rejoicing in Heaven over one who repents....

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


In all that I read today...what I woke up hearing in my mind seems to stand out more...parr of a really good praise song.

Walking around these walls
I thought by now they'd fall
But You have never failed me yet
Waiting for change to come
Knowing the battle's won
For You have never failed me yet

Your promise still stands
Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You've never failed me yet

How often have we felt that we have been in the same place for so long that, if we are honest, we gave up hope?

It is interesting to me how the core of that song rings true with what I was reading in Psalms from King David about rejoicing that the Lord had taken care of all his enemies.  To read of Paul giving a farewell address, admonishing the brethren to be on the alert.  People would come in from among them to distort the truth.  Their hope would be rattled.

Only in Christ is hope never misplaced.

I can already hear the rebuttal to that...
"I prayed and prayed but God didn't..."
"I prayed for days and _______ still died..."
"I prayed and nothing happened..."

It's something a bit more difficult to grasp but our hope lay not in the results but in the one to whom we belong.

If Jesus were some kind of genie it would be a different story.  For one, salvation wouldn't be available.  For two, if we were to always get what we wanted, what kind of people would we be?  We would be every single thing that the Word of God speaks against.  Greedy, impatient, impulsive, rude, disrespectful, dishonest, the list goes on.

Our lives are not our own.  We who are followers of our Savior were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ.  Our prayers should reflect what is important to Him, not us.  Jesus gave a very potent example when His Disciples asked Him how to pray.

As difficult as it is to accept, death is an answer to prayer.  It is.  There actually is great hope in that.  Not necessarily only grief.  If the person was saved, they are now with Jesus all the time!  In no way are they ever suffering.  Their tears are gone by the very hand of God.  They likely do miss you as you miss them, but realize that this separation agony is but for a moment in light of eternity.  Time doesn't exist in Heaven.  Only here.

Hope is always available.  Our obedience is what hinders it in many cases.  The Prodigal Son found hope when he was at the end of himself.  When obedience to his Father became important again, even if it meant being just a servant for his Father, he found hope. 

Some don't see what I have said about death as very hopeful, but consider Scripture.  David lost his son from Bathsheba, but right now he is with him again.  He lamented many days while here, but as he said after knowing that his son was gone, who knows? The Lord might have yet changed his mind.  Abraham up til the moment the Lord told him to stay his hand, was about to sacrifice his only son, but had hope that should he even kill his son, that God would still be able.  Job, in his latter years had renewed hope with all that had been restored to him, but also knew he would see his other children again.

I have lived many periods of life in what seemed like hopeless.  The dreams of being in a boat with no oars, no sails, no rudder.  No wind, nothing to move me.
The silence.  The despair.  It wasn't on account of God.  It had much to do with me.  My obedience wasn't there.  My hands wouldn't let go of the things I held onto in my life.  Jesus was important to me, but wasn't important enough.  In all the hallways and rooms of my soul, I wasn't allowing Him to go everywhere.
It took getting past my fears of the what if's to break through a lot of it. 
Fears? Yes. Afraid of what He might ask of me.  Afraid of what I might have to do.
Afraid of people He might want me to speak with.  Fear.

Afraid of what I might have to let go of. My wants, desires, dreams.  All that I held onto.  Truth is those were and are chains of my own making. 

Chains attached to nothing.  Robbing me of hope.  Robbing me of peace and joy.

I only thought that I knew what peace, joy, contentment etc was. It wasn't until I let go.  That I found what I was really looking for.  Hope.

Jesus's faithfulness blows my mind.
No matter what, He remains faithful.
He may have to wait for me to return, but He remains faithful.

Hope is eternal, only in Christ.

Let go of everything you hold onto, let go of the fears of what might come.  Then you will experience more of a life with Christ than you will have ever thought possible. 

Then you will find hope.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

No Spy Life...

God is not pleased if you praise Him at church but not at your workplace. It is not acceptable for you to revere God when you are with other Christians but not in your school or neighborhood. He expects you to honor Him completely, with your words, with your actions, with your life. If you honor Him, He will honor you.
- Blackaby

Two lives...most could think of spy movies, TV shows or books when they consider those two words.  Yet all too often everyone today actually practices living two lives.  The one we show everyone else and the one we don't show. Likewise there are those who show one kind of person on Sunday's and a different one the rest of the week.  I have even seen employee's have 2 different ones at work at practically the same time.  They speak of God and their walk with God yet in practice they follow company culture in direct opposition to God.
I am no stranger to this myself. We often find ourselves playing a role in order to avoid a discomforting situation.  It's not that we are outright lying, but a controlled silence at the wrong time can still be a lie.
We don't speak when we ought to or speak when we shouldn't.

It's been an interesting time reading Psalms and King David at the same time as the book of Acts with the life of Paul.

How was it possible for David to be a man after God's own heart?  How was it possible for Paul to be the way He was in public, and in private?

We are inundated with sensory overload practically all the time.   Most need noise to 'think'.  Yet Jesus quite often took the Disciples away to were there was only 2 things.  Him and peaceful silence.

Paul and David were always on the move.  In the earlier writings of Psalms it was about Saul chasing David.  In Acts, there was little rest for Paul because Satan kept stirring up people practically every day.

We are in lives that aren't so different.

Yet we are called to be Christ-like.  Called to be the same throughout the week as we are on Sunday.  Called to live for Christ in our taking up of our Cross daily.

It's not about all the sites we can see. It's not about all the people we can impress.  It's not about our image to show others about us. It's not about what sports we HAVE to follow. 

If we are not honoring God in our lives 24/7, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!

For those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed. 1 Samuel 2:30

We read of Eli honoring his disobedient sons but not God.  The Jewish people knew all about his sons and he knew it. Yet he was more afraid of messing things up with his sons more than he did with God.

Others in the Bible put impressing people above doing what was right in God's eyes.  Solomon was told what not to do, yet he did it and paid the price.  Civil War came after his death.  The wisest man of his time yet he listened to others in his later years instead of what God told him.

I grow older and simplicity seems to be what I cling to.  Less stuff n more of what God wants to teach me.  I have been asked about where is my sports teams. Where's my shirt to show their colors.  I have none.  All given away.  Why? Because to me they became an idol.
They were provoking within me thoughts and actions that were not Christ-like.
I don't do a lot of things because of that very same reason. 

People today don't stop to consider what God had a problem with 2,000 years ago, He still has a problem with today. 

Think about that. 

God has not changed His mind about a single commandment.  Has not about a single judgment.  Has not about a single ruling.  Not. Ever.

What God said was idolatry still is what He said idolatry is. What He said about honoring Him once, still applies to today's world.

There is no living two lives other than what Paul described in Romans.  The Sin nature and the process of sanctification  happening in the life of the believer. 

The war between the two natures within us.  Either we are living for Jesus or we are not. In everything.  In all things. 
Yes, in Christ, the Father does see Jesus instead of us, but we know that's because we see that God sees the whole picture of us. In our mortal lives we are His work in progress. 

We often see the verse in a painting of Joshua's famous challenge.  Choose this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Think about that.  I often see these fantastic portraits with that very passage in garage sales.  What happened in their lives that made that portrait be up for sale?

Now there's the thought. What happened in your life (and mine) that made that challenge he made up for sale?

Where did the compromise slip in?
Where did the change in attitude and thought come from that made declaring that to the world expendable?

More often than you realize it is a tiny compromise here, a little one over there.

How do you change the direction of a mighty river?  One tiny stone at a time adds up to a major course correction.

Honor God in all you do.  If you have given in to compromise, take a stand and go back to what you once declared before God.  David did.  Read Psalms.  His anguish at realizing his faults and failures hit him hard.

Be sensitive to the things of God.  He died to save you, to give you a new life in Christ.  Why would you want to continue to live in the old sinful way?  The Prodigal Son was in the muck and mire of a pigsty feeding pigs.  One of the lowest forms of life to a Jew. Right next to being a tax collector or lawyer.  He realized his need to really live and returned to his Father to repent and expected nothing, just hoping to be treated like one of his Father's hired hands. To step out of his sinful living and into something better.  To not to continue living in what he knew was wrong.

His Father's forgiveness went beyond anything that Son could ever have hoped for or expected.  He was shown that his true life was yet to be lived, under the forgiveness of his Father. 

No two lives. One life.

 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. Galatians 2:20

Monday, July 15, 2019

Where is He?

"I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved." Psalm 16:8

What does it mean to set the Lord always before you? It means that you choose to relate everything you encounter to your trust in God. - Blackaby

As he further writes, and you can see it yourself throughout Scripture, the importance of the right hand position.

Jesus is at the right hand of the Father.

So where is Jesus in your life?  Is He at your right hand or in your back pocket?
Is He two steps behind you and to your left?  Or is He with you in everything?

Where we put Christ determines our life.

If sports, celebrities and what these people think color your judgment, if they hold any sway or anything in your life, then Jesus isn't where He should be.

Your life in Christ now, affects your life with Christ later. If you are not a believer, you have no future with Jesus other than judgement that leads to Hell.  You cannot enter Heaven without Christ as your personal Savior.  Believing that He exists isn't enough.  Demons do and they will not be spending eternity with Jesus.  Demons at least shudder at the thought of the wrath to come.  Most people don't.

Setting Jesus at our right hand means He is the first we talk to.  The first we ask advice from.  The first to know.  The first to hear what comes out of our mouths, our mind and heart. 

So where is Jesus with you? 

Is He important to you at all?  Do you talk to Him about what bothers you?  Do you?

Prayer isn't a once a day thing.  It's an all day thing.  Life isn't about what you can get out of it, in as much as it's what God needs you to be doing in it.

The Church is the body and Bride of Christ.  As it says in Corinthians we who are in Christ have a part, a role, a bodily function to do.  If a body part you have isn't doing what it's supposed to how useful is it? If your right arm decided not to participate today in your life, and you are right handed, how well is your right hand going to work?

Setting the Lord before you means He is what's most important.  To the body and Bride of Christ, He is what's most important.  The parts communicating with each other.  The parts helping each other.  The parts realizing they aren't just along for the ride as well.  

I still find myself wondering what my life could have been like if Jesus were more important to me decades ago. I wonder how rich it could be like today. If I had had Him at my right hand in making all decisions. 

But in the here and now, I will strive to be what I can be for Him.  To do what I can to spend more time with Him.  The world is not going to let me but I will try.

What about you?  Think about your life and where Jesus is in relationship to you.
Where is He in your life?