Monday, September 30, 2019

Oh For a Thousand

Sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! Psalm 66:2 ESV

It is not up to us whether we should praise God. Praise is God’s most rightful due, and every Christian, as the recipient of His grace, is bound to praise God every day. It is true we have no authoritative guide for daily praise—we have no commandment prescribing certain hours of song and thanksgiving. But the law in our hearts teaches us that it is right to praise God, and this unwritten mandate comes to us with as much force as if it had been recorded on tablets of stone or handed down to us from the top of a thundering Mount Sinai. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

O For a Thousand Tongues 

O for a thousand tongues to sing
  My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
  The triumphs of His grace.
Gracious Master and my God,

Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad,
  The honors of Thy name.
Jesus! the name that charms our fears,

That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
  ’Tis life, and health, and peace.
love my heart has captive made,

  His captive would I be,
For He was bound, and scourged and died,
  My captive soul to free.
breaks the power of canceled sin,

  He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean;
  His blood availed for me.
So now Thy blessed Name I love,

  Thy will would e’er be mine.
Had I a thousand hearts to give,
  My Lord, they all were Thine!

These seem to be brought together this morning.  In this world in which we live, where corporations and sports figures,  movie characters all are craving our praise, our honor and yes, I will say it, our worship, it belongs to nobody else but Jesus.

It's very disturbing and disheartening to see Christians so caught up in their fervor for things other than God that it sometimes makes me physically ill.

We were never created to worship anything or anyone else but Jesus.

Yet that's exactly what people are doing that are taking the praise due God and give it to another.

Oh there will be those reading this saying that I am taking this too far. That God can't be that serious.  Hmm.  Go read Isaiah.  Look at the wrath that came upon Israel from God due to their taking the praise due Him and giving it to idolatry.

Read the other books of the Old Testament.  In dozens of books you find where God shows He is serious about this.

So it's not about harping on people, it's about getting people to return the praise due God back to God.

It was in my memories part of Facebook today of a quote from the movie Concussion.  Of how Sunday's used to be the Churches and now it belongs to the NFL.  And Hollywood owns the rest of the weekend. 

People live their lives, both Christians and non-Christians like they are children at a fair.  All the lights and sounds and smells attract them off the thoroughfare of life.
Enticing them to come and play, it won't hurt. It'll be ok. It's all in fun, right?  Nobody's gonna get hurt. 

Spurgeon goes on to say that it matters not what the believer is going through, all praise belongs to Him.  We who are not of this world find our healing of our souls in obedience to God.  If we mourn, we need to remember to still praise Jesus.  As Blackaby pointed out this morning too, only God knows every single thing about everyone.  Of what would have happened if they went left instead of right. If they had been on time versus being late a few minutes.  Of whether or not what caused their illness or death had more to do with secret sins than physical illness.

Look to the 4 Gospels.  There were only two kinds of people Jesus healed.  Demon possessed or those just physically ill.  Nothing else. 

Yet to those whom He healed, most couldn't contain their praise for God.

It's mostly those still in darkness that wanted Jesus to leave the area.

He ruined my business.  He ruined my family.  He ruined...really? 

God shows up and does miraculous things and the people of the day want Him dead or just plain gone!

Newsflash:  the people of today's world would do no different.

They cry out to God for help in their afflictions but when He does they want nothing to do with Him.  They forget His mercy towards them.

The more I let go of the baggage in my life the more I realize how deep my heart gave into the lies of this world.

Everyone has baggage they were convinced they could handle but didn't see it for what it truly was.  Sin in disguise.

Return this day to prayer and praising Jesus.  Turn your hearts and minds to that today and reap the true joy that will come.

But it will hurt if I let go!
What will people think?

Consider this: who cares what people think.  What does God think about it?

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Not Complicated

God's Word comes to you. It is not too complex to understand. The question is, how will you respond? Nowhere in Scripture did God excuse disobedience because His instructions were too vague or complex. Condemnation came because they knew exactly what God wanted them to do, yet they chose not to do it! God, through His Holy Spirit, will always give you sufficient revelation and strength to take the next step with Him. If you are uncertain about what God is asking of you, make sure that you are obeying all that you do know; and through your obedience, God's next instruction will become clear." - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

Thy Will Be Done - Hillary Scott

I'm so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don't wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I've got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you're good
But this don't feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It's hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you're God
And I am not

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Good news you have in store

So, thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

We live in a world these says of onslaughted opinions.  Gone are the days when you could have time to reply to something concerning a question or a decision.  People are expected a result or an answer to them as fast as it's asked.

You have one side saying you must accept them and another saying no accept them...answer me now!

You have political power switching back and forth at the speed of a text or email.
Evidence shows that society at large is upset when a PRINTOUT of something said or done is coming that delaying tactics are being used.

You don't even have to go that far.  Go grocery shopping.  There's pressures there to buy buy buy.  They intentionally move the store around to make you go past things you probably never would buy to get you to buy them. While we are here...look at the results.  Look at the rest of this sight.  People impatient.  Parents angry at the store, children sensing the parents and start a tantrum because they don't want to be there.  So the parents appease the children to shut them up.

Come closer.

You. Yes you at home. You at work.  You on the way to work.  What behaviors do you show that aren't exactly God honoring?

God talks to you.  Do you react like the child in the store?  Like the child at the Zoo who was made to separate from an animal that they loved to be around?
Do you sulk at God when He has said no, or to wait?  Or when He silently waits for us to either calm down or just to patiently wait on Him?

We do have a major fault in us. We run towards the things this world has to offer.

We try to drag God along hoping He doesn't have a problem with it.

Our sinfulness will always be cunning and silently sinister.  More often than not we will have convinced ourselves of how harmless something is without ever seeing if God approved or not.  We take silence as tacit approval.  "Well, God didn't stop me, so it must be alright!"

Think maybe He was waiting for you to ask first?  That's what respect for Him is.

When we become Children of God, we are to desire to and should be like the one who adopted us.  That is what it also means to be a Disciple of Christ. 

A Disciple intentionally doesn't do what their heart desires at times in order to obey the one that is their Master. 

Many, including myself, by no means am I excluding myself, are doing this.  We waste so much time doing what we want and don't ask what God wants of us.

We then face difficulties and wonder where God is, why can't we hear Him, why is His will so difficult to understand!

"Really?" Says God.

God has levels of joy and peace that we will never know apart from obedience to Him. 

We think we are happy with what's happening in our life at times and are content to live as the world wants us to.
We shut up when the world tells us to. We accept what the world says is right because the world told us what is right.

We keep our sense of happiness because the world said this is what you need to do to be be successful.

God will never keep you away from happiness or from joy or even peace.  Jesus is telling you that you ain't seen nothing yet if you think you have it now.

Jesus can see right past every thought and intention of yours.  Like a parent can see past the tantrums to see the child needs a nap not discipline.

As Hillary Scott put into song, it is for us.

The funny thing is, the more I let go, the more Jesus gives.  But until I was willing to let go, I couldn't be given.  I don't miss what I no longer have. 

Think about that too, will you?

It's His Will be done,  not ours.
It's that we are His workmanship, not ours.

It's that we are His Children.

Children should obey their parents in the Scripture says.

Do you waste your days doing what you want or do you ask God what He wants you to do?  Hours watching TV or games online or movies yet you groan at 10 minutes in your Bible? 

You stay up late for a sport on a Saturday night eating and celebrating yet can't show that kind of enthusiasm for Jesus?

Oh I have seen it. People don't even realize how deep they are into it. Wearing symbols of their idols to a Church service intended to be of us worshipping God!

Even proclaiming how they stayed up late the night before and are paying for it now, saying it was worth it!  You watch their seriousness unenthusiastic behavior in the worship service as they struggle to stay awake.  Until it's time to go and all the sudden they are the Energizer rabbit.

Can't wait around to talk, another game is on.

Where are your priorities?

If you indeed are a Child of God, are you living it?  Are you trying to obey or are you coasting along?  Are you dreading time with God because deep down you realize He probably isn't happy with your life choices?

You can change all that.  Thing is all you need to do is ask and He will gladly help you.

As Joshua wrote, so I will paraphrase.

Choose this day whom you will serve.
Either yourself or God.


There is NO middle ground.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Lord, Show Me More...

We can easily miss the gift of what’s right in front of us, especially beauty that’s part of our everyday lives. We can also easily miss the beautiful ways God works in and around us daily. But believers in Jesus can ask God’s Spirit to open our spiritual eyes so we can understand how He’s at work, as the apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesian believers. Paul yearned that God would give them the wisdom and revelation to know Him better (Ephesians 1:17). He prayed that their hearts would be enlightened so that they’d know God’s hope, promised future, and power (vv. 18–19).

God’s gift of the Spirit of Christ can awaken us to His work in us and through us. With Him, what may have once seemed like “just the office” can be understood as a place that displays His light and glory. Our Daily Bread for September 28th 2019

It's interesting that the place Our Daily Bread was today is where my Bible Plan has me today as well in Ephesians.  
I will admit that my mind was on other things earlier when I tried to return to sleep.  Things that I hope to accomplish today.  Things that happened yesterday.
Yet I am also reminded of something that I prayed years ago now that Jesus still grants today.  Show me more...

We get suckered and sucked into so much, so easily that we miss what Jesus wanted to share with us in this moment.
Ever think of that?  Of how Jesus shows up to spend time with you and you give him an excuse why you can't right now?
Come now, be honest, you're just as guilty of this as I am.  We give other things more of a priority than God. 
Now is where the rubber meets the road.

If you're going to finally be honest that is.
If you're going to face the truth that is.

You are attracted to all the wonderful lights and sounds and smells of everything except time with Jesus.

Years ago we went on a long vacation. It was one of my biggest in so long that I couldn't remember.  No radio. Nothing really on TV. No distractions of cars going by.  No noisy neighbors.  No police helicopters.  No medical vehicle's racing nearby.   Just the quiet peaceful sounds of God's creation, a beautiful sunrise and coffee.  Nothing between us and God. No distractions at all.  

Luke 14:16-24 NASB

But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’  And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”

Jesus mentioned earlier in that book that we need to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.

We are easily manipulated by sin. By the devices of this world.  That's just putting it all out there as it is.

We get pulled so many directions it's not funny.  Jesus wants to you to spend time with Him.  He wants to teach you how to deal with life. To learn from Him. 

So look at what you do and why you do things.  Is a program on TV more important than a talk with Jesus?  Do you make the time for a 2 hour movie but can't find 1 hour on a Sunday Morning.  Do you find time for a football game but not even 15 minutes to share your heart with YOUR Savior?  Do you really look at how you are dressed?  Do really look at your behavior in front of the various people you encounter every day? 

Of course we don't.  If we did our country, let alone our Church wouldn't be in the shape it's in.

We wear outfits that boast of what is important to us. Yet we are afraid of others to see in whom we believe.  We would rather them see just how much more important it is to fit in with the world around us. 

It took and is still taking quite a bit for Jesus to prune off of me things that were not healthy for Spiritual growth. 

When He got me to a place where it was time, I asked to be shown more.  To be honest with you, I thought I would miss all the stuff and things that I used to consider important. 

I was reading in Isaiah 6 this morning too. Once the Lord directed an Angel to take a coal from the alter and touch Isaiah, and his sins were forgiven, his things in his world didn't matter.  Serving God did. He wasn't consumed by what his life revealed moments earlier when he realized all of his sin and what he was before a Holy God. 

Do you want to know more? Ask Jesus.
Do you want a life that's what He wants of you?  Ask Jesus.

When you die, all that goes with you is your lifes deeds. What you did, what you said, what you thought, all that was you is brought before Jesus. It will be put to the fire. What remains is up to you.

In Christ, those who are saved, will not lose their Salvation.  But every thought, secret intention and everything will be laid bare before Him.  There's no hiding anything.  Those not in Christ, those not saved, face the same.  Yet all of these will see that everything they did or tried to do could not save them.

What will your life reveal?

I find that the more I let go the more freedom that He grants.  The more I talk with Jesus the more peace He gives. 

If you really want to learn more, ask Jesus.

If you really want to see more, ask Jesus.

The stuff of this world doesn't compare.

Friday, September 27, 2019

But for a little while

Casting our cares is a choice. It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems. At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God! We don’t like turning over the responsibility for our problems. We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy. We may even enjoy worrying. Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father. Peter does not distinguish between little cares and big cares. God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs. He asks us to turn them all over to Him. One of our greatest errors is to assume we can deal with something ourselves, only to discover that we really can’t. God sees you as His frail child, burdened with a load that surpasses your strength. He stands prepared to take your load and to carry it for you. Will you let Him? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

"After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you."  1 Peter 5:10 NASB

How many readers can relate to the fact that growing up hurts?  It does!  And the greatest lie we tell ourselves is that what we go through is unique to ourselves!

"Oh I have messed up so much that God's having nothing to do with me!" - wrong.

"I have been so consumed with negative thoughts that it seems like God is so far from me" - wrong.

"I have nothing good to offer God. My life is a slow motion train wreck." - wrong.

"Why is my life filled with so much pain and trouble?" - again, wrong.

My dear reader, you are by no means alone in all that you are going through.

As Blackaby points out, casting our cares upon Jesus requires us to make a choice.

Over and over again in Scripture Jesus says He is God, that He will never leave us nor forsake us.  That He loves you and I.

Oh if I but had the time this morning to find all those passages to show you!

The truth is, we who are saved by His Grace, will indeed suffer in this life.  We will be the people who rejoice in adversity.  When things get most others down, we should be lifted up.  Why the opposite?

Our enemy and God's would like nothing more than to silence the Christian.  To shut them up.  The more we share what Jesus is doing in our lives the harder it is for him to keep people from God.

He tries to discourage us in ever increasing ways to take our eyes off Jesus and put them on our problems. 

Look what that got Peter, and he was standing WITH Jesus on the water!  Right next to Him!

We shouldn't allow our circumstances the time of day to drag us down.  A long time ago now, I used to not realize that truth. 

I was so convinced that I was doing God's work that I was drowning in negativity.  Not my own, but everyone else's.  I was trying to counsel people and wasn't experienced at it.  Online at that, people would unload onto me, at my urging, and in a click they were on their way, and I had all their emotional baggage heaped on me.

It was so bad that I began believing the lies that Satan was telling me.  I despaired of waking up every day.  I went through the motions at work.  Went home and not knowing what else to do went back online taking in more of others problems.

I felt very lost and distant from God.  Yet He never left me.  He was quietly waiting for me. I got to the point where I felt completely cut off from God.  That my life wasn't worth anything and I had messed up so badly that even God had rejected me.  Lies! Lies! Lies!  Yet I bought into them.  It came to a head one day in May of 1999.  Before me were 3 options.  The first was to end it all, which I was prepared to do.  The second was to stop fighting it and live my miserable existence until I died.  The third was to try one last time to seek God. To throw everything on the table. My sin my shame my hurts my pain. Everything about me. Every last shred of the mess that was me. To ask Jesus for help, whatever the cost.  No strings, no more of the conditions that I had been holding onto for my life.  Whatever He wanted I would do.  Wherever He wanted me to go, I would go.  I was done. My life wasn't worth anything and if He would take me back I was His to do with as He saw fit. My misery hit a wall.

As you might have guessed, I chose door number three.  Jesus spoke up.  Reminded me that I was still His. That He was waiting for that day.  Healing would come.  Now the real work in my life could begin. 

My life hasn't been the same since.  I have no more regrets.  I have had other Spiritual surgeries in the last 20 years but He has seen me through them.  As it is in the physical world sometimes surgeons do work in stages so that the patient can handle the whole process.  Jesus is the great physician.  He was doing that kind of thing long before man figured it out.

You too have choices to make.  You too must choose each day whom you will lean on.  You too must choose to include Jesus in your life.   Will you be giving up things in your life?  Yes. I won't lie to you.

I have given up many things, but discovered that I really didn't need them.  They consumed my mind, my energy, my efforts with no real benefit to my life or those around me. 

We do do much to try to find peace on our own.  Yet, Jesus says if you want it, He has it to spare.  Peter wanted that peace and thrill of standing on the water with Jesus again after he began sinking.  We all want that exhilaration of rejoicing because of what God is doing...but it's us who take our eyes off Jesus and put them back onto the storm.  We forget who lifted us up and made the things possible that were impossible and we begin to sink.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

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

Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus our blessed Redeemer sing oh Earth his wonderful love proclaim!

My dear reader you can either live with worries, regrets or anxiety or you can believe the truth of Jesus.  Life is going to be life.  It going to have trouble and it's going to have problems.  Who you choose to go through it with daily is up to you.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

I Will trust in You, I will Not be Moved

Besides my devotional readings this morning a chorus of a worship song has been repeating in my mind. The song is called "We Won't be Shaken"

This world has nothing for me
This life is not my own
I know You go before me and I am not alone
This mountain rises higher
The way seems so unclear
But I know that You go with me so I will never fear
I will trust in You

Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
No, we won't be shaken
No, we won't be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we'll rise and sing
That we won't be shaken
No, we won't be shaken
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
Oh, oh, oh
No, we won't be shaken

You know my every longing
You've heard my every prayer
You've held me in my weakness 'cause You are always there
So I'll stand in full surrender
It's Your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than You and You alone
I will not be moved, oh

Whatever will come our way
Through fire or pouring rain
No, we won't be shaken
No, we won't be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we'll rise and sing
That we won't be shaken
No, we won't be shaken

We will trust in You

That's most of the lyrics to it, for those interested it's by a group called Building 429.

Stability is what most seek in this life.  Some semblance of peace.  Not even a desire for prosperity, if a peaceful life is attainable.  At least that's part of what a study on workers go. 

But your whys of doing what you do lead to either peace or struggle.

Blackaby writes: "The Bible makes two things clear about sin. First, living a lifestyle of sin indicates that you are not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, regardless of what you say about your spiritual condition. You cannot regularly spend time studying and meditating on God's Word, praying and walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and persist in sin.

Second, if you do not hate sin the way God does, then you do not truly know Him. There are those who continue in their sin yet insist that they love God and belong to Him.

This does not mean that you will never sin, but it does mean that you refuse to make sin a lifestyle and you immediately seek forgiveness when you sin (1 John 1:10).

We choose our lifestyle.  We choose just how we will live.  We decide, from the moment we open our eyes, just how we are going to interact with our day.  God put choice in our hands.

Those who choose to live in sin have a significant problem.  The significant problem is that they delude themselves into thinking God is hearing their prayers.

The Bible is rather clear that you cannot serve God and anything else. 

Trusting in God alone means living that way.  Not for show, for real.

Many are trying to find some balance between obedience to God and doing what they want to do. 

Read that again.

Many are trying to find some balance between obedience to God and doing what they want to do.

What does Jesus say about what a Disciple is?  The leave everything and everyone behind to learn from and become like the Master to whom they have attached themselves to.

Read what Jesus said of half-hearted people.  Oh they have to do this first or that first before they can follow.

It shows they aren't serious about obedience.

Peter was given a personal lesson in trust by stepping onto the water.  The other 11 were given a visual of what faith was.

We live in a culture that isn't so different from 2,000 years ago.  So many philosophies and ways people are creating to justify to a perfect God that they aren't as bad as He says that they are because of sin.

Our lives are a mirror of what we believe.

If anger and outbursts of anger define us, what is the root cause?  We aren't living in obedience in some area of our lives.  Look.  We all are called children of God, who have heard the call and are saved through Christ alone.  Look at children.  They have anger issues when they don't get their own way.  Adults do and have more destructive ways to show it.

Peace comes from a right relationship with God.  Not from an absence of stress or anxiety.  People who aren't saved can have times of an absence of stress and anxiety.  True peace only comes from living as Christ has said.

Again, so many today, so many forming groups to celebrate a sinful lifestyle, shaking their fists at God.  Wow.  Yet again proving the Bible.  They demand to be accepted, and within their demand to be accepted is a very outspoken hatred of those who call what they want sin, just as God calls it.  So they persecute the Church because of their not getting their way before a Holy God. 

Interesting that is exactly what the Bible says would happen. 

Yet the power of the Church is not in its public standpoint or in the services it offers to everyone.  The power of the Church is in their relationship with Jesus.  It's found in their prayer life.  A few timed in the New Testament it was said that Jesus told Simon that his name was now Peter and upon him the Church would be founded.  In Revelation it mentions that the gates of Hell wouldn't be able to handle the onslaught of the Church.  Look at the beginning of the Church.

Where was Peter? Where were the other foundation stones of the Church?


What were they doing?  Praying.
They were doing what God's will was and the beginning of the Church happened.

Bricks were coming together from every corner of the world to form the Church. 

People heard the Gospel message in their own language and took it back to their country.  Prayer did this.

A right relationship begins with prayer.  Not special gifts granted by the Spirit, but prayer.  Gifts come afterwards.

Prayer is where the Church changes the world.

Prayer is where we find the peace that we lack.

Prayer is where trust is built in Christ.

Prayer is where chains are broken.

Prayer is where lives are healed.

Prayer is where we see that it's not about our lives being accepted for what we want them to be and instead we find what Jesus wants them to be.

Prayer is our most formidable weapon in all things in this world. 

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Even if...It is Well

So Jesus has taken the place of believers—He has absorbed all the divine wrath that His people should have suffered as the result of sin—and we can shout with glorious triumph, “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?” (Romans 8:33 NLT). Not God, for He has justified us; not Christ, for He has died, “more than that . . . was raised to life” (Romans 8:34). My hope exists not because I am sinless, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died. My trust is not that I am holy, but that since I am unholy, Jesus is my righteousness. My faith rests not on what I am, or will be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice, the beautiful maiden of hope rides like a queen. C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening

If you cannot accept the truth that God loves you, you will be limited in how you can relate to Him. Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

I read my Bible Plan and my devotionals, yet the song I awake to in my mind is MercyMe's "Even if".

But I gather this was all by God's design. 

In what do you hope?  Really.  Where do you look for peace?  In yourself?  In books? In other distractions?

Our own worst accuser isn't necessarily Satan or any of his minions.  It's our own conscience.  We can do more damage to our hopes and dreams than anybody else.

So, in what or who do you hope?

A old hymn goes " hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness...I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.  On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand all other ground is sinking sand. "

There's an endless supply of self help books, $100 an hour counselors, movies, etc on dealing with the worries of this life.

What you should know dear reader is the real hope for you in this world is free.

It takes something that you need to face in order to find it.  It takes honesty. It takes admission of your need. It takes you being real.  You. Nobody outside your head can know exactly how you're thinking, feeling, experiencing but you...and God.

You see Scripture has never been broken.
It's all truth from beginning to end.

It says in it that the Lord Jesus Christ knows the dividing line between your soul and Spirit. He knows the difference between your thoughts and intentions.
He knows every emotion you have or ever will feel intimately.  Why? How? He became man over 2,000 years ago. He lived as one of us. He knew how it was to grow up. To experience pain, joy, love, betrayal.  All the things we go through in life.  He experienced it all and yet was without sin. 

We sin because we are born into it.  We who have come to Christ have a new nature but it's at war with our old one.  We who are in Christ Jesus have been adopted.  Our hope is in Christ alone.

But you say right now it hurts. 

You say you can see no hope.

You say your life is full of confusion.

Oh my reader...if your faith is in Christ Jesus alone, look up!  Your Salvation is at hand.  Your Savior has never left you. 
Your hope is as near as your next heartbeat, as your next thought!

We have never been left alone who are in Christ.  Every single thing we go through has to get past Him before it gets to us.

There will be hard times.  But hang on. Your Salvation is still at hand.  No storm lasts forever.  Jesus had been asleep in the boat with the Disciples because He worried not about the storm. He knew His Father was there.  To demonstrate that, when they woke Him up, He asked them where was their faith?  He rebuked the storm.  You see storms do not rebuke us. Storms don't have the right or rule over us. Storms have to obey their Master.  Jesus.

When we are going through things in this life God always always always has a different perspective and purpose behind allowing or providing for it.  Read that again.  God always has a different perspective and purpose behind it.

We still see much of our lives through physical eyes, hear through physical ears, smell through a physical nose. Touch with physical hands. 

But what does Scripture say?  We battle not against flesh and blood but against the things in the Spirit world.  We are going through things to learn what it is, where we are, and how to do battle.  It changes our character, our purpose and our direction.  We reflect the light of Christ.  We begin to see a different world around us.  Before we were in darkness as the rest of the world is.  They who are in darkness do not like the light!  It causes stress and anxiety, strife and depression!

But to those whom God has set free in Christ,  when we join together with other Christians, we are encouraged, lifted up.  Joyful. Peace descends upon us.

Realize today that no matter how your life really has been.  What the truth of it all is is this: Jesus DOES love you. He DOES have a Plan.  He HAS NOT forgotten or forsaken you.

Peace like a river attendeth my way. When sorrows like sea billows roll.  Whatever my lot, thou has taught me to say,  it is well, it is well with my soul...

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Our Light

Now, God asks us to lay down our lives on His altar as a living sacrifice. Just as it was in the Old Testament, our sacrifice, once offered, cannot be reclaimed. We belong entirely to Him. We cannot make a partial sacrifice of our lives; our offering must be wholehearted. Therefore, if you are a Christian, your life is not your own. Rather than dying, however, God asks you to live for Him as a living sacrifice. Every day, you are to offer your life to Him for His service. You do not serve Him in your spare time or with your leftover resources. The way you live your life for God is your offering to Him. Relentlessly pursue holiness so that your offering to God is unblemished and acceptable to Him (Eph. 4:1; Phil. 1:27; 1 Thess. 2:12).
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

How often does your life reflect your relationship with Jesus?

How often do you wake up and think about Him?

How often to you go about your day with Jesus?

Truth is He is with you all the time.

What does it mean to be a Christian? It's to be a Disciple of Christ.  Christ follower.
Someone who represents Christ. A reflection of Christ.

The moon is a reflection of the Sun.
It doesn't produce light, it can only redirect the light given to it.

We are to be the ones to follow Christ, to be a representation of Him.  Our speech, love and conduct is to mirror His.

As Blackaby points out, there is no looking at your life any other way.

What effort does this require?  Everything.

Do you ever just find yourself hearing a worship song in your heart and just follow along?

Do you realize Jesus knows that you do and it brings Him joy?

Do you realize your walk, your speech your conduct in your day, from the moment you get up until you go back to sleep is to be a reflection of Christ?

What do you let your eyes see?

How do you work?  Do you give your all?
Do you find excuses not to give your all?
Do you justify your actions?  Nobody's gonna notice.  God does.

Colossians 3:23-24 NASB "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

What is your integrity? It's what you do, how you think and how you are when nobody's looking.

Do you indulge in things of this life and leave Jesus out?

Many do. In fact most people do.

Our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price.

A song I remember from my younger years has lines in it about the road we are on towards Heaven having all kinds of off ramps.  So easy to get off for a while.  So incredibly difficult to get back on.

It indeed is like the race that Paul speaks of.  Consider how it affects a runner who wants to win but has hecklers, has temptations and at times nobody there to cheer him on. What does it do to them?
How does it speed them up or slow them down?  A word of encouragement goes a lot farther than is expected.  Also too a word of discouragement can go farther.
A distraction of the eyes can stop a runner.  Yet another can motivate them to press on.

You are that runner.

You are in a world of more distractions than of probably any other time in history.

We have more ways to describe our justification of what we do than ever before.

It is incredible.  Yet consider where this began.

Jesus is the Light. We are a reflection of Christ.

Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

Not enough light causes blindness. Too much causes blindness.  The right amount causes clear vision.  Satan blinds the minds of the unbeliever.  Those who reflect the light of Christ show the truth of life.

So how do you live your life? 
Do you indulge in things less than honorable to your calling?  Do you justify your actions in the name of 'fun'?
You 'didn't mean to' but you sat and watched a show that made a mockery of sin?
You swore at a guy in the car near yours.
You were angry at someone for something they said.  Or you wasted hours that could have been spent better with Jesus?  Did you automatically go to What's the fun in THAT?  I deserve to relax!  I deserve... Wow.  I deserve.

Really, we deserve a death sentence.

We don't deserve anything. We are granted a life, air to breathe and are given a purpose by God in this life. 

I can't be that serious all the time!

Go back to the Gospels.  Really look at the life of Christ.  There's many times Jesus wasn't serious all the time.  He DID invent joy and laughter after all.

How many readers will spend hour upon hour at a sporting event or movie yet won't give Jesus 1 hour? 

That's between you and God.

Of course there's things you have to do every day.  Yet keep in mind Colossians 3:23-24. 

I go into work WITH Jesus. I don't leave Him in the car. 

I come home WITH Jesus.  He doesn't sit on my back porch until I need Him.

I can't reflect Christ without exposure to Christ.

I can't learn how to without watching Him.
Talking to Him.  Being with Him.

Consider that today.

Monday, September 23, 2019

For Me, says the Lord, Not You.

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

One of the hardest areas in which to trust God is in the matter of justice. When we perceive an injustice, we want to see the guilty party punished. We want justice to prevail, especially if we are the victim. We become impatient if we are not avenged quickly. Yet God warns us that vengeance is not our prerogative. We are to desire justice, but we are not to seek vengeance (Mic. 6:8). When someone offends us, our responsibility is to respond to the offense with forgiveness (Matt. 5:44). God takes the responsibility to see that justice is done. God loves people too much to allow sin to go unchecked. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

In this post, I have a lot that I could share, but will curb myself.   I have failed so often at this that I am amazed that God didn't install a Reset button on my head.

We live in a microwave society.  Someone does something we want the instant gratification of justice.  A society that wants it so bad and thinks that people should be immediately tried and convicted without due process is beyond horrific.  The percieved guilty have to be transported with bulletproof vests on. Regardless of the offense.  We have countless cell phones recording most everything, believing that video footage is enough to immediately convict.  Nobody has the patience for the law to be worked out.

That's the world today.  As my friend wrote in his book "Living in a World Without Conscious", it's our world today.

We see constant road rage.  We see people rear ending others because of nothing less than being distracted by a phone.  People get out and if possible, attack the person who caused it. 

Governments look the other way.  It feeds their agenda.  People consumed by things like this pay little attention to what their Government is doing.  A smoke screen.

But that's not the crux of the issue.  Sin is the root cause of the problems in this world.  Not this country, this world.

Our natural response to evil rearing its ugly head is to want justice now. 

I used to have a very triggered response to certain things in life.  It certainly took God working in me to handle me.  After a semi truck ran a red light and hit me, well, that was when I knew what rage was.  For the longest time after I was recovered enough to drive, I had rage against pretty much all truck drivers.  I blamed them all for what I was put through. Yet, while I was enraged, it scared me.  It took a work of Jesus to remove that rage. 
In other things in my life, it's been a series of learned lessons.  Most people that I know don't see their own struggles when it comes to wanting instant justice.  They don't see it because they are not remotely trying to fight it.

Scripture tells us to pray for those who persecute us.  To leave room for the wrath of God.  While our situation may or may not improve, there is one unchanging truth.

Although someone may have wronged us or someone else, or even a group of someone else's.  The truth of Scripture is that God is not willing that any should perish but that all would be saved.

It's not about the justice we crave. 
It's about the mercy and grace of God.

In this, remember, before you get all worked up in what I just said, in this God WILL hold people accountable.

Nobody, nobody, 'gets away' with things before the all-knowing, all-seeing, God of this Universe.  If God had vetted out justice as we see people crave today, guess what?  90 percent of the New Testament wouldn't be here today.  Saul's story of his conversion to being a Christian would have ended with being struck dead, not struck blind. 

Are there serial killers in Heaven? Yes.
Are there mass murders in Heaven? Yes.

Guess what.  The potential for every single form of sin is possible in everyone.

Sin has not been diluted over the centuries.  The same justice that people cry out for against someone else is the same that we deserve ourselves.  Scripture says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  The wages of sin is death.  We all stood condemned to die, to go to Hell, yet because of the grace and mercy of God He made a way to save you and I and everyone else who has lived.

"I am not a bad person! I am not like that murder!" You say.  Guess what. Jesus said if you thought it, you did it. If you wished someone dead, you tried, convicted and executed them in your heart.

So leave room for Jesus to do only what He can do.  That person whom did what they did, just might have the heart of a great evangelist in them, awaiting a rebirth in Christ to be let out.  They may never see freedom outside a jail cell but that won't matter. That will be their mission field.

Let go of your anger and hate.  It eats you alive from the inside.  You granting people the freedom to live rent free in your heart and mind only hurts you. It also shuts out your prayer life.  It puts up barriers between you and God.

So today...let go. Bring freedom and refreshing to your soul by giving those desires to Jesus to handle.  Your relationship with Jesus is beyond more important than your desire for justice.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Is Your Mind Being Wasted?

"Sadly, many Christians today do not exercise their minds to be of service to God. They allow others to do their spiritual thinking for them. If they can find their theology from a book, they will not bother to study God's Word themselves. If a speaker makes an authoritative statement, they readily accept it without verifying whether it is biblical. Paul urged Christians to strive for maturity in their thinking (1 Cor. 14:20). He said there was a time when his spiritual thinking was immature, but he had prepared his mind to know and understand the great truths of God (1 Cor. 13:11). He had not allowed others to do his thinking for him. When you became a Christian, God renewed your mind (Rom. 12:2). Be certain to use your mind in a way that brings glory to God." - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

If I can say for certain about an area of my life that God has certainly changed...that would be in the way I perceive things. Of how I now prioritize things.  Essentially what's important to me has been changing because God's changing me.

To do so, I will clearly admit, at times have been painful.   To let go of a way of thinking isn't easy. To make a change in place of that way of thinking is daunting.

But you and I will never know the transformation of our minds to God's way of thinking until we start making Him a priority.

Movies, TV, Sports, events, or anything else outside of you and Jesus time takes away from the short amount of time granted to you on this Earth. Politics consume some Christians to the point where a casual observer will see more passion for that than they have about their walk with God.  Same goes for sports.  I have been living here for almost 2 decades and to quote Paul, have seen many many Christians shipwrecked in their walk with God over something like sports.  You oppose 'their team' and you will get hours of rebuttal. Say one derogatory thing about God and they have to go.

What God's been doing with me has been nothing short of miraculous.  I cannot memorialize Scripture because my brain can't sort it like others do. But He HAS given me ways to find it when His Spirit says here it is, look up the rest.  Honestly when complaining to God in my frustration over memorizing it, He DID reply audibly to me.  "I gave you Google...look it up there."

I see so many unsatisfied people trying to find joy in a world of sensory overload.

I can't drive 2 miles from my home and not come across a restaurant or other venue where some business isn't trying to be a source of happiness or joy to a person.  We are inundated with a thousand cable channels, countless internet streaming services, countless websites with content to try to sway our thoughts and lives.

God said...let my Word richly dwell within you.
God said...I am the light of the world.
God said...come to me you who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.

I read a line in a fiction book many years ago but it's factually correct.

A tired body means a tired mind.
A tired mind makes mistakes.

Satan gets our world going in such a way to make sure we do not have the time to rest. So that we do not have the ability to think about Scripture.  So that we are finding joy in other places and things.

Read of how much Jesus wants to be your one and only.
Read of how jealous He is of time spent with you.

Read about the right relationship between a husband and wife in the Bible and amplify it.  That's what Jesus thinks of between Himself and the Church.

The most precious commodity in all of time was the spilt blood of Jesus.

It was poured out to save you and I.

Why would we consume our lives giving out time, energy and talents to things that take us away from Jesus?

Now, it's a given, you need to make a living.  Scripture says that if one isn't willing to work, then he will not eat.

Scripture also says that after the fall of man, he would toil for his existence the rest of the days of his life.  There goes the idea of retirement. 

So what occupies your life?  Are you in love with your Savior or are you dating others throughout your week?  That's what it boils down to about letting other things be more important to you than Jesus.   You are married to Christ in your Salvation yet you go out with others rather than spending time with Jesus.

If what gets you fired up isn't Jesus then you my friend have a significant problem.

My fears of what I would have to give up consumed me.  Fears of what He would ask of me consumed me.

I am putting all my cards on the table.

I was very much afraid!

I have had more "But...but God!" moments than I have of just obeying moments.

Jesus still says of me...and you...follow Me!

Not follow me plus that..
Not follow me and this too...
Not follow me but my family...

Your responsibility is to follow the commands of Jesus.  Your family will stand on their own before Christ. 

Nobody has a defense lawyer before Jesus. Nobody has anyone to stand with them before Christ.

The Bible says He knows our thoughts and intentions.  He knows where our soul and Spirit meet.  He knows everything.  So lying to ourselves...yes He knows we do that too.

So what ARE your priorities?

Spending hours ranting about politics, sports or people but not giving God time in prayer or the Bible?

Spending hours watching sports but won't give God a couple of those hours in Church? 

It's a very famous statement from the NFL.  Sunday's used to belong to the Church, now it belongs to us.

I have learned more in the last 3 years about God and Spiritual matters that my whole lifetime...because He moved me past my fears and opened my heart and mind to learning.

Was rather interesting to hear Dr. Michael Youseff mention today that he made a mistake of sharing a message that God gave to him personally with other Christians.  I have probably done the same mistake.  Like Dr. Youseff, it doesn't turn out well most of the time.  People look at you funny and wonder about your sanity.  Why?  Because of their Spiritual immaturity. 

God will indeed have things to show and say to you that are for you to share.
He will also have things for you that are meant for you alone. 

It isn't always going to be a 'group hug!' situation...there will be times when He will speak directly to you about Himself and His love for you.

Look at Joseph. His family was cruel towards him for his sharing a dream from God! To the point some of the tribes of Israel wanted to kill him!  But note, in all of it...God used it all to make his dream a reality.

I can relate so well to Joseph.  I too was shown something from God long ago.  Yet I got so eager to do it I came close to ending my life.  I thought I knew more than God on how to make it happen!

So God waited until I settled down and came back to Him on His terms not mine.

Then the works He had for me began to take shape. 

You cannot know the will of God without time with God. You cannot understand the things of God without being willing to do what you are told by God.  You cannot live for Jesus if you are living for the things of this world. 

Start today.  Just talk to Jesus as you would a friend.  Be as open as you can be.  He's promised that by no means He would cast you away.  He loves you and truly wants what's best for you. 

Why isn't there a revival in the Church today? People are outside of the Church making those things more important than a right relationship with God.

Begin in prayer. You need nobody's book to read to start.

Then get a Bible. Make the time EVERY day to be reading some portion of it.

Be willing to hand your fears of what might be or what might happen to Jesus.

Then you will see your thinking change.
Then you will see your life change.

Then you will discover the lover of your soul in ways you never thought possible.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Why Pray?

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers. Acts 1:14

But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;  Acts 3:19

Read all those again.  Is it becoming clear to you?  We who are in Christ have a directive.  A command.  A purpose.

I have seen many Churches in this town in which we live claiming to be seeking God's direction. Looking for a vision to guide the church.

Yet, as incredibly as I have found it, the very thing that should be at the core of their being as a Christ follower isn't prayer!

Why would prayer be such a burden to a church?  Well, in simplist terms, you really WILL get more out of it than you put into it, if you begin to be honest with yourself and God.

As incredibly as it sounds people get annoyed with others when they have many prayer requests.  Or if it's been a similar request repeated over a short time span.  Such as employment. 

Read those passages again. 

Prayer is the only beginning point if you are wanting a Church to find purpose and direction.  Not that of any one man, but from all those united in prayer.

The people in the beginning of the book of Acts.  They devoted themselves to prayer.  Look what happened.

So many preachers want revival and present the concept like microwave popcorn!  If we want results leave it in for 5 minutes and there you go!

If Jesus required time with His Father, where do any get off thinking that they don't need to talk often to Him?

Read the letters to the Church's in Revelation.  They may not have been praying but Jesus knew what their issues were.

Prayer should be like breathing.  What else does the Bible say?

Ephesians 5:1 "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."

Ephesians 5:17-21 "So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ"

What had changed me, transformed me, what has made me what I am in Christ had come only through my prayers and the prayers of others.

If a church is at a crossroads, not knowing where to go next.  Then it's time to gather together and increase the prayer time.

If we indeed walk by faith and not by sight, it only happens in prayer!

Prayer goes where we cannot.  Prayer takes us directly to the Throne of God.

Jesus told His Disciples about Spiritual Warfare, of how some demons only come out by prayer and fasting.

When the center of a church isn't prayer, then you should wonder what is. 

Prayer is where the rubber meets the road.  Where the heart is examined and what is in there is revealed.  Prayer shows where our real concerns are. It reveals who we really are inside. 

The only man who has THE vision for the Church is Jesus Christ.   No church on this planet will know revival until the people return to prayer as God intended.

In prayer there are no pretenses.  No egos. Nothing but the truth of the heart before a Holy God.  

It is also the sharing of concerns, of dreams, of what is a burden to each of us.

Jesus not only is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but He is also our brother. He is our best friend. Our Savior.  Scripture says He is the lover of our souls.

He isn't in your heart and mind as a renter.

He came into you as so much more.

So if a change in your life is needed. Pray.
If there's talk of needing a revival. Pray.
If there no talk of praying. Pray.
If you are breathing. Pray.

You will see your priorities changed. You will see great and mighty things when prayer happens.  Jesus said we would do greater things than He after He went back to Heaven. 

How does it happen? Prayer.

Only through prayer.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Those who Hear

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

It takes a pure heart to see God (Matt. 5:8). You can attend church services, read your Bible, and pray; but if sin fills your heart, you will not see God. You will know when you have encountered God because your life will no longer be the same.

Now that God had cleansed Isaiah, he was aware of heavenly concerns and prepared to offer himself in God's service. Whereas Isaiah had been preoccupied with earthly matters, now his only concern was the activity of God.

- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

Blackaby was writing more than these two parts.  He was making a very valid point about life and truly listening to God.

Isaiah had been preoccupied with the death of the King. Of earthly things.  He obviously was a man of prayer because of where he was. The Temple.

It was when he was there that the Lord decided to visit him.  He saw how far his sinfulness really was between him and God.  He was sure that he was going to die.  Instead, the Lord had an angel take a coal from the altar and touch Isaiah with it. It was to take away his sins. Then, all the sudden, he could hear and understand all he was hearing in Heaven.  His mind was on things above, not on things here below.  Now that his focus was where it should be, his life would change.

We are all walking in his shoes. With the heaviness of deception, we know not just how much our vision is obscured.

We are so consumed with our immediate world around us, in our thought life and prayer life that we have little time to be consumed with the Lord's agenda.

Oh don't get yourself too down on this revelation concerning you.  Think about it.  Every single Christian has faced this. It's part of Spiritual warfare.  We do not fight against flesh and blood but we fight against the enemy of God.  The chains that bind us are of our own makings. Our own makings?  Yes, we allow and we take hold of things to add to our lives that don't belong there.  It slowly begins to drag us down. We get slower and slower.  Then before we know it we are no longer walking.  So preoccupied with life around us we forget what it means to walk.  We are enticed by a great many things. 

You forget, my dear reader, that as a Child of God, your enemy is the only one who knows you as well as God does.  Whereas God's plans are to further His Kingdom, the enemy is out to sabotage that effort. Distractions, chains, chaos.  Anything to get you to want the very things that will hamper your growth more than you would want what God wants of you.

We have all known 'button pushers'.  Satan's minions are far more subtle. They get you to push your own buttons.

The result is a life spent on the concerns of this world and not on things above.

Look in Corinthians.  Wow, the things plaguing the early church!

2 Corinthians 12:20b-21 "strife, jealousy, angry, tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip,
 arrogance, disturbances; I am afraid that when I come again my God may humiliate me before you, and I may mourn over many of those who have sinned in the past and not repented of the impurity, immorality and sensuality which they have practiced."

Those things were very real in the Churches that Paul had planted.  Not just the one in Corinth.  They are amplified in the Churches of today.  The only key difference is we have a faster way of encouraging sin than they did.

Be real with yourself and God.

Where does your mind go when you are idle?  Is it solely and only on what's going on around you?

Isaiah's was.  What changed was God came to Him.  God had come to you too.

Isaiah didn't run. He stayed and obeyed.

What have you been doing?

My life changed when I went through my own times of what probably was a coal from the altar touching me.  My focus changed.  My priorities changed.  As it happened with Isaiah, my life hasn't been the same since.  My head used to be constantly bowed down in a despair that I couldn't break free from.  In my plea to God, He began breaking the chains.  Lifting my head.  Anointing my eyes to see Spiritual things.  It's ongoing.  In am having to learn to walk again on legs that I forgot I had in this Spiritual world.  There's still baggage that hasn't been removed yet. I am a work in progress.

So what about you?  Are you like the other Disciples in the boat, holding on to it for dear life?  So focused on the storm that you aren't looking through it to Christ who says to step out and join Him?

Look at your life.  I can't do that for you. Where is your concerns, yes, even where are your worries? Your desires?  Your passion?

That's between you and God.  But I urge you to really look at things.  Freedom comes from letting go.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Lies oh The Lies

Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

It is Satan's practice to convince people that what God calls good is actually evil and what God declares evil is, in fact, good. Satan persuaded Adam and Eve that their disobedience, rather than their obedience, would guarantee a full life. They believed him and immediately began to experience sin's consequences! Despite the absurdity of Satan's logic, he continues to deceive people into doubting what God has clearly said. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day

I may feel small and insignificant, but through my Father’s eyes, I have great worth—a worth that is proven every time I look at the cross. The price He was willing to pay to restore me to fellowship with Him is evidence of how He values me.   - Our Daily Bread

There's a vast difference between what the world says is truth and what God says is truth.

In our lives we wake up to experiences and expectations. 

But in truth we deny truth. Huh? You say?

Yes. We deny truth in our thoughts and actions.  In our intentions. We deny the truth.

We expect to wake up the next day from our sleep.  The truth is no man should expect a tomorrow because no man is promised a tomorrow. 

We expect to be kept safe while sleeping.  The truth is only the protection of God enables that. 

We expect certain things to just be there, to just happen.  Why? Simply because they have before that moment.  Look at the news headlines.  Life can change in a heartbeat.

Was reading in Ecclesiastes.  Vanity of vanities all is vanity.  That's the truth of life.  We strive over so much yet it's all in vain.

We are walking out into a world where lies are everywhere.  We are lied to by politicians yet we vote for them.  We are lied to by the media yet we sit and listen to them.  We are lied to by so many yet we keep on listening.

Which is why we need The Truth to be able to discern right from wrong.  To know the real truth versus what we get told to believe.

Satan was very persuasive with Adam and Eve.  All mankind has been paying for it ever since.  Where do you think the phrase 'silver tongued devil' comes from?  Think about that...silver when polished...mimics whatever light is reflected in it.  But it's not the's an imitation of it.

We see in the news of people demanding to be accepted as they are!  Must be tolerant!  Yet if you are the one who follows Christ, you are branded as intolerant.  Even though God's truth is we are not to prevent any from coming to Christ, regardless of their backgrounds. 

Why do you think that it is that when all mankind eventually stands before Jesus, it's their Spirit in a resurrected body, a body that He intended for us, that stands before Him?  Every single person who ever had 'reassignment' surgery will return to what God designed them to be.

God doesn't make mistakes, yet the world would have you believe otherwise.  Hmm. Sounds exactly like what Blackaby was saying.  Sounds like what Jesus said of Satan.  He's a liar and the father of lies.

What does this have to do with truth?

Because truth envelops you as it does me. God's truth.  A believer or not, God's truth stands firm.  A day has been appointed that everyone will stand before God to give an account of their lives.  There are prophecies appointed to come that will come.  Scripture says that every knee shall bow every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Satan has been trying since time began to find one single thing to use to prove the Bible wrong but never will.  So he tries to get it rewritten to give him room to add deception to the mix.  Make people believe that their 'love of God' should include tolerance and acceptance at all levels for those whom God has said will never see Heaven.  To the point that he has so-called congregations affirming so-called pastors and leaders who are living in sin leading them!

Lies are everywhere.  The truth of God's Word is the only answer to it.  Look at your world.  Look at what drives you to do what you do.  Have you been deceived into living in a way that you have justified in your own eyes that God doesn't approve?  Isn't that the same original sin that Satan began with in Adam and Eve?

So where does this leave us?  It leaves us with needing to seek real truth.  Immovable truth.  Unerring truth.   There's only one who was called THE Truth.  Jesus Christ.

Now look again at the part from Our Daily Bread.

I may feel small and insignificant, but through my Father’s eyes, I have great worth—a worth that is proven every time I look at the cross. The price He was willing to pay to restore me to fellowship with Him is evidence of how He values me.   

We are often told what to believe about our worth.  We are told what we can or can't be like.  What you can or can't say.
The truth is who you are in Christ is what matters.  In the world you are just a number.  In Christ you are the apple of His eye.  In the world you are either following along in their lies or you are not.  In Christ we are called out of the world.  We are now Children of God.  We are the beloved ones.  We are made new in Christ.

So many people who have lead people astray will have a great deal to answer for before God.

We can only look to God daily. Look to Him throughout our day for the truth.  All of mankind is born into sin.  Only by looking to He who was without sin  an we get the truth.

Turn back to Jesus and seek your answers to life there.  You seek understanding you need to have the source of truth to explain it to you.

Pray without ceasing is in the Bible for a reason.  It keeps you looking at the Truth for the Truth.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Turn and Run

The apostle Paul urged his spiritual son Timothy (and us) to run from evil (2 Timothy 2:22), and the apostle Peter likewise warned, “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith” (1 Peter 5:8–9).

None of us is immune to temptation. And often the best thing to do is to steer clear of situations where we’ll be tempted—though they can’t always be avoided. But we can be better prepared by having a strong faith in God based in the Bible and strengthened through prayer. When we “[stand] firm in the faith” we’ll know when to turn and run to Him.
- Our Daily Bread for today, September 18th 2019.

There are a few whom I have confided in over the years about some deeper Spiritual matters that we have experienced.  Without specifics, I find it interesting that to turn and run is a Biblical concept. 
Look at the book of Genesis.  Abraham's relative, Lot and his family.  The Lord was telling them to run to where they had said they could make it to before judgment came upon Sodom and Gehmorrah.
Timothy is instructed to run from evil.
We indeed aren't strong enough on our own to take down many a temptation.  It's best if we run, not walk for the door.
As I eluded to a moment ago, there's been incidents where the Spirit has told us to run don't walk away from a church.  That it's implosion was coming.  We listened and left. From the outside looking in we can see it happening.  Had we stayed we wouldn't be able to see what we do now.
We are warned, many times, in advance of Spiritual battles.  The problem is taking God seriously and either preparing for it or avoiding it.  Knowing which is a matter of prayer.
I find it interesting also to both read of this, this morning as well as reading in Corinthians about false Apostles, false teachers. 

"But what I am doing I will continue to do, so that I may cut off opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the matter about which they are boasting. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds." 2 Corinthians 11:12-15

Jesus had another description of them. Hired hands.  All in all, people to avoid.  If you are there with them. You have a harder time finding them out.  If you distance yourself from them. Their deeds become more evident.

John 10:11-18 " “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who is not the owner of the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters themHe flees because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

We, on our own, are not strong enough for Spiritual battles.  We need the full armor of God as described in the book of Ephesians.  The armor has all that we lack.

But go back to David getting ready to go up against Goliath.  Saul had him put on his armor.  He couldn't maneuver around in it.  It wasn't his. It wasn't made for him.

The armor of God is form fitting to the individual.   It's given to us by the Spirit to protect us.  But as it happens in any battle, the best way to avoid a hit is just not to be there.

The armor of God is there when God says to engage.  Else we are to, in prayer, call in for reinforcements and back off while God goes where we cannot and should not.

Some of my greatest mistakes in my life were seeing a battle as a challenge and hurriedly running into it without preparations.  It's taking decades to recover.  I wasn't ready for where God was showing me I was going to impact.  I insisted and have been paying the price.

So be alert.  Be aware of the things you face.  Run don't walk from temptations.

When prompted to run from someone or something by the Spirit.  Do so immediately.

The armor only works as intended when used as intended.

God may indeed show you what lay ahead for you in your life,  but stay your hands.  Wait for Him to lead. Psalms 23.

Life is full of Spiritual landmines.  Stop and pray before you act.

The greatest hindrance to prayer is you.

When confused, stop and pray.  Ask for clarity.  It's a Biblical concept. Daniel did. The Apostles did in the book of Acts when seeking a replacement for Judas.

We make the Christian life difficult. Jesus never intended it to be that way.  He also warned of false teachers who would come up among those in the church.  How to recognize them.  And to run from them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

In Breath there is Hope

Jesus commands, “Bring the boy to me.” Mark 9:19. When they are grown up they may wallow in sin and rage with hatred against God, but when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician’s words: “Bring the boy to me.” As long as they breathe, we should pray. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives. The Lord sometimes allows His people to be driven into a corner—that is so they may know by experience how necessary He is to them. Ungodly children, who show us our own powerlessness against the depravity of their hearts, drive us to flee to the strong for strength, and this is a great blessing to us. Whatever our need may be this morning, let it bear us to the ocean of divine love like a strong current. Jesus can remove our sorrow, and soon—He delights to comfort us. Let us hurry to Him while He waits to meet us. - C.H. Spurgeon

We live in a very interesting yet intense world.  It's all in the details, rightly so, all in the details.

I have been granted to see a great many kinds of people from children to adults much older than me.  Seen people in all kinds of emotional situations.  Have seen what others at the time see. Yet, we who are in Christ are to look beyond, to go below the surface.

There are a great many people who I agree are simply physically ill. Yet what many do not agree on in my personal view, is that demon possession is real. 
The Gospels, the book of Acts. Various places in the Old Testament show what constitutes what. It does take discernment. 

I have held the hand of a demon possessed person. To say the least it was a freaky experience.  I have heard stories of those who were 'playing around' with ouija boards.  Then unexpected and unexplained things began happening. 

The Spirit world is real.  But not in the sense that there are restless dead people roaming the earth.  Scripture says you are either saved and with Christ or not saved and are in Hell.  No such thing as purgatory. 

We live in the same kind of world, in many ways, as it was 2,000 years ago.  Demons deceive people into a great many things.

It's easy to write people off who have taken drastic turns in their lifestyle.  People get disowned by family, friends or even some Churches.  They don't know what to do so they give up.

What does Jesus say?

Look at that part of Mark 9. Jesus is as alive today as He was back then.  When we face the unknown in family or friends or just people we just met, bring them to Jesus in prayer.  I heartily agree with Spurgeon, as long as the breath of life is in them, there is hope.

Look beyond that passage in Mark.

The story behind the story of the Prodigal Son.  What didn't the Father do?  He never gave up hope.

Look at the story in the Gospels of the official whose son was ill, begging Jesus to come and heal him.  "Go. Your son lives." He didn't question, he just left to go home.  His servants met him to tell him the news that they witnessed.

Recently, I was made aware of a friend who took a drastic wrong turn in life.  Yet while it's incredibly difficult to wrap my head around the real reasons, my firm belief stands.  He is still alive, there is still hope.  Therefore I must continue to join others in prayer.  This man took a drastic wrong turn from God. But realize the truth of the Prodigal Son. The Father still watches the horizon for this man's return.

It's the same with us. I know of more than a few times in my life when I was the one on the horizon, my Heavenly Father was eagerly awaiting me to come back to Him.

People hadn't stopped praying for me.

Prayer can always go where we cannot.

Prayer is never ever ineffective when it's within the will of God.

Prayer is full of the power of God when the people praying are of one mind in the center of God's plans.

We just tend to give up to easily.  Admit it.
We get distracted from the prayer time and the next thing we know is it's the next day.  Those days add up and it's forgotten.

Things are not important to God.

People are all that is important to God.

Jesus didn't come to die for your possessions. 

Jesus came to die for you. 

Prayer is where our hearts connect with the heart of Jesus.  It's where Satan cannot go.  He can make all kinds of noise but he cannot stop you from your conversation between you and God.
You can stop you.  By making the things of this world more important than people.

So get your priorities in order. 

Jesus is there with you in every way. In the difficult days and good days.  When you see a need in others, talk to Him about it.  There's probably a reason why the Spirit brought that person to your mind in the first place.

Daniel persisted in prayer.  Look at the results.  Others in the book of Acts persisted in prayer.  Look at the results.

Revival didn't come because of good intentions.  Didn't come from book sales or sermons.  It came because of prayer.

Look at what Jesus said when even the empowered Disciples couldn't cast out a certain kind of demon.  He said that that kind could only come out through prayer and fasting. 

Look at the people Jesus healed. He dealt with only 2 kinds.  The physically ill or the demon possessed.  There were no psychological issues.  No confusion about what they were. Either physical or Spiritual was the root of their problems.

That hasn't changed in 2,000 years.

Do not give up hope. 

Look at Jacob and his brother Esau.

Jacob was scared.  His brother Esau was coming and there was fury in his eyes. Jacob had wronged his brother in many ways.  Jacob prayed.  The situation seemed hopeless and he prayed.   What did that prayer do?  It changed Esau. But it also changed Jacob.

Expect prayer to change the person whom you are praying for as well as you.

What would change in you? 

Consider that the storms of life are just that, storms.  We are who are in Christ are trees firmly planted by the waters of Christ.  When we pray in these storms, our roots go deeper. Our connection to God gets stronger. Our purpose becomes clearer.  Focus.  It intensifies our focus on what is important.

Keep praying for my friend.  Actually two friends.  That Jesus would break through to their hearts and save them.  That the demons that have them would be expelled.  Restoration is possible.  They are still breathing.  Hope is eternal in Christ.  As Jesus said, "Be not unbelieving but believing."

Don't give up.  Keep praying even if you feel like you are met with silence or are scorned from others for doing so.  What others think matters not in God's eyes.

Pray without ceasing is the command of God.

I have seen God go where I could not.

Friendships were restored because of it.

God makes a way where there was no way.





Monday, September 16, 2019

His Answer

God wants to answer the prayers of those whose hearts are completely His (2 Chron. 16:9). God can accurately orient you to the events of your day. Media, public opinion, and political leaders cannot tell you the truth of your circumstances. Only God can. God loves you and will speak to you in His time. His answer may come immediately as it did in Daniel's case, or it may be delayed, but it will come (Dan. 10:13). If it seems as though everything is crumbling around you, and you wonder why you do not see God's activity, take comfort in knowing that you are loved in heaven. If you are genuinely seeking God's answers, you can go to your Father confidently with your questions. He will respond to you in love (Luke 11:5–13). - Blackaby

I am in awe of God in this. More so in the last several years of asking, God's been verbally answering. 

Things that I couldn't know or shouldn't be able to know have been brought to my mind and this could only come from God.

I have been shown answers for only me to see as well as confirmation of thoughts on the matters of others.  It all began with shifting my life away from things that the world offers to a life that is more Christ centered.  To the asking of God to show me more.  I was hungry for more from God and God doesn't disappoint!

God loves us so much.  How do we really show it back to Him?  Hours on end in sports, movies etc all the time? Then forgetting to even thank Him for the day before going to sleep?

Let me ask you, how DO you thank God for all He's done for you? 

You get up, rush into the day and forget to include Him?  Oh He's there with me you say.  Some guy cuts you off and something inappropriate comes out of your mouth.  No apologies to the one you say is there with you?

You get to work and jump right in. It's a struggle getting just to your first break.  Another to lunch. Yet another struggle to your last break and then finally to leave. Whew you're glad that's over. The frustration, anger and bad temperament isn't good for you but you chalk it up to just part of the job.

You fight traffic getting home. You aren't so kind to family or possibly friends.  You eat and say you deserve your down time.  Hours later you go back to bed. 

So where was God in all this you ask?  Why is it so hard? 

You may say He's there with you but you never included Him. You never asked Him for help. You never shared your day with Him.  Then you take out your frustration on others because the day didn't go as you.  You didn't once come to Christ in prayer.  You never once asked for His help.  You were no reflection of Christ to the world.  You were a reflection of the world to the world.

So now what?  You will repeat this until the weekend.  You may or may not go to church.  If you do go you put on a face for others to see but inside you're not feeling it.  You sing what there is there to be sung. You may even participate in a class or two. Then after church your mind is on an afternoon of something else.  Forgot God already. 

Is this you? See the problem here?

Let me confess something to you my readers.  It was me that I described.

That was me until a few years ago. 

But is it you today?

So what changed with me?

I cut out the TV, I removed the sports from my life.  I had several 'Spiritual Surgeries' where I was on my knees before my God. Things had to go.  Desires that I had, had to die. I claimed the name of Jesus but wasn't living it.  He was my Savior but I wasn't letting Him rule in my life.  I wasn't letting Him have control.  He was consigned to sit in my entryway of my heart but wasn't allowed in the rest of it.

Jesus wants all of you. 

But what if...
But if He asks...
But I will have to...

No buts. Look at the Gospel accounts of those who gave excuses to why they couldn't immediately follow Christ.  Excuses.  Not reasons. Excuses.

Fear is the chief excuse behind the 'buts'.

Fear of letting go of every single thing in your life.

Ok. Look at what it meant in Jesus's day to be a Disciple.  The person would have nothing personal on them or carried with them.  They would follow and do as their Master commanded.  Trusting fully in what He would say to do. The blessing given to someone who was chosen to be a Disciple was "May you be covered in the dust of your Master".  May your life so mirror His that the world cannot tell you apart.

I haven't arrived at fully letting go of things in this world.  But I am learning to let go of more as time goes by.  I learned, after a few of those surgeries to begin asking the RIGHT questions.  To ask to be shown more.  I had been at a crossroads in my life.  Things were crashing down inside me.  I had no goals, no purpose.  Just a job to do that made me miserable.

Once again I needed to step out of the boat.  Go read the Gospel accounts of Peter walking on the water.  It's not just a lesson for him. It's for us too.

It hurt bad to be shown the truth about me.  But then as the changes came.  As I was shown more of what God wanted of me. Something wonderful happened.  Peace. 

I craved learning and I once again became a student.  Was given an education at a half dozen jobs. No student loans. Then in my personal life I was shown the importance of beginning the day in prayer  no matter what.  To be reading my Bible every morning no matter what. To be reading reputable devotionals no matter what.  To change my music to be God honoring.  To pray even at the smallest of troubles.  All day long.  And then I realized God was changing me.  Peace came around more often.  Jesus keeps His promises.

So think about your life.  Think about your whys.  Why are you fighting Him?

I have by no means arrived but I am learning.

Jesus is to be your best friend and closest brother.  Not a good luck charm. Not an emergency roadside kit to bring out in times of trouble. 

He's to be the most important relationship in your life. He or isn't He?