Thursday, October 31, 2019

This is War

This isn't just about the Spiritual attacks we face in life. It's about the physical things that happen and get us down.  He has but one thing to try with all who believe.  To try his best to discourage.  He cannot take our lives but he can make us ineffective for Christ if we aren't alert and watching. We are our own worst enemy to be sure, but the one who is in us, with us, is greater than he who is in this world. 

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9

These past weeks have been incredibly hard on friends of mine.  There are monumental challenges facing them.  

Many years ago I was facing what were to me, monumental challenges.  Back then, I really hadn't had visitors to talk to. I faced sleepless days and nights.  Faced sleeping alone because of fear of hurting my wife with my cast.  God indeed saw me through it.  My promise to me was that should I be brought near to someone facing monumental challenges, I would indeed do whatever I could for them.  Let God work out the details. 

We are indeed at war. Our physical challenges are unique to all of us. Mainly because God created us all to be unique. 

But even with that, He shared in our sufferings.  He was well acquainted with grief.  A man of sorrows even.

This war we are in has already been won. When Jesus arose from the dead the victory was sealed.  Sealed in His blood. 

To be sober in Spirit is to keep your mind on things above not on things down here. 

When things happen, keeping our focus is going to be harder.  But Jesus keeps His promises.  We are safe in His hands. He will never leave us nor forsake us. 

There's another thing that we need to remember.  There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  Once forgiven that's it.  There may be consequences to our physical actions but Spiritually Jesus remembers them no more.  

Stand firm. If you are too weary to move, then stand firm.  Rely on the strength Jesus provides.  The Spirit of God is within the heart of everyone who claims the name of Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.  The same power that brought Him back to life is within each of us who are saved. 

Lastly...I do agree with a Casting Crowns song...Praise You in the Storm.  And another called Thy Will be Done by another artist. God isn't just our God when things go right.  He isn't just the God of all that is Sunshine.  In the midst of the storm too.

Thy Will be Done...a very powerful song. We can do all that we know to do is right and still go through rough times.  We are being refined and purified.  MercyMe's Even If.  Consider that we can easily do everything we should and more and still go through rough times.  Stay in prayer.  Even if all you can pray is Help!  Count on His intervention.  As Scripture says we need to pray believing or don't pray at all...that's a paraphrase. 

God is for you. He loves you. Nothing anyone can ever do will ever change that. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

This is your Life

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 

In a battle, it is imperative to identify your enemy. If you are not aware of the point of your attack, you are vulnerable. Paul had many enemies. Some resented him, others hated him, and others wanted to kill him. Some, who were supposedly on his side, sought to harm him and his ministry (Acts 9:23; Phil. 1:17; 2 Tim. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:20; 2 Tim. 4:14). In spite of the persecution he faced, Paul never lost sight of his real enemy. Paul was wary of Satan. When people attacked him, he knew they were not his real opponents. They were simply unwitting instruments of the spiritual forces of darkness. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Ever read this passage?

"Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Strike this people with blindness, I pray.” So He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha. 2 Kings 6:17-18 NASB

We have an enemy.  It's not the person or people that come at you in anger, malice or retribution.  They are still of this world and as such are under Satan's influence. 

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 NASB

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" 2 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB

"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24 NASB

Really read these passages. What is it telling you?  Still other Scripture tells us to be on our guard for our adversary roams about seeking someone to devour. 

You see any time for Spiritual laziness? 
You see any time for allowing the Devil to have a foothold in your life?

Take it to the streets. What about your behavior before others?  What about how you react to others?  Do you remember that those who are being the way they are do so because they are pawns of the enemy of God?

Consider also many of those whom Paul wrote to Timothy as being like...were IN the Church.  Not just outside of it.  

We are easily deceived. Believers and unbelievers alike.  You have to remember Satan has been doing this since his downfall.  He managed to take a whole third of the host of Heaven with him in his power grab for God's Throne. A THIRD. 

He has had infinite practice at how to manipulate people.  Yet only in the life of a Believer can we be protected from the harsher things like demon possession. 

Demons are everywhere.  If you take into account one third of the host of Heaven, easily people are outnumbered.  We really are. 

There are things God allows that are for our growth as well as either growing others or bringing them to the place where they choose Jesus. 

Our choices either help us or get us into deeper trouble.  Even Believers can choose to ignore God's call or heed it. We can choose to spend time with Jesus or waste it for several hours watching a movie, video games, sporting events. What is at the core of being a Disciple of Christ? Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ.  We make those choices. Us.

In our world of sinful people, we can choose to react in a Christ like way or react the same as the world.  

I have heard Christians commenting that some accused person deserves to die. 

Well...we all have a sentence of death on us from sin. Only those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation have it commuted.  Everyone will face death.  The more important thing in everything is to pray for them.  As long as they are breathing there's hope to save their soul. 

Ever notice that while on the cross, Jesus didn't rip the truly unbelieving criminal? He addressed the one who's heart was tender.  

We get mad, get angered, and quite often don't allow God to work in a person because we demand justice.  We would rather they spend eternity in torment in Hell.  Really that's what it comes down to. 

Pray that your eyes are opened.  It wasn't an extraordinary request of Elisha.  I will warn you though, you may be shocked and ashamed at what God shows you about you. 

Even if you think you are going well in life. Feeling peaceful and all that.  Remember that Scripture says that the Lord sees your heart.  What He sees about you isn't what you see about you. 

There have been many painful times in my life where He has opened my eyes to see more of me.  Those in my life didn't understand changes that I have made.  Jesus didn't give a pass on any Disciples. They were to obey it they were going to follow Christ. 

Think about your life.  Think about it with opened eyes.  Pray that Jesus would open yours to show you your world around you for what He knows is there.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

These ARE those days!

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers,
disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3

These indeed are those times. You, my dear reader are living in those times. 

Paul goes on in that chapter to talk about evil men and impostors.  He isn't referring to those outside the Church. This is about so-called pastors who are leading flocks. Men who claim to speak for God yet don't believe the Bible as being inerrant. Who preach from a heart bent on sordid gain. Who are doing what they do with worldly interests and intentions. They don't truly care about people, it's a paycheck. 

Sadly, very profoundly it saddens me that we have been to churches here where I have shook hands with so-called pastors who indeed were these evil men and impostors. 

Men who preach but are devoid of the real truth of God.  Nobody needs any further teaching material than the Word of God.  Nobody is to rely on anyone but the Spirit of God to be their teacher.  If the man before you on a Sunday is preaching and teaching the whole counsel of God then indeed he is being used by the Spirit to preach and teach.  It's a wholly different thing to me to suggest a book to support a message from God. But to require the book to follow along with the sermon offered is a worldly copout and is laziness on the part of the speaker. Shows you right away they are a hired hand and not called of God.  Jesus taught us the difference between the two.  

In this life, we will face persecutions for following Christ.  Nobody who is a believer should expect anything less.  We are the only ones safe in the arms of God and the world would rather try to rip us from there to join them in Hell. 

Here's more truth for you. Hell is as real as Heaven.  In Hell there is no party. There is no celebration.  Jesus gave testimony as to how it is down there. People are in agony, in torment.  People are dead physically, wishing they were dead spiritually.  It's full of people separated from their physical bodies. Recieving their wages for sin. But the rest is yet to come.  In the near future they will indeed get a slight respite.  The brief moment they stand before Christ in judgment.  When he then casts them, in a perfect physical body, into the Lake of Fire.  Sin. The horrific power of sin. It was atoned for in Christ but trillions and trillions have rejected what Christ did to save them from this fate. Hell has been getting filled since Cain killed his brother.  

But for those in Christ there is no condemnation.  Our only time before Christ will be a reward or loss for what we did in the body of Christ for Him. We too will be granted a perfect body, and will forever spend eternity with Jesus as mankind was meant to be.

Your choice is simple.  You can be saved my dear reader.  You can be with Jesus for all eternity too. You can have your sins washed away.  You can't clean the stain of sin from you. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. 

I am reminded of a hymn. At the Cross. 

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Jesus weeps for you, did you know that?

Jesus wept for the unbelieving as he approached Jerusalem.  He sees all of History.  He saw the Holocaust before it happened.  He sees our lives in an instant. 

Jesus loved you so much that when judgement was pronounced against you, He offered to take your place.  But you have to ask for it. You have to be the one to ask Him to come into your heart and life to save you. The gift is free. But it's a limited time offer. Soon He is returning.  What Timothy was told, what the Church in Thessolonica was told...we are living in those days.  

Jesus desperately wants to save you. To share His love for you with you.  The healing He can bring to your anxious heart, your grieving heart. Your worried heart. It's there for the asking. But it's a decision you have to make.  

Monday, October 28, 2019

Everyone has Intentions

Everyone Has Intentions 

Everyone who wakes up, by God's mercy, wakes up with intentions. 
Intending on getting up. 
Intending to get dressed. 
Intending on doing all that they normally do each morning.  Some with success, some with struggles but the intent is there no less. 

The intent is to get on with your day. The intent is to get to school or work or wherever safely.

The intent is to get through what we face or have been made to face and come out the other side in one piece.  The intent is to make today somehow better than yesterday. 

The intent is then to return from which we came and go through the evening.  The last intention is to get a good night's sleep  

However, life doesn't always go according to our intentions. 

We get frustrated, angry, scared, terrified, annoyed, happy and sad because our intentions didn't go our way.

God intended to have a good long talk with you this morning.  He has lots to tell you if you would only intentionally stop to listen.  The Father's Son, Jesus, intentionally lived a perfect life, died a horrible death on a cross. Went through the pain of death and separation from His Father...for you.

How about you intentionally stop and have a talk with Jesus to ask Him whatever you will. He will listen.  He has been waiting a very long time to hear from you.  

If you would intentionally seek Him in the morning, He will intentionally work on helping you through your day.  He promised. 

Lastly, there are many who intended to live throughout today who did not. In their minds they had a today to live.  However God said no, it's time to go.  That same God decides over both the believer and the unbeliever.  Either God shows up to take you to Heaven or you are sent to Hell.  The choice is yours.  

Good intentions will never get you to Heaven. 
Good intentions lead to Hell.

There's no putting it off til tomorrow when you were never promised a today. 

When Christ returns there will be millions that vanish.  Worse still are the billions that remain who thought they had time to choose but put it off.

If you think the hot spots of turmoil across this globe are insane.  After Jesus takes home every believer, Hell will be coming to Earth.  Read the book of Revelation.  People will want to die but won't be able to.  Why? What put them in that situation?  They had time to choose Christ but chose not to.

You, my readers, have a choice to make today. 

Stop the intentions.  Make a decision.  What you choose in the here and now will determine if you will either be with Jesus or separated from Him and spend it in Hell.

You have no promises to make it through this day.  A believer has promises of strength, wisdom and knowledge when they call upon the Lord Jesus...for this day...for this moment.  

I am ready for my Jesus to return to get me.  Are you?  Enough with living for yourself.  What's more important, being right in your own eyes or being safe, saved from the wrath to come?  It's coming.  There is no global warming.  There is preparation.  Even the Earth knows that it's Creator is coming.  

I hadn't intended on writing this, this morning, but evidently Jesus did.  Someone out there needs to hear the truth.  This isn't browbeating you or anyone.   It's facing the truth as the Bible has laid it out.  Jesus said no man knows the day or the hour.  But we would see the signs of a world made ready.  His coming would be like a thief in the night.  It will be that level of suddenness. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

How it is..

This is a trustworthy saying . . . 2 Timothy 2:11 NLT The apostle Paul has four of these “trustworthy sayings.” The first occurs in 1 Timothy 1:15: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” The next is in 1 Timothy 4:8–9: “Godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance.” The third is in 2 Timothy 2:11–12: “Here is a trustworthy saying . . . if we endure, we will also reign with him.” And the fourth is in Titus 3:3: “This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good” (NLT). We can trace a connection among these trustworthy sayings. The first one lays the foundation of our eternal salvation in the free grace of God, as shown to us in the mission of the great Redeemer. The next one affirms our double blessedness through this salvation—the blessings of the upper and lower springs, of time and of eternity. The third one shows a key duty to which chosen people are called: we are ordained to suffer for Christ, with the promise that “if we endure, we will also reign with him.” The last one describes the active form of Christian service, calling us to maintain good works with diligence. So we have the root of salvation in free grace; next, the privileges of that salvation in the life that is now and in that which is to come; and we also have the two great branches of suffering with Christ and serving with Christ, loaded with the fruits of the Spirit. Treasure up these trustworthy sayings. - C. H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening. 

This, to me, was awesome to find in this morning's devotional.  In recent days, I have been asking God questions about things that history records concerning Israel.  It certainly appears that He has been showing me. 

But in's more about our history and our footprint that is being written down to become history.  Read what Spurgeon said about Paul. These trustworthy sayings and their meanings.  Read and think about what it should mean to you. 

What does it mean to be a Christian? Is it as we see so many shipwrecked people are doing? Trying to drive so close to the edge of the cliff between God's ways and what the world off that people don't acknowledge the dangers?

I will offer this example.  20 years ago was a huge leap for me.  Not in getting married, but rather in moving way out of my comfort zone of my hometown to the big city.  When I first got to the big city, the way people drove scared the world out of me.  How can people be that way!  20 years later, the driver's haven't changed.  I have. It no longer scares me.  I find myself just saying 'Really!?!'.  I had become insensitive to the warnings of driving that way from others.  It only mildly affected my own driving.  If anything I developed skills to deal with others. 
In this same 20 years we have been to various churches. I have seen people walking very close to Christ. Have seen oh so many who have no clue how much they have caved in to idolatry.  They worship what is important to them.  Read that again. You worship what is important to you.  God has warned that it's impossible to serve two Masters.  You can't have a deep, thriving, relationship with Jesus and cling to this world.  This world didn't die for you.  Jesus died for you.  These sayings that Spurgeon mentioned connect everything to do with you and your Savior. 
In 20 years I have seen so many who are ok speaking of the things of God ok. But their passion and zeal only came out if you spoke against a sports team or celebrity.  So where was their heart?  What were they worshipping?

 Can you invite Jesus into your heart then assign Him servants quarters?  Give the rest of your heart to what you are passionate about?  People do that! They only call Jesus out when they are in trouble.  Trust me, if that's only when you want to talk to Him, you are already in trouble.  If you hold a writer, a celebrity, a sports figure, what they say, or do, higher in your respect, love and obedience to God then you have a significant problem. 

Don't think you are immune to's been happening since the beginning of time.  Jesus mentions of loving anyone or anything more than Him isn't worthy of Him.  That was before the creation of the Church.  

These trustworthy sayings are a guide to your life.  They can help you stay in check with the Christian life. 

Jesus wants all of your heart. Not the servants quarters.  This world is going to perish.  Do not love the world nor the things in the world. That's what the Bible says.  That's Jesus speaking.  Don't live so close to the line of sin that people can't see where Jesus ends and the world begins. People ought to see the difference and glorify God because of what they see in you. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Stay Armed

"Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm." Ephesians 6:11-13 NASB

Consider where does it say it's ok to let go or that you can let your guard down.  No where does it say that we aren't at war. We are to be ready. 
In Timothy, Paul was trying to prepare his son in the faith for life as a Pastor. But not only as a Pastor but life as a whole.  Our prowling enemy doesn't rest. In many of his attacks he counts on driving us to get no rest. He knows that a tired body means a tired mind. That a tired mind makes mistakes.
From the moment our eyes open we think there's time. Time before the first attack.  Ok. Stop and think about how ironic and ridiculous that statement is. If you can have a first thought in the morning, so can your enemy. He's been either sitting at the sidelines waiting, because God's been watching guard over you as you slept, or if you are an unbeliever, he will attack at any opportunity. 
In other places in the New Testament we are described as soldiers. At no point can a soldier let his guard down.  Not using the latrine, not while on KP.  Wherever they went they kept themselves armed.

But you want to relax and have fun you say?  Well God does too, but, you see, Adam and Eve ruined that for humanity. 
Whereas it's possible to still have fun as a soldier of Christ, you cannot let your guard down. Sin and temptation only need one thing: opportunity. There is many times when our own worst enemy is ourselves. 

Elijah, one of the greatest, if not arguably the greatest Prophet of the Old Testament. Stops it from raining for a very long time through prayer.  Takes on all the worshippers of Baal and proves before all of Israel that the Lord is God.  Ran for his life at hearing of a threat. Nobody is immune to attacks, regardless of how strong they are.  No where in Scripture does it say it's safe in this life.  Only when God calls us home are we safe. 

I will freely admit that I have been knocked down right after my eyes opened on some days. Temptation only needs opportunity.  A stray thought can bring about many a sin.  King David wasn't immune. He began innocently enough thinking he could stay home just once from fighting a battle. He thinks it's good to rest! That he earned a good rest.  Notice the subtlety of temptation? Convincing ourselves of the potential for good in our choices? Then as he is out and about walking.  Enjoying his rest his eyes weren't protected. The eyes go directly to the heart where sin waits. So you can read how that turned out. In a matter of days he went from lust to being a murderer. 
Honestly we are no different.  We fall just as easily.  Oh we can put up a great disguise. Play the part of a stand up Christian.  Not showing anyone the battlefield within us. 
Let me tell you.  There's a enormous reason why accountability is essential in our lives. We can't trust us. 
There's a huge reason why we are to bear one another's burdens. We are ill prepared to handle this life alone. Our enemy just loves to see us convinced that we are ok and can stand on our own.  He loves to see us not relying on others. 
There's great importance in Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and Spirit. To love your neighbor as yourself.  In all purity.  Guarding your mind.

We don't have the strength within ourselves to stand toe-to-toe with sin.

We don't have the fortitude to handle life on our own. 

Only Jesus can tell the storm to hush and be still.  Only Jesus can command us to step out on the water.  Only Jesus is our King and conqueror of sin. We can't do any of that! Although our sin nature and our enemies will always subtly tell us we can. 

Oh that storm is too big! It's relentless! It's too much for me!  It hurts!  I can't take it!

Guess what.  You're right. 

You were never going to be able to fight a Spiritual war and win when you have never grown up Spiritually to be able to put on the very armor God calls us to wear. Only those who have given their lives to Christ grow Spiritually.  Only those in Christ are protected by His promises.  Only those who are in the fight know how to wield the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God. Only those can put on the helmet of Salvation. Take up the shield of faith.  

King Saul tried to have David the Shepherd put on his armor to go face Goliath.  Guess what, it didn't fit. Why? Because God fits HIS armor to each of US.  You can't wear my armor and I can't wear yours. We don't face the exact same things each day. It's a different battlefield for each of us.  

We indeed can relax in this life.  It's not impossible.  But take note of what happens in the physical world of battle.  There's a time for R&R. A time where it's safe, but you need to not let your guard down.  King David was still known as a man after God's own heart.  He learned a painful lesson. His disobedience brought about a deeper relationship with God.  God still caused all things to work together for good in David.  Read Psalms. The emotions evident came from a deep trust and love for God.  Came through many trials and temptations. 

You will be on the same road as he. It's the same road that I am on.  Keep your armor on. Keep helping one another. Don't try to fight alone. As Scripture says a chord of three strands isn't easily broken. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Watch THEN Listen

Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you. Habakkuk 1:5 

Christians habitually seek God's voice through prayer, through His Word, or through His messengers. Yet sometimes we fail to hear God speak through His activity, even though He is working all around us.

If you are sensitive to what God is doing around you, He will clearly speak to you through His activity. You will know that God is at work, because what you see will astound you, and human power and wisdom will not explain it. When you experience events that surpass your understanding and ability, it may be that God is communicating a critical message to you.

If you want to hear God's voice, look around you to see what He is doing. When you are watching for God at work, what you see will reveal His character, and you will have a fresh understanding of how to respond to Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

This is a very interesting, powerful and very personal post today.  I would like to say that I am amazed that it came up this way but God tends to orchestrate things that we aren't expecting.  An so He did. 

This particular devotional from Blackaby certainly hits me where I am not at in my life.   God has promised and proven time after time that He is at work and will remain at work in my life.  Not because of anything good in me, but because of His promises to me.  To never leave me or forsake me also means He won't leave me in the state He found me.  

Over and over again in the Gospels you can find parables of farming.  Of seeding the ground, of tending the soil, of pruning what is there, to harvesting at the end. 

We are all a work un progress who are in Christ.  To those who haven't believed yet, you too are a work in progress.  Dear unbelieving you realize there are people praying for you?  There is.  Many here and now, many whom knew you who are before His Throne in Heaven directly mentioning your name to the King of Kings. 

My work on me began in 1974-1975.  God showed me convincingly that He loved me and wanted to save me.  He wants the same thing for you.  

That began a lifetime of changes in me.  Subtle ones to huge ones.  Always with care and often taking me places in growth that I have never expected.  Jesus came into me not to leave me the way He found me, but to make me into who He knew that I could be.   We all have our own ideas of how our life should be like.  We live in a world that tries to define our lives for us. They try to convince you of how you should feel, what you should think, how you should be towards others. What is acceptable and what it thinks you should not accept.  Let me explain something to you.  If the world is talking and you are listening then odds are good you are not listening to God. 
Only in Christ is found wisdom and knowledge that brings health and healing and happiness.  Jesus promised peace unlike any the world could possibly comprehend. We strive and look for gems in life to satisfy our needs and desires among a manure pile.  I'm telling you what you are looking for is only found in Christ. 
Rose colored glasses are a filter to the truth.  They will never help you. 

In my life Jesus has taken me through astounding and amazing things.  I  liken them to workouts and surgeries.  Ever watch a potter working on a masterpiece?  At times it's like watching paint dry.  Other times you can see where progress is being made. Still others you wonder if he stopped and was done or should there be something more.  Then a while passes and he begins again because the work is so intricate that constantly working at it would overwork the piece.  Then he does more then stops. Does more then stops.  Then a huge piece is removed, to be replaced with something grander that we weren't expecting.  And the work continues. 

That's life as a Christian.  The Master makes the decisions on the Masterpiece.  Not the other way around. 

The sooner we get that the better the work goes.

I didn't get it for a very long time.  God still is at work in me.  He has me now where I am a masterpiece in awe of what He is going to do next, rather than aski why is He doing what He is doing. 

I have never regretted coming to Jesus to be saved.  I am so glad He didn't leave me the way He found me.  He loves me too much to do that.  He loves you too much to do that.  Think about that today. 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Oh Weary One...You're Not Alone

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls … yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. Habakkuk 3:17–18 At times it seems that everything around you is collapsing. Endeavors you invested in may fail. People to whom you minister may disappoint you. The business or career you worked hard to build may crumble. These times, as difficult as they are, are opportunities to stop and examine what is truly important to you.

Habakkuk witnessed the collapse of most of what mattered to him. Yet through the loss, failure, and disappointment, he was able to distinguish between what was precious to him and what was transitory and empty. He came to the point where he could sincerely say that even if everything around him failed, he still would rejoice in God. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh My Soul - Casting Crowns 

Oh, my soul
Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you're weary, from fearing you lost control
This was the one thing, you didn't see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private
If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows
No one will see, if you stop believing

Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone

Here and now
You can be honest
I won't try to promise that someday it all works out
'Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know

We all know of someone, if not our own situation, whereas it seems everything is falling apart.  That hope seems to have vanished.  That we are on emotional life support.   How they or we get through a single day is beyond baffling. 

And those are just the ones or the way we are before people who notice.  I used to be a very very good individual at hiding my deepest feelings and thoughts from others...and from, I thought, God as well. As foolish as that was. 

For many many years I was in my own trek through the wilderness, much as Israel had been.  Only Israel did it twice at 40 years at a time. 

My own stubbornness and yes maybe pride in more than one case, preventing me from relief.   I was very embarrassed to admit my needs before others.  So the incidents in my life grew, the load got heavier.  

Perhaps the same is said of you my dear reader.  Oh my soul...those words used to just be a phrase that I remember hearing or reading that people used to say in reference to themselves.  Today, I get it, I sometimes think those words and it's about me. 

I seriously used to be one whom had to have every single t crossed and i dotted when working through things.  I had to know what I was getting into in order to evaluate whether or not I could handle it or do it.  When it didn't, after I had figured that I could, well it wasn't pretty. My self condemnation set in.

Jesus has said come to Him all who are weary and heavy laden and He will give you rest. 

My, our, greatest failings in life surrounds our need to acknowledge we need God. It's a painful lesson, but a necessary step in my walk with God. 

As its been written in Scripture of the writer saying he never would have noticed covetousness if it weren't for sin. Sin. The most ugliest of 3 letter words.  It produced coveting of every kind.  Sin was what got Adam and Eve to think they could do better than God.  The very instant they had their eyes opened they realized too late that they fell to sin. There was no going back.  We face that every day. 

We, I, are and sometimes am, greatly embarrassed to ask for help.  Yet we are commanded to.  When we don't, it seems that the fire gets turned up a notch until we do.  It's not a lesson to get us whipped into submission.  It's a lesson to enable God's blessings to flow. Not only to the one in need but in the lives of those who obeyed and helped. 

Habakkuk is a very interesting book. He was educated on several things by the Lord.  Told of how bad things are in God's eyes and told of a nation more evil than his people were that was coming to bring judgment on them.  Use someone worse to judge?  Read it and understand.  God explains it there. 

Letting go of every single thing that we hold dear to enables God to do more with us.  The Disciples of Christ left everything, read the Gospels, they left everything to follow Christ.  Their only possessions were what they were wearing and what they had to write with and on.  Yet Jesus blessed them. You have to let go in order to see. 
The more that I let go the more God shows me.  I can't take anything with me but I can show people Jesus and then they too will be in Heaven some day.  Teams aren't important, celebrities aren't important. I am not important.  Only Jesus is important.  If people aren't saved, they are headed for Hell. An eternity apart from God.  It will be no party.  No celebration.  It's pain and torment.  Weeping and gnashing of teeth.  The truth of their existence revealed.  My dear reader I pray that you aren't headed there.  

When we think we need to be in control we will always fail.  A song comes to mind.  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. 

The more that I turn my eyes toward Him the less stressed that I am.  The more that I find the peace that I never had.  Worry is easy. It's a prayer with no direction.  Give it one.  If you can cry out to others you can cry out to God.  If you can complain to others you can complain to God. 

Oh my soul.  Look up that song. It's a heart changer.   We are more weary than we let on.  Tired to the bone people used to say.  

So look to Jesus today.  Look for what you haven't asked for.  Let go of what you want and ask God for what He wants to freely give you.  If only we would let go...

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

More...With God There's Always More

If you have not received a fresh word from God, return to the last thing God told you and examine your obedience. Is the Lord still waiting for your obedience? Seek to be like Jeremiah, and properly respond to your Lord's instructions the first time. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Grace Got You - MercyMe

Have you ever met those who
Keep humming when the song's through?
It's like they're living life to a whole different tune
And have you ever met those that
Keep hoping when it's hopeless
It's like they figured out what the rest haven't yet

The second when you realize
When you have inside
It's only just a matter of time 'til you

Sing, so the back row hears you
Glide, 'cause walking just won't do
Dance, you don't have to know how to
Ever since, ever since grace got you
Laugh, 'til your whole side's hurting
Smile like you just got away with something
Why? 'Cause you just got away with something
Ever since, ever since grace got you

So when you're standing in the rain again
You might as well be dancing
Why? 'Cause there ain't no storm that can change how this ends
So next time when you feel blue
Don't let that smile leave you
Why? 'Cause you have every reason just to

Sing, so the back row hears you...

Dear Younger Me - MercyMe
Dear younger me
Where do I start
If I could tell you everything that I have learned so far
Then you could be
One step ahead
Of all the painful memories still running thru my head
I wonder how much different things would be
Dear younger me,

Dear younger me
I cannot decide
Do I give some speech about how to get the most out of your life
Or do I go deep
And try to change
The choices that you'll make cuz they're choices that made me
Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would've had no power
My joy my pain would've never been my worth
If I knew then what I know now
Would've not been hard to figure out
What I would've changed if I had heard

Dear younger me
It's not your fault
You were never meant to carry this beyond the cross
Dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Every mountain every valley
Thru each heartache you will see
Every moment brings you closer
To who you were meant to be
Dear younger me, dear younger me

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

This morning quite a bit seems to be on the plate.  Blackaby makes a good point about God's direction in your life.  The songs by MercyMe seem to fit well with it.

Obedience and Grace work together.  If you've ever done any baking, a bowl to mix in is as much a requirement as a spoon to mix with.  Can't very well have one without the other.   

I have had many times in my life where what Blackaby says has been me.  Jesus isn't standing at the front of the classroom with a ruler in His hands waiting to smack us on the head or hands until we obey.  Remember He created patience.  He has all the time because He invented it.  Moving further in our walk is dependent largely upon us.  It's not to say that He won't give you a swift kick in the pants to help you along, because if you look at Jonah, that's what happened there.

We have obstacles in our way that are usually there because we put them there. Then there are those that we run into that Satan tries to use to control or contain us.

How does that fit in with Grace Got You?

How does that fit in with Dear Younger Me?

The end result of obedience is sometimes indescribable.  The level of peace and joy is off the charts.  We can't explain it we can't even come close to being able to. 

When grace is realized it's a kind of peace and rest that makes no sense outside of Jesus.  

The Dear Younger Me...grace overshadows that scenario.  Look at what pondering the past did.  We all would love to have a talk with ourselves in the past.  To warn ourselves of the good and the bad heading our way.  But look at what was settled on. Just reminding ourselves of who we are in Christ. 

You don't need to go talk to your younger self to learn that lesson.  It's a lesson for right now.

Many readers out there have misery and are worn down only because they have been at Spiritual war so long or have not been obeying enough to remember who they are in Christ. 

Shepherd David showed up at a battle between Israel and the Philistines. Sees an hears what's been going on.  Soon King David emerges.  Why? What changed? Obedience.  Putting what God wants before what we do.  David had no idea that by the end of that day that he of all people would save his nation. 

What could you be accomplishing if you were to obey? If God's Grace were evident in your life, would it attract the curiosity of others?  God's Grace makes us different from the rest of the world.  We are no longer citizens of this world, those who are in Christ are of God's Kingdom. 

I was reading the first chapter of Jeremiah.  He was echoing Moses in how he was trying to explain how unqualified he was to speak for God.  The Lord Jesus's response was the same.  What we can do through Christ isn't dependent upon our strength and abilities.  It's dependent upon His Grace and our obedience. 

Floating along not seeing a direction in life?  As Blackaby was saying, go back to the last thing that God was waiting on you to obey in.  

When we learn to obey...we can see God do things we never imagined possible.  In 10 months I have seen no trace of the mountains that I faced 5 years ago.  God left no trace of them.  He is faithful even when we are not.  He us patient when we need it.  But remember His Kingdom come His will be done.  Remember His own words to His Father.  Thy Will Be Done. 

Are you filled with frustration? Ask God if YOU missed something He was telling you.  Was He telling you to let go of something and you aren't?  Remember what was said about patience?

He created it...and also has a time when that patience is set aside.  Jonah can testify to that. The first few attempts to garner obedience didn't work, 3 days and nights in a whale changed his mind. 

This world is being prepared for the end of God's patience.  Living in obedience is sometimes difficult now but not impossible.  Live in Grace and Obedience and see what God will enable you to do. 

You are holy
You are righteous
You are one of the redeemed
Set apart a brand new heart
You are free indeed

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Robbing God, Robbing Each Other

Will a man rob God?

"“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. Then I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of the ground; nor will your vine in the field cast its grapes,” says the Lord of hosts. “All the nations will call you blessed, for you shall be a delightful land,” says the Lord of hosts."

Will a Man rob his friends?

Many have heard that passage preached time and again in Church.  It got me thinking of other areas.   Like, do we rob each other of blessings?  Yes.  We rob others of the blessings of prayer, of time with them when a need arises.  Scripture says to bear one another's burdens. When we don't, we are robbing our brothers and sisters of God's blessing.  It matters not what it is or how many hundreds of times a day, it's a blessing that belongs to someone that we withhold when we say nothing. Scripture says to pray for our leaders.  When you don't you rob them of God's favor. 

Think about it.  Pride over the subject matter is a huge one in robbing others and God.  Yes it's possible to be embarrassed to ask. God says to get over it.  You are part of His body.  To say you can't is saying you prefer yourself over others.  Scripture says the opposite.  Prefer one another above ourselves.

More than We can Imagine

My Jesus, I love Thee

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
for thee all the follies of sin I resign;
my gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
2 I love thee because thou hast first loved me
and purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
if ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
3 I'll love thee in life, I will love thee in death,
and praise thee as long as thou lendest me breath,
and say when the deathdew lies cold on my brow:
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
4 In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I'll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow:
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now. 

Cleanse Me

1 Search me, O God, and know my heart today;
try me, O Savior, know my thoughts, I pray.
See if there be some wicked way in me;
cleanse me from every sin and set me free.

2 I praise thee, Lord, for cleansing me from sin;
fulfill thy word and make me pure within.
Fill me with fire where once I burned with shame;
grant my desire to magnify thy name.

3 Lord, take my life, and make it wholly thine;
fill my poor heart with thy great love divine.
Take all my will, my passion, self, and pride;
I now surrender, Lord-- in me abide.

These hymns were on my mind and had been sung in my early years in the Church I grew up in.  Another is I Surrender All. 

Whereas I am a big advocate for praise and worship music, there's something far more solemn and powerful to the old hymns.  A good friend whom I know likes to look up the person and history behind hymns.  There's much to be found in the Spiritual garden where these songs of faith came from.  Pain, headache, heartbreak, joy, tears, deep communion with God.  Honesty and the baring of hearts before our all knowing Savior. 

Was there not anything from the devotionals to bring today?  Yes, there is but these hymns bring it into better focus. Kind of like Spiritual Glasses.  

The Bible isn't just a collection of words, of books, of letters sent between Churches.  It's alive. It's words can strike to the core of our being.  Many many hymns derive their message from a passage or chapter or book. Some modern artists came together to provide a collection of songs all with their centerpiece being Scripture.  

The message of hymns can give us the ability to convey the state of our hearts before Our God.  

We can grasp a better understanding of the love of God for us, for mankind.  We can finally find the words to say back to the Father in gratitude and thanks. 

We can grow Spiritually through them as well.  Scripture tells us of speaking to one another in songs, hymns and Spiritual songs.  To set our minds on things above not on things down here.  A reminder of holiness in singing Holy, Holy, Holy.  

Our days to come before our God will have a great deal of singing praise and worship to our Savior when we see Him face-to-face.  

There's a reason why we are set apart in this world from the unbelieving. We don't share the things that are most important. 

We in our faith hope and conduct point a dying world towards our Savior, our God. 

A hymn can break down barriers we never realized were there.  

We can sing a hymn in our hearts to God  anytime, and anywhere.  

When sin convicts, we need an outlet to yet still praise our God. 

We are always on His mind.  Always being tended to by Jesus and His angels.  We are written on the palms of His hands. We are held in the palms of His hands.  We are being made into His image.  We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.

We also need reminders that He is God and we are not.  Hymns will do that. 

Take my life and let it be...remember that hymn?

Great is Thy Faithfulness 

Amazing Grace 

There's Power in the Blood 

Just as I Am 

Hymns help us to strip away us and allow our Spirit to speak to His.  

There's no room for pride in a heart that praises God.  You can't do both.  You can't be full of yourself and full of the Spirit too. 

If you are praising God, if your mind is indeed set on things above and not on things down here, guess what you find?

Peace, not as the world gives, peace as Jesus said He gives.

You will find mountains that were before you obliterated. You will find rough waters calmed so much that yes even you will walk over them.  Your mind and heart will indeed be set on Him and not you.  

The hope that comes from a heart set on God isn't easily shaken or shattered.  It's more than like being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold night.  It's being wrapped up in joy as if that were the perfect covering. 

Stop what you are doing, remember your relationship with Jesus isn't only on Sunday Morning, Sunday Evening or Wednesday night.  It's 24/7. The Disciples didn't get the rest of the week off when they were called to follow Christ.  We don't either.  We have tools the world doesn't understand.  We have a direct hotline to our Savior that doesn't need to be three times day in a certain direction or any such thing. Anytime, anywhere. Long or short, our Savior lives and listens. 

All the way my Savior leads me...

Monday, October 21, 2019

Overwhelmed in it All

He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ). John 1:41 People become known for many things. Noah is known as a righteous man in an evil age. David is known as the man after God's own heart. Peter is known as the outspoken disciple. John is known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Judas is known as the betrayer. Paul is known as a fearless proclaimer of the gospel. Andrew is known for bringing others to Jesus.

Andrew is a good role model for us. Our job is not to transform people into Christians nor to convict them of their sin. It is not our responsibility to make people do what they ought to do. Our task is to bring them to Jesus, and He will perform His divine work in their lives. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Overwhelmed - Big Daddy Weave

I see the work of Your Hands
Galaxies spin in a Heavenly dance oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I hear the sound of Your Voice
All at once it’s a gentle and thundering noise oh God
All that You are is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
Captivated by Your beauty
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

God, I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

I know the power of Your Cross
Forgiven and free forever You’ll be my God
And all that You’ve done is so overwhelming

I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

And God I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

You are Beautiful, You are Beautiful
Oh God, there is no one more Beautiful
You are Beautiful, God you are the most Beautiful

You are Wonderful, You are Wonderful
Oh God, there is no one more Wonderful
You are Wonderful, God You are the most Wonderful

You are Glorious, You are Glorious
Oh God, there is no one more Glorious
You are Glorious, God you are the most Glorious

I delight myself in You
In the Glory of Your Presence
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You

And God I run into Your arms
Unashamed because of mercy
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
I’m overwhelmed, I’m overwhelmed by You
There is no one more Beautiful
You are the most Beautiful

There's at least two things that have come to my mind to write about this morning.  Seems that there's an outlet for joy this morning in that song by Big Daddy Weave. 

When you find a way to put joy to words...overwhelmed is probably the closest that you can get in describing what Jesus can do with your heart. 

It's awesome, it's amazing, it's...well...overwhelming. 

Then as I read my devotionals I come across Blackaby talking about Andrew.  There are many, and I am no different, who after spending any significant amount of time in a book find a character to latch onto.  A character we mostly associate with.  The Bible is no different in that. In the New Testament there are examples given of Heroes of the Faith.  My personal one is Daniel. There's just something about him that draws me to liking him so much.

Andrew was brought to Jesus...someone did that.  Andrew was so convinced about Jesus that he brought his brother Peter.  We all can read about Peter and his ups and downs.  Yet there's not much in recorded history of Andrew. 

If it weren't for the footprints of God in Andrew's life we wouldn't know of Peter. 
If it weren't for the footprints of others in Daniel's life we wouldn't be reading about him either. 

If you indeed are a believer in Jesus Christ, there are footprints of someone leading you towards Jesus.  Nobody made you accept Jesus as the Christ...Jesus knocked and you opened the door. 
"Hey! It's Me! Jesus! Can I come in?".

It's really that simple. Nobody has ever needed a forced conversion to Christ.  It has never worked that way. It's an invitation.  In many places you see invitations given and they are either acceptable or not. 

You may not be a huge pillar of the Church.  You may never be a Billy Graham or C.H. Spurgeon.  You may not even be as the Pastor of your Church.  But if you have Jesus you have enough to share with others.  Andrew shared what he had with others.  

You can share the you that Jesus is making of you with others.  The Holy Spirit is at work in your life.  You will always be a work in progress until we are in the presence of Jesus.  Don't be expecting to get your life right before you share it. It is what it is.  Jesus meets us where we are. You meet people where they are.  Jesus is in now Jesus has met those you meet where they are. 

You may not be some eloquent speaker. Who cares.  Look at Peter.  Poor Peter always gets it for shooting from the lip. Not thinking before speaking.  Thomas was stubborn in his thinking and to this day has been called a doubter. I really think most from Missouri are related to Thomas.  The 'show me' state.  

You are unique.  The worst we do to ourselves is compare ourselves to others. 

I can't do what they can so I won't try. 
I can't do that kind of thing they do I am not made that way. 

Guess what? You're right!

God made you to be you.  He made Andrew to be and do what He had in mind for Andrew to be an do.  To be the best Andrew he could be for God. 

He wants you to be the best you that you can be for God.

When I think on how many times I blew it trying to be like others that I saw as strong in the faith...I shake my head in wonder of how I got this far. 

Scripture says to keep our minds on things above not on things here. When we look at and criticize ourselves we will always find faults.  Go back to that song.  Think on Jesus instead.  We reflect His light and life.

Be who YOU are to be.  Go ahead and be overwhelmed by Jesus.  It's ok. It's also very peaceful.  We rest best in His arms. 

Write your own story of how Jesus changed you. Of His never ending love for you.  Be who He needs you to be.  Billy Graham had spoken of those whom brought him to Christ.  Every powerful Church Leader who is empowered by God has had an Andrew that was there to say "Hey! I think I have found Jesus!".

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The Gloves are Off

It's amazing to read of Jesus speaking about Himself from the Old Testament.  In the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 24, after His resurrection, He showed the Disciples that were there from Moses to then, all about Himself that were written.  

Isaiah 59:16-21 "16 And He saw that there was no man, And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;  Then His own arm brought salvation to Him, And His righteousness upheld Him.
17 He put on righteousness like a breastplate,
And a helmet of salvation on His head;
And He put on garments of vengeance for clothing
And wrapped Himself with zeal as a mantle.
18 According to their deeds, so He will repay,
Wrath to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies;
To the coastlands He will make recompense.
19 So they will fear the name of the Lord from the west
And His glory from the rising of the sun,
For He will come like a rushing stream
Which the wind of the Lord drives.
20 “A Redeemer will come to Zion,
And to those who turn from transgression in Jacob,” declares the Lord.
21 “As for Me, this is My covenant with them,” says the Lord: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring, nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the Lord, “from now and forever.”"

As Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal so is this generation challenged. How much more so.  There's billions who are divided.  When it suits them they want God to save them. When it's contrary to what they want they want Him out of their lives. 

Look either Jesus is who He said He was or He was a liar, and deserved death for claiming to be God.  The proof is in His resurrection.  The Father promised that if He would endure the cross that Jesus would have the authority to take up His life again.  Jesus obeyed.  Death and sin were defeated.  

Either the lies of this world are real and true or Jesus Christ is God. You must choose.  There are hundreds more Scriptures that I have found over the last year that point to Jesus as being the Christ.  Just as He taught those Disciples. 

Before you make up your mind that He isn't real or isn't God.  Quit making excuses and get a Bible and read it for yourself.  Quit going by what the world says. Make up your own mind. 

God made it clear to me back in 1975 and I have never regretted it. He can turn on the lights of understanding in you too.

Do you REALLY want to find yourself in between two opinions on the day you have to face Him face-to-face? In that day if you have not put your faith in Christ Jesus alone for Salvation it will be too late. 

The challenge is on. The gloves are off. 

Look it up for yourself.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

His Words not Ours

It's puzzling that so many Christians try to live the Christian life without reading their Bible, except for sporadic perusals of God's Word, seeking a pithy thought for the day. The Word of God is not merely a source of helpful suggestions, preventive warnings, or inspirational thoughts: It is life itself!

God commanded His people to bind His words on their hearts, to teach them diligently to their children, and to regularly discuss them in their homes (Deut. 6:4–9). So essential was His Word that it was to hold a prominent place in the daily lives of His people. Our reverence for God's Word is revealed not only by what we say but also by what we do. Spending more time reading and studying the words of people rather than the Word of God reveals our hearts’ condition. To blatantly disregard God's Word is to reject life itself. To obey God's Word is the surest way to experience all that God has in store for us. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Build My Life 

Worthy of every song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for you
Jesus the name above every other name
Jesus the only one who could save
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for you
Oh we live for you

Holy there is no one like you
There is none beside you
Open up my eyes in wonder
Show me who you are and fill me
With your heart and lead me
In your love to those around me

Worthy of every song we could ever sing
Worthy of all the praise we could ever bring
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for you
Oh, we live for you
Jesus the name above every other name
Jesus the only one who could save
Worthy of every breath we could ever breathe
We live for you
Oh we live for you

Holy there is no one like you
There is none beside you
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who you are and fill me
With your heart and lead me
In your love to those around me

Holy there is no one like you
There is none beside you
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who you are and fill me
With your heart and lead me
In your love to those around me

And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in you alone
And I will not be shaken

And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in you alone
And I will not be shaken

Holy there is no one like you
There is none beside you
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who you are and fill me
With your heart and lead me
In your love to those around me

Holy there is no one like you
There is none beside you
Open up my eyes in wonder
And show me who you are and fill me
With your heart and lead me
In your love to those around me

And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in you alone
And I will not be shaken

And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in you alone
And I will not be shaken

And I will build my life upon your love it is a firm foundation
And I will put my trust in you alone
And I will not be shaken

It seems that God's not done with the message of that song 'Build My Life'.  It was on my mind as I woke up this morning.  I get my coffee ready before reading what I do read each morning that I spend with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. 

In my Scripture reading it was in Isaiah.  Part of what it was mentioning was the original passage Jesus quoted whdn He drove out the money changers.  That His House would be a House of Prayer.  That passage had a lot in it beyond that. About what God calls righteousness.  Not what we call it, if we are seeking it at all.

That's impossible for a Believer in Jesus Christ to say isn't it? If we are seeking righteousness at all?  Look back at what Blackaby said. Look at that song again. 

I will build my life upon your love. It is a firm foundation   

Christ's love, the foundation was His death, burial and resurrection. When He arose from the grave His powerful love was unleashed upon the Universe. Not just here on Earth. 

All Creation knew the importance of what He did.  Satan has been trying for over 2,000 years to blind people to the truth of this.

Need more proof? 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12.

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

So how are we to know what's right from wrong? God's Word. 
How are we to walk in what's right in God's eyes and not ours? God's Word. 

Just what is a deluding influence?  Temptation. 

It's compromising in any area of your life. 

It's giving anyone or anything an opportunity to take the place of God in your life.  It's giving the worship due to Jesus to another.  It's to pour out your passion into things or people that belongs to your Savior.  

Remember my readers these things aren't from me. God speaks and I write.  That's how He set this up.  He seems to be doing with my heart as He did in the writers of old. He stirs up reminders. He provokes the Spirit within to say things that need to be said. 

Why did the original people from Egypt never cross over to the Promised land? Why didn't Moses? They didn't take The Lord at His Word. 

It wasn't important enough to them. 

Is God's Word important to you? Is it more important than status, approval, or acceptance by people around you?  Is it more important that an allegiance to a sports team? Is it more important than your devotion to characters from a movie or TV show? Is it more important than your political alliance?  Here's the tough one. It it more important than your Pastor? Is it more important than your family?

Because Jesus said it should be. If we love anything more than Him we aren't living with right priorities.  We have effectively divided our hearts and that Jesus will not accept.  God said you cannot serve two Masters.  Read that part. Not the part about it being God and money.  That part alone. 

To be a Christian is to be a Disciple of Christ.  One Master. Jesus alone.  

That deluding influence is rampant in our society today. "Oh, it's ok. It's not harming anyone. It's not that bad. It's all in fun. I deserve this. It makes me happy. I enjoy it. There's nothing wrong with it."

Look at your life again.  Look at your choices.  Look at how serious you take yourself in all areas of your life.  Do you use words as a weapon when someone says something about 'your team'? Isn't that dishonoring to Jesus? Is that showing the fruits of the Spirit?  Have you even read in Corinthians what the fruits of the Spirit are to know if you were displaying them?

How about arguments about politics.  Here's a hot one.  Scripture says to pray for our leaders.  Not back them.  We are Ambassadors in this world for Christ and His Kingdom.  This world is not our home. 
Yet Christians are as bad as the rest of the world in berating and tearing down politicians. 

We defend the Gospel, not world leaders. 

The Holy Spirit uses the Bible to write His Word upon our hearts.  If you aren't taking it in daily.  How will you know what it is?
If you aren't in your Bible then assuredly you are writing upon your heart something but it isn't from God. It's the world view on life. It's idolatry, it's sinful living, it's everything that's the opposite of God's Word. 

So how important is God's Word to you?

Friday, October 18, 2019

How Deep Will You Go

When you are in the midst of your trials, your Lord will reveal His character to you in ways you never knew. You will experience His strong and comforting presence. Like Job, you will learn that your Lord will remain, even when everyone else abandons you. You will see God more clearly as He takes you through the dark times. Then you will experience God in ways you had previously only heard about from others. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Blackaby's entry for today begins with talking about Job. That in his day, Job was the most righteous man alive.  Think about that.  The most among what, a few billion or so people?  To the tune that it really irritated Satan.  Satan intended to break Job just to deal a blow to the Lord. However, other Scripture was proven true. What Satan means for evil God can turn around for good. 

Job, in all his life, thought he knew God. 
Job, in this book we read, learned about God. 

Are we really any different?  I sometimes consider that growing in Christ can be like dieting in reverse.  You are growing, but can still plateau in your growth.  

There's been times when I have felt like the Disciples in a boat. My oars are in the water but I wasn't making any headway. 
Or I took the oars out of the water and drifted, wondering if that was what I was supposed to do.  Just trust the Spiritual current of the waters that I was in. 

Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't, but I think more growth has happened with me when I let go of what I want.  There's things that I want and things that I need.  We live in a world where practically anything can be on my doorstep in 2 days.  50 years ago the concept of that was impossible. 

We can download an entire Bible in less than 30 seconds on a mobile phone.  Even less on a computer.  It took thousands of years to write.  

We need, we want, we likely never prayed first concerning the getting.  

It's no wonder people see no need for God.  Their desires are met without Him. At least that's their point of view. 

They don't realize how much of this instantaneous society is a result of His provision. 

But the urge to want, want, want, can and will blind you to what you need. 

Ever really notice how the Disciples had but one want and need?  Their relationship with Jesus.  Satan noticed.  He tried to get them to take on more than they were capable of and Jesus put the brakes on them.  They were only beginning to learn what the Spiritual world was about.  They knew not what they were asking.  Do we do any different? We beg and ask God for things, for favors if you will, in hopes of being made happy.  Funny how that's exactly how Jesus describes coming to Him, as a child.  Children do not thinking beyond the moment.  They see they want.  Or they have and want more. 

The nuggets of the most valuable of commodities is your understanding and growth in Christ.  What you learn of God, what you know of Him is what shapes you.

Not who wins what game.  Not who is in what movie or television show.  Celebrities mean nothing in God's eyes.  Sports means nothing in God's eyes.  Hobbies,  everything and anything means nothing in God's eyes short of your relationship with Jesus. 

There's a lot in the New Testament about learning learning learning about Jesus. To be filled up in the knowledge of Him.

We often exchange this world for that learning time with Jesus.  You don't think Job had better things to do than go through what he did?  He sure thought so at first.  It wasn't until the end of his ordeal that he understood.  Only 1 of his friends wasn't rebuked for their behavior and treatment of Job. The youngest.  God never left Job in all he went through.  

I think if a MercyMe song with these lines in it...

"Don't know what you've been told 
Don't know what you've been through all I know is my God will never let go of you"

I have been through much in my life.  Highs and lows that I never thought I'd live through.  I can relate to Psalms 23. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. 

In everything that Satan tries to hit us with, God will always use it to deepen our love and relationship with Jesus. 

Know of people who seem so fallen away from God that it would take a miracle to save them? Pray. Here's your eye opening statement.  It took a miracle to save you. 

As long as those who you care about are breathing there is hope for them.  Always. 

Scripture says that the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.  So are you just wallowing in sadness over those who you care about or are you praying for them?  Are you sitting in worry or are you praying for them?  Worry is a prayer with no direction. Give it a direction. Up.
Hand it to Jesus a thousand times a day if you have to. He created the Universe. He arose from the dead. He can handle your requests for people. 

Live your life in such a way that people will ask you why.  Use that opportunity to tell them of the great things that God has done for you.  

Get your priorities in order. None of what you have will go with you when you die. Don't live your life in pursuit of things.  Don't waste your passion on things. 

Scripture says that He who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins.  

It also says that all that we do should be to the glory of God.  

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and Spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Never Been a Moment

But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.” 1 Samuel 27:1

 This thought of David’s heart was a false one. He certainly had no reason to think that God’s anointing of him by Samuel would ultimately be an empty, purposeless act. There had never been an occasion when the Lord had deserted his servant; David had often been placed in perilous positions, but there was never a time in which divine intervention had not delivered him. The trials he faced had been varied; they had not assumed only one form—yet in every case the One who sent the trial had also graciously prepared a way of escape. David could not point to any entry in his diary and say, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for all the experiences of his life proved the very reverse. He should have argued, from what God had done for him, that the Lord would continue to defend him. But isn’t this just the way that we doubt God’s help? Our mistrust has no cause. Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Hasn’t His lovingkindness been marvelous? Has he failed to justify our trust even one time? Ah, no! Our God has never, ever left us. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

"Never Been a Moment " Micah Tyler 
I've been sinner
I've been a saint
A little bit of both every single day
I've been lost
But somehow I've been found
There's been some pain
Been some regret
Been some moments I'll never forget
But when I look back
From where I'm standing now

There's never been a moment
I was not held inside your arms
And there's never been a day when you were not who you say you are
Yours forever, it don't matter
What I'm walking through
'Cause no matter where I'm going
There's never been a moment that I was not loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you

You've been the rock
You've been the peace
Always showing your good heart to me
My days are marked by grace I don't deserve, no
You've been the price I could never pay
You've been the light that has led the way

It's interesting these were part of what God's brought today.  In Our Daily Bread there's the point of bitter pills to swallow.  Those whom was given a scroll to eat from God that was sweet to the mouth like honey yet bitter to the stomach.  They were saying that truth is often the opposite, unless you were becoming more accustomed to the truth being for your good and not the opposite. 

We often go right straight for the worst case scenario in our lives.  We see how bad things are and get out a mental slide ruler and look for the inevitable bottomless pit of despair at the end. 

We look and cry out that the storm is raging and my hope is gone.  Peter somehow had the different thought when he saw the raging storm and Jesus in the middle of it.  Consider that.  Here's 12 men in a boat. All seasoned fishermen who were no strangers to storms.  They have had their share of them.  So as they are working out how to get back to land, Peter looks out and sees Jesus walking on the water like it's normal.  
Do we know enough about storms?
Do we look for Jesus in the storm?

King David, as Spurgeon was saying, made a very irrational statement.  He should have known better.  But don't we all?  Didn't the same Disciples cry out in another storm while Jesus was asleep in the boat?

I have often forgotten thst myself.  There's no place I can be that Jesus isn't there.  No place that I can lay my head to sleep that He isn't standing watch over me. 

If I truly believe Proverbs that the mind of man plans his ways but the Lord directs his steps...then when God's truth comes indeed it won't be a bitter pill to swallow. 

If I spend time with Jesus what He speaks will be more familiar that the noise of the storm. 

There's never been a moment when He wasn't right here with me.  There's plenty of times when I have stumbled and fallen,  failed, in my walk with God that I wished He wasn't.  But He has been there. Ready to forgive and get me back on my feet again.  

Trust not in men, who might not direct you in God's truth.  Go directly to the source.  Peter called out to Jesus that if it was Him, to command him to join Him.

This is its own truth.  Just because you see a storm and may see God in it...ask if you are to get involved in it. It just may be that your role is to pray for those involved. Not for you to interrupt or interfere. 

You will never find a single instance of your life, believers, never find, a moment where you were left to fend for yourself. 

We can make some seriously boneheaded choices, decisions if you will, but those are on us.  Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness.  Not the 3rd or 4th string attempts.  

I have either been someone's answer to a prayer or I wasn't helping them at all. Listening as Philip did is the key.  Obeying when commanded.  Cut out the negative thinking.  Get rid of the fear of the storm and realize who stand in the middle of it, not impressed by its raging.  Because He is Lord over the storm.