Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Are You Yet Unsaved?

“The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,” the people cry, “yet we are not saved!” Jeremiah 8:20 NLT 

“Not saved”! Dear reader, is this your sad condition? Warned of the judgment to come, urged to escape for your life, and yet at this moment “not saved”? You know the way of salvation—you’ve read it in the Bible, heard it from the pulpit, had it explained to you by friends—yet if you neglect it, you are “not saved.” You will be without excuse when the Lord judges the living and the dead (Acts 10:42). The Holy Spirit has given His blessing to the word that was preached in your hearing, and “times of refreshing” (Acts 3:19) have come from the divine presence—are you still without Christ? Hopeful seasons have come and gone—your summer and your harvest have past—are you yet “not saved”? Years have followed one another into eternity, and your final year will soon be here: youth has passed, adulthood is going—are you still “not saved”? Let me ask you: Will you ever be saved? Is there any likelihood of it? If the most advantageous seasons have left you unsaved, will other occasions change your condition? If God’s various means have failed with you—the best of means, used with perseverance and the greatest affection—what more can be done for you? If affliction and prosperity have each failed to impress you, then tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on your barren heart. In such a case, isn’t the probability against your ever being saved? Isn’t it more likely that you will continue as you are until death locks the door of hope forever? Do you cringe at this thought? It is only reasonable: the person who has not washed in so many waters will in all probability go filthy to his or her end. The “convenient time” never seemed come—why should it ever come? It is logical to assume that it never will arrive and, like Felix with the apostle Paul (Acts 24:25), you will find no convenient times until you are in hell. Oh, think of what hell is, and of the dreadful possibility that you could be cast into it! Reader, if you should die unsaved, no words can picture your doom. Write out that dreaded condition in tears and blood, talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth—you will be punished with everlasting destruction, away from the glory of the Lord and from the glory of His power. I would be happy if my voice could startle you into earnestness. Oh, be wise! Be wise in time, and before another year begins, believe in Jesus who is able to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). Set apart these last hours of the year for solitary thought, and if the need of deep repentance is felt in you, that is good. If that feeling leads you to a humble faith in Jesus, that is the best of all. Oh, be sure this year doesn’t end with you in a state of unforgiveness before God. Don’t allow the celebration of the new year to surround a joyless spirit! Now, now, now believe and live.

Nothing to remotely write about concerning Spurgeon's words.   

Consider them well!  You are not promised a tomorrow.  You were never promised the next 10 minutes.   What if you found yourself before God and He asked you why He should let you into Heaven, what would you say?  Seriously, what would you say?

Know before you sleep tonight. 


THE Promise of Promises

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. John 19:30

God always finishes what He begins (Phil. 1:6). God never speaks a word without ensuring that it comes to pass (Isa. 55:11). Christ is both the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev. 1:8, 17). Christ is as much at the end of His work as He is at its beginning. Jesus was given an enormous mandate. He was to live a sinless life, remaining absolutely obedient to His Father. Even the manner of His death was to fulfill numerous prophecies that had been foretold in Scripture (Matt. 26:24, 31, 54, 56; 27:9, 35, 46; John 19:28, 36–37). Yet, despite the extremely complex assignment Jesus received from His Father, He could shout triumphantly from the cross, “It is finished!” Christ now resides within each believer. His assignment today is to complete God's will in each Christian. He is just as determined to do this in us as He was to complete God's will for Himself. You will have to resist Christ in order to remain out of the will of God. What is it God wants to do in you? Have you allowed Him to complete what He has begun? He will not force you to receive all that He has for your life. If God's work has not been brought to fruition in you, it is not that Christ has not been diligently working toward that end. Rather, you may need to release areas of your life to Him and be as determined to see God 's work in you completed as Christ is. Review the things God has said to you over this last year. Are there promises God has made to you that you have refused to allow Him to complete? If so, commit to yield your will to God today.

There are many thousands of fulfilled prophecies in the Bible.  Still hundreds yet to be, but are coming true each year.  Still also true are the promises of God. 

Consider Blackaby's opening remarks.  

God always finishes what He begins. 
Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega. 
Jesus is who He said He was. 

So what does that mean for you?  It means that if you are on the fence today about whether or not to believe all that 'Jesus stuff' consider it well that your doubts in this end of the year are what WILL determine if you spend eternity in Heaven or in the Lake of Fire.  

The choice indeed is yours to make. But wisdom isn't far away when deciding.  We can choose to ignore problems or situations or we can choose to do something about them.   

Jesus is at the door of your heart pleading to you to let Him in.  

Read well this from Spurgeon:

On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” John 7:37 NKJV 

Patience had her perfect work in the Lord Jesus, and until the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles He pleaded with the Jews—just as, on this last day of the year, He pleads with us and waits to be gracious to us. The longsuffering of the Savior in bearing with some of us year after year, in spite of our provocation, rebellion, and resistance to His Holy Spirit is indeed admirable. Wonder of wonders that we are still in the land of mercy! Pity expressed itself most plainly, for Jesus cried out, which implies not only the loudness of His voice but the tenderness of His tone. He pleads with us to be reconciled. “We implore you,” the apostle Paul said, “as though God were making his appeal through us” (2 Corinthians 5:20). What earnest, compassionate terms these are! How deep the love that makes the Lord weep over sinners, like a mother wooing His children to His embrace! Surely, at the call of a cry like that, our hearts should come willingly. Provision is made in abundance—everything a person would need to quench his or her soul’s thirst is given. To the human conscience, Jesus’s atonement brings peace; to the understanding, the gospel brings the richest instruction; to the heart, the person of Jesus is the noblest object of affection; to the whole person, the truth as it is found in Jesus supplies the purest nourishment. Thirst is terrible, but Jesus can remove it. Even if the soul were utterly famished, Jesus could restore it. Proclamation is made freely, so that every thirsty person is welcome. No distinction other than thirst is made. Whether it is the thirst of avarice, ambition, pleasure, knowledge, or rest, the one who suffers is invited. The thirst itself may be a bad thing, utterly lacking in grace—a mark of inordinate sin longing to be gratified with deeper drafts of lust. But it is not goodness in the creature that brings the invitation—the Lord Jesus sends it freely, without respect of persons. Personality is declared most fully. Sinners must come to Jesus—not to their own works, or to rules or doctrines, but to a personal Redeemer who “himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). The bleeding, dying, rising Savior is the only star of hope to a sinner. Oh, for the grace to come and drink now, before the sun sets on the year’s last day! There is no hint of waiting or preparation in this verse. Drinking is an activity for which no special ability is required. A fool, a thief, a prostitute can drink; so sinfulness of character is no hindrance to this invitation to believe in Jesus. We don’t need a golden cup or jewel-encrusted chalice to carry this water to the thirsty—needy people are welcome to stoop down and gulp the flowing flood. Blistered, leprous, filthy lips are allowed to touch the stream of divine love—they cannot pollute it, but will themselves be purified. Jesus is the fountain of hope. Dear reader, hear the dear Redeemer’s loving voice as He cries out to each of us: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”

We are indeed the most stubborn of all His Creation.  

Adam and Eve had perfect bodies.  Perfect brains.  Yet still decided to listen to the doubts implanted by Satan.  

We all crave something that we cannot put a finger on describing.  It's there, gnawing at the back of our minds.  We often spend a lifetime trying to find a name for it.  We often spend a lifetime trying everything to quench it.  Quench?  Hmmm.  Is that hitting close to your answer?

We try everything to be happy.  People in power try to regulate it for their gain.  But we all try to find that certain kind of happiness that fulfills that thirst.  Thirst?


"There’s a natural spring that rises on the east side of the city of Jerusalem. In ancient times it was the city’s only water supply and was located outside the walls. Thus it was the point of Jerusalem’s greatest vulnerability. The exposed spring meant that the city, otherwise impenetrable, could be forced to surrender if an attacker were to divert or dam the spring.

King Hezekiah addressed this weakness by driving a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the spring into the city where it flowed into the “Lower Pool” (see 2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:2–4). But in all of this, Hezekiah “did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago” (Isaiah 22:11). Planned what?

God Himself “planned” the city of Jerusalem in such a way that its water supply was unprotected. The spring outside the wall was a constant reminder that the inhabitants of the city must depend solely on Him for their salvation.

Can it be that our deficiencies exist for our good? Indeed, the apostle Paul said that he would “boast” in his limitations, because it was through weakness that the beauty and power of Jesus was seen in him (2 Corinthians 12:9–10). Can we then regard each limitation as a gift that reveals God as our strength?" Our Daily Bread for December 31st 2019

There are promises of God.  Some may regard them as unfair.  Or even limiting our choices.  No...consider how you decide what is truth.  You are not trying to consider if you are not sifting the information in front of you.  God has said He has indeed put information in front of all mankind.  Including the tribed on this world that have never seen technology or any advanced form of civilization.  They will see it in their own way.  In your life it's the same.  God WILL show you truth, but as Scripture says it, it's up to you to accept it.  

Believing people are indeed everywhere.  Unfortunately like Scripture points out even Demons believe, and shudder.  They have the fortitude to at least shudder at the power and magnitude of God.  Humans, not so much.  Believing doesn't get you very far.  Trusting is necessary.  Believing and trusting is like water.  You can see it. You can't taste it, but you know it's there. You know it can quench your thirst.  Here we are again with quench and thirst. 

God has something in mind for many people with today's blog. It doesn't even seem to flow even to me.  But as a man once shared about another man who had been resisting coming to Christ, sometimes it's only a missing piece that is needed to say yes to Jesus and open the door. 

We all have limits in our lives.  Not one person who has ever lived has had a perfect life.  Not even Jesus?  Do you consider a life where Satan is actively trying to kill you a perfect life?  Do you consider how much evil was trying to beat Him into submission a sign of a perfect life?  Being God and man, He knew the heart of every man and woman He met. How perfect do you think it was to know that much about every single person you would encounter?

His death was hardly a sign of a perfect life.  His Resurrection certainly was though.  

You will never find perfection in this life. We live in a sin cursed world.  There is no climate change happening.  There is preparations being made for one event. 

The return of Christ. 

The world, though sin cursed, obeys Jesus.  It's making itself ready for the events in Revelation, Ezekiel, Daniel and other parts of the Bible.  

The promise of His coming is the most important of promises.  Because it applies to both believers and unbelievers.  Both will immediately know He kept it. 

Those in rebellion throughout the book of Revelation KNOW.  Yet they choose their path. 

You're hungering and thirsting. We all are.  Putting your finger on the what is the problem. 

What are you hungering and thirsting for? 

Jesus spoke of a perfect peace. Not as the world sees it but as He offers it. The woman at the well understood it after meeting with Jesus.  You too can understand it if only you would open the door of your heart and let Jesus in. 

Quit searching for things in this world to fill that thirst.  Joy is found in this life but often is short lived. Joy in Jesus is for eternity.  It promises never to run out. 

Think today on this last day of 2019.  After midnight this year will be no more. After this moment of reading this, that moment will be no more.  

God brought you to reading this blog because He knew you needed to read it.

Jesus loves you. He doesn't want a life separate from you. It's you who chooses a life separate from Him.  

Come to Christ today.  Open your heart today.  Quench your thirst today. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Save Me!

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:5-8 NASB

"and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life."  Revelation 21:27 NASB

When God repeats Himself pay attention, pay close attention. He repeats because we are a stubborn lot.

Look at the beginning.  All the judgments that had been necessary were complete.  King Jesus was sitting on His Throne. 

Look at who will be there and who will not be.  In Chapter 20 of Revelation there's the statement that only those whose names were written in the Lamb's book of Life are saved.  Only them.  Now, we see that these are the Bride of Christ.  Dressed in all white in all purity.  

Then comes the repeated part. 

"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."  This further tells you who isn't going to be there.  With Salvation, comes sanctification. All the old sinful things believers did that they were forgiven of are gone forever.  Only what they are seen as being in Christ is what's left.

What we saw in 1 Corinthians 6 are mentioned here again.  "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God."

Those who are saved, found in the Lamb's book of Life, are the sanctified.  But what does it mean to remember no more?

When God looks upon a person who is saved, whose sins are all washed away, all God sees is Jesus.  These things are so far removed that they are as far as the east is from the west.  He is God, but in light of Christ, chooses to remember their sins non more.  

I believe in the Rapture of the Church.  That as eluded to in Scripture, there is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  See the book of Romans on that.  So I do believe as many do that the events in Revelation are for the world and Israel.  In the book of Daniel 70 weeks or years as prophecies go are appointed to Israel. 69 are complete.  1 week of years remains.  The 7 years mentioned in Revelation. 

What we are living through right now is what the Bible says is the times of the Gentiles.  That after this time is fulfilled, Christ will come for His Church. 

So what's keeping Him?  Christ Himself said that no man knows the day nor the hour of His return.  But He did say what will be happening in this world that leads up to it.  Look in the book of Luke.   Again, what's keeping Him? 

Jesus will not return until the very last person who is going to be saved is saved. 

I believe that the end of this age of the Church will end as it began.  The thief on the cross was promised he would be with Jesus in Paradise.  No theological seminary, no training in witnessing to others, no missions trips.  No teaching of a Sunday School class.  No chance to serve.  I believe that when this last person is saved, in that moment, the Rapture will happen. 

Interesting is that choice is in your hands.

My dear reader, you may indeed be living in very different places than I.  By the scope of where this blog reaches across the world, I know not if one of you is that person.  I only know that God began His work in me decades ago and continues it today.  To share His message of hope and Salvation.  In God's eyes your past is forgiven and forgotten.  You can have a new life in Christ. 

The only difference between the saved and unsaved is Christ.  That Scripture in Corinthians says "as were some of you".

All those who are in Christ long for the day when we get to be with Jesus face-to-face. 

Jesus said to be encouraged, in this world we will have troubles. But to remember He overcame the world. 

Evil is indeed on the rise.  Satan always has someone ready to be his Antichrist.  Someone ready to become a tool of his to take over the world.  Evil is not more powerful than Good.  In this time in human history Satan just has more tools than he ever did since the Great Flood in the book of Genesis.  

But regardless of his desires, the desire of Christ is that none would perish but that all would be saved.  He doesn't want people to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire!  But, He also loves us enough to put that choice in OUR hands. 

Unlike the horror stories of the Titanic, where the builder's of it never intended everyone to be saved in the event of a disaster, every single person who has ever lived, has a life raft at the ready, just for them.  Jesus is there, pleading with people to take it.  What's this? You say that's not true?  No one's told you?  My dear reader, yes, it's true.  To delay the point no further, I am pleading with you to not put it off any further.  Throughout your life, Jesus has put someone before you or near you that could or would share with you how to be saved.  

"As were some of you."  Were. Not are. Were. But I don't understand, how could Jesus forgive me?  Does He have any idea, any clue what I have done?  Dear reader, He knew you before you were born. He has seen everything you have ever done. Known every thought you have ever had.  
Yet still chooses to offer you His Salvation. 

Romans 10:8-11 "But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 

This may be your first time finding this blog.  I implore you consider what it is that God is saying to your heart.  Jesus is at the door of your heart knocking, but this door can only be opened from your side. 

I write because I am told to and that I don't want to see any condemned to the Lake of Fire.  I write because Christ first loved me, as He first loved you He wants you to know that.

Your life raft is waiting...

Sunday, December 29, 2019

WHY did they get MAD?

"but the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 8:12 NASB

"In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out." Luke 13:28 NASB

"The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" Matthew 13:41-42 NASB

"So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 13:49-50 NASB

“But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he *said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:11-14 NASB

"the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 24:50-51 NASB

"Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matthew 25:30 NASB

"And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire."  Revelation 20:12-15 NASB

Read those first 7 passages carefully.  Go one step further. Go read the rest of the chapter around each one.  THEN read the part from Revelation. 

People get mad at people because of saying something or not saying something.  For doing something or not doing something.  

If we find ourselves repeating ourselves that is fuel on the fire to the smoldering anger at others when we ourselves chose incorrectly.  

Yes I said we.  We blame others before we take the blame ourselves.  It began with Adam and Eve.  Then they both turned on God!

I promise you that these people will be both blaming others and God for the guilty verdict against them. 

Breaking News:  God is the Creator of the Universe.  He sets the rules. We are not. 

But realizing all too late that you were so close to Salvation but you threw it away, THAT is a huge part of why there's weeping here.  Crying because they said no.  They want a do over.  They just needed a second chance.  Look at the story of the Rich man and Lazarus.  It's spelled out plainly that there are no second chances after death. 

Scripture also says it is appointed for man once to die, then comes the judgment. 

Look it up.  It's there.

I would you rather know and have a solid chance to be saved and be mad at me for that, than to watch you be with countless trillions of others who are not found in the book of Life.  

They weep because they have no hope. 
Consider it well that Jesus made sure it was repeated SEVEN times! SEVEN!

Those raging in anger at this same place refuse to acknowledge the authority of Jesus.  Yet they too will kneel down and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. 

Don't waste another moment, please don't!

For God so loved YOU that He gave His only begotten Son, that if YOU believe in Him, YOU will not perish but have everlasting life. 

He became the sacrifice necessary to save YOU.  

Please make sure today that you know where you are going!

"But the righteousness based on faith speaks as follows: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).”  But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” Romans 10:6-11 NASB

Salvation is just that...to be saved from a pending trial.  Will you have Jesus defend you or will you attempt to represent yourself?  Remember the old saying, which is imminently true, he who defends himself has a fool for a client. 

Please consider your life today.  It may be going bad or good right now.  Could be full of stress or not.  

If you want life and a hope, come to Christ today.  

The book of Life....MATTERS!

And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.  Revelation 20:12-15 NASB

How many times has it happened to you that by some slight thing, misdirection or slight of hand, you were caught unawares?
In an instant you were facing the full blown embarrassment of your situation?

It's horrendous.  It's horrific.  It's something that will likely never leave your mind for very long. 

What about a life lived that was wasted?

Oh, we are quick to look on others and in a cursory moment decide we fully understand or understand just enough to say this or that person's life is bad.

Let's go back to the truth.  Truth is your life isn't all that great either if you are not saved in Christ.  You know there is a book being written about you?

Read Revelation 20 again.  A book is being written of every second of your life.  Every single truth about what motivated you to think or act, regardless of what you will try to explain away is there.  Every. Single. Moment. 

So you say you're a good and decent person!  Matters not if your name isn't written in the book of Life.  

Read it again.  Every single person has a book written of them.  But in the end, the last verse of that passage mattered.

"And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." 

You see, if you are a bad person or a good person, outside of the book of Life, you are the same. 

Only if you have come to Christ and are saved by His Grace, only then is your name written down in the book of Life.  

What comes after that changes how your story is written.  After that, what is written is filtered by forgiveness.  It's written with the Author and perfector of our faith in mind. 

But, if you haven't received the Salvation of Jesus Christ, you are wasting your life.  Every so-called good thing you do, no matter what it is, isn't enough to get your name written down in the book of Life. 

Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father but through Him. 

Jesus said that He is the door.  You can't enter Heaven without His permission. 

That permission has a requirement.  Salvation.  

So look on into 2020. Look all you want. 

If you haven't been paying attention, events of this world are quickly headed towards Christ returning.  No prophecy of Scripture has ever been broken.  
If you are one of those who are old enough, you may have heard the condition of the truthfulness of a statement as "you can take that to the bank".  With every single letter, every single truth of the Bible will come true.  

So know today, my dear reader, spread this word, if indeed you are a believer:

Jesus is coming back. 

Will your name be found in the book of Life?  Make sure today!  Read the rest of the book.  There are no second chances after you die.  None.  The accounting book of your life is closed at death. 

Will your name be found?  

Saturday, December 28, 2019

As One Approved...not by Others

I will not forget you! Isaiah 49:15

Egged on by my children to prove I’d endured years mastering the basics of piano, I sat down and started playing the C Major scale. Having played very little piano in nearly two decades, I was surprised I remembered! Feeling brave, I proceeded to play seven different scales by heart one right after the other. I was shocked! Years of practicing had imprinted the notes and technique so deeply in my fingers’ “memory” that they instantly knew what to do.  

There are some things that can never be forgotten. But God’s love for His children is far more deeply imprinted than any of our fading memories—in fact, God can’t forget them. This is what the Israelites needed to hear when the exile left them feeling abandoned by Him (Isaiah 49:14). His response through Isaiah was unequivocal: “I will not forget you!” (v. 15). God’s promise to care for His people was more certain than a mother’s love for her child.

To assure them of His unchanging love, He gave them a picture of His commitment: “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (v. 16). It’s a beautiful image of God’s constant awareness of His children; their names and faces always before Him.

Still today, we can easily feel overlooked and forgotten. How comforting to remember that we’re “etched” on God’s hands—always remembered, cared for, and loved by our Father. - Our Daily Bread for today, December 28th 2019

For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends. 2 Corinthians 10:18 

It is common for all of us to seek approval for our actions. As children, we longed for the affirmation of our parents. As we grew older, we also valued the opinions of our friends, colleagues, and employers. At times, the esteem of others can claim such importance that it becomes our way to measure our worth as a person. But Paul said that he was not striving to obtain the approval of people. Some of his critics thought their criticisms could determine what he did. Yet these same people were praising themselves for their own opinions and behavior. They were seeking the approval of others, and they were receiving it. Jesus said that those who seek to gain the approval of other people “have their own reward”(Matt. 6:2–5). Paul, too, realized that achieving the praise of others is not difficult, but earning God's approval is a far greater accomplishment. The affirmation “Well done!”that Jesus received from the Father became Paul's goal as well (2 Tim. 2:3–5). Paul knew that self-approval is not hard to attain. Paul himself had once been pleased with his own life, until he came to realize that the righteousness he was so proud of was mere rubbish in the kingdom of God (Phil. 3:8). After his conversion, Paul understood that God's evaluation of his actions was what mattered, not his own opinion of himself. Whose opinion matters most to you? The commendation that matters most is the one that comes from God. The pleasure that your life gives to God should be your motivation to live righteously. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

I confess that for much of my life, most of my life, that the approval of others meant a great deal to me.  It's exactly as Blackaby put it.  We grow up craving it from parents, then are taught in some form to seek it from others in order to gauge our self worth. 

Certainly this is the farthest from the truth. 

I have told, rather flippantly, several in recent months of not caring concerning certain things in my life.  It's not that I didn't care, I just didn't care.  

It's not to attribute it to being unfeeling or truly numb towards situations or people, because it's not. 

What is it then?  It's that I think I am learning that the only one who's opinion matters, the only one whom I look to for approval, is Jesus.  I don't need the approval of anyone else.  In Revelation we read of Jesus, the faithful and true witness, saying "Well done".  It doesn't read, "Well done. Based on the personal interviews of those who you knew in life plus my own recommendation..."

It means that only one person is the important one to seek approval from. 

Paul got it right after learning it himself.  Like Paul, it's taken most of my life to get it. 

We all take cues from those around us. Of continuing a conversation or ending it, based on reactions. 

Look at Paul's writing.  He got past that really quick.  He would rather let the truth be heard (since in those days the letters he wrote were read aloud publicly) than to try to spare feelings.  

We have all read or watched settings in a courtroom.  At times witnesses are pleading with the Judge to let someone go.  Or when the bad guys are cornered into confession.  Emotions run rampant when there's no where to go or when the truth screams to be told of how someone feels. 

In the court of God, all men are found guilty of sin.  Only those who have received Salvation through Jesus Christ have Him as their Defender in Court.  The verdict is read.  We who are relying on Him, stand at that moment.  Hear the verdict of "guilty as charged". Then Jesus steps out from behind the table and says "Judge, this one is one of Mine. I take his place."  

Think on that one scene very hard.

If you haven't received the free gift of Salvation through Jesus Christ alone, you will be trying to defend yourself.  History records one of the greatest statements on that one point.  "He who defends himself in Court has a fool for a client."

Jesus did all the work to save. He died and arose again.  Sits at the right hand of His Father.  

Our approval should only come from Him.

Remove and Replace.  That's how you improve your life.  Remove the things you do or things you have and replace with right actions and right stuff.  Even if it means taking a loss on it.  Scripture says 'cast away from you'. Other places say to burn it.  Still others, to destroy it.

Take every thought captive.  

This is a process.  Not a destination. 

Live your life seeking the approval of Jesus and you will find a deeper relationship with Jesus.  

Seek the approval of others and you will leave Jesus standing and waiting. 

Look at your life today. Look to see just what is really important.  Because if your life is full of stuff that isn't, it means you are telling Jesus He's not that important to you after all.  He died for you but this or that is more important.  Watch your thoughts. As the movie quote goes your thoughts can betray you. 

Seek a deeper relationship with Jesus.  I promise you, you won't be disappointed. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

His Direction Our Joy

Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalms 119:133

At the BBC in London, Paul Arnold’s first broadcasting job was making “walking sounds” in radio dramas. While actors read from scripts during a walking scene, Paul as stage manager made corresponding sounds with his feet—careful to match his pace to the actor’s voice and spoken lines. The key challenge, he explained, was yielding to the actor in the story, “so the two of us were working together.”  - Our Daily Bread for today, December 27 2019

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5 

Attitudes do not just happen; we choose them. Paul urged believers to have the same attitude that Jesus had. Jesus was the Son of God. His place was at the right hand of His Father, ruling the universe. No position could be more glorious. Jesus’relationship with the Father gave Him the right to this honor. But Jesus chose not to hold on to this right. Nothing, not even His position in heaven, was so precious to Him that He could not give it up if His Father asked Him. His love for His Father compelled Him to make any sacrifice necessary in order to be obedient to Him. When the Father required a spotless sacrifice for the redemption of humanity, Jesus did not cling to His rights; nor did He argue that He should not have to suffer for the sins of rebellious creatures of dust (Isa. 53:7). Rather, He relinquished the glory of His heavenly existence in order to become a man. He was born in a cattle shed; He slept in a feeding trough. His life was spent preparing for the day when He would suffer an excruciating execution. All of this He did willingly. We are tempted to hold tightly to things God has given us. We say, “I would be willing to give up anything God asked of me, but I just don’t think He would ask me to give anything up!”The Father asked His Son to make radical adjustments in His life. Can we not expect that He will ask us to sacrifice privileges and comforts as well? If you find yourself resisting every time God seeks to adjust your life to His will, ask the Spirit to give you the same selfless attitude that Jesus demonstrated.
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Read well these two parts.  I have often shared a picture of Jesus kneeling before a child.  His hand outstretched. Beckoning the child to give Him what was in her hand.  Her beloved doll.  Behind His back was a more resplendent doll. He was asking her to trust Him. He has something better in mind.  But first she needs to let go. 

How often do we miss the boat? 
How often are we so concerned by what's in our hands that we miss what God's trying to do through us?  In this I am imminently guilty.  Are you?

How often do we get so comfortable in our situations, that, when God asks something special of us, we don't go and do?

To learn to be a Disciple means to literally walk in the same footsteps of our Master. 

Like the story from Our Daily Bread.  It's exactly that.  To take up His yolk is to join ourselves in what Jesus is doing.  A Yolk ties two or more together to intentionally go the same way at the same time. 

The second part is all on us.

Our attitude. 

We have two to choose from.  Out of all the emotions we only have two? You ask.

Yes.  There's willingly and unwillingly. 

We can do it because God said so or we can not do it because God said so. 

But, I can tell you from experience, the second hurts worse.  Look at Jonah. 
He was told to go and do.  He ran away and tried to hide.  Didn't work out so well. 
He did it on the second time being told. 

Name one person who ever regretted obeying God.  Just one.  I'll wait...as the social media response goes.

Our fears get in our way.  It's not a gospel song but the title fits. "I'm always getting in my way."

We have a sin nature that hates to obey God.  We have this from birth.  The Holy Spirit in a believer combats it daily.   But in the end it's up to the believer to choose. 

To choose their attitude.
To choose to obey. 
To choose...well...many things fit into this. But you get the picture. 

Joshua has a famous part in the Bible. 

Choose this day whom you will serve...as for me and my House, we will serve the Lord. 

Our choices begin the moment our eyes open from sleep.  Our sin nature attacks from the moment our eyes open from sleep.  Choice begins then.

Your word have I written in my heart that I might not sin against you.  As it is written. 

The more exposure we have to obedience and trust the more we find our footsteps aligned with those of our Master. 

Think about these things today. 

Your sin nature is smoke and mirrors compared to the power of God.  It may look ominous and foreboding but it's no match.  We choose to obey.  That's up to us.  We likewise choose the consequences.  So don't get upset with God if you choose incorrectly and there's a price to pay. 

Check your attitude often. 
Obey always. 

Watch what God will do.  
Get in step with your Savior. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

God's Plans...have His Attention

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 1:37 

The angel Gabriel told Mary that God was planning to do something humanly impossible. All human logic would agree that a virgin could not give birth to a child. It was impossible. Yet this is exactly what was to happen. When God speaks of doing the impossible, it is no longer absurd. When was the last time God did the impossible in your life ? When was the last time God spoke to you about what He wanted to do and you were scared to death by its magnitude? God still does the impossible! Too often we acknowledge our belief that God can do whatever He wants; then we add a safety clause: “But I just don’t think God will do that with me!”We become practical atheists, believing that God can perform miracles but never expecting a miracle in our own lives. God wanted to bring salvation to all of humanity. It is critical that Mary not only believed God could perform a miracle, but also adjusted her life to the awesome work He planned to do through her. The difference between a Christian and a moral person is the divine. The difference between a church and a social club is the miraculous. Some can duplicate the morality of a Christian, but no one can reproduce the miraculous that should be a part of the Christian experience. Do you believe that nothing is impossible for God? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

"It is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8

In The Call of Service, author Robert Coles, exploring our reasons for serving, tells the moving story of an older woman’s service to others. As a bus driver, she showed great care toward the children she drove to school each day—quizzing them on homework and celebrating their successes. “I want to see these kids make it in life,” she said of her motivation. But there was another reason too.
As a youth, the words of an aunt had shaken this woman to the core. “She’d tell us that we had to do something God would notice,” she told Coles, “or else we’d get lost in the big shuffle!” Worried at the prospect of hell after the “big shuffle” of judgment, this woman had devised ways to “get God’s attention”—going to church so “He’d see me being loyal” and working hard to serve others so God might “hear from others what I was doing.”
I grieved reading her words. How had this dear woman never known that she already had God’s attention? (Matthew 10:30). How had she not heard that Jesus took care of the big shuffle for us, offering freedom from judgment forever? (Romans 8:1). How had she missed that salvation can’t be bought with good deeds but is a gift to anyone who believes? (Ephesians 2:8–9).
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection take care of our future with God and set us free to serve others with joy.

Why is it easy to mistakenly believe you must do good things to be accepted by God? How does understanding the gospel help you to love others better?

God, help me to trust that You’ve done what’s needed for me to be accepted by You.

- Our Daily Bread for December 26th 2019

A once very popular television show had a character who, with a big grin on his face, after a successful event,  would say "I love it when a plan comes together!"

I would imagine that in Heaven, Angels might say the same when we obey and the result that God said would happen, happens.   It was interesting that two of the 3 devotionals that I read this morning tied together so well. 

Believing in the impossible, when it's God behind it, should indeed be a part of our daily life. Also too, look to the other devotional.  We don't need to figure out what works we do in order to get our lives right before God.   

The two devotionals really do work together.  Our lives will undoubtedly have impossible moments in them.  Moments where if the hand of God wasn't there, then man, it was NOT happening.  Add to that thought, we don't need to create moments either.  Our lives are meant to be us JOINING God in the works He has prepared in advance for us to do.

That's what Scripture says.  We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them. Ephesians 2:10.

It's very easy to get caught up in the moment and think we have to be that child of God that needs to do great things to get God's attention. 

I know.  Been there done that, wasted much of my life along the way because I took my life in a direction that wasn't His Plan but mine.  

But He stayed with me.  Like the children of Israel in the wilderness, slowly we got back around to where He was going to take me in the first place.

But I think God, today, really wants the ending prayer of that Our Daily Bread moment to be read and understood. 

"God, help me to trust that You’ve done what’s needed for me to be accepted by You."

We seem to think that we must do this or do that or we won't keep the Salvation that Jesus gave us. 

You cannot do or not do anything to lose what you had nothing to do with!  The ONLY part of Salvation you had a part of was your asking for it.  You and I were born into sin.  It was and is a part of us since Adam and Eve.  The process of Salvation that is Sanctification is God making us more like Him.  Read that closely.  He makes...He does.  Scripture says He removes our sin stains, sinful clothes, washes us, gives us new clothes. He.  Not us. Not we. He.  The adoption process is a done deal.  Covenants with God cannot be broken.  Read your Bible. 
They may be delayed at times but, unlike man, God doesn't break His Word. 
This isn't to say we gain a license to run off and do what we want.  An adopted child learns from the one who adopted him or her.  They learn what is expected of them.  What will no longer be tolerated and what benefits come with their new life. 

Blackaby writes, "The difference between a Christian and a moral person is the divine. The difference between a church and a social club is the miraculous. Some can duplicate the morality of a Christian, but no one can reproduce the miraculous that should be a part of the Christian experience."

Many, many people believe that God wouldn't send them to Hell because they were good people. Read your Bible.  No where does it say if you were good enough that you get a pass on this life.  If being good enough was enough then Jesus did what He did for nothing!

Look at it from His perspective!  For Him to leave Heaven, be born as Humans are born.  Be helpless.  Grow up as a human.  Live a sinless life.  Be mocked, scourged, whipped, beaten, nailed to a cross.  Hung on a mountain side for all to see to die before men.  Only to find out later, oh wow. People could be good enough on their own!  I didn't have to go through all that??

Truth is...yes...He went through all that. 

Truth is...no He didn't react that way. 

Truth is...God the Father's plan was absolutely necessary because no man or woman born could or would be good enough.

We needed His intervention. We needed Jesus to do what only He could do to save us. To make a way for us to be saved.  

Mankind will always want to believe he or she is good enough to be accepted by God.  Yet countless trillions will stand before God to find out they were not.

Don't be one of those!  Come to Christ today on His terms.  Find out what life really is about.  He has a life planned for you with Him.  Believe the impossible, that you can be made clean of your sin.  

Life was meant to be lived in a right relationship with Jesus. The absolute best friend you will ever want or need.  The author and perfecter of our faith.  The only one who loved you enough to die for you. 

"He took my place" by Charlie Pride is perhaps my most favorite song next to "Trust and Obey".  Look up the song.  Look them both up. 

Let today be the day you are walking with Him the way He intended for you.  

Stop beating yourself up over sin He already forgave you of, if you indeed have been saved by Jesus.  There's nothing there from His perspective.  

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

What Child is this?

What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?

Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King, Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;

Haste, haste, to bring Him laud, The Babe, the Son of Mary.

What Child? 

And He shall be called...

Advocate  -  1 John 2:1

Lamb of God  -  John 1:29

The Resurrection & the Life -  John 11:25

Shepherd and Bishop of Souls - 1 Peter 2:25

Judge  -  Acts 10:42

Lord of Lords  - 1 Timothy 6:15

Man of Sorrows - Isaiah 53:3

Head of the Church - Ephesians 5:23

Master  - Matthew 8:19

Faithful and True Witness  - Revelation 3:14

Rock  - 1 Corinthians 10:4

High Priest  - Hebrews 6:20

The Door  - John 10:9

Living Water  - John 4:10

Bread of Life  - John 6:35

Rose of Sharon  - Song of Solomon 2:1

Alpha and Omega  - Revelation 22:13

True Vine - John 15:1

Messiah - Daniel 9:25

Teacher - John 3:2

Holy One - Mark 1:24

Mediator - 1 Timothy 2:5

The Beloved - Ephesians 1:6

Branch - Isaiah 11:1

Carpenter - Mark 6:3

Good Shepherd - John 10:11

Light of the World - John 8:12

Image of the Invisible God - Colossians 1:15

The Word - John 1:1

Chief Cornerstone - Ephesians 2:20

Savior - John 4:42

Servant - Matthew 12:18

Author & Finisher of our faith - Hebrews 12:2

The Almighty - Revelation 1:8

Everlasting Father - Isaiah 9:6

Shiloh - Genesis 49:10

Lion of the Tribe of Judah - Revelation 5:5

I AM - John 8:58

King of Kings - 1 Timothy 6:15

Prince of Peace - Isaiah 9:6

Bridegroom - Matthew 9:15

Only Begotten Son - John 3:16

Wonderful Counselor - Isaiah 9:6

Immanuel - Matthew 1:23

Son of Man - Matthew 20:28

Dayspring - Luke 1:78

The Amen - Revelation 3:14

King of the Jews - Mark 15:26

Prophet - Matthew 21:11

Redeemer - Job 19:25

Anchor - Hebrews 6:19

Bright Morning Star - Revelation 22:16

The Way, the Truth & the Life - John 14:6

Jesus Christ 

In gratitude not ingratitude.

You should never have difficulty thinking of reasons why God deserves your praise. You should enjoy the times you have to praise your Lord, both privately and publicly, in worship. If your life is not filled with praise, it may be that you have lost your appreciation for God's merciful activity in your life. Never forget what God has saved you from. Never take for granted what it means to have the assurance of eternity with God. Do not disregard the spiritual kinship you enjoy with other believers. Take time often to recount the blessings He has poured out upon you and your family. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We live in a society where one moment runs into the next at a harrowing pace.  It didn't use to be in this country.  Used to be that you would find people out on their porch waving at passersby.  Would see children playing with each other.  Joy in fellowship could be found.  These days faces are stuck in tablets or phones. Impatience has given rise to ignorance. Acceptance of things that cause serious dangers in things like driving because of not wanting to curb the speed of change. 

This day is a day to stop and reflect. 

In gratitude, to praise the God of Heaven for His one and only Son, Jesus Christ. 
In gratitude, to thank God for His mercy and grace.
In gratitude, to keep looking for real, personal, ways and things to thank God for.   Not in physical possessions.  To be truthful there's absolutely no reason to thank God for things outside of how He is growing your relationship with Jesus.  Sounds rather anti-Biblical?  Yes we should thank Him for what He has provided.  But was it from our wants or from our needs? God often grants wants not because He has to, but to have us show what we really meant by asking.  Was it to further His kingdom or to temporarily give us joy?  Where do I come from? "Love not the world nor the things of this world."  Sound familiar?

We are often not grateful.  We are often showing ingratitude instead.  I see people of all ages having tantrums.  They are both Christians and non-Christians.  Whining about what they deserve.  Whining about getting what they say they don't deserve. 

Gratitude should indeed come from the heart.   What may surprise you is ingratitude also comes from the heart. Whatever is present in our hearts is what comes out of it.  Our priorities are based on what's happening in our hearts. 

Think about your motives today.  Yes you might have received gifts you wanted.  You also probably put on a false smile at recieving what you didn't want.  Be grateful for the gift of eternal life.  Everything else is just stuff.  Be happy to be with people not anxious about things like gifts.  When all is said and done, people are far more important than any thing you could receive. 

I have seen over 50 Christmases.  If pressed, I could possibly mention a few gifts received along the way.  But what often pulls at my heart is who is and isn't with me that year.  I have to remind myself that what Jesus did was most important.  
Things can be replaced.  People cannot. 
What tugs at my heart is who is and isn't saved.  I know that there are those whom I know who are still in need of a Savior.  My gift to many oftentimes is my bringing their name before God in prayer.  

It's only too late to pray for someone after they have left this world.  That is my firm belief.  It was King David's too.  

I am often distressed by the behavior of people but time and prayer tells and shows me God can make a way.  Having people that I know showing signs of distrust of me just gives me a greater reason to pray.  I may be able to help but they have to want it.

I am very grateful of that day that Jesus came and took away my sin.  That great day when He signed my adoption papers in His own blood making me a Child of God.  I am grateful for the love and discipline He provides.  For the lessons He teaches to me.  For the inexpressible joy that has come since He came into my life. 
I deserved the death penalty for my sin. He took it away.  Said that I am forgiven. Gave me new clothes to wear that show that I am now a part of His family.  He promised to someday come back for me.  I believe Him!

It's very easy to be wrapped up in ingratitude.  To be focused on pain or suffering.  To be focused on a gift you really don't like.  To be separated by distance from people you really wanted to be with.  To sulk and stew over everything you have not received.  

This year let go of it all.  Be thankful for what Jesus has done for you.  Have the attitude of gratitude.  He jumped in front of you and took your punishment for your sin.  He loves you!  Jesus loves you! Read that again. Jesus loves YOU.  Is anything really more important than that?

To All...

Merry Christmas to All.

Have read of others mentioning how different Christmas is this year.  The reality of our home is 'different' has been a part of our Christmases for years. When loved ones move, when God calls them home.  Things inevitably get 'different'.  But the thing is not all different is bad. Different only means that what you once knew as comfortable will need to be found again.  Jesus is the same.  Today, yesterday and forever.  We might not be in the health we were once in, we may not have the family or friends around us for whatever reason. But we always will have the love of God in Christ Jesus. 

It's very easy to allow bitterness and resentment into our lives but oh so difficult to remove it.  Most would be reluctant or in denial that the root of theirs is placed at Jesus's feet.  They are blaming Jesus for who is no longer with them.  Blaming Him for their failing health.  For whatever they are going through. They won't speak it but their lives reflect it.  You can easily add red food coloring to whole milk. But you can't remove it without replacing the milk.

The message of Christmas isn't in any circumstance or who is or isn't with us.

The message of Christmas is bound up in one thing.  God the Father had a plan to save His most beloved creation.  Mankind.  That Plan included sending His one and only Son in the form of a helpless baby named Jesus.  It would be Jesus who would seek and save.  He lived a perfect life, became the perfect sacrifice to take all the wrath of God on Himself on the cross.  In a few months we celebrate His crucifixion and His resurrection.  But in this day the meaning of Christmas is bound up in a child.  For God so loved You that He gave His only begotten Son that if You believe in Him you will not perish but have everlasting life. 

There will always be the Different at Christmas.  
But remember what will always be the same. 

The love of God for you stretched from Heaven to Earth.  The Father said that this is His Beloved Son, Listen to Him!

I miss many this time of year.  We all do.
I hurt in that loss as I am sure you all do as well. 

But I know that in Heaven there's celebration. 
I need to celebrate too in what they do.

There's still time to receive the gift of Salvation. 

No need to wrap it.  The joyous part is you can receive it but it's Jesus who unwraps it in your life.  He comes to you every day to remind you that He loves you and is oh so happy that He took away your sin.  

So Merry Christmas to all. Life doesn't consist of one's possessions.  Life is what we receive in Christ. Your posessions will degrade and break down in time.  In Christ you can only receive more love, more grace and more forgiveness each day.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Seeing isn't Believing

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”Luke 1:45 

In the kingdom of God, believing is a prerequisite to receiving. God spoke to Mary and gave the assurances He always gives when He assigns the impossible to His people. Everything was in place for God to act. Everything waited on Mary to believe Him. Once she believed, it was done! It takes an undivided heart to believe under such circumstances and a pure heart to see God (Matt. 5:8; Heb. 12:14). This has always been God's way with His people. Mary could not see all that had been arranged and assembled in the courts of heaven. She could not see the legions of angels prepared to protect her and her baby. She was unaware of the future and all that she and her child would face. All she knew was that God had spoken to her, and that was enough. So she responded: “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word”(Luke 1:38). When God speaks about His plans, He does so with everything already in place to fulfill His word. God never speaks hypothetically. He knows exactly what will come to pass. He simply asks you to believe Him. You will experience great blessing when you place your absolute trust in Him. Mary could not have dreamed all that would result from her faithful obedience. Likewise, you cannot possibly imagine all that God has in store for you when you trust Him. He knows exactly what He will do to bring salvation to someone you have prayed for or to heal your friend or to provide for your needs. God has everything in place. Will you believe Him? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We don't believe because we see Spiritually, we see Spiritually because we believe. 

Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?
Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” John 20:29 NASB

Singularly, in this time of year, there's a huge emphasis in Christmas stories about believing in that which we don't see or cannot see.  

Stories of a big man in a red suit traveling the world delivering presents or coal. Of his sleigh and reindeer.  Of an animated snowman.  Of...well...you get the picture (yes, the pun is intended).

The greatest thing ever in the history of the human race is only in what we who live today have never seen.  It was the birth of Jesus over 2,000 years ago.  That birth, that life, and yes, that death, have done more to impact every single human being than any other event in history.  His resurrection couldn't be stopped.  The Holy Spirit is here today because of the obedience of the Son of God. 

Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? 
Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

Really consider those words.  Why? Because, whether or not you have your head in the sand in denial, countless millions die because they believe. 

But what is so awesome about that...is not one of them tasted death. Every  single person who is a believer in Jesus Christ is immediately in His presence when they leave this world. 

How is that supposed to be uplifting and encouraging? Speaking of death and dying?  

Oh my dear reader, consider the facts! You who wish to have eyes that see!

Jesus was born at exactly the right time. 
Jesus was born in obedience. 
Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Do you know what those are? Burial clothes.  Yes, Jesus was wrapped in Joseph's burial clothes.  Nobody in that day traveled without an outfit to be buried in.  It financially took everything they had to be obedient to go to Bethlehem for this census.  Satan took em for all their money. Thinking that would be a discouragement.  So God brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Bank account went from less than zero to that of a King. 
No place to stay.  Yet where they were staying was the perfect place. Because all travelers would indeed find them.
As if those weren't enough, the Heavenly host sang out. The whole countryside heard the joyful sound. 

But still that's not the end of the story.

A bit over 33 years later Jesus was beaten, mocked, ridiculed and nailed to a cross. 

Oh, you say in your sarcasm, this is just a wonderful story at Christmas. 

Don't give up now!

After suffering and dying on a cross He didn't deserve, Jesus arose from the dead! That same hallelujah chorus rang out after He came up out of the grave! Sin was defeated! Death was defeated! 

Why? Why would Jesus do that?

You ask the question. 
You are the answer. 

He went through the pain, the agony, even the separation from His Father...all for you. 

Now, here's your catch, here's your choice. 

All it takes is believing in what you haven't seen in order to gain what could never be yours without doing so.  

Salvation is free. The gift of Salvation has been paid for in the blood of Jesus. 

I don't know about you, but believing in Jesus, in what He did for real, to save me, is far more important than stories of a big man in a red suit or a talking snowman. 

This time of year is among the loneliest. 
People really see who cares and who doesn't.  We are reminded of those who are no longer with us.  We look differently on those who still are.

Share the real story of Christmas this year. 

Share what great things God has done for you.  

If He hasn't yet...ask Him! His gift is for you. 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Growing closer...choice.

“Friend, move up higher.” Luke 14:10 ESV

 When the life of grace first begins in the soul, we certainly draw near to God—but it is with great fear and trembling. The soul that is conscious of guilt, and humbled by it, is overawed with the seriousness of its position—it is forced to bow by a sense of the grandeur of Jehovah, in whose presence it stands. With genuine humility, it takes the lowest place. But as Christians grow in grace, though they will never forget the solemnity of their position or lose the holy awe that envelops believers when they are in the presence of God, their fear has lost all its terror. It has become a holy reverence rather than an overshadowing dread. They are called up higher, to greater access to God in Christ Jesus. The people of God walk amid the splendors of Deity and veil their faces like the glorious cherubim, with their twin wings. Covered with the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, they will reverently and humbly approach the throne, seeing there a God of love, goodness, and mercy. They will recognize the promise-making character of God rather than His absolute Deity. They will see in God His goodness more than His greatness, His love more than His majesty. Then believing souls, bowing just as humbly as before, will enjoy a more sacred freedom of intercession. While prostrate before the glory of the infinite God, these souls will be sustained by the refreshing consciousness of being in the presence of boundless mercy and infinite love, by the realization of acceptance “in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). This is how believers are called to “move up higher,” enabled to exercise their privilege of rejoicing in God and drawing near to Him in holy confidence, saying, “Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). 

So may we go from strength to strength, And daily grow in grace, Till in thine image raised at length, We see thee face to face. “Lord, Thou Hast Promised to Baptize,” Baptist W. Noel (1853)
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I have read it myself, have encountered those who have experience in it...and at times I wonder if the changes that I see in me is maybe maturity. 

As odd as it may sound and after almost three quarters of a year of posts...I do wonder about my feelings. 

God continues to show me things, teach me things about Himself and both what's happening now and is coming.  

Changing priorities is huge. We choose what's important to us.  We choose to follow God or not.  There are some who wonder about how all powerful God is if all that is happening in the world is apparently out of His control. 

No, this world, this Universe isn't out of His control.

God created the Heavens and the Earth and all that is in it. He already had created the Spirit world.  But with mankind, He gave choice to.  Adam was given the choice on what to call every living thing that the Lord Jesus created.  Imagine that!  Adam up to this point was in perfect fellowship with Jesus. 
Even with the rules established by God, choice was in Adam and Eve's hands. 
When the Lord Jesus chose Israel as a people for His own possession, choice was still in their hands to follow Him. 
But, you ask, what about all that God did to them for their disobedience?  Go back to the beginning.  The Lord established a covenant with Abraham.  A binding agreement. As both we know growing up, parents have every right to establish how we are to be.  God has every right to hold Israel to their covenant.  Right now we live in a time when that covenant is on hold. Another is in place.  God isn't willing, isn't desiring of anyone to perish. He doesn't like nor want anyone to spend eternity separated from Himself.  But...the choice is in the hands of all who live. 

We choose to follow or not.
We choose the degree of our depth of our walk.

However, Jesus had every right to adjust our priorities.  To help us make better choices. Why? Because He loves us too much to leave us as we were found.  So change happens.  Both because we need it and it's His plan for us.

Inevitably we are fearful of change.  Anyone who says otherwise isn't being truthful with themselves.  But there indeed comes a time when we realize it's ok.  The fear subsides. What's weird for us is that we have been so used to being fearful we don't know what to do with the absence of it.  

Jesus said He would provide a peace that is different from what the world calls peace.  I have heard it called numbness.  It's not necessarily that I think.  But rather it's this peace of God. We aren't fearful anymore because our relationship in Christ is growing the way the Lord intended. 

Look at your life today.  This Christmas is the most perfect time to choose to get your relationship with Jesus going in the right direction.  Jesus came to seek and save. If indeed you have become one of the found, nurture and grow that relationship.  Remove things from your life that aren't important to your relationship with Jesus.  It's that simple to start. 
Replace them with something He approves of.  It's vital to replace immediately. 
Or you will be discouraged and disappointed and go right back to your old ways. 

I don't speak of any wisdom within myself.  I can only speak of what God's doing and telling me to say.  Choice is yours.  

Sunday, December 22, 2019

THE Gift meant for You!

There is no eraser on the writing instrument of God that is used to write the name of the one who comes to Jesus for Salvation. 

Those names are written in the ink of the blood of Jesus. 

Think about that.  The lasting proof that you can't unsave you. You cannot truly come to Christ to be saved then lose it.  When Jesus said "It is FINISHED!" He meant it.  Every single thing necessary to be saved was completed BY HIM.  You cannot undo perfection.  The Plan of Salvation is the perfect work of God the Father.  You and I cannot do anything to break the commitment established between us and God when we receive the free gift of Salvation from Jesus Christ.  Biblical adoption is by and far more legally binding than anything on Earth.  

This Christmas you can receive such a gift that cannot be removed or returned.  No warranty to sign up for no expiration date to be concerned about.  It's benefits are guaranteed in this life and the one to come.  The life of one who accepts the terms of it can only get better.  There are no hidden clauses.  The gift comes with a Teacher and a manual for you to keep!  Jesus did it all.  He, even now, sits at the right hand of His Father, adding His authority to the prayers of those who call upon Him.

That's what You get.  You don't have to be concerned that the doors will close on you.  Jesus promised to never leave you nor forsake you. He never takes a vacation.  Isn't off the grid. His phone is never busy. 

Now also realize that there are those elements who would prefer you turn this gift down.  The side effects of it tend to sometimes make others feel uncomfortable.  Sometimes they lash out at those who have believed the truth of this adoption.  The light that begins to shine in those who believe tend to show things that have been hidden in darkness.  But no worries.  Jesus explains that too. People had the same problem with Him.  His guarantee of never leaving you alone stands firm through these times too.  

So this Christmas, ask for something that will truly stand the test of time.  Ask for something that you will truly enjoy.  Do you realize that there's a huge amount of excitement and celebration in Heaven when anyone says yes to that free gift?  Yes! Jesus wouldn't have included that fact in the Bible if it wasn't so. 

There is no eraser for the book of Life. Once saved in Christ always saved in Christ.  All our sins were accounted for and atoned for when Jesus said "It is FINISHED".  Believe today.  Come to Christ today. Recieve your adoption into the family of God today.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Jesus: I think of You, Always

This Christmas, enjoy giving gifts to your loved ones, but never lose sight of the reason for the giving—the spectacular favor of God on His creation crystallized in the gift of His own Son to save us from our sin. We give because He gave. May we worship Him in gratitude!
- Our Daily Bread for today. 

Think about that gift. 
Think about that title to today's message. 

Be honest with yourself.  
Look at your life.

This may not seem altogether profound to you.  But do you really realize that you have never, even for a second, stopped crossing the mind of Jesus?

I can tell you till I am blue in face, but the reality is you need to consider it for yourself. 

You see, He loves you so much!  He loved you before the foundation of the Universe. 

He doesn't live inside of time like you and I.  He created time for man not the other way around.  

He also created a gift for you.  Yes, you. 
It's free.  There are no strings attached. 
2,000 years ago He left Heaven to come here to Earth.  He agreed with His Father that this was the only way to save mankind.  But He wasn't going to force it. The choice must be voluntary.  You have to want it.  Wanting it means a transformed life.  Receiving it changes you forever.  
Refusing it will also change you forever.  

It's interesting how mankind picks and chooses what they want to believe about God.  They will believe the concepts of good and evil. Will believe the concepts  of truth and lies.  Will believe in a Heaven and a Hell.  But refuse to believe the rest.  That the only one Sovereign over everything is Jesus Christ.  They even glorify Satan. 

For Christmas this year the greatest gift is coming home to Jesus.  It is the best gift you ever could receive.  

The truth also is time is running out. 

God has said He would not allow things to go on as they are forever.  He has fixed a day.  The Day of the Lord.  When sin indeed will be fully dealt with.  

Countless billions of people will not accept the truth of the need of the hour. 

But the truth of God remains the truth. 

Not one item of the Bible has ever been proven wrong.  Do you really want to miss out on being rescued?  A great mockery has taken place surrounding the sinking of the Titanic.  Of the musicians being told to play while the ship went down.  To distract people from the gravity of the situation. Sadly it was the truth.  There weren't enough lifeboats.  So they were forced to play and died themselves in the process. 

In the case of Salvation.  There's no shortage of lifeboats.  Jesus came to seek and save those who are lost.  Which includes you and I. 

Your life could be filled with disappointment and sadness.  
Jesus knows those feelings.  
Your life could be filled with horror stories. Read the Gospels. So was the end His earthly life. 

You could be grieving the loss of loved ones long since past.  Jesus knows those feelings as well. 

If you crave peace.  It's found only in Christ.  Life is about choice.  

What have you chosen? 

You may say that you don't want to choose.   Even that is a choice. 
A choice is a selection between two or more items.  You may indeed not choose to come to Christ.  But that will not change the truth.  

There was once a man who died and saw a fence with people on both sides.  One group was evidently Christians.  The other wasn't.  He really didn't like either group.  So he got up on the fence.  

A day came when he noticed the people vanishing from both sides until he was left on the fence.  He saw a figure on one side looking around.  He saw the man and approached him. "There you are. Come with me." He recognized him as Satan. 
"Hey! I am not going with you!  I didn't choose either group of people!"
Satan smiled and replied "Yes you did. I own the fence." Satan's great lie is that you have the option of not choosing.  Jesus says you do have to choose. 

Do you really want to risk it?  Do you really want to wake up some morning to find the headlines reading of millions vanishing and find yourself still here?   That is exactly how it will be for billions of people.  

Choose wisely today my dear reader.  I pray for those who read these posts.  God provides the messages. I just write what I am told.  If you are reading this He is talking to you. 

Yes. You.