Friday, January 31, 2020

God's plans will never fail

“Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:19 God does everything for a reason. God met Saul of Tarsus on the Damascus road for a purpose (Acts 9:1–9). 

Saul had planned to persecute Christians, but his encounter with Christ changed him forever. God did more in that encounter than save Saul from his sin. God began to reveal His will for Paul's life. God's assignment for Paul was clear: “He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name's sake” (Acts 9:15–16). God's plan for Paul, revealed through a vision, involved both testifying before kings and suffering persecution. Paul was to enjoy the thrill of performing miracles, preaching to large crowds, and starting churches. But Paul was also to be stoned, shipwrecked, whipped, mocked, conspired against, and imprisoned (2 Cor. 11:23–28). Would we accept this part of his assignment as readily as the first? We never hear of Paul complaining about his commission from God. He never asked that he be given a role like Peter's, or James's, or John's (Gal. 2:9–10). It was enough for Paul that he be given any task in the kingdom of God. As he neared the end of his ministry, Paul could boldly state to King Agrippa, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” Oh, to have Paul's tenacity and devotion to the Father's will! What joy there is not only to begin well in our Christian faith, but also to end faithfully! It is God's desire that each of us could say at the end of our lives, “I was not disobedient.” - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

It's both a wonderous thing and a potentially frightening thing to know what's going to happen. 

In many a video these days you can experience that 'slow motion train wreck' through the visual tricks software can do. 

We know the outcome yet we still sit on the edge of our seats.  God indeed has plans.  But step back a little, consider the greater truth, He has plans for every single human being AND animal on this planet. 

If you have ever seen or tried to play chess you know it's a complex game within a game.  Pieces have a purpose.  A specific purpose.  They simply are meant to do what they alone are meant to do. 

My friend we live in a world of 7 plus billion chess pieces...and that's just the human beings.  Look for the photos and videos you will find even animals doing extraordinary things in helping other animals and people.  It's not instinct. 
When compassion arises God's fingers are all over it. 

There's a Plan and a Purpose to our lives.  Look at Paul's life.  He was fueled for the life in front of him by everything he was shown in the vision on that road to Damascus. Yes the wonders he would show the world from God, but also the wonders he would show the world through his suffering for Christ. 

I agree with Blackaby in his comment that we never hear of Paul complaining.  Look to the grand champion of Biblical sufferers, Job.  He was goaded by his 'friends' to complain and take the punishment of death to get through his woes.  You haven't been stretched as thin in life as Job was.  May seem like it but he was through it all...and never knew why until he really did die.  He wasn't shown what Paul was shown. 

Then there's the kind of pains we never let others see that we carry with us.  Oh we are very good at hiding behind words or humor.  Distracting with a comment or joke. 

Then there's the times when the attacks come like waterboarding.  One drop at a time and the longer it happens the more our disposition sours.  Lord when will this end? Is our cry.  Why am I going through this? We say through tears.  Or, as the New Testament says...there's the times when the agony is so profound we cannot find words and the Spirit intercedes. 

Whatever we go through look at how Paul reacted.  We, well at least I  know that I do, are quick to remind God that it hurts and we just want it to stop. 

In the real story book of "90 Minutes in Heaven" the reconstruction surgeries that the pastor went through broke down many areas of his life on the inside that never would have been touched if the car accident hadn't happened.  

In my own life there was an accident where a semi truck ran a red light and hit me.  To my left was a car, couldn't go there to escape.  To my right, a white minivan, no escape there.  I looked straight ahead and was about to face the inevitable when a hand drew my eyes closed and I heard "I don't want you to see this".

The fact that I had a totalled truck wasn't alarming me.  The fact that I wasn't getting to work wasn't alarming me.  The peace at the moment was profound.  God provided for my safety.  Someone was nearby as who had a phone that I could borrow to let my Wife know what happened.  Still no troubles to be had.  We eventually get to a hospital. I have to be checked out.  An x-ray revealed a broken arm.  I have never had a broken bone until then. They set it and put my arm in a cast.  Things are just happening and nothing seems stressful.  Work understands and I go home.  

Then things began to happen. 

I was in the cast for many weeks.  God used my discomfort and change in life to change me.  I never would have had area's of my life touched as they were if it wasn't for God's Plan for me in those moments. 

Stress can drive you to your knees.  It can blind you to what's true rather than your perception of truth.  Had God let me down in not keeping me 100% safe that day?  

There was a Plan and a Purpose.  When I came to Christ, part of that adoption included 'thy will be done'.  Meaning that I agreed to the plans He has for me whatever they may be.  

It would certainly be a lie if I told you that was the only time.  A Disciple of Christ forfeits his desires in life for those to whom he or she is a Disciple of.  God has used many joys and pains to shape my life.  Look at the experiences of the 12 who were with Jesus. 

Have mentioned this example before.  A tree only obtains strong roots by going through the storm.  Not bu avoiding it. 

It only grows up stronger because of what it's been through not by not experiencing life in the elements. Growth rings we see in wood tell of its survival through the storm. 

Look at your life differently.  If you are indeed in Christ you are not your own.  You were bought with a price.  You agreed to 'thy will be done'. You agreed to be His workmanship.  To be the clay in the hands of the Master potter.

If you aren't saved think about why you are not.  What's keeping you back? My friend life is only but a moment in eternity but what you decide now will determine your eternity.  Jesus came to seek and save you.  To give you a hope you will never find anywhere else.  I cannot fathom a life apart from God.  I look at this world and the reality is if it weren't for Jesus in my life I would be scared to death of it.

My friend today could be the day you finally find hope for living.  Today you could find your real purpose and God's plan for you.  He loved you enough to leave all that was perfect and good to live a sinless life, die on the cross taking your place on it.  So that you might live.

Search online for Roman's Road.  My friend the hope you seek is only found at the place you have been avoiding.  

Jesus said come to Me you who are weary and I will give you rest. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

God can't forgive me!

This morning you may think much like what you will read in this excerpt from Our Daily Bread:

"When I was a kid, I thought the song title “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need,” written by Dottie Rambo in 1967, was “He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Knees.” Employing the logic of a child, I wondered why God would look at knees. Was it because they were weak? I knew that weak-kneed meant “afraid.” I later discovered that Dottie had written the song about God’s unconditional love in response to her brother Eddie’s belief that he was unlovable because of the wrong things he’d done. Dottie assured him that God saw his weakness but loved him anyway.

God’s unconditional love is apparent throughout the many weak-kneed moments of the people of Israel and Judah. He sent prophets like Isaiah with messages for His wayward people. In Isaiah 35, the prophet shares the hope of God’s restoration. The encouragement that would come as a result of embracing hope would “strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way” (v. 3). Through the encouragement they received, God’s people would in turn be able to encourage others. This is why Isaiah instructs in verse 4, “Say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear.’ ”

Feeling weak-kneed? Talk to your heavenly Father. He strengthens weak knees through the truth of the Scriptures and the power of His presence. You’ll then be able to encourage others."

Many believe the lie that they are too far gone for God to be willing to forgive them. 

My dear friend, wherever you are in life, you CAN be forgiven, you CAN be washed by the blood of Jesus.  

But you don't know the things that I have done!  The things that I have said!  I am so full of anger! So full of....shame.  


You know something? You are hardly alone in that.  Ever hear about the beginnings of the Apostle Peter?  

Yes, historically you will find, he was a real guy.  No trouble finding proof of that.  He began following Jesus after his brother Andrew showed him who He was.  

He spent many years with Jesus.  Was even asked by Jesus who he thought Jesus was.  Jesus said of his reply in which he said that Jesus indeed was the Son of God that Jesus would build His Church beginning with Peter's testimony. 

Then 2 seconds later Peter puts his foot in his mouth.  2 seconds.  Then gets rebuked.  You want to talk about shame?  Directly from Jesus.  But he indeed was restored in his fellowship with Jesus.  But it doesn't end there.  

After Jesus was betrayed Peter was told ahead of time that he was going to have a very hard time ahead of him. That he was prayed for even by Jesus Himself.  That afterwards things would probably be different. Which they were.  Of all things the same guy whom was proclaiming that Jesus was the Christ, denied Him 3 times. 

You mentioned shame?  How's that for shame.  You have shame at what you said about God and the things you have done. Peter went through the same rough road. Only he believed he was partially responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus. 

After Jesus arose from the dead, He sought out Peter.  He showed Peter unconditional love.  That he indeed forgave him.  He restored their relationship.  Today, my friend, He can forgive you. He can restore your relationship with Him.  Don't listen to the lies of how bad your past is. Because I know that's what's going through your mind. I know because that's exactly what went through my mind.  That others wouldn't understand.  That those things that I thought and did were so much worse than what others thought and did.  

That. Is. A. Lie.

Satan wants nothing more than for you to believe that lie.  

Peter betrayed God Himself! Not once but 3 times!  Within eyesight of Him! 

Yet the unconditional love of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus was more than enough to wash away the guilt. 

That's what is available to you today. Right now. 

It's possible that you're reading this and just don't think you are THAT bad. Of course you may have had the occasional slip of the tongue, cursing using God's name.  Or maybe lashed out at someone in anger. many sins does it take to spend eternity in Hell?  

Answer: 1. 

Jesus said that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Everyone is equal in the sin department. Everyone who has ever lived except for Jesus is deserving of Hell. Everyone. 

Jesus took care of all of that for everyone who calls on Him to be saved.  Not just 'believe' but to be saved.  Even the demons believe in Christ. You have to want Jesus to be Lord of your life.  What does that mean?  It means you yield control of your life to Him.  He calls the shots.  He is in charge.  In exchange for your pardon from sin, death and the guilt thereof, you live your life for Jesus.  

Peter certainly deserved death. Yet he was forgiven.  I certainly deserved death as much as Peter, yet I have been forgiven. 

My friend, Satan had me believing for decades that I was unworthy, unloved by God, that when I came to Christ decades earlier that it meant nothing.  That I deserved that shame.  That Jesus would never save a wretched man like me. 

Any of this sounding familiar?

Satan was wrong and so was I.

Unconditional means just that. Without conditions. 

It matters not what stains your soul. 

Jesus is more than enough to cleanse it whiter than snow. 

In the end of all things there are no celebrities there are no rich there are no poor. There are no people of any status or stature.  

There are only those who are saved in Christ and those who said no to being saved. 

Everything you have ever done in your life means nothing except for that one decision.  When you had the opportunity did you ask Jesus to save you? Did you ask for His forgiveness?  You see there is a special book.  Called the book of Life. 

Those who are saved have their names written in it. Those who are not will not be found going to Heaven.  They will spend eternity in Hell. 

Let go of what's holding you back. 

My friend today is the day of Salvation.  Today you can know that you are forgiven in Christ.  Look up Romans Road.  Read it. Pray it.  Jesus waited on the shore of Peter's life waiting for him to come in to dry land.  When Peter saw that it was indeed Jesus he jumped out of the boat and got there as quickly as he could.  He had his guilt and shame but he also knew who could take care of it.  He, like you, needed Jesus. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

My Rescue Story...

The worst part about the darkness within people who are not saved is they really cannot fathom the dangers they are in. 

They hurt like believers in Christ do, they go through the same ups and downs as well.  So what's the difference?  The difference is they are most definitely not alone in their sufferings or even in their joy.  They have someone who always intercedes for them.  They have at their request an ever present one to help. 

My rescue story...what it took for the light of Christ to shine in such a way that I agreed with Him that I needed Him to save me...isn't that profound.  It's just about a kid who realizes that God was right and I was wrong.  That I had sin in my life and I needed rescued.  I can tell you the sun was shining bright that morning after the Church service when I met with some elders that wanted to make sure that I understood what it was that I wanted.

To be with Jesus is what I long for.  What I am going to say is going to sound odd.  Hugs we get from caring people are just a foretaste of what's to come with Jesus. My fondest desire is to be held by Jesus. 

I am not saying that life has been all fun and games.  Or that it hasn't been without heartache or heartbreak. Look at the lives of people in the Bible.  Theirs wasn't all peace and prosperity.  There's really no such thing for those who are in Christ. 
Jesus said so.  It's a life lived by ordinary people living an extraordinary life because of Christ.  Scripture says we are His workmanship.  It says He is the potter and we are the clay.  It says that in this world we would have tribulations and trials.  

But most importantly we as Christians would not face them alone. 

Zach Williams has a song called "My Rescue Story" here's the lyrics:

"Rescue Story"

There I was empty-handed
Crying out from the pit of my despair
There You were in the shadows
Holding out Your hand You met me there

And now where would I be without You?
Where would I be, Jesus?

You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
You are my rescue story

You are, You are
You are my rescue story
You are, You are

You were writing the pages
Before I had a name
Before I needed grace, oh
Singing songs of redemption
'Cause every time I ran away
You were louder than my shame

And now where would I be without You?
Where would I be, Jesus?

You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
You are my rescue story

You never gave up on me
You never gave up on me
You are my testimony, ooh...
You never gave up on me
You never gave up on me
You are my testimony, ooh...
You never gave up on me
Oh, You never gave up on me
Oh, this is my testimony

Oh, You were the voice in the desert
Calling me out in the dead of night
Fighting my battles for me
You are my rescue story
Lifted me up from the ashes
Carried my soul from death to life
Bringing me from glory to glory
'Cause You are my rescue story

You are, You are (You are my rescue story)
Oh, You never gave up on me, never gave up on me
You are, You are
Yeah, You are my rescue story

There are indeed some days that are harder than others.  There's choices that I have made that I would never make again.  There's one that I would never take back because He has never given up on me.  

There's been more than a few very dark times in my life.  They weren't pretty by any stretch of the imagination.  I know that I have given Jesus every reason to give up on me.  But you see that's not how coming to Christ works.  You are adopted into the family of God.  An irrevocable decision. Neither party can break that covenant.  It's permanent and I thank God that it is.

I would be lying if I said that I didn't face struggles in life.  I face them every day.  Dozens of times a day.  But I have a promise that is kept every day.  That Jesus would be with me. I don't walk into work without Him.  I ask Him to come in with me every time.  Regardless of who writes my paycheck I work for my Lord.  That's written in blood in my heart. 

So what's so appealing about a life in Christ if I face the same stuff as you?

My friend, I cannot put into words what depths of relief, of peace, that I can tap into in a moment's notice by way of prayer.  Who would you go to in your troubles?  Round and round in your own mind?  That's called worry.  It's never good for you.  

In our day and age we can practically get ahold of anyone in seconds.  But what if what's bothering you is deeply personal? 
What if the hurt is so deep and broad that you can't even cry?  My friend, I have been there.  I have been in such anguish that I actually prayed that I wouldn't have a next breath. I hurt that bad inside.  So what happened?  Jesus happened.  He came and sat with me.  He stayed with me while I was going through what I was.  I read a thing online "Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child."

It does take faith. Faith is believing in what you don't see. The eyes of faith however will show you many things.  All you need to do my friend is come and ask to be rescued.  To be saved.  The thief on the cross...all he had was belief.  All he had was faith so small.  He had nothing good to his name.  He was being put to death because of his life choices.  He didn't go to a Bible school, didn't have any opportunities to serve others.  But you know what?  I have yet to hear a sermon that didn't encompass the Great Commission better.  What's that you ask?
To go to all the world, making disciples, baptizing them in name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  To tell others about believing in Jesus. That thief has told his story to countless trillions who have read it in the last 2,000 plus years. Believe and ask Him, then Jesus saves you. Jesus said it's simple enough for a child to understand it.

Start your rescue story today, if you haven't yet.  Tired of trying to make life work for you?  Come to Christ and see what He can do with you.  I have more regrets than I can count in life, coming to Christ absolutely isn't one of them. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Power? Yes. Is it Yours?

So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one. Ezekiel 22:30 

God looks for those whose hearts are prepared to be intercessors before Him. Intercessors have hearts in tune with God's heart. They are so acutely aware of what is at stake, for their land, that they will stay before God as long as necessary in order to obtain God's answer. That is why you do not volunteer to be an intercessor. God enlists you. Why do we not intercede as we should ? Perhaps we are afraid to put God to the test. We worry that God might not answer our prayers. Yet God promises that if we ask, we will receive (Matt. 7:7). We may fail to intercede because we believe the busyness of our everyday lives is more effective than prayer. Jesus warned that apart from Him, we can do nothing (John 15:5). Without being intimately acquainted with God and His will, all of our labors are futile. Perhaps we fail to intercede because we misunderstand the heart of God. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem as He interceded for it (Matt. 23:37). If we truly have God's love within us, we will feel compelled to plead with God on behalf of those who face His imminent judgment. Intercession is a lonely business. There may be many days or even years when there appear to be few results for your labor. Yet intercessors can be the only ones standing between a family and God's judgment, or between an individual or nation and God's wrath. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Mankind hungers for power over everything.  Power over the great and the small.  Over creatures and the rest of creation.  It was that, that was the crux of the lie that Satan wove into his words to Adam and Eve. 

You will be like God, knowing good and evil. 

This world has in countless ways proven they cannot, at all, handle a mere fraction of the power necessary for their craving desires for that kind of power. 

In Christ, we who pray, learn what Jesus said.  That if we wanted to become the greatest we must become the servant of all.  To gain means to lose hold of everything.  It's found in one place.  Prayer.  Moses is regarded both in Jewish circles and without as one of the greatest in human history.  He didn't think much of himself or his oratory abilities.  He humbled himself before his God.  Talked with Him so often one-on-one that he was considered to be a friend of God. 

David was considered to be a man after God's own heart.  How would that come to be?  A life spent in constant conversation and duplication of what he found in his talks with his God.  David recognized his own unworthiness.  He asked the Lord who was he and who was his house that the Lord had brought him this far?

Some may say "Oh, that's them!  They had a special relationship with God that I could never have!  Just look at them! I am not like that! Look at where they lived.  Look at..."  

You know, it's astounding just how well we can come up with excuses.  You realize in your agreeing with that last paragraph you sounded exactly like Moses in the beginning of his life with Christ?  Christ? You just said the Lord?  One and the same.  The Jesus Christ of the New Testament is the same one referred to as The Lord in the Old Testament.  But getting back to your disbelief.  Moses tried hard to make a case that the Lord Jesus needed to find someone else to be His voice before Pharaoh.  It only slightly worked. His brother Aaron was brought in to speak. Look at the life of Moses.  His fears were totally unfounded.  He spoke with God so often that he even began bringing back the holiness he experienced being in the same room as the Lord Jesus. 


Look...just look my friend.  The Disciples were indeed 12 ordinary people. Look at their stories.  We who are in Christ are no different than anybody that has come before us in Christ.  Our times with our Lord Jesus are just as powerful and impactful and important as theirs was.

To put prayer into perspective, prayer alters the course of human events unlike anything else since the creation of mankind.  Prayer caused the creation of the nation of Israel.  Prayer caused the fall of the nation's that came up again her. Prayer was at the heart of the creation of the United States.  As much as there are people trying to rewrite history, prayer was there!  I am not strictly speaking of what we can read of the history of the United States, but the little talked about history of her enemies.  Islam has been around for centuries.  George Washington was told before we had really settled into our newfound status as the United States, having broke away from England that Islam was at war with us. The only reason being is because we were going to be a Christian nation.  How did they know? 
They didn't have cell phones or internet. How did Islamic nations know? Because The enemies of God know who those who belong to God are.  Satan hates it beyond measure when the people of God pray. 

The Spiritual giants we read about both in the Bible and human history lead powerful lives of prayer.  

Jesus could just as easily made a command decision to prevent Peter from denying Him.  What does the Bible say? He prayed for him.  But that didn't work!  Didn't it?  Jesus had to allow Peter to go through it.  What Peter went through shaped Peter for the ministry to come.  He indeed was restored as Christ had said he would be. 

Prayer is our chief method of talking to and learning from God.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher.  How does a teacher teach? By speaking and by doing.  

I don't pretend to know a profound amount of the things of God.  What I do know had been taught to me.  Some have mentioned that I should be careful in regards to what version of the Bible that I read.  Let me turn that around right now.  The Holy Spirit uses all kinds of versions of the Bible to reach those whom will say yes to the free gift of Salvation.  He is absolutely not bound by a single version.  He is God!  As Moses was told about his supposed inability to speak before Pharaoh, who do you think created the mouth? Who created speech? Who created those translations? Who maintains them? It's the Holy Spirit! They may not be exactly the same from one to the next, but God can still use them to reach a lost soul!

Prayer is what perpetuates Christianity.  Prayer is what enables Christians to grow closer to God. 
Prayer is what turns a person into a friend of God. 
Prayer is what changes both the person praying and the person being prayed for.
Prayer is what brings us closer to what we are going to be I in Christ. 
Prayer is better than your first cup of coffee.  Better than anything you can do to start your day. It removes guilt, it removes pain, it removes loneliness, it removes whatever is between you and God once you give your life to Him. 

It saves others. 

If you aren't praying, and you claim to be a Christian, why not?  Guilt?  Let go of it, it was nailed to the cross along with every other sin you have or will have committed. 

Jesus is waiting for you.  If you are indeed a member of the family of God He's waiting to hear from you.  

If you are not yet...think about your reasons why.  Are they worth it?  Is your denial of Jesus worth what you are struggling to live through on your own?  You are tired, you are weary.  You may even be fighting illness.  Let go of whatever reason you are holding onto and simply ask Jesus to save you.  To come into your life.  You can then experience the love of God and begin your own friendship with the one who saved you, Jesus. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Through it All

Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. Hebrews 5:8–9 

There is a positive aspect to suffering. We all endure suffering to some degree, but the good news is that through it we can become like Jesus. Are you willing to pay whatever price is necessary in order to become like Christ? There are some things that God can build into your life only through suffering. Even Jesus, the sinless Son of God, was complete only after He had endured the suffering His Father had set before Him. Once He had suffered, He was the complete, mature, and perfect Savior through whom an entire world could find salvation. If you become bitter over your hardships, you close some parts of your life from God. If you do this, you will never be complete. Some places in your soul can be reached only by suffering. The Spirit of God has important things to teach you, but you can only learn these lessons in the midst of your trials. King Saul was made king without ever enduring hardship, but he never developed the character or maturity to handle God's assignment. David spent years in suffering and heartache. When he finally ascended the throne, he was a man after God's own heart. Don’t resent the suffering God allows in your life. Don’t make all your decisions and invest everything you have into avoiding hardship. God did not spare His own Son. How can we expect Him to spare us? Learn obedience even when it hurts! - Blackaby 

It's interestingly, sometimes painfully ironic, that the year is 2020.  There's the cliche`s of hindsight being 20-20.  Jokes about seeing the future clearly this year. 
There's that challenge to look to this or that.

What you believe you can do often is the result of what you have been through.  I know that I mistakenly have that thought all too often.  

Mistakenly?  Yes.  Because There's times in my life when I know, however difficult, that I am being taught something.  Then there's the times when my eyes are opened to a lesson that I didn't even realize that I was being taught. 

You probably have lived a similar life. 

It's the pattern of learning that Jesus used. Lessons within lessons. 

Lessons in physical fitness take much out of you.  Some call it 'the burn'.  You are to push yourself in order to achieve a goal. 

Then there's times when we have jumped the gun.  Went and attempted something we were not ready for.  The pain is obvious.  We shrink back the next time it comes around.

Again, been there done that. 

God has a time table for our learning just as He did with the Disciples. Only when they stuck to HIS time table were lessons learned.  When they tried to get ahead of Him they were corrected. 

I have unfortunately been corrected quite often in life.  God has said His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are higher than ours.  We see a few trees and think we got a handle on the situation.  Jesus sees the whole forest and everything in it.

But still it's the going through things that grows us.  Not the avoidance of things. 

A tree will never have discernible growth rings if it never experiences storms.  The growth rings are what makes it strong enough for the next storm. 

Learning to let go of what's not ours to fix is equally difficult. We want to do something.  But often God wants us to be patient.  

There's also many times when we just will not be shown the bigger picture in this life.  Job wasn't.  Samson in the life we read didn't really get life.  His behavior showed he only began to understand at the end of his life. 

I once knew of a man who, in his prayers, would ask Jesus to help him empty him of himself, so that he could be filled with the fullness of Jesus.  

There's a title to a song that isn't about the Christian experience but it's true nonetheless. "I'm always getting in my way". 

We go through things to become more Christ like.  It's part of what it means to be a child of God.  We aren't saved to go live lives our way.  Following in the footsteps of the one who saved and adopted us is our calling in life.  He suffered so shall we.  He had trials so shall we.  He promised as much.  Notice the Scriptures do not say might have trials and tribulations, it says will.  We will because we follow in His footsteps. 

Things aren't always going to make sense.  Reread the 4 Gospels.  Look carefully at the wording.  Much of what you read even those who lived it, they didn't understand until after the Holy Spirit came and taught them. 

So you are in good company.  

Life not making much sense?  It didn't for them either.  Even when the lesson was repeated.  There's a song by Sanctus Real called "Confidence".  If you can't listen to it where you are, look up the words.  Confidence comes by way of learned experience.

Saul failed and David succeeded when it comes to being King of Israel.  It was David who was promised that from his family line would come the Messiah. Not Saul.  Yet even though it wasn't a worldly success, Saul was told that when he died he would be in Paradise with Samuel. 

Look at this day as an opportunity to show the world how a Christ follower gets through the day.  Your yesterday may not have been all that you anticipated or wanted but if you are alive today it means God's not done with you yet.  He's given you another chance.  Don't dwell on life's perceived failures.  Complex surgeries often look very bad until they are completed.  Then the relief comes.  To remove sinful behaviors and activities we go through a great many complex surgeries. They take the shape of trials and tribulations.  Trust Jesus in being the surgeon and not you.  Don't take the surgical tools out of His hands because you think you got this.  You, like the Disciples, will end up repeating the lesson.  

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Even that is a religion

An outspoken atheist believes it’s immoral for parents to teach their children religion as though it were actually true. He even claims that parents who pass along their faith to their children are committing child abuse. Though these views are extreme, I do hear from parents who are hesitant to boldly encourage their children toward faith. While most of us readily hope to influence our children with our view of politics or nutrition or sports, for some reason some of us treat our convictions about God differently.

In contrast, Paul wrote of how Timothy had been taught “from infancy . . . the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Timothy didn’t arrive at faith as an adult through the power of his own, unaided reason. Rather, his mother nurtured his heart toward God; then he continued in what he had learned (v. 14). If God is life, the source of true wisdom, then it’s vital for us to tenderly cultivate a love for God in our families.

There are many belief systems that are influencing our children. TV shows, movies, music, teachers, friends, the media—each of these carry assumptions (either obvious or under the radar) about faith that exert real influence. May we choose not to be silent. The beauty and grace we’ve experienced compels us to guide our children toward God. - Our Daily Bread for today, January 26th 2020

Look at the media that pushes their agenda of both for and against Christianity.  Much of the time they claim that Christians shouldn't push their beliefs on others.  

Truth is even atheism is a religion. 

What's worse is they refuse to see it that way when the overwhelming evidence points to intelligent creation. 

But I don't what some start off saying.  Actually yes you do. 

There's but one true opposite to truth...denial. Either belief is there or it is not.  We are a feeling people.  Our feelings dictate our direction in life.  We get hurt we shrink back.  We get betrayed we go into hiding in our heart and mind. 

We take a risk and we experience love.


It is absolutely no coincidence that the closer we get to Christ returning that the line gets heavier in the sand.  All religions which include atheism on one side and Christianity on the other. Even in this the Jewish people are on both sides.  

Consider your thoughts this morning.  Where are you in regards to God?  My friend you are indeed either with God in what He says or you are against Him. 

Your fence sitting is irrelevant. Satan owns the fence.  On the fence means you are against God.  You are only deluded into thinking you haven't chosen.  The Bible says otherwise. 

Where will you spend eternity?

Don't for once think you are a good person, which is why you should be allowed into Heaven.  The Bible says no. If that reasoning were acceptable then Christ went through incalculable pain and suffering and death for absolutely nothing!

Some of you think you are ok, that you believe God will take your good deeds into account.  Again if this were available, Christ went through everything for nothing!

In Genesis He, the preincarnate Christ, stated what the penalty for sin was. 

Only He could be the sacrifice that could cancel out His own ruling on the matter. 

Only the Judge has the right to do away with the sentence of death. 

My dear reader know today where you will spend eternity. Know now!  

Anyone can Google "Roman's Road". 

Be sure of where you will spend eternity. 

You are either for Christ or you are against Him.  Jesus said you are either the wheat (saved) or the tares (unsaved). One or the other.  He established what the Saved are.

Don't take another step, another breath, without knowing.  You may not get another.  Millions didn't wake up this morning but to find they missed their chance.  Millions right now are breathing their last.  They have missed their chance.  Don't miss yours!

He is here...Elijah is here.

I was reading in my Bible this morning in the book of Matthew chapter 17.  One verse, after I read it this time, kept repeating "He's here". In my mind.

Read it for yourself. 

"As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead.” And His disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist."

In recent days I have been watching the headlines of a coronavirus in China and cases now in the United States.  

Look into the Scriptures.  What, if any, of this is familiar?  Since we absolutely cannot rely on the media, or even the social media, to relay Biblical things to us, we need to do as the Berean Church did. Investigate ourselves.  

We just read that Jesus Himself said Elijah does come and restore all things.  So is there evidence?  

Be it actually him or simply the beginnings through others, consider this.  The next Temple is ready to be built.  The materials have been ready for decades.  They lacked a few things that are now here.  They lacked a certified Red Heifer.  They no longer lack that.  They have several.  They lacked the implements of the Temple, I believe they are working on those.  They lacked people to serve in the Temple.  In the last decade they have been getting educated.  Jews today are realizing that Christ indeed was the promised Messiah.  More each day are coming to Christ in Israel.   Jews all over the world are leaving where they were to return to Israel and all they can say is they can't explain why they need to go 'home'. 

Scripture covers that one too.  The Scriptures say that He will call on His people no matter where they are scattered and bring them back to Israel.  

And again it rings in my mind, "He's here."

God is bringing His people home for a reason.  They will be taught once more of their heritage and who they really are.  They will be once again focused on serving the Lord.  Again Scripture mentions this.

The events of the books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Revelation are coming together. 

Russia is indeed working behind the scenes with Iran and Turkey.  They are awaiting a time before they try to attack Israel.  Scripture says they are going to. 

The world economy will be dealt a severe blow.  Read what John is told about how expensive everything is going to be.  

We are about there now.  The last 30 plus years have been spent by global industries to shorten the time between supply and demand.  They are blind to the reasons why there needs to be greater time between the two.  Countless times it's been recorded that one small hiccup and whole crops are lost with nothing to backfill.  If transportation is down whole crops and herds are lost.  Food doesn't move people don't eat.  It reaches to the monetary world.  Banks are on the verge of collapse weekly.  So much debt is owed that it's staggering.  The solution of Satan is socialism.  That certainly is not of God. 

Socialism destroys countries.  Venezuela is an example.  Cuba, another example.  
Many decades ago the Congress of the United States quietly removed a law banning Muslims from serving in Congress.  Now we see the results. Just as they have tried since before the United States was a country, they are attempting to destroy our way of life from within.  Socialism is their silent battle cry. 

It's not just here in the United States, every country everywhere is being poisoned by this.  There's but one end result.  Just what Scripture says.  The world is looking for a world Leader.  It will be the Antichrist when all of the world leaders point to him as the Savior of the world. At the time even Israel will be onboard with it. Why? Again,  Scripture.  In Revelation they will enter into a 7 year covenant of purported peace.  3 and a half years into it the Antichrist will turn on them.  Read it for yourself.  It will happen. 

Elijah is here.  

It's really not a big surprise that the United States isn't mentioned in Scripture.  Scripture is the story of Jesus's plan to redeem man.  Revelation is about that and the final refining of Israel.  The 70th week if Daniel.  What can remove us from the pedestal we are on globally?

A pandemic.  The Rapture of the Church.  A global earthquake.  Hmm. All three are Scripturally possible.  Think hard on that. 

If you have doubts about God or about Jesus.  My friend, cast them away. 

Now is the time to know for sure if you are going to spend eternity in Heaven or Hell. 

What you own, do, or want to do, matters not. This isn't about planning for a vacation or trip.  It's determining the direction of your REAL life. Either a life with Christ or a life in torment in Hell.  You must realize this physical existence is only the beginning of eternity.  

Jesus Christ came to Earth, lived a sinless life. Was beaten and killed on a cross for the sins of mankind.  Why would He? Why would He leave Heaven to do that?


He did all that for you!  He endured death for everyone and was resurrected 3 days later! For You!

The Bible says that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Now is the time.  Now is your time!  

The Bible says that His return will be like a thief in the night.  It will be when you least expect it.  You are already not expecting it. What will you do when it happens?

If you are not saved you will be here as your entire world will be ripped apart.  Your money will be worthless.  Banking, commerce everywhere will be relocated overseas.  Scripture spells that out.  Some time between now and the Rapture the world will crash.  To save it a new economy will be established. A new way of commerce established.   They will look to that group or person as their Savior.  To prevent theft every single person will be marked.  This 5G system will for the first time fully blanket the entire world.  You will have no place you can hide.  No mark you cannot buy or sell.  To get this Mark means denying God and worshipping the Antichrist.  You have the choice now. You will not if you are left behind. 

Elijah is here.  I firmly believe that God is saying it. Elijah is here.  Too many pieces of the end times puzzle are coming together.  Be sure of where you stand before Christ now.  Because very soon it may be too late.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Realities of the Christian

I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted us. Isaiah 63:7 ESV 
Can’t you do this? Haven’t you experienced mercies? Though you are sad and depressed now, could you ever forget that blessed hour when Jesus met you and said, “Come to me” (Matthew 11:28)? Can’t you remember that thrilling moment when He snapped your shackles, threw your chains to the earth, and said, “I came to break your bonds and set you free”? Or if you have forgotten your earliest love for Jesus, there must surely—somewhere along the road of your life—be some precious milestone, not quite grown over with moss, on which you can read a happy remembrance of His mercy toward you. What? Have you ever had a sickness like the one you’re suffering now, and He didn’t restore you? Were you ever poor before, and He didn’t supply for your needs? Were you ever in dire straits before, and He didn’t deliver you? Get up—go to the river of your experience and pull up a few reeds. Weave them into a basket like that of Moses, in which your infant—faith—may float safely on the stream. Don’t forget what God has done for you; open your book of remembrance and consider the days of old. Can’t you remember the hill Mizar, or did the Lord never meet you at Hermon (Psalm 42:6)? Have you never climbed Bunyan’s Delectable Mountains? Have you never received help in time of need? No, I know that you have. Go back, then, just a little way, to the sweet mercies of yesterday. Though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past—they will glimmer through the darkness, and you will trust in the Lord till the day breaks and the shadows flee away. “Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old” (Psalm 25:6). C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

And He said, “Therefore I have said to you that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father.” John 6:65
Throughout Jesus’ ministry on earth, He never seemed intimidated by the crowds. Instead, He looked into the multitudes and focused on those whom His Father was sending to Him. Jesus knew that because of sin, no one naturally seeks after God. Sinful man's inclination is to hide from God, rather than to come to Him (Gen. 3:8; Ps. 14:1–3). Therefore, whenever Jesus saw that the Father was drawing a person to Himself, Jesus immediately began relating to that person. Jesus observed the great lengths to which the despised tax collector, Zacchaeus, had gone in order to see Him pass by. In response, Jesus immediately left the crowd and spent time with this man in whom the Father was obviously working (Luke 19:1–10). Likewise, every time the disciples experienced a new insight into the truths of God, Jesus recognized that it was the Father who had been at work in their lives (Matt. 16:17). As the multitudes gathered around Jesus, He spoke some truths that were difficult for the people to grasp (John 6:60). So challenging were His words that many of His listeners departed, but Jesus did not become discouraged. He saw that the Father was working in the lives of His disciples, and that is where Jesus invested His time. As you desire to spend time alone with Jesus, recognize that this is the Father drawing you to His Son. You do not seek quiet times with God in order to experience Him but because you are already sensing His activity. As you read the Scriptures and pray, trust that God will honor your response to His leading by teaching you more about Himself. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Pretty much in their entirety you read both sections of what was this morning's reading.   While Spurgeon didn't use titles Blackaby did "The Father Draws You". 

These two really come together in regards to life as a Christian.  Whereas those who aren't among the saved in Christ who have nothing to draw on for helpful reminders, Christians do.  

We have the milestones in our travels to think of when we face yet another challenge.  We have the knowledge that when we focus on the things of God, our lives move in accordance with the work and word of God. 

Despair is easy when we are being buffeted by winds and storms.  When will it end?  Why is it lasting so long?  Where's the promised deliverance?  Ok...hold onto that one.  Deliverance is subjective in Biblical terms. To quote Doc Brown from "Back to the Future", we need to think 4th dimensionally.  We consider relief in terms we see. God considers them in those terms PLUS what we don't see.  After Jesus died and was resurrected, the sting and power of death was done.  Death actually is an answer to the winds and storms of life.  For the believer it's merely leaving here to immediately be in the presence of Jesus.  One second here, the next you are before Christ.  

Life for the believer, as Spurgeon points out, has places to help us handle future events. Look at what David's response to Saul was when talking about Goliath.  "Your servant killed both the lion and the bear. This uncircumcised Philistine will be just like them".  David was trained in the storms of life.  He faced a lion and prevailed. That confidence learned helped him with other life or death situations like the bear.  He remembered his Spiritual history with his God.  Christians ought to do the same.

Then we enter into the deeper.  The part Blackaby talks about. The deeper is the work of the Father in our lives through the Spirit.  We are indeed promised we would never be alone. dear reader, we are not promised to not face trials or hardship.  If the greats of the Bible didn't, God's grace, God's power, wouldn't have been revealed. 

A tree is has more in common with your life than you know.  Oddly ironic that before the days of fancy ones, caskets were referred to as pine boxes for burial. 

Trees record their history internally.  Outwardly they can be majestic and awesome to behold.  But look at a cross section.  Those growth rings tell the story of its life. The deeper the hues of the rings the deeper the story.  Light rings that really have no spacing don't say much about the life of that tree.  Storms create the rings, winds create the rings. Facing them and surviving taked that tree into another season.  Likewise storms force the roots deeper.  The tree wants to survive.  The tree knows it's life is in the water and soil. That it owes its existence to its Creator who provides both.

We who are believers have much to lean on in our lives to see us through that next storm.  The storms will do what they do, but bear in mind, they show no partiality. 
Storms don't care if it's man, woman, child or animal.  But for the Christian, we are on the mind of our Savior all the time.  He is with us all the time.  Nobody may understand our heart but He does.  Nobody may know our hurt but He does. Nobody but Jesus. 

So when things are unfavorable, consider that the Father is at work in you. Consider that Jesus has already been on the road before you, look down see His footsteps?
There is nothing you will face that He is surprised by.  He has already been through it all.  The Bible says we do not have a High Priest that doesn't understand.  We have one that had been through and seen it all, including death and resurrection. 

Our sorrows are real, for sure, but Jesus promised that these storms will not go on forever, they are for our growth. Some may mean it for evil but God will turn it for our good.  He has your hand. He is with you. 

Friday, January 24, 2020

More than Believing

They said to Him, “Rabbi … where are You staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where He was staying, and remained with Him that day. John 1:38b–39 

There comes a time for each of us when merely talking about the Christian pilgrimage is not sufficient. We must actually set out on the journey! We can spend many hours debating and discussing issues related to the Christian life, but this means little if we never actually step out and follow Christ! For generations, the coming of the Messiah had been pondered and predicted by the nation of Israel. Perhaps no topic garnered more discussion among Jews than the nature and work of the Messiah. Andrew had listened to John the Baptist and had heard of the coming Messiah. Now, suddenly, he was face to face with the One he had yearned to see! Andrew's mind was filled with questions he longed to ask. Instead of entering into a theological dialogue with Andrew, however, Jesus turned and began to walk. Andrew's questions would not be answered by discussion alone, but by walking with Him. Christianity is not a set of teachings to understand. It is a Person to follow. As he walked with Jesus, Andrew watched Jesus heal the sick, teach God's wisdom, and demonstrate God's power. Andrew not only learned about God; he actually experienced Him! Moments will come when you stand at a crossroads with your Lord. You will have a hundred questions for Him. Rather than answering the questions one by one, Jesus may say, “Put on your shoes, step out onto the road, and follow Me.” As you walk daily with Him, Jesus will answer your questions, and you will discover far more than you even knew to ask. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Face it. There has been at least one moment in your life when the thought of God, of Jesus, being real went from a fleeting moment to something more substantial.  Even if it was only a few minutes or so it was stronger than just a dictionary description. 

You may have looked up in despair, it may have been in awe at seeing something that took your mind one step farther than it had before. 

But it has happened. 

My dear reader, please go back to that moment.  It was more than a moment of a passing thought.  It was you listening to a gentle knock on the door of your heart. 

Jesus said that He came to seek and save the lost. That would be you and I.  He came to pay the penalty of sin that He Himself imposed on mankind with Adam and Eve.  Sin that forged a separation between God and Man.  A gap that could only be rectified by a perfect sacrifice.  The blood spilled had to be from a sinless being.  Had to be so pure that it more than equaled the transgression of any sin.  It had to be the blood of God.

The Angels are in awe of what God did to save you and I.  They sit with believers as they read and study their Bible.  To see what is learned.  

But wait, there's more.  Demons also know. To them, when a believer is reading their Bible or their minds are set on things above and not down here, they are failing.  They cannot be redeemed.  Once, before time came to be created, a third of the host of Heaven fell with their leader, Satan.  That's a lot.  It's known that there's myriads and myriads of Angels.  Meaning there's at least a myriad of demons. 

They cannot be redeemed, but, they at least believe and shudder at the power and reality of Jesus.  

You have had that fleeting thought that maybe there's something to that Jesus thing.  But what about my life?  It's my life isn't it?  I can't see myself going to Church or doing Church things.  I can't see...

My dear dear reader.  Hold onto that thought.  

Coming to Christ to be saved isn't the same as joining a club or a group with strange ideas on living.  

"I can't see..."

You're more right than you know! Why?  Because Jesus said that those who are not saved by His blood are in darkness.  

He says that those in that darkness couldn't comprehend the light.  

You have to decide whether you want the darkness to continue or if you want to really find out if there's something more to life.  Is it a risk?  Look, everything you do in your life right now is a risk. Everything!
You take a risk getting up in the morning.  How so?  Going from sleep to awake is actually very hard on your body.  Taking a shower is a risk.  Ever hit your toes on the way in?  Eating is a risk.  What if what you are going to eat wasn't entirely prepared right?  Touching anything in a public place is a risk.  Germs are everywhere. 

So be honest with yourself. What is your real reason for holding back? Fear?

Oh my friend, do not be afraid.  There's not a single thing written in the Bible for you to be fearful of.  Satan would like you to believe there is because even he knows he has lost in his quest to take God's Throne. 
He doesn't want to go down alone.  He wants to take as many people as he can.  

So again go back to that moment when you dared to stretch and believe.  Listen again for that calm voice.  Take the chance.  If you are honest with yourself you are not happy with your life.  It's stressful, it's loaded with various forms of drama.  You are tired of being frustrated be big things and little things.  You have been hurt by people and have struggled to deal with it on your own.  You seem to have to fight the world in order to survive. You think of a bright future as a pipe dream.  

"And all that would change?" You ask.

Jesus said that He would give you a future and a hope.  You become part of the family of God.  Adopted.  Adoption by God's standards cannot be revoked or abandoned.  You gain a best friend unlike any you have ever had.  Your circumstances will take on a different viewpoint.  They may not altogether change overnight but they will change. 

Jesus promised never to leave us or forsake us that come to Him to be saved. 

He promised to cast our sins as far as the east is from the west.  Have you ever seen anybody connect the east and west?

You can ask Him questions.  He loves to answer them.  I do all the time. 

You have to recieve Him as your personal Savior for these things to happen.  You have to pass from believing He is real to giving your life to Him.  Like I said even the demons believe.  If you don't ask Jesus to save you, you're not much better off than the demons.  

There's coming a day when the offer of Salvation will be ended in this life.  Jesus is returning soon.  Once He does, believe me, it's going to look like Hell came to Earth.  7 years of judgements from God will be happening.  Yes there will be people saved in this time but oh the hardships that they will endure.  Those saved before He comes won't be here.  He will be taking those who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation with Himself.  He promised and He will keep His promise. 

Consider today my friend if your life isn't what you really wanted it to be.  Because I promise you, if you want it to be more, you need to take that step and ask yourself if Jesus is who and what you have been looking for.  I also promise you...He is.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

He's been there before Us

“I have exalted one chosen from the people.” Psalm 89:19 NKJV

Why was Christ chosen out of the people? Speak, my heart, because heart-thoughts are best. Wasn’t it so that Jesus might be able to be our brother, in the blessed tie of family bonds? Oh, what relationship there is between Christ and the believer! The believer can say, “I have a Brother in heaven; I may be poor, but I have a Brother who is rich. He’s a King, and will He allow me to go without while He is on His throne? No! He loves me; He is my Brother.” Believer, wear this blessed thought like a necklace of diamonds around the neck of your memory; put it, as a golden ring, on the finger of recollection. Use it as the King’s own seal, stamping the requests of your faith with the confidence of success. He is a brother born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17)—treat Him as such. Christ was also “chosen from the people” that he might know our wants and sympathize with us. “He faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin” (Hebrews 4:15 NLT). In all our sorrows, we have His sympathy. Temptation, pain, disappointment, weakness, weariness, poverty—He knows them all, for He has felt them all. Remember this, Christian, and let it comfort you. However difficult and painful your road, it is marked by the footsteps of your Savior. And even when you reach the dark valley of the shadow of death and the deep waters of the swelling Jordan, you will find His footprints there. In any place we can go, He has been our forerunner. Every burden we have to carry has already been laid on the shoulders of Immanuel—God with us. His way was much rougher and darker than mine Did Christ, my Lord, suffer, and shall I repine? “Begone, Unbelief,” John Newton (1779) Take courage! Royal feet have left a blood-red track on the road you walk, consecrating the painful path forever. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I know quite a few people, and if truth be told, it's probably everyone, that's going through rough times. 

What struck me in what Spurgeon said today was towards the end of his devotional.  "In any place we can go, He has been our forerunner."

We hurt because of something or someone, He's already been through that.  His footsteps are there.  Same with every aspect of life we can think of. 

Scripture says we don't have a High Priest who cannot relate to us.  He has. From physical birth to physical death. Jesus has been through all that we have...and yet did not sin. 

We are always going to be told by His enemy the exact opposite.  That we're on our own. That we can't count on Him.  That if we want anything done we have to do it ourselves.  That we are lost, we are hopeless.  That we are so pathetic we should just end it all and get it over with.
He digs deeper. You earned that betrayal. You deserved to be harassed after what you did.  Satan has more lies than the day is long. 

If God, when we ask for forgiveness, casts our sins as far as the east is from the west, then Satan can come up with as many lies from the east to the west.

Jesus said he is a liar and the father of lies. He was a liar from the beginning. 

So where does this leave us? For those in Christ, Jesus can relate to everyone in everything.  He isn't just the antidote for Satan, He is King Jesus on the Throne of God.  He has all rule and authority from His Father.  Meaning Satan is powerless.

It's Jesus who encourages us in the worst of times.  He tells us to be of good cheer He has overcome the world. 

We fixate on the negative all too often.  In doing so we miss the positive that He is doing. 

Satan wants us to dismiss the positive.  To focus on all that's still not right in our world rather than see what God has done. 

Satan wants us to take matters into our own hands.  Telling us that it's obvious God's not doing anything so you had better do something. 

He fills the head of believers and unbelievers alike.  The difference being the Believer has the power of the truth of God on their side. 

Truth obliterates falsehoods. 
Truth obliterates lies.

Truth is has a name.  It's Jesus. 

Look at how differently those who went through difficult times in the Bible would have turned out if the Lord hadn't done what He did and promised.

Daniel would have been no different than anybody else who went into exile.  He never would have stood out if he didn't rely on his faith in God. 

Jacob likely never would have survived very well had he not put his faith where his mouth was and prayed concerning his brother.  God changed both. 

David could have just dismissed his experience with the lion and the bear as his own success story and joined the rest of Israel in fear of Goliath. 

Ruth could have kept silent but did not. It would have eventually caught up to her.

Joseph could have sunk in deep depression over the betrayal of his own family.  Could have given up because life was now just too hard.  

Those who cried out to Jesus for healing could have kept silent in their misery and died that way. 

If grace and mercy didn't exist we would never know the power of God.  

We may indeed be weak and weary from so much pain, suffering and seeing the deaths of family and friends.  We may be buried in unexpected debt.  Whatever we are facing, we have one who has really really been there before us. 


He remembers and is there with you.  

We must must must remember that if He is permitting something to happen in our lives there's a God appointed reason for it.

There is those same people that I mentioned above. 

Joseph, he trusted in His God.
Jacob prayed, God changed him and Esau.
Ruth spoke up, stood on her faith, Jews were saved. 
David stood firm in his Lord, Goliath went down. 

The Scriptures entreat us to not give up. To not grow weary.  Rely on the one we call our Savior.  

It's only human to think that even death is the end of life.  To God it's an answer to some prayers.  We have great difficulty in dealing with the loss at times but God calls even death a cure for a disease. 

Lean on the one who's already been on the road you are on.  It's ok to just call on Jesus and cry.  I have done it many times. 
When there are no more words but only tears, trust me my dear reader, the message to Jesus is never lost.  

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

But Why!?! Why is this happening to me!?!

But why?!?  Why is this happening to me!?!
By David Brenneman 

"The Christian who is the subject of [affliction] must learn to rejoice in tribulations because as his tribulations abound, so his consolations abound by Christ Jesus." —C.H. Spurgeon

I count it no coincidence that Spurgeon and a few others touch on the same theme today. 

We who are in Christ often find ourselves wondering why our circumstances are the way they are.  We pray and pray and either the circumstances abate or appear to get worse.  
We cry out or just plain cry to God.  What's going on here!?!

We are look for some reason, some reasonable answer to make sense of what isn't.  

This morning, before I knew much of how anyone's day was going, God gently said something to me. "I think you're asking the wrong question.  The question isn't "Why am I not doing something?" The question is, "Why am I allowing it to continue?"

Joseph had dreams like we all do.  In his world people were a bit less constrained than people of today.  His brothers heard his dreams and wanted to kill him.  Nice family huh?

He either was being cocky about the dreams or wasn't considering them as prophetic.  His brothers were less than impressed.  He was even chided by his Dad.  

Then he gets trapped.  Sold to a wandering group.  Then not much later is wrongfully accused and sentenced to prison.  Becomes a caretaker in the prison.  Helps with some dream interpretations.  Is forgotten for several years.  Then is remembered at a point in time when he must have given up hope, only to be made second highest ruler in Egypt.  

My thoughts, after being told that the wrong question was being asked went on to considering a few people in the Bible. 

What was going through the mind of Joseph 10 minutes after his family betrayed and left him.
What was going through the mind of Daniel 10 minutes after falling into the lion's den. 
What was going on in mind of Job when his world went totally south and even after the Lord showed up and they talked, he never found out until he died why it happened. 

Real people real trouble. 

But why!?!  Would be my own reaction to things such as those.  Geesh, that has been my reaction throughout my life when disaster after disaster seemed to be happening.  Trouble upon trouble.  All it seems that I could do some times was open in prayer and cry.

It's always something, but what is it?  Why do the things that happen to us happen the way they do?  The answer is so deep that if God deigned to answer we would be so ill prepared for the truth. 

But it hurts! To the very heart of me it hurts!

His response is "I know, my Child. I know. You're going to have to trust Me." 

The Bible says Jesus was a man of sorrows. Well acquainted with grief.  He was betrayed by a close friend.  He was beaten and murdered by His own creation.  He lived His life before that keeping His distance from most every person because He knew their hearts. 

Probably the only time He felt truly not alone was when He was in prayer with His Father. 

We want answers! We want the truth! 

To quote the movie: we can't handle the truth. 

If only we knew the truth of how our lives were unfolding we would be stunned beyond words. 

Jesus said our lives are to be lived for Him. 

He adjusts our lives to reach others for Himself.  Every molecule of this Universe will react and act in accordance with the Will of God.  

Nothing touches any of His Children that isn't permitted to happen.  He is Sovereign over all His Creation. 

If you are a Christian and still are hurting, reach out to others.  The body of Christ works best when it works together.  

My sorrows are also for those who hurt but are not Christians.  Their hope is only in themselves.  The Bible says and keeps its promises.  Scripture says God is the God of all comfort.  He can put His children at the center of the storm.  While it rages they stand protected. 

Yes there's many things in this world that will hurt us.  But as Scripture says Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world. 
If God is permitting something to happen, then trust Him.  He will not ignore the pleas of His children.  Wars in the Spirit realm can often impact when your help will arrive.  Read Daniel. 

The wars that rage there are for you and I my dear reader.  Satan knows he cannot win but will try with all his being to take down as many people with him as he can. 

God will someday use our trials as a means of reaching someone else. 

If you told me even 2 years ago that I would be writing like this here and in a globally reaching blog, I would have thought you crazy.    I can only write about things now because He saw me through things that were bigger than me. 

God never allows more than we can take.  If it weren't so, we wouldn't be here we would be with Him.  But also too you will live a life that will impact others. How you react will either draw people to wonder how you are able to stand or make them stay away.  

The love of God cannot be broken.  Not by circumstances not by disease not by anyone. 

Make sure you are around those who are growing in Christ.  Healthy Spiritually sound people will help you bear your burdens.  
At all times keep praying.  In the good times and bad be thankful.  It's difficult but not impossible.  Else He wouldn't have told us to be that way. 

Even if your prayer is nothing more than tears it indeed is heard in Heaven.  The Spirit will intercede on your behalf. 

He knows and He is not surprised by anything that brings us down. 

My hope is this helps someone tonight or in the future.  Storms may come but they eventually leave too.  Trust in Jesus He will always be there with you.

The Choice Before You

The Choice is Yours 

“In moments where tragedy happens or even hurt, there are opportunities to demonstrate grace or to exact vengeance,” the recently bereaved man remarked. “I chose to demonstrate grace.” Pastor Erik Fitzgerald’s wife had been killed in a car accident caused by an exhausted firefighter who fell asleep while driving home, and legal prosecutors wanted to know whether he would seek the maximum sentence. The pastor chose to practice the forgiveness he often preached about. To the surprise of both him and the firefighter, the men eventually became friends.

Pastor Erik was living out of the grace he’d received from God, who’d forgiven him all of his sins. Through his actions he echoed the words of the prophet Micah, who praised God for pardoning sin and forgiving when we do wrong (Micah 7:18). The prophet uses wonderfully visual language to show just how far God goes in forgiving His people, saying that He will “tread our sins underfoot” and hurl our wrongdoings into the deep sea (v. 19). The firefighter received a gift of freedom that day, which brought him closer to God.

Whatever difficulty we face, we know that God reaches out to us with loving, open arms, welcoming us into His safe embrace. He “delights to show mercy” (v. 18). As we receive His love and grace, He gives us the strength to forgive those who hurt us—even as Pastor Erik did.

How do you respond to this story of amazing forgiveness? Can you think of someone you need to forgive? If so, ask God to help you.

- Our Daily Bread for today. January 22, 2020

Really consider that Pastor's reaction.  Wow.  That was indeed showing the love of Christ.  Now take it farther.  Suppose it was a harsher event, an actual horrific crime.  Could you still forgive as Christ did?

Because that's what we are called to do.  We are representing God. We are not God.

Our lives are going to have horrific events in them.  How we choose to react either will show the love of God, also known as grace, or show the world we haven't been changed by God. 

Consider that will you?  We can imagine a great many things to do to people who wrong us, or others. But what does God say?  What did Jesus say when He was being crucified?  Forgive them for they know not what they do. 

Some cannot fathom forgiveness on the scale that the Pastor in the story above showed.  

There's another story that I read several times over the years.  

A Pastor was getting ready to lead the evening service.  He takes to the podium and says that it's with great joy that a very great family friend of his was there that night and he asked him to say a few words.  The man was introduced as a former Pastor. 

The Pastor was taking his son and his best friend fishing on a small boat.  Trouble came in the form of a snap storm.  They were being tossed around.  Eventually they were out of the boat and in the water.  

The Pastor had to make a crushing decision.  Save his son or save his son's best friend.  He had but one rope to toss and could only save one of them. 

He knew his son was saved. He also knew his son's friend was not. The agony gripped him hard. 

He cried out "I love you Son!" And he threw the rope to his son's best friend.  In seconds his son was beneath the waves. 

He explains that while he knew where his heart was that day the choice was difficult.  To choose like that was the hardest thing he had ever done.  

Then he explains further.  You see your Pastor is my son's best friend.  

We will never know what showing God's Grace will do to the unbelieving in this world. 

We can't know what a kind word spoken when by all that seems right to the world we should be lashing out in anger. 

We can't know what God knows.  Scripture says He roams the Earth and searches the hearts of men.  That's paraphrasing a few places there. But realizing that only Jesus knows the exact set of circumstances, the exact words that can be said to exactly the right person at the right time...can show them that the right thing to do is to say yes to Jesus. 

That best friend of that Pastor's son saw the sacrifice that was made to save his life.  It was the turning point in his own life and he knew that to honor the sacrifice of his best friend's father, he needed to know more about what caused him to do it.

We as humans do not need help in considering how to do justice towards others, at least justice in our own eyes.  Our idea of justice can easily be as evil as what was done to us.

Don't think of it as your right to do anything towards another.  As a Christian we are to follow Christ. 

It's not what would Jesus do. 

It's what DID Jesus do. 

By practicing Grace we may be the person who brings another one step closer to Salvation as we also received. 

But I am so angry!  They did....

Jesus says...Oh my Child...I know...

But...but...God...what about justice!

Jesus says...did you receive the penalty for what you deserve?

Before you lash out at others today in anger, remember that you are representing Christ to the world.  Even in your own home, away from others.  You will give an account of your thoughts and actions and intentions before Christ.  We, as Christians, won't be judged by them...but it will cost us the rewards in Heaven we could have received. 

Think before you speak and before you react.  This is a personally hard lesson for me.  Many years ago I went through a rough patch after a semi truck ran a red light and hit me. At first I thought ok I am alive.  Nothing seems to be broken.  I was wrong, I had a broken arm.  The recovery period was excruciating. The lack of sleep.  The pain at times.  After the cast came off, I had to get back to driving. 

I had road rage towards all semi truck drivers.  I wanted someone to feel the pain of what I went through. I wanted justice! Then came the day when God called me out on it.

The shame of that day. 

Yes what I read in the headlines each day bothers me.  And this isn't my reaction all the time, but to pray for those who do such evil things is what we are called to do.  As long as they are breathing they too may become a child of God. 

Who knows when Christ will return? 

I do.

But you jump right to the passage about Jesus saying no man knows the day nor the hour. 

In that I don't know, but what I do know is the Father will not say it's time, to Jesus, until the last person who is to receive Christ is accomplished.  Will there be people saved throughout the Tribulation? Yes. But there is one individual who will be the last person to be saved before that Tribulation comes.

What if it's that person you show Grace and Mercy to that deserves the world's version of justice?

Think today of the fact that the first Christian that showed up in Sheole, was a thief who had been hanging on a cross for a crime.  Jesus promised him that he would be with Him in Paradise. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Must be Prepared First

“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” John 17:17–18 

God will always sanctify you before He sends you. The Father set aside the twelve disciples and made them holy by the Truth, His Son. As they related to Jesus, the Truth (John 14:6), the disciples were refined by that Truth and were prepared to be sent out to preach the gospel. Jesus challenged their ambitions (Luke 9:46–48), chastised their lack of faith (Matt. 17:19–20), refuted Satan's influence (Matt. 16:23), and denounced their pride (Matt. 26:33–35). When Jesus had finished preparing them, the disciples were sent out in such power that their world was never the same again. Satan will try to convince you that your sin renders you useless to God. That is a lie from the author and father of lies. As soon as you sin, the Deceiver will whisper, “You failure! You are now of no use to God.” This can bring a deep sense of defeat and hopelessness to a Christian. Yet, there is no freedom that compares to a soul set free by God's grace. When God's people allow God's truth to realign them to God's will and God's standard, then the power of God will be released through them the same way it was through the first disciples. The Truth will set you free. The Truth is: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), and we are restored to usefulness to God. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

My memory isn't like most people's.  Maybe like some, but not like most.  I tend to forget most things after going through them.  Most easily to show as an example is 30 seconds after we leave to go somewhere, "Was the garage door down?".

Significant events tend to come to mind under various circumstances.  Sometimes it was a lesson previously learned or started then forgotten.  But regardless of how well I remember the facts, the truth is, I am a work in progress. So are you. 

Many decades ago I came to Christ.  Realizing that I am a sinner in need of a Savior.  I was oh so excited about it.  Of all memories that I cherish, I still do remember being in the Pastor's office on a sunny Sunday after a service.  Meeting with some men who were confirming my decision to come to Christ.  I remember most of the men who were there.  Remember being given a tiny white book of John.  

The next few days went from excitement to disaster very quickly.  I wasn't prepared for how people would take my sharing what had happened to me.  In school today it would now be labeled as being bullied.  It hurt. I was being mocked and made fun of.  I wasn't ready for that side of things. 

When I graduated from a tricycle to a bicycle there was a period of using training wheels.  Trusting in those additional wheels to stabilize my journey on the same sidewalks that I had ridden the tricycle.  Then came the day that those training wheels were removed.  It was time to learn how to ride the way the bike was intended.  There were moments of great uncertainty.  I fell many times times.  Then came the moments when I really got it. The freedom of having a purpose and knowing that purpose.  

Driving was thd same.  Learning to do so. Learning on side streets.  Drivers Education classes.  Learning on highways.  Driving around town.  The more I did the more it pushed and prepared me.  But then we moved to a different part of the state.  The intensity of the driving experience seemed to go through the roof.  Then, over time, it didn't bother me as it once did.  I had been prepared for it.

The Spiritual life is really no different.  Little by little, circumstance by circumstance, you learn how to crawl.  Then stand, then walk.  Then fall, to get up again, walk a little farther, fall again.  Repeat.  In time you start recognizing what's going on and by the Spirit of God, you begin learning how to handle life. 

In the beginning of your life you were in the dark, in sinful darkness, as with everyone else.  You knew your way around in the dark.  Then came the light of Christ.  For the first time, you began using your Spiritual eyes.  The revelation of things hurt. Of how you looked, for one.  Then came getting around.  You were just like a baby learning how to get around all over again.  Each step, each event, in life preparing you for the next time. 

And oh how Blackaby has it right.  Your own negative minded anti-cheerleader is there to try to knock you down again.  Discouraging you. Telling you that you will never be successful, never be good enough. 

But in time, God will do an amazing amazing thing.  He's done it with me on various occasions.  Just when you wonder about if you're getting anywhere, just when you think you can't possibly be doing life right.  A voice tells you to stop, look up, turn around.  

And you are shown the whole picture of where you were to where you are now. 

God is indeed faithful.  Even when we are not.  Scripture says He began the work in us and He will continue until the day of Christ Jesus, when the "it is Finished!" moment of our lives happens. 

When we are where we are supposed to be we will indeed see Spiritual success.  It may not be physical success.  The physical world may indeed be a disaster.  Jesus said this world hated Him it will hate us. He said that we should expect trouble in this world, but to be of good cheer for He has overcome the world. 

God never started anything that He didn't finish.  He is faithful.  

When we crave success as the world does, rather than success as God does, we will be disappointed 100% of the time. 




Every single person is a work in progress.  Some in being lead towards Christ for Salvation, others back to Christ because of the world.  Still other towards a richer life in Christ.  As long as a person has the breath of life, there's hope.  THAT my dear reader is why we shouldn't arbitrarily condemn others in THAT kind of judgment.  We are not in the place of God that we know every thought and intention of their life.  Evaluate, yes, condemn, no. Who is to say if the very unbelieving, seemingly evil, person before you will someday receive Christ and change the world?  You and I cannot know.  Only Jesus can. 

We have a mission in life. To come to Christ and become more like Him.  To then tell others.   It's not for you or I to 'save' anyone.  That's the job of the Spirit of God.  The Spirit goes where we cannot.  No argument you will ever bring will ever be as effective as the Spirit of God who can see right through the one you speak to about Jesus.  But you will be prepared for that conversation. 

Today be encouraged.  Jesus has overcome the world.  The Spirit is with those who believe.  You are in a learning process.  So am I.  Don't let failures get you down.  Stretch up your arms and Jesus will pick you up again.  He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

Life is going to be hard. But Jesus is the Rock. He's harder. He is with you no matter where you are in this universe.  If you haven't come to Christ, stop today to ask yourself why haven't you? If you have, be encouraged, your Savior and mine will always be with you. He's coming back for us soon.

Monday, January 20, 2020

What and Who

Who and What 

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 

If you are a Christian, you are a priest, chosen by God. As a member of the royal priesthood you have constant access to the King. If there is ever a need in your life, you don’t have to find an intermediary or enlist another priest in order to gain a hearing from the King. Your position as a royal priest allows you direct access. This privilege describes your position as a priest. However, priests also have a function. It is the responsibility of a priest to work within a priesthood. Scripture does not promote the practice of individual priests, each with a separate ministry. Rather, priests function together (Lev. 9:1). An unbiblical sense of individualism can isolate you from functioning within God's royal priesthood as He intended. The priest represents God to the people, but he also takes the people's concerns to God. Is there someone around you who desperately needs the intercession of one of God's priests? Perhaps someone will only come to know God by seeing Him in your life. Our world hungers for an expression of Christ as He really is, living out His life through His people. It is dangerous to put our job above our calling by God. We are called to be priests first, and to hold a job second. When we get these out of order, everyone around us is denied access to the Father through us. God may have called you into a secular job as a vocation, but more importantly He has appointed you to be one of His royal priests." - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

I read this, this morning, and I was drawn to the book of Zechariah, Chapter 3. "Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by.

When we come to Christ, what happened to Joshua, happens to each of us before the Lord. 

We do a great disservice to our Lord and Savior when we falsely berate our position before Him.  

Again, Acts Chapter 10. Peter is commanded, it's not a suggestion, he's commanded that what God has cleansed is not to be considered unclean, that is, unholy. 

That goes for ourselves not just our view of others.  We read headlines and take them at face value.  But what did God say?  If indeed God has worked in a person's life, who are we to say otherwise?  Jesus said we will know people by their fruits, that is, their actions.  Some may say "Oh! That's judging! You shouldn't judge!"  My dear reader, you really need to talk to God about that.  Because you're not reading that passage correctly. 

What we are seen for before Christ and our Father in Heaven is Christ.  When the Father looks upon a believer all He sees is Jesus.  Our sins are washed away.  Our filthy rags are gone.  Just as it is shown in the case of Joshua.  

Likewise, Jesus is the great High Priest.  That makes each believer a Priest.  Just as Blackaby writes.  Do you realize that when we rip into people whom we refuse to see Christ in, who may have indeed been saved, we take on the same role as what Satan was doing towards Joshua?  

There's a reason why we should carefully choose our words.  Of why we should gaurd our minds in Christ Jesus.  The whispers in our ears are there to convince us to indeed enter into condemnation against someone else.  Which is NOT our position as a Priest of God. 

When rebuking Satan the Lord called upon the highest authority in Heaven, Himself, as the one to condemn Satan for his actions. 

Remembering who and what we are as believers is critical to living for Jesus.  Our enemy will expend incalculable amounts of time and resources to change the way we think.  To derail our lives. To make us ineffective.  Even within the scope of the Bible!  To convince us of supposed truths that are in error.  I learned many years ago that when I face conflicts in what people tell me about God or my Bible, to ask God about it.  Man can and will be fallible in their understanding of God and the Bible, the Author cannot be.  When any man tells me something contrary to what the Spirit has taught me, I take it to the Spirit to clarify their claim or to refute it.  

That's a part of what a Priest does.  

My most powerful and potent prayer that I think I ever asked of God isn't about worldly things, it's "Show me more!"

That request is certainly within the Will of God. 

Look at who and what you are before God.  Non-Christians are not priests of God.  They are not viewed as Joshua was in Zechariah. Their filthy rags remain.  Only by coming to Christ for salvation are those rags removed and cleansing takes place.

In Christ we are to be representatives of Christ.  Our thoughts of people should mirror His.  

Think today my dear reader of who you are before God.   If you haven't come to Christ, please, do not delay.  Time is running out. 

When Jesus returns and takes home those who are His, 7 years of the worst this world has ever seen is going to happen to it.  Judgement from God upon the earth. 

Come to Christ today and learn what living life is all about.