Saturday, February 29, 2020

Which are You?

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate them one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. “‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in;  I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me; I was in prison and you visited me.’“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in, or without clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick, or in prison, and visit you? ’ “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’“Then he will also say to those on the left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink;  I was a stranger and you didn’t take me in; I was naked and you didn’t clothe me, sick and in prison and you didn’t take care of me.’“Then they too will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help you? ’ “Then he will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46 CSV

My Dear Reader, which will you be? Which side will you be on?  These are the words, straight from Jesus.  

You indeed have the opportunity this very moment to decide which you will be.  You may not have a tomorrow.  People are dying every second who thought they had more time.  I still hear the voice of someone I used to work with.  Her offhandedly saying "Oh God" at a situation.  I do not believe she was saved. I do not think she gave her life to Christ.  Right now she probably is crying out with all that's within her those same words only in truly begging for mercy while in Hell.  There are no Atheists in Hell.  Just as true is you will not find demons in Hell. You also will not find Satan there either.  He isn't some red, horned individual.  He disguises himself as an angel of light.  Meaning he tries to look like one of God's angels.  

Jesus said Satan is a liar and the father of lies.  His aim is the Throne of God.  He cares not who all he takes down with himself.  He strives to deceive as many as he can.  To twist and distort the Word of God.  

People everywhere have enough evidence, if they look for it, to receive the free gift of Salvation in Christ.  Those who reject it will indeed be among the goats mentioned here.  Once Christ returns its game over.  There's no second chances.  

Know today my friend which you are.   Don't give it another minute.  You may not have it.  Scripture says His return will be in the twinkling of an eye.  That instantaneous.  Are you really wanting to risk it?

Friday, February 28, 2020

I am a Sheep, He's My Shepherd

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Psalm 23:3 

Your Shepherd knows your every need. He knows you will grow weary in your pilgrimage with Him. He knows there are times when you need rest. Your Shepherd knows just what you need to be refreshed. At times you need to lie in lush meadows or beside quiet streams. Sometimes you need to be held by your Shepherd. At other times you need to enjoy the pleasures the Shepherd provides. The Shepherd will not always replenish you in the same way; His response to you will always perfectly correspond to your present need. As you follow your Shepherd there will be times when your soul becomes exhausted, perhaps because of trials you are experiencing or temptations you are resisting. The persecution you face or the burdens you are carrying for others may be wearing you down. You may be weary from the discipline the Shepherd has brought upon you. There will be times when you feel you can go no further in your Christian pilgrimage. Your Shepherd knows when you have reached this point, and He always has a remedy! There are many ways He can strengthen you: through His word, through others, or through your circumstances. He knows what you need even better than you do. Have you grown weary? Does your soul need to be refreshed? Don't attempt to recover on your own. Only God knows how to heal and rejuvenate a soul (Isa. 40:28—31; Matt. 11:28—30). He will do it perfectly, sometimes in surprising ways. Ask Him to restore you, and then be prepared to respond to what He does next. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

My dear reader, in this world you've likely heard the lies about those who have found something in Christ.  Those who have been saved aren't 'missing out'. They aren't wasting their time.  They aren't giving up. Nor are they believing in fairytales.  Likewise those who have come to Christ aren't automatically going to become rich and have no troubles in this world. 

An interesting effect happens when an eye perceives light.  If it's suddenly then the eyelids tend to kick in and want to limit the amount of light until the receptors in the retina can catch up to the level of intensity.  Along that line is that when the eye does catch up, all that is revealed us seen.  The mind takes over and understanding is sought.  

Next comes distractions.  The mind tries to digest everything being perceived.  Looking to understand the details. 

The inevitable is next, the rest of the body begins to interact with the environment. 

What we do from this point, which altogether probably took seconds, is up to us.

Excitement at remembering what is to come or lack of it.  We begin to follow the rules we have learned of life to this point. 

So where is this going?  Growing up most of us learned from others as to how to go through life.  What we do in public as well as in the privacy of ourselves is governed by do's and don'ts.  

A life with Christ Jesus has rules. They are there to help us grow in Christ.  To become what we are to be in Him.  Those same excuses that I mentioned at the beginning can also be said of everyday life.  There are rules and regulations the world imposes that people don't like.  Many ignore them and do so at their own peril. 
Thus the need for, in some cases, law enforcement. Others are called Doctors. 
Depending upon the circumstances. 

In Christ we voluntarily give up or hold onto things in our lives.  Largely it depends upon our obedience.  Learning what's important to life isn't anything new.  Adult behavior may vary but knowing that adults shouldn't necessarily do what they did as children is what happens when they grow up.  You learn to let go of what you did in favor of what's expected of you now.

For those in Christ we have an analogy of sheep and a Shepherd.  Sheep, like people, can be stubborn, can be single minded, can be difficult.  It takes a patient Shepherd to work with that sheep to bring about obedience.  Jesus used many analogies concerning people and sheep.  Those who are His hear His voice. 

What does that mean?  In His day, as in today, many shepherds worked together.  Both for the safety and sake of their charges.  As a group they would secure an area and all the sheep would be kept together.  This would allow the shepherds to take turns looking after them to get sleep or to gather food.  When the time came to go each Shepherd would call out. Those who were his or hers would recognize their voice and come to them. 

Further examples are that we originally are like sheep having gone astray each doing what is right in our own eyes.  Human behavior and that of sheep really is the same. 

It helps not that in this world we have Satan and his followers goading people to do things or think things that are contrary to the truth of God.  The example of today's post being all that we would lose or have to give up by coming to Christ. 

Think on this very real scenario.  Your life is in danger and by some great miracle a stranger to you steps in and quite clearly saves your life.  The image of that permanently implanted in your mind.  The joy the relief.  You know that you owe a debt that you cannot pay to that individual.  But you feel the need to find some way to repay.  You find yourself altering your life to do things for this one who's saved you.  Sacrifices maybe.  Doing things that you hadn't thought about before. Your belief that this is the right thing to do is strong. 

Those of us who have come to Christ are living that out.  We understand that Jesus stepped in and saved us.  The penalty of sin is death.  The gavel has come down in judgment upon us and the sentence presented. Guilty. Guilty on all counts. 
We who have believed and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation find Him stepping out and taking our place in this. He would bear our punishment in our place.  Relief comes in that we won't suffer the judgment. The need to live for Jesus as He would have us live becomes all important.  It won't be easy but it is possible.  

I don't miss what the world says is all important.  I don't miss the stuff that I no longer have nor do I crave what's out there to get.  It not a crutch living for Jesus.  It's not anything but living life in the way He wants of me.  A sheep obeying his Shepherd.  

I don't want to gain the whole world and forfeit my soul.  Scripture speaks to this. 
Matthew 16:26 "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?"

Life is more than what we see. Jesus said and did things to open the Spiritual eyes of those He touched.  This physical world is going away.  Time will be no more after the final judgment after the thousand year reign of Christ.  Eternity will have begun.  Really consider this my friend, at any moment now we will be 7 years plus a 1 thousand years away from the end of all things.  

Once the Rapture of the Church occurs, shortly thereafter 7 years of judgements will be happening here on Earth.  After they are done, Jesus Himself will be ruling here on Earth for one thousand years.  

If everything else that has happened in the Bible is true, and yes, it's been proven to be true, then you can count on what hasn't happened yet to be coming soon.

I have learned that I need Him to Shepherd me.  I need taught how to live for Jesus.  I wasted decades trying to do it my own way.  I am learning that indeed taking up His yoke upon me indeed was light. That it's not a burden.  I am not losing out on life because I live for Jesus.  I am finding life by living for Jesus. 

What about you? Ready to learn how to live?  Come to the Shepherd and believe in Christ.  He will by no means cast you out. 
Learn and learn to live. 

Thursday, February 27, 2020

I have this Hope

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4 

As a child of God you are never alone! Your Shepherd is with you at all times. You never have to call Him into your situation. You never have to wonder where He is. You never have to fear that if things become too difficult, He will abandon you. He goes before you; He walks beside you; He comes behind you. He protects you securely. Just as He sees every sparrow and knows every hair that is on your head, so His gaze is constantly upon you (Luke 12:6—7). He comforts you with His strong presence in times of sorrow and grief. He leads you through the valley of the shadow of death. He does not necessarily lead you around the valley as you might wish. There are times when your Shepherd knows that the only way to get you where He wants to take you is to lead you down the path that passes through the dark valley. Yet, at those times He walks closely with you, reassuring you throughout the journey that He still loves you and is with you. It is during those times that you experience His love and compassion in a deeper dimension than you ever have before. You never need to fear evil. As intimidating as evil can be, there is nothing you will ever face that intimidates your Shepherd. He has seen it all and soundly defeated every form of wickedness. Evil never catches Him by surprise. Your Shepherd is always prepared and knows exactly when and where you will experience difficulty. Place your absolute trust in your Good Shepherd that He will protect you and demonstrate His love for you through the darkest valley.
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening. 

In January 1943, warm Chinook winds hit Spearfish, South Dakota, quickly raising the temperatures from –4° to 45°F (–20° to 7°C). That drastic weather change—a swing of 49 degrees—took place in just two minutes. The widest temperature change recorded in the USA over a twenty-four-hour period is an incredible 103 degrees! On January 15, 1972, Loma, Montana, saw the temperature jump from −54° to 49°F (–48° to 9°C).

Sudden change, however, is not simply a weather phenomenon. It’s sometimes the very nature of life. James reminds us, “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow” (4:13–14). An unexpected loss. A surprise diagnosis. A financial reversal. Sudden changes.

Life is a journey with many unpredictable elements. This is precisely why James warns us to turn from “arrogant schemes” (v. 16) that do not take the Almighty into account. As he advised us, “You ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that’ ” (v. 15). The events of our lives may be uncertain, but one thing is sure: through all of life’s unexpected moments, our God will never leave us. He’s our one constant throughout life. - Our Daily Bread for today

As different as these devotionals are they couldn't be more the same.  Change. Change mixed with hope. 

Hope. Oh if only you could nail every single person down on what is missing from their lives today is that one thing. 

They look for it everywhere or they try their best to hide the need.  To some the gnawing need irritates them so much they are bitter and angry at those around them. 

Still others sink into deep depression over not finding it. Thus suicide is their answer. 

I have been to that precipice. That ledge of the near end of life.  To ask me then if I was a Christian I still would have said yes. However I had been hit for so long and so hard by Spiritual attacks that doubt was more prevalent than anything resembling hope. 

Just as I was about to do something, by way of another, I was prevented from literally pulling the trigger. A simple solution path was brought to my mind. I had 3 things that were choices before me. 

One was to go ahead and do this.

Second was to put it down and go on living that way of despair. 

The third was to finally, wholly, surrender to whatever God wanted of me. No more of me trying to make the Christian life I was living be the standard, but to really live it the way Jesus wanted me to.

I obviously chose the third.  Only by saying "Your will be done." Did I finally begin to see life differently and see God moving in me.  The seed was finally breaking forth from the shell to begin to grow. 

I had finally discovered hope.  

That was what was necessary for me to set me on the path of hope.  For you it likely will be something else.  We may all be human beings but the miracle of Salvation is slightly different in its actions to grow us in Christ.  Countless trillions have come to Christ throughout the centuries.  Each and every one has a unique story to tell of Jesus in their lives. 

Each individual believer is unique in their personal experience with the Lord Jesus. 

Some barely get to say yes to His free gift of Salvation and their next thoughts are them standing in His presence. Their only hope was their choice.  Still others are believers but struggle in life.  We are still subject to most circumstances of our actions, even though forgiveness has occurred. Our hope remains in Christ to work through those circumstances to His purpose.  Still others get it right away and live what seems to be a spirit filled life. 

The thief on the cross always seems to derail a lot of modern thinking on absolutes when it comes to Salvation.  He was indeed saved by Jesus. Was told what was to be.  Then at his death it happened. In an instant he was with Jesus in paradise.  If time and opportunity affords it, yes indeed a baptism in public should happen.  After the Ethiopian eunuch became a Christian all that remained was to be baptized.  Salvation isn't dependent upon baptism.  It's a wonderful testimony but isn't a requirement.  It is finished meant all requirements were met to save you and I, all that remained was for people to choose. 

There is where the hope is found.  On one unchanging event.  Satan tried his best to prevent it but could not.  He could not stop hope from arriving 3 days later.  

Hate to break it to you, Satan is no being that's all red with horns on his head.  He, as Jesus described him, is a deceiver. The father of lies.  To what would he be compared?  He goes around disguised as a being of light.  He tries to impersonate Christ. He tries to sway the thinking of both believers and unbelievers.  To remove hope.  Christ came to provide hope.  

Changes in life can quickly make us have doubts of our hope. It sometimes takes time to truly understand what Scripture means by calling Jesus the Rock of our Salvation.  By rock, it's not talking about some small thing but Rock as in firmly established, solid, unmoving.  It's so formidable that you can and should stake your life on its dependability.   Hope.

You're going to face struggles in this life.  You are going to hear "come this way". 

You are going to hear "stay on this path".

Only by staying near your Rock can you discern truth from error in your thoughts. 

On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand. 

It sometimes takes time to believe again.  To find hope again.  We get so used to the battle we lose sight of the truth that it's already been won. We are holding onto chains that aren't attached to anything.  All chains are broken in Christ.  We cry out because they are so heavy!  Jesus smiles and says "My Child, let go of them.  They don't define you anymore. My yoke is easy and my burden is light. I know you are weary.  Find the rest, the hope you crave in Me.".

My dear reader hope is but a prayer away.  In some parts of the world this may mean the same as the thief on the cross.  You choose Christ and then die, only to find yourself in the presence of your Savior.  Still others it means that way out you have been searching for all your life.  For those who have this hope, let your light shine in such a way that others seeking it can find that hope too. Hope in Christ is eternal to those who find it. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

What Salvation?

“Salvation comes from the LORD.” Jonah 2:9 

Salvation is the work of God. He alone restores the soul that is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1 NKJV), and it is only God who keeps the soul in its spiritual life. He is both “the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 1:8). “Salvation comes from the LORD.” If I am prayerful, God has made me prayerful. If I have spiritual graces, they were God’s gifts to me. If I hold on in a consistent life, it is because God holds me with His hand. I do nothing whatsoever toward my own preservation, except what God himself has first done in me. Whatever goodness I have, it is from the Lord alone. Whenever I sin, that is my own doing—but whenever I act correctly, that is wholly and completely from God. If I have fought off a spiritual enemy, the Lord strengthened my arm. Do I live a consecrated life before other people? “It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20 ESV). Am I pure? I did not cleanse myself; God’s Holy Spirit sanctifies me. Am I separated from the world? It is due to God’s discipline for my good. Do I grow in knowledge? The great Instructor teaches me. All my beautiful jewels were fashioned by the heavenly Artist. I find in God all that I want; I find in myself nothing but sin and misery. “He alone is my rock and my salvation” (Psalm 62:2 ESV). Do I feed on the Word? That Word would not be food for me unless the Lord had made it food for my soul and helped me to feed on it. Do I live on the manna that comes down from heaven? What is that manna but Jesus Christ himself, whose body and blood I eat and drink (Matthew 26:26–28)? Am I continually receiving fresh strength? Where do I get my might? My help comes from heaven’s hills—without Jesus, I can do nothing. As a branch cannot bear fruit unless it remains in the vine, neither can I unless I abide in Him (John 15:5). What Jonah learned in the great deep, let me learn this morning in my quiet room: “Salvation comes from the LORD.” C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

There are some who read such things as this and consider it foolishness. Some make fun of those who believe in a diety. Making such statements like its nothing but people wasting their time.  Or worse. 

What's interesting to note is mocking God or the need for a right relationship with Jesus in a modern 'land flowing with milk and honey' is where this mostly happens. 

As was shown last year in a rant caught on video by a semi-well known reporter, the mainstream media firmly believes its their job to tell us what to think.  They believe it's up to them to shape our thoughts for the day on people and events.  It had obviously escaped their notice of the warning from Scripture that causing someone to stumble is inherently dangerous. 

So what's the truth?  Truth is this. If the Bible was nothing but a collection of old stories and fairy tales, if following what it says was a worthless joke on the reader of it. If all of it was a lie...then explain a few things to me. 

Why have people and are people being put to death for turning to the truth it speaks of?  Why? Why is it so influential that a group of people would permanently declare a war against it?  If it's nothing to take seriously, why are people hunted down even today for becoming Christians and being murdered by their own family?

That's the truth that the mainstream media will not tell you.  Those murders happen all over the world, not just in countries outside the United States.  They will never be reported as such within the United States but it happens here too.

What is it about a life in Christ that provokes such things?  To know that answer requires reading the book.  Jesus said beforehand that if the world hated Him they would hate you too on account of Him.  He mentioned examples of what would happen to those who might turn from sin to a new life in Christ.  That a man's enemies will be members of his own house.  Sometimes truth indeed is harder than a lie to believe. 

This world is under attack at the Spiritual level.  It's a war every single day.  Jesus said if we come to Him for Salvation we should expect tribulations. It's all worth it but to expect it.  He will always be glorified by our obedience.  Our following Him isn't a death sentence.  It's a life sentence. We finally learn how to live upon coming to Jesus for Salvation.  

Death no longer has any power over us. Jesus conquered sin, death and the grave in His death, burial and resurrection.  A firm truth that all those outside of Christianity cannot fathom.  Scripture says that the message of the cross is foolishness to those who refuse to believe.  Which is why everything from mocking to full-on hatred exists towards it.  The whole spectrum exists to those who refuse to believe in Christ. That He loved them enough to die for them and provide a way to be saved for all who believe.  That spectrum starts with a simple unbelief to raging hatred. Interestingly in Scripture, at the final judgment, that same spectrum now is weeping...those who simply refused to gnashing of teeth...that full-on hatred.  

Salvation is nothing to fear.  Once someone is saved, that is, who truly comes to Christ to receive His free gift of Salvation, they cannot lose it. 

Permanently adopted into the family of God.  Jim Elliott "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."  Which looks to be from Matthew and John. John 12:25 "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal." And ""He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 10:39.

Salvation in Christ is so much more than a decision but it's still the most important one we ever can make.  

The outcome is more than we can ever realize in its importance.  To be among those who refuse means joining those who will spend eternity in Hell.  Jesus painted a very graphic intense visual of Hell.  Read Luke 16:19-31
 “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

My dear reader, my friend from wherever you reside, please understand that a life with Christ only begins here.  In a moment in the twinkling of an eye, you, as a believer would be with Jesus.  Death no longer has any power over you.  Living for Jesus is a whole new way to really experience life.  Not without challenges but never alone.  It may be dangerous in the world in which you live but it's still worth it. Those stories in the Bible aren't fiction they are fact.  That same God is who is alive in you when you become a child of God in Christ Jesus. 

Salvation is so much more than this world offers.  It's to fully recieve the love of God in our own person.  It's to share that with others.  We are safe in Him regardless of our circumstances in life. 

Come...and believe...the offer still stands...

If you haven't read about Romans Road online.  If you found this blog you can find that too. Jesus loved you enough to die in your place.  Isn't it worth it to find out why?

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

His Life for Your Life

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV) 

The Christian life is an exchanged life: Jesus' life for your life. When Christ takes control, your life takes on dimensions you would never have known apart from Him. When you are weak, then Christ demonstrates His strength in your life (2 Cor. 12:9—10). When you face situations that are beyond your comprehension, you have only to ask, and the infinite wisdom of God is available to you (James 1:5). When you are faced with humanly impossible situations, God does the impossible (Luke 18:27). When you encounter people whom you find difficult to love, God expresses His unconditional love through you (1 John 4:7). When you are at a loss as to what you should pray for someone, the Spirit will guide you in your prayer life (Rom. 8:16). When Christ takes up residence in the life of a believer, “all the fullness of God” is available to that person (Eph. 3:19). It is marvelously freeing to know that God controls your life and knows what it can become. Rather than constantly worrying about what you will face, your great challenge is to continually release every area of your life to God's control. The temptation will be to try to do by yourself what only God can do. Our assignment is to “abide in the vine” and to allow God to do in and through us what only He can do (John 15:5). Only God can be God. Allow Him to live out His divine life through you. He is the only One who can. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

I almost remember the day when this really hit home for me.  That part near the beginning. "When Christ takes control, your life takes on dimensions you would never have known apart from Him."

Many years ago at the Church we were going to the topic those evenings was prayer.  It was about the second or third Sunday night when God broke through with me.  

I went up at the altar call and wept.  It went on a few times till the end of the service.  God was changing me.  I needed changed.  It's been since then that He's been doing oh so much through me. 

He has opened my eyes to a great many things.  To see through events, see through people at times.  To find understanding in His Word.  To pray like I hadn't before.  To start having the ability to let go of chains that were of my own making.  The chains began to come off.  The weeping at the altar happened a few more times.  I certainly am not the same as I was back before that time. 

I have learned to let go of so much wrong thinking.  To embrace the simple truths of God.  So many over the centuries have over complicated a life with Christ. 

Additional do's and don'ts. This version of the Bible over that. Must do this must not do that.  If alll these extra things were necessary, how does it fit with the words of Jesus?  My yoke is easy and my burden is light? How does it fit with His saying that one must come as a child?  

My life changed because it finally became Christ living in me.  Not me keeping Him in a room in my heart but in giving Him full reign in my life.  It's been awesome to see where He leads me.  I have seen vast mountains moved. Have seen children healed because of prayer.  Have seen so much and it's all what He has accomplished through my obedience.  

Oh don't get me wrong.  It's still a daily struggle with sin.  In this I share Paul's words in Romans.  What's different now versus before those days of breakthrough in weeping is that after I get knocked down, I have learned to get back up again and move. 

I know that I am still going to sin. But it's not going to define my life.  I am a Child of God.  Heir to the Kingdom of God.  Friend of Jesus. A brother of Jesus.  I am beloved by my Father in Heaven.  I am cherished by Him.  I am still a sinner but I am a forgiven sinner.  I am not defeated, I am victorious in Christ.  In me the I AM dwells. 

Victory in Jesus begins with the realization of who you are and whose you are.  

Your enemy will try everything he can to get you to self-incriminate to doubt your relationship.  To believe you are anything but who you are in Christ.  Everything. 

For while he succeeds at that, you are ineffective for Christ.  As long as you are preoccupied with that it means that you aren't obeying the Word of God concerning yourself.  

Jesus lives within the believer in Him.  So what, you sinned and fell down. Ask for forgiveness, get back up.  Let Him clean you up and get back on your way with Him.  You are never defined by your sin or sin nature when you are in Christ.  You are who HE SAYS YOU ARE!

So today remember who and whose you are in Christ, if you are indeed a believer in Jesus.  If not...then you don't remotely know the half of what you are missing.  Come to Christ today.  Learn what living is really about.  Do a search for Romans Road.  Don't just say the words, mean it when you want Jesus to be Lord of your life.  


Monday, February 24, 2020

Only by His Command

“I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.” Ezekiel 34:26

Here is sovereign mercy: “I will send down showers in season.” Isn’t that a divine mercy? Who can say “I will send down showers” except God? There is only one voice that can speak to the clouds, and tell them to make rain. Who sends the rain down on the earth? Who scatters showers on the green plants? “Is it not I, the Lord?” So grace is the gift of God—it is never created by humans. And this grace is very much needed. What would the ground do without showers? You may plow the soil and sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? God’s blessing of grace is just as needful. You will work in vain until God sends His showers—till He sends salvation down. Then you find a plentiful grace. “I will send down showers.” It does not say, “I will send down drops,” but “showers.” So it is with grace. If God gives a blessing, He usually gives so much that there is not room enough to receive it. Plentiful grace! Ah, we want plentiful grace to keep us humble, to make us prayerful, to make us holy; plentiful grace to make us zealous, to preserve us through this life, and at last to land us in heaven. We cannot do without those saturating showers of grace. But remember that it is a seasonable grace: “I will send down showers in season.” What is your season this morning? Is it a season of drought? Then that is the season for showers. Is it a season of heavy skies and black clouds? Then that is the season for showers. “Your strength will equal your days” (Deuteronomy 33:25). And here is a varied blessing: “There will be showers of blessing.” The word showers is plural. God will send all kinds of blessings. And all of God’s blessings go together, like links in a golden chain. If He gives saving grace, He will also give comforting grace. He will send “showers of blessing.” You poor, dried-out plant—look up today, and open your leaves and flowers for a heavenly watering. -  C. H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

This is a very profound thought!  Weather men and women have for centuries tried to figure out the weather.  They try to link it to human usage of the world.   

Political leaders try to use what is 'discovered' for their own profit.  In the end that's their only motivation.  Politicians do not work for their constituents.  They all have the same agenda. Find a way to have a next term in office.  

But that's not the point of this devotional.  It's a very powerful, poignant moment of realization.  The storms of life are by His command.  

Think about the point of rain. Of storms. There is a point to it in the physical world.  It's a time of replenishment of things towards the Earth.  Storms are when God gets out the scrub brush.  Tornadoes are for deeper cleaning.  Hail is for cleaning that is deeper still.  Every aspect of every kind of weather is at the command of God. 

Scientists, mainly secular scientists, still try to teach that its random. That its an evolutionary thing based on what man is doing to this world.  A full on refusal to believe that a divine Creator is behind it.

Satan is behind their thinking.  It didn't used to be that way. In the early years of science most were Christians.  

Satan will twist and manipulate every perception of man to try to convince them that God's not real and that he is.

Satan wants the Throne of God.  

We face storms in our lives that push us, that feed us and that cleanse us. The storms we face in the Spiritual world shape us.  That same God over all nature is over everything Spiritual.  Satan wants us to be so distracted by his smoke and mirrors that we don't see the hand of God in our lives or the lives of others. 

Read what Blackaby says for today's devotional:

Peter and the other disciples were continually disoriented to God. While Jesus was concerned about one thing, it seems that the disciples were always distracted by something else. In order to help his three closest disciples better focus on His imminent sacrifice on the cross, Jesus took them up to the Mount of Transfiguration. There, Jesus was transfigured into a glorious state and was joined by Moses and Elijah, two of history's mightiest men of God. The disciples, however, were asleep! At one of the most profound moments in history, the disciples were more interested in sleep than they were in praying with the Son of God. When the disciples awakened, they became distracted again. This time, Peter announced his plans to build three tabernacles. The disciples were more concerned with what they could do for God than the incredible work of redemption God was about to accomplish through His Son. Finally, God removed everything from the disciples' sight but Jesus. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” It is so easy to become spiritually distracted. Do you find yourself focusing on everything else but Christ and the work He is doing around you? Are you so eager to “get to the work” that you have not yet clearly heard what is on God's heart? Does the Father need to remove from your life those things that are proving to be a distraction to you? Do you need to refocus on Jesus?

The only voice that can command the weather is that same voice that commands the weather of our lives in the Spiritual world. 

We are no different than the Disciples.  Peter, John etc. all easily distracted.  Constantly missing the point of what was being said by Jesus.  Certainly sounds like me.  Sound like you too?  As with them...we're in the same boat. 

Be still and know that He is God.  

That was what the panicked Disciples were told by Jesus. 

That's what Jesus meant by mentioning their faith.  Be still in the midst of thesw storms and know that He is God.  Know His promises.  Trust in them, not in what you see.  We walk by faith not by sight. 
Our eyes can deceive you. Don't trust them. the day when we need to take a moment and sit on our hands.  To see what's going on from His perspective. Ask Him.  In many instances I have and He has shared.  Sometimes His answer is not now or not yet.  Or even no, because it's either bigger than me or not for me to know.   The Disciples were all told basically the same.  

Calm your heart this day before the Lord. 
Be still and know that He is God.  Rain is always necessary for growth.  A timely lack of it causes roots to go deeper.  Deeper roots have the end result in a stronger tree. Deeper roots in your Spiritual life mean a deeper relationship with Jesus.  There are no coincidences. There are only Godincidences. Really know that each thing in your life is going to eventually be in accordance with His Plan for you.  Each storm each rain shower is by His command.  Scripture says those He loves He disciplines.  Our parents loved us and disciplined us. Taught us. Taught us how to be, how to eat, how to live in this life.  Oh how He loves us!

Sunday, February 23, 2020

God's Promises and You

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 

No Bible promise is of a private interpretation. Whatever God has said to any one saint, He has said to all. When He opens a well for one believer, it is done so that everyone might drink. When He opens a storehouse to give out food, one starving person may be the reason, but every hungry saint can come and eat too. Oh, believer, it doesn’t matter whether He gave the word to Abraham or to Moses; He has given it to you as one of the children of the covenant. There is not a lofty blessing too high for you, or a wide mercy too extensive. Lift up your eyes to the north and the south, to the east and the west, for everything you see is yours. Climb to Mount Pisgah’s top as Moses did (Deuteronomy 34:1), and view the farthest limits of the divine promise—for the land is all yours. There is not a brook of water from which you may not drink. If the land flows with milk and honey, eat the honey and drink the milk, for they are both yours. Be bold to believe, for God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” In this promise, God gives His people everything. “Never will I leave you.” That means no attribute of God can ever cease to work for us. Is He mighty? He will show himself strong on behalf of those who trust Him. Is He love? Then with lovingkindness He will have mercy on us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them—to its fullest extent—will be engaged on our side. There is nothing you can want or ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or eternity, there is nothing in living or in dying, there is nothing in this world or the next, there is nothing now or at the resurrection-morning or in heaven, which is not contained in this text: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

We live in a backwards world. We have the means of the greatest ever ability to communicate yet more and more suffer from being alone. Suicides increase.  

There is no difference within the Church or outside of it.   People worry so much about looks, about impressing others.  Who you are a fan of, who you are not.  Who you follow, who you look to.  

My friend, there is only one to whom you should look. It's nobody on Earth.  Many years ago I was at a crossroads in what some would say is something ridiculous to even have a problem with.  

I was looking around at the things that I had and realized that God was telling me that I was setting up mini-temples in my life.   

I was up to my neck in idolatry. What people would say about the things that I collected would upset me but not when they spoke ill of my God. 

That's an eye opener.  Because it connects to Spurgeon's devotional.  It wasn't that Christ ever left me, it was me making Him sit in a corner while I lived my life my way. Only calling on Him like a butler.  If I had needs then I would call on Him. When people would swear and use His name in vain, it wasn't bothering me.  Not surprisingly my life wasn't going anywhere.  I wasn't succeeding at the carrying my cross thing.  I wasn't useful to Him.  He never left, that's His promise, but I wasn't looking to Him as the one to lead in my life.  

It's really a painful thing to me to clearly see what God is doing or wanting to do in others, but they don't want to hear it.  My friend as Scripture says about taking the log out of my eye etc, so it is with others.  Until they are ready to acknowledge their need, there's little you can do.  

I know of several that it's very clear what God's telling them to do. But they are not letting go so that God can do more both with them and their situations.  It's an awful truth but more often than not fear becomes a comforting blanket to some.  They are used to it so they tolerate it. They are more afraid of the unknown that is on the other side of letting go than they are of the situation they are in. 

My friend, please recognize when God is indeed telling you it's time to let go. That it's time to trust Him in your future.  Don't cast Him into a corner to stand, awaiting your next request.  Place Him on the Throne of your heart, you take His place standing to the side waiting on Him. 

It's really grieves me more than people know when I can have an understanding that others don't want to accept and I know with all my heart that that understanding is from God. 

We set our sights on what we see and not on what could be if Jesus were leading the way.  Psalm 23 is pretty clear...He leads me.  When He does, obstacles crumble.  When He is on the Throne, fears run and hide.  When we stop trying to avoid what it is He is wanting to do, and just obey, we see God working in ways that stagger the imagination.  My friend 6 and a half years ago my life was in shambles because of a Supervisor at work. My fears were destroying me. I just couldn't see any way forward anymore.  I have always adhered to the principle that I would stay working where I was until God made it impossible to stay.  I was watching everything I helped create be destroyed by this man.  Little did I know it was necessary for my future that this happened.  I had desired to go back to school.  We couldn't afford it.  So from this apparent failure, God took me through a half dozen jobs to give me schooling and be paid to learn. Then a day came that I never believed would have been possible. God brought me back to where I had been broken.  He began putting me back together in front of those who remembered my broken past.  Mountains were being obliterated. Why? What changed? 

He never left me. 

His promises are as true today as they were back then.  He used those years to perform Spiritual surgeries on me.  He taught me of the need to remove things from my life and to focus more on Him.  

God's promises never fail.  They are new every morning.  You may be in serious circumstances.  Doesn't matter.  He is still there.  You may only see the stains of sin. But He is still there.  You may only see the grief of sin.  He is still there.  You may fear many things or only a few...He is still there.

My friend, stop thrashing about with Jesus.   Let go of what He says to let go of.   Trust Him.  That's how to succeed in this life.  This world is dying.  It's lifespan is set.  Global warming isn't happening. This world is alive and believes in the promises of God more than we do. The animals, birds, things of the sea, all believe the promises of God more than we do.  
They live in obedience to their Creator.  

Isn't it time you do too?

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Temptations will Come

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. Matthew 4:1 NLT 

A holy character will not prevent temptation—even Jesus was tempted. When Satan tempts us, his sparks fall on dry wood; but in the case of Christ, it was like Satan struck matches underwater. And yet the enemy continued his evil work. Now, if the devil goes on striking when there is no result, how much more will he do it when he knows what flammable stuff our hearts are made of? Even when you have become greatly sanctified by the Holy Spirit, expect that the great dog of hell will still bark at you. In the haunts of humanity, we assume we’ll be tempted—but even seclusion will not guard us from the same trial. Jesus Christ was led away from human society, into the wilderness, and was tempted of the devil. Solitude has its delights and its benefits; it may even be useful in checking “the desires of the eyes and pride of life” (1 John 2:16 ESV). But the devil will follow us into the loveliest retreats. Do not suppose that it is only worldly people who have dreadful thoughts and blasphemous temptations—even spiritually minded persons endure the same. We may suffer the darkest temptations in the holiest places. The greatest devotion of spirit will not insure you against satanic temptation. Christ was consecrated through and through—it was his food and drink to do the will of His Father who sent Him (John 4:34), and yet He was tempted! Your heart may glow with a heavenly flame of love toward Jesus, and yet the devil will try to bring you down to the lukewarm level of the Laodiceans (Revelation 3:13–15). If you can tell me when God allows Christians to lay down their armor, I will tell you when Satan stops tempting. Like the old knights in wartime, we must sleep with our helmet and breastplate buckled on—the arch-deceiver will seize our first unguarded hour to make us his prey. May the Lord keep us watchful in all seasons, and give us a final escape from the jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening. 

One of the worst things perpetrated against mankind by Satan is that it's only us going through what we are going through.  The second is like it.  That it does no good to seek help.  

Read that first sentence by Spurgeon. 

We are lied to from the very moment we are able to begin understanding right and wrong.  By our sin nature, sometimes at the same time as others speak to us.  The earlier Satan is able to influence us the deeper his attempts at influencing us can be. 

We wrestle not against flesh and blood.  Scripture is clear on that.  

As it reads both in Scripture and outside of it, our greatest enemy is ourselves.  We can deceive ourselves quite easily.  We can be very convincing in our lies to ourselves and others.  Only by relying on the truth of God can we have a lifeline to hold onto in order to live.

We are lied to by Satan and ourselves concerning our self worth. 

We are lied to by Satan and ourselves concerning punishment and condemnation.  

We are lied to about a great many things.   

Even the Spiritually empowered Disciples who were able to have authority over sickness, demons and such, were able to be lied to about things concerning themselves.  They became prideful to the point where they weren't able to heal others.  Blackaby writes "Jesus' response to His disciples included some of the harshest words ever to come from His mouth. He called His own disciples “unbelieving” and “perverse” and questioned how much longer He had to endure them! Why? Because they were supposed to be on mission with Him to bring salvation to others, but they had become so disoriented to Him that they were spiritually powerless, lacking the faith to bring physical and spiritual comfort to those God had sent to them."

Dear reader, please know that indeed Jesus has promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  He cannot break His promise. 

But we, at times, make Him wait on us to come back around to His way of thinking. 

Jesus isn't sitting on His Throne with a gavel waiting for our next sin in order to drop a judgment on us.  That too is a lie of Satan.  

Jesus knows our every weakness.  He knows our every thought.  Our every intention before we even know ourselves. 

We indeed must stop the self debasement.  Stop the self condemnation.  We need to start believing what Jesus says we are in Him, not what our sin nature or Satan has to say of us.

Think about how ridiculous it is.  We have asked for forgiveness, meant it, and upon being forgiven, we go out into the public square and put ourselves in stocks to take a punishment we do not face?  We put ourselves in jail for a sentence that doesn't exist?  We who are in Christ keep thinking in terms of punishment at times.  God wouldn't have referred to liberty in Christ if it meant bondage. 

We identify.  Wow.  The worst, shortest, phrase of the last 10 years. Being made to believe in physical identification as what defines us.  What defines us begins in the Spiritual world.  Who we are in Christ begins our definition.  When we understand who we are in Christ, what we see of ourselves physically, means little.  Solomon had written of vanity of vanities all is vanity.  Our looks matter not.  Who we are in Christ is everything.  

Satan says we are losers. Jesus says we are beloved by God. 
Satan says we are failures. Jesus says we are His workmanship. A work in progress. 
Satan says we have gone so far that God wouldn't forgive. Jesus looks at all sin and says "paid in full".
Satan says you can't break that habit, you're mine.  Jesus says that we belong to Him, that with God all things are possible. 
Satan will do and say anything to a believer to make them believe anything to keep them ineffective for Christ. 

Temptations will always follow you.  They will never be labeled as such. But to learn to identify them takes time.  

You're not going to just see things as God does unless you seek God's input on what is before you.  The Disciples had to learn. 
You won't know what idolatry is until you read what Jesus says it is.  We as a world are so deceived in this area.  Being told desire is ok, it doesn't hurt anyone. Idolatry today is disguised as being fans of anything that takes your mind off of God.  
May seem harsh, but consider the lives of the Disciples.  Their time with Jesus was meant to teach them to stay focused on the mission. Satan loves a good couch potato.  Wasting time is his most effective tool.  The more you waste of your time the less you can use for your walk with God. 

Stop and think about where you are going and why.  Are you honoring God or yourself?  Are you seeking self gratification or seeking His Kingdom?
Are you looking at yourself as He sees you or as Satan wants you to see you?

Jesus says we are His Beloved.  We cannot be any different in His eyes. 
He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Temptation will come but it isn't a sentence.  Jesus cannot love us any more than He does, nor can He ever love us any less than He does.  There is no change. 
That children's thing of he loves me, he loves me not, with a flower can never apply to Christ Jesus. 

Stay in prayer.  Stay in the Bible.  Keep your thoughts where it says they should be. Ephesians 5:19 "Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;"

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8

Friday, February 21, 2020

Yes, God has said...

God has said . . . Hebrews 13:5 

If we can only grasp these words by faith, we have an all-conquering weapon in our hand. What doubt would not be slain by this two-edged sword? What fear would not fall with a deadly wound before this arrow from the bow of God’s covenant? Won’t the distresses of life and the pangs of death, the corruptions inside us and the traps around us, the trials from above and the temptations from below, all seem to be just light afflictions when we hide ourselves behind the fortress-wall of God has said? Yes! Whether it’s for delight in our quiet moments or for strength in our conflicts, God has said must be our daily resort. And this may teach us the extreme value of searching the Scriptures. There may be a promise in the Word which would exactly fit your case—but if you aren’t aware of it, you miss its comfort. You are like a prisoner holding a ring full of keys. There may be one key in the bunch which would unlock the dungeon door, and then you would be free. But if you will not look for the key, you will remain a prisoner even though liberty is near at hand. There may be a strong medicine in the great drugstore of Scripture, but you will continue in your sickness unless you examine and search the Scriptures to discover what God has said. Besides reading the Bible, shouldn’t you fill your memory with the promises of God? You can recall the sayings of great men; you treasure up the verses of renowned poets. Shouldn’t you be profound in your knowledge of the words of God, so you can quote them readily when you face a difficulty or doubt? Since God has said is the source of all wisdom and the fountain of all comfort, let it fill you with its richness, as “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14). This is how you will grow healthy, strong, and happy in the Christian life. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Oh the struggles and temptations of this life. 

There are good days and bad days we live in and through.   Things get better and at times we get cocky and all the sudden we are flat on our backs.  What happened?

We as believers are to reflect the light of Christ.  Where the light is darkness cannot abide.  

It's an interesting excerpt from Blackaby's devotional today that fits with Spurgeon. 

"There is no mistaking the effect of light upon a darkened place. Light boldly and unabashedly announces its presence and vigorously dispels darkness. God's desire is to fill you with His light. He wants you to shine as a brilliant testimony of His presence and power in your life, so that the darkness in the lives of those around you will be displaced by the light of God's glory. If, however, you notice the world around you becoming darker and darker, don't blame the darkness! It is simply doing what darkness does. The only remedy for darkness is light. Jesus said His disciples should be the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). What an awesome responsibility—to be the ones through whom God would shine His divine light and dispel the darkness from around others! In announcing His own coming, Jesus said, “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, / And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death / Light has dawned” (Matt. 4:16)."

Darkness will do what darkness does.  What a profound statement. 

We know the Scriptures, that we battle not against flesh and blood. Our battlefield is the minds of people.  One point of view versus another.  God's truth versus the world.  

Oh you don't understand! I have this problem and that problem! I can't find victory in my fights!

Proverbs has more than a few things to say on this.  But I will say this...a well known truth about sinful habits is the same as for any bad habit.   You will always fail at stopping them if you do not replace them with something God honoring and good.  If you want to dispel the darkness you have to seek more light. The only true light is found in Christ. 

To get there we go back to what Spurgeon was talking about.  God has said.

God has said "it is finished!"

God has said "now, therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"

God has said we are His beloved 

God has said...

My friend, I am no stranger to struggling in my walk with God.  But it's not making me useless to Him.  As I was sharing with a friend,  we have to make ourselves obey.  Satan and our sin nature aren't going to bother with unbelievers in the same way as believers.  Ours as believers is a battle to make us ineffective towards the cause of Christ, the sharing of the good news of Jesus Christ.  For unbelievers that battle is to keep them in darkness, away from the light of truth.  That Jesus came to save them and that Salvation is free to all who would but ask.

Scripture says we need to fill our minds with the Word of God, with Psalms hymns and Spiritual songs.  We need to feed on the light. 

We are a strange creature in that we can somehow easily adapt to seeing in lesser amounts of light.  The same holds true to Spiritual sight. We can get used to not as much light.  But we are not called of Christ to sit and wait to be fed. 

We are told to seek first His Kingdom.  Seek. To go after. 

We will always have struggles in this life with sin.  I say that not to discourage, but it's Scriptural.  Until we are with Christ in person we will be struggling with sin. It's in our DNA until we get a glorified body that no longer has that DNA. 

Paul encouraged Timothy, to fight the good fight.  Keep the faith.  Really read first and second Timothy.  It's letters of a Spiritual Father to his Spiritual Son.  His concerns being shared between the two. 

God has said.  I liken that verse to the story of Joseph. The Lord was with him.
Repeatedly it says the Lord was with him.

Now consider this today as you face your sin nature, and you will face it, the Lord is with you. He is with you.  Right now.  

Consider that your battles with temptation are nothing new to Him.  He's seen it all.
We have this hope that we have a mediator in Christ who knows our pains and our suffering.  He knows our hearts.  Nothing is hidden from whom we have to do.

You, like me, want victory in all areas of our lives before God.  In time it will happen.  It may not be in this life entirely but it will happen.  God has said.  

When the darkness becomes noticeably darker we need THEN to put the brakes on whatever we are doing.  Don't wait to see if it gets better.  Our activities in the body totally impact our activities in the Spiritual world. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.  Matthew 6:33.  

Lastly really examine who you spend time with and what you occupy your time with. 

A drunk who is going through AA shouldn't be frequenting bars in order to get better.  Drug users cannot find relief by hanging around other users.  There can be support found in others who struggle but be careful that you both don't fall together.  You need to be with growing believers.  Share in the light of Christ that comes from other believers.  That's what happened in the book of Acts. Look at what happened.  That was a culture deep into other gods.  Deep into sexual sins.  Yet victory came in their lives because of Christ and His light shining from believer to believer.  

God has  God has also said "Behold, I am coming quickly..."

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The God of the Comfort You have been Looking for

. . . God, who comforts the downcast. 2 Corinthians 7:6 ESV 

And who comforts like God does? Go to some poor, melancholy, distressed child of God; tell him sweet promises and whisper in his ear carefully chosen words of comfort. He will be like “the deaf adder that stops its ear, so that it does not hear the voice of charmers” (Psalm 58:4–5 ESV). He is tasting bitterness, and try as you might to comfort him, you will only get a note or two of mournful resignation from him. There will be no psalms of praise, no hallelujahs, no joyful poems. But let God come to His child, let God lift up his countenance, and the mourner’s eyes will glimmer with hope. Now hear him sing, ’Tis paradise, if thou art here; If thou depart, ’tis hell. “My God, My Life, My Love,” Isaac Watts (1796) You could not have cheered this person, but the Lord has done it. He is “the God of all comfort” (2 Corinthians 1:3). There is no balm in Gilead, but there is balm in God. There is no physician among created humanity, but the Creator is Jehovah-rophi—“the LORD who heals you” (Exodus 15:26 NLT). It is marvelous how one sweet word from God will generate whole songs in Christians. One word of God is like a piece of gold, and the Christian is the goldsmith who can hammer that promise out for entire weeks. So then, downcast Christian—no need to sit in despair. Go to the Comforter, and ask Him to give you consolation. You are a poor, dry well. You have heard it said that when a pump is dry, you must pour water down it first—then you will get water. In the same way, Christian, when you are dry, go to God, ask Him to fill you heart with His joy, and then your joy will be full. Don’t go to friends on earth, for you will find them to be like Job’s comforters. Go first and foremost to God, who comforts the downcast. You will soon say, “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer” (Psalm 94:19 NLT).

My Friend,  someone out there in this vast Earth in which we live needs comfort.  There is but one who knows your heart.  There is but one who searches the heart of man.  That is Jesus.  Tempted in every way as we are, a man of sorrows.  Knowing grief as well as joy.  Weeping as we weep. Scripture tells us this and it's true. 

Read these words from the song "Do It Again"

Walking around these walls

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

Your promise still stands

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

I know the night won't last

Your Word will come to pass
My heart will sing Your praise again
Jesus, You're still enough
Keep me within Your love
My heart will sing Your praise again

Your promise still stands

Great is Your faithfulness, faithfulness
I'm still in Your hands
This is my confidence, You never failed

Your promise still stands

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


If there's any today or tonight in search of peace and's only found in Christ.  

I have been wracked by grief and pain. I have known loneliness so deep that it cut like a knife.  Have known whst it's like to not even have the words to express my emotions or feelings.  Thanks be to God that I have Jesus in me who always knows my heart.  In those times as a famous poem "Footprints" when He carries us.  

Oh my Friend, let Him carry you now.  

Life was never meant to be lived alone.  Before the fall of Adam and Eve, they walked daily with Jesus.  Knew His voice, knew what real fellowship was about.  

Sin brings sorrow. It brings it in everyone and everything since that day they chose to defy God's command. They had to be driven out of the Garden of Eden.  Angels had to be stationed to prevent them from going back in.  

Sorrow was known to them that day.  A broken fellowship with their Creator.  They used to walk and talk with Him easily.  Now they would have to seek Him out in order to do so again.  

We, at all times, need to seek His face.  I can't tell you how many times it has been that all I could do is that and no more.  I had no words for my anguish. Yet I know He heard my heart.  I knew.  Things changed in time. In a good way.  They can for you as well, if you are indeed in Christ. 

I have nothing to compare life to concerning the ways those outside of Christ deal with life.  I know in whom I have believed.  I know that I have Jesus.  In the bad times and the good He is with me.  As Psalm 23 says that though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.  

My friend if you are not found in Christ, you have no such comfort available to you. 

Different seasons bring about different reasons to finally say yes to the free gift of Salvation in Christ.  Sometimes it happens in joyous times but sometimes it happens in the pain of sorrow.  Be it personal sorrow or that of losing someone dear to us.

A greater sorrow is yet to be had for those not found in Christ.  Eternity separated from Him.  Missing out on what could have been.  Sorrow is gripping nations at the loss of so many to illnesses.  Sorrow is also gripping the ones losing someone dear to them as well today. 

Seek Jesus while you can. While He may still be found.  Invite Him into your life, ask Him to save you.  Relief will come at long last. You will find a peace that you cannot explain only in Christ.  He promised. 

My prayers go out to all who read this.  I know in whom I have believed.  I know my Savior loves me.  I have experienced His peace that passes all understanding.  His promises have always been kept to me. His grace is greater than all my sin.  I am a child of God because of Jesus.  

What about you this day my friend?  

Can you call Jesus your Savior?  If not, why not?  Is it so important to hold onto your life that you would keep saying no to the peace of God you so crave?  You have a Jesus shaped hole in your heart that is only filled by Him.  Oh you will, and probably have, tried filling it with other things.  But nothing will awaken your heart like Jesus. 

Come to Jesus 

Come to Jesus

Come to Jesus...and live.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

As for You, You Follow Me

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24 

We can take God's presence for granted. We can assume that because Jesus said He would be with us always, He will follow us wherever we go (Matt. 28:20). Jesus does not follow us; we are to follow Him. You do not invite God to join you in your activity. He invites you to become involved in His activity. Jesus said: “You did not choose Me, but I chose you” (John 15:16). Following Jesus requires absolute obedience. He does not seek our counsel about which direction we think is suitable. God already knows what is best without ever having to consult with us. Following Jesus will lead you into experiences you never dreamed of! You will be with Jesus as He weeps over those trapped in sin. You will feel the pain that Jesus feels. You will see those who were spiritually blind experience the joy of coming to see God for the first time. You will see lives that were broken, made whole. You will see marriages restored; those in bondage, released; and those who mourn, comforted. At times it will be easy to follow Jesus. At other times, you will be tempted to abandon Him. Following Jesus can mean going through a storm or standing on a mountaintop. You may have stopped following Jesus, but now you want to follow again. When you stopped following Jesus, you did so on your terms. But the returning to Jesus is strictly under His conditions. He is God, and you are not. Are you willing to follow Jesus anywhere, at any time, under any condition? That is the only way you can follow Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

There's some parts in today's devotional that I was compelled to highlight.  Way too often some verses get lost in the thousands we read.  That verse is so small yet so powerful.  "I chose you."

Think about that. Trillions of people who have lived, yet, in this time, this here and now, He chose you.


When we look at this great ball spinning around the sun, from space not a single person can be seen by the naked eye.  Yet God sees.  Genesis 16 Hagar after fleeing Sarai was found by the Lord. "Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God who sees”".

We often wonder if anyone really knows or cares.  We run up against those who live for themselves and show no interest in our lives.  It can certainly make us feel small. 

But we are not lost to Jesus.  He knows very well just where we are.  Scripture says, and it cannot be broken, that His love never fails. 

As a Pastor wisely put it this past weekend, we often play that children's game of "He Loves me, He loves me not" with Jesus.  I did this sin or that sin oh no he must not love me anymore.  Now I have to work at gaining His love back.  No you don't.  You can never lose the love of God for you.  We devalue ourselves when we sin.  Once we repent and ask for forgiveness we are seen as white as snow in the eyes of God. 

We run into loneliness, we run into self abasement, the devaluation of ourselves when we know that we have sinned. 

Oh, Child of God, don't.  Jesus said to follow Him yes we are to take up our cross and follow, but He also said that His burden is easy and His yoke is light.  

We put so much more onto the life of a Christian than Jesus intended. 

Really read the lifestyle of the Disciples in the Gospels.  How did they live?  Imagine them today.  Dear believer, you are the them of today.  We will never attain the level of Apostleship that was theirs alone, but we are the product of centuries of Disciples teaching new Disciples. 

Follow Me wasn't a suggestion.  It wasn't one of many careers to choose from in the Christian life.  It's THE life of a believer. 

My sad regret in this life is that I didn't learn this sooner.  I might have lived a better life for my Lord.  In what way?
Oh in that I wasted so much time living for me rather than giving my all for Him.

Christians do that.  It's as easy to lie to ourselves as it is for us to lie to others.  We can easily believe that we are here only to prosper after coming to Christ.  That you can pray for that and God will give it to you.   How does prosperity fit in with trials and tribulations?  How does it fit in with if the world hated Me, it will hate you too?  If the Jesus said these things, and He did, you think that you are going to lead a fully prosperous life and a world bent on hating what you stand for is going to leave you alone?  There are indeed people who have learned to still rely on Christ in prosperity.  You see that is the trick.  We are fallen sinful people.  Just as unbelievers are. We are still tempted by the falsehood of prosperity to not rely on Christ for our needs. 

The Disciples wanted for nothing.  They were being taught how to live in the few years they personally were taught of Jesus.  

Global warming isn't happening.  Climate change isn't happening.  Read what the Bible really reveals about this world.  It's alive. It too awaits its Creator to return.  It too has a plan and a purpose in God's plans for man. Even blood has life in it that knows when it's been shed.  Genesis clearly says of Cain's murder of his brother, that his blood cries out from the ground.  When the Lord Jesus created this world it was teeming with life and He called it good.  

This world awaits the return of Christ.  It's getting ready.  Jesus said of the seasons we know what ought to come next.  

What's coming has everything to do with us in the here and now.  Our living for Jesus.  Our being His children in obedience.  Our following Him in our daily lives.  Taking up our cross and following Christ.  Loving as He loves. Remembering that we are loved of our God.  We are never alone.  To let go of living for self. 

Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.  

We have but one thing to do today. 

Live for Jesus.  Where He is working, join Him.  Be in fellowship with Him.  He's to be not just your Savior but your friend.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

This is God's Will for You

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24 

Your “cross” is God's will for you, regardless of the cost. Taking up your cross is a choice; it is not beyond your control. You may have health problems or a rebellious child or financial pressures, but do not mistake these as your “cross to bear.” Neither circumstances you face nor consequences of your own actions are your cross. Your cross will be to voluntarily participate in Christ's sufferings as He carries out His redemptive purposes (Phil. 3:10). Paul said he rejoiced in his sufferings because he knew that by them he was able to participate in the suffering required to bring others into Christian maturity (Col. 1:24). We tend to want to go immediately from “denying ourselves” to “following Jesus.” But you can never follow Jesus unless you have first taken up your cross. There are aspects of God's redemptive work that can be accomplished only through suffering. Just as Christ had to suffer in order to bring salvation, there will be hardships you may have to endure in order for God to bring salvation to those around you. Jesus did not talk with His disciples about the cross until they had come to know He was the Christ (Matt. 16:21). You will never be able to endure the suffering of the cross unless you have first been convinced that Jesus is the Christ. Once you have settled your relationship with Christ, He will introduce you to your cross. There is no Christianity without a cross. If you are waiting for a relationship with God that never requires suffering or inconvenience, then you cannot use Christ as your model. God's will for you involves a cross. First, take up your cross; then you can follow Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh my dear reader, oh so many of us seek others to explain to us how to find the Will of God in our lives.   I included myself in that group.  

It's rather interesting, at least for me, that this particular devotional of his comes soon after my wondering about this very topic, taking up my cross and following Christ. 

I have been well over 7 weeks now restarting my journey back through the Bible.  I am in Leviticus.  Something awesome hit me this morning that has everything to do with this from Blackaby. 

In Romans it is written that the wages of sin is death.  Chapter 6 verse 23.

Wages are what is given for something done.  Agreed upon in advance.  But how? You ask, how did I agree to what Romans 6:23 said?  Actually it was agreed upon by the first guilty pair.  Adam and Eve.  God said it was binding to all generations.  

In Leviticus and earlier we see how involved sin is in everyday life.  It permeates everything. 

Taking up our cross has everything to do with denying self and obedience to God. 

We are just as deserving as all mankind is concerning sin.  Only by coming to Christ, by receiving His free gift of Salvation, does God not see us, but sees Christ in us instead. 

We can only learn in steps.  Guess what, physically you can only move a large load, such as your cross, in steps. 

But the truth to this is this, His yoke is easy and His burden is light.  The only one of the twelve to complain was Judas. It was to be that way.  Jesus was patient and kind in His teaching His followers.  He's no different with us.  Same burden lifted by them is lifted by us. 

Letting go of all the cares of this life is where they began.  One purpose, one focus, on Christ alone.  There was no storage unit full of their stuff to come back to later should their time with Jesus not work out.  Their only possessions were on them.  They admit they left everything to follow Christ. Read it.  Those are their own words. 

Read Paul on this subject to Timothy. 
"You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier. Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules. The hard-working farmer ought to be the first to receive his share of the crops. Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything." 2 Timothy 2:1-7 NASB

They learned in stages, so do we.  In our lives we have learned everything we know of life in stages.  In your youth you cared not about things that concerned adults.  As a youth you cared not about the things of infants.  You had no context for understanding.  In time you learned. 
We live in a world that is impatient concerning learning.  They want instant access, 3D printed, microwave results. Immediate acceptance without working for it.

No so for the believer in Jesus. 

He often took His Disciples aside to get away from everyone to give them rest. To teach them in a more personal way.  

Before a soldier is allowed on the battlefield he or she must learn what it is to be a soldier first.

Our enemy isn't other people.  It's a fallen angel named Satan.  As I read yesterday too. Satan is not the opposite of God.  Satan's got a counterpart, it's Michael the Archangel. God has no equal. 

We need to separate our thinking from the world.  It's learning what is important to our Master, Jesus Christ.  The instructions set forth for us are the same given to them.  We don't just get saved then immediately jump into the Great Commission.  Yes some have gifts for various purposes such as evangelism, but that's the Spirit working in willing people.  Even evangelists need the same time in prayer and the Word of God as the rest of us.  They are a mouthpiece of the Spirit.  As Paul mentioned in his writing of the various parts of the body of Christ. 

So realize that our lives are not about the things that are see.  Taking up our cross is living in obedience to the one to whom we serve.  Living for Jesus a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that I do. As the hymn goes. 

But what about all that life has to offer?  It is true life has a lot to offer.  But our first priority is living for Jesus.  

Monday, February 17, 2020

Deny and Do

"Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

During the 2018 World Cup, Colombian forward Radamel Falcao scored in the seventieth minute against Poland, securing a victory. The dramatic goal was Falcao’s thirtieth in international play, earning him the distinction of scoring the most goals by a Colombian player in international competition.

Falcao has often used his success on the soccer pitch to share his faith, frequently lifting his jersey after a score to reveal a shirt with the words, Con Jesus nunca estara solo: “With Jesus you’ll never be alone.”

Falcao’s statement points us to the reassuring promise from Jesus, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Knowing He was about to return to heaven, Jesus comforted His disciples by assuring them He’d always be with them, through the presence of His Spirit (v. 20; John 14:16–18). Christ’s Spirit would comfort, guide, protect, and empower them as they took the message of Jesus to cities both near and far. And when they experienced periods of intense loneliness in unfamiliar places, Christ’s words would likely echo in their ears, a reminder of His presence with them.

No matter where we go, whether close to home or faraway, as we follow Jesus into the unknown we too can cling to this same promise. Even when we experience feelings of loneliness, as we reach out in prayer to Jesus, we can receive comfort knowing He’s with us. - Our Daily Bread for Today February 17th 2020

Deny Yourself Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24

Sin causes us to be self-centered, shifting our hearts from God to self. The essence of salvation is an about-face from self-centeredness to God-centeredness. The Christian must spend a lifetime denying self. Our great temptation will be to affirm ourselves while we follow Jesus. James and John did this when they chose to follow Jesus but asked for the two most prominent positions in Jesus' kingdom (Mark 10:35—37). James and John wanted a discipleship that would not impede their personal desires and aspirations. Like them, we say, “Lord, I want to be pleasing to you, but I want to stay where I am.” Self-centered people try to keep their lives unruffled and undisturbed, safe and secure. Our temptation is to give our time and effort to the goals of this world. Then, when we are successful in the world's eyes, we seek to bring God into our world by honoring Him with our success. We may say, “Now that I have succeeded in business [or sports, or politics, or with my family, or even Christian ministry], I want to give God the glory for it!” God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives. The world will entice you to adopt its goals and to invest in temporal things. Resist the temptation to pursue your own goals, asking God to bless them. Rather, deny yourself and join the activity of God as He reveals it to you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Much is in today's devotionals. But just as in Genesis 39...the Lord is with us as He was with Joseph.  

Look at the words of Jesus...John 10:27-30 NASB " My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

It's very different from what the world teaches.  The worlds views on success. The world's view on including God in our lives.  See what's wrong with those few sentences?  We aren't to live our lives our way and find the time to include God in them. 

Those who are Christians are to be living in obedience. In. 

To do this requires listening to the voice of our Savior.  It requires.  Not as an option but a requirement.  Denying ourselves. 

The same requirements that were told to the Disciples are what's told to us.  Deny yourself take up your cross and follow Christ.  

The other parts of that still follows to be true.  The Lord is with you.  

Joshua's life was in Christ. It's both him and those around him who noticed that the Lord was with him.

We also can't go out into this world to be all we can be THEN live for Jesus. 

We are to find out where Jesus is and join HIM.  The Church is His body here on Earth.  It is to be about the Father's business.  Listening to the words from the head.

Chief among lies we tell ourselves is our self worth. Either we want to live for ourselves or we are consumed with self depreciation.  Cutting down our value because of past sins.  Both are dangerous.  Both make us ineffective for Christ.  I have been both.  Thinking that I had to be successful before I was useful to Him.  Also spending decades believing lies about my relationship with Jesus. 

The simplest way to be is found in Isaiah.  "Here I am...send me.". Obedience. 

Whether you feel like it or not.  Obedience.  How did the sheep hear His voice? Obedience.  Now, to further understand that particular passage, you need to understand that culture. Many shepherds had places where all their sheep could be together for safety.  One gate in or out. When a Shepherd was ready to move on he would call and only his sheep would come.  They knew his voice through obedience.  

The same lesson is for you and I.  We will know more about Him through our obedience.  Letting go of everything that hinders our relationship with Jesus will enable us to learn His voice.  Our information overload society exists because Satan knows how to drown out voices.   The simpler that I have began living my life, by intentionally removing things the clearer His voice is becoming. 

Why is it that those saints who are about to step into glory have such joy?  There's nothing hindering their hearing of His voice.  No worldly distraction.

We are at war.  Yes we are. It's not against flesh and blood. It's in the Spiritual world. 

Focus is everything to a soldier.  Distractions mean people die.  In the Spiritual world distractions begin to disrupt our communication with our Savior.  Our lifeline. 

Deny yourself take up your cross and follow Christ.  This includes self condemnation.  Yes you sinned.  Ask forgiveness of Christ, get back up and get back in the fight. Quit looking behind you at your past. Look at where you are. Ever mindful of what's going on in the here and now.  Satan and our sin nature want us off our game. 

Deny yourself and remember He is with you.  Take a second look at the 4 Gospels. 

It's 4 accounts of a RELATIONSHIP.  

Between those being taught to deny themselves and the Master who was teaching them.  It's full of successes and failures.  Just like it will be with us!  Hello! Did you really think that life with Christ would be any different than theirs was?  There's 4 accounts for a reason.  4 points of view to show you that what you read is your life too with Christ. 

Look at how you are living today.  Look at your level of obedience.  Are you shutting up long enough to listen for His voice?  Are you joining Him in His work or are you trying to get Him to join you in yours?

Today is the day to live for Him. 

Today is the day to be obedient to Him. 

Today is the day given to you to walk with God,  not God with you. Perspective is everything. His sheep follow Him. He doesn't follow them.  You try leading and you will find failure. He is the Way.  We don't know the way. Only Jesus does.