Sunday, May 31, 2020

Where do you go first?

Thus says the Lord: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:5 

The Israelites of Jeremiah's day believed they could trust in their army, the diplomacy of their king, and their foreign alliances to protect them from the powerful Babylonian empire. They gave lip service to their trust in God, but their actions showed where their faith really was: in their military and financial might. God spoke through Jeremiah to warn them that He would not bless those who trusted in anyone or anything instead of Him. Placing your ultimate trust in anything other than God is idolatry. How can you know if your faith is not truly in God? Ask yourself these questions: Where do I turn when I experience a crisis? When I am hurting or afraid, to whom do I go? When I have a financial problem, whom do I want to tell first? Where do I seek comfort when I am under stress or discouraged? God often uses other people as His method of providing for you. But be careful lest you inadvertently misdirect your faith toward His provision instead of toward the Provider. God may meet your need through your friends, but ultimately your trust must be in God. The Israelites were so stubbornly committed to trusting in human strength instead of God that, even as the Babylonian army approached Jerusalem, they continued to desperately seek for a person, or a nation, or an army that could rescue them. They realized too late that they had neglected to trust in the only One who could deliver them. Don’t make the same mistake as the Israelites. Go straight to the Lord when you have a need. He is the only One who can provide for you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Where DO you go first when trouble comes?  Where do you look for help when the world goes crazy? 

How much of your day is ever spent in conversation and fellowship with Jesus?

There are those who like to believe they are prepared for what comes.  Jesus spoke of a rich man who was well enough off that he was ready to expand and build bigger barns.  Little did he know his life was coming to an end that very night.  We can plan all we want for tomorrow or the next hour.  But if God isn't an integral part of your life, you are planning in vain. 

There really shouldn't be anyone left at this moment in time that ever expected 2020 to be the way it is. It's had everything from economic boom to devastation. From attacks on the President to virus attacks on the population, to riots in the streets. 

There's little to no peace to be found.  People are wondering and worried about today let alone tomorrow.  

Am I worried? No. Am I concerned, yes.
I pray therefore I know in whom I have believed. I know He is able.  Prayer is a part of my life.  My faith is absolutely not in mankind.  My faith is in the Holy One of God, Jesus Christ. 

Do I still prepare? Yes. Because Jesus gave me a brain with the expectation of using it.  Where is your faith placed?

You waiting for the Government to solve your problems? You shouldn't.  Only the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has the true authority and ability to alter the course of your life. 

Leaning on others all the time and not walking your talk about being a Christian is telling yourself and others who you really trust in...and it's not God.

Raging in anger as the rest of the world does at the way the world is isn't showing Christ to anyone.  It's showing the world something else entirely. 

Does this world upset me?  Yes.  Sin is still here. Sin still impacts my life.  Sin is just as devastating today as it was 2,000 years ago, 4,000 years ago and all the way back to Adam and Eve. 

Regardless of the smoke and mirrors of news reporting, Jesus is returning again.  The state of this world is only the beginning of the preparations for the return of Christ.  Lovers of themselves.  Haters of good. Violent.  Any of that sound familiar? 2 Timothy.  Brutal. Yes that's written there too.

If that part of the Bible is true, you had better expect all the rest to be true. 

Return to Jesus if you have claimed to be a Christian and have wandered.  Restore your life with Christ.  The Prodigal Son happens to all of us.  Be in prayer. Be honest with yourself and God. 

If you haven't come to Christ, realize the truth you have been denying.  God is real, sin is real and you are in dire need of a Savior.  Come to Christ right here right now.  Like that rich man Jesus spoke of, you may not have a tomorrow to plan for.

The truth of this world is all about and all around Christ.  At the right time He came to save you and I from our sins.  To make a way to be saved.  He took on all our sin on the cross to pay the price we could not. 

Look around you at the world.  It's proving the Bible to be true. Life isn't going to get back to how it used to be.  The physical world of creation knows that Christ is returning and groans in anticipation of its Creator coming back. 

What about you?

You can't handle the truth!

You can't handle the truth!

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

You don't like it now, if you're still here after the Rapture, you're really going to hate it.

Because you are seeing 2 Timothy to be better believe this will be true: .

"For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Asking rightly

“A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” Matthew 16:4 

Some feel that they demonstrate great faith by continually asking God for miracles. They assume that in every situation God wants to do the spectacular. They presume, for example, that God wants to heal anyone who is sick or provide a miraculous escape from every difficulty. But Jesus condemned those who insisted that He perform miracles, because He knew their hearts. He recognized that they could not believe Him without constantly undergirding their faith with signs. Their faith was not strong enough to survive without a regular supply of the miraculous. Jesus condemned this lack of faith and left them. There are times when we prefer the miracle over the miracle worker. God calls this idolatry, and He discouraged it by refusing to provide miracles on demand (Jer. 2:11–13). Sometimes the greatest act of faith is not to ask for a miracle. One of the most amazing statements of faith in the Old Testament came from Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they faced the fiery furnace because of their obedience to God. They expressed true faith when they assured king Nebuchadnezzar: “Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up” (Dan. 3:17–18). They were confident in God's ability to deliver them, but they trusted Him so completely that they did not ask to be spared. Does your faith need miracles to sustain it? Or do you trust God so totally that you can say, “But if not, I will still trust the Lord!”? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

It's often been said to be careful of what you ask for, you may get it.  It's also said in Scripture to not hastily make a vow. Says also to pray for others, that the Will of the Father may be done. 

Where many slip up is a lot of what Blackaby says here.  Thinking that we need a miracle.  That it's God's Will to ask for one.  Well is that Biblical or is that our selfishness?  We want an out. We want justice, our way, to satisfy our plight. We want, we want, we want. 

When we go down that road we aren't seeing with Spiritual eyes. We are seeing with eyes of the flesh.  We see as Satan would have us. Examples of that particular temptation are in the Gospels.  "If God really loves you He would..." or "God must not really love you because He didn't..."

What is important is that in what we do, what we think, what we God glorified?  Or are we?  Ouch.

It doesn't go even a day when people post on Facebook if sharing a blanket prayer or such wanting to remove cancer, etc from the world.  Or things like depression or suicide or other things en masse.  Look again at what Blackaby says of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  It matters not, physically, what happens. Being right in God's eyes is what's important.  If it means leaving this world to be with Jesus then that's what it is.  We can be just like the people in Jesus's day that kept wanting signs and miracles.  Jesus said no. You're not going to get any but one. That of His death, burial and resurrection.  That sign would glorify God. 

People get depressed when they don't get what they want.  Depression is most often that truth.  We either internalize the disappointment or lash out.   

Where are you on this?  Is your life a reflection of Christ or are you trying to be  the candle producing your own version of light?

Are you wanting your will to be done on Earth as you want done in Heaven or are you wanting His Will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven?

We ask, I ask, quite often for quick resolutions and responses from God.  We have this sense of urgency.  We want it in a microwave minute. We want a miracle to get out of whatever is the problem. 

So what do we do when God's answer REALLY is not yet. Wait.  Typically we take that as a no answer and attempt to do our response our way. 

Then we make it worse and wonder why God didn't do anything.  Problem isn't Him. The problem is us. 

If we believe Christ then why do we push the way we want things to be done with Him?

Look at your heart this day. Look at the intent of it.  Why? Because I assure you, Jesus is.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Being Careful of Our Words

“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36 

Jesus spoke plainly about our idle words, yet His warning often goes unheeded. Jesus said that for every idle word there will be a time of accounting in the day of judgment. We would expect Jesus to condemn profane and vile uses of the tongue, but idle words? Idle words are things we say carelessly, without concern for their impact on others. We too quickly assume that the sins of our tongue are minor sins, sins that God will overlook. Yet Jesus was fully aware of the devastating nature of our words, for the idle words that come from our mouths give a lucid picture of the condition of our heart (Matt. 15:17–20). The Book of Proverbs encourages us to speak less rather than risk saying something offensive (Prov. 17:28). Often when we have nothing significant to say we are tempted to speak injurious, idle words. The more time we spend in idle chatter, the greater the likelihood that we will say things that are harmful. James cautioned believers to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” (James 1:19). We are in much less danger of saying something offensive when we are listening than when we are speaking! Think carefully about the words that come from your mouth. Christians should speak only words that uplift and bring grace to others (Eph. 4:29). Do you need to speak less? Do you need to be more careful about the kind of humor you use? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you evaluate whether your words build up others or whether they destroy and hurt others. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

"Oh, that was just a slip of the tongue."
"Oh, I was just angry, I didn't mean it."
There's many ways we say it to excuse our behavior.  Mankind has always sought after weapons of any kind to further dominance and turn opportunity into power.  Yet from the smallest to the greatest words are always there with the potential to do harm. 

We as Christians aren't any better than unbelievers in how harsh our words can be. We think that asking forgiveness after the fact excuses it. Or we quickly dismiss the Spirit when He let's us know that was wrong.  If the Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword, able to separate to the division of soul and Spirit, then consider the power in words. 

Our lives are spent with other people.  Satan wants people to live his way, desensitized to the impact of words. 
The Bible, in Proverbs and other places tells us otherwise.  To be sensitive to what we say and how we say it, and even if it should be said at all.  

In the New Testament we read about the connection to anger.  Not letting the sun go down on it. To not give the Devil an opportunity.  Anger can produce seeds of many kinds and none of those entangling vines are any good.  We cannot control anger. Words can be weilded as a sword in a moment's notice. Once spoken cannot be taken back.  

I have much regret in life of words spoken both in anger and not in anger.  The reality is the truth...I know that I have ruined lives by my words.  I read in the Bible where people exercised bad judgment and their words ruined lives. I cannot retract my words.  I have no doubt that I grieved the Holy Spirit by my actions.  I caused Him to alter lives to fix what I did without consideration of what my words have done.  

Think before you speak.  We have probably all heard that.  It finds its roots in the book of Proverbs.  

What we speak in anger or just spoken out of haste or selfishness alone can cause decades worth of problems for yourself and others.  Decades. Maybe even a lifetime.  I know of people who didn't forget what people did until they died.  They could forgive, they said, but would never forget.  

As Christians yes we are forgiven when we ask for it.  But worldly reality is there are always consequences. 

We will give an account of every careless word.  Even our thoughts that we spoke to ourselves.  

Our grumbling. Our complaining.  If it wasn't righteous in nature is against us.

Think about that.  The only acceptable anger is righteous anger and that is of God, not us.  Only God is capable of discerning the real truth in any situation. 
To be angry by what angers God is a touchy subject.  Because we lack the holiness to manage the full effect. 

We are told to be quick to hear and slow to speak.  God gave us two ears and one mouth.  Two ears wasn't because He liked stereo.   Taking time to understand before you speak eliminates mistakes and misinterpretation. 

We don't realize that this high speed world we live in is intentionally that way on purpose.  It's not our society is improving. It's the way Satan wants it to be in order to make it harder for us to slow down and obey Christ. Look at what the Scriptures say about doing things without thinking. 

Thinking is muddled up by haste.  We hurt people either intentionally or unintentionally.  "Our rights" is the most overused phrase today.  

We who are of Christ are not of this world. Our rights begin and end at the Cross.  Our home is in Heaven. Our land is in Heaven. Our King is in Heaven.  Our rights are based on our citizenship. 

My heart is heavy at times when I remember the lives that I ruined in my haste and in my selfishness.  I pray for those who I remember wronging. 

Consider your words carefully.  Pray for your tongue.  Pray for those around you.  It may be the only prayer offered over them.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

What is said is more important than what We say.

Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart. Jeremiah 15:16

 If you were to receive a note from the leader of your country or someone famous, you would probably save it as a keepsake. How much more precious is a message from Almighty God! Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances that are beyond our control. This was the case for Mary and Martha as they were grieving the death of their brother Lazarus. At these times a word from Jesus can bring much rejoicing (John 11:41–45). Other times when Jesus speaks, His words bring correction. “Get behind Me, Satan!” (Matt. 16:23) and “O you of little faith” (Matt. 14:31) do not seem to bring joy. Yet Jeremiah said that God's Word brought him joy. It is overwhelming to consider that holy, Almighty God would speak directly to us! What a privilege that He would care enough to challenge our destructive thoughts or practices. No matter whether His words are praising us or chastising us, we ought to consider it joy to receive life-changing words from our Master! Every time we prepare to worship the Lord, we ought to do so with anticipation that Almighty God may have something to say to us. Whenever we open our Bibles, we should expect that God has something to tell us in our time with Him. We ought to be far more concerned with what God will say to us during our prayer times than with what we intend to tell Him. When you receive a word from your Lord, whether it be of praise or of correction, consider it joy that Almighty God would speak to you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

As often as our hearts are grieved, as often as sorrow swirls around us, as often as life often doesn't go the way we think it should, there's comfort to be heard from Jesus. 

Like an upset child, we often are constantly, endlessly talking in prayer about our plight, our situation, never remembering that He already knows. 

Being silent in prayer is often the right way to be.  We who are in Christ are His sheep. Jesus tells us as His sheep we hear His voice and follow Him.  Doesn't say we know Him, we follow Him. It takes time with Jesus to get to know Him. 

Sorrow grips our hearts in ways we don't think others understand.  Pain is often hidden.  Prayer is our answer to that but my friend it must be honest prayer.  A public official and a priest prayed at the Temple at the same time.  One prayed honestly, from his heart, the other, the priest, did not. One left justified the other did nothing but talk to God about himself. 

Daniel prayed from an honest heart while in captivity. Remembering the words of King Solomon that should someone be as he, taken away captive to live elsewhere, to turn towards Jerusalem to pray that he would be heard.  That faith in God's promise was kept. Jesus showed up.

Many times our prayers are our lists.  Please, people, He knows our lists.  Pray what's on your heart.  He knows our needs before we speak them.  It's our heart that gets changed by our time with Jesus.  Nobody ever spent time with Jesus without being changed. Even Judas.

The world tells you that to be a somebody you need to follow along with them. God says to die to yourself and live for Jesus. 
One is self-centered the other is to live for Christ.  But for a sheep to know it's Master requires time with it's Master.  Requires shutting up to be able to hear.  As someone once said...there's a reason why you have two ears and one mouth. 

It's hard to shut up sometimes.  It's like we feel the need to always be the one to talk to Jesus.  Mary sat at Jesus's feet. He was doing the talking, she, the listening. Martha was agitated by all the preparations she thought needed to be done and was missing the opportunity.  Did stuff need done? Obviously yes. Jesus didn't deny that.  He simply said there was time.  The time was now to sit and just be with Him. 

Do you pray? Do you really pray? Does your sin weigh upon you?  It does me.  I have lost track of how many times Jesus took me by the arm to help me get back on my feet.  Thing is it wasn't always that way.  I had to learn to hear HIS voice.  I was hearing a voice alright, a voice that battered my ears and mind to believe that because of my sin I should stay down. Don't bother getting up again.  I would just fail again.  

Learning to listen to my Shepherd takes time.  It takes effort.  I am reminded of some special needs people.  Often misunderstood.  It takes a special kind of person to realize their need. Once a thread of trust is formed they won't easily let go of it.  I am a special needs Christian. We all are.  There's nobody who has come to Christ who isn't.  We all like sheep have gone astray.  Scripture tells us that.  

As the Good Shepherd Jesus goes in search of every single sheep that is His and is intentional on building a relationship.  

Simply opening the door to your heart is the beginning.  Once inside. He installs a lock on the once one way door. He is now the door to your heart.  He holds the key.
He is your key.  He comes in to live with you, to teach you all things.  To be taught means to listen.  To learn means to listen. 

Prayer, like Salvation, was never meant to be complicated.  Really. Look at what we are called.  Sheep.  To train sheep means keeping it simple. 

There is no perfect prayer.  No magical set of words to get your way with God.  The Lord's Prayer was a guide.  Not a set of absolutes. The prayer of Jabez was a guide.  Not an absolute. The prayer of the servant of Isaac was a guide not an absolute.  The same goes for Daniel, Samson and Paul even.  Guides not absolutes.  Read again what Jesus says about prayer and you will see constant repetition in prayer is nothing that He wants to hear.  He wants a relationship with you.  Not to become your Butler. 

So think about your prayer life.  Think about how honest you are being with Him. 
When was the last time you really told Him how you feel?  Not what you think He wants to hear, but how you feel.  Frustrated? Angry? Sorrow? Pain? Joy? Happiness?  Get real with Him.  

That's your thoughts for today. Get real with yourself and God.  People will always disappoint you. Jesus promised He never would. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

A Need, THE Need to be Genuine

He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. Psalm 103:7 

Are you satisfied with merely knowing the acts of God, or do you also want to know His ways? There is a difference. This difference is illustrated in the lives of the children of Israel as compared to Moses. The Israelites witnessed the miracles God performed; they walked across the dry Red Sea just as Moses did. They ate the manna and quail from heaven even as Moses did. They were content to receive God's provision without ever knowing God Himself. Yet Moses saw beyond the provision of God to the person of God. Others, such as the Egyptian magicians, might perform miraculous acts, but no one else did things the way God did (Exod. 7:11–12). The way God acted provided a window into His nature. If Moses had been content with only God's power, he could have accepted the presence of an angel and been victorious in his efforts (Exod. 33:15). But Moses wanted to experience more. He wanted to experience God Himself, not just God's activity. Some today, like the Israelites, are content to experience God's activity without ever coming to know God. They are the recipients of answered prayer, yet they never come to know the Provider. They are blessed by God's providential care over their families, their homes, and their jobs, yet they are satisfied not knowing the One from whom the blessings come. They benefit from God's protection, yet they never become acquainted with the Protector. Have you come to know God more personally as a result of your experiences with Him? As you observe the acts of God, look beyond them to the revelation of His character (Gen. 22:14; John 6:35). - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Be real!  Be all you can be!  There are many ways the world wants people to be.  They want you to spend your money with them on you, because they say you deserve it.  They want you to have a procedure done because you're worth it.  Vanity has almost as much money spent on it as dollars going to political parties. 

Yet every single person who ever was known to have it all in this world experienced emptiness, loneliness and a wasted life. Interesting that for every one read about in the news of having won big and destroyed their lives, there's a hundred waiting to prove the world wrong that you can be successfully rich and well to do. 

In the Old Testament there is one who experienced it all and came away with the truth.  Vanity of vanities all is vanity. It's a striving after the wind. It's pointless to pour everything into a life for selfish reasons because you cannot get the time nor anything else back again.  Billions are spent each year on Ebay by people trying to relive their past.

Jesus tells one and tells all to store up treasure in Heaven.  With Him.  Treasure isn't about things or money.  It's people.  To get to that honest realization you need to understand what God considers valuable. Which is you. 

The world wants compliant people who obey the power hungry.  They don't care who they have to lie, cheat or steal from to make their desires your reality.  Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice.  He says that anyone trying to get to His sheep by any other means than through Him are liars cheats and robbers.  Who seek to destroy the sheep.  

He says His sheep know His voice.  They follow Him.  So whose voice are you listening to?  Him or the world?

Satan wants the Godly silenced.  He wants to rule the Universe from God's Throne.  He absolutely doesn't care who he destroys along the way.  He's slaughtered billions without a care.  He will slaughter billions more at any God permitting opportunity.  God permitting?  Yes. Reality is: Satan is a created being, whom still has to obey every rule that God commands. He doesn't have free reign to do as he pleases.  God has a Plan for mankind and nobody, not even Satan is going to change it. 

Who do you listen to? Who are you getting to know? The Shepherd or someone else? Are you only listening to yourself? Are you at all interested in what interests God?  Are you living for your own desires and wants only?

This is your reality check being cashed.

Look at yourself in a mirror of you may.

Who are you living for? Is the most important thing in your life anything or anyone but Jesus?  Does family or friends or work or pleasure come before your life with Christ?  What did Jesus tell us? What did He tell His potential Disciples? If you love anything more than Me...

Getting to know Jesus should be our Highest priority.  It's a struggle in a world where everything is designed with a set lifespan to break especially when it's the most inopportune time.  The world does its level best to consume our time to keep us from investing in our relationship with Jesus.  We can be like the children of Israel who loved the blessings but didn't want to know the one giving them.

We can forget to be grateful to our Savior when things are going well.  I know that I have.  Reality is hard it's often harsh. Because we try to write our own reality. We want our perceptions to be what is real. 

Truth is Jesus is coming soon.
Truth is He will render unto every man what they have done in the body.  Every thought, every intention, every action and every inaction.  Every choice ever made. 

I am certainly ashamed of many if not most of the life that I have lived.  I see what waste I have made of much of it. I can't take any of it back. There are people that I have wronged that I can't make right. That's reality.  What I can do is try from this moment forward to do more with my relationship with Jesus.  What I can do is give Christ more rule in my heart and mind.  What I can do is more than what the world wants me to do. 

Look at what is the most important to you. 

Is it your spouse? Children? Grandchildren? Work? Your body? Your status? Money? Looks? Go deeper.  Your rights? Your________. Fill in the blank.  If anything is more important than your walk with Jesus, it's got the wrong priority. 

Yes we need 'down time' but we shouldn't give the devil any opportunity to take us where we dare not go. 

I found this verse of the day kind of convicting Acts 20:24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God."

Am I looking for a better relationship with Jesus or am I looking at what's better for me?  Sometimes it's not the same. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Weary in the World

. . . continue in the faith . . . Acts 14:22 NLT Perseverance is the badge of true saints. The Christian life is not only a beginning in the ways of God, it is a continuation in those ways as long as life lasts. Christians should say, like the French emperor Napoleon, “Conquest has made me what I am, and conquest must maintain me.” Dear brother or sister in the Lord, your motto should be, “Excelsior—still higher.” We are only true conquerors, to be crowned in the end, if we continue until the trumpet of war no longer sounds. Perseverance is, therefore, the target of all our spiritual enemies. The world does not object to your being a Christian for a while, if you can be tempted to quit your pilgrimage and settle down to buy and sell in Bunyan’s allegorical town of Vanity Fair. The flesh will try to trap you and prevent you from pressing on to glory: “It is weary work being a pilgrim,” your flesh will say. “Come on, give it up. Am I always to be subdued? Am I never to be indulged? Give me at least a vacation from this constant warfare.” Satan will make many fierce attacks on your perseverance; it will be the target for all his arrows. He will work to hinder your spiritual service; he will insinuate that you are doing no good; he will urge you to rest. He will try to make you weary of suffering; he will whisper, “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). Or he will attack your steadfastness: “What is the good of being so zealous? Be quiet like the rest; sleep like others do. Let your lamp go out like those virgins in Jesus’s parable.” Or he will assail your doctrinal sentiments: “Why do you hold to these creeds? Sensible people are growing more accepting; they are removing the old landmarks. Fall in with the times.” Wear your shield, Christian! Close upon your armor! Cry out unto God that by His Spirit you may endure to the end. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

It's not often when an Evening writing by Spurgeon stands out like this one does. 

But in the days in which we live it's a hallmark of the times. Weariness. 

It's hard work trying to do and say and think in the world when most every voice you hear tries to change you in ways thay aren't always Biblical. 

It's hard in the workplace when they have crafted policies to prohibit most talk about Christianity. 

It's harder still when you now have to embrace their 'inclusiveness' because that is policy too.  You can't speak on what you believe unless the person you are speaking to consents. If not it's forbidden. Yet you must listen to what others have to say. 

Weariness sets in.  The workload is increased to a point where you are either physically or mentally or both when you finally go home. 

To the point where when you do get home you really just don't want to think or even do anything.   Weariness. 

What I have been trying to make myself do is stay focused.  Both there and outside of there.  To make sure that I don't compromise in my Bible and devotional reading.  To make sure that I pray when I can.  No matter where. 

Weariness is a part of life...but it doesn't define life.  We can still choose to push back on it.  But the need to be sensible about it also is there.  We must use common sense.  A tired body means a tired mind. Tired minds make mistakes. 

Stay in prayer. Keep your armor on.

We're not finished yet.  Fight the good fight as Paul said. 


Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you. Psalm 55:22 ESV 

Care can be exercised on legitimate objects, but if it is carried to excess, it becomes sin. The command to avoid anxious care is earnestly and repeatedly taught by our Savior; it is reiterated by the apostles. And it is a command that cannot be ignored without committing sin—the very essence of anxious care is our imagining that we are wiser than God, putting ourselves into His place, to do for Him what He has promised to do for us. We worry about things that we fancy God will forget. We labor to take our weary burden on ourselves, as if He were unable or unwilling to take it for us. Now this disobedience to His plain command, this unbelief in His Word, this presumption of intruding onto His province is a sinful way of thinking. But more than that, our anxious care often leads to acts of sin. People who cannot calmly leave their affairs in God’s hand, but try to carry their own burdens, are likely to be tempted to use wrong means to help themselves. This sin leads us to forsake God as our counselor and resort instead to human wisdom. This is going to the “broken cistern” instead of to the “fountain” (Jeremiah 2:13), a sin which was charged against ancient Israel. Anxiety makes us doubt God’s lovingkindness, which makes our love to Him grow cold. We feel mistrust, and we grieve God’s Spirit, so that our prayers are hindered, our consistent example is marred, and our life becomes self-seeking. A lack of confidence in God leads us to wander far from Him—but if through simple faith in His promise we cast each new burden on Him, and if we “don’t worry about anything” (Philippians 4:6 NLT) because He promises to care for us, we will keep close to Him, and be strengthened against great temptation. “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3 ESV). - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Perhaps adding this: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." Philippians 4:6

We think it natural that there is just so much to do and so little time.  That's just the way it is.  It's our 'lot' in life. 

Reread what Spurgeon says today my friend.  You REALLY think it's a coincidence your reasoning matches what he wrote?  Do you really think it's any coincidence that the same applies to you now that was written by him so long ago?

When God starts saying something that is a reflection of what you are thinking, it's time to dig deeper in prayer for understanding. 

His thoughts are not our thoughts nor His ways our ways.  Scripture tells us that plainly. 

So where do your thoughts go?  Ever consider that one? Are they just loose and undisciplined thoughts, without any attempt to control them?  We are told to take every thought captive. Where? 2 Corinthians 10:5 "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,"

Sort of goes against what the world (aka Satan) says doesn't it?  

A Disciple chooses to submit to the things and thinking of a Master.  Realistically you are either following Christ as your Master or the world as your Master.  Jesus said you cannot serve two. It wasn't just about serving money.  

It's a personal Discipleship. Jesus got away with each Disciple, at times in groups, but also individually.  The result is what we read of them confessing that only Jesus had the words of life. 

Our anxiety is easy for us because the enemy of God is relentless in his kind of attack on us.  Very relentless.  He knows not to shout out what he is doing, people would figure it out and ignore even him.

You want to understand anxiety? Read up on the basics of psychology.  That stuff is mainly his battle plan. Psychological warfare is of Satan.  Psychotherapy certainly is of him.

Did any Disciple need therapy?  No. They needed Jesus.  Did any need to have lessons repeated? Sure. That's part of learning and living.  

Where you go and what you do as a Christian or even a nonbeliever is only partly your choice to make.  You choose who you are following and that's where your motivation begins.  

Today is indeed a new day, if you are still breathing in this life.  Fears are being played upon and countless billions of people are being manipulated in the grandest of chess games.  There's one direction for this world. The fulfillment of Scripture.  The Plan of God.  Satan wants to win and will indeed sacrifice billions if it takes that in order to gain the worship of mankind.  He doesn't care about who dies. It matters not if it's millions of babies per day or if it's all the aged and infirmed. 

Realize the truth about manipulation of people.  Only those old enough to know right from wrong and those young enough to be manipulated are the ones Satan is trying to sway away from God.  Older people are mostly set in their ways and aren't very useful to him to manipulate the younger minds.

As Scripture tells us plainly we war not against flesh and blood.  "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12

Those in the battle are everything from weary to seasoned, energetic to anxious. 

To battle anxiety is hard, not impossible  but hard.  I know for some this is preaching to the choir, but this is for me as well as those who don't know. 

Prayer is our tool for anxiety.  Consistent, constant prayer.  

Our lives are always going to have ups and downs.  We are always going to have things happening that are unexpected.  Look at the life of Christ.  Find one instance of Him worrying about anything. 

Note what it does say, He often got away to pray and be with His Father. 

If praying is difficult for you there is a reason why.  Either you indeed are not saved or if you are you have gotten used to being lead to believe that it does not work. Why try.  One is certainly cured by prayer to be saved the other is an outright lie that you need to overcome. 

Prayer for Jesus was the same as breathing.  There's our example on how to treat anxiety. Not psychology. No need for drugs or counseling.  No need for special plans or programs.  Prayer.  

Prayer blows past ever single, get this, really get this, EVERY SINGLE defense of Satan. 

There's absolutely nothing he can do about it because Jesus said that our intercessor is Him. Our prayers go straight to God. Not through anyone on earth.  Scripture says there is but one mediator between us and God and it's Christ.

Battle your anxiety with prayer.  But not just words, back it up with belief.  Believe that you have been heard.  Know that you have been heard. 

Start your day with Jesus and your anxiety will begin to disappear.  The world has no defense against it. Which is why psychology exists.  Which is why drug therapy exists.  Which is why the world is in the shape it is. 

Begin your day with Jesus. Start small if you have to. There's no formula.  When you begin a relationship in this world with someone it isn't jumping right to marriage or the cream of the crop in being best friends.  It takes time, patience and honesty.  

Begin your day with Jesus and anxiety will begin to leave your life. There's a reason why a person's love would grow cold for Jesus.  It's a lack of a solid prayer life and and at least a point of their life where they allowed the worries of this life to overwhelm them. 

Pray today.  Pray now. Pray often. Jesus never made the Christian life complicated. 
We did because of listening to Satan and not God. 

Monday, May 25, 2020

How's your conversation?

Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ. Philippians 1:27 KJV 

The term conversation in the King James Version does not merely mean our talk with one another, but the whole course of our life and behavior in the world. The Greek word signifies the actions and privileges of citizenship—so we are commanded, as citizens of the New Jerusalem, to let our actions be appropriate to the gospel of Christ. What sort of “conversation” is this? In the first place, the gospel is very simple, so Christians should be simple and plain in their habits. There should be a simplicity in our manner, our speech, our dress, and our whole behavior that is the very soul of beauty. The gospel is supremely true—gold without impurity—and the Christian’s life will be dull and worthless without the jewel of truth. The gospel is fearless, boldly proclaiming the truth whether people like it or not, and we must be equally faithful and unflinching. But the gospel is also very gentle. Mark this spirit in its Founder: “He will not crush the weakest reed” (Isaiah 42:3 NLT). Some professing Christians are sharper than a thorn bush—such people are not like Jesus. Let us seek to win others by the gentleness of our words and actions. The gospel is very loving. It is the story of how the God of love relates to a lost and fallen race. Christ’s last command to His disciples was “love each another” (John 15:17). Oh, for more real, heartfelt love and communion among the saints, and for more tender compassion toward the souls of the worst, most vile people! Finally, we must not forget that the gospel of Christ is holy. It never excuses sin—it pardons it, but only through atonement. If our life is to resemble the gospel, we must avoid not only the darker vices but everything that would interfere with our perfect conformity to Christ. For His sake, for our own sake, and for the sake of others, we must strive every day to let our conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

So how's your conversation going with Jesus?  Have you talked to Him at all lately?  Have you spoken to Him at all without there being some form of crisis at hand?  Or is that the only time you 'touch bases' with Jesus?  

Honestly, inviting Jesus into your life to be your Savior, and after He comes in, wipes away your sin, to have Him wait in a corner like a butler is how many professing Christians do.

Prayer is to be like breathing.  It's to be as food is for eating.  It's to become natural to us. 

When was the last time you really had a heart to heart with Jesus WITHOUT a crisis in your physical world?

When was the last time you had a conversation?  You who are in Christ have been granted the right to speak to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  The Creator of the Universe because of your new life in Christ.

You received the greatest gift ever and would you leave the greatest part of that to waste?  So my friend, this is as much to me as it is to you.  

If even Jesus needed to talk with His Father all throughout His earthly life, how much more should we?

Think today where your heart is in this.

You know many Churches are trying to force a revival.  I have been hearing of this from various denominations and pastors in recent years.  Several today are trying to force one out of this recovery process.  Truth is it only only only begins in much prayer.  It requires a lessening of us and our wants and desires.  It requires the kind of personal conversation with Jesus that likely we have never had before.  Just know the deeper the conversation the more that is revealed.  Action AFTER a revival is due to the work of the Spirit THROUGH the revival.  

Personal is where your conversation with God always should be is that where it is?

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Prayer and Faithfulness

Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer. Psalm 66:20 NLT 

If we honestly look back on the character of our prayers, we will be filled with wonder that God has ever answered them. There may be some who think of their prayers as worthy, like the Pharisees did—but true Christians, with an enlightened consideration, weep over their prayers. If we could retrace our steps, we would want to pray more earnestly. Remember, Christian, how cold your prayers have been. When, in your place of prayer, you should have wrestled like Jacob did, but instead, your petitions were faint and few. They have been far removed from that humble, believing, persevering faith that cries, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26). But it is wonderful to say that God has heard these cold prayers of yours—and not only heard them but answered them! Think too how infrequent your prayers have been, unless you were in trouble—then you’ve often gone to the mercy seat. But after God’s deliverance came, where was your constant praying? Still, even though you stopped praying like you once did, God did not stop blessing. When you neglected the mercy seat, God did not desert it; the bright light of the Shekinah glory has always been visible between the wings of the golden cherubim. It is a wonder that the Lord pays attention to those intermittent spasms of prayer that come and go with our needs. What a God He is to hear the prayers of those who come to Him with their pressing wants, only to neglect Him after they receive mercy! What a God He is to hear those who approach Him only when they are forced to come, but forget to address Him when mercies are plentiful and sorrows are few. May God’s gracious kindness in hearing such prayers touch our hearts, so that going forward we may be found “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication” (Ephesians 6:18 ESV). - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:9 

We may assume that our expressions of devotion to God are small and insignificant, but in God's eyes they may hold much meaning. Our love and dedication to Christ may even create memorials to God for future generations. This woman performed a profound act of love for Jesus. She did not do it to impress His disciples or to gain public attention or to gain praise from Jesus. She simply sought to express her love for Jesus. She did nothing spectacular; she performed no miracles; she preached no sermons. Yet Jesus was so moved by her selfless loyalty that He deemed it worthy of remembrance throughout the remainder of history. We do not know all that God finds most pleasing, nor do we know what acts of our love He may choose to honor through our children and future generations. Abraham could not have known that the day he demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice his only son would be memorialized and would bless many generations who heard of his obedience. David could not have known that his walk with God would please Him so much that David's example would bless generations who followed him. God can take your faithfulness and begin a spiritual legacy, making it a blessing to others for generations to come. You will never know until eternity all who received a blessing because of your righteous life. That is why it is so important that you daily express your love and devotion to Jesus. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Two things that go together more than peanut butter and jam or Lucy and Ethel or ANYTHING else you love to pair up are prayer and faithfulness. 

Our walk with God is strong at its weakest moment because of His faithfulness. Our prayers no matter how small or great are heard no matter how insignificant the world may see them. 

Our relationship with Jesus isn't to be evaluated by the world. The world cannot contemplate the value of sin, much less, the value of righteousness.  A relationship with Jesus is determined by first coming to Christ for salvation.  Then the housecleaning begins.  The moving in of the Holy Spirit.  The conversations between you and your Savior.  Be they small or long winded they are recorded and cherished by Him.

It matters not how faithful we are Jesus cannot deny Himself.  He will remain faithful, it is us who miss out on what might have been. 

My greatest regrets in my life are the moments that I can remember failing Jesus.  The times when I am not lying to myself about the things that happened that I knowingly did. Yet throughout my life His faithfulness has never wavered. 

Satan relentlessly tries to introduce doubt.   He relentlessly tried to sew discord and strife in my mind.  He tries to muscle his way into my heart, where the Spirit says 'No Vacancy'.

He doesn't get in, but his words are all too often heard.   It's not just my struggle to remain faithful, it's yours too. It's the struggle of everyone who had ever been saved.  Thankfully, mercifully, Jesus remains faithful. 

Our anger, our selfishness, our pride, our desires, our anything you can name, if it's ours, it can trip us up. Only that which is in us that is of Christ is holy, pure and true. 

Prayer and faithfulness go hand in hand. 

The looking back from the New Testament writers to the Old Testament writers shows a history rich with both.  There in is the path to the will of God. 

Satan will never be overt in his attempts to manipulate us. It will always be subtly done.  Always softly spoken.  Always something to introduce a minor change of direction that we won't notice right away. 

Scripture says at all times pray.  
Scripture says to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and Spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself. 

That's prayer and faithfulness together.  This world today has had the impossible happen. The bulk of worldly idols have been irrevocably removed.  Some still remain.  Selfish people are still in this world.  That would be everybody.  Power and money are Satan's best weapons. He still is trying to wipe out Christianity and the Jewish people.  What the rest of the world doesn't get is he doesn't care if he takes everyone with him in the process.  His aim is to become like God.  Will never happen but that's his endgame. 

How much are you in prayer?
Where is your heart?  Where is your faithfulness? Are you, as mentioned in the devotional, only faithful when times aren't so good?  Do you not pray so much when life is good?

Consider your own life. This is between you and God.  Only God has the right to look on you and if you are bold enough, ask Him what He thinks.  

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Lord will work out His plans for Me

The LORD will work out his plans for my life. Psalm 138:8 NLT

 The confidence the psalmist expresses here was most certainly a divine confidence. He did not say, “I have grace enough to work out my life . . . my faith is so steady that it will never stumble . . . my love is so warm it will never grow cold . . . my resolution is so firm that nothing can move it.” No, his dependence was solely on the Lord. If we indulge any confidence that is not grounded on the Rock of Ages, that confidence is worse than a dream—it will fall back on us and cover us with its ruins, to our confusion and sorrow. Everything nature weaves, time will unravel, to the eternal perplexity of those who trusted the material. The psalmist was wise, resting as he did on nothing short of the Lord’s work. It is the Lord who has begun a good work in us; it is He who continues it; and if He were not to finish, it would never be complete. If we try to insert a single stitch in our heavenly garments of righteousness, we are lost. But this is our confidence: the Lord who began will complete. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all. Our confidence must not be in what we have done or resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do. Unbelief whispers to us, “You will never be able to stand. Look at the evil in your heart—you can never conquer sin. Remember the sinful pleasures and temptations of the world that torment you—you will certainly be lured and led astray by them.” Oh, yes, if left to our own strength we would undoubtedly perish. If we had to navigate our frail boats alone over such a rough a sea, we might as well give up the voyage in despair. But thanks be to God, He will work out his plans for our lives, and bring us to the desired harbor. There is no concern that we can’t take to God. And we can never be too confident when we trust in Him. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I read this this morning, while enjoying my coffee, and couldn't help but remember the words of a song by Sanctus Real. "Confidence".

We certainly are all like sheep that have gone astray.  Each doing what is right in our own eyes.  Including success and failure that we perceive as such. 


I'm not a warrior
I'm too afraid to lose
I feel unqualified for what you're calling me to
But Lord with your strength
I've got no excuse
'Cause broken people are exactly who you use
So give me faith like Daniel in the lion's den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence
You took a shepherd boy
And made him a King
So I'm gonna trust you and give you everything
I'll be a conquerer
'Cause you fight for me
I'll be a champion claiming your victory
So give me faith like Daniel in the lion's den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence
I'm gonna sing and shout and shake the walls
I won't stop until I see 'em fall
Gonna stand up, step out when you call
Jesus, Jesus
I'm gonna sing and shout and shake the walls
I won't stop until I see 'em fall
Gonna stand up, step out when you call
So give me faith like Daniel in the lion's den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence, yeah
Give me faith like Daniel in the lion's den
Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness
Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense
So I can face my giants with confidence
I'll face my giants with confidence

If it's one certainty in our lives, be it as a believer or not, your sin nature will always rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time.  That moment when you are the most at peace. That moment when you are the most distressed. Everywhere in between. 

The believer has the advantage that those who do not have Christ don't have. The Holy Spirit.  Once Christ comes to live within us, the Holy Spirit begins the war on our sin nature.  Begins the house cleaning of our hearts and minds. Begins everything to make us more Christ-like. 

But the other part of this is our willingness to be changed.  When we hold on to our anger issues. When our thoughts prevail when talking to Jesus, when our desires are more important than His, that process is hindered. 

We have to acknowledge the enemy of God.  We have to acknowledge his desires are contrary to everything the Spirit is doing in our lives.  He will indeed twist every thought and desire and need to bring about sin. Including through the appearance of everything from patriotism to the global economy.  Bringing new or even old twists to what has worked against our ancestors for centuries. Perhaps you have been reading about them online or watched in newspapers or videos.  It's not hard to see, examine all you read or see by the Ten Commandments or by other parts of Scripture where God calls something an abomination. It is those things that the world is trying to force acceptance of.  

Our confidence is in Christ.  At least is is supposed to be.  There are differences between standing up for what is right and standing up for selfish desires.  Even the definition of what is right depends on the world's view or God's view. 

Our confidence, as believers, is indeed to be in our obedience to God and His Word.

We may never understand the things we go through in life, Job didn't.  Daniel and his friends, it took much prayer to gain understanding.  The people Jesus healed, quite a few had been in a horrible state since before Jesus came to be born in the manger. Many today, many billions today, seek man's answers for man.  The only answer is Jesus.  

Only Jesus took my place and your place on the cross to die for the sin we couldn't take care of.  We can't cover the penalty of sin on our own.  A single sin cancelled out a lifetime of 'good works".  One.  Everyone ever born has that problem.  

Our confidence is in what Jesus did. He lived a perfect life, to become the perfect sacrifice, the perfect atonement for sin. 

There's a reason why we should set our minds on things above and not the things of this world. Remembering who's we are in Christ gets us through the day.  When sin starts dancing around in victory, we can remind it that it lost at the cross.  We can let ut know we are forgiven. We can approach the Throne of God right in front of our sin and ask for forgiveness.  

Think today on where your mind is set. Is it on things above or on what's down here?

Are you a believer but not walking the walk? Today is the day to get back to it.

Are you as yet unbelieving? Time to really consider why not.  You know in your heart that life is too much for you.  You need a Savior.  You need Jesus and the confidence of what He has promised. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Faith and Consequences

Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife. 2 Samuel 12:10 

What is required for God to forgive sin? Repentance. But even repentance does not ensure the removal of the consequences of sin. The consequences often remain as a reminder of the terrible, destructive nature of sin. David was forgiven for his grievous sins of lust, adultery, robbery, and murder. God forgave him and removed his sin from him completely (Ps. 103:12). God did not, however, remove the pain that David would endure as a result of his transgressions. The child born of David's adultery died (2 Sam. 12:14). David's son Amnon raped David's daughter Tamar (2 Sam. 13:14). David's son Absalom murdered Amnon (2 Sam. 13:28–29). Absalom brought the kingdom into rebellion (2 Sam. 15). For the rest of David's reign, violence filled his home and his kingdom. Although David knew he was forgiven, he bore the painful consequences of his sin for the rest of his life. It is presumptuous to assume that God removes every consequence the moment you repent of your sin. Do not think that the instant you show remorse God will restore everything as it was. He may not. Some sins, such as adultery, come from a flawed character. God forgives sin immediately upon repentance, but it takes longer to build character. It is character, not forgiveness, that determines what God brings next to your life. Because we know the devastating consequences of our disobedience, let us diligently avoid every sin and “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1b). - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

I am by no means acquitted of the consequences of my sin. No more than King David.  No more than Peter after denying Christ.  Peter denied Christ within eyesight of Him. King David allowed stray thoughts to build into what became of adultary and murder.  

How true it is of what Blackaby is saying about consequences.  But equally important is knowing that after repentance comes growth. 

TobyMac has a song called "Move".

Sin knocks us to our knees so easily. It never takes much to knock the wind right out of our good day.  It's just how life is.  Sailing ships can be going along without a problem...until the wind changes direction. 

I am not even, nor are you, fully aware of the volume of sins we commit daily.  

We only, maybe, see the 'big ones' that stick out.  Many can be chains around our neck that we haven't fully let go of yet. 

David's sin was indeed forgotten and forgiven.  The consequences were not. 
Peter was indeed forgiven but his failure to acknowledge Christ those three times haunted him the rest of his days. It also drove him to do more for Christ. 

Paul, when he was Saul, was shown how much he would suffer for the Kingdom. 

We can't always escape but we will be given opportunity to grow.  Making ourselves get up and move again is what Satan doesn't want of us.  He wants us to be consumed with our failure. To be immobilized. 

Satan was revelling in his work on Peter until Jesus restored him.
Satan was revelling in his work through Saul, until he became Paul and began his work for the Gospel. 
Satan will celebrate in your life too until you get back up and move...move back towards Christ again. 

This world is not going to get better.  Hate to bring that newsflash but read your Bible.  It's just not.  Regardless of the people of this world, the Earth and all it contains, the Universe and all it contains, is preparing for Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to arise from His Throne and come back to Earth to claim His own.

We live in a time when all creation is groaning.  Mankind is joining in because life is being forced to be changed by governments.  Scripture has to be fulfilled. 

Consequences to our sin are inevitable. 
Forgiveness is certain as well.  So get back on your feet.  Ask forgiveness of sins, to Christ alone, and refocus on Heavenly things and thoughts.  Move!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Changed Life, not just a Different One

. . . if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:3 ESV If . . . so this is not something to be taken for granted across the entire human race. If . . . so there is a possibility (and a probability) that some people have not tasted that the Lord is good. If . . . so this is not a general but a special mercy, and it is necessary to ask whether we know the grace of God by personal, inner experience. There is no spiritual blessing which may not be a matter for searching our own hearts. But while this should be a matter of careful and prayerful inquiry, no one ought to be content while there is any question if he has tasted that the Lord is good. An appropriate distrust of the self may raise the question even in a believer’s heart, but the continuation of such doubt would certainly be evil. We must not rest until we have struggled desperately to hold the Savior in the arms of faith, and say, “I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him” (2 Timothy 1:12 NLT). Oh, believer, do not rest until you have full assurance of your position in Jesus. Let nothing satisfy you until, by the infallible witness of the Holy Spirit bearing witness with your own spirit, you are confident that you are a child of God. Don’t play around here—don’t let “perhaps” and “possibly” and “if” and “maybe” satisfy your soul. Build on eternal truths, and build on them truthfully. Get the “sure mercies of David” (Isaiah 55:3 NKJV), and surely get them. Advance beyond these dreary “ifs”—live no longer in the wilderness of doubt and fear. Cross the Jordan of distrust and enter the Canaan of peace. Yes, the Canaanites linger, but the land always flows with milk and honey.  - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. Acts 4:13 There is no mistaking a life transformed by God! The disciples had been vain and fearful when Jesus enlisted them. James and John sought to outmaneuver their fellow disciples in order to gain the places of greatest honor next to Jesus (Mark 10:37). Over and over the disciples’ actions showed that they did not truly understand who Jesus was (John 6:7–9; Mark 6:49). Even after three years with Jesus, Peter was afraid to confess Christ before a young servant girl (Matt. 26:69–75). Anyone who knew these men would realize they were not the kind of people on which you build a worldwide kingdom. Yet something happened to them as they were with Jesus. The Holy Spirit transformed them, giving them new boldness and wisdom. Now they could perform miracles and preach fearlessly and persuasively to multitudes. Even their enemies noticed in their changed lives the same power they had witnessed in Jesus. Sometimes we desperately want others to believe that we have changed, that we are more godly, more devoted, more Spirit-controlled. It is not necessary, however, for those who have been truly transformed by Christ to convince others of the difference; the change will be obvious. Don’t become too introspective, always focusing on yourself and the small changes you see happening over time. If you have to prove to someone that God has really changed you, He has not. Those around you will surely notice when your life has been transformed by your relationship with Jesus. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

It's really interesting when both of my devotionals hit upon similar things.  Add to this the Spiritual warfare to try to keep me from talking about it this morning.   

It is an incredible subject.  The knowledge of being saved.  To know.  To be sealed by the Spirit of God. 

Honestly, my friend, if you can't point to a moment in time when you got down on your knees and asked Jesus to save you, then you might indeed have a very big problem.  

Salvation is free indeed it is.  Our stubbornness often gets in the way of acknowledging the importance and need to be saved.  Reality is it doesn't take a whole lot of stubbornness to reject Christ. It just takes enough.  Enough? Yes. You see even Satan knows that part of Scripture where Jesus says no man knows the day nor the hour of His return.  He doesn't need to go on with all-out assaults on people to get them not to come to Christ.   He has been deceiving people for centuries.  He isn't going to waste his resources on overkill. 

His trouble is also right after people are saved.  Some are as Jesus mentioned in the parable of the soil.  Some take root in good soil and produce fruit right away. Others it takes time.  Others it may take a very long time. Still others have problems because of the cares of this life and don't produce fruit.  Others fall away because they had no roots to begin with. 

Knowing you are saved is very important.  Knowing your enemy is also very important.   

We who are in Christ know the importance of staying in Christ.  Staying in prayer, in the Bible, with like minded people.  In hymns, songs and Spiritual songs. Not grumbling.  Focused on things above not on things down here.  

The storms in recent days haven't let up. In fact they really haven't gone anywhere, we are just settling in to it becoming part of life.  Some refer to it as the new normal.  
Satan wants a normal he controls.  Yet he doesn't, not even in this pandemic.  God is still in control.  Read of Job. Satan must ask permission before impacting this world.  He will never be allowed to deviate God's Plan for mankind.  This world is still heading for judgment.  Satan is still going to lose, he is still going to try to take as many as he can with him on the way down. 

Knowing is a huge thing. It brings confidence.  It grows faith. Knowing.

Doubt causes delays.  Causes faith to wane.  

God has shown me a great many things in recent years that, before I was ready to see and hear, I wouldn't have believed possible. To see more, to understand more, requires letting go of me. It too is a sign unto ourselves when we see the Spirit reprioritizing our thoughts and actions.  When we start learning how to let go of everything that is really hindering our walk with Jesus.  

But I would have to give up...

Yes, you just might.  But really, in the long run, is your holding on to whatever you do, worth disappointing Jesus?  

On another side knowing for sure is imperative.  Many will stand before Christ and claim all kinds of things done in His name.  Yet they had no real relationship with Jesus.  There are fruits of the Spirit. It's not judging others to look for fruits. 
Look to see if you see evidence of Christ in you.  Look to see if you see evidence of Christ in those around you.  Look for the fruits of the Spirit. If they are not evidenced in your life or the lives of people around you then now is the time to make things right.  Now is the time to come to Christ for Salvation.  Now. You aren't necessarily granted a later.  Most everyone who will still be here after the Rapture will cry out that they thought they had more time.  

My struggles in my walk with Jesus provide ample evidence on top of knowing that I am safe in Christ to show me of me.

Satan doesn't bother with people who are already his.  He had big problems with those who aren't.  He will put up a fight to keep people from Salvation when they are nearest to obtaining it.  He will introduce lies. Will tell you things to get you to put it off...again.  Stressing how unimportant it is right now.  How bad it would be for you. How it will rob you of happiness.  How it will take away your freedom.  

Asking Jesus to show you He is real and that He DOES care about you is one solid way to get past all that.  Then it's up to you to decide.  You will never be forced. 

Know today.  Right here, right now. You read this much.  Take the time to look up Romans Road to Salvation online.  Make sure you are safe in Christ.  If you are and are struggling.  Reach out to other believers for help. Ask others to pray for you. Believe me, praying works.

Don't think you know.  Know today. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

We know God's Will....We Choose not

“Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” Genesis 22:2 

Our difficulty is not that we don’t know God's will. Our discomfort comes from the fact that we do know His will, but we do not want to do it! When God first spoke to Abraham, His commands were straightforward. “Go to a land I will show you” (Gen. 12:1). Then God led Abraham through a number of tests over the years. Abraham learned patience as he waited on God's promise of a son, which took twenty-five years to be fulfilled. Abraham learned to trust God through battles with kings and through the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The pinnacle of Abraham's walk of faith was when God asked him to sacrifice the one thing that meant more to him than anything else. Abraham's previous obedience indicated that he would have quickly and decisively sacrificed anything else God asked of him, but was he prepared for this? God did not ask Abraham to make such a significant sacrifice at the beginning of their relationship. This came more than thirty years after Abraham began walking with God. As the Father progressively reveals His ways to you in your Christian pilgrimage, you, like Abraham, will develop a deeper level of trust in Him. When you first became a Christian, your Master's instructions were probably fundamental, such as being baptized or changing your lifestyle. But as you learn to trust Him more deeply, He will develop your character to match bigger tests, and with the greater test will come a greater love for God and knowledge of His ways. Are you ready for God's next revelation? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Much has happened in my short life.  Short? Yes, I consider it short compared to the Godly men I have known in my life. 

To read of the mighty men who accompanied King David in the book of Chronicles is incredible to behold.  They had no technology like today and yet the amazing things they did because of what the Lord enabled them to do. 

Each day I am granted here on Earth I try to be thankful for what the Lord has enabled me to do.  My hope is that in my actions or inactions that I don't give Him a black eye.  

I try my best to live our Colossians 3:23-24.  It's not a boast...but a realization of God's Will. 

We read of many in the mainstream media or social media raging on about what's right and wrong with the world.  Quite a few are purported Christians who have been giving Jesus a black eye.  Carrying on and swearing at the events of the world that God is working on.  Nothing in this world happens apart from the will of God. 


When Jesus gave the Church the Great Commission, He didn't preface His command with "if you can.." or "if it's not too much trouble...".

Many indeed claim they know better than God by the words coming out of their mouths. They act as though God's asleep or not paying attention to their lost rights or problems they endure.  

The will of God isn't too hard to understand if you have eyes that see.  Trust and obey.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and Spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself.  Bear one another's burdens. In everything give thanks. Fill our hearts with songs, hymns and Spiritual songs. Keeping our minds on things above not on things down here.  These are just a few.  

What are you showing the world that the will of God is?  Are you more concerned about your wants than what He says you need?  Are you trying to lead in your life rather than follow as a Disciple?  Are you telling God He's got the plans for you all wrong?  What is the real source of your angst against the world? Is it really your disobedience to God?

Are you finding your rights are more important than God's will being done?

We have but a short time on this planet to be useful to Him.  Then it falls to someone else when either we become useless to God or are taken home.  Christians can indeed become useless to God.  If they are not following Jesus as they should and aren't living as He commanded then indeed they are useless.  Useful only as an example of what not to do or be like.  There are whole Churches that are that way. 

Living for Jesus a life that is true striving to please Him in all that I do.  As the hymn goes. 

Are your thoughts at all focused on what God wants of you?  Do you spend quality time with Jesus?  Are you raging in the world rather than engaging you heart and mind in prayer to the one who CAN change things?  Dear reader, READ more of your Bible.  Read the solid, proven, examples in the Old Testament.  Look at the disasters that occurred when even those Godly men acted without asking the Lord first.  Look at the turmoil of King Saul.  He panicked and disobeyed, it cost him the kingship.  Upon entering the promised land rather than adhering to always inquiring of the Lord they got suckered into alliances that plague them to this day.  Look at what it cost Aaron or Moses. Look at what selfishness cost even King Hezekiah. His intense longing to not die, sure he was granted more years, but the horrors to come from a son yet to be born to him cost Israel dearly. 

Obedience and trust.  Believing in what we do not see as of yet.  Knowing that Jesus has the situation well in hand. Exercising faith.  

Be careful of what you do and why you do what you do.  Your why is incredibly important.  Is it because of your lack of control or because you don't agree with God's control of a situation?

Christian people are not immune to selfishness.  We are not immune to pride issues.  We can be just like the world in discrediting God and berating His work in the world. 

This world has a destination.  It's on a trajectory for Judgment.  It is coming. 
At the right time, Jesus came, to fulfill Scripture.  At the right time, Jesus will come again, to fulfill Scripture. 

Our lives should be a reflection of Christ not a reflection of the worst our sin can show. 

Reflect on that today.  Is it your will that you are shaking your fist at God for not happening or are you obeying in what He is telling you to do? 

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Thy Will and My Life

Oh that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! Jeremiah 9:1 

Jeremiah was invited by God to be a weeping prophet. His call came during turbulent, agonizing times as his society suffered from pervasive moral and spiritual decay. The nation of Judah had turned so far from God that it was soon to face His fierce judgment. This was not a time for merrymaking but for weeping. God looked for someone He could mold into the kind of prophet needed for such a bleak time. He found Jeremiah. The cost to Jeremiah was intense; he sacrificed much of the freedom of his youth in order to be God's messenger. He forfeited family and reputation. He endured misunderstanding, ridicule, and persecution. He was imprisoned and mocked by those to whom he had come to warn of God's impending judgment. Satan will try to convince you that obedience carries much too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. If you are to be used in God's service, you must expect to make adjustments in your life. Can you measure the distance between the throne room of heaven and a cattle shed in Bethlehem? How far is it from the Lordship of the universe to the cross? Don’t be deceived into thinking there is no cost involved in obedience. What adjustments is God asking you to make? Will you face the hardships and opposition that will come when you align your life with God's will? Jeremiah had the deep satisfaction of knowing he was a faithful and beloved servant of God. Your reward will be the same when you choose to fully obey Christ, regardless of the cost.
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh the cliches and mocking phrases of this world in which we live concerning receiving money or food or gifts or well you name it.  No such thing as free money.  No good deed goes unpunished. 

Pretty good that Google's suggested words knows them too.

Arrogance and pride often get in the way of so much.  Pretty much everyone has been hit with them at some point or many times in their lives. 

Once blinded it takes a very long time to regain sight.  Not just the physical world but the Spiritual world.  The other is a loss of sensitivity to bright things.  You get numb or just plain used to it.  Life can numb you when your efforts to fight it puts up defenses.   But what if it's God trying to change you?

As part of this revival there was a self-evaluation.  Hard questions to ask yourself.  It's a noteworthy passage that is found in Scripture, judgement begins in the household of God.  We are the first that get the once over on our sin in our lives.  

You know, the worst part of interacting with people oftentimes is the use of words.  Your use of a word or phrase might not have the same connotation as the one you speak with.  It's a huge problem between so-called denominations.  

But the point of this today is being real before God.  The point of that self evaluation is a self examination.  We often desire to walk with God but on our terms. 

We want the joy, the peace, the good stuff, but forget it comes at a cost.  I heard a song last night and I will likely have to go back to get the title and lyrics.  In it is the phrase about secret rooms in our hearts. 

To serve God wholly requires He have access to all of us.  When the Spirit is getting close to those secret rooms we get nervous.  What if He finds a way in?  Dumb question but it's what crosses our minds.  He's God. Can go into any part of out hearts.  We should bid Him enter.  

I struggle with a lot of things people don't see.  Probably goes for those reading this. The examples Blackaby gived of those in the Bible.  They too had struggled with a great many things.  Spirit filled or not. They didn't have a glorified body and soul yet.  

Wanting to serve, not knowing how or when.  Wanting an accountability partner.  Understanding Scripture.  The weight of the things in this world that claw at us for attention.   The temptations that arise.  The lies we tell ourselves to salve our hearts and minds.  The rights we enjoy that, sadly, to many Christians are far more important to them than the obedience to God's Word.  They would rather rage in anger at social injustices yet won't turn a page in their Bible.  They rip people apart because of one right they claim is being stepped on...but won't share what Christ had done for them. 

Serving required letting go of things, both on the inside and outside of a believers we read about in the Bible.  

Making adjustments in my life has been what God's been having me do for years.  I won't deny standing before Jesus and almost whimpering "Aww, but Jesus!  That too?". 

I am a flawed man in the eyes of men.  Only in Christ do I appear as whole and pure.  God sees me through Christ.  I am ever aware of my flaws. My sin and shame are a constant reminder of a work unfinished.  

Living for Jesus will require change.  I know that change and me don't always get along.  Changing diets is extremely painful.  Changing my mindset in the workplace is difficult.  Realizing where Jesus wants to go in me is often painful. 
But it's all on me. Jesus knows what He is doing.  It's on me to obey.  I know of another song "Thy Will".  It's a hard hard verse at times to point to, to lean on. "Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven."

Are you willing to put what Jesus wants to do in you as your most important thing in your life? 

Pretty much every airline's planes have a pilot and a copilot.  Only one can be responsible for the flight path. Getting myself out of my own way is the harder part. 

Look at your life.  Are you trying to call the shots?  Are you more interested in your rights to what's in your life than you are in your obedience to God?

Thy Will - Hillary Scott

I'm so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don't wanna think
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray
All I've got is hurt and these four words
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you're good
But this don't feel good right now
And I know you think
Of things I could never think about
It's hard to count it all joy
Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense
Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop
Remember that you're God
And I am not
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
I know you hear me
I know you see me, Lord
Your plans are for me
Goodness you have in store
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
I know you see me
I know you hear me, Lord

Monday, May 18, 2020

The Cross and Your Cross

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. John 19:25 There is no Christianity without a cross, for you cannot be a disciple of Jesus without taking up your cross. Crosses are painful; they forever change your life. But sometimes the greatest cost will not be to you but to those you love. You may be prepared to obey the Lord's commands, whatever they are, because you’ve walked with Him and know that His way is best. Yet there will be those close to you who have not related to Jesus in the same way and have not heard His voice as clearly. Jesus understood that His Father's will for Him led to a cross. The cross would mean a painful death for Jesus, and it would also bring suffering to those closest to Him. Because of the cross, Jesus’ mother would watch in agony as her son was publicly humiliated, tortured, and murdered. Jesus’ aunt and close friends would witness His excruciating death. His disciples would be scattered in terror and confusion in what would be the longest, darkest night of their lives. Because of Jesus’ obedience, there would also be a cross for each of His disciples. Obedience to your Lord's commands will affect others (Luke 14:26). Don’t refuse to obey what you know God is asking because you fear the cost to your family will be too great. Beware lest you seek to prevent those you love from taking up the cross God has for them. Don’t ever try to protect those you love by disobeying God. The cost of disobedience is always far greater. Rather, look to Jesus, your model, and see what it cost those around Him for Him to be obedient to His Father. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

It's sort of hard to take when it's put in a way that Blackaby writes.  It's truth alright, but sometimes it's a hard truth to accept. 

In our over sensationalized world trying to ride on every emotion we can possibly be stirred up to know a cross awaits each who comes to Christ is huge. 

Far too many Churches, let alone the judgmental outside looking in, teach a prosperity gospel.  One that really isn't found in the Bible.  To those on the outside looking in, in their condemnation of those within the Church, they mock and ridicule for their not having eyes to see. 

Jesus is THE authority on the Word of God.  He is the author. He also is the author and perfecter of our faith. 

If Jesus tells us that it's going to be difficult, but worth it, then that's what we should expect.  Of course we all would like to coast into Heaven.  But coasting doesn't produce growth. 

Many a fantastic looking tree are felled by a small storm due to shallow roots. 

We grow because the Holy Spirit loves us too much to leave us the way in which we were found by Christ.  It's probably not the perfect example but it's graphic enough to get the real point across.  The scene in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. When on the operating table Anakin is crying out in unsubdued pain while the robots removed the charred remnants of his fiery ordeal.  We too will often be in mental, physical and emotional pain as the Spirit does His work in us bringing us to be more like Christ.  Christ suffered heading to the cross. Christ suffered on the cross.  We who have come to Christ went through something getting to the foot of the cross. After coming to Christ we take up our cross.  To carry it means something. It really had better mean something more than what we often bring it out to mean.  

We began a revival series at Church last night.  There was a packet of worksheets to go through, questions to answer.  It was meant to get you to be real with yourself and God.  It by itself is only as good as how honest you are willing to be with Jesus and you.  

The hardest part in life is often our being real with ourselves more so than with others.  We can quite easily deceive others with a turn of a phrase or a quip. When we deceive ourselves, it's harder on us when the Spirit confronts it.

We cannot go through the Christian life without our cross.  Jesus said it's ours upon coming to Christ.  Life isn't guaranteed to be all roses and balloons. Jesus said that you will have enemies. His enemies will become ours. We are to be encouraged though because the world threw its best at Jesus and He overcame the world.  Satan did his best but Jesus prevailed. He is also a sore loser. 

To take up your cross means sacrifice.  There's many things that He shows us that have to go. The Spirit is another of the same kind as Jesus.  The Paraclete.  I really have a personal dislike at calling Him a Holy Ghost.  Because He is far from resembling a dead Spirit. He is alive and is equal to the Father and Jesus.  Holy Spirit has the connotation of life. Real life. 

Jesus said He would teach us all things. He would seal us for the day of His return. 
He would convict the world concerning sin. His power is equal to Jesus.  
And He knows us better than we know ourselves.  He is in us.  He sees past our distractions and our deceptions.

He has new clothes for us to wear but first we must be washed and cleaned up. Then begins the walking in obedience.  

We must, for a little while, go through much here on Earth. But with the Spirit of God we can make it.  It may not be pleasant but we can make it.  We may not like it at first but part of this walk, part of carrying your own cross, is denying yourself. 

Prayer was not just a habit of Jesus while He was here, it was essential. 
Prayer should be our habit.  We should be in our Bible.  Should be setting our minds on things above and not the things down here so much.  
We should be living as the Spirit directs. Should be letting go of what entangles us. 
Our feelings often get in our way.  We don't want to see people we care about suffering.  God doesn't either.  But what if this temporary suffering is to bring about something that is an answer to prayer? What if that painful moment is necessary for a breakthrough in someone else's life who is only watching from outside the family of God? 

We see death as an end, the Spirit sees it as a next step.  He sees it as a healing sometimes.  We often get the world's ideas on death mixed up with what the Spirit teaches. 

To take up your cross means a lot.  It means more to me now than it once did years ago.  But the funny thing is the more things that I let go of the closer to God I think I have come.  I let go of television many years ago.  I still enjoy snippets of video clips now and then but I don't set aside hours on a couch binge watching.  As we heard in the sermon yesterday morning when we come to Christ we become doers not sitters.  I would rather be doing something to help someone than mindlessly watching television.  God has granted me so much in life by letting go of things that have been a waste. 

Where is your cross? Did you put it down or are you carrying it?  If we are to do everything as unto the Lord, not grumbling or complaining, how's that working out for you?  Is it something you need to ask forgiveness from God for?

Look at where your cross is.
Look at where your treasure is. 
Look at where you are with Christ. 

Are you growing or getting by? 

The servants who were entrusted with the Master's treasures were only rewarded by doing something with what they were given.  The one that didn't was rebuked for his inaction.  What are you doing to cultivate your walk with Jesus today?