Tuesday, June 30, 2020

That which God

It certainly has been an interesting week already.  Certainly been different.  I read quite a bit, if you hadn't noticed.  There's times when, at least it's my perception, that the Spirit makes certain words or phrases stick out to me.  Sometimes even a concept that I have never considered before. 

The title of today's is one of those.  That which God.  Think about your life from a bystander perspective.  Some may say they don't care what others think of them. Some are constantly obsessing over what others think of them. 

Some think they have people pegged by observation.  But the truth is all they have is an observation.  A white powdery substance can describe quite a few things but until other basic tests are done you still don't know what it is.

The same goes with religion and relationships.  To blindly do what some appointed person tells you isn't faith. It's simply blind obedience.  To follow a set of rules isn't faith either it's blind obedience.  

To get to know the author of the book you read means gaining understanding that can lead to faith.  It's been said that the Bible is the only book that's alive and whose author you can talk to at any time. 

Jesus wasn't for organized religion in the way that the Jews were practicing it. It was cold and empty, it was opportunistic to those who found themselves in power. They believed in lording their positions over the common people. 

Jesus began relationships with His Disciples and for 3 and a half years they had ample time to get to know each other. The only one who missed it completely was Judas.  

There are indeed good people in Hell. They had no relationship with Jesus.  They went around helping people, they probably fed the poor, cared for the helpless and saved starving children in other countries.  Could even have ran a safehouse for wayward people.  All the good that the world sees as such these people have done.  Yet they die and find themselves in Hell.  Why? 

That which God.  Huh?  That which God has joined let no man separate.  That which God commands that we ought to do. That which God has said is the only way to Heaven we ought to take heed to.

Jesus is the only way to Heaven.  Read what HE said of the people that I just described.  People who were practically saints by the world's standards.  Yet fell short of the glory of God because they were not children of God. 

You may look at your life with contentment and satisfaction.  You may not. You may see one endless struggle after another.  Yet the truth, the very most important truth, is just where are you before Jesus?

Are you a child of God or not?  This is what you need to settle right here right now. 

You may not have another 10 minutes of life.  People all over this world all believe they have a life to live.  Yet it's God who still has the final word on how long you are given the opportunity to come to Christ.  He knows everything about you and knows if you will never come to Christ or if you will and under what circumstances. 

That which God has put before you is this....death and life. A future and a hope if it's in Him. 

You can be all those good things that the world reveres and has great ceremonies for or you can be right before Christ.  He indeed may elevate you before men to be some kind of person who still does all those good things or He just might use you to do small things that have an impact you won't see this side of Heaven. 

Not everyone who gets Salvation is going to be a Pastor or Evangelist or Teacher or whatever is crossing your mind that seems to terrify you about serving.  It may just be that your part in this world is to simply be a light that shined bright enough to get someone else to ask why are you like this? How can I get that?  The Apostle Paul wrote about the body of Christ, the Church.  Of how it is organized and its parts and the purposes of the parts. 

Your life, if you have come to Christ, is to be lived doing your best for Jesus.  Whatever it may be, your best. That's it!  No halvsies, no 10 percent.  No when I have time.  No agenda.  No grand scheme or plans.  Just do your best and do it for Jesus.  Colossians 3 tells us that we do what we do as if it was the Lord we were doing it for. 

That which God has put before you to do do it for Christ.  You will know if what is in front of you is right or not.  The Spirit will tell you if what you intend to do is of God or not.  It's partly your conscience.  He will never have in mind for you to intentionally sin. That's a given.  That which God has for you to do will in some way glorify God. In small ways or big ways it will eventually glorify God.  Just remember not to take credit for what He did through you.  That leads to pride.  In recent years I have had to be taught by Jesus that my dreams were not over, but in that lesson are smaller lessons.  Like remembering that which God has enabled me to do has been because of His hand upon me.  Hezekiah was healed by God and became very successful, his pride caused his family and subsequent generations to suffer in bondage in Babylon.  My success is wrought in God's work in me.  If you see good things happening to me look at Jesus because He made it happen.  If you see me struggling and asking for prayer, yet again, that's Jesus.  Just pray for me and in time I hope to prove to be obedient. 
Jesus is who I am to live to serve.  In whatever I do.  I don't have an extravagant lifestyle.  At times we get by. But what I can always give is my hearts attention to my Savior.  

Look at your life...what is God saying to you that you have been too busy to stop and listen to?  That same God who raised Jesus from the dead raised me from the dead.  He is ready to raise you as well.  Make your life count for something in Christ.  It's not the works you do that save you, it's believing in your heart that Jesus is the Christ, confessing with your mouth that He is Lord that saves you. Then you can be forgiven of your sins by Him alone.  No man or woman on this planet can forgive you of your sin. Only Jesus. 

Monday, June 29, 2020


. . . looking to Jesus . . . Hebrews 12:2 ESV

It is always the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from ourselves and onto Jesus, but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this—he is constantly trying to make us think of ourselves instead of Christ. Satan whispers to us, “Your sins are too big to be forgiven. You lack faith. You do not repent enough. You will never be able to continue to the end. You don’t have the joy of God’s children. You have such a weak hold on Jesus.” All these are thoughts about self, and we will never find comfort or assurance by looking inside us. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self. He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all that matters” (Colossians 3:11 NLT). Remember: it is not your hold on Christ that saves you, it is Christ. It is not your joy in Christ that saves you, it is Christ. It is not even faith in Christ that saves you, though that is the instrument—Christ’s blood and merit saves you. So don’t look to the hand that you grasp Christ with—look to Christ. Don’t look to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope. Don’t look to your faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of your faith. We will never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our works, or our feelings—it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would ever overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by looking to Jesus. Keep your eye simply on Him; let His death, His sufferings, His merits, His glories, His intercession be fresh on your mind. When you wake in the morning, look to Him; when you lie down at night, look to Him. Oh, don’t let your hopes or fears come between you and Jesus! Pursue Him eagerly, and He will never fail you. My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness: I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. “My Hope Is Built,” Edward Mote (1834) - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

A great deal of my life has been spent on introspection, looking inward, some call it self-examination. Unfortunately there's been a great many times when God's enemy knew and came along for the ride.  It has cost me probably years of sleep if somehow the lost time were to be added up. 

I sometimes consider my way of thinking and remembering a weird paradox.  What thoughts God had granted to me in my life  if I could but remember them later on in life. Most of my life I don't remember.  A blessing and a curse it seems.

But in many of the darkest times, God's enemies seem to always show up. There to poke and stab at my thoughts, eager to instigate fear or doubt.  Trying to trip and cause me to stumble in life.  Ever ready to cry out concerning me that I am a fraud, that Christ doesn't love me, that I need to give it up.  That this failure just did me in. That those thoughts were certainly not God honoring, who did I think I was?

Doubts are intended to slow things down.  They can be good or bad. They, like other states of mind, can be abused by our sin nature.  

When Peter looked at his life situation and took them off Jesus, he sank.  Simple illustration.  When he unequivocally had Jesus's hand and his eye on Him he stood back on the water.  You don't think that in those seconds of sinking that Satan was right there trying to stir up doubts in his mind?

I struggle with them this morning.  I woke up in the middle of the night last night.  Thoughts of a few days ago.  Barrage after barrage seeking some foothold to instill doubts.  Went on for some time until part of a hymn started playing in my mind, when I focused on it, out I went back to sleep.  

Satan isn't going to wait till you are wide awake and energized in order to try to come after you.  In my weakest moment is when he starts.  I struggle with negative thoughts at the oddest of times.  Interestingly enough when I seek quiet and solitude there they are.  If I don't intentionally start praying they stick around. If I don't start doing something for to alter my thinking towards Christ I can easily get knocked down. 

What to do or where to go when my thoughts go where they should not, in that moment of time, isn't easy to answer.  It's a struggle.  I have concluded that in the day either God calls me home or the Rapture will I find rest. 

The unexpected is what brings shock to a system more than the incident itself.  I sometimes think that Peter's struggle with denying Christ was more in what he said than what he did. We are our own worst enemy.  I used to judge myself after knowingly sinning.  I would beat myself up even after asking Jesus to forgive me.  Even after getting forgiven by Him, I would languish in misery and be mad at me for what I did.  I had useless pent up anger at me!

Look at what you are looking at today. Is it really all about you, what's happening in the world and what it means in relationship to you or are you looking towards things above and not down here? 
Do you look at your failures more than what God's doing or has done in you?  Regardless of what you perceive, in Christ, He IS making progress in making you more Christ-like.  Remember that. Satan wants us to think that we haven't changed. Jesus says we are His workmanship. He IS changing us. He is the Master.  The perfect perfectionist in creating a masterpiece in you. We only see dimly what we will be like.  

Pay attention to what draws your attention.  It's important. Where your mind goes. What you dwell on.  Is it only about what you haven't done right? Or do you think about what Jesus said to think about?

My Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name.  On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Well just look at you!

A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor. Proverbs 29:23 

Pride is the great enemy of the Christian. It motivates you to do things that you know are not Christlike, and it hinders you from doing what brings glory to God. Pride influenced Adam and Eve to try to become like God (Gen. 3:5). Pride motivated Cain to murder his brother (Gen. 4:5). Pride provoked Joseph's brothers to sell him into slavery (Gen. 37:8). Pride caused King Saul to resent David so deeply that he even tried to murder him (1 Sam. 18:8). Pride led King Hezekiah to foolishly reveal his nation's wealth to his enemies (Isa. 39:2). Pride was at the root of the Pharisees’ anger toward Jesus. Pride was the reason the disciples argued over rank in the kingdom (Luke 9:46). If you succumb to its influence, there will be consequences. You may know that you have offended someone, but pride holds you back from asking forgiveness. You may realize you need to reconcile a broken relationship, but pride will lead you to deny that need. The Spirit may convict you that you are living a sinful lifestyle, but pride will discourage your admitting it. Pride will convince you that you deserve better treatment. Pride will impede your serving others. Instead, pride will have you striving for places of prominence. Pride will have you listen to flatterers and ignore honest counselors. Pride will lead you to isolate yourself so that you are not accountable to others. Humility, on the other hand, is pleasing to God and places your life in a position where God will honor you. If pride has crept into some areas of your life, ask God to give you victory over it before it robs you of God's will for you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Interesting title, but then again, my life in the last 8 years has certainly been nothing but interesting. 

As easily as it would and could be, the credit for any success in my life comes not from this paltry mind that you hear from every day.  Pride is easy to wrap ourselves in. It's probably the warmest, most comfortable blanket known to man or woman.  

Pride, as the Bible says, comes before the fall.  Look on your life with honesty and you too, believer or not, will see its completely true.  I certainly have had times in my life when pride was offered and in moments of weakness I gladly accepted. Then I paid the price.  

I have told several that the events of my life at work have appeared to me to be part of some exam or test that I didn't know I was taking.  God sized miracles needed and He provided a way using me.  I will not take credit for those successes.  I don't walk in the door of work without asking Jesus to guide my mind and hands to do what He puts before me for that day. 

Jesus is the reason I succeed at anything. 
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way as the song goes.

What drives you? Are you looking for the accolades and praise of man or are you looking for the "Well Done" from Christ?

Could I crave it? Look, I am a human being, anything offered in the right way can be a craving.  Sin is being paraded across all forms of media right now calling for the world to celebrate pride in what God calls sin.  There's no celebration to be had for that in our household.  I do not hate anyone who celebrates it, I instead pray for them. 

But that's but a variation of pride in mankind.  The airwaves and internet is full of celebrities and political parties celebrating all forms of sin, demanding that the Church comply with their rulings.  

Your personal pride can be anything from beliefs to any thought had by mankind.  Look at what you hold closest to your heart.  If it's not Christ then you indeed need to take the time to get things right. 

Which ties into another devotional that was today's from Blackaby. 

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34 What you value most is your treasure. Where you spend your time and your money is your treasure. Whatever dominates your conversation is what you treasure. What others know you for is a good indication of what your treasure is. Most Christians are quick to claim that God is their first priority. Yet often their actions reveal that their treasure is not God but things of this world. Some Christians find it difficult to discuss their relationship with God, but they can chatter easily about their family, friends, or hobbies. Some find it impossible to rise early in order to spend time with God, but they willingly get up at dawn to pursue a hobby. Some find it difficult to give an offering to God but readily spend lavishly on recreation. Some boldly approach strangers to sell a product, yet they are painfully timid in telling others about their Savior. Some give hundreds of hours to serve in volunteer organizations but feel they have no time available to serve God. If you are unsure of where your treasure is, examine where you spend your available time and money. Reflect on what it is you most enjoy thinking about and discussing. Ask your friends to tell you what they think is most important to you. Ask your children to list the things most valuable to you. It may surprise you to know what others consider to be your treasure.

Where is your treasure? What indeed is the most important thing to you?  Is it patriotic pride?  Is that more important to you than your walk with Jesus?  A great test of this form of pride is do you know more about it than your Bible? Are you more apt to stay on the straight and narrow of a government document than God's Word it was based upon?  Are you more zealous for your rights than for what God's telling you that He wants from you?  

This is a bigger post than most but it's God doing the writing.  I have plenty to look at in me and the same goes for you. 
Now is the day of Salvation. Now is the time to begin living as directed by the Spirit.  Now. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Everyone does it...doesn't make it right

“. . . but you must not go very far.” Exodus 8:28 

This is a cunning statement from the lips of the arch-tyrant Pharaoh. If the poor enslaved Israelites must leave Egypt to sacrifice to God, then he bargains with them not to go very far away—not too far for them to escape the terror of his army and the observation of his spies. In the same way, our world does not love the nonconformity or dissent of Christians; the world would not have us go too far. It calls us be more charitable, not to handle disputed matters with too heavy a hand. The Christian ideas of dying to the world and burial with Christ are things that carnal minds treat with ridicule—so the biblical teaching that sets them forth is almost universally neglected and even condemned. Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is agreed to be very desirable—but we are warned against being too picky. Truth may certainly be followed—but error is not to be severely denounced. “Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself some pleasurable society, an occasional party, or some of the world’s entertainment. What’s the good of avoiding something when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?” Huge numbers of professing Christians have given in to this cunning advice—to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord completely, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, leaving the Egypt of the carnal world behind. We must leave this world’s principles, its pleasures, and its religion too, going far away to the place where the Lord calls His sanctified ones. When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is spreading, a person cannot be too far from its path. The further from a poisonous snake the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better, as well. To all true believers let the trumpet call sound: “Come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them” (2 Corinthians 6:17 NLT). - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Is there any aspect of striving for holiness in your life?  Are your words, your actions, a mix of compromises and self desires?  Are you going along on the bandwagon of others comments and beliefs yet haven't tried picking up your own shovel to dig deeper for the truths of God?

Quit looking down into the ground where others before you have dug. You, like they - should you be a Christian, were sent into the fields to work, not play Forman and look and rate others work or progress. 

What are YOU doing with the tools that God gave YOU to use in the soil of your life?  Hmm? Anything? Nothing? Now is the time to be truthful, while you are still breathing and can change something before you stand before Christ to explain why you didn't.  

Remember that story of the wise virgins and the foolish?  Both were to be ready for the call to come out.  What are you being wise with and what are you being foolish with?

This is at me as well as all of you. 

You are as easily deceived as I can be about the things the world has to offer. 

Seems as though God is showing us all just how much compromise has infiltrated our lives.  The erroneous statement of 'you shouldn't judge' now added to it 'everything in moderation'.  Woe to those who cause someone to stumble before God it says.  

Are your actions telling other believers or God forbid unbelievers that what you do is ok by God? That your language is acceptable? That your choice in entertainment is acceptable? That your idolizing sports figures or people in Hollywood is acceptable?  How is any of that considered holiness in God's eyes?

What are you actively doing to strive for holiness in the eyes of your Creator?

Job, in all that we read, doesn't know that what befell him wasn't at the direct hand of God.  It was permitted and was at the hands of Satan.  Yet as you read it, the only perception he had was that it was God doing it.  By now he knows the truth. 

You can go on about your quality of life or about your rights or lack thereof.  You can go on about your upbringing and continue to make excuses that you came from a divorced family or that abuse was part of it so you can't say much. WRONG.  When you come to Christ you are given a NEW life.  Old things passed away behold new have come.  You can, and I can,  come up with any excuse that fits the sin in our lives to justify its being there. Read that again.

You can, and I can, come up with any excuse that fits the sin in our lives to justify its being there.  

Because of this happening or that happening. Because of my Dad going through so many divorces so I guess I will be, the infamous 'must run in the family' excuse. The moderation excuse.  That you aren't hurting anybody so it's ok. It's just you. The excuses you come up with aren't even original!!  Mankind has been using them before God for centuries!!

Jesus came to give us life, but not just life, life more abundant.  We have to be the ones to let go of the chains HE BROKE that surround us. He broke them and removed us from them but we climb back in and still cry out for help. Because everyone does it it must be that way. 

Where are you at in your holiness before God?  It's a command you know.  Be holy as I am Holy.  Are you still excusing yourself or are you going to draw a line in the sand.  This far, no farther, today I turn around to go God's way. 

While you have a breath, you have a choice to make.  

Friday, June 26, 2020

REALLY looking at your life!

But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which have happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel. Philippians 1:12 

There are two ways to look at every situation: How it will affect you, and how it will affect God's kingdom. The apostle Paul was always concerned with how his circumstances might aid the spreading of the gospel. When he was unjustly imprisoned, he immediately looked to see how his imprisonment might provide God's salvation to others (Phil. 1:13; Acts 16:19–34). When he was assailed by an angry mob, he used the opportunity to preach the gospel (Acts 22:1–21). When Paul's criminal proceedings took him before the king, his thoughts were on sharing his faith with the king (Acts 26:1–32)! Even when Paul was shipwrecked on an island, he used that opportunity to share the gospel there. Regardless of his circumstance, Paul's concern was how he could use his current situation to tell others of God's good news of salvation. Often when we encounter a new situation, our first thoughts are not about God's kingdom. When we face a crisis, we can become angry or fearful for our own well-being, rather than looking to see what God intends to do through our circumstances. If we remain self-centered we will miss so much of what God could do through our experiences, both for us and for those around us. Ask God to make you aware of how He could use your present circumstances to bless others. Perhaps someone around you needs to see the difference Christ's presence makes in your life. Are you willing for God to use your circumstances to demonstrate His saving power to those around you? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We all know people that rush headlong into the day or even a situation without knowing the most that can be known before proceeding.  A very famous incident in my family was a family member trying to impress someone in working on a car. It wasn't done.  Yes, it ran. Ran well! He jumps in it, throws it in reverse, never having asked if there was more to do. Another heard his shocked voice hollering "no brakes!" as he flew down the driveway, realizing too late that he should have asked, not assumed. 

Look at your life, not superficially, but really look.  It's not about your rights, your wishes not even your wants that matter. Stop in your tracks, breathe, then look in the mirror of Spiritual reality to see the truth the Spirit is trying to show you. Is your house (you) built upon the Rock (Christ) or is it built upon the sand (the world)?

Are you so intent on your family, fame, career, anything else, that you have never stopped to see what you are building your life upon?  Trust me, there's a Heaven or Hell difference in what you do.

There's going to be countless billions in judgment before Christ who will be weeping because they, in all reality, lived for themselves and were not living a Christ centered life.  They were not on the Rock.
They all will have considered themselves good people.  By their own standards they probably are. By the standard of the Bible, one sin without Salvation in Christ is enough to go spend eternity in Hell. One.  In Christ is the forgiveness of sins. In nothing else through nothing else. A single sin is enough to go to judgment before Christ.  In Christ those who are saved are washed clean. No spot or blemish of sin. There is no condemnation for them. 

Christ is the Rock to build your life upon. 
The world will lie, cheat and deceive you in every possible way to keep you from the truth of the Gospel...that Jesus came to save you...all you need to do is ask for Him to save. 

But the rest is a life in Christ. It isn't you getting a get out of Hell free card to go live as you want.  A life in Christ means living for Jesus. Learning how to really live not how the world tells you of how it should be lived.  The world's ways are nothing but a slippery slope to guide people to Hell.  Never overtly, just very slowly, gradually. 

The prime example is a frog in a pan. 
If the pan is cold the frog won't go anywhere. Slowly turn up the heat, it still won't go anywhere. It actually will die in that pan because death was so gradual. Put a frog in a hot pan it will jump right out.  Same with Hell.  Nobody rushes to go there. Enough has been written of it, that people don't want it. Yet like the first frog, life slowly turns up the heat and they don't even realize they are well on their way to Hell. 

Look at your life. Look at where you are today.  What's driving you?  What do you consider as being important?  Is it Christ or is it you?  Is the acclaim of the world more important than a "Well Done" from Christ?

Is your personal happiness in life more important than your obedience to God's Word?  Oh that's a tough one. 

Is your being right more important than God being right?  Another tough one. 

What motivates you?  What is it that means the most to you each day?  Do you even talk with Jesus about life during your day? Or do you only pull Him out like a spare tire when life gives you a flat?

Time is now to be real.
Time is now to get your life in order. 

Time is now to stop and really look at you before it's too late. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Are you living for yourself or Jesus?

Are you living for yourself or Jesus?

The dove found no rest for the sole of her foot. Genesis 8:9 KJV Reader, can you find rest apart from your ark—Jesus Christ? If you can, your religion is worthless. Are you satisfied with anything less than the conscious knowledge of your union with and share in Christ? Then woe to you. If you profess to be a Christian but find your full satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits, your profession is false. If your soul can rest, finding a bed long enough and a sheet broad enough to cover itself in the chambers of sin, then you are a hypocrite. You are far from any right thoughts of Christ or understanding of His preciousness. But perhaps that is not your case. Maybe you feel that even if you could indulge in sin without punishment, that would be a punishment in itself. Maybe you believe that if you could have the whole world, and live in it forever, that would be misery—because God is what your soul really craves. If so, be of good courage: you are a child of God. With all your sins and imperfections, take this as comfort: if your soul finds no rest in sin, you are not like sinners are! If you are still craving something better, Christ has not forgotten you—because you have not quite forgotten Him. Believers cannot do without their Lord; words are inadequate to express their thoughts of Him. We cannot eat the sands of the wilderness—we want the manna that drops from on high. Our bottles of human confidence won’t yield us a drop of moisture, but we drink from the rock that follows us—and that rock is Christ (1 Corinthians 10:4). When you feed on Him, your soul can sing, “He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s” (Psalm 103:5 NLT). But if you don’t have Christ, your overflowing wine vat and well-filled barn can give you no true satisfaction. Instead, lament over them with the words of wisdom: “Meaningless! Meaningless! . . . Everything is meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

When you get up, who are you living for?
What motivates you? What drives you?
Are your thoughts at all in your day towards Jesus even for a moment?  

I start my day with my alarm clock. My choices start there. Get up with it or not. Then comes making coffee or not. Of what to wear.  By mutual agreement I agree to show up and work, my employer agrees to give me work and pay me. 

Choices start with every thought. 

Being in a church building isn't being in the Church anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.  Being with people who are believers isn't going to save you.  It may ease your conscience but that's it.  There is an old hymn Have you any room for Jesus?"

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Not just befriended, Adopted

Not just befriended, Adopted.

We wait eagerly for our adoption. Romans 8:23 

Even in this world, believers are God’s children—but other people don’t realize that except by our moral characteristics. The adoption is not clearly seen; the children are not yet openly declared. Among the ancient Romans a man might adopt a child and keep the proceeding private for a long time, but there was a second adoption in public. When the child was brought before the governing authorities, its old garments were removed and the adoptive father gave the child clothing suitable to its new position. “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears” (1 John 3:2 NLT). We are not yet dressed in apparel appropriate to the royal family of heaven; in our flesh and blood, we are wearing just what we wore as the sons and daughters of Adam. But we know that when Christ appears, as “the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29 ESV), we will be like Him, “because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:3 ESV). Can’t you imagine a child, taken from the lowest ranks of Roman society and adopted by a senator, saying to himself, “I long for the day when I will be publicly adopted. Then I will remove these common garments and be robed like a person of rank”? He is happy in what he has received, and still groans for the fullness of what has been promised to him. It is the same with us today. We are waiting until we put on our proper garments, to be shown clearly as the children of God. We are young nobles, and have not yet worn our crowns. We are young brides whose wedding day has not yet come, and we are left to long and sigh for the marriage morning. Our very happiness makes us groan after more; our joy, like an overflowing spring, longs to well up like a geyser, leaping to the skies. Our emotions heave and groan within our spirit for the opportunity to manifest our adoption to the world. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I am beside myself at times when I have a moment to stop my hurried thoughts and consider the life God has given me.  It's all because of Jesus that I am still 'becoming'. Becoming? Yes. As Scripture says we are His workmanship.  We are an 'in progress' life in Christ. 

I have had dreams of what I would have liked my life to be like and sometimes, in some ways, Jesus has granted them. In sti other ways, it's been a resounding no. Still others appear to be an open book, with no way to tell how the story is going to end. 

When you come to Christ it doesn't mean your dreams don't matter.  It means your dreams will be either filtered or adjusted to be inline with God's will for you and His purpose for your life.  It may be that none of your dreams come true.  Doesn't follow that they were worthless. Just means His plans for you were greater than you thought.   Joseph probably had dreams of growing up and enjoying life.  Certainly wasn't expecting his brother's to hate him to the point of wanting to put him to death, let alone sell him into a life of slavery.  Or even after that to be thrown in jail. Or the greatest of all...to become a ruler of Egypt. A far cry from being a successful shepherd. 

What dreams that I have had, but haven't been fulfilled?  Doesn't really matter does it?  The Disciples forfeited theirs to learn from the Master.  Jesus is both with us and waiting for us. 

We await the day of our public adoption. Our coming to Christ was our private adoption.  We as Disciples must continue in what we have been taught and have learned.  Jesus wants us to be found 'in the faith' when we are presented back to Him either at our death or the Rapture.  To be found ready for His appearing. 

I can tell you of a story of me.  Long long ago I used to spend most weekends at my Grandparents house. I would get home on a Friday from elementary school. Get the word of it happening and go prepare. Pack and wait on the porch steps for my Pap to show up. Him an his red Chevy pickup.  I was ready and waiting.  On at least one occasion I wasn't aware he had forgotten to stop and get me I have been told. Mattered not.  The joy of seeing his truck was there. 

The person who belongs to Christ should be eagerly awaiting Christ to return.  It should mean more joy than a child awaiting a grandparent.  It should be a longing to be right and ready for when He appears.  I hold to the notion that every human being is important enough, regardless of the destination being Heaven or Hell, that Christ Himself delivers such a one to where they chose in this life to go. If Christ can process an infinite number of people at once at the Bema seat and at the final judgment at the end of Revelation, He can be both in Heaven and with each human being at their death and destination. 

When He does appear, will you be ready? Are you more interested in what you are getting out of life than being ready for to see Jesus?  Are you ready with your candles trimmed as the parable of the prudent virgin's or have you wasted time on frivolous things and don't have the means to be ready at His appearing to you?

If indeed you came to Christ, you are indeed adopted.  Awaiting the day when Christ welcomes you to your new home. 

Look closely at the lives of the Disciples. 
Jesus spent 3 and a half years teaching them what was important.  

If you look at the life of the Apostles.  Look at James.  When last we read of him one of the sons of Thunder was ready to take on the world for Christ.  He was ready to go!  Just like his brother John.  Yet not too far long after the Disciples became Apostles, James was beheaded. John was no longer with his brother and eventually would go through several death sentences until he was banished to an island to die.

James had plans and dreams but it wasn't to be.  John had dreams that weren't what he thought either.  Surviving death decrees against him. Imprisoned. They proved Christ right when He said they knew not what they were asking when they said they could drink from the cup from which He drank. 

You may like your life or you may not.  The truth today is for you, should you be a Christian, is to live your God-given moments to be the best you can be at what He has given you to do.  Your dreams do matter to Jesus but your mission for the furtherance of the Gospel must come first.  Your obedience must be at the forefront of your thinking and decisions. 

I fail Christ every day.  No great surprise there.  His mercy towards me is too wonderful for me to grasp.  Yet it's there. 
I strive each day to live out Colossians 3:23-24. Doing everything as unto the Lord.  I don't always succeed. But I strive for that goal.  Not everyone needs to hear the Gospel first, many need to see it before they hear it. They can only see it if people are living it.  

Live today as if someone near you needs to see the Gospel message.  Live as if in your next breath you find yourself in God's presence.  We weren't promised a today, we were granted a today.  Show a life of the adopted. So that other people would want it too. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Not to be served but to Serve

“For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as One who serves.” Luke 22:27 

The measure of greatness in the kingdom of God differs vastly from that of the world. Our society idolizes the rich, the powerful, the beautiful, and the athletic. We even make celebrities out of those who brazenly flaunt their immorality. The world claims it is demeaning to serve others. However, God's kingdom completely rejects the world's measure for esteem, giving the greatest honor to the one who serves most. The person who serves selflessly, lovingly, without complaint, and without seeking recognition is highly regarded in the kingdom of God. When Jesus and His disciples entered the upper room, the disciples looked for a prominent place to sit; Jesus looked for a place to serve. As they awkwardly waited to be served, Jesus took a towel and basin and washed their feet (John 13:1–15). We Christians like to refer to ourselves as servants, but we are seldom content to be treated as servants! We are tempted to adopt the world's evaluation of importance. But when we look to Jesus as our model, we see that it takes a far more noble character to serve than to be served. The world will estimate your importance by the number of people serving you. God is more concerned with the number of people you are serving. If you struggle to be a servant, your heart may have shifted away from the heart of God. Ask Jesus to teach you selflessness and to give you the strength to follow His example. Watch for Jesus’ invitation to join Him in serving others. It will come. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

There is a different kind of joy in giving than the joy of receiving.  There is a different feeling in one who gets to serve versus one who has to serve.  

Looking at your motivations is important. 
Why do you do what you do?  Is it for yourself or for Jesus?  There is, of course,  the passage that warns about thinking too highly of ourselves.  Look to the book of Esther.  Haman was a very clear example of one who did.  He never thought nor looked beyond his status in the kingdom of King Ahasuerus.  Then came the day he thought was to be his in all its glory.  Yet the King wasn't speaking of him but of Mordecai.  In full blown humiliation he had to do for Mordecai what he dreamed of for himself. 

I have spoken of being in a play before as one of the Disciples at the Last Supper.  Acting out my part when 'Jesus' came to me to wash my feet still is indelibly burned into my memory.  Not only was I acting the part, I really wondered of the truth of arguing with God over His wanting to do than in my life!  

Yet as this world begins to cry out for a world leader, and for sure I saw it in yesterday's news from the head of the World Health Organization, the leader they seek among men will be a silver tongued devil. He will appear as a man of the people.  Yet he will be driven by serving Satan himself.  He will not be someone who serves.  Not at all like Christ. 

Satan has been working towards a day when his idea of a world leader is in play.  Until now the Holy Spirit has restrained such a one from staying on the world stage.  But know this, a time is coming soon when He will stop restraining.  The Church will be raptured and lawlessness unlike any seen in centuries will cover the entire world. 

Jesus came not to be served but to serve.  He said we ought to do as He has done.  Having experienced it more than half my life, the footwashing has been the most missed part of Communion to me in my life for the last 11 years. 

Most go to Corinthians to show only the bread and cup being observed. Yet in the Gospels it clearly shows Jesus saying, as He has done, so we ought to do to one another.  It's a command.  It's a sign of what it means to be a servant and a sign of our doing what our Lord and Master has taught us to do.  Hearing excuses about logistics, on we have too many people to do that...wow what an excuse. 

But realizing we are here to serve as Christ served helps greatly in knowing God's will in our lives.  Help as we are able to help others as unto the Lord.  

It may be in a small way on our part but may be life changing to someone else.  Maybe not even just the person you are serving.  It may be someone watching to see you to determine if you are serious about Jesus. 

People are strange about serving at times.  Most in the last several generations believe they deserve a trophy for participating in life. That the Government owes them and there's no responsibility. They don't want to earn respect let alone offer it to others.  They know not what serving is all about. 

It takes a pebble to change the course of a river.  Placed correctly it will alter where it goes.  Serving at the right time in any small or great way changes the outcome of people. 

Some think they can't do much for Christ.  He starts us out with faith the size of a mustard seed.  So we already start out on an even playing field.  Yet look what happens to it, given opportunity and water from the Holy Spirit.  Same goes in your serving no matter where you are or in what you do.  From sweeping floors to cleaning up after one who is sick.  In all we do, do as unto the Lord, Colossians 3.

As you start out today, look at your why.
Why do you do what you do?  Is it like Haman? Self-centered? Or God-centered?

Monday, June 22, 2020

A Child of God...yes I am...

Only unshakable things will remain. Hebrews 12:27 NLT 

Right now, we have many things in our possession that can be shaken—and Christians are foolish to put much hope in them, for there is nothing stable beneath these roiling skies. Change is written on all things. Yet we do have certain unshakable things, and I invite you this evening to think of them. If the things that can be shaken should all be taken away, you can gain real comfort from the unshakable things, which will remain. Whatever your losses have been (or may be), you enjoy a present salvation. You are standing at the foot of Jesus’s cross, trusting solely in the merit of His precious blood—no rise or fall of the markets can interfere with your salvation, no breaking of banks or business failures or bankruptcies can touch that. You are a child of God this evening. God is your Father. No change of circumstances can ever rob you of that. Even if losses bring you to poverty and strip you bare, you can say, “He is still my Father. In my Father’s house are many mansions (see John 14:2), so I will not be troubled.” And you have another permanent blessing, namely, the love of Jesus Christ. The One who is God and Man loves you with all the strength of His affectionate nature—nothing can change that. Even if, as Habakkuk said, the fig tree should not blossom and the flock be cut off from the fold (3:17), it doesn’t matter to the person who can sing, “My beloved is mine, and I am his” (Song of Solomon 2:16). We cannot lose our best portion and richest heritage. Whatever troubles come, let us be bold; let us show that we are not like little children, cast down by what may happen in this fleeting state of life. Our country is Immanuel’s land, our hope is above the sky—and therefore, it is as calm as the summer’s ocean. We will see the wreck of everything born of this earth, and yet rejoice in the God of our salvation. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

My mood and a song in my mind as I awoke this morning tie in with this devotional. 

"Who You Say I am" 

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am who You say I am
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
Oh, I am who You say I am
Yes, I am who You say I am
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I'm a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father's house
There's a place for me
I'm a child of God
Yes I am

There's more moments in a day than I can count where I need reminding of who I am.  Failure is a constant companion at times when life happens.  The reminders are always at the ready as to what I didn't do right.  

Yet in God's eyes, I am more than the sum of my failures.  I am a Child of God.  In Christ my faults are not seen. In Christ my life isn't a mess. In Christ my life isn't filled with stress or anxiety.  In Christ Jesus I am free indeed because of who He says that I am.  I am no better nor worse than the men chosen by the Father who became the Disciples.  God picked 12 ordinary men and such as they were so am I. 

I am not going to get life right all the time.  The times in which we live are strewn with mental and spiritual landmines.  Some we trip and set off a cascade effect of many at one time.  But we aren't abandoned to figure it out on our own. 

I haven't had the Spiritual upbringing of what I had hoped for in my life.  Seems that the men that I wanted to be near who I saw as Godly, God was using elsewhere for His purpose.  But He never left me without a teacher.  I somehow see things differently than most do...maybe because I had no 'formal' training.  There's nothing to get in the way of how I am being taught.  

This isn't to say that God hasn't brought Godly men into my life to help correct me.  Lord knows that I need them and I appreciate every one.  In some ways, it's easy to say my life has been unique...the same as everyone else.  

We are all unique in God's eyes, to a certain extent.  But at the same time we are all the same...all in need of a Savior. 
Fears are driving people to make chaotic decisions these days.  Fears are creating policies where taking a step back was more wise. Fears are the opposite of faith.
When Elijah's servant was gripped with fear Elijah prayed that his eyes would be opened.  Fear is often used where the word respect is meant to be used.  We aren't to be in fear of God or His plans for us.  We are to revere and respect Him.  We aren't to live in fear of judgment because in Christ there is no condemnation for those who are Saved. 

Knowing who we are, whose we are, helps greatly in reducing fears.  

I haven't had the ideal life that I had in mind from my youth.  The dreams that I had weren't to become my reality.  But in Christ they scarcely matter.  There's things that God's used me for in moments of my life that are worth far more than my dreams. 

I may not have become a Father myself. Only when I get to Heaven will that pain go away, but He has given me, I hope, the ability to help others come to Christ. 

I am a Child of God.  If you are in Christ so are you.  If you are not, the adoption process is easy...just come and ask.  Look up Romans road to Salvation.  It's not complicated.  It's free for a reason.  Jesus wanted nothing to be in the way of saving someone like you.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Spiritual Famine? Yes...it is...

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” Amos 8:11 

One way God communicates is through silence. The Israelites blatantly ignored and rejected God's Word to them, and God responded by sending a famine. This famine was far more severe than a shortage of food and water. Instead, they were deprived of His words of life. God's silence may be hardly noticeable at first. You may still remember times when God spoke to you, but you gradually realize you’ve not heard His voice for a long time. If you realize you are in a “drought,” immediately seek God and ask Him what adjustments your life requires so you can once again enjoy fellowship with Him. It may be that you disobeyed His last instructions to you and that He is waiting on your obedience before giving you a new direction. It may be that there is unconfessed sin in your life or that you have a damaged relationship (Isa. 1:15; 1 Pet. 3:7). It is possible that you have done too much talking in your prayer times and that He wants you to listen. God's silences can be powerful times for Him to communicate with you. God is God! Because He is God, when He speaks He expects a listening ear and an eager response. He will not be mocked! (Gal. 6:7). When we ignore Him, He may withhold His voice until we repent and get right with Him. The prophet Isaiah assured King Asa, “The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.” - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

What has happened to the United States? In but a few decades the Gospel has been watered down, believers have scattered away from Churches, believers have ran away from political offices.  There is little to no one standing in the breech between sinful man and woman and their destination: Hell.

Jesus looked to this future time and asked the question: "Will I find the faith when I return?".

People are being taught by the millions to 'trust the experts'. Experts that honestly have been bought and paid for to say a whole lot of what they do.

Churches are repeatedly trying to stir up revival.  People are hard of hearing due to all the noise generated by our ever sloping culture towards death and destruction. 

Is there hope? Is there going to be a revival?  Is there going to be an end to these riots and protests?  Is this virus going to force a path that is irreversible?

Well before we all become hermits with a penchant for internet only activities...go to the Bible. 

Regardless of what is said inside the professing Church and outside of it by way of every voice of evil....God's Will WILL be done.  The Scriptures must be fulfilled. Nothing is going to change that fact. Nothing is going to hinder it nor prolong it.
We can't make something happen outside the will of God anymore than the unbelievers of this world or demons. 

Jesus never promised that we would skate by in this life. He never said that we wouldn't suffer for following Him. He never said we would be trouble free. 

We are entering the last stages of the way life is, right before the return of Christ.  If you at all read your Bible, look at Ezekiel, Daniel, Jeremiah, Revelation, Thessalonians.  What's happening in those pages is being played out right in front of you and you aren't seeing it. The whole world is being blinded by the god of this world in an effort to keep people from Heaven!

Is there hope? Yes!  Something that really occurred to me in recent months isn't to just go to work.  But to put that effort under a microscope.  Let each task I am given be received as if from God to be done.  All a workday is to me anymore is an 8 hour span of individual tasks that I get paid to do, and am to do as unto the Lord.  I am to be in the Word of God, I am to be praying.  I am to be doing my best as unto the Lord.  It may not be glamorous work. It may be menial.  It may be cleaning toilets. But it's something that I get to do to glorify God.  The Apostles were flogged and beaten for obeying God by the Jewish leaders.  They counted it all joy.  

If the Churches aren't going to prepare men and women to go into politics to guide people towards Christian principles, then we have either a problem or an opportunity.  We have, as a Church, been decimated by 'you shouldn't judge'. It's began destroying centuries of solid teaching of the Word of God.  It's left a door open of opportunity for Satan to sway people to inaction.  

Today, look at your life.  At your level of obedience. Are you self-chained to a chair by lies and misconceptions of God's Word?  Are you really inactive on the bench of life because of you or your circumstances?  Have you not stood up and done something out of fear of man vs fear of God?

I have to look in the mirror on this too. Fear of losing in this age seems to be the greatest crippling disease of all. 

Pray for your walk with Jesus.  Don't assume anything about it.
Pray for our troops, our leaders, Don't assume anything about it. 
Pray for family, friends and acquaintances. Don't assume anything about it. 

Get off the sidelines.  Quit living for yourself, with your head in the sand.  God saved you to change you to be more like Him.  Not to give you a ticket to go live as you please until you die or He returns. 
You have a mission in this life. It's not called retirement.  Nobody in Christ is retired until God calls them home. 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

So the answer is No, now what?

Then he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to seize Peter also. Acts 12:2–3a 

Can you accept God's will when His answer is no? If you are praying in God's will, He will always answer you when you pray (Jer. 33:3). However, sometimes His answer will be no. King Herod arrested Peter and prepared to have him executed. During the night, as his church prayed, Peter's life was spared when an angel freed him. God miraculously answered the prayers of His people that night. Yet not long before, James, too, had been arrested by Herod. James, however, was executed. Surely the church had prayed for James as fervently as they did for Peter, yet that time God's answer had been no. Did God love Peter more than James? Of course not. James had been one of Jesus’ closest friends. Yet God allowed James to die while He continued to use Peter in His service. The church in Jerusalem did not become bitter toward God. They accepted His answer because they trusted His love and wisdom. There are times when God wants us to persist in our praying until He has completed His work in us (Luke 11:5–8; 18:1–6). However, when God's answer is no, it is futile to continue pleading for a yes. Some refuse to take no for an answer, insisting that if you pray long enough and hard enough, God will ultimately grant any request you make. It is an affront to your Lord to continue pleading with Him when He has clearly said no. The purpose of prayer is not to conform God to our will but to adjust our will to God. We must learn to trust God so that if He says no, we accept that His will is best. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

So after praying and praying it seems that the answer is not just no, but NO.  When to persist?  

There was an incident recently in my life when I thought, an believe me I was 100% convinced, that I was about to be promoted at work.  The situation when I left the company years ago my perception of things was that I was avoiding the role and responsibility presented to me by God. That I was running from God's will for me. 
Years later the impossible happened and in ways that I could scarcely believe possible, God made it possible for me to return to to the scene of my 'crime'.

In a years time things were astoundingly different. God was enabling me to do so much under the management that was now there.  Yet when this situation of promotion came, I really really believed it was my second chance to do what I ran away from.  But then I didn't get it.  I was as perplexed as I could be.  The evidence was there the numbers were there showing all sorts of evidence that even as a backup doing a larger role...it went to someone else.  

I didn't understand.  So I questioned it and questioned it until management gave an answer.  Suffice to say the answer really didn't hold water but it was what they are sticking to.  The answer from God, in other words was a resounding NO.  I had gotten my answer an needed to move on.  The real evidence is that I was missing was that my role as a highly successful fill in Lead is going to be a stepping stone to something else.  Something else is what God has in mind for me.  My job is to do the will of the one who sent me to work where I do, to the best of my ability, as unto the Lord. As you read in the book of Esther, and cross referencing with Daniel, in due time, God raises up people and establishes whom He wishes at the right time. 

A no today might not be a forever no. It's God's plans that are being worked out in this world, not our every whim.  If my desires, even as a Christian, were always met by God, to be truthful, brutally truthful, I would be the most miserable of people.  Because it would always be my idea of what's best for me, not God's idea of what's best not just for me but those in whom He's working on and with that are around me.  

Think about your prayer requests.  Is there elements of selfishness to them?  Hey, be truthful, many of mine are. Nobody likes pain, suffering, on any level.  Nobody is going to ask for more because they just can't get enough.  But we do often ask with wrong motives. Jesus spoke to this fact. 

Praying, at its heart, is to be filled with honesty.  Truth. Not sugar coated. Just truth.  Not couched in a lengthy convincing argument.  Truth. Jesus defines Truth. The Holy Spirit defines Truth.  God the Father defines Truth. Children always try to sway the parent to their idea of it. When examined in the light of truth then a parent will act. 

Pray unceasingly is what Scripture says.  It's to be like breathing.  You unceasingly breathe. You unceasingly take in nourishment at regular intervals.  You unceasingly move when awake.  

You may indeed get a no from God, but it's not the end of the world.  Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. 

I didn't get promoted. Am still filling in as a type of Coordinator.  But what God has still required of me is to do my best.  Regardless.  Not pouting, not grumbling.  My best is what's required by God.  He He Himself will affirm and establish me in what He has in mind in due time.  

Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey. 

Friday, June 19, 2020

Praying without Believing

But they said to her, “ You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.” Acts 12:15 

You can say prayers in your mind but doubt in your heart. At times God will answer such prayers as He did when Peter was in prison, scheduled for execution. The believers in Jerusalem were powerless to free him, so they prayed. When God released Peter, their reaction revealed the doubt in their hearts. They argued that Peter could not possibly be free, even as he stood outside knocking on the door! Is it possible to be a “person of prayer” and yet not have faith ? Is it possible to fool yourself into believing that because you ask God for help, you have faith in His ability to meet your needs? Is your faith so weak that you are surprised when God answers your prayer? As a child of God, you ought to expect God to answer your prayers. Do you ask God to do something without adjusting your life to what you are praying? If you are praying for revival, how are you preparing for its coming? If you are praying for forgiveness, are you still living with guilt? If you have asked God to provide for your needs, do you remain worried and anxious? Ask God to increase your faith, and then begin living a life that reflects absolute trust in Him. Out of His grace, God may choose to respond to your requests despite your lack of faith, but you will miss the joy of praying in faith. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

I was lead to borrow even the title of today's post from Blackaby.  People look around for evidence they often want to see and not the evidence God presents and then dismiss an answer to prayer!

Look at that wording again.  Evidence they want to see.  

God doesn't always answer with a yes or a no. He does often answer with not right now....it's not time yet.  Or, lastly, He answers with...just wait...I have something better in mind. 

The children of Israel as a whole in the wilderness are prime examples of that which people individually exhibit today. 

Regardless of who you are there's a part of you who thinks you should SEE the answer to prayer you ask for soon after you pray it. If it doesn't happen you start to either dismiss it as a no, you get upset at God, or you start reexamining your life to see if there's some reason why there was an apparent no given. 

Read in Daniel.  The Angel of the Lord apologized for His delay in coming.  Could Daniel have sunk into self-incrimination and doubt?  After all he had been through with God and now He wasn't answering, what did he do wrong? No, he persisted in prayer.  

Jesus taught us to keep praying.  Why? Why not just answer?  Because sometimes our prayers really need reworded. Sometimes they need repealed. Sometimes we ourselves need more convincing of the importance of what it is we ask.  We need the doubt removed from our lives.  Not to mention what Daniel experienced is what the New Testament tells us.  We battle not against flesh and blood.  Look, you need to really get this, there's a war going on.  It's a war being fought over the souls of people.  While people are in their physical bodies the war is fought as to who controls the mind.  Your mind and mine.  

Distractions and temptation are everywhere.  Doubt is easy. It's why we are told to set our minds on things above not on things down here. It's why we are to fill our hearts with Heavenly things and thoughts.  It's why there's armor mentioned in Ephesians 6.  

Interestingly, in the science fiction world of the X-Men, Magneto wears a special kind of helmet.  It isn't for protection from bullets or other things.  In this fictional world he easily deflects them. The purpose is to keep others who can mess with his mind from doing so. 

In our REAL world, the helmet of Salvation is what protects our mind from doubts and influences of the world. But we must be wearing it to make use of it! 

Look at your prayer life today.  I know that I do.  What thoughts are we thinking when we aren't praying? Are they God centered or self centered? Can only be one of the two if you are saved.  Those not saved yet are influenced by the world of demons or of God or themselves. Those not of Christ can be possessed by demons.  Those in Christ cannot be.  But even those in Christ can be influenced by demons if they aren't wearing their armor!  

Examine the reasons for your prayers before you start wondering if God's going to answer them.  If it's spiritually important enough you won't stop until an answer comes.  If it isn't then maybe you need to rethink it or reword it.  Maybe also you have sin in the way of your prayers.  Unconfessed sin prevents prayer.  Why?
Well why would any child be rewarded with good things when they are disobedient?

Before any sacrifices were accepted prayers were made for cleansing of sin so that the prayer would be accepted.  Now we aren't into the sacrifice thing, but we are told to boldly come and ask for cleansing of sin through Christ alone. 

Before you start reacting on God, look at yourself first. Before you doubt, look to see if you gave yourself reason for an unanswered prayer.  Daniel was right before God.  He had been through a lot and knew to be patient.  The explanation from the Angel of the Lord was for your benefit and mine. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Which way DO we Go?

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. Proverbs 16:25 

Things are not always what they seem. Proverbs warns that we can be deceived into believing we are going down the right path and yet be heading toward death, the opposite direction from God's will. People do not naturally seek God or pursue righteousness (Rom. 3:10–18). Only as the Spirit awakens our hearts to the Person of Christ are we able to desire God's will. If we make decisions apart from the guidance of the Spirit of God, we will be like a ship trying to sail without a compass. We will do what makes the most sense, based on our own wisdom. But what looks attractive may actually lead to sin, ultimately destroying what is precious to us, for our most profound human thinking is mere foolishness to God (1 Cor. 1:18–20). Only God knows the way that leads to life, and He wants to lead us to walk in it (Matt. 7:13–14). Don’t assume every opportunity that arises is from God. Satan will disguise himself as an “angel of light,” and his invitations will seem to be in your best interest (2 Cor. 11:14). Yet his way leads only to death (John 8:44). The Word of God will be like a light to your path, guiding you in the ways of righteousness (Ps. 119:105). It can be perilous to follow a path that seems right without first consulting the Holy Spirit for guidance (John 16:13). Take time to seek the Holy Spirit's direction when you face decisions. He knows the full ramifications of your choices. The Holy Spirit will assist you to understand truth and to experience abundant life. Trust Him as He leads you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

It blows my mind that for over a year now, every day, God keeps bringing me here to write.  It matters not if 1 or a thousand read it, I know that I am to obey in doing it.  God should get any glory and honor if anyone who reads and has their lives changed by it. I write what I am directed to write. 

Today's has something to do with how I got here today.  Long ago I thought I understood and had figured out where God wanted me to go and how to get there.  I was so excited!  This was going to be epic!

Only I was off by a few dozen years.  My getting ahead of God with His Plan, got my some extremely rough years. Delving into areas of sin that I was convinced I was going to be immune from because I was convinced I was going where God wanted me to go to reach others!  To be honest, I am still not fully recovered from those experiences.  I am often reminded of those disastrous years. My mind goes to the vague memory of names, to people that I honestly did nothing to bring them closer to Christ.  

As the verse that opens this said so well the way there seemed so right to me. In over my head really doesn't come close. 

Thankfully, mercifully, Jesus never left me, as He has never left you.  He still had a Plan for me.  Just as He didn't give up on The wandering people of Israel after they had left Egypt.  Took 80 years but they got to the Promised Land. 

There's a song that I grew up hearing.  In it it says there's a highway that leads to Glory, but it's no easy ride. You'll find all kinds of exits, to throw you off your stride. Some will lead to fortune some will lead to fame, some will lead you so far off, you won't return again. 

As a book by John MacArthur was titled, so it is for all of us. "12 Ordinary Men". He later had another titled "12 Ordinary Women".  Look at the Disciples. Look at the women mentioned in the Gospels and later books.  There's no scholarly people required as a prerequisite to being a Christian.  Divinity school isn't a requirement. Christian Colleges and Universities are not a requirement. Nor are they necessary.  Living for Jesus is what's necessary. 

It does not read "Take up your cross, go to school, and follow Me.".

It doesn't read that we need a formal education to follow Christ.  The KEY is what Jesus said of it. He praised the Father for HIS choice in the ones who became Apostles.  The Disciples were picked by the Father.  Ordinary people. From all walks of life. 

My walk with Jesus isn't going to be your walk with Jesus.  My burdens are not necessarily going to be your burdens.  My vices won't necessarily be yours.  My sins to overcome won't be yours.  

How does that verse read? "...and encouraging each other all the more as the day draws near..." Hebrews 10:24-25.

This passage fits with not forsaking the assembly.  To encourage means more than Zoom, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and anything else. It's the personal touch that the writer's of the Bible knew well.

Look at what drives you today.  HAVE you gotten off on an exit on your way to Heaven?  Stop, ask Jesus for help getting back.  Quit trying to get back on your own.  Admit you are lost. Jesus knows the way because He IS the Way. 

Is what's going on in the world more important than your relationship with Jesus?  Is your time spent worrying about what's in the news rather than on your conversations with God?

As I mentioned to my Wife on a few occasions, I honestly believe Noah, his wife, his Sons and their wives, were probably where the modern day Amish started.  I am convinced they had higher technology than we have today yet, Noah thought more of his walk with God than that of the world.  

People talk about unplugging from social media.  They do, then come right back.  Is social media necessary? No. It's done wonders in destroying lives, neighborhoods and countries.  It, like all tools, has a good side and a bad. It's what's going on in the heart of man that determines how a tool is used.  Social media has its good stuff too. In recovering lost relationships and people.  In reuniting people we have lost touch with.  

But it shouldn't replace relationships.  Most today have no idea what's going on with their neighbors.  They have no relationship to speak of with them. 


Stop what you are doing and look at your life.  Where are you standing?

Is it God honoring? Is God glorified?
Will He be?  Where do your thoughts and intentions take you?  Are you consumed with you?

Maybe it's time to really stop and ask Jesus for directions.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020


Help, LORD. Psalm 12:1 

This is a remarkable prayer, for its brevity, timeliness, pointedness, and poignancy. David mourned how few faithful men he could find, so he lifted up his heart in prayer—when the creature failed, he flew to the Creator. David apparently felt his own weakness, or else he wouldn’t have cried for help, but at the same time he intended to honestly exert himself for the cause of truth—since the word help doesn’t apply when we ourselves do nothing. In this two-word prayer, there is much that is direct, clear in its perception, and distinct in its style—much more, in fact, than in the long, rambling prayers of some professing Christians. The psalmist ran straight to his God with a well-considered prayer—he knew what he was seeking and where to look for it. Lord, teach us to pray in the same blessed manner. We have frequent occasions for the use of this prayer. In the afflictions that God allows into our lives, this is a suitable prayer for believers who find all other helpers failing them. Students of the Word, facing doctrinal difficulties, can receive help by lifting up this cry of Help, LORD to the Holy Spirit, the great Teacher. Spiritual warriors battling inner conflicts may call to God’s throne for reinforcements, and this will be a model for their request. Those doing heavenly labor can use this prayer to obtain grace in time of need. Sinners seeing God, in their doubts and fears, can offer up the same weighty words—in fact, in all these cases, times, and places, this will serve the purposes of needy souls. Help, LORD will suit us living and dying, suffering or laboring, rejoicing or sorrowing. Our help is found in Him, so let no one hesitate to cry out to Him. If this prayer is sincerely offered through Jesus, its answer is certain. The Lord’s character assures us that He will not leave His people. His relationship as Father and Husband guarantees us His aid. The gift of Jesus is a pledge of every good thing, and God’s sure promise stands: “Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13). C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening. 

Was talking of this the other day. Bullet prayers, arrow prayers.  The reference was out of Nehemiah. He was an exile from Jerusalem. In the days after King Nebuchadnezzar had conquered the city. He lived in that timeframe of the tail end of the 70 year judgment from the Lord.  Nehemiah had noticed that time and was praying for his people and wanted to do something. He was cupbearer to the King.  Meaning he was THE most trusted man in the Kingdom.  Everything that the King drank wasn't drank unless Nehemiah approved and had tasted himself.  He was needing to ask the King for time to go and rebuild.  This wasn't for a month. If you read the book it was over 12 years.  That's no small favor.  Yet in the midst of asking he 'shoots' a prayer up.

Oh if I only knew how many times I myself have done so.  Both in the times of my knowing that I did and in the intention of my heart.  There's just times when you don't have the time to utter the words. 

Eloquent speeches or fancy speeches do not impress Jesus.  High society doesn't impress Jesus.  The rich and powerful do not impress Jesus.  Read of His interactions with those who were.  Read what He said to the rich young ruler.  

God doesn't NEED our help but He DOES help us.  God is able to do anything according to His Will.  He isn't capable of doing things against His Word.  Movies have been made showing someone with 'God's power' granting any wish that anyone had. Sinful or not.  This is an abomination towards God. He cannot and will not empower anyone to sin, the very reason His Son came to Earth.  The very reason He was put to death. 

So God will not 'help those who help themselves'. He is not in favor of an eye for an eye.  Forgiveness is what He brings when we come to Christ. Cleansing from all unrighteous. 

Help in our time of need.  It matters not how big or small the request.  Jesus CAN help.  The question really is whether or not what we ask is in His Will to happen.  To the contrary, not everything is. 

He's not willing that any should perish but that all would be saved.  Yet in great numbers people are constantly showing up at the gates of Hell. 
He's not willing that we should suffer but He says if the world hates you, the believer, remember it hated Him first. 
He promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  This He keeps.  It may not feel like it, but He does.  I was mentioning to a friend yesterday that yesterday felt like Jesus was squeezing me through a chasm, between some harsh things happening at work.  He was leading me as He promised, even though the valley of the shadow of death if need be.

Our requests to God for help should reflect our walk with Jesus.  Requests for understanding of God, of His Word. To help us to serve in what we do with the right heart attitude. Not requests to hit the lottery, be given a $50,000 car or a home in the Bahamas. Not requests for grand sums of money to be frivolous spent on ourselves.  God does, according to the Bible, own the cattle on a thousand hills.  He owns everything.  

Our requests for help can have to do with health.  But our narrow world view thinks of only a restored physical life as a true healing.  God considers death to be a healing.  We can be very selfish in our requests for His help in healing someone to keep them here.  Why should we pray, in all reality, for someone on their deathbed, to be here and not be allowed to be in the presence of Jesus?  If they are a believer then isn't that the greater prayer? To usher them into His arms?  They might not be saved you say.  Well, realize it was God who brought them to this bed of sickness. If indeed it ends in death, remember that the Bible says everyone will be without excuse before Him. Prayers can be made while breath remains with them for the Spirit to work. He can go where we cannot. I have seen this happen in more ways than I can tell you. God may not remove the reason for their health problems but He can save their soul.  God has visited people in their dreams before.  It's in the Bible. 

We who are in Christ are Children of God. Adopted in with all access to the Father through the Son of God, by way of the Spirit of God.  

Build your relationship with Jesus today so that when the time comes your prayers will indeed be within the scope of the Will of God.  You may not see the answers right now but He promised to answer. It's usually yes, no, not now, or wait, I have something better in mind. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Doubts and Fears

“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish.” John 10:28 ESV 

Christians should never think or speak lightly of unbelief. For children of God to mistrust His love, His truth, or His faithfulness must be greatly displeasing to Him. How can we ever grieve God by doubting His upholding grace? Oh, Christian—it is contrary to every promise of God’s precious Word that you would ever be forgotten or left to perish. If that were possible, how could we trust the One who has said, “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15 NLT). What would be the value of this promise: “‘The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,’ says the LORD, who has compassion on you” (Isaiah 54:10 ESV). Where would be the truth of Christ’s words, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29 NLT). Where would the doctrine of grace be? It would be disproved if one child of God would perish. Where would the truthfulness of God be, or His honor, His power, His grace, His covenant, His oath, if any of those for whom Christ died—and who have put their trust in Him—would somehow be cast away? Banish the unbelieving fear that dishonors God. Get up, shake the dust off yourself, and put on your beautiful garments. Remember, it is sinful to doubt God’s Word, in which He has promised that you will “never perish.” Let the eternal life inside you express itself in confident rejoicing: The gospel bears my spirit up; A faithful and unchanging God Lays the foundation for my hope, In oaths, and promises, and blood. “How Oft Have Sin and Satan Strove,” Isaac Watts (18th century) - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Doubts and fears...of mankind's intentions yes...of God, may it never be!

Jesus said to Himself on at least one occasion that He knew the heart of man and would not entrust Himself to him.

That wasn't doubt. That was the knowledge of the Holy Spirit.  Sinful man, in himself has but one direction in life...selfishness and a need to boast of that.

The world before the flood, I believe, was far superior technology-wise than we are today.  We have unearthed many finds that we cannot explain.  Transistors form a great deal of the foundation of electronics.  Some have been dug up that are thousands of years old.  

This world believes it can solve its problems through knowledge and technology.  Through all means at its fingertips.  Yet the answer to all the world's problems rests in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.  While mankind strives with the wind to find success, in Christ "it is FINISHED!".

Doubts and fears are the most used tools in Satan's toolbox.  Nobody's immune to their use.  Everyone from Christ Himself to you today have felt their effects.  Misdirection is another of his more famous tools.  Look over here while I do something over there.  

Read in Nehemiah of the various forms of attack that happened while they rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem.  

Doubts and fears are used to try to forestall people from coming to Christ and after those who do, from living for Jesus. 

We all laugh at the joke about dogs. Their attention span is so short that in the split second between focusing on you, a squirrel goes by and off they go.  We as humans have that problem.  Confidence in ourselves is our biggest fault.  Peter was fine on the water as long as his confidence was focused on Christ. When he had a minor 'wow, look at me' moment he began to sink.

Having a mind set on Christ helps to eliminate doubts and fears. Regardless of what you see.  Remember Elijah and his servant.  He asked God to open his eyes to see the truth of who was with them.  We don't see those who are with us. Yet we should remember they are there.  

Who is 'those'? They are Angels of God as well as sometimes Jesus Himself.  Angels are not Male and Female.  Only the creations on Earth are those. I do not believe in those in Heaven seen our plight here on Earth.  That would cause Heaven to weep uncontrollably.  That's not what Heaven is like.  Those who are there have entered into Christ's rest. The true definition of peace.  They are at rest, no longer encumbered by the cares of this life. They are with Jesus! He who wipes away every tear. 

When you go through your day today remember to stop your racing thoughts and just 'be' with Jesus.  You don't have to speak.  Just be with Him.  Speak if your heart is burdened.  Sing if it's within you to do so.  Soon you will  find the peace that passes all understanding that's found only in Christ Jesus. 

Doubts and fears will always try to assail us but in Christ we have an answer to it.

Be a living testimony and if necessary use words to tell of what Jesus has done in your life. 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Does your Light shine?

Then the Lord said to Noah, “Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.” Genesis 7:1 

The children of Noah faced a significant decision. They lived in a world where everyone blatantly disregarded God. Wickedness was the norm. No one would have condemned Noah's sons for living evil lives like the rest of society—no one except their father. In a world rampant with ungodly attitudes and every form of wicked behavior, they were fortunate to be Noah's sons. When their father invited them to spend the next hundred years building an ark in obedience to a word from God, Noah's sons had to choose whether to believe those around them or to trust their father. They chose to join their father. What a wonderful testimony of Noah's godly influence in his home! How fortunate for Shem, Ham, and Japheth that their father refused to compromise his integrity, even though everyone else in his society had done so. Your life has an influence on those around you as well. Your spouse and your children are profoundly affected by your choices. Your co-workers, your neighbors, and your friends will all be impacted by your life. As the world tries to persuade people to follow its standard, your life should stand in stark contrast as an example of a righteous person. Your life should convince those around you of the wisdom of following God. Do not underestimate the positive effect that your obedience will have upon those close to you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Influence. Influencing. Influenced. 
You are one of those. You are either being influenced or you are influencing others. 

Then there's those in this world who firmly believe it's their job to influence you. 

The only one whom should be influencing you is the Spirit of God.  A discerning person would be in such fellowship with Jesus to understand what is of God and what is not. 

Prayer is not only a necessary part of your life as a child of God, it's as necessary as breathing is to your body. 

Prayer isn't just about food and forgiveness.  It's about the worries and concerns you have in life.  

Prayer has many levels and certainly has challenges at times.  Storms of life stretch us in ways that beforehand we thought would break us.

Prayer shows mercy and grace even when we might not understand it as such.  The thing that I have learned in my walk with Jesus in recent years is that I don't need to complicate Christianity.  Jesus meant it to be so that a Child could understand it.

Re-looking at some of those healed by Jesus reveals that very idea.  The 'educated' in the Temple couldn't understand the simple.  The 'uneducated' were kicked out for truly understanding the work and Word of God. 

There's even times that I wonder about some of today's and those in recent decades, 'big names' in Christianity of whether or not they have also overcomplicated the message.  Jesus meant for anyone to understand the message of the Gospel. 

Our light, if there is one, influences those around us.  Be it good or bad it's still an influence.  I don't need much to be reminded of where I was a negative influence.  I still pray for those whom I had a negative influence on. That God might fix where I messed up. 

Even those in darkness of sin influence others.  Before the flood all mankind was influenced by sin to the extent only Noah, his wife, his son's and their wives were to be saved. 

From then until now we as a world went from 8 people to near 8 billion. We don't know how many were here before the flood. But it was probably in the billions too. 

Our choices influence in both subtle and not so subtle ways.  In our words and actions and our lack of words and actions. Even inaction is an action in and of itself. 

Which is why you ARE either a believer in Jesus or you are not.  You are either saved or you are not.  The description by Jesus in Revelation says you are either among the wheat or among the tares.  You are in the book of Life or you are not.  For those who do not believe in absolutes those are indeed absolutes.  

You are either growing in Christ or you are not.  You are either being influenced to grow in Christ or not.  The things of God are either important to you or they are not. 

Jesus deals in absolutes. Salvation is free. You either accept it and are saved, bound for Heaven or reject it, are not saved, and are bound for Hell. 

Your life is full of influences to try to direct you one way or the other way.  Towards Christ or away from Him.  When Peter's eyes were towards Christ on the water he was fine.  Took them away from Him and he sank.  Notice there was no in between. 

Consider your thoughts and actions today.  Consider if they lead you to a closer walk with Jesus or farther away.  

You WILL be going one way or the other.