Friday, July 31, 2020

Your invited: Both the Believer and Unbeliever

“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days 
of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. 
I will not leave you nor forsake you.”

Joshua 1:5

God's assignment for Joshua might have caused him some concern. Being the successor to Moses was no small task. Through Moses, God had turned the waters in Egypt into blood, parted the Red Sea, destroyed the Egyptian army, and miraculously fed the nation for forty years. God spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai and gave him His law. Joshua must have wondered how he could follow Moses.

To erase any doubt, God assured Joshua that Moses’ accomplishments had all been due to God's presence. Joshua grew confident because the same God who walked with Moses now walked with him (Josh. 1:6).
As you read the accounts of God's miraculous work through men and women in the Bible, you may wonder if God still performs such miracles today. Be assured that the same God who walked with Moses, Joshua, Elijah, Peter, James, John, and Paul now lives within you. No power can defeat the God who guides you. The God who blessed them is just as capable of working out His purposes through your life. The same God who gave them victory over seemingly invincible enemies, who provided for them when their own resources were insufficient, and who guided them in their decisions, is prepared to work as powerfully in your life today. The heroes of the faith had one thing in common: they were all ordinary people with no power of their own. The difference is the mighty presence of God. Times may change, but the effect of God's presence remains the same. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh how Satan loves to try to get us to believe we are abandoned, alone, that God has given up on us.  Demoralizing people seems to be his second specialty after being the Father of lies. 

Berating people, stripping people of dignity and other aspects of the importance of their existence is what he does and has his minions do.

He has found success in his methods by getting people to warmly embrace the vileness of sinful depravity.  They are as the New Testament says, that they have been given over to do and say things that are not as God had intended between man and woman.  Just as Heaven celebrates at the Salvation that comes upon a new believer, I believe Satan and his minions celebrate at the twisting and perversity of what they have done with people. 

Look at the temptations that Satan tried with Jesus.  Matthew 4.
"And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written, He will command His angels concerning You’; and On their hands they will bear You upSo that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”

This was the tip of the iceberg, but THIS Titanic wasn't hitting.  There were likely even more temptations not written.  Yet what does it say?  Jesus overcame them all. 

Jesus has been the promise maker and promise keeper. 

I don't always remember these things, these truths.  It's hard for me to remember Scripture like the Godly Men who have taught me.  I am very grateful that even in that God has kept His promise to be with me.  He has me living in a time when I have all the assistance I need to look up what my mind struggles to remember in His Word. 

Lately, I seem to feel like a mix if Daniel and what Mordecai said to his niece, Esther.  Placed in this moment in time to be an answer to other people's prayers even if they don't know they are praying.  

Writer's for television sitcoms think it's hilarious to joke about people calling upon Jesus.  Jesus basically says laugh it up. They do talk to Him, He does hear the words of the righteous and unrepentant. He knows the thoughts and intentions of everyone at every moment. It is He who searches the hearts of everyone.  Scripture says it, and I can testify to it.

We who are in Christ are not alone. 

Mercy Me had a song called "No Matter What".  I won't lie. I need that song a great deal of the time.  I, like King David, get overwhelmed by life. By the overwhelming blessings at times and the low valley's of despair.  He wrote of his prayer to the Lord Jesus asking just who is David and what is his house that God would delight to bless him so? I get it. Oh my friend I get it.

I have also understood how both believers and unbelievers can be manipulated by Satan to bring down one who is growing in Christ.  Even Peter went from confessing Jesus as being the Christ to being rebuked in less time than it takes for you to read of me telling you about it. 

In Christ is where believers are. IN. Not next to, not in proximity to. IN.

Secondly, IN Christ means exactly as Jesus said, in His hands.  Meaning Satan's attempts at you are being closely monitored.  To the atom, that closely monitored.  Read the beginning of the book of Job. He has to always seek permission to do anything to a believer. 

Likewise read the reality of the unbeliever. 
No position of protection by Christ because they are not in Him. No need for permission. It's not to say that where the Spirit is working there might yet be a particular kind of protection.  Just not what a person who us saved is getting. 

The Spirit of God is always working.  As the Paraclete, the one who is of the same kind and type as Jesus, He too is working the works of the Father in this world.  

Note also that being close to believers isn't enough.  There's been millions who have, and upon dying, only found out then that close isn't close enough. They woke up in Hell.  To be in Christ is to have your name written down in the book of Life.  Jesus said He knows His sheep.  

We read in many places where it's referring to the final judgment and the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. The believer from the unbeliever. The true wheat from the false wheat.  

What you don't see written is significant!

Nobody is asked which they are. 

Jesus is the one making that call without any input from anyone. 

In your day today seek out Jesus whether or not you say you are a believer.  What? Huh?

Yes. Do it. Consider it a challenge.  Uh why?

Because for the unbeliever it will mean you discovering that what you have believed all your life will be challenged.  He WILL show up if you but open the door to see for yourself. 

Because for the believer it will be the reassurance you need in this hour of your life.  

As I told someone yesterday.  Look for pictures online of Jesus knocking on a door.   Note closely that there's no doorknob or lock on the door. It can only be opened from inside.  The door only swings inward. 

As powerful and all knowing and omnipotent as Christ is...He only comes by invitation.  

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Never cast out...never accept

“Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” John 6:37 

There is no limit on the duration of this promise. It does not merely say, “I will not cast out sinners when they first come,” but, “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” In the original language, the idea reads, “I will not, not cast out,” or “I will never, never cast out.” The text means that Christ will not at first reject someone who believes; and, as He will not do it at first, neither will He do it at the last. But suppose the believer sins after coming to Christ. Then, “If anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous” (1 John 2:1 NLT). But suppose that a believer backslides. Then, “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely, for My anger has turned away from him” (Hosea 14:4 NKJV). But believers may come under temptation! Then, “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV). But what if the believer falls into sin like David did? Then God will answer this prayer: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). The Lord has said, “I will cleanse them of their sins against me” (Jeremiah 33:8). Once in Christ, in Christ forever, Nothing from his love can sever. Author Unknown “I give [my sheep] eternal life,” Jesus says, “and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28). What do you say to this, you weak, fearful mind? Isn’t it a precious mercy that in coming to Christ you do not come to One who will treat you well for a little while and then send you away, but will receive you and make you His bride so you will be His forever? Be done with the spirit that makes you a slave to fear. Receive the spirit of adoption by which you can cry, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:15). Oh, the grace of these words: “Whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

We have all fallen to the inability of ourselves or others to hold fast to our use of the word: never.

We would never do this....
We would never do that....

Or the double.  I promise you...never....

Truth is we are hardly the people to commit to such a word.  Only Christ Jesus has the ability and power to effectively use that particular word. 

Our promises may or may not come true. His are always true and never fail to follow His Will in the lives of people. 

There are times His use of never is implied.  Those that are drawn to Him by no means will He cast out.  Implied. 

Then the other side.  Those that practice such things will never see Heaven. 

Intentionally living a sinful life, you will never see Heaven.  That's a promise from God.  Almost laughingly people have lived and are living with the notion that they will 'get right' with Jesus right before they die.  As if they know the exact moment!  That they don't need Jesus until then.  

Or another is a denial use of never.  Believing they are on the right path with God, regardless of the fact that His Word explicitly and expressly is not backing the person by looking at their followers.  They must be doing the right thing for God because He has blessed them with so many followers!  Yet what the person is doing isn't right according to God's Word.  That's not God blessing the work of their lives it's Satan providing minds to deceive. 
If God says no to specific things then regardless of what you see the answer from Him is still no. The Scriptures CANNOT be broken.  There are no modern day Apostles. There are no women Pastors.  There are no women elders. There are no homosexual Pastors or teachers of any kind.  Anyone can try to twist Scripture to their own liking. Satan did it with easy when he was in the Garden of Eden, when he was with Jesus in the 40 days in trying to tempt Him.  When Scripture is clear, that is a real use of the word never by the Holy Spirit. 

In our world today we keep seeing and hearing of how everyone must include everyone else's view of themselves.  That if you do not then you are or might be charged with a hate crime.  Inclusion is permeating our world. Inclusion without order is still chaos.  In Scripture there's a specific order to things in the body of Christ.  There's specifics as to what body parts do what as designated by the Spirit.  Read Corinthians.  There's reasons why. Read Romans.  There's specific examples. Read the letters to Timothy and those in Thessalonia.  

People like to twist the English versions of Scripture when it comes to what Timothy was told about Elders and Deacon and Deaconess's.  Read the original language to be sure of what it is you are trying to stand on. 

Then my friend take it the rest of the way. 

Unbelievers will never see Heaven. 

They will see either Hell or the Judgment Seat after the 1,000 year reign of Jesus.  

After God says you're time to go is at hand, are you sure without a doubt that you were right before God?  

Those that live for themselves, those that don't take the message of the Bible seriously, those that keep looking somewhere else for hope...those people will never find it apart from Jesus. 

Those that are more consumed by the things of this world than a life with Christ have much to be concerned about.  

Salvation isn't some ticket to ride to get in the door of Heaven.  It isn't making up your own rules for life by twisting Scripture to suit your lifestyle then hoping God will see it your way by the way you lived.

When God says never going to see Heaven, the reasons He gives are set in stone.  Unalterable.  

Look at your life choices.  Look at how you are living.  Look at your stress and level of discomfort and despair.  Look at your reasons for living the way you do.  If they are not in accordance with God's Word you really must stop and consider getting right with God now, not later.

You may have sharp disagreements with what I have written today.  Do us both a favor.  Take it up with God.  I write what I am directed to by Him.  The mission statement as it were for this blog is for me to write what He tells me to, when I am told to. I will be the first to point out that I am not an eloquent or proficient writer on my own.  When writing comes from the Spirit it is what it is.  I am a Scribe on the wall of life.  Others in the Bible were warned to write expressly what they were told to, regardless of the reception. 

You may be struggling with this concept of never. Someone obviously is or I wouldn't be writing about it.  You may be one who has accepted lies about what is or isn't acceptable in regards to Scripture.  The fact that you are getting upset means the Spirit has hit a nerve with YOU, not me.

Obedience is the larger part of a right relationship with Jesus. Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

That which is His, before the Flood and after.

Nevertheless I am continually with You. Psalm 73:23 NKJV 

Nevertheless—as if, in spite of all the foolishness and ignorance that Asaph had just been confessing to God, it was still completely true and certain that he was saved and accepted, and that the blessing of God’s constant presence was undoubtedly his. Fully aware of his own lost condition and of the deceitfulness and vileness of his own nature, in a glorious outburst of faith the psalmist could still sing, Nevertheless I am continually with You. Believer, when you are forced to enter into Asaph’s confession and acknowledgment, say his words with this simple addition: “Nevertheless, since I belong to Christ, I am continually with God!” You are continually on God’s mind, and He is always thinking of you for your good. You are continually before His eye—the eye of the Lord never sleeps, but is perpetually watching over your welfare. You are continually in His hand, so that no one will be able to pluck you from it. You are continually on His heart, worn over it as a memorial, like the high priest carried the names of the twelve tribes over his heart forever. You always think of me, oh God! The heart of your love continually yearns for me. You are always working things out for my good. You have set me as a seal on your arm (Song of Solomon 8:6). Your love is as strong as death; many waters cannot quench it, neither can the floods drown it (Song of Solomon 8:7). Surprising grace! You see me in Christ—and though I am abhorrent in myself, you see me as wearing Christ’s garments, washed in his blood. And so I stand accepted in your presence, continually in your favor—continually with You. Here is comfort for the tried and afflicted soul. When you are vexed with the tempest inside, look at the calm outside. Nevertheless—oh, say it in your heart and take the peace it gives: Nevertheless I am continually with You. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Oh the days of 2020.  Thus far, many months of it being a profound irony. That for all that follows the description of 20-20 vision.  The vision of the multitudes is blurred between what was and what is for the form life has taken. 

We often question everything every day now. Believe what we are told or not to believe what we are told.  Are people being manipulated or aren't they.  What consistency is there?

Consistency in this life takes two forms for the human to experience.  There's the consistent effect of sin on this world and the consistent effect of those who have placed their faith in Christ Jesus for Salvation.  In the eyes of God you are one or in the other.  There is no fence to ride. No 'not taking sides'.  In Revelation and in the Gospels it's spelled out very clearly.  

You are either one of His sheep or you are not. 
You are either in Christ or you are not. 
You are either good fruit or you are not. 
You are either wheat or false wheat. 
You are either living in obedience or you are not. 
You either accept the truth of God or you are not. 

Regardless of your thoughts on that last one, your thinking will be corrected. 

At the final judgment, nobody is given another chance.  Your thinking is corrected when your sentence is given by the righteous Judge, Jesus Christ.  

Reminds me of a video that I saw yesterday.  A 20 something woman not taking being in Court seriously. Her flippant answer got her a sentence. Her blatant, repeated, disrespectful remarks kept increasing the judgment against her. 

In the case of the Final Judgment, the comments by the guilty won't matter. 

When the Rapture of the Church happens the comments of those left behind won't change what just happened.  The door of opportunity will not be reopened.  No more than the Ark of Noah when the waters came.  Once closed by God it's closed.

God has kept me thinking about the days of Noah quite a bit this year.  What was it like? What was he preaching on for over a hundred years? What was the world like? Are we there yet?  God has been showing me quite a bit. 

My only standing point to point to is what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me.  

The world indeed had technology.  Probably by leaps and bounds of a higher order of magnitude than we have today.  The development of the human brain was not diminished by exposure to the levels of radiation we have all experienced since the aftermath of the flood.  The vapor canopy that protected the planet was altered or removed.  Evidence found shows bits and pieces of technology we cannot duplicate yet our current technology is made of similar stuff. 
I believe that Noah and his family intentionally built the Ark without it.  Had they built it with that technology government's of the past several centuries would have been all over it to dissect it.
What did he preach on? Ecclesiastes repeatedly says there's nothing new under the sun. That too tells the backstory on technology. But it projects forward to the book of Romans. The very same message was preached by Noah that we read in Paul's writings.  It would not need to be any different.  When Paul tells us of sin, the wages of it, that's what Noah spoke of. When pointing to the cross and the Salvation that would be necessary for those who believe, Noah pointed forward to it. How can I say that? Noah believed it. He would look forward to the day Jesus showed up in Sheol Paradise to receive him and all who looked forward to His coming. 

We who are alive today and are believers have the same God as Paul in the days that most of the New Testament was written.  The same God as in the days of Noah.  The same hope they have we have. 

Life may seem complicated and may seem like it's getting worse. Well that's because it is. Jesus hid nothing that wasn't beneficial to us in these days.  He mentioned our battles are not against flesh and blood. He mentioned the temptations that lay ahead.  He mentioned the need to put on the whole armor of God.  He mentioned that a man's enemies will be members of his own house.  He mentioned the kind of people who would infiltrate the Church. He mentioned the manor of men and women would be like. That they would be brutal, haters of good. That the evil of man would increase.  He hid nothing yet so few pastors teach it. Too many are afraid of offending people.  
Unlike what you see in movies or TV, Jesus isn't going to be the one in the rescue boat plucking people against their will out of danger.  

You are the one to choose.  You. 

The Great Commission given by Jesus isn't a forceful resolution or responsibility. It's not imposing God's will on people it's sharing what God has done, opening the door, so that people can choose to follow and be taught.  Transformed into the likeness of Christ by being born again.  By renewing our minds in God's Word and through prayer.  

Noah's message would be no different than what we read in the New Testament.  Mankind has not changed.  The human mind and soul has but one problem, sin.  

When this world survives the 7 year Tribulation Jesus Himself will rule from Earth.  There will be no more wars. No more need for weapons.  No need for Doctors or Lawyers or Politicians.  No need for those who believe it's up to them to tell you what to think or do.  The Lord Jesus Christ will rule with those who are saved in Christ assisting. For a thousand years life will be along the lines of how it should have been for centuries.  Yet after it all, at the end, mankind will still revolt one last time.  Given a thousand years of divine experience in Christ to live by mankind will still revolt. 

You indeed have choices to make today.  

But my friend none is as important as living for Jesus.  None is as important as giving your life to Christ if you haven't. 

As it was at the end of the 100 plus years Noah preached, we are coming to the end of that opportunity to leave here with Jesus when He returns.  The message is the same.  Turn and repent. Receive the free gift of Salvation in Christ Jesus.  

For those who are in Christ we have the hope of the Holy Spirit. We have the knowledge that regardless of what our eyes see, we are safe in His hands.  We have His promise of a peace that passes all understanding.  Outside of Christ you cannot find it. In Christ you are always afforded the opportunity to be in it.

You're looking for hope? My friend stop looking in this world for it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Silence in a Noisy World, needing to be alone with God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, 
you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

James 4:8

There may be times when God seems far away. You may feel as if your prayers go unheard. James said there is a simple reason for this and a solution. If you are far from God, it is because your sin has separated you from Him.

God is unchanging. His character stays absolutely holy. His faithfulness remains constant; it is we who change. We allow sin into our lives. We choose our own direction. We spend less and less time with Him in Bible study and prayer. Then one day we realize that we have gradually grown distant from God. The solution, according to James, is straightforward. We are to draw near to God. As we realize our need to be closer to the Father and we begin to return to Him, He meets us even as the father hurried to greet his prodigal son (Luke 15:20).
Drawing near to God requires you to take two actions. First, you must cleanse your hands (Isa. 1:15). You must cleanse your way of living. If you have been actively engaged in sin, you must renounce it. If you have done anything to offend or hurt someone, you must make it right. Second, you are to purify your heart (Ps. 51:10). You must make certain your attitudes, thoughts, and motives are right in God's eyes and are in harmony with God's Word. Jesus warned that you cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). It is impossible to love anything else as much as you love God and still please Him.
If God seems distant, do what is necessary to cleanse your hands, purify your heart, and draw near to Him.
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

There's the reasons outlined by Blackaby here but still there are other, beneficial, reasons why it may appear that God is silent.  Yes, flagrant sin, idolatry and other intentional sins can put up a barrier between you and your Savior.  But what if the real reason is that in all the noise in your life He wants some quiet time with you?  In more than one place in Scripture it mentions being still and knowing that He is God.  To just sit still. How often is it written in Scripture that Jesus got away from people to be with His Father? Isn't that also being silent?

My biggest, at least from my perspective the biggest, thing that I did that messed up my walk with Jesus was when I figured that I had His Plan for me all figured out. I let go of His hands and took off running for it.  Only to spend decades recovering from the subsequent disaster.  

How often have we been that kid who got excited and got away from our parents and were reprimanded for it later?

Getting ahead of God often results in quiet times.  

Then there's the times of healing that He imposes upon us.  I know there are people that to get them to shut up you have to force them to sit on their hands.  They just can't speak without them!

Look back at history. Mankind is easily manipulated by Satan to be impetuous. 

In both a reaction to sin in someone's life and the need to heal in someone's life, silence is often necessary to clear the mind to make it receptive to the teachings to come. 

I remember teachers refusing to get started until the class was quiet.  You think that's an original idea?  God has been doing that since Adam and Eve!

We are certainly like that joke about talking with a dog.  The dog listens right up to the point of...SQUIRREL! Then it's a constant battle to regain its attention. 

We read in the last chapter of Jonah of him running away.  Flip that.  God Got him alone for a conversation. Not everything is as it seems.

We indeed are in need of time-outs.  We let anger and rage get the best of us when it's God saying to hush, be still, to that storm within.  

Paul in the book of Acts, really faced pretty much every reason to lash out in anger and rage at his fellow Jews.  Today we would honestly consider that there's something wrong with him. He's bottling up his emotions.  He's going to explode one of these days.  Every psychological reason except the Biblical one.  Why? Because the noise of the world has been overwhelming the quiet time with Jesus. 
Read what his accusers were saying.  That his extensive training has driven him mad.

People both within the body of Christ and outside of it do not know what the Holy Spirit is doing in YOUR life.  When you remove the comedy aspect of it.  Look at the technical side of the post op room activity in M*A*S*H.  The job of the Doctors and Nurses in there was to assure a calm environment for healing. 

We get ahead of Jesus. We think we have figured life out. We get into scrapes.  We, as Blackaby wrote, might indeed have sin in the way.  We may have let go of His hands and gotten ahead of Him. 

We may have deep seated anger that He WILL get you to release.  He did with me. 

Jesus still is working with me and on me. He's exactly as He describes Himself.  Gentle.  He is also the epitome of persistence.  We go through time. He stands outside of it.  He's got all time He needs to wait for us to come around to His way of thinking.  Often in those episodes we saw wounded soldiers not listening. They made the wounds worse.  They let fear rule out. 

In Christ we have nothing to fear.  Not our world, our employer, our families or anyone we meet or know. 

What is your situation?  Is it sin or healing?  Silence by choice or by necessity?  Do you ever get away to be with Jesus?   Do you only talk to Him when you're in trouble? If that's the case you're already in trouble.  Do you refuse to let go of something in your life?  Remember He already knows, and now that you know He knows, He will patiently wait for when you either will obey or His timing says now you WILL obey because it's going to mess up the work He is doing in you or others. 

Be in prayer.  Be open and real with yourself and God.  It's when you deceive yourself that you do the most harm. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

The Promise Keeper vs the Father of lies

. . very great and precious promises . . . 2 Peter 1:4 If you would know by experience the preciousness of God’s promises, if you would enjoy them in your own heart, meditate greatly on them. There are promises that are like grapes in your hand: if you will squeeze them tightly, the juice will flow. Thinking over such holy words will often be the prelude to their fulfillment. While you muse over them, the blessing you seek may sneak up on you quietly. Many Christians, thirsting for a promise, have found its benefit gently distilling into their souls even while they were meditating on God’s Word. Then they rejoiced that God had laid that promise on their heart. But besides meditating on the promises, seek in your soul to receive them as the very words of God. Say to yourself, “If I were dealing with a person’s promise, I would carefully consider the ability and character of the one who had made the covenant with me. But with the promise of God, I shouldn’t fix my eyes so much on the greatness of the mercy (that would stagger me) as on the greatness of the Promiser (which will cheer me). “My soul, it is God, your God, God who cannot lie, who speaks to you. This word of His that you are now considering is as true as His own existence. He is the unchangeable God, who has not altered anything which has ever gone out of His mouth. He has never called back one single sentence of comfort. “And don’t ever fear that He lacks power—the God who made the promise is the God who made the heavens and the earth. He has all wisdom, and knows the perfect time to bestow His favors, for He knows w9hen it is best to give and when it is better to withhold. “Therefore, seeing that it is the word of a God so true, so unchanging, so powerful, and so wise, I will and must believe His promise.” If we meditate on God’s promises in this way, always considering the Promiser, we will experience their sweetness and obtain their fulfilment. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

"If We're Honest" Francesca Batistelli

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I'm a mess and so are you
We've built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest
Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
So bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're hones
It would change our lives
It would set us free
It's what we need to be
So bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest
If we're honest

Satan loves to hide, disturb, distort and destroy truth when it suits not his purpose. 

You have been lied to since birth.  Is one of his.
You were born that way. Another. 
You can't be better than you are.
You are just as much a loser as your old man. 
You aren't fit even to serve me.  You are worthless. 
They are just going to steal away your rights. You know, all those things you deserve, they want to take away from you. 

The list goes on.  The short list in the temptations of Christ are sometimes used on us as well.  

We aren't all that strong.  But in Christ I am.

The lies of Satan always seem to have a ring of truth.  Because that's his MO. His modus operandi.  He has had centuries to perfect being what Jesus called him...the liar and father of lies. 

For a great portion of my life I listened to the lies because honestly I wasn't walking with Jesus as I should have.  I was in a pit of despair that I never believed that I was going to get out of.  When the Psalmist writes of being in the pit...I could certainly relate.  All this while being a believer?


Look at Peter after he fulfilled what Jesus said was going to happen. He was beyond distraught. Who knows he might have been close to giving up on the rest of his life.  He couldn't handle his colossal pain and failure.  The one he said was the Son of God he rejected not once but many times.  He was ready to just go off and return to fishing.  

Then Jesus found him.  
As Jesus found me.  
As Jesus wants to find you if you'll but open the door.  It matters not, believer or unbeliever, we often are on the other side of a door from Jesus. For the believer it's after He has come into our hearts and is going through the rooms within.  We go before Him and quickly close a door to a room we are afraid to let Him into. 

For the unbeliever it's just letting Jesus in at all.  It's getting past the lies. Past the pride issue that says we don't need Him.
Past the issues saying He caused your pain and problems. You're mad at God because of what He allowed to happen that hurt you so much.  Lies of course.  Twisted bits of truth.  Anything to keep you from learning or knowing the real truth. 

Dear reader Satan doesn't care if he kills you as long as you never find out the truth of God's love for you. He doesn't care if you are dead inside even while you are alive physically.  That's exactly what he wants of you.  To have no hope.  We live in a world these days craving some form of hope.  To the extent people are saying they would give up their rights to obtain something that resembles normalcy.  Literally they would make a deal with the Devil if it would help...but they wouldn't come to Christ because of the lies sewn by Satan. 

Jesus is God. Truth.
The Father is God. Truth. 
The Holy Spirit is God. Truth. 

Jesus came, lived a sinless life. 
Was crucified on a cross for all the sin of mankind, including yours. 
He arose 3 days later conquering sin, death and the grave. He now sits at the right hand of God the Father. Awaiting the word to come and receive to Himself all who have called upon Him for Salvation. 
Truth, truth, and more truth. 

Salvation is free. Truth.
Forgiveness of sin is in Christ. Truth.
Only Christ can forgive sin. Truth.

Only in Christ will you ever find the peace and hope you are looking at the world to give. Truth.

God in all 3 of His persons has always kept every promise they have ever made. Truth.

Salvation is free. Truth.

Satan will twist and deny everything mentioned as truth that you read today. 

He wants to be worshipped and served by mankind because mankind was made to worship and serve God. Truth. 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.  Truth.

Reality isn't just what you perceive it to be. Regardless of what you are told or see.

In the Old Testament Elijah prayed that his servants eyes would behold what he could not otherwise see.  The Army of God. 

You do not see what Daniel was told was why the Lord was delayed in answering his prayer.  That there is a war raging for the souls of man. Truth.

Only by coming to Christ will you be safe.
You stand alone if Christ is not in you. 

The promise Maker says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  If anything happens to a believer, the next heartbeat finds them in the presence of Jesus.  Truth.

For the unbeliever the next heartbeat finds them in Hell.  Truth.  Death was conquered for all mankind but you still choose your destination. Truth.

My friend time is running out.  I haven't yet heard a sermon on the rest of what 'the days of Noah' was like.  It's not just that people were marrying and being given in marriage.  It was that Noah was indeed involved in a ministry to reach the lost. He was always out preaching when he wasn't building the Ark. Noah tried for over 100 years to tell people.  Nobody took him seriously until the waters were too high to survive.  Many, if not all, cried out for the Lord to save them.  Billions drowning  one after another.  Was God being mean or evil in this?  By no means. He already knew who accepted Him.  Just as it is now.  Jesus knows who will say yes to Salvation and who won't...and even their reasons why.  He won't return until the last person to be saved prior to the Rapture is saved.  

It could even be you. 

Jesus keeps His promises. In every day in every way.  Hope isn't found in stimulus money or politics. It's not found in organizations.  It's found in Christ. 

Today is your day to learn what truth really is. 

Sunday, July 26, 2020

He knows You!

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows 
the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

Matthew 6:8

Even before we call on Him, the Father has already begun to provide all that we need (Isa. 65:24). Jesus wanted His disciples to learn how intimately God knew and loved each of them. That is why He told them to pray. He assured them that even before they prayed, God knew all about their situation.

Prayer is not designed for us to inform God of our needs, for He already knows them. Why, then, should we pray? Prayer enables us to experience God more intimately. The more a child experiences the loving provision of a parent, the more convinced he becomes of his parent's unrelenting love. Often a parent will anticipate a child's need before the child recognizes it and be prepared in advance to provide for that need. Our heavenly Father knows exactly what we will face today and next week. He is eager for us to experience Him as He provides for us.
To our surprise, we often discover that God knows far better than we do what is best for us. At times we assume that we know what would benefit us. We can even be foolish enough to assume that we don’t require anything of God. Yet God wants us to go to Him in our need (Matt. 7:7). He is ready to show His strength through our weakness. Our heavenly Father knows exactly what is best for us, and He is prepared to provide for every need, if we will but ask (Phil. 4:13).
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We easily read of the first sin that started it all.  Adam and Eve attempted to be like God. We read of the second that's recorded. Cain killing his brother Able.  
It is skipped over as related but it is. The taking of an innocent life. 

For centuries man has created his or her own rules as to what lives matter and what lives do not.  Cain didn't believe the life of his brother mattered. 

Not just found in the Bible, throughout recorded human history lives have been a currency of sorts. What motivation when it's on the line. 

But this post isn't about what we think about what lives matter.  It's about our Creator saying since the first sin that He was willing to die for all to bring man and God back together in a true relationship again. 

He knows you. Better than you do. 

He knows what worries you. 

He knows what people think of Him, of you and the people you care about or know about. 

He knows. 

But why is there so much hate happening?  The term these days is 'hijacking'. 
Hate has been hijacked. Love has been hijacked.  Every form in between has been hijacked to further the cause of pride and selfishness.  To make someone's life worth more than someone else's. 

In Christ we are created equal.  No race no color no anything that sets us above someone else.  Sin my friend equally discriminates.  It condemned everything and everyone since Adam. The reason a perfect sacrifice was necessary was it was the only thing that could satisfy the penalty of it. 

We do have needs.  The greatest oftentimes is to be accepted.   Yet, in regards to sin, the only way to be accepted is for Salvation to come and have that sin wiped away. 
The hatred in this world often gets blamed on God!  Yes! If He would just do this, then that wouldn't happen! If God really loved me, He wouldn't have let me get hurt!
We put God in our box when the fact is the Universe cannot contain Him.

Jesus is fully aware of every thought we think before the synapses in our brains create them. He is already aware of our interests and intentions.  Before even we know what they are.  His love for you goes beyond this Universe to the Throne of God the Father. 

This is both being the bearer of bad news as well as the good news.  Hate is going to be manipulated even more than you see it today.  Yet the power of God is not any less because of it.  The Church is being weakened from within.  Those that stand strong in the Lord are the ones experiencing the power of God in this life. 

When a world ever has to utter any statement on what lives matter, they are right at where Cain was at in the beginning.  All lives were what Christ died and arose again for. Until that message gets across to people more than the message of hate within any organization or political culture all that remains is Christ returning to lead up to the end of it.

You see it's not just a warning about 7 years of judgements to come.  It's what comes after that. Jesus Himself will rule the world for 1,000 years. There will be no political agenda. There will be no protests about what lives matter.  There will be no murdering of babies.  Those that remain after the 7 years of judgements will be considered accursed if they don't live for hundreds of years. 

You mattered to Jesus when His heart broke at Adam and Eve sinning. Before they did He knew they would.  He could have stopped them. He left the choice to obey in their hands. They were told the consequences of it. They chose to sin anyway.  Before they sinned Jesus saw all the way throughout history to YOUR moment in time. He saw the pain and joys you would know before you were ever a consideration in the writings of history. 

He knows every word, worry or thoughts you have about the world in which you live. 

He is able to get you through it if you would but trust in Him and quit trying to do it yourself.  It's a continuation of human arrogance to believe we know what's best for us when JESUS wrote the manual on humanity!  We often read today about hacks to do things not recorded with products.  Jesus knows everything about everything you are capable of.  Not what you think you are but what He KNOWS you are. 

Value life in this world.  Satan has no vested interest in if you live or die. He can find somebody to replace you with.  Only in Christ is your life worth something that's priceless.  Read in Psalms of King David's thoughts on God. Are you as honest with Jesus as David was?

He knows you. He knows your ways. He knows your worries and what has scarred you so.  He can heal but you have to be willing to do what He tells you is necessary.  You would do what a ER Doctor tells you wouldn't you? If you are told you need a cast and it's going to be 6 to 8 weeks until it comes off.  You would do it because it's right and necessary.

Jesus isn't trying to remove your rights or your desires or your anything.  He's trying to save your life, which to Him was giving of Himself in your place.  Once you realize how great that sacrifice was, living as He has in mind for you isn't so bad after all.  No where in the Bible or outside of it do we read of any who ever regretted what Jesus had in mind for those who believed in Him for Salvation.  Physical death means nothing when the next heartbeat means we are in the presence of Jesus. Physical death to an unbeliever means entry into a fiery Hell.  Hell isn't an escape from hate. For billions it's the beginning of an eternity with it against a Holy God. 

Consider it today my friend.  Look at life from God's perspective. He is reaching out through time to pull you into the boat of Salvation if only you would reach back. His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts higher than ours. 

You mean everything to Jesus. There's no hate to be had in Jesus other than for sin.

Let today be the day you reach for the hands that have been reaching out to you. 

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Be whom God called You to be

Today, I may be exposed to great danger—Lord, let me have the serpent’s wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be more helpful to me today than the jaws of a lion. True, I may seem to lose out by rejecting evil company, but I would do better to leave my cloak than lose my character. It is not necessary for me to be rich, but it is essential for me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no attraction of beauty, no barbs of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolve to flee sin. I am to resist the devil so he will flee from me, but I must run from the lusts of the flesh, or they will surely overcome me. Oh, God of holiness, preserve your Josephs from the vile, bewitching suggestions of this world. May the horrible trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil never overcome us!
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I awoke today hit hard by bad dreams and read things that were really disappointing and discouraging.  It wasn't a pleasant experience.  People in this world will indeed take words and form double edged swords with them.  Their intent may be one thing but their results say they did more. 

One such reading this morning saddened me greatly.  I mentioned being blessed, and the only one who bestows blessings is God, yet an opportunity was taken to take the wind out of that sail by someone who wasn't looking at life from a Godly perspective. 

We are exposed to a great deal of things that have but one sinister reason.  To desensitize us towards sin and to twist our thoughts towards accepting it.  Satan has been trying since the founding of the Church to infiltrate and corrupt the Church. He has been trying since Adam and Eve to corrupt mankind to worship him and not God.  He twists our thoughts and emotions towards an end that leaves us either disillusioned or shut down if we are believers. He gets a bonus if he manages to convince us to follow his ways and accept sinful thoughts and behaviors as acceptable.  He rewards demons who succeed in such things for their cunning and vile behavior. 

If you have been around the English language at all in the last oh 100 years you know what the phrase "being played" means.  

The most embarrassed of people are those who find out too little too late that they were played. Billions will find this out at the Judgement Seat after the Tribulation.  Billions have been finding it out when they die apart from Christ.  

It's only in literature where people believe that Satan has a throne in Hell, or has horns an is all red with a tail.  

The Bible says he roams the Earth like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 

The truth is closer than you think.  People are swayed by very little when stress is high.  Satan knows the truth of Hell and would never set one foot there. Satan goes back and forth from Earth to Heaven until the day the Father shuts him out. 

You my friend are being played if your thoughts and desires conflict with Scripture and they are more important to you than obeying Christ.  If you're going to sulk at being left out, why?  Why would you have such thoughts when Christ tells us what is right, pure and true.  

It was pointed out to me that I was being sort of hypocritical about taking my job so personally.  No, I don't take it personally, I am there to do my best, regardless of my personal thoughts on it. Colossians 3:23-25.  When I am convinced circumstances look like I am not being allowed to do my best, as unto the Lord, I take it to my Lord to deal with it. My emotions and all.  I could be charged with mopping floors.  You had better believe that I would expect no less out of me in doing that as in doing my regular job.  As I told my Site Leader, I am incapable of doing anything less than my best.  My best efforts are all that I was raised to give. 

You are, if you are a believer, expected to do and live a certain way in Christ.  We are His workmanship. Meaning that we will be equipped to do specific tasks.  We will be not doing other things that were part of the old nature. 

Consider today your whys.  Why are you in a constant disgruntled state? Why are you behaving as you are? Why are you not happy with what God has blessed you with or what He has brought you through?   Have you accepted sinful behaviors as acceptable? Have you?  Have you been flirting with sin rather than avoiding it?

Look at your life now.  It's going to be much easier on you to start living your life as Christ has been shaping it to be lived than to explain why you didn't. 

Friday, July 24, 2020

The difference you can make

He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save 
a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

James 5:20

One of the Christian's greatest deterrents from sin is the life of another Christian. Some Christians maintain that it is none of their business if another chooses to sin. They are convinced that they are being judgmental if they respond to someone in sin. The world persuades them not to get involved, but this inaction prevents them from being an effective intercessor.

As Christians we are aware that sin brings death (Rom. 6:23). Sin kills relationships, dismantles marriages, stifles joy, and destroys peace. When we see someone wander from the truth into error, how should we respond? When Jesus saw sin, it broke His heart. He wept over entire cities as He saw them rejecting the truth (Matt. 23:37–39). He prayed fervently for His disciples to be strong when they were tempted (John 17). He warned those who were heading toward spiritual failure (Matt. 26:20–25, 34). Jesus was even willing to die to save people from their sins because He knew the devastation that sin causes. Jesus never stood idle as those around Him were led astray by their sin. He always took an active role in turning them back to God.
“Minding your own business” will save you some discomfort, but it will not help a brother or sister who needs to return to the Lord. If you are truly aware of the grave consequences for those who continue in sin, you will be moved to weep even as Jesus wept. Pray fervently for your friend. That will safeguard your motives and prepare you to minister to him. Be alert, in the event that God asks you to confront your friend. If you do so, be loving and gentle lest you, too, be tempted (Gal. 6:1).
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

My friend, my dear reader, the very nature of relationships is one life affecting another.  Some, it's a blessing and for others, not so much. 

When you come to Christ, relationships take on new meaning. In Christ not only are you growing in respect to Salvation, the others whom you know who are believers are as well.  

If that wasn't powerful enough, your relationship with Jesus is observed by others. Both within the fellowship of believers, but the world at large. 

If that wasn't's observed by angels and demons.  

It's interesting to me to look back on my life at some of what I will call my more 'controversial' relationships.  The ones that I wondered how I ever got involved with such people let alone the turmoil that surrounded those relationships.  What was interesting that God brought this devotional today plus where I was reading in my Bible together.   Psalms 35. Read it all, but I will tell you that time and again I have lived verses 1 through 8.  

What prevents the Rapture is as much the decision of the Father to its timing as it is the ongoing relationship building of His people.  The timing will be right when the last person to be saved is saved.  Through someone being obedient to sharing the Gospel.  It will not happen before that last person's name takes that last line in the book of Life reserved for those before the Tribulation. 

Maybe it's my outlook on life or it's the way it's supposed to be. Regardless of the offense, if a person is breathing, Salvation is possible.  They probably won't escape the consequences of their actions, but they could possibly still enter the courts of Heaven as a believer in Jesus Christ.  Many argue against such things, but remember who the first believer was. A man condemned to death on a cross.  He had no way to escape the consequences of his crimes, but that day he stood with Jesus in paradise.  We don't know what our relationship impact is in this world with others is.

Life as a loner is terrible.  You can have riches beyond imagination, be lonely and lose it all.  Look at Howard Hughes.  

Riches for a believer are stored in Heaven...what?  Yes. In Heaven.  What could that be?  What can we have now that's stored in Heaven?  People. 

The most important to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, is people. 

He didn't die for your car, your truck, your home, or your hobby.  Jesus died for you.  
He didn't die for your rights, your privileges, your status in society. Jesus died for you. 
He didn't die for the things you thought or things you didn't think. The things you did or didn't do. Jesus died for you. 

His love is what kept Him in the path of the wrath of God the Father on its way to that cross.  He wouldn't move out of the way because He loves you.  You the person, not anything you did or didn't do. You were born in sin.  

Consider that.  Really look at it.  He loves human beings, created in His image, regardless of race, color or anything else, enough to die for.  We are the ones who try to judge others as worthy or unworthy of Salvation.  If Jesus died for a thief He died for you. 

The sad part is the other man on the other cross.  When next he opened his eyes, he looked across that chasm into paradise and saw Jesus with the man He said would be with Him that day. He too could have been there had he believed.  That last opportunity slipped away because he blew his chance at Salvation in Christ Jesus. 

Much is always preached on concerning the thief that was with Jesus in paradise.  Much more should be preached about the one who wasn't. 

Jesus has repeatedly preached about those who would be weeping and gnashing their teeth.  Those who missed out. Who remained standing in their rebellion to a Holy God.  If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that God had had me write this fact:  there are no unbelievers in Hell.  Every single person who had rejected Christ KNOWS the truth, but it's too late for them.  Some writhing in anguish because they knew but refused, others writhing in anguish, still yet angry at God. But all in torment in Hell.  All knowing that yes, God is real. Hell is real. That they really do not want anyone joining them there. 

Look at your relationship with Jesus. If you want any relationship with others to work out right, THEN that is where you MUST begin. 

Superficial relationships might get you through life, but without a real relationship with Jesus, you too will be on the outside of paradise looking in. You will be either one of those weeping or one of those gnashing their teeth at God, refusing to take responsibility for your sin.

Make sure your relationship with Jesus is real and growing. Make sure you are talking with Jesus every day. Make sure you are reading His love letter to you, the Bible. Seek out relationships with other true believers. Run from the false ones. Let your light shine in such a way that you might show people Jesus. 

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Really?!? Being real about sin...

You were like one of them. Obadiah 11

 Edom owed Israel brotherly kindness in her time of need, but instead of that, the descendants of Esau joined with Israel’s enemies. In today’s Scripture, special stress is laid on the word You, like when Caesar cried, “and you Brutus?” A bad action may be all the worse because of the person who has committed it. We as Christians are the chosen favorites of heaven, so when we sin, we sin with an emphasis. Ours is a heinous offence, because we have been so particularly blessed. If an angel were to lay his hand on us when we were doing evil, he wouldn’t need to use any other rebuke than the question, “What, you? What are you doing?” We have been much forgiven, much delivered, much instructed, much enriched, much blessed—do we dare put our hands to evil? God forbid! Dear reader, a few minutes of confession may be beneficial to you this morning. Have you never been like the wicked? Have you heard people laughing at evil things and didn’t really find the joke offensive? You were like one of them. When the ways of God were described with insults, and you were bashful and silent, you were like one of them. When worldly people were taking advantage of others in the marketplace, were you like one of them? When they were pursuing wealth and power like a hunter after game, were you as greedy as they were? Could anyone see a difference them and you? Is there any difference? Here we are stepping on toes. Be honest with your own soul, and make sure you are truly a new creature in Christ Jesus. Then, when this is sure, live very carefully so that nobody should be able to say again, You were like one of them. You wouldn’t want to share their eternal doom, so why be like them here? Don’t join in their secrets, or you may come into their ruin. Side with the afflicted people of God, not with the world.
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God 
who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:12b–13

Salvation is not an event; it is a process. Salvation is God's gift, for there is nothing we can do to save ourselves (Eph. 2:8–9). Yet with salvation comes the responsibility to work out our salvation. Once we have been saved, we must claim all that has become ours.

Through salvation, God gave you victory over sin. That victory applies not only to past sins but also to every sin you will ever commit. When you became a Christian, God made you a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). God wants to continually build new things into your life as you walk with Him. God gave you His joy when He saved you, and He wants to fill you with His joy daily. When you first repented of your sin, you relinquished your right to your life. God continues to ask you to yield your will to Him and to follow His leading rather than setting your own direction for your life. When you were converted, God made everything available to you; how you implement what He has given you is your choice (2 Pet. 1:3–9).
This is the great paradox of the Christian life. We are to work diligently on our faith, yet always with the awareness that only God can bring about lasting change in our lives. As we see God at work in us, we are motivated to work even more diligently. God will not force His changes upon us; neither can we bring about lasting change in our lives apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. When you sense God developing an area of your life, join Him in His activity so that His salvation will be demonstrated fully in you.
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Today has two devotionals in it.  Both seem to work together.  We as a culture seem to do a lot of 'looking the other way' at sin. Justifying our thoughts and actions in the name of personal reasons to patriotism, having done it before, to other excuses.  We cannot excuse our sin.  

It's very much a message for me as it is for any who read this.  I used to look on others in real disgust when I heard them say they can't say anything, they used to do that too.  So that's a major copout. That's not stepping up to see that the person needing taught or corrected is recieving such. If all Scripture is inspired by God for teaching, reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness. ..then why are believers so reluctant to use it for that?  Why wouldn't they want to be adequate, equipped for every good work?

Are you even reading your Bible at all?  Is it part of your day? Week? Month?  The last two leave me stunned that for some Christians that's all the time they choose to give the one who died to save them!

You go through life stressed yet think that only an occasional prayer might get you through the crisis?  You only return to God when there is a problem you can't handle? Then once He does handle it you are back to your sinful ways?  

Dear reader, repeated living a sin is called a practiced sin.  Read in Romans.  Paul specifically taught that we ought not live a life of practiced sin.  In Matthew Jesus said we ought not excuse sin either.  We are to make sure we take care of the sin in our lives before we tell anybody else how to deal with the sin in theirs.  Satan really got a good one when he got someone to coin the phrase 'you shouldn't judge'.  That one phrase probably has done more damage than most other deceptions within the Church!

You believe that 'you shouldn't judge!' statement then you, my friend, have believed a lie!  You have indeed been deceived by Satan!  If you had read your Bible you would know and understand the truth.  We are indeed to be wise in Christ.  Not to delve into the sins we observe in others. We DO need to make a judgment about what we see in others in order to be able to know where in the Scriptures to lead such a one on a path back to righteousness. You can't point the way if you aren't able to because you have never read the manual.  Would you trust someone who walked off the street, who has never seen the inside of a human body, before you would trust the Doctor who has a degree and experience in a surgery you need?  You need to be in God's Word. 

My friend we cannot keep silent on sin. Sin was such a problem in the whole history of mankind that it brought about Jesus Christ being crucified.  His love for you held Him on that cross, not the nails.  His love for you held Him there when the Father poured His wrath out upon His own Son in your place. Sin should not be excused. 

Read the book of Acts carefully. People confessed their sins, repented, and were saved, by the thousands. Confession is to admit that God is right.  Repentance means to turn away from it. Not excuse it.

We as a Church were empowered by the power of the Cross.  Scripture says that the gates of Hell would not be able to handle the onslaught of the Church.  Where is that power today?  Where are the prayers of God's people?  Are you praying?
Are you at all more concerned about your standing before a Holy God than you are the people you surround yourself with?

We are indeed to work out our Salvation.  That work includes being in the Bible. 
That work includes being in prayer. 
That work includes not being silent about sin.  Jesus wasn't silent about it. Many times the people He exposed were 'cut to the quick'. Meaning He sliced right through their excuses and exposed what was there.  

Look at how you deal with sin. 
Look at how you haven't dealt with sin.

Will Jesus find the faith? Will He find people living out a life for Him?

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Born again...Yes!

Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, 
unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3

Entering a saving relationship with Christ is a life-changing experience! All things become new! Not some things, but all things (2 Cor. 5 :17) . For the first time in your life, Christ is Lord ; God is Master. When you become a Christian, Christ's presence will affect every part of you. You will have new thoughts, new attitudes, new values, and new sensitivities. New priorities will dramatically affect your relationships. You will view everything in your life from a Christlike perspective. Christianity is not something you add to your life; it is life!

Nicodemus thought that salvation meant performing certain religious exercises and holding to particular religious teachings. He had no idea of the all-encompassing nature of salvation! When you become a Christian, God gives you a new heart so that everything becomes new! God gives you a new mind, like that of Christ, so you think differently. He gives you new emotions, so you feel deeply about completely different matters. You become sensitive to sin, so you are no longer comfortable with it. Your recreation will be affected as you are made aware of what is honoring to God and what is not. Your relationships will now be guided by the Holy Spirit. Destructive habits and attitudes, previously immune to change, will be transformed.
Have you noticed the changes God has brought to your life since you entered a vital relationship with Jesus Christ? These changes should be very noticeable as a testimony of the new life you received when you trusted Jesus as your Savior and Lord. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh to think of Nicodemus...had he not been so Spiritually curious, we wouldn't have had what we now do as the most famous passage in the Bible.  

What we have all seen and been told by many a believer likely has its roots in John 3:16.  

His experience with Jesus in this nightly visit changed Nicodemus forever.  We know it stayed with him to the crucifixion because he helped care for the body of Christ afterwards.  Nobody who ever had been with Jesus was ever the same afterwards.  Some for good some went deeper into darkness to get away.  That's the impact of true light on a life.

I am convinced that a young Saul was there among the Pharisees in those years of Jesus's ministry.  If you look at the qualifications to be an Apostle it bears to the fact that regardless of if he was a believer he was there throughout His ministry.  It factored into his being called an Apostle to the Gentiles.  What he lacked was being born again, which happened on the way to Damascus. 

Many probably scoff at such an idea.  But the truth from Jesus is that you must be born again to gain the rights and privileges of a Heavenly citizenship.  Without being born again your name isn't written in the Lamb's book of Life.  Without it you are not wheat but false wheat.  You can mimic Christian faith all you want but it won't make your name appear in that book.  I know of people who love the idea of being near Christian people at concerts that the Gaither's have.  But they won't commit to Christ.  They are afraid to. 

There is no fear in coming to Christ.  It's as the Bible says...come as a child.  Receive the good news as a child would.  The thief on the cross simply asked to be remembered because regardless of what he saw he believed Jesus to be the Christ.   No schooling, no baptism, nothing but belief that turned into being born again. 

The Ethiopian Eunuch was just reading his copy of what he had of the Bible. In his case only the Old Testament.  Philip was told to go ask him about what he was reading.  He showed him from that place in Isaiah and others where it spoke of Jesus being the Christ.  He was born again.  Then wanted to be baptized to show the world that he was born again. 

Faith comes by hearing.  Wow. Years ago I listened through the Bible.  One of the most powerful 3 weeks of my life.  It was like a key went into my heart and mind. When I listened the key turned.  I was SEEING the Bible coming to life in me. 

The Spirit calls to everyone.  He's not shouting but calling.  In no way does God WANT anyone to perish apart from God.  Choice is in the hands of man and woman.  

In his time speaking with Jesus, Nicodemus was on the cusp of believing.  The fertile ground of his heart was ready.  Jesus calmly removed the doubts that stood in the way so that he would see the truth for what it was. Then Nicodemus chose.  

What is keeping you from your own conversation with Jesus?  How much longer do you think you have to argue in defense of your excuses?  You don't think Nicodemus had obstacles to overcome? You only read of a few in the Gospel account. That conversation went on for a while.  Look at Paul.  This man was a Pharisee. Taught by the best of the Pharisees.  His experience with Jesus shut him down for 3 days.  Alone in his mind with Jesus.  His life for the first time flashing before his eyes, not unto death physically, but unto death Spiritually.  He had everything he had been taught questioned!  Jesus had an answer for all of it.  He was healed of his blindness and baptized into the family of God.  He was empowered mightily to defeat the arguments of his own constituents because the truth of Scripture was explained to him.  He was born again.  In Christ he was a new man with a new purpose.  He says himself that he counted it all as loss in his life to live for Jesus. 
Things of the world didn't matter so much anymore. 

But that's what I am afraid of! You say. I won't get to enjoy what I like anymore!  

Really? That's your excuse?  You find some things that enjoyable that you can't imagine something else that would be more so?  You can't imagine it because outside of Christ you will never experience it.  Being born again is a requirement to experiencing a life with Christ.  Being nearby isn't good enough.  

Hell is filled with good people who believed they were good enough for Heaven.  There are billions there who thought they lived a good life.  Didn't harm anyone.  Did good to others when they could.  They thought they were saved, some of them.  They weren't born again.  You can know today that you are born again.  Look up Romans Road.  If you get to the other end of it and see that you're not.  Fix that today.  Don't fret about what might happen to your life.  Your alternative is to spend life in Hell, which, regardless of the songs that have been written, is no party.  If you get to the other end of that and find that you are saved, fantastic!  All that remains is possibly renewing your life with Christ.  Asking for forgiveness of sins and seeking to live as He wants you to. 

I came to Christ at a very young age.  1975 I believe. I barely remember that day when I went forward at the end of the service.  I remember going into the Pastor's office afterwards and talking with the Elders about my decision to be born again.  I remember the sunshine coming through the window in that office.  God's favor shining down on me.  We prayed and I think the men put their hands on me when they did.  I was given a small copy of the book of John.  

Life, as Mark Lowry has said, is interesting when you come to Christ.  You certainly will have an interesting life.  But you will never be alone.  You will indeed live Psalms 23 many times in your life.  You will live through being the Prodigal Son or Daughter.  You will still have joyous times and sad times.  But in all of it you won't need to despair of life.  The promise of the Holy Spirit we read about is promised to us too.  You may find yourself rocked to the core of who you are, as I have been several times, you may not. Depends on what it takes to make you more like Christ in your rebirth. 

Oh to be born again.  Read John 3. See how many of his questions are your questions.  Time is running out.  This is a limited time offer.  We know not when Jesus is returning.  We are only told to be ready.  As Jesus said if the owner of the house had known (been ready) he wouldn't have let his place be robbed.  

To be ready is to be born again.  Then you won't be left behind crying out for a second chance, knowing full well that you missed when He returned.  Billions will be crying out after the Rapture happens. Just like billions beat on the Ark wanting in, only then believing that all that Noah preached about was true.  Just as it was Jesus who closed that door, He will close the door for that opportunity when His Father says it's time.

The time is now to be born again. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Opened Eyes...reality of Blindness

Whose minds the god of this age has blinded, 
who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory 
of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

2 Corinthians 4:4

When you are blinded, you cannot see things as they really are, even though others around you see them clearly. You cannot experience the full reality of all that is around you. You may feel you are experiencing all that there is to life, yet you may be unaware that you are missing what God desires for you. You may even be in danger because of your blindness and not know it.

Paul warned that the “god of this age” can blind you to the reality of Jesus Christ. Christ's presence can make a significant difference in your life. However, if Satan convinces you to doubt that Christ can do what He promised, he will have blinded you to the reality of what your life is really like and to what it could become. Others may see what your unbelief causes you to miss, but you will be unaware of it. Your life may be steadily moving toward disaster, but you will be oblivious to it.
Christ comes to you as light (John 1:4–5, 9). He illuminates your sin so that you see its ugliness and destructiveness. He reveals Himself so that you can appreciate the glory of His person and the marvelous riches He brings. His presence lights your path so that you can see impending danger. Don’t let the god of this age distort your spiritual vision. Don’t be fooled into thinking that everything is as it should be when, in fact, you are missing out on so much that God wants to do in your life. Ask Christ to illuminate your life and let you clearly see your spiritual condition.
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

One of the most impressive movies at its release was The Matrix.  The visual effects used were unheard of. Since then most movie companies have used the same or similar techniques.  Whatever can be cheaply done to fool the eyes might not be your takeaway from that.  I often look behind the scenes as to how things work.  Pretty much have been that way my whole life.  

In that movie, as the plot goes, Neo awakens after surgery. He complains about the bright lights. Why do his eyes hurt? He asks. Because you've never used them. Was the response. 

We live in a world where truth is being increasingly hidden.  There's no way to tell if what you see on television is real or created.  There's a pretty well known video that was created, I believe at someone's home not a business, that looks and sounds exactly like a live video of a plane making an emergency landing on a freeway out west. If you look at how realistic battles are in science fiction movies. None are real. Yet we are sucked into their realism. 

We live in a world of illusions when it comes to temptations.  Satan so cleverly disguises everything from the smallest to the greatest in disguise so that both the believer and unbeliever falls for it.  The only truth to be found is in the unchanging Word of God.  You honestly cannot trust newspapers or reporters. Cannot trust doctors or lawyers.  Cannot trust politicians. Yet Satan has so cleverly worked things that regardless we are forced to rely on them.  I am not going to say all are deceptive but I will say that if you want to know...educate yourself before engaging.  There's a blindness of indoctrination that has happened to many generations til now in this country.  Slowly and methodically ideas are quietly challenged until change happens.  People on one side really do believe everything they are told only because that's how the indoctrination works. 

Blindness is one of the big miracles that Jesus cured people of.  But note that in every case it wasn't simply their physical eyes that were opened. Their spiritual eyes as well.  Look at how often Jesus spoke of the blindness of people. Especially the Pharisees and Sadducees.  The blind leading the blind.  Speaking to those who had been indoctrinated into what they were doing.  Paul speaks to a little of it when he mentioned his own persecution of the Church. He believed everything he was taught growing up.

In the New Testament we read of warnings of people within the Church teaching ideas that are controversial and yet somehow eventually get accepted.  Spiritual blindness. 

Jesus said that the Helper to come would teach us all things.  He would open the Spiritual eyes of all who would receive Him.  

We look at our world and wonder just how did it ever get so bad.  Honestly look at it well.  There is a plan being worked out. It's not random at all.  History repeats itself because lessons are repeated.  People forget what had happened then there they are repeating the mistakes. 

Jesus spoke of having eyes that see.  In Christ, we are given those.  We are shown great things of God at times.  We are taught that the world isn't going to get it. The natural man does not understand the things of God because they are Spiritually discerned.  Blindness.  

Quite often those who are in that blindness don't understand that they are in that state.  They really believe they are doing good.  Doctors today are not at all like those from those even 70 years ago.  Slowly medical treatment became a business not a service.  You are given treatment to slow or maybe stop something, then put on maintenance drugs for the rest of your life. Doctors of today just are not of the same caliber of those back then.  As it's been said, Healthy people don't need a Doctor. Again, not all are bad, but to find a true Doctor who only cares about honesty helping to cure is near impossible. They are now all taught to do medicine one way.  

God gave us a brain with the expectation that we would use it.  We take way too much at face value and believe it.  We who are in Christ were given eyes to see yet so many close them when faced with difficulties.  We believe that the rules of the Bible and the rules of the physical world aren't to be crossed.  We live two separate lives.  One in the company of believers the other in the company of the world.  Another deceptive practice of Satan.  

Now this isn't to say to stay away from Doctors or lawyers or politicians.  The way Jesus spoke and how He dealt with people was that He entrusted Himself to no man. For He knew what was in the heart of man.  His life was about His relationship with His Father.  We develop relationships as He did to introduce people to His Father.  Let them start their own relationship with His Father.  Opening their eyes to see.  The scope of examples today is to show that blindness in today's world is rampant.  Not to tell you to run the other way from them. As Scripture says we are to be lights in the world.  Not to hide that light.  That light is from Christ.  The light illuminates the darkness and shows people what is there.  Light reveals truth.  Light makes eyes that hadn't been used before to work.  It's painful to look at a bright light.  If you have been totally acclimated to darkness, even a candle light would hurt your eyes.  

Satan wants a wholly fast paced world that doesn't have time to stop n question. He wants people to shed any dependence on the God of the Bible. In everything. From your physical needs to your political.  Satan has but one goal. He wants God's Throne.  He wants the worship of people.  To do so he is currently fighting the Holy Spirit who is restraining him. People aren't getting worse, regardless of the newspaper.  More light brings more exposure to the deeds of darkness. 

Blindness is everywhere around us. In everything we go through in this life there's a potential for it to be there.  We must rely on Christ for direction.  We must.  Watered down churches are succumbing to the blindness.  People not relying on Jesus are giving in to blindness.  We do indeed need Doctors, even lawyers and politicians.  But do not put more faith in them than in the God of the Universe.  

Ask for your eyes to be opened today.  I warn you it might hurt.  But it is a request that is sure to be granted by God.  Believing just because someone taught you can be dangerous.  Believe believing because the Spirit taught you can never be dangerous. 

Jesus asked the question of would He find the faith when He returns.  Only you can answer that. 

Personally I do use Doctors, I don't shun them.  I do at least listen to them. They are not always right though. They do as they have been taught.   Just like lawyers and politicians and those in the news reporting.  I will listen. But when it matters the most I will only listen to what God has to say.  

Monday, July 20, 2020

He chooses..and has chosen...You...

Now the Lord had said to Abram, 
“Get out of your country, from your family 
and from your father's house, 
to a land that I will show you.”

Genesis 12:1

The most dramatic changes in your life will come from God's initiative, not yours. The people God used mightily in Scripture were all ordinary people to whom He gave divine assignments that they never could have initiated. The Lord often took them by surprise, for they were not seeking significant mandates from God. Even so, He saw their hearts, and He knew they were trustworthy.

The Lord spoke to Abram when He was beginning to build a nation dedicated to His purposes. Through this nation would come the Savior. God appeared to Moses at the very time He had purposed to deliver Israel out of slavery in Egypt. God found in Jesse's youngest son David a godly man who could lead His people. God surprised Mary when He told her she would be the mother of the Messiah. God's Son selected the twelve disciples, all ordinary, uneducated men, when He was ready to take the good news of His salvation to the world. Through the ages God has taken the initiative in the everyday lives of people to accomplish things through them that they never could have imagined.
The Lord may be initiating some new things in your life. When He tells you what His plans are, trust Him and walk closely with Him. Don’t let the busyness of your present activity keep you from experiencing all that God has in store for you. You will see Him accomplish things through your life that you never dreamed were possible (Eph. 3:20). - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

The most famous passage in the Bible tells us the extent of how important people are to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. 

That to save the pinnacle of His Creation, the Father would accept the life of His own Son instead, in our place. 

There's a song written quite a while ago that had a line in it that says that while He was on the cross we were on His mind.  

Think about life.  Not just your life but life.  The generation you live was necessary for you to live in. I have often wondered, and had dreams, of living in a different time.  Many of you probably have too. But in the brief moment of eternity we call history, now is when and where God chose you to live.  Satan does whatever he can to destroy life. Those who are not aborted, he tries to destroy, one thought at a time. For those who listen to the call of the Spirit and are saved, he still tries to inhibit. To stall, to clog up the works as it were. To prevent them from being fruitful. 

But in every thought about the grand scheme of things, eventually you come back to you. Jesus died because He chose you. You were more important than the rest of creation.  After the Final Judgment, all of creation is being obliterated. The heavens and Earth will be replaced. 

The place of residence is up to all who are born.  You choose either Salvation in Christ Jesus or you choose yourself.  The Bible tells us that without Salvation in Christ Jesus alone you cannot be saved.  
There's only one.  There was only 1 Ark built in Genesis. The Ark of God that saved Noah and his family. 

He chose you because He loves you. 

We sometimes are a stubborn lot and either it takes a short while or our entire life to realize that.  Once we accept the truth,  we ask Jesus to save us, the Holy Spirit comes in with a Plan and Purpose for our lives.  The foremost is to clean house and start making us like Jesus. The sins of old are washed away.  The breaking of habits.  The learning of obedience.  In all this, we still choose. 

But know this, we weren't saved to just get onboard the love boat.  It's not about just being admitted onto the ship n then go on living as we wanted to before we were saved.  There's work to be done for those who are saved.  It may be something little or something grand, bigger than we can imagine.  We may be a shepherd boy who saves Israel in the face of a towering Goliath.  The key is being willing to obey. 

Ananias was well spoken of in his town. Devout, adhered to the Law. Read of what Paul says of him. God called upon him to heal Saul before he became Paul.  Imagine going about your day and all the sudden the voice of Christ Jesus speaks to you for you to do something. That is what happened to him.  In my life there's been moments when I will indeed testify that Jesus has verbally spoken to me. Now what you need to understand is this...not everyone is going to come to Christ and become a Billy Graham.  Read in Corinthians.  We become part of the body of Christ.  Look at your body.  It has parts that must do their part or nothing gets done.  They aren't glamorous parts. They seem insignificant yet without them life doesn't happen.  Not everyone will be an evangelist or preacher or teacher.  You may only be called to be a candle. To light the way for others to find Jesus.  Andrew, one of the Disciples, was one to bring others to see Jesus.  Had he not been himself in that, Peter wouldn't have been brought to Jesus.  Some may argue that oh Jesus would have found him anyway. Ah but the interaction wouldn't have been the same. 

Huge thing in the thief on the cross. His ministry has spanned over 2,000 years yet he never went to seminary. Never was taught in any school.  Yet the story of his life was summed up in his declaration of needing to be remembered by Jesus.  I imagine on the day of when we give an account of our lives, that there will be billions who came to Christ because of the faith of that thief. 

What is holding you back?  Jesus is indeed gently knocking on the door of your heart. He asks to be let in. He's got a love for you that stretched from one nail pierced hand to the other.  His love is never ending.  

You know? When disaster strikes, people try to grab the things that they value the most on their way out of the danger.  Yet most everyone is forced to let go of that stuff because in the end all that can be taken to safety is them.  When you die, everyone will be getting what you left behind. It won't be anything or anyone standing with you before Jesus. Just you. Just Jesus. He will ask you why you should be allowed into Heaven.  Being a good person won't cut it.  There are no good people in Heaven.  There are people saved by grace. Their sins forgiven, their names written in the Lamb's book of Life. They will say that Jesus died for me, He took my place, that I might live. Jesus is my Savior.  

What say you?  If you keep putting it off one morning you will either wake up dead in Hell or wake up dead in Heaven.  You know not when God will say it's your time.

He chose to die for you.  He has always loved you from before time began.  

The Bible says that the return of Christ will come at a wholly unexpected moment.  In an instant it will happen.  To bang, no thunderous roar.  To explosion.  It will simply happen.  Then the 7 years of judgements begin when Israel signs an agreement with the Antichrist.  What happens in those 7 years is worse than Hell. It's the wrath of God upon mankind that rejects Him. Even after most of the 7 years is over, they would rather the rocks fall on them to hide them from Jesus than face Him.  This isn't shared to scare.  It's shared to point out that time is short if you think there's time, think again. 

Now is the time to let go of your life and embrace the Salvation ready for you. 

His love was and is so great that He paid the price for your sin.  He's waiting with open arms to receive you to Himself.