Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Then Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and breathed his last.
So great fear came upon all those who heard these things.
When God brings judgment upon someone, our natural inclination is often sympathy toward the one being disciplined. Yet when God acts in judgment, our sympathies ought always to lie with Him. Only God knows all that is at stake, and only He knows the full circumstances that provoked His wrath upon the one He is judging.
Ananias and Sapphira's experience is one of the most perplexing stories in the New Testament. In a time when God's grace had provided salvation for all mankind, His response to this couple seems unusually harsh. Yet there was much at stake in their deception. The church was in its formative stages. Ananias and Sapphira had witnessed the miraculous power of God and had seen thousands of people being added to the church. Nevertheless, they showed little regard for the Spirit of God when they blatantly lied to God and the church. Such irreverence would have been devastating to a church whose very life depended upon the presence and guidance of God's Spirit. God left a sobering reminder that He would not tolerate sin.
Many times the sin of one Christian has a devastating effect on others. At times, God chooses to judge someone's sin severely, as a deterrent for others. Don’t try to protect someone from the judgment of God. It is a terrifying thing to fall under His judgment (Heb. 10:31). Yet His judgment on one may ultimately save that person and many others. When God is judging others, take heed and examine your own life. God knows what is at stake; He loves His children enough to provide a stark warning of sin's dangers. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
Many times people give the impression that they are confused by God's behavior. That in what they see in the Bible or in real life that there is no consistency to God's behavior. Actually, God is entirely consistent.
But why does evil persist? If God is a God of love, why do evil people continue to do bad things? Why doesn't He put a stop to all the abortions, rapes, murders, human trafficking and all the other evil things in this world?
God isn't a part time God.
God isn't your butler.
God isn't anyone's genie.
God isn't there only to rescue you out of a tight spot, then is to be ignored soon afterwards.
God isn't going to get you out of a tight fix only so you can jump into another one.
Jesus wants a relationship with you. Not a superficial thing, a true relationship. Not a casual one, not an arbitrary one, a real one. Not a relationship in passing like a grocery clerk or policeman.
To go that far in your life requires a need for no barriers. It requires acceptance of the terms of Salvation in Christ.
These two people tried to manipulate God in front of the Church.
Sin is a serious business to God. What mankind casually dismisses cost Jesus His life on the cross. He cared enough to take on all the sin of all mankind.
I find it interesting that Paul, in Ephesians 3 mentioned it being a hidden mystery. Yet most who describe the very beginnings of God's plans to provide Salvation for mankind...mankind...not just Israel because Israel wasn't remotely a nation...is found in Genesis.
God indeed is seeking to save that which is lost...people. He does indeed deal with sinful people in today's world. He does indeed deal with evil in this world today.
The problem is this world today is telling God what it wants out of Him not wanting to be told what to do or not do by Him.
This world is telling God to accept them as they are. To receive them and their sinful practices. To go against His Word in all truth...that's what they want. This world doesn't believe there are people deserving Hell. This world also has people believing that what they do, is being done for God, when it isn't. This world is pushing its own self justification. Telling God that He is wrong!
Jesus indeed does love everyone equally.
It breaks His heart that His creation turns its back on Him.
But what you, my friend, need to realize is He does...not...change. He is the same, yesterday, today and forever. He is always true to His Word. He has to deal with sin in the world. Judgment is coming. A day set by His Father was established when He was on the cross. A day when 'enough is enough'. A day when the last person to be saved in this age of man will be the other bookend of the life of the Church. It began with the thief on the cross. It will someday end in like manner. Then comes the 7 years of judgements in the book of Revelation. Then comes the 70th week of Daniel as prophesied by Daniel. As written in Ezekiel, Jeremiah. Other places in the Bible.
God must be true to His Word. He had already shown what His creation will do in the days of judgement. They will steadfastly refuse Him. Shake their fists and curse Him. That's what's coming. That's what is in this world today.
Jesus seeks a real relationship with you and I. Not a superficial television or movie type of one. A real one. No holds barred.
Will you open your heart to God today or will you continue to fight Him? The choice is yours, but remember that choice had eternal consequences. When you die there is only Heaven and Hell as destinations. Jesus tells all plainly that without going through Him you will not see Heaven. He tells all plainly what Hell is like.
My friend please stop resisting His call to you today! Let today be your new Birthday in Christ! Let today be your day you came to Christ to be saved and began a new relationship with Jesus.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
“Indeed if the leprosy has covered all his body, he shall pronounce him clean who has the sore.” Leviticus 13:13 NKJV This particular rule appears strange to us, yet there was wisdom in it, for when the body pushed out the disease, it proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it is good for us to see the symbolic teaching of such an unusual rule. We too are lepers, and we can read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When people see themselves as altogether lost and ruined, completely covered with the defilement of sin, in no way free from pollution; when we disavow all righteousness of our own and plead guilty before the Lord, then we are clean through the blood of Jesus and the grace of God. Hidden, unnoticed, and unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy—but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with merciful eyes on the afflicted soul. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness; nothing is more hopeful than remorse. We must confess that we are “nothing but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth. If the Holy Spirit is working within us, convincing us of sin, we will have no difficulty in making such an acknowledgment—it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What a comfort today’s Scripture affords to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin that is mourned and confessed, however dark and foul, will never keep a person from the Lord Jesus. Whoever comes to Him, Jesus says, “I will never drive away” (John 6:37). Though we are dishonest as the thief, as immoral as the sinful woman, as fierce as Saul of Tarsus, as cruel as Manasseh, as rebellious as the prodigal—the great heart of love will look on those of us who feel ourselves to have nothing but sickness inside, and will pronounce us clean when we trust in Jesus crucified. Come to Him, then, you poor burdened sinner: Come needy, and guilty, come loathsome and bare; You can’t come too filthy—come just as you are. “Fountain Opened for Sinners,” Joseph Hart (18th century) - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
The end of what Spurgeon writes stuck out to me this early morning.
"Whoever comes to Him, Jesus says, “I will never drive away” (John 6:37). Though we are dishonest as the thief, as immoral as the sinful woman, as fierce as Saul of Tarsus, as cruel as Manasseh, as rebellious as the prodigal—the great heart of love will look on those of us who feel ourselves to have nothing but sickness inside, and will pronounce us clean when we trust in Jesus crucified."
People today in the Church and outside of it, give up on a person based upon their deeds. Oh they indeed may be the vilest of evildoers...but guess what? They weren't worse than Judas. Jesus fed Judas. Jesus prayed over Judas. Jesus washed his feet. Jesus. He spent 3 1/2 years with Judas. He tried to build a relationship with the man He knew who would eventually betray Him. He knew. Yet He didn't give up on him until Judas himself chose the path in front of him to betray Christ.
Consider what Jesus said of Judas. Yes, even in light of all the people since or before him, Judas was the worst of the worst. Worse than Hitler. Worse than the leaders of any group or nation in history. He was considered worse than any criminal in their atrocities against mankind in any time in history.
He betrayed Christ.
No buts...no but what about this person or that person in history.
Regardless of how anyone is today, Jesus stands before them with open arms.
But they brutalized children! Read what Manasseh did. He did it and he was Jewish. Judas was worse than him.
Regardless of the person, there is hope in Christ if they are still breathing. Those in Hell have no hope. Their sentence was carried out upon their death.
Guess what else? There are forgiven, sealed by the blood of Jesus through repentance, thieves, and other former criminals in Heaven.
But that's not what the Bible says! It says that those like that would not inherit the Kingdom of God! Yes...unrepentant...unforgiven criminals would not inherit the Kingdom of God. Do you so quickly forget who was promised to be with Jesus in Paradise? The forgiven thief was with Jesus. The unrepentant criminal on Jesus's other side went to Hades or what we know to be Hell.
It's easy to look down on people because of their deeds. Yet when you stop looking at people based on our scale of good and evil, Christ's forgiveness goes the distance. We all like sheep have gone astray. Sheep turn on each other. Sheep aren't that brilliant. People look down on others in order to not feel so bad about their own state before God. Hmm. Sounds exactly like the Pharisee! At least I am not like...
You have before you choices to make today. You choose to condemn or you choose to pray for...if you are a believer. If you are not, you have before you hope in the form of a Savior, Jesus Christ, who waits with open arms to take away your sin. Believers who stand in condemnation of others based upon their looks or deeds are no better than Pharisees or Sadducees of Jesus's day. If someone is still physically alive there is hope. There does come a time when Jesus says enough is enough. When a person's rebellion against God hits a point of no return. It would be then that He takes them from this world.
Today you have before you choices of condemning people or praying for them. You may be the person holding back the Rapture of the Church because you won't be Jesus to someone He put in your life.
Today, my friend, if you haven't chosen to come to Christ, why not? Feel dirty? He will cleanse you. Feel unworthy? So is everyone before you. Feel like you have done too much, said too much? Read this devotional again. If you even have that question, you are ready to come to Christ. He is waiting for you.
Monday, September 28, 2020
The LORD looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. Psalm 33:13 NLT
Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light than when He is spoken of as stooping from His throne, coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and behold the needs of humanity. We love the One who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of sin, would not destroy those cities until He had made a personal visit to them. We cannot help pouring out our hearts in affection for our Lord, who turns His ear from the highest glory, putting it to the lips of the dying sinner whose failing heart longs for reconciliation. How can we not love Him when we know that He numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our paths, and orders our ways? This great truth is especially brought to our hearts when we remember how attentive He is, not merely to the earthly interests of His creatures but to their spiritual concerns. Though light years lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator, there are links uniting both. When you wipe away a tear, don’t think that God is unseeing—for, “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him” (Psalm 103:13 NKJV). Your sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; your whisper can turn His ear toward you; your prayer can stop His hand; your faith can move His arm. Don’t ever think that God sits on high, paying no attention to you. Remember that however poor and needy you are, the Lord thinks of you: “The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him” (2 Chronicles 16:9 NLT). Oh! then repeat the truth that never tires; No God is like the God my soul desires; He, at whose voice heaven trembles, even He, Great as He is, knows how to stoop to me. “God’s Glory and Goodness,” Madame Guyon (17th century) - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
Many have sarcastically said that if God is love, why is there so much evil in this world? Many mock God because of how life seems to keep on going as it apparently always has been. Even in Scripture it's mentioned of asking where is He? Where is the sign of His coming?
If God's so concerned about mankind, about me, where is He?
That doesn't seem to be a good way to start out a devotional. But it is the world in which we live. Jesus said that's the way it would be when He does return. People marrying and being given in marriage. Just as it was in the days of Noah. A day just like today will happen in the near future, people getting up for work or leisure and in the blink of an eye, millions of people will vanish. Graves across the world will open. In countless places seemingly out of nowhere bodies will reform from the devastation of war that occurred to cause those people to die. It's my opinion that even organ donors recipients will lose that which they are using. The reforming of physical bodies of the dead in Christ, wherever it happened, throughout the centuries is what will happen. Those bodies will be glorified, no more to be touched by sin. Meeting back up with the soul and spirit that left it. Heading to Heaven to forever be with Jesus.
The rest, who are left behind will be in a kind of chaos never before seen by mankind. Satan always has an AntiChrist at the ready. His chosen one will rise up and be that voice that the world will cling to in that desperate hour. People will believe him both because of the horrors of the day and the deluding influence he will use to deceive. The Holy Spirit has been restraining any of Satan's AntiChrist's from doing what they are capable of until that day. When the Rapture happens, the Holy Spirit will restrain no more.
In the 7 years to follow, it will begin in a false peace across the world. Then the judgments of God in the book of Revelation will begin. Satan will rage against Heaven. Life will indeed be Hell on earth. To be found to be a Christian will mean to be put to death.
People will do as they have been doing with shaking their fists at God. Refusing to acknowledge that He is God and they are not. Refusing to believe that they are in need of a Savior.
The truth is...there are no people in Hell who do not acknowledge that God is real, and that Hell is real, and that regardless of their anger at Him, they needed Salvation in Christ Jesus. Their fist shaking rejection of Jesus didn't keep them from torment in Hell. The ruling of the Creator God of the Universe was carried out. The wages of sin is death. Those without Christ as their personal Savior will not escape the sentence of death and will not escape going to Hell.
Living in ignorance isn't an excuse. As Scripture says everyone was born knowing of God. Knowing that there's something more to this life than themselves.
Living intentionally in sin, regardless if the world doesn't call it that, doesn't change the fact that God has not changed His mind on the matter. Sin is still sin.
Homosexuality is still a sin. Rebellion against God is still a sin. Idolatry is still a sin. Sin may have more opportunities in our world than in centuries past but God still says it is sin. Those who intentionally live that way harden their hearts to the things of God. Read Romans on what Paul wrote of practicing sin.
My friend if you haven't chosen to turn to Jesus yet, your time is running out. Once Jesus is told by His Father that now is the time, that's it. Time is up. There is no stopping it. The Bible is very clear on it. Jesus Himself said so. Every single thing about the Bible has come true. There's no aspect of it that will not come true. Including what you decide concerning your need for a Savior. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, nobody comes to the Father but through Him. There are no other ways to Heaven.
You may think you are too dirty to be saved. Paul, the Apostle, believed he was the worst of all sinners, he was trying to put Christians to death. Jesus can clean any life that comes to Him to be saved.
Your heart may be broken, He can help with that.
Your wounds may run deep, He can heal that.
Your scars may be wide, He can heal that too.
He is for you as you read of Him in the Gospels when approached by the sick, He is willing to heal you too.
Don't be left behind. Don't listen to the lies you hear in your head of how God does not care about you. That your life of tragedy and trouble is evidence that He doesn't want you. That is the lies of Satan keeping you from the Savior who loves you...and who is ready to run to you to save you.
My friend, please, if you have not come to Christ yet, let today be your new Birthday. Be born again in Christ Jesus. Let His love and forgiveness wash your sins away. Today find the Savior the world denies and you will indeed find a new life.
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Casting all your care upon Him,
for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7
As you’ve no doubt discovered, becoming a Christian does not make your problems go away. But it does give you an Advocate to whom you can take every concern. The Christians Peter addressed were facing persecution. They did not know whom they could trust; a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member could betray them, resulting in suffering and even death. But Peter had walked with the risen Christ, and he had personally experienced the love that Jesus had for His followers. He knew that Christ was in control, capable of handling every trial and that He wanted to do so as an expression of His love.
Casting our cares is a choice. It means consciously handing over our anxiety to Christ and allowing Him to carry the weight of our problems. At times this is the most difficult part of trusting God! We don’t like turning over the responsibility for our problems. We have been taught that self-reliance is good and praiseworthy. We may even enjoy worrying. Yet if we are to be freed from the burden of our concerns, we must choose to cast them into the strong hands of our Father.
Peter does not distinguish between little cares and big cares. God does not differentiate between problems we should handle on our own and God-sized needs. He asks us to turn them all over to Him. One of our greatest errors is to assume we can deal with something ourselves, only to discover that we really can’t.
God sees you as His frail child, burdened with a load that surpasses your strength. He stands prepared to take your load and to carry it for you. Will you let Him? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
Life is hard then you die is an oft used phrase. Christians are not immune to problems. Aside from the Jewish people alive today they are the most hated, sought out for death people alive.
Let this not dissuade you from coming to Christ. The reason for that hatred to the point of death is a battle of the ages for the souls of mankind. Satan is a horrible loser and will manipulate whomever and whatever to keep people from finding Salvation in Christ.
You cannot have concepts of good and evil, good and bad, outside of the God of the Bible. Morality exists because of the Bible. Satan has been trying for centuries to convince people otherwise. To convince everyone that it isn't sin it's just the way you were born. That, of all heresies, that God made you a murderer or homosexual. That it's ok with God to live that way.
We again, as Christians, are heading into a resurgence of the Roman Empire. Just as the Bible says would happen. Persecution of the Church is going to happen to this generation.
In Scripture it tells us so that we aren't caught unaware. Scripture also says that we are to in all our ways acknowledge Him and He would make our paths straight.
We need to live for Jesus in what we do and why we do what we do. See Colossians 3. As unto the Lord.
Look at your life and your priorities. Who comes first? What you want or what you know Jesus wants. Do you spend time with Jesus? Do you read your Bible?
Are you seeking what you want or what He wants?
The time to reevaluate is today.
Something to consider is that in all our troubles in life, things only happen suddenly, to us. Not to Jesus. In Christ He is aware of all things that happen to everyone all the time. To me, to you, to the trees outside your home. The birds the worms, the animals everywhere are all under the sight of Jesus. At no point has Jesus ever been surprised by anything.
Us yes, Him, no.
It's ok to bring our troubles to God in prayer. We are supposed to according to Scripture. Why, because He forgot? Hardly. It's for our benefit not for His need to be reminded.
Peace often comes when we let go of what burdens us in prayer. That peace can only be found at the feet of Jesus.
Seek that today. Seek the peace that passes all understanding in Christ Jesus.
It's been promised.
Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen. Zechariah 11:2 KJV
When the crash of a falling oak is heard in the forest, it is a sign that the woodsman is abroad—and every tree in the area might tremble that the sharp edge of the axe should find it soon. We are all like trees marked for the axe. The fall of one person should remind us that for everyone, whether as great as the cedar or humble as the fir, the appointed hour is coming quickly. I trust that, by often hearing of death, we do not become callous to it. May we never be like birds in a church steeple, building their nests as the bells toll and sleeping quietly when the solemn funeral peals startle the air. We should regard death as the weightiest of all events, and be sobered by its approach. We are foolish to make sport while our eternal destiny hangs by a thread. The sword is out of its scabbard, so let us not trifle with it. It is polished and the edge is sharp, so let us not play with it. The one who does not prepare for death is more than an ordinary fool, he is a madman. When the voice of God is heard among the trees of the garden, let the fig tree and the sycamore, the elm and the cedar alike hear the sound. Be ready, servant of Christ, for your Master will come suddenly, when an ungodly world least expects Him. See to it that you are faithful in His work, for the grave will soon be dug for you. Be ready, parents—see that your children are brought up in the fear of God, for they will soon be orphans. Be ready, businesspeople—take care that your affairs are correct and that you serve God with all your hearts, for the days of your earthly service will soon end and you will be called to give account for “the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). May we all prepare for the great King’s court hearing with special attention, a care that will be rewarded with the gracious commendation, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
One of the chief distractions of Satan and his minions is to keep people from believing the shortness of the hour in which they live.
Oh I have plenty of time! I am not dead yet! I have plans! I am healthy! I have nothing to worry about!
Said just about everyone who has died in the last hour.
Nobody wants to believe in the shortness of life. In Christ or not in Christ your life has a set number of years, days, hours, minutes and seconds. Everyone.
We don't have a say in the matter. In regards to a 'life extension' throughout my years of praying or hearing others pray, they ask for grace and mercy in regard to someone at deaths door. That if it be His Will that they may live longer. Our time here is always in His hands. Our time here has a purpose and it's not to whimsically enjoy all the perks of life and family or to see the world. It's to become Christ-like. It's to grow in Christ. When we came to Christ we became His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that He prepared for us.
We see all kinds of protests about death these days. All the while ignoring the facts that some of those protests had to do with people quite possibly dying because of the evil they had done. Just because it was on camera doesn't mean that God didn't say enough is enough.
Some protesters don't even know who they are protesting for.
The truth is nobody has ever accidentally died. Nobody. Life and death are in the hands of Jesus Christ and nobody else.
Satan tries to manipulate the thoughts behind that, but only the Creator decides.
Truth be known I groan within for the day of the return of Christ. He tells me it's very soon. The day is fast approaching. Prophecy is being fulfilled at an incredible pace. There is nobody that I have lost in this world to death that I would ever wish to be here now....save those who now reside in Hell...and those I only would wish could change their minds. But Scripture is clear. It is appointed unto man once to die then comes the judgment.
You have but one shot to get it right in the eyes of God. One life to live for Jesus. One.
You who are in Christ must still choose daily to live for Jesus. You who have not decided, you will continue to hear that call to you to come to Christ to be saved...until...as it was in the days of Noah...the Lord closed the door of opportunity to get into the Ark. There will be a day, soon, when the door to Salvation, prior to the Rapture, will close. After that day, it will be possible to be saved, but oh the horror of life until those 7 years are completed. There will be no second Rapture of the Church after the first one. There will be thousands of martyrs.
These things happening in the Middle East are not coincidental. They are prophetic.
More evidence of the existence of God.
Take life and death seriously. I struggle every day with things to do or needing done. I struggle with my failures in this body to live as Christ intended for me to live, but in Christ is my hope that these days are drawing near to that glorious day when I am one again embracing my Savior.
Look at your life. Look at your priorities. Do not be ignorant of what is going on around you. Knowing football won't get you into Heaven. Being a college or university fan will not get you into Heaven. Being one and having that association being more important to you than being an Ambassador for Christ in its importance should alarm you. There is no harassment or berating behavior that is acceptable for a child of God towards another person for any reason. In God's eyes it's NOT all in fun.
Look at how your life's priorities are. Look at what things you call important. Are they important to you or God?
Today is the day to make changes.
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Whoever abides in Him does not sin.
Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.
1 John 3:6
The Bible makes two things clear about sin. First, living a lifestyle of sin indicates that you are not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, regardless of what you say about your spiritual condition. You cannot regularly spend time studying and meditating on God's Word, praying and walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, and persist in sin.
Second, if you do not hate sin the way God does, then you do not truly know Him. There are those who continue in their sin yet insist that they love God and belong to Him. John makes it clear: If you have a lifestyle of sin, you have not seen Him and do not know Him. You may have prayed a “sinner's prayer,” or made a commitment in your church, or been baptized, but the evidence of the Holy Spirit's presence in your life is that you are defeating sin. This does not mean that you will never sin, but it does mean that you refuse to make sin a lifestyle and you immediately seek forgiveness when you sin (1 John 1:10). It means that you are opposed to sin, as God is, and you allow the Holy Spirit to eradicate every trace of sin in your life. It means that when you sin, you immediately confess it and repent of it and do whatever is necessary to avoid repeating your sin.
If you find yourself falling into sinful habits or not grieving over your sin as you once did, this indicates that you are not abiding in Christ. Return to Him in repentance; restore your fellowship with Him; and you will once again experience victory over your sin. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
There is no room in the life of either a believer or an unbeliever for intentional sin. In an unbeliever it's not even a second nature it's primarily what life is about. In an believer it's the war within.
Regardless of what you accept as reality, Spiritual Warfare is real. There's rules for physical combat and rules in physical war. Essentially there are atrocities that most peoples or countries simply refuse to allow in times of war. Not so in Spiritual Warfare. It's anything goes. Whatever Satan or his minions desire to use against believers to shut them down, albeit with permission from Jesus, goes. There is evidence a plenty in the books of Job and Daniel of Spiritual Battles. Those with Christ as their Savior indeed do have the indwelling Holy Spirit. However until Christ calls them home, or the Rapture happens, they still wage war against their sin nature.
People everywhere are at war and aren't seeing it. Scripture says the god of this world has blinded the eyes of people. Both believers and unbelievers are and have been manipulated by Satan since Adam and Eve. The only defense is a life hidden in Christ Jesus.
There's no tolerance to be given for sin. We are inundated with temptations from the soft n gentle to the heavy and unmerciful. People attribute other names to what God calls sin. They convince people that homosexuality is a lifestyle or life choice. God calls it sin that shouldn't happen. People don't see zealousness for sports as idolatry but God does. Good example is this supposed pandemic. Great many people are fighting to get football reinstated yet those same are not heavily concerned at all of places were they cannot attend Church to worship God. Likewise these supposed Church goers see no problem with integrating idol worship of sports with a worship service to God.
No means no. Paul wrote heavily on the war within. He speaks candidly of not doing what he ought to and doing that which he knows he shouldn't.
The fight is real. The fight only ends at death. Look at your choices today of what you are doing what you are thinking and what you are saying. Do they reflect a life for Christ or do you only get excited about earthly things such as sports or politics?
What excites you says volumes of the condition of your heart.
Friday, September 25, 2020
He himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Romans 3:26 NLT
Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. Our conscience can no longer accuse us. Judgment now decides for sinners instead of against them. Memory looks back on sins with deep sorrow for them, but with no dread of any penalty to come—Christ has paid the debt of His people to the last jot and tittle, and received the divine receipt. Unless God could be so unjust as to demand double payment for one debt, no soul for whom Jesus died as a substitute could ever be cast into hell. It seems to be one of the very principles of our enlightened nature to believe that God is just. We feel that it must be so, and at first this creates terror in us. But isn’t it marvelous that this very same belief in God’s justice ultimately becomes the pillar of our confidence and peace? If God is just, I—a sinner, alone and without a substitute—must be punished. But Jesus stands in my place and is punished for me. Now, if God is just, I—a sinner, standing in Christ—can never be punished. God must change His very nature before one soul, for whom Jesus was a substitute, can ever by any possibility suffer the punishment of the law. So Jesus has taken the place of believers—He has absorbed all the divine wrath that His people should have suffered as the result of sin—and we can shout with glorious triumph, “Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own?” (Romans 8:33 NLT). Not God, for He has justified us; not Christ, for He has died, “more than that . . . was raised to life” (Romans 8:34). My hope exists not because I am sinless, but because I am a sinner for whom Christ died. My trust is not that I am holy, but that since I am unholy, Jesus is my righteousness. My faith rests not on what I am, or will be, or feel, or know, but in what Christ is, in what He has done, and in what He is now doing for me. On the lion of justice, the beautiful maiden of hope rides like a queen. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
Oh the story I could tell of a life mostly spent listening to lies. Not from people but from Satan's minions. I know Satan can only be in one place at one time. Being omnipresent isn't one of his abilities. Being omniscient isn't one of his abilities. His minions knowing me probably better than I do...yeah...that I can believe.
My friend, the same can likely be said of you. There's a statement that says that we are our own worst enemy. In respect to the sin nature within, this is certainly true.
In the life of a believer, what is truer is that the Holy Spirit dwells within. There is no room for demons to reside. But it's on us to live in regards to the teachings of God's Word and the Spirit to reap the benefits of such a life.
It's entirely possible to be saved yet be entirely miserable. A great many people have toolboxes with all kinds of appropriate tools for a job. Yet the reason for so many visits to urgent care or the emergency room are because people used the wrong tool for the job.
As believers we are to be disciples of Christ. A disciple intentionally lives as the Teacher says they ought to live. Denying oneself in regards to wants and desires. Choosing instead to mimic the life of the Teacher.
In every way imaginable and in ways not imagined, I certainly have failed God in this life. Yet, in His infinite grace - unmerited favor- and infinite mercy - not giving me what I deserve - I live this life the best that I can with what He puts before me.
To both the believer and those who are undecided...choice is before you every day. Until you can breathe no more.
But you don't know what kind of person that I am! Jesus wouldn't want me!
Really? You say you are that bad of a person? Try looking at the life of Judas. The man was one picked by Jesus. He wasn't one of the closest of friends to Jesus but Jesus called him a friend and Disciple. He was fed by Jesus. He had his feet washed by Jesus. He likely on other occasions had been embraced by Jesus. He was privy to intimate conversations with Jesus and the other Disciples.
Yet he still had a heart that wasn't renewed in Christ. He still chose to listen to the lies of Satan rather than turn and be healed. Of the man it was said that it would have been better if he hadn't been born. You think you are worse than that? Hardly.
We all can tell convincing stories of why we don't deserve Salvation in Christ...and guess what? Everyone would be 100% right. Because Salvation came not because of what we could or couldn't do. It came because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVES in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
James, the brother of John, died very shortly after the Crucifixion. He was killed by Herod. One of the Sons of Thunder. No real ministry as an Apostle. Yet in the story we don't read, even that death saved someone.
Your life, no matter how filthy, can be cleaned up by Jesus. You put more faith in the lie you tell yourself about how Jesus wouldn't want someone like you, than you do the truth that His love for you is what held Him on the cross to take your place.
Jesus did it all. He covered it all.
There was nothing man could do to save themselves.
There's a new life awaiting those who come to Christ. There's heartache and heartbreak awaiting those who choose to believe they are good enough within themselves to get into Heaven. Same for those who choose to believe the lie that Jesus would never want to save them.
Paul, in the days before the time God got ahold of him, persecuted the Church. I believe he was present during much of Jesus's ministry in the background. Since the Chief priests were to be the ones to speak, he wouldn't have. One aspect of being an Apostle was to have been there throughout Jesus's ministry. To have been there at the Crucifixion. To see Him after He was raised from the dead.
Paul considered himself the chief of all sinners. The worst of the worst. Yet God's Grace covered him. As bad as you think you are, God's grace will cover you if only you would come to Christ. You have to choose it.
Believe the lie or believe the truth.
That's what's before you today.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Jesus said to him, “If you can believe . . .” Mark 9:23 NKJV
A certain man had a demon-possessed son. The boy could neither speak nor hear. The father, having seen the disciples’ inability to heal his child, had little or no faith in Christ. So when he was called to bring his son to the Lord, he said to Jesus, “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22 NKJV). Now there was an “if” in the question, but the poor trembling father had put it in the wrong place. Jesus, therefore, without forcing him to retract his statement, kindly put the “if” in its legitimate position. “No, really,” He seemed to say, “there should be no ‘if’ about my power or willingness . . . the ‘if’ lies somewhere else.” Jesus told the man, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23 NKJV). The man’s trust was strengthened, and he offered a humble prayer for greater faith. At that point, Jesus spoke the word and the devil was cast out, with instructions never to return. There is a lesson here that we need to learn. Like this man, we often see that there is an “if” somewhere. But we always blunder by putting it in the wrong place: “if” Jesus can help me, “if” He can give me grace to overcome temptation, “if” He can pardon my sin, “if” He can make me successful. No, “if” you can believe, Jesus both can and will. You have misplaced your “if”! If you can trust with confidence, just as all things are possible to Christ, all things will be possible to you. Faith stands in God’s power and is robed in God’s majesty; it wears the royal clothing and rides on the King’s horse, for it is the grace the King delights to honor. Equipping itself with the glorious might of the all-working Spirit, faith becomes—in the omnipotence of God—mighty to do, to dare, and to suffer. All things, without limit, are possible to the one who believes. My soul, can you believe your Lord tonight. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
I must say that I have many unspoken if's in my daily life. Oh they are there alright, sometimes in neon lights as I try to get through life.
The difference between an if and faith could be compares to a spinning tire off the ground and it being on the ground. One promises movement the other delivers.
Our if's of faith can be like the example in the devotional. We think we have gone through the right person and still the problem remains. Doubts arrive for their say in the matter. Then what needed to happen happens, we turn to Jesus like we should have and then things happen.
We are in the midst of a situation at our home unlike any that we have had before. My prayer went straight to Jesus. There was no earthly person to just go to about it. No way for an if to be spoken.
To be truthful I am not that consistent at that. If's show up. Confusion tries to force its way through the door. What to do? What to think? What is the next step?
Proverbs says that the mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.
Note two huge aspects of this. One is man having a perceived plan. A plan isn't an action. It's something on paper or in a person's mind. Steps arean action. It implies movement. We have to be moving for a step to be directed. You can point feet in a direction yet not walk that way. Feet pointed forward can still sidestep or go backwards. Moving in faith does sometimes mean standing still. But the rest of the time it involves movement.
When you feel resistance in the direction you are going, odds are good you are indeed going the wrong way. Odds are even more showing you that it's wrong if what you are doing or saying does not bring honor or glory to God.
In the if in the devotional, a man was changed...and also someone else was healed. The Disciples too had a lesson to learn on top of it. Note the example that Jesus was laying out. We may pray for someone or something, but we need to realize our requests impact many people.
Prime example would be a prayer request for a million dollars. Yes, God could drop it right in your lap. If it were miraculously done, just poof! and there it was. You would be blown away! Then you would try to spend it. Soon you would have all kinds of attention. From those around you and the government. Wanting to know where it came from. Were their taxes paid on it? The list goes on. God could provide for it any of other countless ways and the possibilities are endless as to reactions from this world. Or He could just change your circumstances and you would not need it in the first place. In any case your request impacts more than you. Case in point is Daniel. His prayers for himself and his people. The prayer was right and good. The spiritual warfare involved took days to bring the answer. His prayer impacted the host of Heaven.
Your prayers and mine, sometimes we pray without thinking. Quite often our prayers go unanswered because we were not praying as it should have been prayed.
Sometimes God's waiting for us to reword it. Be prepared as Jacob was when he prayed concerning his brother Esau. The Lord, just as in the example in this devotional, changed Jacob as well as Esau. Jesus doesn't put his work in us on hold because of circumstances of life. He is using those circumstances to make us more like Him.
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath;
for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
One of the hardest areas7 in which to trust God is in the matter of justice. When we perceive an injustice, we want to see the guilty party punished. We want justice to prevail, especially if we are the victim. We become impatient if we are not avenged quickly. Yet God warns us that vengeance is not our prerogative. We are to desire justice, but we are not to seek vengeance (Mic. 6:8). When someone offends us, our responsibility is to respond to the offense with forgiveness (Matt. 5:44). God takes the responsibility to see that justice is done. God loves people too much to allow sin to go unchecked.
Peter claimed that God is not slow about His promises to us, but He is patient and long-suffering before He brings about judgment (2 Pet. 3:9). Yet ultimately God has prepared for absolute justice. There will be no sin committed that He will leave unpunished. Either the punishment will fall on His Son or it will be charged against the sinner, but everyone will ultimately give an account for everything they have done (2 Cor. 5:10).
God is absolutely just, and only He can ensure that justice is fully carried out. If we are impatient and seek revenge, we presume that we are wiser than God, and we reveal a blatant lack of trust that God will do the right thing. Only by trusting God's sovereign wisdom will we be free from our anger and preoccupation toward those who have committed evil. If we refuse to trust God's justice, we become enslaved to bitterness and anger. We must guard our hearts and trust God to exercise His judgment against those who oppose Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
It's not the way of the world to practice patience and forgiveness towards those who have wronged us. Satan pushes people to believe that justice should be immediate and harsh. People ought to get utter satisfaction from those who have wronged them.
Yet God says no. That's not what He wants. In my very short life, compared to many others, He has shown me His idea of justice.
The media today, especially the news outlets, are kerosene flame throwers in their incitement of people to demand revenge. They don't need to yell it or scream it in their broadcasts, they just quietly, repeatedly, suggest things that ought not be said to people. After all look at the videos whereby they have been caught exclaiming that it's their job to tell you what to think. Go ahead and look it up.
In Christ, we have forgiveness of sins. In Christ we experience hope, grace, and mercy. Unmerited favor is grace. Not receiving what punishment we deserve is mercy.
In my life, there are many incidents where I was met with people of evil intent. People who were doing things towards me that were indeed more than I could handle. In the cases of these, I could tell you stories that would make a Stephen King novel look like Sesame Street in comparison when it comes to the truth of people in this world ought not to mess with God's children. I did not seek revenge in those things, God took care of them.
We should never seek revenge or seek ill will to befall people. We as Christians should turn over such to God to deal with. Paul writes of doing this very thing to some within the Church. The thing worth noting is the passage that says "it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God".
Revenge is not the business of believers.
Our mission is to share Jesus with others. In our conduct and speech if necessary. Our lives should say to people that we have something they don't have, and it's available to them. Our mission isn't to go to war on a perishing world.
Do some people deserve to die for their actions? Regardless of what you think or believe, that particular form of judgment is what "you shouldn't judge" is really about. Who lives or dies is only, really, up to Jesus. Will Christians be in situations where they may be that instrument of justice and someone dies? Yes. I believe that is true and Biblical. Should they seek out such situations intentionally? No. Absolutely not. Even at the Garden of Gethsemane the Disciples were asked if they had a sword. War was coming to keep Jesus from the cross. After the incident at the cross the Apostles would be hunted. Satan is a very sore loser.
Days are coming when Christians will probably be the hunted again. It isn't that evil is stronger, it's that the message of the Gospel is the hope for this world and evil cannot tolerate its existence. People are being incited to violence and revenge.
The best position for all who believe is on their knees in prayer. As Scripture says leave room for Jesus to take care of any revenge or vengeful acts. You will see what a Holy God can do that you never dreamed possible. Believe me, I have seen it happen time and again. What Jesus did to those who sought to harm me or my family was beyond astonishing. Don't think your version of it is better until you see the finger of God handling your problem.
Today my friend leave your anger and desire for revenge with Jesus. It may be that you will indeed see the hand of God dealing with it. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober,
and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is
to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13
Your mind is a wonderful thing! You can memorize life-changing passages of Scripture that can undergird you in your daily life; you can meditate upon God's Word, discovering His magnificent truths; you can discern between truth and falsehood; you can recall God's past blessings.
Some of God's most effective servants were those who disciplined their minds for His service. Moses, educated in the best schools of Egypt, assembled the Books of the Law for the Israelites. Isaiah used his scholarly mind to write an exalted prophetic book in Scripture. Paul learned under Gamaliel, the outstanding teacher of his day, and it was through Paul that God presented much of the theology found in the New Testament.
Sadly, many Christians today do not exercise their minds to be of service to God. They allow others to do their spiritual thinking for them. If they can find their theology from a book, they will not bother to study God's Word themselves. If a speaker makes an authoritative statement, they readily accept it without verifying whether it is biblical. Paul urged Christians to strive for maturity in their thinking (1 Cor. 14:20). He said there was a time when his spiritual thinking was immature, but he had prepared his mind to know and understand the great truths of God (1 Cor. 13:11). He had not allowed others to do his thinking for him. When you became a Christian, God renewed your mind (Rom. 12:2). Be certain to use your mind in a way that brings glory to God. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
My friend, look around you, look not at the voices of those who utter their purported words of wisdom but look at lives.
Look at the how. How the lives are lived, not just that they are living.
Jesus spoke on the harvest. That it was plentiful but the workers were few. What was He looking at? What was He seeing that the Disciples were not? Souls.
You have popular slogans of shoe apparel saying to just do it. You have commercials saying and showing you what you deserve, urging you to just go for it. Don't worry about the cost. You have lots of supposed vacation spots that are crying out for you to come spend your money and time there. Don't think about it any longer just do it.
Don't get me wrong there comes a time for refreshing. But what they are after is much more. Consider Scripture. All discipline for the moment is not joyful but sorrowful. We are encouraged by Paul to discipline ourselves in this life.
Our society has tried for decades to ingrain the concepts of spending money you don't have on things you really don't need. To work for your retirement. You deserve it you earned it. Truthfully the only retirement plan in the Bible is leaving this world to be in the presence of Jesus. Either in death or the Rapture of the Church.
So few purported Christians are avid Bible readers. So few really pray. So few...and yet so many who have fallen prey to the world's philosophy on living...and wonder why their countries have fallen so far from God.
Scripture says to return to God and He will return to you. That's a promise that so few believe in who called themselves Christian. They self-evaluate and deem their lives as too far gone for God to care enough to come after them. Another lie of Satan. I know. That was me. No matter what I did I never left that fallen state that my life was in. I was a doer n not a thinker. I wasn't thinking on Scripture or God's promises. Satan had me believing so much junk. Until the day that God pinned me down n I had but one place to look. Then and only then did I dare to try to hold God to that promise. In an instant He was indeed there to get me. He ran to me as He ran to the Prodigal Son.
He can run to you too. Don't compare your life with other. In Christ you become a new creation. In Christ He works to make you more like Him. In Christ we hope in our future state. In Christ are the promises of life in God.
When I set my mind to doing what God wanted after He ran to me, then life began changing in ways that I hadn't dreamed possible. He was keeping His promises.
You too my friend, once you come to Christ, will find the same. He never tires of running to people who call upon Him. He never tires of coming to our rescue. He is the ultimate First Responder.
We indeed live in a world of great opportunities. I would say unlike at any other point in history except that I believe that before the great flood written in Genesis, the world was incredibly advanced. We have found solid proofs that point to electronics and power nodes that we have yet to create today. Technology doesn't save. Only Christ does.
We spent billions a year on pleasures. On health improvement. Yet the basic requests of Jesus about taking care of widows and orphans isn't resolved. We have vast amounts of money that could be used to free other Christians from financial bondage yet it's horded rather than used for God's purposes. We live the lies of the world that realistically teach to live for yourself not for others.
In the great revivals of the last 2,000 years what really happened was people stopped their doing things and returned to thinking.
Look at your life today. What are your priorities? Does God have any part of your day-to-day life? Is He a fleeting thought? Only an afterthought until something goes wrong? God isn't a car jack that only supports you in an emergency.
Are you thinking at all about what you do and why you do it? Are you a sheep that just keeps doing but never stopping to think on why?
Stop and return to Christ today. He promised to run to you. He keeps His promises. Let go of your doing and start living. Start realizing what a life with Christ is supposed to be about.
Monday, September 21, 2020
Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it?
Or shall the saw exalt itself against him who saws with it?
As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up,
or as if a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
One of the dangers in the Christian life is to take credit for what God does. This was the Assyrians’ problem. They were a weak nation until God chose to bless them in order to use them as an instrument to punish the Israelites. However, the more God blessed them, the more confident they became in their own strength. When the farmers had good crops, they credited their farming skills rather than God. When their army won a victory, their generals took the credit. When the nation experienced prosperity, the Assyrians attributed it to their military and political might. Finally, God pointed out the absurdity of their conclusions (Isa. 10:5–19).
It is sometimes easier to handle poverty or weakness than wealth or strength. Poverty causes us to recognize our need for God. Prosperity persuades us that we no longer require Him. Scripture holds several examples of those who assumed they were self-sufficient, only to realize their dire poverty. Samson was the strongest person alive, but he forgot that his strength came from God. Once God removed his strength, Samson was reduced to a pitiful slave. Saul was the first king of Israel; yet when God removed His Spirit from this proud monarch, he became a paranoid, petty man, seeking counsel from the occult. Be careful how you handle the success God gives you! As you enjoy His blessings in your family, your business, or your ministry, keep in mind that you are an instrument in the hands of the Master. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
Two things you who lead in Christian service ought not to do. One is take credit for what God has clearly done and the other is create 'visions' of where God is leading without consulting God.
Both have disastrous consequences.
Way too many examples exist in the Bible of people and people's, as in groups, that did just that. Look at the reasoning that the Lord Himself spells out with Gideon. Read of why there were so few used in the service of God. The people would think that it was them and not God who saved the day. Look at Samson. His arrogance blinded him to the real source of power in him. Look at others, Saul of the Old Testament. Look at the wisdom of Solomon in Ecclesiastes. Much is said of what happens to those who think too highly of themselves.
I will be the first to admit that which many of you probably think too. It feels good when you are recognized in your efforts. The part where it's different for believers is that it's no longer mankind that we are to seek out the "well done" it's found only in Christ. In Christ are we being made into the likeness of God. In Christ are we shedding the desires of this world and replacing them with what God desires.
Read Corinthians again in light of that thought.
1 Corinthians 13:11-12 "When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known."
Sometimes it takes a lifetime to realize the foolishness of how we have lived.
People on their deathbed really seeing how much they squandered life. They may be the ones who only then came to Christ and now are almost crushed in their souls due to only now seeing what might have been.
Live for Christ today. In word and deed. As it's written in Colossians 3, do all that you do as unto the Lord and not man. In all that we do it SHOULD be that way. For who, who is a child of God, really WANTS to disappoint Christ in their actions?
Solomon's wisdom wasn't enough to keep him pure before God. Huh?!? You say. He was the wisest man ever! Yes, he was, but he didn't walk in the ways he should have before God. The thousands of wives and concubines took him away from following Christ alone. His life with God started out so well when he first became King. Much as ours does. His wisdom made him no better than all of us. Obedience must accompany wisdom and knowledge.
Solomon had, quite frankly, too much time on his hands. The vast peace across the land of Israel and the world never prepared him for the ways of sinful living. Of how quietly and deeply sin entangles as Paul wrote in the New Testament. It follows the example that I have used before of a tree that seems to full and vibrant in carefree days is easily uprooted in times of a storm, all because it never had reason to go deep with its roots. It's the storms of life that prepare you for your next storm.
People are told to go live for the moment. Get what you want out of life in peaceful retirement. Spend money on all your pleasures. Spend money on your vanity. Live it up! Spend it on yourself.
Yet that is not what the Bible teaches.
We have the capability to justify everything we do. Even Christians.
As Paul was saying in my Bible reading today. Examine yourself. See if indeed you are in Christ. If you are, are you living for Jesus or yourself?
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Along with these undoubtedly popular ones are that Satan is some red colored guy with horns on a stone throne in Hell.
So what is Satan? Besides being a liar and the Father of lies, he disguises himself as an angel of light. Where is he? Only two places. He isn't omnipresent. The Bible shows that he checks in with the Lord daily in Job. And that he prowls around the world seeking someone to devour. He no more wants to be in Hell than the people he helps send there. He knows full well what Hell is. It is exactly what Jesus described it to be. Nobody there wants to be there. Humans for sure are there. Possibly some demons. Satan certainly will not willingly go there.
He is a deceiver. THE deceiver. His desire is to be on God's Throne as God. He cares not who all dies and goes to Hell, he just doesn't want anyone to make it to Heaven.
Be sure to question and pray about any doctrines or teachings of a Church. What is preached must match up with the Word of God. Destroying speculations. Taking thoughts captive.
Someone out there really must have a need to read this post because it's been a struggle to get it written and posted.
Pray always and often. Be thankful in all things. Keep the faith.
Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send,
And who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”
It takes a pure heart to see God (Matt. 5:8). You can attend church services, read your Bible, and pray; but if sin fills your heart, you will not see God. You will know when you have encountered God because your life will no longer be the same.
Isaiah was concerned with the death of King Uzziah, the able king of Judah, but was disoriented to his heavenly King. Then something happened that forever changed Isaiah's life. God, in all His awesome majesty, appeared to him in the temple, surrounded by heavenly creatures. Instantly, God's presence made Isaiah aware of his sinfulness. One of the seraphim came to him with a burning coal and cleansed Isaiah of his sin. Immediately, Isaiah began to hear things he had never heard before. Now, he was aware of a conversation in heaven concerning who might be worthy to be God's messenger to the people. This prompted Isaiah's eager response: “Here am I! Send me.” Now that God had cleansed Isaiah, he was aware of heavenly concerns and prepared to offer himself in God's service. Whereas Isaiah had been preoccupied with earthly matters, now his only concern was the activity of God.
If you have become estranged from God and His activity, you need to experience His cleansing. Sanctification prepares you to see and hear God. It enables you to serve Him. Only God can purify your heart. Allow Him to remove any impurities that hinder your relationship with Him, and then your service to Him will have meaning as you offer Him your consecrated life. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
The beginning part of his devotion strikes a chord with a few people that I know...in their life and behavior. They want to be close to the things of God, want to be warmed and made to feel good...even a few think they are offering Him services but they aren't saved.
The most horrific statement ever written wasn't written by Agatha Christie or even Stephen King. Had not even been uttered by Alfred Hitchcock. It was spoken by Jesus when all of mankind was brought before Him and people were being separated. When the true wheat was separated from the false wheat. The statements made were final judgments they were never to be reversed. They. Were. Final.
A life in Christ is a changed life.
A life in Christ has God's fingerprints all over it. It's not man made works that give the appearance of God, but known to be of God.
Just as the opening scene in Left Behind, in the Church building, the cry uttered by the man behind the pulpit. He preached it, he taught it, but it wasn't God because he wasn't saved.
God's grace and mercy is evident in the lives of people who belong to Him.
There is no craftiness nor deceitful scheming. There is no two faces of their lives. There is one life, lived for Christ. There is no public life and a different private life. No life that is one way in front of believers and another in front of the world.
As Jesus taught, and no this isn't judging on our part, you will know them by their fruits. A vibrant fruit tree cannot be both appetizing and foul at the same time.
The fruits are what defines whether or not you are true wheat or false wheat. Look at the man who supposedly came to Christ in the New Testament and soon afterwards tried to offer money to buy the ability to serve with signs and wonders as the Apostles. Look at Ananias and Sophira. Tried giving the appearance of obedience yet were trying to cheat God. You will know them by their fruits.
You, my friend, will be known by your fruit.
Is your fruit appealing to others to draw them to Christ or is it the foul self-centered fruit? Where you have been blessed are you hoarding or using that blessing to help those that the Spirit shows you that are in need? Do you do things, as Scripture says is wrong, from selfish, empty ambition? Do you claim to be a Christian yet do not treat your believing Wife as you would treat Christ?
We all have our hearts sifted daily by Christ. Scripture says that the Lord searches the hearts of man. What does He see in yours?
Jesus wants people willing to do whatever. Not just what we want. He is already knowing who is true wheat from the false wheat. He is God. The words uttered in that Judgment day are not for anyone's sake but that if the accused.
Which will you be found to be?
Matthew 7, Revelation 20.
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light,
and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
It is Satan's practice to convince people that what God calls good is actually evil and what God declares evil is, in fact, good. Satan persuaded Adam and Eve that their disobedience, rather than their obedience, would guarantee a full life. They believed him and immediately began to experience sin's consequences! Despite the absurdity of Satan's logic, he continues to deceive people into doubting what God has clearly said.
King Saul sought Samuel's affirmation for the sacrifice he had offered, even though he had acted in direct disobedience to God's command (1 Sam. 15:13). Ananias and Sapphira expected praise from the early church for their offering, though they were blatantly lying (Acts 5:1–11). An Amalekite soldier sought David's gratitude for killing Saul, God's anointed king (2 Sam. 1:1–16).
We, too, will face the temptation to call something good that God has declared wicked. We may be persuaded that we can accomplish more good by lying than by telling the truth. We may claim that we are mobilizing Christians to pray for someone in sin when, in fact, we are spreading gossip. We may assert that we are following God's will in our job when, in fact, we are striving to pursue our own ambitions. We will also be tempted to call evil that which God declares is good. God says it is good to love our enemies, yet we might decide our task is to hold them responsible for their actions. It is so important to hold ourselves accountable to God's Word. God does not need us to find exceptions for His commands. He requires our obedience. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
A second post for today...
Oh what the main stream media strives to do. They fully engage in the practice of trying to call good, evil, and evil as good. Look for the explosive blowups caught on video of reporters lashing out at people saying it's their job to tell you what to think. Go ahead and look for it on YouTube then come back here.
Satan has but one goal: to usurp God and sit on His Throne. He cares not who in all God's creation he has to lie, cheat, steal or destroy to get there. Even though even he knows he has not been able to stop the Word of God from happening he will not stop until God stops him. Read Revelation. Michael the Archangel binds him in chains for a thousand years in a bottomless pit. That's Satan's future.
Yet in that thousand years of Jesus Christ ruling on this world Himself, mankind will bide their time to wait for Satan's return.
Think on that.
For over 2,000 years we have awaited Christ to return, as the Bible says is going to happen, yet most today don't believe it will happen.
During that Thousand year reign of Christ, mankind WILL believe in the return of Satan to 'save' them. At the end of the thousand year reign, Satan is released, as the sand of the seashore mankind will join him in attempting an assault on Jesus. Their once thought hidden rage against Jesus joined with Satan's rage at being imprisoned for a thousand years. Yet Jesus will stop it all with a word.
Political views are chaotic. It's difficult to, at times, discern truth. Yet, in what you do as Christians in regards to living life, what you believe, needs to be filtered through God's Word not your opinion. Only Scripture is defined as God's truth. If people preach or teach contrary to it, then they are false teachers and liars, pawns of Satan. If they support abortion, they are on the side of Satan. If they support homosexuality they are on the side of Satan. If they advocate sin as right and good, they are on the side of Satan. You cannot go contrary to the word of God and say that it's ok, God will understand. God wouldn't have said it the way He did in the Bible if He wanted it understood any differently. Thou shalt not steal is fully explanatory. Thou shalt not murder is completely self-explanatory. Thou shalt not lay with as man as a man does with a woman. Self-explanatory. A woman should not lay with a woman as she would with a man, again self-explanatory.
Jesus, in writing the whole, infallible, Word of God, did not make anything that complicated. Yes, upon deeper examination there are deeper truths, but what is explained on the surface is meant to be understood by all. Jesus said that to come to Christ you come as a child. Children fully understand, when explained to them, not to steal. They get it. Some, due to their sin nature, still choose to do it, but they know what it means. They may be self-deceived in that they also believe that there won't be consequences. But there will be.
Beware of what you choose to stand on. Jesus gave the example of building a house upon sand or the rock. You are going to need something to hold onto when the storms come. Plenty of videos you can watch of the aftermath of hurricanes. What is built upon sand is wiped out. What was not, was not moved.
You have before you both good and evil.
You, not your political affiliation, will stand before Christ to explain you. You need to seek truth. Not just believe what you are told by a world where in ever increasing levels truth is being touted as lies and lies they try to convince as truth.
. . . the liberty by which Christ has made us free . . . Galatians 5:1 NKJV
This “liberty” makes us free to claim the rights of heaven’s constitution—the Bible. Believer, here is a choice passage: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you” (Isaiah 43:2 ESV). You are free to experience that. Here is another: “The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you” (Isaiah 54:10 ESV)—you are free to experience that as well. You are a welcome guest at the table of the promises. Scripture is a never-failing treasury filled with unlimited stores of grace. It is the bank of heaven—you can draw from it as much as you please, without hindrance. Come in faith and you are welcome to all of God’s covenant blessings. There is not a promise in the Word that will be withheld. In the depths of trial, let this freedom comfort you; amid the waves of distress, let it cheer you; when sorrows surround you, let it be your solace. This is your Father’s gift of love—you are free to draw upon it at all times. You are also free to visit the throne of grace. It is our privilege as believers to have access at all times to our heavenly Father. Whatever our desires, our difficulties, or our wants, we are at liberty to spread everything before Him. It doesn’t matter how much we may have sinned, we can request and expect pardon. Our poverty means nothing—we may plead His promise that He will provide all necessary things. We have permission to approach His throne at all times—in midnight’s darkest hour or in noontime’s most burning heat. Oh, believer, exercise your rights and live up to your privilege. You are free to enjoy all that is treasured up in Christ—wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. It doesn’t matter what your need is, for there is a full supply in Christ—and it is there for you. Oh, what a “freedom” you have! Freedom from condemnation, freedom to claim the promises, freedom to visit the throne of grace, and—at last—freedom to enter heaven! - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
My friend, oh how loneliness has truthfully been used as a weapon upon mankind in 2020. Suicides are up. Escape through drugs is up. We will never know how many really died from this virus vs who died trying to escape the side effects of it.
Satan twists and perverts any good thing from God above. If it won't draw you away from God, he will cause it to entangle you so that you believe you cannot draw near to God. If it won't cause people to unknowingly cling to the words of Satan he will find a way to get you to sit on a fence...a fence of indecision that he owns.
We make choices based on thought and circumstances. We often do not realize that indecision is in itself a choice. So in all things you do choose.
You can't put on an take off obedience to God as you would a set of clothes. You cannot separate from that which you came to Christ to obtain. Once you come to Christ you are forever inseparable. The poem Footprints isn't found in the Bible but it's principles are certainly there.
Because we belong to Christ so does our obedience.
Because we came to Christ so ought our speech be seasoned as one who is a child of God.
If your mouth still utters vain boasts, if it utters profanities right after you were singing God's praises then, my friend, you are in sin. There is no 'I can't help it. That's just the way I am'. That's what you were before Christ. In Christ we are a new creation, old things passed away, behold all things are new. You choose how your mouth is used. Remember that you will indeed give an account of your life before Christ. Just how do you plan on explaining that? He was there with you as you said what you did.
Jesus is always with us in all that we do. That account we will someday give isn't for His benefit. It's on us. He already knew our end from our beginning. On the cross He saw every single sin of every single person who ever lived.
We who are in Christ are inseparable from Him. We ought to conduct ourselves more appropriately. Not as the world does but as God's Word says His people ought to conduct themselves.
Look at what you do, then really come to terms with why you do. You are the one responsible for you. You must choose. As said earlier indecision is a decision. It's a choice. You are either following Christ or you are not. There is no middle ground. Satan loves to make people believe that if they are undecided that means they are ok. Don't trust that thought when it comes from the Father of lies.
Look at your life today and see who is really in control of it. Look at who is really with you. We are inseparable from Him. As Scripture says if I go to the deepest depths you are there. If I go to the highest mountains you are there. If I make my bed in Paradise behold you are there.
I used to hear a saying growing up. Would you do that if your mother was here? Later, in regards to internet browsing, I heard it said, would you look at that if your mother was with you? Christ's opinion is and always should be more important than that of our mothers. Would you act, speak or think what you are engaged in doing if physically Christ was right there next to you? Read that again and take it in. That's your thought for today. On to the next post for today...
Friday, September 18, 2020
Can't have One without the Other
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 ESV
The two most important things in our Christian religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. The person who correctly understands these is not far from being a master in experiential theology—for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unaccompanied by true godliness. On the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life that does not have as its root a faith living on the righteousness of Christ. Woe to those people who seek one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these people may be very high in orthodoxy, but they will be very deep in condemnation—they are holding the truth in unrighteousness. And then there are those who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith—like the old Pharisees, who Jesus said were “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). We must have faith, for this is the foundation, and we must have holiness of life, for this is the building. In a time of storm, what protection would people get from a foundation by itself? Can they hide themselves in it? These people want a house to cover them, as well as a foundation under that house. In the same way, we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we want comfort in the day of doubt. But don’t seek a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house that can offer no permanent shelter—it would have no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety to endure. Like the light and heat that stream from the same sun, they are each full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. Oh, Lord, today give us life within, and it will reveal itself on the outside to your glory. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening
Two parts of the life of a Christian are necessary, as Spurgeon says. What passage that comes to mind to me is the one about faith without works is dead.
You see many commercials about a great many things. This is JUST LIKE that. That if you just had this then that will happen.
To cultivate a garden requires more than just planting seeds. It does require weeding. Does require watering. Does require watching for pests that disturb it. One cannot call themselves a farmer simply because they put a few seeds down and sat, idle, waiting on something to pop up out of the ground.
Same goes with being a Christian. It's not a label obtained by just coming to Christ. We don't become Christians to, as a popular television Preacher has said, "we didn't come to Christ to just sit on our blessed assurance".
Often we are referred to as soldiers of the cross. We aren't Apostles, anybody who has lived who had not seen Jesus in person can ever call themselves that. But there are Pastors, men only, who have been entrusted by the Spirit to preach and teach. Elders, again, men empowered by the Spirit to lead and teach. Deacons, men, who are entrusted to support the functioning of the Church. Deaconess's who are women over women only in that role of supporting the functioning of the Church. There are no other roles for women in Church leadership. In the original language, Elder, Pastor, Teacher was in the male description. The world may disagree, but as this devotional began mentioning, the foundation of the Church is Christ. He wrote the Bible and expected it to be the final word on the functioning of the Church. Not worldly desires or influences. Read 1st and 2nd Timothy.
Without a proper foundation you cannot have a solid house built upon it. That's the other key part. With both faith and working out your faith, both come into play. Just believing, but not living it, is to be the same as demons. They believe in Christ yet don't walk the talk either. To believe in Christ it must follow to do as He said in denying yourself and taking up your cross and following Him. Two parts again. An action following an action.
To be in Christ means to intentionally live out being Christ like in word, thought and deed. Not a label stuck to your shirt saying who you are and then doing what you want.
Yes it means denying things in your desires. Yes it means not doing what we see people in the world doing. Yes it means actions appropriate for someone calling themselves a Child of God.
Your choices each day are yours to make. Honor God, or honor yourself. React as Christ would, or react as you want. We make more choices than we realize every second. You cannot live for self and live for Jesus too.
My friend this world is not going to give you what you think you want out of it. You may have a list of things that if only you had or could do that would make your life complete. It's not that simple. If we had what WE THINK we wanted or could be like, we would actually, likely, be farther from God than we are now. My prayers don't include being rich. I want to be debt free, there's a difference. My prayers include a good day, not daily spectacular days. Why? Because if a tree only experiences great days it has no root system to help it hang on during storms.
We need all the parts of Christianity that the Spirit says we need. This is all part of God's plans for those who are saved in Christ. A foundation and a structure upon it. Faith and works that reflect it. Belief and deeds that bring honor and glory to our Savior. Hand in hand. Salvation is not merely a get out of Hell free card. Nowhere does it say in the Bible to come to Christ an then go back to doing what you want. We all who are in Christ have to give an account of the deeds done in this body. The words "Well done" are what we hope to hear from Jesus. Not just making it by the skin of your teeth. But deeds that go with a life that tries to live for the one who saved you.
Make sure today that your actions say more about the God of Heaven that you serve than they do about you.
Thursday, September 17, 2020
"but when our hearts are breaking we should remember the great Physician’s words: “Bring the boy to me.” As long as they breathe, we should pray. No case is hopeless while Jesus lives." - C.H. Spurgeon
Many believe, whether or not they utter the words, that there comes a point of giving up on someone that has either fallen away from God or has never been near to Him. I love that Spurgeon believed as I do. As long as a person has breath in them there is hope to come to Christ. A great many people whom I know are prayed for daily whether or not they know it. The only singular time when hope is lost is when God says "Enough!" and takes them out of this world. The true application of what's been abused in media today about the Shepherd seeking the one lost sheep has to do with Jesus not giving up on those who are His. What most don't realize of that deceptively serene picture of Jesus with a lamb on His shoulders is after finding the lost sheep the Shepherd intentionally breaks its leg to reintroduce the lamb to dependency upon the Shepherd again. We all like sheep have gone astray. Each trying to do their own thing.
Before writing this, this morning, the Mercy Me song "So long Self" was going through my mind. We need to realize that God's love has a Plan and His Plan has to do with His kind of love. It's not about denying you life, liberty or the pursuit of happiness. It's about where to truly find that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you look where Satan cultivates it, you will only see the intensity of the attractiveness of it but none of the truth in what it will cost you. If you seek it where Christ says it's to be found, you will find fulfillment in ways you never dreamed possible. Saying goodbye to our selfish ways and wants and seeking what things God wants for us, brings us to more fulfillment in life than we could ever find on our own. When we live for ourselves only, in all truthfulness, we lose. When the only cost we count is how it impacts us, we lose. Jesus never, ever, gives up on those who have believed and come to Him for salvation. To those who have believed the lies of Satan, who are on the outside looking in at Christ, oh my friend open your eyes, see just how much you have been deceived by Satan. Jesus is the only one who saves souls, Satan is the destroyer of them. Only Jesus has the lifeboat in this world. Who seeks to save. Many a person whom has prayers going up to God for them are indeed going through many rough times. It's not the prayer that is the problem. It's that Jesus is reaching down through all the lies and dirt and muck of sin to draw out the one being prayed for. Watch a video of people being pulled up out of liquids that cling to them. It's a hard process. Giving up isn't what Jesus does.
There is, however, a day, set by God the Father, that the Bible calls 'the fullness of the Gentiles'. A time when the Word of God has to be completed. When the foretold prophecies have to be fulfilled. That day is when Jesus returns and calls those who have believed to come to Him. It's more commonly known as the Rapture of the Church. Life after that will be harsher than anything lived by man before it. Now is the time to choose Jesus. Now, before that call goes out. Now, while there is still hope.
People see the headlines and miss the significance of them. It is no coincidence that the events happening in Israel are happening. It's a fulfillment of Scripture. The return of Israel as a nation began it. The return of Jerusalem as its capital. The peace treaties. All the significant steps prior to the Rapture. What Christians have sought for 2 thousand years is happening now, and people are missing it.
If you haven't chosen Jesus, please don't put it off any longer. While in today we have hope, this is still a limited time offer.
Wednesday, September 16, 2020
“At the beginning of your supplications the command
went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved;
therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision.”
“For you are greatly beloved.” Could there be any words from God more welcome than these? Daniel was in exile in Babylon as a result of his nation's utter defeat by the Babylonians. He desperately wanted to make sense of his circumstances. So he did what he had done so many times before: he prayed. God immediately dispatched the angel Gabriel. Gabriel revealed that God had sent him to Daniel at the beginning of his supplications. God did not even wait for Daniel to finish his prayer. Why? Because God loved Daniel greatly. What a marvelous testimony! There had been times when Daniel's love for God had been put to the test. Now, when Daniel was in need, God was quick to respond in love to him.
God wants to answer the prayers of those whose hearts are completely His (2 Chron. 16:9). God can accurately orient you to the events of your day. Media, public opinion, and political leaders cannot tell you the truth of your circumstances. Only God can. God loves you and will speak to you in His time. His answer may come immediately as it did in Daniel's case, or it may be delayed, but it will come (Dan. 10:13). If it seems as though everything is crumbling around you, and you wonder why you do not see God's activity, take comfort in knowing that you are loved in heaven. If you are genuinely seeking God's answers, you can go to your Father confidently with your questions. He will respond to you in love (Luke 11:5–13). - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day
Daniel is my favorite book of the Bible. Was my pleasure to help video tape the teaching series for The Christian Workman Schools of Theology. To be taught behind the camera what students were receiving in class on the matter of Daniel and what God did through him.
Daniel loved his God. Daniel, it's obvious, from his youth upward had a close relationship with God. When pressed to comply with the demands of the world, he chose to obey God. Mattered not what the end would be, his faith was unwavering in the Lord. He had his own copy of what was the Bible to that point or had it fully memorized at the least. To know when the times were completed for the transgressions of Israel meant at least that. Daniel always wanted to be in contact with God. At least three times a day. Everyone near him knew his habits. Even his enemies. Yet he didn't think more highly of himself, when the big battles came, he assumed nothing, to God he went in prayer and asked others to join him. Never is it recorded that he felt close enough to God to just do what felt right or do what looked to be the right thing.
The takeaway here is this can be our relationship with Jesus too. The more often you are in prayer, the more results you see of your prayers, the more you ought to align new prayers to God's answers. Daniel obviously was always very open, honest and thankful in his prayers. So ought we to be. Daniel was indeed behind enemy lines. Gabriel had to fight to get to him. Wasn't a matter of just popping in like Jesus did after the Resurrection. Demons were fighting Gabriel after they knew that the Lord had sent him to respond to Daniel. Daniel was a serious threat to Demonic activity! They tried to and wanted him surrounded. But they just could not stop his prayers! They couldn't stop his praying but figured they could fight against God in getting God's response to him. I found it very assuring that among the first words spoken by Gabriel was that of encouragement. That Daniel was greatly beloved.
My friend, if you are indeed in Christ, if you are saved, regardless of life's happenings and circumstances, you too are beloved by God!
My life's circumstances often leave me tired and worn out, even if it wasn't a busy day. I often am bombarded throughout the day, and peaceful quiet is what I long for. Yet after such a day and on my way home, prayers of thanks just have to come out of me. There is no way that I can make it through any day without Jesus. I ask Him to please come into work with me. Telling Him that I know the verse is true, that apart from Him I can do nothing. That in the beginning of every day I need Him to guard my thoughts and my mouth and actions. I DON'T TRUST ME. That's the simple way to put it. My sin nature is always tainting my thoughts and actions. Corrupting my intentions. Like Daniel I sometimes am praying more than just 3 times a day.
Jesus is always eager to respond, but my friend, His response has to work with the Will of the Father. Sure, He CAN respond to everything we ask for in prayer with a yes. But would that yes disrupt His plans for our lives and that of others? The endgame of the life of a believer is to be more Christ like. Not more me like. The answers granted to us must fit in the plans of God. We are all heading towards the endgame of the Bible. His answers to our prayers must fit into that. The world is not going through climate change. It isn't racial unrest. It isn't dirty oceans or fossil fuels. The Scriptures must be fulfilled. Jesus said clearly that every jot and tittle must happen in the Word of God. Nothing will be excluded or left not done. Just because the answers are delayed, like Daniel, or are an apparent no, doesn't mean we are any less loved by the Father.
Consider increasing your prayer time today. David was known as a man after God's own heart. Why? He prayed often. A great deal of what you read of the book of Psalms is David's prayers. Daniel was highly esteemed, highly regarded, beloved of God. His prayer relationship with Jesus irritated Satan and his minions to no end.
Today is your moment to begin a deeper relationship with Jesus. Today finally begin to be open and honest with yourself and God. Today...realize you too are His beloved.