Saturday, October 31, 2020

Oh to Return Dear Reader

Renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 ESV

 Backsliders, if there is any spark of life left in them, will groan for restoration. This renewal requires the same exercise of grace as our conversion. We needed repentance then; we certainly need it now. We needed faith at first to come to Christ; only the same grace can bring us to Jesus now. Then, we wanted a word from the Most High, something from the lips of the loving One to end our fears; we will soon discover, when under a sense of present sin, that we need the same word now. None of us can be renewed without as real and true a manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s energy as we felt at first, because the work is just as great—and flesh and blood are just as much in the way now as they ever were. Dear Christian, let your personal weakness compel you to pray earnestly to God for help. Remember, when David felt himself to be powerless, he did not fold his arms or close his lips but ran to the mercy seat saying, Renew a right spirit within me. Don’t let the doctrine that says you can do nothing on your own depress you and make you sleep; let it be a goad in your side, driving you with an exceeding earnestness to Israel’s strong Helper. Oh, that you might have grace to plead with God, as if you were pleading for your very life: Renew a right spirit within me. The one who sincerely prays to God for this will prove his or her honesty by using the means through which God works. Pray much; spend much time in the Word of God; kill the desires that have driven your Lord from you; be careful to watch over the future stirrings of sin. The Lord has His own appointed ways; sit by the side of the road, and you will be ready when He passes by. Continue in all those blessed ordinances that will foster and nourish your dying graces and, knowing that all power must come from Him, don’t stop crying, Renew a right spirit within me.
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

We live in an information age. It's everywhere literally at your fingertips.  Powerful artificial intelligence drive search engines for Bing, Google and others to tell you the answers to what you want to know.  But who seeks after God?  People readily believe a search results list but don't look to the Bible for the real why to their questions. 

Renew a right spirit within me.  

We live in a world demanding conditional tolerance. Those living in sin demand that those living for Jesus tolerate their sin and say nothing to them about their sin or its considered hate speech.  You must accept them but they don't have to accept you. They are the protected who are allowed to berate and harass you. 

As someone posted recently again on Facebook, Satan no longer needs to disguise himself, he freely roams around and nobody sees him.

Return and renew a right spirit within me. 

Many love to quote passages that say that if if we but humble ourselves and turn to God that He will heal their land. 

Those people and others aren't remembering the rest of who God is.  This nation is perhaps 2nd in the world at the shedding of innocent blood.  Read what Jeremiah says on that.  It enrages the Lord.

Look at what the Bible says about the widow and the orphans. He's opposed to those who neglect them. 

Look at what He says, and NEVER has retracted, about the fate of homosexuals.  

People want to embrace every positive statement about God yet neglect to remember His a God of righteousness and justice.  Grace, which means unmerited favor is bestowed upon those who believe.  Favor from God that we don't and have never earned.  Mercy is not getting the judgment for what we do deserve. 

People do not tell God to get off of His Throne, because that's their seat. 

Each day our prayers should include to please renew a right spirit within me.  People who even lead Churches in this nation are teaching falsehoods and people are accepting it.  Scripture says that in the last days people will accumulate for themselves teachers who will tell them what they WANT to hear.  Not have teachers who say what they NEED to hear. 

Renew a right spirit within me.   I need my relationship with Jesus. If I have all the money in the world and have not that, I have nothing.  Read the story of Howard Hughes and how he died.  The man had the money to go anywhere, do anything, legal or illegal--and he did.  He died horribly alone. 

The things of this world blind us to the truth about God.  We get taught to embrace that God is love and won't really send people to Hell. That He would never cast judgment against a nation that has Christian people in it.  Ignore the past and be doomed to repeat it in the future.  Read the New Testament in the right context. What you read is the scattering of people who were Christians across the world because of persecution. Countries with Christian people in them.  Those Christians were persecuted.  Today is no different, it's just that now it's in your face because of social media. 

Renewing a right spirit within you keeps you where you should be before your God.

Renew means taking the time, daily, to be in the Bible.  To be with Jesus, to be spending time with Jesus in prayer. 

Just what lies about life have you allowed yourself to believe?  Trust me, you have. 
Everyone has.  The only way to see is to renew a right spirit within you by the work of the Spirit of God. 

Most refuse to believe that a nation that calls itself a Christian nation could fall under the wrath of God. Go read in the Bible of the times, many times, the nation of Israel was brought down to being a remnant.  Read of the Babylonian captivity.  Who controlled Israel in the year that Jesus was born?

Renew a right spirit within me today, please, Lord Jesus. Please. 

Friday, October 30, 2020

The counterpart to Prayer

I will praise you, Lord. Psalm 9:1 NLT Praise should always follow answered prayer, just like the mist of earth’s gratitude rises when the sun of heaven’s love warms the ground. Has the Lord been gracious to you, leaning down to hear the voice of your prayer? Then praise Him as long as you live. Let the ripe fruit drop to the fertile soil from which it drew its life. Don’t deny song to the One who has answered your prayer and given you the desire of your heart. To be silent after receiving God’s mercies is to be guilty of ingratitude; it is to act as shabbily as the nine lepers who, having been cured of their disease, did not return to give thanks to the Lord who healed them (Luke 17:11–19). To forget to praise God is to refuse benefit to ourselves, since praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting growth in our spiritual lives. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hopes, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise that quickens the believers’ pulse, strengthening us for fresh exertions in our Master’s service. To bless God for mercies received is also a way to benefit our fellow humanity: “let the humble hear and be glad” (Psalm 34:2 ESV). Others who have been in similar circumstances will take comfort if we can say, “Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me” (Psalm 34:3–4 NLT). Weak hearts will be strengthened, and worn-out saints revived as they listen to our “songs of deliverance.” Doubts and fears will be rebuked as we “teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (Colossians 3:16). They too will “sing of the ways of the Lord” (Psalm 138:5) when they hear us magnify His holy name. Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels do not pray, but they never stop praising God, both day and night—and the redeemed, clothed in white robes and holding palm branches in their hands, never weary of singing the new song, “Worthy is the Lamb.” C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

There is indeed a counterpart to prayer as Spurgeon points out, which is praise.  We now live in a culture that seems to have gone into overdrive to control how we think, how we act and where we can go.

It's invading all areas of our lives including our health. Doctors calling you at home.  Your insurance company playing Doctor by haranguing you about your options.  

Control is tied to many aspects of Spiritual battles and warfare.  Who controls your mind and heart controls your attitude towards yourself and God.  

Paul exhorted Timothy a lot on the aspects of Spiritual warfare. His words are for you and I as well.  

Scripture is not only replete with what not to do towards God, but what we should do towards God and others.  The world would have you look out for yourself and their agenda of self defined inclusion.  They redefined inclusion into what amounts to Satan's definition of inclusion.  Accept all forms of sin as normal and do what you can against anyone who opposes that 'truth'. 

For the defenses of the believer prayer and praise are beyond important to combat this.  Yes, we read the Word of God daily, I hope you do, we also sing and speak praises to God to remind Him and us of His promises. It also keeps our minds off of us and onto the one who is more than capable of handling our problems. 

I will not gloss over anything at any time.  What God leads me to write about, that I must write about.  Many so-called Churches are, as Jesus referred to them in Revelation, a synagogue of Satan.  They do not teach the infallibility of Scripture. They teach that sinful lives are ok with God. That in the end His love will be stronger than His justice or judgment.  

The wages of sin is death.  Intentionally living in sin gets one result.  Teaching people otherwise brings greater condemnation upon those teaching things like that. 

Prayer and Praise are to be the most used tools on your belt.  I have worked on quite a few things and projects in my life. Rare is the time when only one tool does the trick. You need to remember to praise God even in the storm.  Especially in the storm. 
Daniel was in a lion's den.  Kept from harm, he prayed and praised His God. Daniel's friends in a fiery furnace, the Lord is with them, they praised Him in that fire.  Paul taught Timothy and obviously others to praise God in all things and at all times.  They lived in a Roman Empire that realistically was harsh and brutal at times. Our world is seeing a resurgence of the old Roman Empire, as Scripture said would happen.  Our governments want people to turn in people out of manipulated fears. Stir up people to act out of fear and they will never see what's really happening.  In prayer and praise you don't have fear. As we have both we really do experience God's love in our lives and Scripture goes on to say that perfect love casts out fear.  To cast out means to lay ahold of and throw away. Grab onto fear and throw. God's peace remains.  

What's going on in this world is Scripture being fulfilled.  People don't want the United States to fall. Living in it, I really don't either.  But I can see Scripture being fulfilled. We have no significant place in the Scriptures in the Tribulation recorded in Revelation or other places in the Bible.  Our nation must decrease. What that looks like I don't know. Either we take ourselves out of the world picture or God's judgment on this nation does. Why would God judge against the United States? Millions of abortions. The embracing of sinful life on the part of same sex marriages, the facts that the very things that were celebrated in Sodom and Gehmorrah are now the law of the land. 

Prayer and Praise must be the focus of the believer. We must make it a priority if we are to not only survive, but to show the true love of God, not what people are saying it is. In Jeremiah the so called leaders of the Jewish people spoke as the liberal Pastors of today.  In denial of the truth of God's Word. They teach sin as truth to be lived by and embraced. 

How much prayer and praise do you do? Prayer, praise and just time with Jesus should be your every day life.  Jesus said we overwhelmingly conquer through Him and by Him. Believers have the most reason to hope as long as they stay the course as Paul said at the end of his life. 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

What we have in Prayer

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven . . .” Matthew 6:9 NKJV

 This prayer begins where all true prayer must start—with the spirit of adoption: “Our Father.” No prayer is acceptable until we can say, “I will arise, and go to my Father” (Luke 15:18 NKJV). This childlike spirit soon perceives the grandeur of the Father “in heaven” and ascends to devout adoration: “Hallowed be your name” (Matthew 6:9). The child whispering, “Abba, Father,” grows into the angel crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” There is only a step from passionate worship to the glowing missionary spirit, which is a sure outgrowth of a child’s love and reverent adoration: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (v. 10). Next follows the heartfelt expression of dependence on God: “Give us today our daily bread” (v. 11). With further illumination by the Spirit, we discover that we are not only dependent, but sinful—so we plead for mercy: “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” (v. 12). Finally, having been pardoned, having the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and knowing our acceptance with God, we humbly pray for holy steadfastness: “Lead us not into temptation” (v. 13). The person who is really forgiven is anxious not to offend again; justification leads to an anxious desire for sanctification. “Forgive us our debts” is justification; “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” is sanctification in its negative and positive forms. After all of this, a triumphant shout of praise follows: “for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” (v. 13 NKJV). We rejoice that our King reigns in providence and will reign in grace, “from the River to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8)—and there will be no end to His dominion. So this short model of prayer conducts the soul from the first sense of adoption on up to fellowship with our reigning Lord. Jesus, teach us to pray your way. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Prayer should never be assigned a specific or special time and place.   Prayer shouldn't only be an endless repetition of the droning on of words.  Prayer should never be heartless.  Prayer shouldn't be difficult.  Prayer isn't where grocery lists of what needs done are left with God.

Prayer is where heart to heart talks happen with our Creator.  

Prayer is anytime in any place.  

Prayer is to be bold yet honest. 

Prayer is never to be full of pride. 

I pray more now than I did 5 years ago, 10 years ago and even 20 years ago.  It takes but a moment and there's no numbers to memorize to get the call to go through. 

My getting ready for work sometimes has prayer happening.  I go to start the drive to work and I have conversational prayer with Jesus on my way there.  Throughout the day things come up.  People with concerns and worries. I often stop to pray then too. 
My Savior isn't just when and where I want Him to be, He's everywhere I am.  

You don't need to memorize a prayer to pray.  That's really bland and hardly personal.  

Any Church that teaches you to do nothing more than repeat words, calling it a really ought to leave.  That way lies the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees.  

When you come to Christ it's more than just Salvation. It's personal. You inherit the Kingdom of God, not that plus a Butler who is the King. He isn't there only to respond to your every beck and call.  We sometimes get to forgetting that we are the clay, He is the potter. 

A quick salve for this world is honest prayer.   We don't need paid counselors. We need The Great Physician.  The one who knows our every thought and intention. Who knows the division between soul and spirit. The one who knew us before we were ever formed in the womb. 

The harsh reality of life is that Satan does not want people to realize the reality of prayer.  Millions of both Christian and non-Christian self-help books prove that point. Millions of books on Spiritual subjects that are not inspired by God.  I have seen so-called Pastors pop out books like McDonald's does fries.  Doesn't follow that those books are inspired by God. 

Look at the Scriptures for how to pray, not just what to pray.  But also to whom we are to pray.  Look at Paul's letters. He often speaks of praying for people. 

As I can attest to specifically, prayer can go places we cannot because it is backed by the power of God. 

Rather than being honest with yourself and God, you look to others to validate what you are going through. Rather than being honest with yourself and God you look for books to validate what you are doing and what you are going through. You look everywhere else but to an honest relationship with Jesus to get satisfaction. 

If that's you, my dear reader, then you really have no real understanding of prayer. 

It is personal not impersonal.  It's you speaking to the one who knows you best and loves you the most. 

Prayer had hope in it that cannot be seen with the naked eye.  When it doesn't look good, prayer still works.  People I work with are fearful of the lack of business.  I have learned in this year just to pursue being and doing the best with what's in front of me for whom I work, and it isn't my employer. Colossians 3, doing whatever I do as unto the Lord. Period.  I pray for the business to grow again and leave it with God to do so.  Regardless of what they believe, my employer is owned by God. The Scriptures say the Earth is the Lord's and all it contains.  

So pray without ceasing the Bible also says.  With Psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Making melody in our hearts towards God.  

Worried? Worry is a prayer with no direction.  Take those and give it a direction, up.  Turn it into a prayer, with thanksgiving, that it has been received and heard.  Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. Is what Jesus said, did He not?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

God hasn't stopped being God

“I chose you out of the world.” John 15:19 ESV

 Here are grace and regard that distinguish, for some people are made the special objects of divine affection. Don’t be afraid to contemplate this high doctrine of election. When your mind is most heavy and depressed, you will find it to be a rich restorative. Those who doubt the doctrines of grace or push them into the shadows miss the best grape clusters of Eshcol (see Numbers 13:23); they lose their “banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines” (Isaiah 25:6). There is no balm in Gilead comparable to it. If the honey Jonathan tasted brightened his eyes (1 Samuel 14:27), this honey will enlighten your heart to love and learn the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Feed on this verse, and don’t fear overeating; live on this choice food as part of your regular diet. Meat from the King’s table will never harm His servants. Pray to have your mind enlarged, so you might comprehend more and more the eternal, everlasting, distinguishing love of God. When you have climbed as high as election, linger on its sister mountain, the covenant of grace. Covenant engagements are the bulwarks of stupendous rock that protect us; covenant engagements with the guarantee, Christ Jesus, are the quiet resting places of fearful spirits. His oath, His covenant, His blood, Support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. “My Hope Is Built,” Edward Mote (1834) If Jesus set out to bring me to glory, and if the Father promised that He would give me to the Son as part of the infinite reward for His suffering, then until God himself is unfaithful and Jesus stops being the truth, I am safe. When David danced before the ark, he told his wife Michal that election made him do it—come, my soul, rejoice and leap before the God of grace. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Our circumstances in life will always change.  Things always will go differently than we expect,  most of the time.  We think one way and God thinks another. 

Often we consider ourselves failures because our best laid plans were destroyed.  We thought things out. Things were going so well! Then the bottom fell out. 

God has not stopped being God. 

Even Martin Luther was hit with this upside the head.  His Wife called him out on his mood and behavior.  Acting all the world like God had died. God's not man that He can truly perish like him. Oh? What about Jesus?  Jesus laid down His life. He willing let go of it, and He is the only one who was ever given the authority to take it up again.  

But look at the state of this world! The chaos!  We need a Leader who will bring order to chaos!  That's the cry of the world, and in time, they will indeed receive that. Read Revelation. When the Antichrist is revealed he will be the world leader. In time he will turn on humanity. Besides the billions that will die from the judgments of God, he will demand to be worshipped. 

But why do I feel like such a failure?
Isn't that evidence that God has left me?
God can no more leave His children than the sun can stop shining. That the Earth can stop turning.

Scripture says that His ways are higher than ours. His thoughts are higher than ours.  What you see as failing is a course correction to where He wants to take you. 

I had a neighbor who was easily on track for a basketball scholarship. Oh was he good. Yet a simple accident in a gym class derailed that. His basketball career was over.  Yet it didn't end there.  His career that God wanted him for was just beginning. 

It's important to note that our plans are not paramount to God's in our lives. We came to Christ to trust and...OBEY.  To FOLLOW where He leads.  To DO what He wants us to.  We were not saved to go live as we pleased. 

God has a Plan that is, to this very second, working itself out in this world.  There is no surprising events to Him.  Nobody is derailing a single thought of His. Nobody is strong enough to stay His hands.  

You aren't powerful enough to stop God's plans for you.  You may delay it but God's will WILL be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  

The temptations of the world are immense.  Subtle but immense.  They are everywhere.  Just get this credit card and you can enjoy... Just go deserve... Oh, don't you feel like this? Try will make your life easier and better.  What? You don't have the latest model? Here, we'll finance deserve the best.

We deserve Hell. We are given grace and mercy because God is still God. He is still saving people and still forgiving sin.  We are still to trust and obey.  

God is still God in this pandemic.  He wasn't caught by surprise.  Quite the opposite. It wouldn't be happening if He hadn't permitted it. Satan cannot arbitrarily do whatever he wants. He has to have permission and even he is subject to the truth of the Bible. He cannot do anything that is going to prevent one jot or tittle from being true.  He can try to twist our understanding of it be he isn't strong enough to stop it from being what it is. 

Read the beginning of the book of Job.  He has to show up as all others, before Jesus.

You might be disappointed and discouraged by your own actions or that of family and friends.  Your life might not be the way you hoped.  But God is still God. He is still concerned about you. He still works in your life.  He still has a Plan for you.  Let go of your pain and sorrow. It's about His will being done. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

We are all Prodigal's, one and all

“Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed 
your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me 
a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.”

Luke 15:29

God is concerned with bringing people from death to life. His heart rejoices over each person who returns to Him from a time of rebellion. If your heart is like God's, you, too, will rejoice when a sinner returns to the Father.

Jesus’ parable about the prodigal son is as much about the older son who remained as it is about the wayward son or the father. Year after year the older son labored for his father, waiting for a future reward. He had seen the brokenness his brother's rebellion had caused his father. Yet when his brother returned, the older son did not rejoice with his father. He felt no pleasure in seeing his father happy. His concern was for himself and the injustice he perceived he’d been dealt. He felt like a martyr and totally missed the blessing of celebrating with his father.
It is possible to serve God year after year and yet have a heart that is far from Him. You might be one of the hardest workers in your church and yet be filled with bitterness because others do not share your load. You can become so preoccupied with your spiritual labors that when God works miracles in the lives of those around you, you cannot rejoice.
If you serve the Lord out of duty or habit, but not out of joy and gratitude, you will feel like a martyr. You will envy those who are experiencing joy in the Lord while you feel weighed down by the work you are doing. This is not the abundant life your Father has planned for you. Come to the celebration, spend time with the Father, and share in His joy! - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We all are Prodigal's my dear Reader.  
None of us escapes that part of life.  At some point in some ways we all have done our own thing apart from God.  Scripture says that each of us has done what is right in our own eyes.  

There are 3 people mentioned directly in this story of the Prodigal Son, yet by extension, many more were impacted by the activity and actions of the son who went away. 

We read of the activities of the Father. Daily watching the horizon for his son to return.  This wasn't vain hope, this was because of prayer and expectation.
We read of the activities of the other son. Of how he lived not out of true obedience, but rather out of going through the motions, hoping to get something out of it.
We obviously read of the son and the lessons he learned and his broken spirit that returned him home. 

What we don't read about is the Mother, any other children, of people who knew that family.  We don't read of the reactions of the people who were with that wayward son on his way home.  God used people to get through to the son. His mother probably too was worried and in much prayer about her son. 

We all have been in these situations and have put family into the position of praying for us because of our waywardness.

It's often easy to get woefully judgmental and look down upon family for the mistakes they made.  

It's convicting when we do finally see that the Father hadn't given up on them.

It begs the question: When did we get the ridiculous notion that God had forsaken them?  When?  When had God stopped being God in the lives of those we cared about?

Yes, they made mistakes, yes it hurts. But don't you think that the mistakes we have made caused any less pain to Jesus for our making them?

Jesus is that Good Samaritan who was the one who stopped to care for the one that a Levite and a priest left behind.  They judged the wounded man as forsaken.  Jesus cannot forsake those who are His.
We do.

We can easily be the Father or the other son when it comes to dealing with wayward family or friends who have strayed from God's will in their lives.  We either look upon people with love and compassion or we look at them with contempt.  We sit in judgment and really refuse to forgive as Christ obviously did already. 

Forgiveness is paramount in restoration of one who has returned by God's mercy. 

Yet another lesson is this...we do indeed make mistakes in life that can be seen as destroying our lives.  But we don't see the big picture that God does.  

Joseph thought it one thing by talking about his dreams.  His family took it completely different. Joseph went through what can be construed as one bad decision after another.  Yet it wasn't the case.  It was God.  

Before you bemoan what has happened to family or friends, be immersed in prayer to seek what it is that God is doing and what your part in it really is.  Yes, what we thought should have happened in their lives didn't happen.  But that isn't the bigger picture. The bigger picture is their walk with Jesus.  It took a lot of mistakes in my life to get me to where I am with Jesus today.  Many times being a Prodigal Son.  

Prayer must be coupled with expectation or faith isn't being active. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Where is God working? Do you know?

Look among the nations and watch—be utterly astounded! 
For I will work a work in your days which you 
would not believe, though it were told you.

Habakkuk 1:5

Christians habitually seek God's voice through prayer, through His Word, or through His messengers. Yet sometimes we fail to hear God speak through His activity, even though He is working all around us. God encourages His people to watch for His activity so they will know how they should respond and adjust their lives.

The disciples discovered much about God's power by witnessing Jesus calming a raging storm with a command. Seeing Jesus dine with the notorious sinner, Zacchaeus, taught them a poignant message about God's love for sinners. Watching Jesus hang upon the cross communicated a compelling message of what God was willing to do to free people from sin. Discovering the empty tomb revealed an astounding truth of God's victory over death. To those with spiritual discernment, God's activity is a significant revelation about His heart and His will.
If you are sensitive to what God is doing around you, He will clearly speak to you through His activity. You will know that God is at work, because what you see will astound you, and human power and wisdom will not explain it. When you experience events that surpass your understanding and ability, it may be that God is communicating a critical message to you.
If you want to hear God's voice, look around you to see what He is doing. When you are watching for God at work, what you see will reveal His character, and you will have a fresh understanding of how to respond to Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh what happens when the believer in Jesus Christ is right where he or she ought to be in His Plan for them. 

The results of such work are literally unexplainably out of this world.  God certainly does more than we can ask or think when what we ask for had been His Plan all along.  Ephesians 3:20-21 "Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." 

Our obedience and trust align us to the Plans that Jesus has for us in this life. 

A more important song than Amazing Grace is Just as I am...running very close to Trust and Obey.  

You only run the risk of implying to God that God is your Genie if all you ever do is go to Him for wants and desires. If your contact with Jesus in prayer does nothing to soften your heart and bring to mind your need for forgiveness then you are honestly looking down on God as your servant to obey your every whim and not your God who saved you to make you more like Christ. 

Jesus didn't save you for you to just only get out of Hell.  He has a Plan to make you more like Him.  Both in this life and that which comes after it.  We are still sinful beings. We still need washing from our sins each day we are in a sinful world. We are worse that a just recently washed white car that, when you look at it again is already getting dirty again all on its own. 

Jesus wants to and is ready to do much more than we can ask or think in our lives. Our obedience and trust paves the way. "Apart from Me you can do nothing" Scripture says.  I remind Him of that often in my morning drive to work while I pray.  

If I want to truly live, I must live as He wants me to.  The Scriptures are full of every single bad example of a life or lives wasted on worldly living.  Of how craftily Satan creates idolatry to weave into the Church.  Yes it's there in most Churches. How can that be said?  Read the letters to the Churches in Revelation. Those are but samples along with Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians for us to read and learn from about what to do or not to do in the Church.  Churches realistically use business models to try to bring people in as if what Christ did was the latest model car, trying to convince everyone to buy it. Gimmicks and glossed over idolatry to attract people. Is it working? Yes, if you are on the side of Satan.  He will certainly grant such places the ability to appear to grow. 

When God's Plan and your activities are on the same page, there is no part of that activity that could ever be called into question.  When an outsider can only give God the glory for what is seen and done then that is from God.  When all that comes is waves of feel good activities and when they can fit in God's apparent work then it needs questioned.  

Christians will either obey God or their idols.  Christians can have idols? Yes. If the Jews could and do, Christians are just as susceptible.  Having the name of Jesus on you means living like it.  Not living for yourself the rest of the week. 

To see God work and move in your life requires your obedience to God.  It means you looking at what gets you going.  What excites you.  DO you get more excited about anything in this world than you do being a child of God?  Do you give your time, energy and effort to what God wants of you rather than your own wants?

It's a beyond awesome experience to know that you know you are in the zone obeying God.  You have no trouble seeing that your actions and activities are what He wants you doing and thinking about.  This blog blows my mind every day.  To see what God is doing with it. How He is multiplying His message through me to people all over the world.  All it took was obedience to His Plan and purpose for me. 

What about you? Do you wear symbols of idolatry or are you known for your walk with Jesus?  Do you know more about worldly idols than you do God's Word?  Any activity that consumes your time, taking it away from your walk with Jesus, can be an idol. Not everything is, but anything can be.  If you can spend hours watching and whooping it up over a football game but can't give Jesus that much time then you have an idolatry problem.  Same goes for games of any kind, of television, of recreation. 

Our seeing God work in our lives is dependent upon our living the way He told us to.  It's in our obedience we see His blessings beyond measure.  Where is God working?  He is supposed to be working through you. 

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Yes He still washes feet

He began to wash the disciples’ feet. John 13:5 NLT 

The Lord Jesus loves His people so much that every day He still works for us, doing things analogous to washing the disciples’ soiled feet. He accepts our poorest actions, feels our deepest sorrows, hears our slightest wishes, and forgives our every transgression. He is still our servant as well as our Friend and Master. Jesus not only performs majestic deeds for us—with a crown on His brow and precious jewels on His breastplate, standing up to plead for us—but He also humbly and patiently goes out among His people with a basin and towel. He does this when, day by day, He takes away our constant weakness and sin. Last night, you bowed in prayer and sadly confessed that much of your conduct was not worthy of your Christian profession; even tonight, you will mourn again that you have fallen into the same foolishness and sin that God’s grace long ago delivered you from. And yet, Jesus will show great patience with you. He will hear your confession of sin; He will say, “I am willing. . . . Be clean” (Matthew 8:3); He will again apply the blood, speak peace to your conscience, and remove every spot. It is a great act of eternal love when Christ removes a sinner’s guilt once and for all, putting that person into the family of God. But what a condescending patience Jesus shows when He bears the recurring foolishness of His wayward disciples, day by day and hour by hour washing away the multiplied transgressions of His straying but still-loved children! To dry up a flood of rebellion is something marvelous, but to endure the constant dripping of repeated offenses—to bear with a perpetual trying of patience—that is indeed divine! While we find comfort and peace in our Lord’s daily cleansing, it should also influence us to increase our watchfulness and our desire for holiness. Is this true in your life?
- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Some may think that the 'time' to believe in something like the stories of the Bible are long past.  Nothing is farther from the truth!

Jesus still washes feet even today.  
Jesus still forgives His Children every day. 
Jesus still is ready to save those who come to Him every day. 
Jesus still fulfills Scripture every day. 

And yes, He still washes feet every day. 

Our problem, the problem of both mankind and those who believe is the lack of belief in what Jesus is doing, does, and why He would. 

Believers are still infected with sin, just as unbelievers are.  Sin is still a part of this world until the Bible is fulfilled in its entirety.  Jesus still has work to complete until the Father says it's time to begin the end.

Jesus keeps His promises.  He continues to obey His Father.  He continues to heal.

We are the ones who neglect to remember that. We are the ones who do not rely on Christ.   We allow, both believers and unbelievers, sin to snake its way into our lives. 

Both make excuses for sin.  Idolatry and adultary, homosexuality and even abortion plagues both sides of the aisle.  

So Jesus, as Scripture says "Let God be found true and every man a liar".  

Jesus still washes feet.  To the believer it is to get them back on the path of growth in Him.  To the unbeliever it is to show them the truth, that He still loves them and does want to save them.  

My most impactful acting experience was to be in an Easter performance playing a Disciple at the Last Supper.  I can't convey the powerful message of a visual example of Jesus washing my feet, as I stood and, as Scripture reads, argued that it should be the other way around.  I am not worthy of such a kindness from my Savior. Yet He says it must be done, must be this way, to have a part with Him. 

Won't you stop fighting Him and let Him wash your feet today?

Saturday, October 24, 2020

When we appear to lose...we must choose

Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines; though the 
flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls … 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

Habakkuk 3:17–18

At times it seems that everything around you is collapsing. Endeavors you invested in may fail. People to whom you minister may disappoint you. The business or career you worked hard to build may crumble. These times, as difficult as they are, are opportunities to stop and examine what is truly important to you.

Habakkuk witnessed the collapse of most of what mattered to him. Yet through the loss, failure, and disappointment, he was able to distinguish between what was precious to him and what was transitory and empty. He came to the point where he could sincerely say that even if everything around him failed, he still would rejoice in God. If the fig tree bore no fruit; if the vine produced no grapes; if the flocks and herds stopped reproducing; he would still praise God. His praise might not come easily, as he watched everything fall short of his expectations, but he would praise God nonetheless. Habakkuk could not make fig trees produce figs. He could not control the productivity of the flocks and herds, but he could control his own response to God. He chose to praise the Lord.
Do things seem to be falling apart around you? You can still praise God. Your praise for Him does not depend on the success of your endeavors but on God's nature and His love and faithfulness to you. Ask God to help you look past worldly concerns to understand the reasons you have to praise Him. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh this one certainly fits 2020.  The year's description of itself being that which we see more clearly.  

But do we?  Do I?  Is our 'world' more important than our walk with God?  Is our being at ease more important than what we do or can do for God?  

Spurgeon, in his devotional today was talking about the dangers of sleeping as a Christian.  Of what happens to them that get too comfortable with no temptation.  Stating that the most dangerous temptation of all is not to have any temptations.  

There's a passage in Proverbs that mentions as iron sharpens iron so does one man sharpen another. 

Interestingly there was a Star Trek episode where all that the inhabitants did was enjoy all pleasures with no stress at all, no strife.  It was a trap. To sinful, unrepentant, unatoned for humanity it is a trap.  Only those who've had their sins erased by the blood of Jesus can afford to understand true peaceful life in Heaven where the promise of peace both exists and is fulfilled without any hint of temptation. 

Jesus promised that in this world we would have tribulations. We would have struggles.  Trees that grow big and strong only do so when they hold their ground, literally, in the storm!  Our roots, as believers, only grow deeper in Christ as we experience pain, trials and temptations.  We learn to rejoice in the Lord. Because in those trials and temptations we can rely on Christ. If we were always at ease we wouldn't see the need to have a relationship with Jesus.  He would be no more than one tool among many in a tool chest.  

We indeed face a great many things in this world today.  Yet we cannot lose sight of the truth that it is us who can still choose to worship God in the storm.  We choose to praise Him when things are going well, it is still us who choose to during the hard times.  Habakkuk was told in advance of what and who was coming and why.  He and everyone else were about to be in a situation where things were going to be out of their control.  Sounds familiar, doesn't it?  

Do you remember to always rely on Christ?  I don't always, but, I am striving to do so.  I often try to pray throughout the day.  Because I often don't know which way to go, of what to say or not say.  People may think that I have some incredible way about things at work, but the truth is it's not me.  It's Jesus keeping His promise. The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. Proverbs.  I ask Jesus to control my mind and my mouth when I am at work.  I cannot fail when I am directed by my Savior.  I cannot go wrong when He leads me. Neither can you. 

Our lives are not our own, if we are in Christ.  We live for Jesus.  That's the Biblical truth. The sultry sensual world would tell Christians to take it easy, to stop n smell the roses.  To stay away from things that cause you angst.  To relax. You deserve peaceful enjoyment of life.  You deserve this thing or that pleasure.  
As the song goes the highway leads to glory but it's no easy ride, you'll find all kinds of exits to throw you off your stride. Some will lead to fortune and others lead to fame, some will lead you so far off you won't return again. Oh you must stay between the white lines, never pass for the yellow lines and you'll get to Heaven right on time...
That's an interesting play on what Paul also says about Christian's being both soldier's who serve Jesus as well as runners in a race that must run with the point being to win.  Distractions in this world will take your mind off of God.  Even the NFL is on record to say that Sunday's used to belong to the Church, now it belongs to them. 

Do you follow the world or do you follow Christ?  You must decide. 
Do you seek only comfort and nothing more?  Or are you following Christ?
The only Biblical retirement Plan begins when we enter Heaven, for those in Christ Jesus.  Without Christ it begins at death then arrival in Hell.  Retirement is the reward, what you get for how you worked, or lived.  The wages of sin is death. Separation from God. Hell.  For those in Christ, He paid those wages in full. For them that are in Christ, there is no separation from God. They enter into Heaven.  Two destinations that are arrived at by YOUR choice. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

When we are weak and heavy laden

“Do you want to go away as well?” John 6:67 ESV 

Many have forsaken Christ, no longer to walk with Him. But what reason could we ever have to make such a change? Has there been any reason for it in the past? Hasn’t Jesus proved himself all-sufficient? He asks you this morning, “Have I been like a desert to you?” (see Jeremiah 2:31). When your soul has simply trusted Jesus, have you ever been brought to shame? Up to now, haven’t you found your Lord to be a compassionate and generous friend? Hasn’t simple faith in Him given you all the peace your spirit could desire? Can you possibly dream of a better friend than He has been to you? Then don’t change the old and tried for the new and false. Can your present difficulties compel you to leave Christ? When we are troubled by this world or with the more severe trials in the church, we find it a most blessed thing to rest our head on the Savior’s chest. This is the joy we have today: we are saved in Him. And if this joy is satisfying, why should we ever think of changing? Who trades gold for the dross? We will not reject the sun until we find a better light, nor leave our Lord until a brighter lover appears—and, since this can never be, we will hold Him with an immortal grasp and bind His name as a seal on our arm (Song of Solomon 8:6). As to the future, can you suggest anything that could arise to make you mutiny, to desert the old flag to serve under some other captain? I think not. If life is long, He does not change. If we are poor, what would be better than to have Christ make us rich? When we are sick, what more could we want than for Jesus to make our bed for us? Even when we die, isn’t it written that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39 ESV). So we say with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” (John 6:68). - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

The title implies one thing, you might say, and the content another.  Not really. 

Weak and heavy laden people are the ones whom often fall away from God.  They are under pressure or stress, under heavy grieving or sorrow and believe the lie that they were abandoned by God.  

In the similar context of where Spurgeon is today is those who are in need yet wondering about things. He gives you all the questions that I might be prompted to ask in this post.  

In quite a few times in my life I have felt very distant from God. It wasn't Him, it was on me.  I cannot place the blame anywhere else.  In the silence it did not mean He wasn't there.  He was waiting on me.  In my times when I felt forsaken He had not. He was waiting on me.  In the times of my darkest days when I couldn't perceive Him at all, He was waiting on me.  Satan loves to remind me of those times.  Trying to use them as reasons to prove that God had left me. 

My friend, there is no evil that can happen that can separate us from God's love.  Every sin of every kind was nailed to the cross when Jesus was nailed to the cross. Every 'little white lie' to the most heinous imaginable or unimaginable.  Everything that was a part or aspect of sin was nailed to the cross. If a serial killer found Jesus before dying, and meant it, he would be in Heaven. If the worst kind of human being did the worst thing ever, yet found Christ, and it was genuine, they would be in Heaven after they died.  

Your worst isn't able to separate you from the love of God if you truly are in Christ. 

If you aren't a believer, then the only thing separating you from Christ is you. Your sin must be atoned for by the blood of Jesus. 

Remember who was on another cross with Jesus?  One believed and was with Him in Paradise. The other did not and was in torment in Hell.  That's the truth of choosing Salvation vs not.  At your death there are only two destinations. Your death can be at any moment.  The internet is replete with trillions of examples of accidents or sudden deaths of people who were not expecting it. I have no guarantee that I will make it out of my house to go to work alive.  I have no guarantee that I will make it to work alive. You have to remember your life and mine are in the hands of God. 

But the things that I am going through!

Wouldn't you rather not be alone going through them?  But to have the one who truly understands you there with you?

I confess freely and frequently to my Savior that I am weak and weary.  I don't have what it takes to take on this world. 
I am a nobody among nobodies.  Some believe that there must be something special about me for how much we have been blessed.  No, not at all. If I am blessed it's because of the Grace of my Savior. Grace being unmerited favor. Add to that His Mercy, my not receiving what I do deserve.  The same can be there for you.  The same is available to you. 

God woke me up in the middle of last night to write that short earlier message about His return.  As I said earlier the internet is replete with trillions of examples of split second death.  The horror stories of people never once suspecting that their next moment would be in either Heaven or Hell.  When Jesus does return, in a split second, that is going to happen all over the world at ONE TIME.  Believers the world over will all vanish at one time in a split second. At a moment nobody will be expecting. 

Having Christ as your Savior now is oh so important both for this moment in time now but also for that moment that is coming soon.

Yes it's hard on Christians right now in this world.  But we will now and forever be with Jesus at His appearing. Jesus always gets the last word. Jesus tells those who believe to not fear He has overcome the world. If you are in Christ you have overcome the world. If you do not then the world will overcome you. 

Many dozens who were once Disciples of Jesus left Him at that point of today's Scripture.  Only the 12 remaining, yet one still wasn't saved that we know of. 

Many who left...yet I wonder if after the resurrection that they might have come back?  Jesus died once for all.  Including Judas, including those who stopped walking with Jesus that day. Including you and I. 

2020 has left trillions weak and heavy laden with so much.  It is certainly not the time to be far away from God. Now is the time to draw near to Jesus.  If you have not, open the door to your heart today and ask Jesus to come in.  If you have and all seems too quiet, continue to pray and pour out your heart to Jesus.  He is still near. His promises are from everlasting to everlasting. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Jesus is returning. Why it really matters!

I woke up a short while ago and the title for this post came to mind.  My dear reader, please don't ignore the signs all around you. 

Political affiliation means nothing. 
People groups mean nothing. 
Who you support or don't means nothing. 
Your wealth or lack of it means nothing. 

Where you stand in your own right before God means everything. 

If you are not found to be a born again believer in Jesus Christ, before He returns, you will enter into 7 years of judgements unleashed upon the Earth. Billions are going to die.  Billions more will be wishing for death and will not find it. 

Your only time to get right with God is in the here and now.  

Please take a moment and look up Romans Road to Salvation.  It will take you through key points in the book of Romans and show you how to be saved.  It shows why you need it and the consequences if you don't. 

My friend, time is running out. Don't be left behind!  

When fear is there...

“Why are you frightened?” he asked. “Why are your hearts filled with doubt?” Luke 24:38 NLT 

“O Jacob, how can you say the LORD does not see your troubles? O Israel, how can you say God ignores your rights?” (Isaiah 40:27 NLT). The Lord cares for all things, and the lowest creatures share in His universal providence—but His particular providence is over His saints: “The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him” (Psalm 34:7 NKJV); “Their lives are precious to him” (Psalm 72:14 NLT); “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants” (Psalm 116:15); “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Let this fact cheer and comfort you: while He is the Savior of all people, He is especially the Savior of those who believe. You are His particular care; the regal treasure He guards as the apple of His eye; the vineyard that He watches over day and night. “The very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:30). Let the thought of His special love for you be a spiritual painkiller, a salve to your woe: “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV). God says that to you as much as to any saint of ancient times. “Do not be afraid. . . . I am your shield, your very great reward” (Genesis 15:1). We lose much comfort by our habit of reading God’s promises for the whole church instead of taking them directly home to ourselves. Believer, grasp the Scriptures with a personal, appropriating faith. Think that you hear Jesus say, “I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail” (see Luke 22:32). Imagine that you see Him walking on the waters of your trouble—He is there, and He is saying, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Oh, those sweet words of Christ! May the Holy Spirit make you feel that they were spoken to you. Forget other people for a while—accept the voice of Jesus as addressed to you personally, and say, “Jesus whispers comfort, I cannot refuse it. I will sit under His shadow with great delight.” - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Fear. Fears. Terror. Horror. 

The greatest fear, is not found in this world.  Huh? You may say. 

The greatest fear, is not found in this world. 

It's found in Hell.  That very real place where Scripture says there is weeping and gnashing of teeth the duration of which does...not...end.

The opposite of all that is found in Heaven.  There is no fear, nothing of the kind is found in Heaven, because that is the Throne of God.  That is where Christ is.

In this world there is the media and political figures who, through the guidance of Satan, play on the fears of the people.  
Stoking controversy, stirring up people groups against each other.  All while they sit back and comfortably watch them destroy each other.  

Tolerance is being demanded yet not being shown.  

In Christ is where peace is found.  Yet even in Christ we are forewarned that we will indeed find tribulations and trials.  

That a man's enemies will be members of his own family.  Sounds like that was ripped right from today's headlines doesn't it?   There's infighting even within the professing Church.  Compromise begets infighting.  You cannot take a stand with Christ and not find that the world is against you.  

So what do we do?  Jesus says of Himself that He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  That He will never leave us nor forsake us.  That He is the promise maker who is the promise keeper. 

Parallels...oh how I see parallel responses.   Side by side in the same circumstances yet watch those who do not have Jesus react to the same things as myself get a whole different set of results.  By no means, my friend, do I imply that I have arrived, that I am better than anyone else. My confidence is not in me nor anything of me. My confidence in life comes from Jesus.  At work people imply that I am doing so many great things.  That's not me.  That's a result of prayer to my Savior who has chosen to bless the work of my hands and to bless my life.  At the same time I see others in the same boat struggling and I know without a doubt it's their lack of a relationship with Jesus that's missing.  

Many years ago I was more apt to be in a panic mode than not.  In the years since, God's been working on me and in me.  He's been growing me in Him.  I have such a long way to go until He says that I have arrived.  My comfort comes from Jesus. 

Fears try their hardest to worm their way into my life.  Then Jesus reminds me "I'm still here. I still love you."

For those without Christ, Jesus is on the other side of the door of your heart knocking, saying "I am still here. I love you!"  My friend, open that door. 

The fear, the horror, the terror felt hour by hour, second by second by those in Hell has only to do with the truth of the knowledge that they know that Jesus is real, is who He said He was, and that they will now spend eternity apart from Him. 

My personal thoughts on death are that Jesus is there when everyone dies. That He awaits those who are His and welcomes them into His Heaven.  I also believe He meets those who are not His and they know a taste of the love they denied themselves by rejecting Him. 

For those of you reading this who haven't yet come to Christ, is being right in your own eyes really worth spending eternity in torment and horror in Hell? Is all that you are afraid of losing in THIS life worth spending eternity in Hell?  The scales of truth are before you.  Weigh it out.  Is what you are refusing to let go of in exchange for a life now and forever in Christ worth holding onto?  Don't let fear in the here and now tell you what to believe.  In Christ perfect love casts out fear.  He's at the door, knocking, won't you let Him in?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Do you bring? Do you do anything?

He first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, 
“We have found the Messiah” (which is translated, the Christ).

John 1:41

People become known for many things. Noah is known as a righteous man in an evil age. David is known as the man after God's own heart. Peter is known as the outspoken disciple. John is known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. Judas is known as the betrayer. Paul is known as a fearless proclaimer of the gospel. Andrew is known for bringing others to Jesus.

The first person Andrew brought to Jesus was his brother Peter. As soon as Peter joined the disciples, he became the spokesperson for the Twelve, while Andrew remained in the background. It was Peter, not Andrew, who rose to prominence as one of Jesus’ inner circle of three. We do not read of Andrew resenting Peter; it seems he was satisfied to bring others to Jesus and leave the results to Him.
It is not surprising that Andrew found the boy with the loaves and fishes and brought him to Jesus (John 6:8–9). Andrew brought Greeks to Jesus, even though they were despised by pious Jews (John 12:20–22). There is no record of Andrew ever preaching a sermon, performing a miracle, or writing a book of Scripture. He is remembered for those whom he brought to Jesus.
Andrew is a good role model for us. Our job is not to transform people into Christians nor to convict them of their sin. It is not our responsibility to make people do what they ought to do. Our task is to bring them to Jesus, and He will perform His divine work in their lives. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Andrew evidently was a somewhat behind the scenes kind of guy.  Quite a few, in reality, in Scripture were.  He was in good company. 

I don't know if anything I have ever said or imparted to anyone ever was enough for them to say yes to Salvation in Christ Jesus in my life up to this point.  Outside of these posts, outside of a sermon or two that I have given, I don't know, and will never know the impact of me in this world to bring people to Jesus. 

But I have to try, to strive, to be whatever it is God wants me to be.  Armchair quarterbacks and couch potatoes in front of a television set are as bad as people professing to be Christians yet have done nothing useful for their Master. 

They talk up things yet have done nothing. 

Jesus gave parables on the need to be found doing something when He returns. 

That each believer has been given something special to be used for God upon receiving Salvation.  

We may never reach the worldly status of a Billy Graham or any other prominent man of God preaching on television or online today.  But that's ok.  As it's recorded, we don't really see Andrew preaching, we see him just doing for Jesus. 

Are you a doer?  Do you bring your efforts to the table for Jesus?   It's mere excuses to use 'oh I just can't...'. You're right!  I can't do what you read here every day for the last 18 or so months.  These writings aren't me, they are what God has for me to do, once I was willing to do for Him. 

I have been trying to write a book for over 35 years.  Nothing had panned out.  Yet, in being willing to write for Jesus, He has taken what I have written and multiplied it like the loaves and fish.  I have a second blog that is in the hundreds of page views. These writings here have hit over 38 countries and thousands and thousands of page views.  The difference is God's doing something with my being willing to do what I can for Him. 

Do you ever think you can't do for Jesus? 
Oh my friend, even those Andrew's like myself are useful to Him.  He can use you. Do not allow fears dissuade you.  You have no idea what you are capable of in Christ.  In Christ failure isn't possible.  In Christ we can do what He has for us to do, for you to do.  It isn't possible to fail at doing what He has for you to just need to be willing. 

But I don't know what tomorrow will bring! Well neither do I, but, I do know who holds tomorrow in His hands. 

My deepest conviction in being willing to do what God has me doing, is that day that I will stand before Him.  What did I do with what I was given?  Did I bury it under a rock or did I invest it?  What have you done with what you are given?  If you came to Christ, you WERE given something to use.
That's the nature of that parable that Jesus spoke of.   

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

What and Why We Do

. . . grow up in all things into Him . . . Ephesians 4:15 NKJV 

Many Christians are stunted in their spiritual growth, presenting the same appearance year after year. No evidence of advanced and refined feeling is found in them. They exist, but they do not grow up in all things into Him. But should we rest content with being the green blade when we might advance to the ear, and eventually ripen into the full corn in the ear (Mark 4:28)? Should we be satisfied to believe in Christ, saying, “I am safe,” without wanting to know in our own experience more of the fullness that is found in Him? It should not be so! We should, as good traders in heaven’s market, desire to be enriched in our knowledge of Jesus. It is all very well to tend other people’s vineyards, but we must not neglect our own spiritual growth and ripening. Why should it always be wintertime in our hearts? It is true that we must have our seedtime but, oh, for a springtime—indeed, a summer season—that will give promise of an early harvest. If we want to mature in grace, we must live near Jesus—in His presence—ripened by the sunshine of His smile. We must hold sweet communion with Him. We must not be content with a distant view of His face, but come near, as John did, to lay our head on His chest. Then we will find ourselves advancing in holiness, love, faith, and hope—yes, in every precious gift. The sun rises first on the mountaintops, bathing them with light and presenting a charming sight to the traveler’s eye. In a similar way, one of the Christian’s most delightful contemplations is to see the glow of the Spirit’s light on the head of some saint, one who has risen in spiritual stature above his or her companions. Like a mighty, snow-capped Alp, that person reflects the beams of the Sun of Righteousness among the chosen, holding the glow of His brilliance high for all to see. And seeing it, they will glorify our Father in heaven. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify 
the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that 
they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.

Malachi 3:3

The quality of our worship is not based on our activities but on our character. Churches can mistakenly assume that the better the music, the more impressive the building, and the more eloquent the preaching, the more worshipful the experience will be. Genuine worship, however, originates from within our hearts. If our relationship with God is not healthy, all these things are nothing more than religious pageantry.

The Levites were the worship leaders of their day. Their task was to offer sacrifices on behalf of the people. God declared that before they could worship Him in righteousness, He would first refine them with His refiner's fire, purging them of any impurities. Merely being members of the religious profession, having official responsibilities in the temple, and going through the rituals of worship did not guarantee that their religious activities would be acceptable to holy God.
Today, we tend to look to external things to enhance our worship. The true quality of our worship, however, rests within us. If we have not allowed God to purify us first, our worship will be void of His presence. If we do not have a pure heart, we may give offerings, but they will be unacceptable to God. Attending a religious service will not automatically ensure an encounter with God. If you are not satisfied with the quality of your worship, don’t be too quick to blame your environment. Look first to your own heart. Allow God to refine your heart until it is pleasing to Him, and you will be free to worship God as He intends.
- Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

What and Why.  I found it interesting how both of these devotionals seemed to work together.  The aspects of what and why really show the how as well. 

What do you do in life to further your knowledge of Jesus?  Hmm?  Anything?  Do you make time for Him on Sundays and that's it?  Do you 'try' to remember to pray concerning the food you eat?

What is your motivation?

Tying into the other devotional...Genuine worship, however, originates from within our hearts. If our relationship with God is not healthy, all these things are nothing more than religious pageantry.

Do you get real with yourself and God often?  Have you found yourself crying out to God? Ever? 

What we do is often a reflection of our hearts.   If we are consumed by something that is our focus.  At work you are being paid to be consumed with your work. When not at work, what consumes your thoughts, time, energy?

Me? I like to learn things.  I love it when someone teaches me and I am able to do what I was taught.  I have very personal talks with Jesus each morning.  Do you?
I often ask people to pray, not because I am unable to myself, but to obey Scripture.  Bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of Christ.  I ask for prayers of people to both invite them to go before Jesus, and to enable them to share in the blessings for doing so.  I will be the first to admit that I am weak.  But, again, Scripture says that God uses the weak. 

I don't have life all together.  I try my best to obey what God puts before me.  A morning without God in it is empty.  A blessed day is one where I get to listen to worship songs while working.  

We live in a world where minds are constantly bombarded with being told how they should operate, how they should think.   In fact several in so-called journalism have spoken out in rage to state its their job to tell you what to think. 

Satan refuses to accept defeat.  You come to Christ, he will try everything to keep you from growing. He will use every subtle form of temptation to get you not to grow in Christ.  He never will use blatant overtones of anything to get your attention.  That would be too obvious. Secondly, he will make it YOUR idea!  You will convince you of the things that you do or think.  He merely provides the suggestion to your sin nature. Believers and unbelievers both are susceptible. 
Satan is not creative, he is also not wasteful, he only does what has worked on mankind throughout the centuries. 

Prayer and time with Jesus are the biggest things he wants you not to do. Because he knows those things cause Spiritual growth. He knows that prayers of a righteous man avails much.  He knows that the prayers of a righteous person are unhindered before God. 

You see all members of the human race, believers and unbelievers have an enemy that knows us better than we know ourselves.  Side note is that Scripturally speaking there's no longer any such thing as a race issue.  Before the Throne of God you are not black or white or Asian or any other such thing.  You either are saved in Christ or you are condemned to Hell.  

Knowing this, should prompt believers to live in such a way as to be a living witness before others, showing them the way to Jesus.  By their actions, by their What and Why.  THAT is their How.

When Jesus returns, and He will, it will be the hallmark of the beginning of the end.  As stated the other day, 1007 years will remain after the Rapture of the Church.  That's it. Trust me, fossil fuels, and all the things that people keep trying to say they want for recreation in this world will not be a priority after the Rapture happens.  Disasters will be a daily, global, problem. 
I will not be here through any of that. I will be with Jesus.  Will you?

My friend, nothing about coming to Christ is about losing this or that. It's about two things.  Learning how to really live and to bring others to Jesus.  Learning from the Spirit of God...doesn't get better than that.
Being shown things from God.  I have had some mind blowing Bible revelations myself.  Have experienced the impossible that, like Paul said of himself, he cannot put into words.  

Getting your why, what and how in line with your Savior is when things happen in your life.   If you don't have Jesus, you are wasting your life. Wasting your time trying to find peace and happiness. 

Look at yourself today and be truthful with you.  Are you living for yourself?  That questionis is for everyone. 

Monday, October 19, 2020

Why obedience?

“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.” 1 Samuel 15:22 NKJV 

Saul had been commanded to utterly destroy all the Amalekites and their cattle. Instead of doing that, he preserved the king and allowed the Israelites to take the best of the oxen and sheep. When called to account for this, he declared that he was planning to offer a sacrifice to God—but Samuel immediately replied that sacrifices were no excuse for an act of direct rebellion. Today’s Scripture should be printed in letters of gold and hung before the eyes of our present idolatrous generation—people who are very fond of their own forms of worship but utterly neglectful of the laws of God. Always remember that to stay strictly on the path of your Savior’s command is better than any outward form of religion; and to listen to His teachings with an attentive ear is better than bringing the fat of rams or any other precious thing to lay on His altar. If you are failing to keep the least of Christ’s commands toward His disciples, I pray you will no longer be disobedient. All the pretensions you make of nearness to your Master, all the devout actions you might perform, are no compensation for disobedience. “To obey,” even in the slightest and smallest thing, “is better than sacrifice,” however magnificent. Leave behind your self-directed worship and service—the first thing God requires of His child is obedience, and even if you give your body to be burned and all your goods to feed the poor (1 Corinthians 13:13), without obeying the Lord’s precepts, all your formalities yield no profit. It is good to be as teachable as a little child. But it is a much more blessed thing, when you have been taught a lesson, to carry it out to the letter. How many esteem their churches and leaders but refuse to obey the word of the Lord! My soul, do not come into their disobedience. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Even today people, all people, want accolades for what pithy things they sacrificed for this or that.  Everyone, at some point in their lives, wants to hear of how well they did in giving for someone else's needs or wants.  There have been whole television shows on the giving of gobs of time, money and talent to helping others...not because of the need but because of the ratings.  Be real here, if it's on television, ratings have something to do with the 10's of thousands of dollars spent per minute to be seen. 

This may sound apathetic in its message, but the truth goes all the way back to Cain.  He wanted recognition more than he wanted acknowledged for his offering. 

Both Christians and non-Christians can live lives that appear to have elements of a Godly life.  The truth is in the words of Jesus.  Go and understand what this means, I desire obedience not sacrifice. 

Saul let position and worldly status become more important than obedience to God.  An entire generation or two died in the wilderness due to not obeying the Word of God.  As Spurgeon wrote as well, not obeying the Word of God cost Moses dearly. 

Oh so many people whine about obedience even when they are obeying.  They want to do the minimum without giving up their hold on the things of this world. 

When we all give an account of what we did in this life the degree of obedience will be highest on that accounting.  

I would be lying if I said I wasn't sorely tempted to live like my mind wants me to. As the world does.  Load up the credit cards and deal with it later in life.  To give up on tithing and live it up.  Those are real temptations.  Yet where does obedience fit with thinking like that?

To be truthful, God has blessed my Wife and I far more than my mind has the capacity to grasp.  My mind is blown.  From the smallest part to the biggest that I am capable of seeing to understand, God's blessings overflow.  It's not to say that we still don't have needs, because we do, it means we still need Him.  This blog's audience blows my mind.  Never in my lifetime would I ever dream of writing and yet see it go to such lengths in the world.  In possessions, God continues to bless in providing us with things to help others.  
To be 100% honest, I don't want to be rich if it means that I live as if I don't need my God! 

It comes and will come through obedience.  The part that trips many up is Salvation begins it all. Without receiving the Holy Spirit, obedience means nothing in the day of accounting.  You have to receive Jesus as your Savior to begin to understand what obedience really is about.  

Look at what Jesus says. Many. In Heaven's terms this isn't just a few, it means probably millions if not billions.  Many will say to Jesus did we not do this in your name and that in your name?  Without being saved...He says to depart from Him for He never knew them. 

Being good isn't enough. Being a nice person isn't enough.  You could be born, be raised up in a fantastic home, go and give of yourself all your life, die without Christ, you will not see Heaven. Those people are among those Jesus was talking to. 

Obedience begins with Salvation.  

After Salvation comes the changes of the heart towards the things of God.  The letting go of selfishness.  The beginning of true obedience. 

So many millions, if not billions, think that their paltry Sunday morning show up or late Saturday night show up to Church is more than enough to give to God in their week. That they don't really need to be reading their Bible.  That reading books other than the Bible for help in living life is more important or -  sad to say - equal to reading the Bible.  

Look at your level of obedience.  Are you more afraid of what you will lose than to believe God in what you will gain in obeying Him? 

My obedience isn't where it needs to be.  I know enough to know that much.  I know of Pastors who will tell you the same of themselves. 

It doesn't mean that you will lose out.
It doesn't mean that you will miss opportunities. 
It doesn't mean what the world is trying to convince you it means. 

Obedience, for the right reasons, means real obedience to God. He will honor you and I for that. 

This world is perishing.  At best it has a short while over 1,007 years left to it.  

Huh? Yes. We have from this very hour til the Rapture of the Church, plus 7 years of the Tribulation plus the 1,000 year reign of Christ.  That's it.

What will you show in your finite time on this world of your true obedience to God?

Is your sports, movies, television, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, everything else more important than obedience to God?

Is your life being lived for you rather than for God?  Scripture says that what we do should be done as unto the Lord.  Colossians 3.

Are you saved?  That's the beginning of obedience.  Are you saved and obeying?  Having the right to enter Heaven is only the beginning.  Obedience shows others the way to Salvation in Christ. 

If you're thinking that you're good enough.  My friend, Hell is filling up with people who thought they were good enough for Heaven.  Hell is full of people who will all tell you to stay away from there.  Hell is full of people who would like a second chance to live life and to get it right.  Hell is full of people who have absolutely no problem knowing that the word of God is right, true, and real.  The anguishing cry in Hell is to God to change His mind about them. 

You still have a chance to choose to obey.  Once your life is over that chance is gone. 

To the believer, your chance to obey is always opportune. You can come back to Christ and be restored.  The time is now to obey and to truly live. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

I don't have to be perfect

He will carry the lambs in his arms. Isaiah 40:11 NLT 

The sheep of our good Shepherd’s flock have had a variety of experiences—some are strong in the Lord and others are weak in faith. But the Lord is impartial in His care for all His sheep, and the weakest lamb is as dear to Him as the most advanced of the herd. Lambs are prone to lagging behind, wandering, and growing weary, but the Shepherd, with His arm of power, protects them from all the dangers of these weaknesses. He finds newborn souls, like young lambs, ready to perish, and He nourishes them until their life becomes vigorous. He finds weak minds ready to faint and die, and He comforts them and renews their strength. He gathers all the little ones, since it is not our heavenly Father’s will that even one of them should perish. What a quick eye He must have to see them all! What a tender heart to care for all of them! What a powerful, far-reaching arm to gather them all! In His lifetime on earth, Jesus was a great gatherer of weaker types, and now that He lives in heaven, His loving heart yearns toward the meek and contrite, the timid and feeble, the fearful and fainting here below. How gently He gathered me to himself—to His truth, to His blood, to His love, to His church! With what effective grace He compelled me to come to himself! Since the day of my conversion, how often He has restored me from my wanderings, once again folding me within the circle of His everlasting arms! Best of all, He does it personally, not delegating the task of love, but lowering himself to rescue and preserve His most unworthy servant. How can I love Him enough or serve Him appropriately? I would gladly lift His name to the ends of the earth, but what can my feebleness do for Him? Great Shepherd, please add one more blessing to the mercies you’ve shown me: a heart to love you more truly as I ought. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

But I can't come to Christ because I have...
You don't understand, if God finds out...
No, I can't, God wouldn't want me after I...

The list goes on. There's probably the lines you who have come to Christ had once said to someone sharing the Gospel to you as well.  Your personal excuses that you once believed were too great to make you worth saving by Jesus. 

Hate to break it to all who have believed and to all who haven't yet...nobody has been worthy.  Everyone including all the greats who wrote the Bible weren't worthy. 

Nobody is.  For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.  Then, too, the wages of sin is death.  Both in the Bible, both a revelatory eye opener to all who read and understand it.  As God has it written, so it is.  Nobody's worth it from birth.  That's why it took Jesus coming to Earth as He did to create the perfect exchange of God for man.  He took on everything you and I and every single person who has ever lived or is living or will live...took all that sin upon Himself on the cross. He met it, and bested it. He erased every judgment against all who would believe and come to Christ to be saved. 

Then, He didn't stop there, He kept His promise never to leave us alone.  To send the Helper, the Holy Spirit.  Who stays with each who have believed, to help them learn and grow in Christ. 

He keeps His promises.  Don't compare notes with other believers.  Don't degrade yourself by what you see in others.  Don't, if you aren't a believer, look at the likes of the Spurgeon's or the Billy Graham's of this world and consider yourself unable to be of any use for God.  That you just can't do that kind of thing. 

Guess what?  Neither can I.  Neither can any others who have come to Christ.  Jesus needs you to be you for Him.  He doesn't want me to be a Spurgeon or a Paul of Tarsus. Doesn't want me to be a Barnabas or a Timothy.  

He needs me, and hopefully you, to be who He needs you to be for Him.

Look at your choice today.  Your reasons for not coming to Christ.  For those who have come to Christ, look at what you are doing. 

We choose to not only come to Christ, we also choose not to. In the end, we choose. 
We can believe the lies in our heads or we can choose to take a step towards truth. 

We who are in Christ can choose to live for Jesus or try to skate on by in life.  We can choose to learn to grow or choose to wrap our arms around the world to live as if we didn't come to Christ.  

I don't have to be perfect.  I have to be willing.  I didn't have to be good or perfect to come to Christ.  I had to be willing to take the leap of faith to come to Christ. To agree with Him that maybe He was and is right, that to Him I am worth saving.  Regardless of what I have done or do, my stand before Him is that He loves me and forgives me. 

Saturday, October 17, 2020

Never been One Moment

But David thought to himself, “One of these days I will be destroyed by the hand of Saul.” 1 Samuel 27:1 

This thought of David’s heart was a false one. He certainly had no reason to think that God’s anointing of him by Samuel would ultimately be an empty, purposeless act. There had never been an occasion when the Lord had deserted his servant; David had often been placed in perilous positions, but there was never a time in which divine intervention had not delivered him. The trials he faced had been varied; they had not assumed only one form—yet in every case the One who sent the trial had also graciously prepared a way of escape. David could not point to any entry in his diary and say, “Here is evidence that the Lord will forsake me,” for all the experiences of his life proved the very reverse. He should have argued, from what God had done for him, that the Lord would continue to defend him. But isn’t this just the way that we doubt God’s help? Our mistrust has no cause. Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Hasn’t His lovingkindness been marvelous? Has he failed to justify our trust even one time? Ah, no! Our God has never, ever left us. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shone amid the blackness; we have been in stern conflicts, but He has held the shield of defense over our heads. We have gone through many trials, but never to our detriment, always to our advantage. The conclusion from our history is that the One who has been with us in six troubles will not leave us in the seventh. What we have known of our faithful God proves that He will keep us to the end. Let us not, then, think thoughts that are contrary to the evidence. How can we be so ungenerous as to doubt our God? Lord, throw down the Jezebel of our unbelief, and let the dogs devour it (see 2 Kings 9:30–37). - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Upon reading this devotional, I am brought to a song from a year or so ago. 

Never been a Moment  - Micah Tyler 

I've been sinner
I've been a saint
A little bit of both every single day
I've been lost
But somehow I've been found
There's been some pain
Been some regret
Been some moments I'll never forget
But when I look back
From where I'm standing now
There's never been a moment
I was not held inside your arms
And there's never been a day when you were not who you say you are
Yours forever, it don't matter
What I'm walking through
'Cause no matter where I'm going
There's never been a moment that I was not loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you
You've been the rock
You've been the peace
Always showing your good heart to me
My days are marked by grace I don't deserve, no
You've been the price I could never pay
You've been the light that has led the way
No matter where oh I am, I am sure
There's never been a moment
I was not held inside your arms
There's never been a day when you were not who you say you are
Yours forever, it don't matter
What I'm walking through
'Cause no matter where I'm going
There's never been a moment that I was not loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you
So where could I go that I could wander from your sight
And where could I run and never leave behind
Your all consuming
Heart pursuing
Grace extending
Never ending love
Your love
There's never been a moment, no
There's never been a moment
I was not held inside your arms
There's never been a day when you were not who you say you are
Yours forever, it don't matter
What I'm walking through
'Cause no matter where I'm going
There's never been a moment that I was not loved by oh
No matter where I'm going there's never been a moment that I was not loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you
Loved by you

Depression hits everyone at some point.  You can even see the fringes of it in the Gospels when it comes to Jesus Himself. 

Jesus? Depressed?  Yes. And no that isn't sacrilege in any way. Scripture says that He was tempted in every way yet did not sin.  The temptation to sin going through depression is very real. 

King David knew better yet wrote those words down anyway.  Our thoughts can box us in and the disturbing truth is we are wielding the tools and materials to make that box. 

I have been through many times of depression.  I don't recall the circumstances of all with any significant details, but do remember the when's of them happening.  The worst begin in the spring of 1999.  Depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts.  Suffice to say it's obvious that God didn't let me. 

Nobody from Adam to now has ever gone through a life where depression hasn't touched them personally or someone near them.  People are sinful, hurtful, people at their core. Situations get overwhelming.  Evil pushes to beget more evil.  To try to drive away that which is good in Christ. 

After the 7 years of judgements in the Biblical Tribulation, for a thousand years Jesus will be the world Leader.  People will go back to living for hundreds of years.  Evil will be curtailed dramatically, but, as the end of that period ends we see that even a 100 percent peaceful existence doesn't cure sin.  As the sand of the seashore is, people will gather to join the recently released Satan to fight against Jesus. All He will do is speak and the battle is over.  Then comes the final judgment at the Throne of God. 

True depression will hit all the billions that are cast into the Lake of Fire.  

Nobody who has put their faith in Christ Jesus for Salvation will ever see that fate.

The only way to add avoid that is to come to Christ in this life.  To confess your need for a Savior. To ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins and to save you.  The way to Salvation is not complicated. It's free, but for many, to get past their prideful heart is impossible.  How many billions are in Hell all because they refuse to believe in their need for Jesus to save them, that didn't have to be there. From Jesus Himself we read of the fact that those who are there have no recourse. They have no problem realizing the truth of God's Word is irreversible.  But for you, my friend, in this life, you still have a choice. 

You can find the peace that eludes you. 
You can find the Salvation that you are in need of.
You can find that friend that sticks closer than a brother...Jesus. 

You have that option and opportunity at your feet to find that which you have really been seeking.  The answers to your life's questions.  Everything you have been missing and more. 

What you do from this moment on, after reading this, is where you can change your life.   Search for Romans Road to Salvation.  Read it, consider it well. You CAN escape depression, anger, anxiety, and emotions that you cannot control or contain. You need to come to Christ to find the answers to what you have been missing.