Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What We do When The World Draws Us Away...

What We do When The World Draws Us Away...

Let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD. Lamentations 3:40 NLT 

The wife who fondly loves her absent husband longs for his return; a long separation from her spouse is like a death to her spirit. And so it is with souls who greatly love the Savior—they must see His face. They cannot bear that He should be away and no longer in communion with them, like the lover in the Song of Solomon, on the mountains of Bether. A disapproving glance or an uplifted finger will be painful to loving children, who fear to offend their tender father—they are only happy with his smile. Dear reader, it was once the same with you. A verse of Scripture, some outside threat, the touch of the rod of affliction, and you went to your Father’s feet, crying, “Let me know why you contend against me” (Job 10:2 ESV). Is that still true now? Or are you content to follow Jesus from afar? Does it no longer alarm you to think your communion with Christ has been broken? Can you accept your Beloved walking away from you, because you walked away from Him? Is your heart at rest even though your own sins have separated you from your God? Oh, let me warn you in love—it is a serious thing when we can live comfortably without a present enjoyment of our Savior’s face. Let us consider carefully what an evil thing this is—little love to our own dying Savior, little joy in our precious Jesus, little fellowship with the Beloved! Have a time of reflection in your soul, time to sorrow over your hardness of heart. But don’t stop at sorrow! Remember where you first received salvation: go immediately to the cross. There, and only there, can your spirit be revived. No matter how hard, how senseless, how dead we may have become, let us go again to that cross, in all our rags and poverty and the defilement of our natural condition. Let us look into Jesus’s dying eyes, let us bathe in the fountain of His blood—this will bring back to us our first love. This will restore the simplicity of our faith and the tenderness of our heart.- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Dear Reader:

"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." Ephesians 4:14-16 

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap, and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:9-10

Upon reading that devotional, those passages came to mind.  Now mind you, I am one who struggles with memorization of Scripture.  Yet in His way, God brought those back to me enough to look them up.

Where in this world are you?  Are you going about your life, in the world in which you find yourself, only looking out for you?

Are you one who hungers after riches to the point that you honestly have sacrificed your family on that alter of greed?

Have you created other alters?  One for sports, maybe one is your job.  Maybe it's what you fool yourself into believing is only a hobby?  Are you intentional about your life with Christ or are you intentional about what you want and when you want it?

Do you pray, only to give God a grocery list of things, another of chores you want to have Him complete this day that HE has given you?

Do you preoccupy yourself with what honestly is sinful activities?  Putting on a show for family and friends but in the secrecy of your own house do sinful things, with greed and lust as your means of whetting your mind and heart?

I don't come up with any of these things on my own.  I write what I am told to write. 

Just how do you REALLY view God?  Believer or not a believer, how are you REALLY seeing God as He relates to you?

We are coming up on what has been celebrated as the week leading up to the Crucifixion.  At it's beginning the people were rejoicing in Jesus. "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" They shouted. 

The thoughts of the people were on rejoicing in Jesus. By the end of that week many were calling for His death. Jesus was to be scourged. A whip that had been made of tendons of an animal with bone pieces in it was used. He was to be beaten.  The iniquity of us all fell on Him. 

Our punishment was put on Him. On You. 

We are easily distracted by the cares of this life.  By get rich quick schemes. By lust and vanity. By riches and fame. All the paths towards a life apart from God. All temptations to be avoided. 

Jesus took the place of you and I in His horrific punishment before being nailed to a cross. 

He loved you and I too much to let that fall upon you or I.

Why isn't that causing you to be more appreciative of Jesus in your life? Why isn't it bringing you to a life of obedience?

I am not here to bring you to a guilt trip. 

If what you are reading is causing you discomfort, good, so much the better. It's what the Bible calls conviction. 

Examine your life, your hopes, your dreams.  Look at what you have accumulated in your mind and physical world.  Is it really glorifying the one who sacrificed His life to save you?

Are you at all making what Jesus wants a higher priority than your wants and desires?

What's more is when we put our wants, hopes and desires ahead of Jesus, then we really do let the world draw us away from God. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Difficulty in Praising Him

Difficulty in Praising Him 

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:26 

Praise is greatly honoring to God! In the Old Testament account of King Jehoshaphat, God's people faced a seemingly insurmountable enemy who was determined to destroy them. Yet God assured them that they would “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (2 Chron. 20:17). The people of Judah believed God. Their army was led by singers, offering praises to the Lord for their promised victory, and the victory came. When King David led the procession bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, he praised God with all of his strength (2 Sam. 6:12–23). David's praise was pleasing to God, and God's powerful presence remained in David's kingdom to give him victory against every enemy. Jesus was about to go to Gethsemane and to the cross, where God's greatest victory would be accomplished. He led His disciples to sing a hymn. The disciples were all about to fail Him, and Jesus was about to be cruelly executed, yet Jesus insisted that they praise God. Their praise looked beyond the cross to God's ultimate victory. Praise is rooted not in circumstances of the moment but in the nature and trustworthiness of God. You ought to rejoice when God asks you to proceed in the work of His kingdom because you know the victory is already secured. Don’t focus on the problems and failures of others. Focus on God's assurance of victory. If you have trouble praising God with a song in your heart as you serve Him, it may be that your focus is not on God, but on your circumstances. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Day by day we, as God allows and permits, live life in this world.  Day by day, hour by hour we do what we do.  Choice stands before us continually.  This morning, not unlike any others before it, choice demands my attention.  Do this, or do that. Think this, or think that. There's no peace at times all because of the noise of choice. 

Life gives you lemons, you're told to make lemonade.  You either enjoy what is before you or you don't.  Choice. 

After the known fact that Judas caved in to the will of Satan, fulfilling Scripture, he wasted no time in satisfying himself to fill his greed.  Choice.  How can it be choice if Scripture said he would do it?  The certainty of Scripture doesn't negate choice.  The Scriptures cannot be broken. The living Word of God knew what was meant by every single word that was written.  It's up to each of us to ask and learn. 

All too often we want to throw in the towel when it seems that God either isn't listening or isn't going to grant us what we are wanting. 

I have of late been going through some really difficult times, at least they are difficult to me.  Changes that I am certain I didn't ask for in prayer, yet the change is wrought from God.  It yet could be shown to me when I see Jesus face to face that He shows me where I had asked for something in prayer and this difficult road was the only way to make it happen. 

Difficulties in understanding are always on us.  Never on the part of Jesus.  Difficulties in praising Him in the difficult times is on us.  Praise almost never ends in Heaven. 

We struggle often with not understanding why.  Then we choose how to react to it.  Jesus chose to sing hymns after Judas's betrayal.  In prison Peter and another chose to praise God in song while in chains hanging on a wall.  

It's easy to show up at a Church to sing praises. It's on us to praise God in the storm. 

We think in our feeble minds that our prayers are simple.  We never consider that our prayers are among trillions offered up to Jesus. That He works all those trillions of prayers towards one thing.  The fulfillment of Scripture. 

Would I like to see mankind get along, to see war, disease, famine eradicated as all those wonderous science fiction stories talk about?  Who wouldn't?  The truth is living in utopia wouldn't keep the evils of sin at bay. The truth is sin is always at the doorstep. Right there with Choice. 

We may not hear or see an answer to prayer that agrees with us, but that should never stop our praise to God.  We gave up our rights to our life our way when we came to Christ to be saved.  We are to be living Disciples. In training to become like Christ. Quite often the 12 Disciples were rebuffed and rebuked for wrong thinking.  They were on a path of learning how to think God's way, not their way. 

So if difficulties are grabbing you today, praise God anyway.  Choice is there before you.  What will you do with it today?

Monday, March 29, 2021

What is to be Preached?

What is to be Preached?

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. ACTS 8:5 Notice what Philip preached when he arrived in Samaria: Christ! What did that mean in the first century? Remember, they didn’t have the New Testament to use. All they had was the Old Testament. So when Philip “preached Christ to them” (Acts 8:5), he was simply explaining how Jesus Christ fulfilled the Old Testament expectation of the coming Jewish Messiah. The only message the early church had was the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. “Christ and Him crucified” was the message (1 Corinthians 2:2). The church today has so muddied the gospel water that we can preach forever and never get around to Christ crucified. We’ve added cultural issues and social issues and theological issues to the Gospel that probably would have just confused the first-century Christians. They only had an eyewitness story to tell of a Messiah who died and rose again. That was what Christ did, and that is what the church preached. And look what happened when Philip preached that simple message. Multitudes of people responded to his preaching and the miracles he performed, “and there was great joy in that city” (Acts 8:6–8). - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

This particular devotional is both an eye opener and a condemnation for today's Christians.  It's no wonder the world sees no huge value in joining the Church of the living God.  Note clearly that didn't say "the Church".  The Church Universal is God's Church, it has no denominations. It has no special groups of people. Jesus is the Head of One Church. One body. 

I have yet to be to a real revival that had fruit to pick such as I have read of some of the Evangelists of old had done. 

But I have to consider that in light of the stories told the only message taught that brought souls to God had only to do with Jesus Christ being preached. Just as Philip did in this passage. 

He preached the fulfillment of Scripture. 
He preached the holy Spirit indwelling Jesus, proving He was the Christ. 
The message that won souls wasn't self-condemnation it was that Jesus came, lived a sinless life, suffered an died on a cross in our place.  He fulfilled the Scriptures in every detail of the coming Messiah. The King of Kings and Lord of He was and is and evermore shall be. 

Jesus's life was of compassion to others. They taught that. It was of righteousness, they taught that. It was of fleeing temptations. They taught that. It was of His birth in Bethlehem. Scripture said it, they taught it. It was said in Scripture that out of Egypt He would call His Son, they taught that because Jesus fulfilled that. His very manor of birth was written centuries earlier, they taught that is how it happened, with witnesses! They taught the very things that Jesus shared with them after His resurrection from every place in Scripture. 

Living for Jesus comes after a true understanding of Jesus, His birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection.  Teaching about what a Christian life is about BEFORE a person is saved is like reading in fluent Greek the owner's manual to a car with no pictures to someone who knows nothing more than you sound funny and probably kind of scary.  People need Christ preached first. They need to be tranformed by the new birth in Christ. Then they begin to learn about the truth of God. 

My Friend, Dear Reader...

Jesus said He is the Way the Truth and the Life.  You want to be saved? It will not start with your failed attempts at living a good life.  Your good life, no matter how perfect it looks to you, doesn't measure up to God's standards. Jesus came to take your place when it comes to meeting that standard. Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. He willingly obeyed His Father in coming here as He did. To live as He did. To go through the horrific death He died. In order to rise again, as the risen Lord and Savior.  To sit at the right hand of God the Father.  To be able to intercede on behalf of those who have placed their faith and trust in Him for Salvation. 

He preached Christ.  I believe that Dr. Jeremiah was right in saying what goes through Churches today would confuse the early Church people.  They were taught what was important. They were taught about Christ for that's all they had with no real New Testament written yet.

When Saul became Paul, he confounded his compatriots by proving what? That he was now a real righteous man and should be listened to, that now he can show you 12 points to a better life?  No. He was proving one thing and proved it well.

That Jesus was the Christ.  That to be saved you must believe and receive.  Tge letters we read that are the New Testament came decades later. 

What are you thinking of my Friend when it comes to life?  Are you tired? Tired of running?  Then start a walk with Jesus and find that He's been waiting for you all the time. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

If you're honest with You

What were truly honest...with yourself.

If We're Honest"

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I'm a mess and so are you
We've built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do

Bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest

Don't pretend to be something that you're not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay
Our secrets down at the cross, at the cross

So bring your brokenness, and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest

It would change our lives
It would set us free
It's what we need to be

So bring your brokenness and I'll bring mine
'Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy's waiting on the other side
If we're honest
If we're honest
If we're honest

Not worth it to Jesus? RUBBISH!

Not worth it to Jesus's? RUBBISH!

She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Matthew 15:27 ESV 

This woman gained comfort in her misery by thinking great thoughts of Christ. Jesus had talked about “the children’s bread” (Matthew 15:26). “Now,” she basically argued, “since you are the Master of the table of grace, I know that you are a generous host. There is certain to be abundant bread on your table. In fact, there will be such an abundance for the children that there will be crumbs to throw on the floor for the dogs—and the children won’t go hungry because the dogs are fed.” The woman thought of Jesus as someone who kept such a full table that her need would be just a crumb in comparison. But remember—what she wanted was to have a demon cast out of her daughter. That was a very important thing to her, but she had such a high esteem for Christ that she thought, “It is nothing to Him; it is only a crumb for Jesus to give.” This is the royal road to comfort. Great thoughts of your own sin will drive you to despair, but great thoughts of Christ will pilot you to the haven of peace. “Yes, my sins are many—but it is nothing to Jesus to take them all away! The weight of my guilt crushes me as a giant’s foot would crush a worm. But my sin is no more than a grain of dust to Him, because He has already carried its curse in His own body on the cross. It will be only a small thing for Him to give me a full pardon, though it will be an infinite blessing for me to receive it.” Expecting great things of Jesus, the woman opened her soul very wide and He filled it with His love. Dear reader, do the same. She admitted what Christ laid at her door, but she took hold of Him and made an argument out of even His hard words. She believed great things of Jesus, and so she overcame Him. She won the victory by believing in Him. This woman’s case is an instance of prevailing faith. If we want to conquer like her, we must imitate her ways. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Perhaps the greatest lie believed by mankind is our belief that we really are worthless to Jesus.  Second to that is a false belief that He doesn't care. 

My Dear Reader, oh the truth is harder than the lie.  That's a line out of a song actually.  God's truth is able to pierce all lies.  Lies we tell ourselves, lies we tell others, lies we think about God.

When you die, the truth hits you where you lived.  Your mind.  You cannot escape the depths of the reality of what God reveals to you in that moment. In the life of a believer they find themselves being ushered into Heaven by Jesus. In the life of the unbelieving they are ushered into torment in Hell. People alive today do not have any power or influence to "get people out of Hell" by way of talk or money towards God. Everyone including Mary, the mother of Jesus, confessed or will confess they are in need of a Savior. 

My Friend, please don't persist in your unbelief.  Jesus went through the worst Hell on Earth imaginable to come to you, to save you from judgment. He took all the torment relegated to your sentence.  You were born with sin. Sin can only be dealt with by way of a perfect sinless sacrifice. Jesus Christ is that sacrifice. 

Read this from Luke Chapter 4:

Luke 4:33-37

In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,  “Leave us alone! What business do You have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!”  But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, it came out of him without doing him any harm. And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another, saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And the news about Him was spreading into every locality of the surrounding region.

Demons also were coming out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” And yet He was rebuking them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that He was the Christ.

We blame much on the physical world.  Yet even demons believe and shudder at the reality of Jesus Christ and His power and Authority. 

You must, must, must realize that just as Jesus said He must be about the Father's business, so must demons be about their 'father's' business. Which is to keep as many as possible away from Salvation in Christ Jesus. 

Your circumstances in your life if you haven't come to Christ are there because of the plan of Satan to keep you from being saved. It's at war with the Plan of Christ to save you.  Jesus wasn't lying when He showed in a parable that He would leave 99 sheep to search for the one that was lost. He wasn't lying when He said He came to seek and save you and I. 

You likely believe some rather audacious lies about you. Lies of what you look like before God. Lies of how you could never be worth anything, you've gone too far, done too much, for God to care about you. 
Guess what? I have heard those things most of MY life. I have heard countless times of how I really screwed up now, Gid won't forgive me. Of how that choice is going to be it. God won't have anything to do with me now. That the reason why I feel so alone is because God lied and His silence proved that I was worthless to Jesus. 

I know those lies and more!  I know that you hear them too.  I know because Satan isn't creative. He has no need to be when those lies have worked for centuries. 

Jesus knows how heavy the burden of sin is to you and I. He's willing and waiting for you to cry out to Him for help and to be saved.  

He's got you covered if only you would trust Him. If only you would just receive His free gift of Salvation. Let today be the first day of freedom for you. Let today be where you find the peace you have craved all your life.  Stop believing the lies. 

As strange as this will seem, challenge God to prove the truth to you. His truth. Not this world's version of truth. 

Not in some bargain type of challenge. Not "If you are real, then I will give up..." type of thing.  

My Friend, your future depends on His being your Savior, not whether or not your physical circumstances are changed for the better.  As your Savior all the power of the Resurrection is available through Jesus to accordance with God's Will.  Not ours.  Look at those in the Bible who faced physically impossible to survive scenarios and some God delivered some He allowed to die. Bargaining with God doesn't work. 

You are worth everything to Jesus. 
You were on His mind when He was on the cross. 
You are that precious to Him.


Saturday, March 27, 2021

is it the same with You? So who have you Chosen?

Is it the same with You? So who have you Chosen?

Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough!” Mark 14:41a 

“It is enough!” How these words from the Master stung the disciples! They were given the opportunity to share a sacred moment with Jesus. They failed Him. This time, not even Peter had an answer for Jesus. Jesus forgave them, and they went on to experience God working powerfully through their lives, but that unique moment with their Lord was lost. The angels had comforted the Savior on that lonely night as He prepared for the cross, not the disciples. Scripture indicates that the disciples later became diligent in prayer, but the memory of that night would remain with them for the rest of their lives. Like the disciples, you receive unique opportunities to serve your Lord. There are times when Jesus will ask you to join Him as He is at work in the life of your friend, family, or coworker. If you are preoccupied with your own needs, you will miss the blessing of sharing in His divine activity. God is gracious; He forgives, and He provides other opportunities. He will even use our failings to bring about good, but it is critical that we respond in obedience to every prompting from God. God does not need our obedience; He has legions of angels prepared to do His bidding when we fail Him. The loss is ours as we miss what God wants to do in our lives. Respond immediately when God speaks to you. His will for you is perfect, and it leads to abundant life. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We live in a world that is that is replete with cliches.  Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. An Army of One. If you don't do for yourself it won't happen.  Selfishness is what's taught in schools that have no Godly influence.  Selfishness is what people are encouraged to pursue. 

Selfishness is the opposite of the love of God. 

Was reading in Luke 4 this morning. One of the temptations of Jesus by Satan.  To bow down and worship him and he would give Jesus honor and glory, saying it's been given to him to give to whomever he wished.  Look at history.  Indeed Satan has done so to many, the result has been that worship of God has been severely diminished.  Worship of self has increased.  You cannot worship both. 

I also was pondering the different way to look at those 40 days of temptation to Jesus.  It was a variation of what came upon Job. 

Are you living for self or living for Christ?

We, like Jesus said, cannot do both.  You will serve one and hate the other.  In my other Bible reading it was in the book of Judges.  Of how when Israel fell away from God, and embraced the world, they suffered for it. When they came back to God, they had peace. 

You have any wild notions that you are any better?  If Jesus said, and He did, that you cannot serve two masters, who are you serving?

Who is first in your life?
Who is second? 

If anyone is higher than Jesus, my Friend, you have a huge problem. 

In Prayer, we come to Christ, in faith, to ask what is on our hearts and minds.  It is a privilege only for those who are saved by Grace, those who have come to Christ for Salvation.  

I have heard believers and unbelievers cry out "Oh God!".  One out of a great need for the One who promised never to leave us nor forsake us.  The other out of either great fear or cursing, bringing dishonor to the Name of God, never out of reverence to whom that Name belongs. 

How is He seen in your life? Do you at all name the Name of Jesus as your Savior or is He nothing more than a bad punchline to a situation in your life?

To the end of time, at the final judgment, you will either be a Child of God or you will have rejected that for yourself.  In this life your choice is clear. Once you die you no longer have that choice. It's a settled matter. Irrevocable. Unchanging. Set in stone. Unalterable. 

Choose wisely today while it is still today for you. Jesus will either be your Savior or your Judge.  He will NOT be both in your decision to accept or reject Him. There is no in the middle place to be.  Jesus hates lukewarm people. If you haven't chosen Him, you have rejected Him. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

"Why should I let you into My Heaven?"

"Why should I let you into My Heaven?"

. . . . absent from the body . . . present with the Lord. 2 CORINTHIANS 5:8 

When Christian author and speaker Dr. Bob Hill was seventy-one, his mother passed away. She was nearly ninety-four. Family and friends gathered in St. Louis for the memorial service, and Bob rose to open the funeral. “Friends,” he said with a smile, “this is not a time for grieving but a time for celebration.” At that moment, Bob suffered a massive brain hemorrhage and slumped to the floor. As his wife and children rushed to the platform and gathered around him, he slipped into glory. Bob had written sixty books and had preached hundreds of times, but his last words were perhaps his most memorable. He had intended for them to be about his mother, but they became instead a comfort to those he himself left behind. While it’s necessary and normal for us to grieve, we also sense a celebration going on in heaven when a loved one falls asleep in Jesus, and we sorrow not as those who have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13). But such an occasion also causes us to revisit our own lives and reexamine our walk with the Lord. Are we really living a life worth living? Are we doing those things that when we stand before the Lord, we’ll wish we had been doing? - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening Dear  Really! Wow!

"Are we doing those things that when we stand before the Lord, we’ll wish we had been doing?" What a question!

Now the other part of the same devotional...

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. JAMES 1:17 In contrast to the evil enticements that come from within us, every good gift comes from God, who is over us. The text literally says that such benefits come down to us in a steady stream from the Father of lights. God’s nature is unchanging. He will forever be both good and trustworthy. Jesus (Matthew 6:30; 7:11) and Paul (Romans 13:14) shared the same perspective. James might add to Paul’s words that the believer should not only refrain from thinking about gratifying his desires but also avoid thinking about not gratifying his desires. We are not to grit our teeth and make up our mind that we will not do a certain thing. The key to dealing with temptation is to fill our minds with other things. Since temptation begins with our thoughts, changing what we think about is the key to victory. - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

"Are we doing those things that when we stand before the Lord, we’ll wish we had been doing?" What a question! Add to it, what do you think about?

Our thoughts, actions and intentions will all be on display when we stand before Christ. If a believer, you won't face Him in judgment, but just the same all 3 will be put to the fire. Some will come away with nothing but the fact that have Salvation in Christ. 

For unbelievers on the other hand will go through the same fire...only to find that it was all worthless without their name written in the Book of Life.  

To prepare the way for the new, the old often needs dealt with.  You don't only slap on new wood, trim and paint over damaged have to remove the old.

Your life, what you are doing, should you die today. Would you really be ok explaining it's every nuance to Jesus?
Would your reasons hold water at all when filtered through the Word of God?

Will your life show one of selfishness or of giving? Of love and compassion or of a me first mentality?  

Are you living in such a way that your children have learned the right and true way to live, or are you (sadly) amused that they have picked up your bad habits?

If you died today, what reason would you give when asked why you should be let into Heaven?  Your looks? Your charity? Your countless good deeds?  Your good nature? Your giving spirit? Your love for others? Your treatment of animals or the Earth? Your patience? Your married life? Your success story? All of these and every other "positive" you can come up with the God of the Bible says is: RUBBISH without Salvation in Christ Jesus. 

Everyone will have some or all of those in their lives when they leave this place.  Both believers and unbelievers.  It's whether or not Jesus is your Savior that is the difference maker. 

"Are we doing those things that when we stand before the Lord, we’ll wish we had been doing?" We all take it for granted the breath we breathe. We assume the next one is coming. We don't grasp the magnitude of the unmerited favor that God gives us in allowing us the chance to come to Christ.  Every breath you breathe, if you haven't said yes to that free gift of Salvation is a PARDON from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  

You have nothing of value within you to be a reason not to be found guilty before Jesus if you do not have Him as your Savior. 

Your life, believer or not a believer, is full of the mercy of God.  As rough as your life might get, you have been kept from the worst things it could have been. Yes there are atrocities committed by man against man.  But God knows it all could be worse without His intervention. We aren't yet to what He says that days of Noah were like. We haven't seen evil continually. 

If you died today, what would be your reason after that question is posed to you?

Do you take breathing for granted?

Is what you are doing honestly troubling you?  Trying to fight temptation rather than forcing your mind to think of the things that God says are right, good and pure?

Jesus asks all the same question.
"Why should I let you into My Heaven?"

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Serious a life with Christ.

Serious a life with Christ.

“Are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Luke 22:48 

“The kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6 NKJV). Let me be cautious when the world puts on a loving face. If possible, it will betray me like it did my Master—“with a kiss.” Whenever a man is about to attack religion, he usually professes a great love for it. Let me beware of the smooth-faced hypocrisy that serves as armor-bearer to heresy and unfaithfulness. Knowing the deceitfulness of unrighteousness, let me be wise as a serpent to detect and avoid the schemes of the enemy. The young man of the Proverbs, lacking understanding, was led astray by the kiss of the immoral woman. May my soul be so instructed by God’s grace today that the world’s “enticing speech” (Proverbs 7:21 NKJV) may have no effect on me. Holy Spirit, don’t let me—a poor frail human—be betrayed “with a kiss”! But what if I should be guilty of the same detestable sin as Judas, that son of destruction? I have been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus, I am a member of His visible Church, I sit at the communion table: all these are the kisses of my lips. Am I sincere in them? If not, I am a contemptible traitor. Do I live in the world as carelessly as others, and yet profess to being a follower of Jesus? Then I expose the Christian faith to ridicule, and lead people to speak poorly of the holy name by which I am called. If I act inconsistently, I am certainly a Judas—and it would be better for me if I had never been born (Mark 14:21). Do I dare hope that I am clean in this? Then, Lord, please keep me so. Lord, make me sincere and true. Preserve me from every false way. Never let me betray my Savior! I love you, Jesus, and though I often grieve you, I still want to live faithfully—to the point of death. Oh, God, keep me from being one who professes high things but then falls into the lake of fire because I betrayed my Master “with a kiss.”- C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Serious a life with Christ. 
The bulk of the world's population would argue that what Christians believe is a religion.  If you go by the Word of God it's not a religion it's a relationship. 

Throughout our lives we enter into and leave many countless relationships. The One that will stand the test of time is the one we receive in Jesus Christ. 

My Friends, if you are getting anything at all out of these posts, it should be that a right relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in your life.  Our relationship with Jesus is either going to be as Savior or as Judge. 

As Savior, we are brought into the family of God.  We are considered adopted. Children of the King!

As Judge, those who refuse a right relationship with Jesus, will face His judgment and wrath.  Those people are considered outsiders, outcasts. 

You cannot live in both relationships with Jesus. As a believer you are not seen as condemned. When the Father looks upon you, He sees Jesus who took away your sin and guilt. As a non-believer you are seen in all your sin, standing condemned. The future is sealed for both. The believer toward eternal life with Christ, the unbeliever to an eternal life apart from God in the Lake of Fire. 

The Bible isn't complicated in respect to Salvation in Christ.  God the Father didn't make it difficult. The human heart makes it difficult. The Father's Plan was 11 ordinary men. A new 12th was added after the Resurrection. Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles, that is, the world that wasn't Jewish.  I firmly believe that aside from his training as a Pharisee, under his former name, Paul was present throughout the ministry of Jesus. 

Betrayal is a very harsh word.  It's filled with all manner of poison.  Hatred, anger, are brought to a boil. Forgiveness is its only cure. Christ was betrayed by all, stood alone, was judged as guilty, hung on a cross.  Yet in all that betrayal, He forgave. In all who had forsaken Him, He forgave. Did He cry out in anger at Judas? No. He knew that moment was coming when He created Adam. He knew that moment was coming when the Angels were created. He knew...

We are coming up on a time of remembrance of what Jesus did in His last days on Earth before the crucifixion.  The world has twisted Easter into various pagan holidays. Satan doesn't want you or I to remember his greatest loss in battle. 

Satan is a sore loser.  He is a deceiver. He is a liar and Father of lies.  He knows with laser precision how to get us to turn our own thoughts away from Christ. A mighty river can have its course altered by a precisely placed stone. The right words of truth or the right lie has greatly altered the lives of countless trillions. 

Forgiveness is the path that Jesus always took vs living with anger and hate. The world would have you think otherwise. 

Jesus is returning again, just as He promised and also as the Angels testified. 

Will He be your Savior or your Judge?

Time is running out on it being a choice of the two.  Once the Rapture takes place people indeed will be saved but they will be living in the worst years humanity has ever seen. Those saved after the Rapture may face horrific deaths. 

Let go of your reservations about coming to Christ if you still have any. If you have come to Christ, live more for Him today than you did yesterday.  

Look for a stronger relationship with Jesus in what you do. As a believer it's only the beginning. We'll continue it in His presence after we join Him in Heaven. 

Time is running out. There will be a shout from on high for those who believe to "Come up here!".  In the twinkling of an eye it will happen.  Before you can blink it will happen. Global disasters will occur when the Rapture happens. 

Find your answers to peace, hope and love in Jesus today.  He is waiting with open arms...for you. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

To Fall to Your Knees too

To Fall to Your Knees Too 

He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed. Mark 14:35 

Some Christians are satisfied with only a surface relationship with Christ. Others desire to share the holiest moments with Him. On the night Jesus spent in sacred prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the people responded to Him in various ways. There were those who were so indifferent to Jesus that they were unaware He was even in the garden. Then there was Judas, who knew where Jesus was but was too busy with his own schemes to join Him. The rest of the disciples joined Jesus in the garden, but they were distracted by sleep. Jesus told them the urgency of the hour, but they did not comprehend it. There was the inner circle of disciples, Peter, James, and John. They initially prayed with Jesus, yet even they could not grasp the significance of the moment. Ultimately, Jesus prayed alone. He went farther than His disciples and prayed longer. At the greatest moment of intercession in human history, there was no one willing to go with Jesus and watch with Him. Throughout history God has looked for those willing to yield everything to Him and His desire to redeem a world. At times God has marveled that no one was willing to go with Him (Isa. 63:5; 59:16). The prophets seemed to grasp more than the common people, for while society carried on as though nothing were wrong, the prophets agonized and wept over what they knew God was preparing to do. God is calling you to go deeper in your prayer life with Him. If you are willing to be the person Jesus can take with Him into the most sacred moments, you will experience things only the angels shared with Jesus in the garden that night. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Two points in this one verse come to me. One is that Jesus wasn't all that much farther away, the Disciples saw Him. The second was that the event coming was of such magnitude that He fell to His knees rather than taking the time to kneel. 

I am reminded of King Hezekiah's death bed plea. The prophet came because of his earnest, but eventually seen, self-serving prayer. It's answer went to his head, and had he been willing to die at his appointed time his murderous offspring wouldn't have existed. 

There's been many times in my life where I have been on my knees.  I willingly knelt, haven't fell to them, probably due to the surface I was on at the time. His was on dirt.  I have had similarly turned over in my bed as Hezekiah and pleaded my case before my Savior.  I am not the type to deny that there's many times in my life that situations are too great for me. 

I awoke this morning to a song in my mind from Philips, Craig and Dean "The Revelation Song".  It's a powerful song of God and what we look forward to in His return. 

I try to live for Jesus in each day that I open my eyes.  Yet also I live with the expectation that at any moment I WILL hear that shout from on high telling me to come up to be forever with Jesus. 

To be on your knees before Jesus, praying in the name of the Father is a rich blessing.   Only our life choices can block our prayers.  Many live some intentionally sinful lives and think in their spirit numbed state that their prayers are being heard. Intentional sin puts up a wall between ourselves and God that's of our own creation.  God cannot reward disobedient children.  We must let go of self to receive what Jesus has to bring to us. Self-justification is perhaps the greatest temptation we face.  We justify our sins before God, but I promise you, in that day we truly stand before Christ no amount of any explanation for it will be accepted for what we refused to let go of concerning intentional sin. It will always come back to "What did I say about that in My Word that I left for You?"

On our knees, or falling to our knees, is indeed the most humbling of postures. 

We often find Churches that don't practice foot washing as Jesus said to do as part of Communion.  It's to be a meal, to be the foot washing then the bread and cup.  In a foot washing someone is willingly in a humble position before you, just as in Christ's example, to wash your feet.  Jesus commanded we do that. It's a shame all of the professing Church isn't doing it.  We live in a prideful world, a surefire cure for pride is acts we do to be humble. 

I have shared on other occasions my experience in a play where I was a Disciple in a reenactment of the Lord's Supper. I, to this day, have my breath taken away as I was given the visual God gave me.  To be almost arguing with 'Jesus' about His washing MY feet.  That He would humbly do this when He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  It gives me goosebumps. 

When was the last time you really were brought to your knees?  When was the last time you put your pride aside before you began praying?  There's really no excuse not to be on your knees before Jesus short of physical limitations.  

In Heaven we see in Revelation where many fall to their knees in worship.

Why wait til then?  Why not follow Christ's example?  Fool not yourselves.  Quit making excuses for your sins in your life.  Your desires can't compare with what you would get from Jesus if only you let go and let God do what He does. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Seeing Easter, not Avoiding It

Seeing Easter, Not Avoiding It 

He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. ISAIAH 53:8 

Look in reverence and awe at God’s Servant who suffered on your behalf and because of your sin . . .  
• He had “no form or comeliness,” no regal bearing. Nothing notable about His physical appearance would draw crowds to Him (v. 2). 
• The Servant was “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows” (v. 3) who was keenly aware of the devastation caused by sin and the desperate condition of people separated from God. 
• “Smitten by God” indicates that the Romans were not the ultimate cause of Jesus’ death; the heavenly Father was (v. 4). 
• The Servant “opened not His mouth” (v. 7), indicating His serenity and submission to His Father’s will. He did not argue with, condemn, or revile those who were brutally murdering Him. 
• Christ “was stricken”: He suffered death by crucifixion for our sin. Our sin cost Him His life. The cruel, despicable horror of the cross is a powerful reminder of sin’s ugliness.  

Spend time this Easter season meditating on Isaiah’s moving description of the Suffering Servant who endured so much agony to atone for your sins (52:13–53:12).  - Being Still With God - Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby 

All too much and all too often Easter is one of two times people feel just guilty enough about avoiding God that they go to Church for a service. The other is Christmas. 

Until a sermon is then preached that a reminder is given concerning just who Jesus was and what He went through. 

My Dear Reader one Sunday isn't enough. It's honestly looking at what Jesus went through as if it were a drive by shooting. You know something grave happened but you don't want to stick around. 

Jesus went through the full judgement of God His Father in His physical and Spiritual self while being beaten, tortured, whipped, scourged and nailed to the cross He still carried to the hill where He was crucified.  He bore the pain of a crown of thorns hammered onto His head.  He took the punches to His face. 

Why would anyone endure all that?  

Charlie Pride had a song many years ago, and although he had a great many other number one hits, this is my favorite song of his or anyone else. "He Took My Place".

There was a man more than a man
Called Jesus Christ of Galilee
There was a place where Jesus prayed
A place that's called Gethsemane

There on a hill called Calvary
There stood a cross of agony
Nailed to that cross where I should be
He took my place at Calvary

Now I'm a child of royalty
And even angels can believe
My Jesus cared so much for me
He took my place at Calvary

Christ Jesus lives He lives today
From sin and debt He set me free
Now hand in hand each place I go
My Jesus Christ He walks with me

And when I ask how could it be
That He could care so much for me
The answer comes so tenderly
He took my place on Calvary

And now my Lord the son of God
I share with everyone I see
I give my best my all to Him
Because He gives so much to me

Now if His own you'll wanna be
Come join His royal family
Let your heart sing joyfully
He took my place on Calvary

Quite often, if not always, at the end of an Easter service, an alter call is given.  My Friend you do not have to wait for Easter to come to Christ.  It can be right here, right now. 

But why? Why did Jesus go through all that for anyone?  Scripture says that He has loved us with a love the began before this world was formed.  He loved you so much that He willingly became you before His Father to take the death sentence that was placed on you so that you could live.  He jumped in front of the wrath headed straight for you and I so that you and I could be spared.  He loves us that much. 

A chorus goes like this:

Oh, how He loves you and me, Oh how He loves you and me. He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.

Jesus to Calvary did go, His love for sinners to show. What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.

My Friend, where ever you are in life, no matter what you have done or what you think about yourself, Jesus stepped in the path of the judgement headed for you. He made the way possible by His Resurrection for you to be saved.  There is a condition. "I knew it!" You exclaim.  It's not what you think.  You must ask Him to be your Savior. It's been done over 2,000 years ago but you must still ask Him to come into your life as Savior and Lord. To forgive you of your sin.  That's the catch. You have to ask. Nothing more than that. 

We can be the most stupid and stubborn of people in the face of danger. We can see it but not see it. We can misinterpret the magnitude of a choice placed in our hands.  Salvation and the need for it can be one of those situations. We can believe the world and its take on it or believe the Savior who stands before us with His arms open beckoning us to come, the price is paid, the debt is covered. 

This world and all its allure is degrading. It's a civilization on the decline. It's not going to get better.  It's heading towards the judgment of God that the Bible says has to happen. 

Your only hope to not endure it is to ask and receive His free gift of Salvation. That's the only way because Jesus said He's the only way.  All other so-called prophets of other religions died and never came back. They are all in Hell. All of them. All of them will stand before Jesus at the Final Judgment and be condemned, tossed into the Lake of Fire. All of them. 

You my Friend have the chance and the choice to be saved.  They can't be.  Once you die the offer expires. There is no second chance. 

Won't you come to Christ today?  Admit that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Ask Jesus to forgive you and take away your sin.  Ask Him to come into your life and guide you in His Plan for you.  It's not complicated.  It isn't going to be you giving up everything, it's you being willing to give up on things that don't matter to the One who took your place. To live the rest of your life to honor the one who loved you so much to take your place. 

That's what Easter really is. 

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Truth in Storms

The Truth in Storms 

They are glad because [the storms] are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven. PSALM 107:30 

God’s purposes in the storms you encounter are always to guide you to a haven. Think about it: we don’t just go out on the sea to sit there; we go for a purpose. If a storm interrupts that purpose, God will direct you through it, or He may change the purpose of your trip altogether. I have learned this about storms: the place you thought you wanted to go heading into the storm is not always the place you think you want to go coming out of the storm. Sometimes storms can change your mind about things you thought you wanted. The secret to experiencing these changes is starting the journey with a receptive heart. If you head into a storm saying, “Thy will be done,” then your will and God’s will become one. - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

Every day now since this blog began, God has kept His promise to bring things for me to say, if I would keep my eyes on Him and write as He dictates.  It's been amazing.  

Not too unlike Dr. Jeremiah in what he wrote in today's devotional, I went out to sea with one idea of how it would be and God had other ideas. 

My life since at least 2013 has been one unexpected storm after another.  The end of 2012 things were looking good.  Never in my wildest dreams did I ever consider what 2013 would do to me. Nor every year after that.  2013 in front of my eyes all that I had helped build in my job was decimated by extremely rough and destructive management.  If that wasn't bad enough that management caused me to have a nervous breakdown.  I had to leave the only job that I had known since 2000. The next 5+ years saw the waves of that sea take me from job to job. Learning different things, different ideas along the way.  Then the entirely unexpected happened.  I was coming back to where I had been for 13 years.  But even that has been an unexpected set of challenges and circumstances.  

Jesus in all of this has always been with me in my boat.  Just as He was with the Disciples.  There were times when it was me panicking and Him asleep on the boat, other times He was holding me because of rough waters. 

I look back on things that we have made it through in my life, at least the things that I can remember, I am in awe of what Jesus has taken me through.  

I am not by any stretch of the imagination living entirely as I ought to be in God intends for me to live.  I falter and fall to temptation. I sin. It hasn't been nor should it be any utopia in this life after I came to Christ.  Jesus saves, and tells you upfront that it's going to be rough waters ahead. He could have just as easily gotten into the boat with His Disciples, commanded peaceful waters and a speedy trip. But they would have learned nothing. 

It's obvious throughout the centuries that we aren't learned people from either the spoken word or by the example of written word.  We can see, can read, yet inevitably we still end up in the storms of life.  

I was thinking of the rare few who died under the leadership of Joshua when he lead the people of Israel into battle. These would enter Sheole also known in the Bible as Abraham's bosom.  They would talk of the great wonders and deliverance by the Lord. Those across that vast chasm in torment in Hell would hear of how God kept His promises.  All those whom the Lord said would never see the promised land heard of how it could have been for them had they believed. 

You and I are in the here and now. We will see, we will face peaceful times and we will see storms.  How we react has everything to do with what our relationship with Jesus is like.  His will is to make us more like Him after we come to Christ.  It is not,  nor will it ever be, for us to live like we want after coming to Christ.  To be more like Christ means facing storms.  It means the world hating us because it first hated Him.  It means our priorities changing.  It means tossing whatever is important to us overboard to survive the journey on the sea. It means letting go of all but Jesus. It means being still while He holds onto you. 

Storms are inevitable.  

Trials and tribulations, temptation is inevitable.  We either face it in faith or in fear.  The truth is that in Christ we are promised never to face it alone. 

If you don't have Jesus, then, my Friend, you are certainly facing it alone.  You have no faith to cling to.  You have hands that are not strong enough to hold onto your boat.  You are on your own, living a deceived life thinking that you're going to make it.  But there's a significant problem to that thinking.  Your boat, as well as mine, must eventually pull into port. We must end that journey in the boat docks. The bow tied to that dock. To disembark we need proof we are legally allowed on shore.  Without Christ you cannot enter into Heaven.  You cannot disembark for entry into the peace and rest promised to those who believe.  

In Christ or without Jesus you WILL face the storms of life.  Don't let the storm lie to you about your need for Jesus. 

I am one hundred percent truthful here when I say that I have beyond lost track of how many storms almost killed me.  Of how many times I should have blinked and found myself in the presence of Jesus.  The expected times and the unexpected times.  

My Friends, you do not know the day nor the hour of your death.  You are on borrowed time.  The lies of the future deceive you into believing that you have all the time in the world.  The lies of Satan telling you that everything is ok. The lies saying you don't need a Savior.  God grants you every breath you take.  You will continue to receive every undeserved breath until you reach a point in your life of no return. When your stubborn heart will indeed refuse Jesus with no chance at you changing your mind. Then at any moment your number will be up and into Hell you will go.  Only then will you finally believe, sadly too late, that all you were told while you lived was true.

Come to Christ today. Don't be in your boat alone.  Let today be the day Salvation comes to you. 

Sunday, March 21, 2021

You? God has a Job for You? Yes, Yes He Does.

You? God has a Job for You? Yes, Yes He Does. 

And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the city …” Mark 14:13 

The two disciples were given very detailed instructions to go to a certain town and look for a particular man performing a specific task. He would have a large room, furnished and ready to observe the Passover. These instructions might have seemed unusual had it not been their Lord speaking, but the two disciples obeyed and found everything just as Jesus had said. Jesus knew exactly what they would find, and so He guided them specifically. One of the most memorable and precious times the disciples would spend with their Teacher hinged on the obedience of these two. Obedience to Christ's commands always brings fulfillment. When the Lord gives you instructions, obey immediately. Don't wait until you have figured it all out and everything makes perfect sense to you. Sometimes God will lead you to do things that you will not fully understand until after you have done them. He does not usually reveal all the details of His will when He first speaks to you. Instead, He tells you enough so you can implement what He has said, but He withholds enough information so that you must continue to rely upon His guidance. Your response will affect what God does next in your life. Your obedience may affect how others around you experience Christ as well. If there is any directive God has given you that you have not obeyed, obey that word immediately and watch God's perfect plan unfold in your life. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We often get lulled into a false sense of security after coming to Christ.  We think we have our ticket to get out of Hell and begin to listen to our sin nature as well as others that we can live how we want.  

Several things are at work in the life of a believer.  First, of course, is our salvation is secured by being born again. Second is we are now entering into a life where we are His workmanship...note the second part...created for good works that we might walk in them.  There's a purpose to you still being here and not immediately being swept away to Heaven. It isn't so that we can do our own thing, seeking our own way, living for our own good pleasure. 

You who are in Christ have a mission to fulfill. 

You who aren't in Christ Jesus yet, do not be afraid of such a future.  

Jesus not only saves us/you He keeps every single promise He has made concerning our lives while we are yet still here breathing the air of the physical world.  

A grand deception by Satan is to slip in ideas of living for yourself. That you REALLY aren't necessarily to the cause of Christ.  That if you just did this or that, you wouldn't have all that discomfort at obeying Christ. 

We have a job to do. The Church is to be considered a body with Jesus as the head. The body has things it must do to stay healthy and to stay fit. It has things that must be done in accordance with what the Head says must be.  Parts of a body that do their own thing are called Disease and Cancers. In Christ we are part of the Vine. A vine separated from the main branch dies.

Look at your life.  Are you avoiding doing what God keeps bringing to you to do?  Be careful! Be careful! God will only bring things to you so many times before He gives your job to someone else and YOU begin going through disciplinary actions to bring you back into obedience. 

God wouldn't be God if He didn't discipline those He loves.  He showed us discipline im the lives of the Disciples. Teaching them to change how they see things and how to think. You saw them but did you SEE them as His workmanship?

Such is as all who are in Christ.  We have a job to do. We are not here to live for our good pleasure.  We are to live in obedience to the one who saved us.

Look into your motivations, for once be real with yourself, are you really obeying or are you trying to get away with the minimum? 

Ask Jesus what it is you are to be doing for Him.  Do not let fear get in your way. Tell fear where it can go.  You have a job to do. 

Saturday, March 20, 2021

You or Jesus...Your faith is in One or the Other

You or Jesus. Your Faith is in One or the Other. 

But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:26 

It is by faith that God's mighty power is released into the life of a Christian (Heb. 11:33—35). The fact that you have doubts indicates that you do not know God as you should. If your prayer life is infiltrated with doubts, you have denied yourself the greatest single avenue of power that God has made available to you. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). God never comforts you in your doubt. Jesus consistently rebuked those who would not believe Him. He had revealed enough of Himself for His disciples to have believed Him in their time of need. God wants to build your understanding of Him until your faith is sufficient to trust and obey Him in each situation (Mark 9:23—25). The moment you turn to Him with a genuine commitment to rid yourself of doubt, God will match your doubt with a revelation of Himself that can convince you of His faithfulness. When Thomas doubted, Jesus revealed Himself to him in such a way that every doubt vanished (John 20:27). You can only resolve your lack of faith in God's presence. He must reveal Himself in such a way that any doubt you might have is removed. Jesus did this with His disciples. He involved them in a consistent, growing relationship with Himself. Jesus took them through teaching, to small miracles, to large miracles, and to the resurrection. Jesus knew that the redemption of the world rested on His disciples' believing Him. What does God want to do in the lives of those around you that waits upon your trust in Him and the removal of your doubts? - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh the truth of the mustard seed. We began life as an infant with awe and wonder at everything we saw, felt and experienced.  Through experience we either shrank back or rushed forward into new experiences.  We learned to trust and distrust things in life. We learned to believe or disbelieve. We weren't born with doubts we learned them.

I look at what Blackaby says today and then look at me.  How much farther would I be in life if my learned doubts weren't there? If I hadn't learned to distrust certain situations would I be deeper in my relationship with Jesus? 

We have the universe's greatest paradox in our own minds and hearts: choice. 

We choose to embrace one thing or the other.  We choose. 

We choose to believe or deny. 

Do you realize you can't do both?

Choice is always a left or right decision. It's always an up or down. It's always this or that.  

You either come to Christ or you don't.  
You either believe the God of the Bible or you don't.  To try to live in some middle ground, grey area, to be what Jesus called lukewarm, even He spits you out. 

Are you embracing the world and looking for pleasure and happiness in it, while also claiming to be a Christian?  The world is perishing. The world is full of deceit. The world is decaying. We are not, nor are we ever, in the power of mankind, going to create a global utopia. All we have had since the beginning of mankind are men and women trying to rule over others in mankind. Every one who has tried has failed. Nothing done by mankind lasts. When, after the Tribulation, Jesus Himself reigns as King, the world will experience what life could and should be like.  Yet at the end of this time, they will still join forces with Satan to rebel against Jesus. 

Our sin nature has only one cure.  It cannot be resolved through Budda or any other person on Earth who has ever lived, except Jesus Christ.  Only when God came to mankind was Salvation possible. 

Faith was what Jesus was cultivating in His Disciples. Faith was there, as Scripture says we are given a measure of it. What we do with it is on us. 

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Scripture says so. Which means...there's no humanly way to please God apart from faith in God. You cannot create a humanly solution to the dilemma of sin and think it's going to measure up to what God says it must be: a perfect sacrifice. 

You can think you believe you aren't a bad person, but your analysis is flawed. The microscope you use to examine your life is dirty and out of focus. Your faith in your achievements and actions is always going to be flawed. 

In Christ we are born again. In Christ we regain that awe and wonder as once we had growing up. In Christ we grow in Christ.  Only by being born again can we live by faith in the Son of God, who gave Himself up for me. 

You cannot please God in any way by trying to live life in your own way.  You will someday stand before Christ. Either as one who put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation or you will stand before Christ as one who's claims of self righteousness won't measure up to His standard.  Your idea of perfection is flawed. 

You need to take steps in faith just as you took steps in learning to walk. You will stumble and fall. You get back up and do it again. You don't give up just because you fell. It you did in this physical world you would still be crawling around. 

Faith is the Assurance of things not seen. 

What is your faith in?  Simple enough of a question.  But it's the most important question of your entire life.  

Everyone will stand before Christ.  
Everyone will.  No exceptions. 

Today, in reading this, you've been brought to the point of decision.  The choice of Jesus or of you as to whom you will stand before God to say is your Savior. 

You or Jesus. Your faith says who is the one.

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Love You Really Seek

The Love You Really Seek 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” John 15:9 ESV 

Just as God the Father loves His Son, Jesus loves His people. But in what ways? God loved Jesus without beginning, and that is how Jesus loves His followers. “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). You can pinpoint the beginnings of human affection; you can easily find the beginning of your love to Christ. But His love to us is a stream whose source is hidden in eternity. God the Father loves Jesus without change. Christian, take this as a comfort: there is no change in Jesus Christ’s love to those who rest in Him. Yesterday you were on the top of Mount Tabor and you said, “He loves me”; today you are in the valley of humiliation, but He loves you just the same. On the high mounts of Mizar and Hermon you heard his voice, which spoke so sweetly with notes of love; now on the sea (or even in the sea), when all His waves and billows crash over you, His heart is still faithful to the choice He made in ancient times. The Father loves the Son without end, and that is how the Son loves His people. Dear Christian, you don’t need to fear death, for His love for you will never cease. Rest confident that Christ will go with you even down to the grave—and that up again from the grave, He will be your guide to the hills of heaven. Finally, the Father loves the Son without measure—and the Son bestows the same immeasurable love on His chosen ones. The whole heart of Christ is dedicated to His people. He “loved us and gave himself up for us” (Ephesians 5:2). His love passes all knowledge. Oh! We indeed have a constant and precious Savior, one who loves without measure, without change, without beginning, and without end, even as the Father loves Him! There is much spiritual food here for those who know how to digest it. May the Holy Spirit lead us into its nutriment! - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Dear Reader: 
     In this life, when truth be known, deep down you are seeking a love that is true, honest and real.  You seek a love that does not betray but forgives, and embraces. One that heals and is full of comfort.  Such a love is not found in the hearts of man. Such a love is not found in all creation. It's found in Christ Jesus alone. 

The people in all of civilization since Adam and Eve have sought to restore the lost fellowship with Jesus.  But sin has always been in the way.  

Sin is a deceiver.  Sin tells us there's nothing wrong.  Sin tries to make us believe that we are good, right and pure. 

Because of sin we cannot truly understand what being good, right and pure really is. Scripture itself says that without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith in oneself is not faith. Faith must be in Christ Jesus alone for Salvation. 

My friend, it's time to stop running. 

I came to Christ at a very young age. Even with that, to some degree running was still happening. I was often getting ahead of Jesus in my walk with Him.  Like a child who gets excited about thinking they understand what's going on and where we were going.  That was me. I often would get ahead of Him and the consequences caught up with me.  There were many dark times in my life.  Times that regret was a constant companion. Times that only He and I knew about. I thought I understood.  Thought that the way was clear. Never understood the dangers that were ahead.  

I was indeed looking for love. His love.  I just struggled for years to get back to where I should have stayed.  The Spiritual Surgeries were indeed painful and often prolonged.  

I am one with a mind that naturally troubleshoots problems.  That is indeed a gift from God, however, in my early years I didn't know how to use it properly. I wasn't ready for life, even though I was given a 10,000 foot view of where I was to be serving.  

My choices took me along a lot of what you read about in Psalms 23.  My life also has had parallels to Joseph.  Joseph, as you might recall, was a dreamer.  He had vivid dreams from God that he likely should have kept to himself.  But even in his hubris God turned it for His good.  That God's love would be shown to His chosen people in latter times.  Joseph's dreams eventually did come true.  They eventually played out.  In my life, very similarly, what I was shown decades ago has began to play out.  

My friend, life isn't about us, when we come to Christ.  We are indeed to show the love of God to others.  We also must carry with us the forgiveness of Christ.  Both towards others AND ourselves.  I used to have a lot of pent up anger.  It took a very long time to realize that I was angry at me.  I wasn't able to love me as Christ did because of my sin and failures. I saw my sinful decisions that happened. I saw what sinful choices that I didn't stop happen and the more it did the madder I was at me.  I began believing that I was a failure for Christ.  A day came when Jesus set me straight.  I cried a lot.  It really took days, if not a week, to find peace again once I was shown what Jesus showed me. 

We all look for love in this world. Quite often in all the wrong places.  In other people, in things, or achievements.  We bury ourselves in what we do in order to fool ourselves into believing we are satisfied with life.  

My friend it's time for you to stop running. 

If you aren't a believer or if you are.  The oft overlooked aspect of the four Gospel accounts is this: the Disciples WALKED with Jesus.  To learn from Jesus they were WITH Jesus. They came to know Him not by any other means. There are real examples within those accounts of the times a few tried getting ahead of Jesus. Didn't work out so well. 

If you are looking for love, real love, in anyone or anything else, my friend you will be disappointed. Love honestly isn't the feeling you think it is.  Love indeed is a person.  It's embodiment is contained in Jesus Christ.  His love was and is so whole, complete and true that He willingly left the Throne of God to come here to endure the worst mankind could throw at Him. Be tortured and humiliated on a cross, and endure all the sin of mankind heaped upon Him.  To then raise up from the dead 3 days later. Conquering sin, death and the grave. Reclaimed His Throne. Having made it finally possible for you and I to know the love of God in our lives in a real and personal way. 

Are you looking for love in all the wrong places?  You need to be real with yourself. 
We, with a sin nature as we have, lie to ourselves about countless things.  

Look to Jesus for the love you are looking for.  It takes faith.  Even the faith the size of a mustard seed.  

My friend, a time is soon coming when the end of all things will begin.  When the opportunity to be saved and to leave here before judgment comes from God.  

Let today be the day you find what you have been looking for all your life. 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

In Your Distress...

In Your Distress 

Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me. Psalm 50:15 

Did you know that you bring glory to God by calling upon Him when you are in distress? God promised He would deliver you if you turned to Him. You deny the Lord honor that is rightfully His every time you find yourself in difficulty and you fail to call upon Him for help! There may be times when God allows you to reach a point of need so that you can call upon Him, and thus let Him demonstrate to a watching world the difference He makes in the lives of His children. If God never allowed you to experience need, people around you might never have the opportunity to witness God's provision in the life of a Christian. If you never faced a shortfall, you might be tempted to feel self-sufficient and without any need of God in your daily life. Pride will tempt you to think that you do not need to seek God's assistance. Self-regard will seek to convince you that you can handle your dilemma through your own wisdom, resources, and hard work. Pride will also rob glory from God and seek to give it to you. Don't allow your pride to take what rightfully belongs to the Lord. Call upon your Lord and wait exclusively upon Him to rescue you. Then give Him the glory that He deserves. Self-sufficiency can greatly hinder your ability to experience God and bring Him honor. The next time you are in distress, turn to Him! - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

The preeminent danger in the so-called health, wealth and prosperity 'gospel' is that you learn to honestly live without God.

When you really have all three of those you tend to do your own thing and your relationship with Jesus weakens.  

It is when we often struggle that we draw closer to God.  Certainly not when everything is going well. 

In the roughest days of my life it was then that God did seriously heavy things to draw me closer to Him. 

There indeed will be a day when believers will have all 3 of those great desires of health, wealth and prosperity.  When we are in Heaven, with the other saints and our Savior and His Angels.  The only place where we could have all 3 and not take our eyes off Jesus. 

People throughout the centuries have believed that to have those 3 would mean they finally had arrived.  That their earthly struggles were over.  That they could then honestly enjoy life.

In God's Plan...that doesn't work. 

A tree with no struggles produces weak wood. When a real storm comes it is easily uprooted and swept away.  True carpenters and woodworking craftsmen look for wood that has character. That shows signs of struggle in its life as a tree.

Read this:

We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. ROMANS 5:3–4 An old violin maker was much envied by fellow artisans because of the superior quality of the instruments he produced. He finally disclosed the secret of his success. He said that while the others went into the protected valleys to cut wood to make their violins, he climbed the rugged crags of a nearby mountain in order to secure trees that had become severely twisted and gnarled by storms. From these weather-beaten monarchs of the forest he then fabricated his violins—famous for their tone and beauty. He knew that the fierce trials of the mountain gales caused such trees to strengthen and toughen their fibers. It was this—their storm-tortured heart and grain—that produced the deep, colorful sound when the instrument was played. Likewise, the Lord allows sore difficulties to come into our lives that we may more fully bring forth the music of His grace when our soul-trying experiences have done their sanctifying work. - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

We, when we live life apart from God, live a life that will never see its potential.  
We, when we strive for a life free of all trouble, end up living a life that has no character. 

Jesus, in His earthly ministry and life, was a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief.  He knew who He was. Knew exactly what His spoken Word could do to any and all around Him. Those who were the cause of His grief and suffering could have been dropped straight into the pit of Hell if Jesus would have just given the word.

Jesus not only was aware of those who hated His guts, He was keenly aware of those around Him who were suffering through life.  The very people that were subjected to the evils of the so-called Jewish leaders.  Who had suffered for decades before He arrived. He saw people as they really were, not who they presented themselves as being. 

He still does that with you today. 

We were promised tribulations in this life. 
We were promised difficulties.  
We were told up front that if the world hated Jesus they would hate us too.
We were told that a man's enemies will be members of his own family.  

Distress was promised. Yet let's look again at our tree.  No storm lasts forever. That tree which weathered the storm always gets a respite.  There's times of healing.  Ecclesiastes mentions a time for everything.  A time of healing is mentioned.  The tree, in its peaceful times, grows deeper in the soil.  It branches out in the soil far more than it does the open air above ground. 

We need our roots to grow deeper in Christ both in adversity as well as in the peaceful times. 

I cannot fathom the whys of the things that have happened in my life. They are for Jesus to explain to me when I have a glorified body that has a mind that can comprehend it.  

But unbelievers struggle too!  Yes. All mankind struggles.  The question is where do you go to find strength and hope? If you look to yourself and other people and exclude God, you will come away eventually disappointed.   You may find a brief respite but in time you will never be satisfied.  

In our distress and despair we ought to look to the One who knew it far better and understood it far more than we will ever know.  Every sin was heaped upon Him on the cross. Ever grief and sorrow from sin. Every humiliation known to man was His to endure.  

You will never find one who understands more perfectly than Jesus just what it is you can't describe yourself as to what you are going through. 

He makes me lay down beside still waters.
He restores my soul. He does. Jesus. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Watch for the Deliberate Sin You WILL Do

Watch for the Deliberate Sin You WILL Do 

Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Psalm 19:13 NLT 

This was a prayer of the “man after God’s own heart” (see 1 Samuel 13:14). The holy David needed to pray like this? How important, then, is such a prayer for us babes in grace! It is as if David said, “Hold me back, or I will rush headlong over the precipice of sin.” Our evil nature, like an ill-tempered horse, is likely to run away with us. May the grace of God put a bridle on it, holding us back so we don’t rush into mischief. What might even the best of us do were it not for the checks the Lord sets on us in His providence and grace? The psalmist’s prayer is directed against the worst form of sin—the sin done with willful deliberation. Even the holiest people need to be “kept” from the most wicked transgressions. It is a serious thing to find the apostle Paul warning saints against the most loathsome sins: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5 ESV). What? Do believers still need a warning against sins like these? Yes, they do. The whitest robes, unless their purity is preserved by divine grace, will be marred by the blackest spots. Experienced Christian, do not boast in your experience. You will trip and fall if you look away from “him who is able to keep you from stumbling” (Jude 24 ESV). Even if your love is fervent, your faith is constant, and your hopes are bright, do not say, “We will never sin.” Cry out instead, “Lead us not into temptation” (Matthew 6:13). In the heart of even the best person, there is enough tinder to light a fire that will burn to the lowest hell unless God quenches the sparks as they fall. Who would have dreamed that the righteous Lot could be found drunk and committing sexual sins (see Genesis 19)? Hazael asked, “But what is your servant—a dog, that he should do this gross thing?” (2 Kings 8:13 NKJV), and we are apt to use the same self-righteous question. May God’s infinite wisdom cure us of the madness of self-confidence. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

We all are no different that what we see described in Deuteronomy of the people of Israel.  Of the Lord's description of what these, for the moment obedient, people of Israel would be like.  

It matters not, realistically, if you are a believer or not a believer, you willfully sin.

You willfully put other gods before God. 
You willfully covet the things of others. 
You willfully...go down the list in the 10 Commandments. For that fact go to that list of the characteristics of those who won't see Heaven.  At some point the bulk of even Christians have thought in their hearts or actions have done those things.  
We grow ever more numb to sin.

King David wrote what he did as a confession and a warning.  He knew full well that he had done it and was knowing that it would happen again.

Look at your life.  Does sin even bother you anymore?  Is being accepted by those in your world more important than living in obedience to God?   Is your status and position socially more important than your life in Christ?  Is your family even more important than Christ to you?  The degree you love the Lord Jesus, is it really disproportionate to how you 'love' others? Or other things?

People everywhere put their personal happiness as first on their list of priorities, at the expense of all else.  They will have conversations with people until it no longer is either comfortable or suits them.  People rarely think of others first.  That's by the design of Satan's plans.  As long as selfishness flourishes then he is getting people to willfully sin.  People spend billions on personal happiness every year. People can't park their car in the garage because they spent so much on stuff it's now full of stuff that they can't live without.  People spend money they don't have to impress people they really don't like in order to feel better about themselves.  Selfishness. And in most cases it really is deliberately choosing to sin in attempting to feel better about themselves.  

Deliberate sin.  Intentionally doing what is wrong according to God's Word.  Quit calling it other things. Quit justifying your actions to make yourself feel better about sinning.  To take the worship due to God and give it to anyone or anything in this world is, by GOD'S definition, idolatry.  We call it being a 'fan'.  God says call it what He said it is.  

Deliberate sin. Intentionally doing what is wrong according to God's Word. Sexual promiscuity. Sexual immorality. A life lived in sexual desire and defiance to how God said it was to be in order to satisfy personal pleasure.  God said this is a deliberate sin.  Satan twists the minds of people to make what God says is an abomination into what is acceptable to the world.  

Deliberate sin is more than these two.  But these two are among the biggest.  So much so that these are among the most prominent in the 7 year Tribulation that is coming.  The world will worship the Antichrist. It won't just be fandom. Won't be enough to wear a t-shirt with his likeness on it.  If you are not a believer in Jesus Christ right now you WILL be pressured into WORSHIPPING the Antichrist or will be put to death.  THAT is not just liking or being a supporter of. We are already seeing a taste of that today.  All across the country we are seeing people being pressured into not just agreeing with a social stance but being made to publicly do things in support or face the consequences.  So don't even think that worshipping the Antichrist is impossible.  Thank God the real, professing Church, won't be here. Those who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ alone for Salvation will not be here.

Deliberate sin is an activity in the lives of both believers and unbelievers.  If believers continue in it, eventually, God WILL remove them from this world, to save His Name and put a stop to it. Unbelievers cannot help but to continue in deliberate sin because they do not have the power of God in the Holy Spirit to fight against it.

As believers we can choose to obey God or not. To not means to deliberately disobey.  We rationalize or choices but in the end if it doesn't match up with the Truth of God's Word then it's sin.

Look at what you have done and are doing in your life.  How much of what you don't think about doing is really deliberate sin?
You speak with swear words. That's a deliberate sin. You intentionally do things that really are selfish, that's deliberate sin. 
You close your door and watch things you would never show to your closest friends and family.  That's deliberate sin. You choose to steal thinking that nobody's going to notice.  That's deliberate sin. You drive your car without regard to the safety of people around you. That's deliberate too.

Look at what you are doing!  Are you deliberately living in sin?