Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Dealing with It

Dealing with It 

The free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 

Loving Father, though my sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. You, Lord God, are He who blots out my transgressions for Your own sake; and You will not remember my sins. So I put You in remembrance; let us contend together; I state my case, that I may be acquitted. You have blotted out, like a thick cloud, my transgressions, and like a cloud, my sins. I return to You, for You have redeemed me.

God, You so loved the world that You gave Your only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more Your grace and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. I was washed, I was sanctified, I was justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by Your Spirit, Lord God. 

From now through eternity I will be praising You for the gift— the grace—of justification and cleansing from my sins. Thank You, Lord God! 

ROMANS 5:16; ISAIAH 1:18; ISAIAH 43:25–26; ISAIAH 44:22; JOHN 3:16; ROMANS 5:15; 1 CORINTHIANS 6:11. - Dr. David Jeremiah Life-Changing Moments with God 

In more than a few posts I have referred to "Spiritual Surgeries", those operations on the spirit and soul that God has determined are necessary to make us more like Christ. 

There's been a few as well where I used the illustration of Jesus standing before a child wanting them to give Him what's in their hands, their prized possessions. His hand is behind His back with something greater in mind. 

Both are at work in our lives. Both aspects happen in the life of a Child of God. 

God loved you and I enough to die for us so that we may live, but also enough not to leave us as He found us.

We are indeed like the story in which a person was found by someone and he took pity on him. Took care of his wounds, put him on his own animal, took him to a place of safety to heal all on his own dime. Jesus told that story. Luke 10:30-37 NASB

Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, and they stripped him and [d]beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by coincidence a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?”  And he said, “The one who showed compassion to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do [g]the same.”

Note how the prayer that opened this post starts out. Taking note of sin in the life of the one praying.  Do you? 

Do you, in your praying, take note of your own sins? 

Do you consider your ways?  Scripture tells us to do that.

The degree and severity of your own Spiritual surgeries depends greatly upon how you respond to the changes the Spirit is intending to do in your life. 

I don't like to do the same repair on the same thing over and over on something that I own. At some point I either consider an upgrade or to redesign it. 

In my life God has effected many upgrades to my way of thinking. He's redesigned aspects of me that were incompatible with a Christ-follower. 

I am ever aware of my sin. I am often angry at me for falling for the same temptation over and over again.  Sin bothers me. Does it bother you?

My Dear Reader, if you are claiming to be a Christian, your sin should bother you. If you aren't a believer, look at your life. It's not gone the way you think your life should because of sin. People go on about evil in this world, that's the result of sin. That's where evil begins. It begins in sin.

Praying for forgiveness should be as often as breathing. We get Spiritually dirty easily. 
We need a cleansing that we ourselves cannot do. Like in that story in Luke, we aren't able to cleanse ourselves. No amount of "doing good" erases 1 sin. Countless billions in Hell considered themselves to be "good" people. They cannot see how their "good life" caused them to go to Hell and not Heaven.   

It can be estimated that nearly 100 billion people are in Hell. Likely over 8 billion before the Flood in Genesis and the billions who have died since that event who refused to come to Christ for salvation. Millions per day enter into Hell. Sin that is not covered by the blood of Christ stays with you. In coming to Christ for salvation your sins are washed away. 

We by no means have arrived when we came to Christ. We began the healing that only He can do. We began the transformation that He said would come to be more like Him. We can ask for forgiveness from our sins. He promised to remember them no more. They do not count against us who are in Christ. If you do not have salvation in Christ Jesus your sins remain. You deal with the consequences of that. In Romans its explained that the wages of sin is death. You will be held accountable for your sins and the sentence is death, eternal separation from God. It only starts in torment in Hell. At the final judgment Hell is cast into the lake of fire. A place worse than Hell is.

Sin put Jesus on the cross. Even if it were only 1 sin it would have been enough to require a perfect sacrifice in Christ Jesus to cover it just as it happened in the crucifixion. 

When you pray this day be aware of your need to ask to be made clean. In your praying ask forgiveness for your sins, the ones you are aware of and those you are not. Be thankful that you have a God that doesn't leave you as He found you.  

If you long for your sins to be forgiven, but haven't come to Christ for salvation, make that happen today. Look at the graphic that is accompanying this post. Take care of it today. 

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Imperfect Fill the Perfect Plan

The Imperfect Fill the Perfect Plan 

Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18 

The world abounds with people whose sin has alienated them from God. Christ's sacrificial work has restored Christians to a love relationship with the heavenly Father. As Christians, we are appointed as ministers of reconciliation. Once Christ dwells within us, we become His ambassadors, and we entreat others to be reconciled to Him (2 Cor. 5:20). We are God's messengers of peace, urging others to return to God (Matt. 5:9). Sin breaks our relationship with God; it severs relationships with others as well. Broken relationships are the epidemic of our day. Sin alienates family members, separates friends, divides churches, and destroys marriages. Sin creates mistrust, jealousy, hatred, and greed, all of which devastate relationships. Only Christ has the remedy for the disastrous effect of sin on human relationships. As His ambassadors, we are to take the message of reconciliation to a broken, divided world. We urge reconciliation first with God, and then with each other. How tragic when God's messengers of peace harbor enmity toward each other. It is a travesty to carry a message of love and yet be filled with hatred. If there is someone whom you refuse to forgive, your message of reconciliation is hypocrisy. The evidence that you are a disciple of Jesus is that you love your fellow Christian (John 13:35). In each of your relationships, make certain that your actions share the love and forgiveness that reflect what you received from God. Then you will not only speak the message of reconciliation, but you will live it as well. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Read this also this morning from a Facebook post...

Church: read this.  I didn't write it, but it is too good to ignore.

"The pastor says they sit front and center. The gay boys. Sometimes they hold hands. And some folks have said he should address the issue. But the pastor tells me he doesn’t know what to say. And then there’s the man who sneaks in the back door. Fresh off the street. After the service starts. And leaves before alter call. The people sitting close complain about how bad he smells. Of beer and smoke and sweat. But the pastor tells me he doesn’t know what to say. And then there’s the young mama who wears dirty skin and lets her four children come in and eat all the donuts and drink all the watered-down juice. Some church staff say they “…eat like little pigs. Like they haven’t eaten in weeks.” While the mama just stands there and lets them. And the elders say something must be done and said. But the pastor tells me he doesn’t know what to say. And there’s the whore sitting among the faithful. And everybody knows her. She sits with a painted-up face, cheap perfume, and a broken heart. And those who sit close, well, they all treat her for what they think she is. And at the last staff meeting, her name came up. Something must be done about her. But the pastor tells me he doesn’t know what to say.

The pastor is a good man. Holy and just. And he wants to do the “right and loving” thing. And he wants to “look like Jesus”. And he asks me if I have any thoughts on anything he could say.

Yes, sweet Pastor. I do.

Start with this and say it Louder than any other words:

“Welcome to Church. This is a place of love and hope and safety and forgiveness. We will be food for the hungry. Living water for the thirsty. We are so glad you are here. You are invited. You are loved. Come on in—we’ve been waiting on you. Welcome here. We are the church.”

Say that. To the called and to the called-out. To the leaders and the greeters. To the dirty and the clean. We are all the same. We are.

May we blow the dust of religion out of our souls and choose affection instead. May our words and actions and reactions be a sanctuary for all.

Jesus broke many laws to love. So, Jesus, be our voice. Be the only words we should ever speak.”
Written by Heather Burke Cody. 

By no means should any church be concerned with ever weeding out people. 
By no means should any church be avoiding those who come through their doors. 
By no means should any church be segregating people based on any worldly ideas of status.

Church shouldn't be so refined as to appear as a country club. 

In my past, such as it is in the eyes of God, I have been to what had otherwise been a decent church. Within a week of being introduced to the Pastor and his inquiries about what I had shared with others we shared in common, I was alienated because of false testimony given by the person he contacted. So we left that church to continue to look for a church again. Sadly this happened at more than one of that denomination. 

That story from Facebook was written by someone, but the sad reality is that in 20 years I have seen such behavior in people in churches we have attended. Hardly a testimony of the open arms of Jesus to a world that is perishing. 

The story that I shared about my experiences is 100 percent truth.  

Imperfect people are in this world.  Not really a newsflash there. Look at who the Father chose to become the Disciples of Christ Jesus.  Note Jesus’s words in His prayer to His Father. "Of those that You gave to me I lost not one except the one..." that one being Judas.

Look at who became the first Christians.  Imperfect people. 

Imperfect people are only perfected in Christ Jesus.  Only through the work of the Spirit of God are people changed. Only through the Godly who are called of God are people discipled.

People will disagree with my perceptions but when others have seen it too then opinions change.  I have seen the things warned about in the New Testament in today’s churches. I have seen idolatry in the church. Have seen people being classified by their lives.  Have seen so much of worldly ideas in those so-called churches that you honestly can't tell them apart between them and a country club. 

God calls the world to come as they are for sure. But it is to note that He loves them too much to leave them that way. Read again the Prodigal Son. Look at what the Father commands be done to the Son over the Son's protest. Cleaning him up, put a ring on his finger. Celebrate. 

Once the light of Jesus is real in a person they start to see for the first time how dirty they really are. Jesus is there with grace and mercy to wash away sins, to provide new clothes to wear. To celebrate their coming to Him to be saved.  It matters not what state that person is when they come to Christ. The message of God is to come as you are. 

Coming into a church should essentially be the same as entering the ward of a hospital. The sick of every type and kind are there to see the Great Physician in Christ Jesus. Nobody even in this physical world stops to clean up before going to the Emergency Room of a physical hospital!  You go in as you are. 

We who are in Christ always will do one of two things. Either live a life that says we live for Christ or live a life that says we live for self. 

The Church of God in this physical world is full of broken imperfect people.  You don't have to have your life all together to come in. The real Church of God is that way. 

My Dear Reader if you have tried entering a Church and the have faced rejection of any kind then please do not give up!  Please realize that there are indeed false churches in this world. People putting on a show each Sunday versus worshipping God. It happens because God’s enemy is still in this world trying to turn people away from the truth of God. 

Please realize that not only has Christ died for you and I, He loves us as we are when we first came to Him. He also loves us too much to leave us in the way we first came to Him. He wants to forgive our sins, apply the salves of grace and mercy to our bodies. To heal our broken hearts. 

Rejection has no real place in the Church of God to all who are being called to Christ Jesus. 
He came to seek and save the lost. He went out of His way to do that. To the most vilest of people of His day in regards to the Law of God. Touching even those whom the Law forbade. 

If you are hurting and indeed feel lost in this world, persist in crying out to God in prayers that He would lead you to a Church where you can be loved, encouraged, built up in your faith.

Come as you are and ask Him to keep His promises to you. 

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Oh You're Missing All the Fun!

Oh You're Missing All the Fun!

“As long as they are bound by their Nazirite vow, they are not allowed to eat or drink anything that comes from a grapevine—not even the grape seeds or skins.” Numbers 6:4 NLT 

Nazirites had taken, among other vows, one that precluded them from the use of wine. So that they might not violate the obligation, they were forbidden to taste even the vinegar of wine. To make the rule even clearer, they were not to touch the unfermented juice of grapes or even to eat the fruit, either fresh or dried. Altogether, to maintain the integrity of the vow, they were not allowed any use of anything related vines—they were, in fact, to avoid all appearance of evil. Surely this is a lesson to the Lord’s separated ones, teaching us to come away from sin in every form—to avoid not only its obvious manifestations, but even its spirit and likeness. This kind of strict caution is not popular these days, but rest assured, dear reader, it is both the safest and happiest way to live. The one who yields a point or two to the world is in fearsome danger; the one who eats the grapes of Sodom will soon drink the wine of Gomorrah. A little crack in the dike in Holland lets in the sea, and the gap opens quickly until an entire province is drowned. Conformity to the world, in any degree, is a trap for the soul, making it more and more liable to larger, presumptuous sins. A Nazirite who drank grape juice could never be entirely sure whether it might not have begun to ferment, so he could not be certain in heart that his vow was intact. In a similar way, the Christian who flirts with sin cannot enjoy a clear conscience. Questionable thoughts and behaviors do not need to be questioned; they are wrong to us. We must not toy with temptations, but flee them with all speed. Better to be mocked as a Puritan than despised as a hypocrite. The careful way of life may involve much self-denial, but it has pleasures of its own that are more than a sufficient reward. - C.H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

I can't tell you how many times I was both told, or was given a look concerning not doing what I knew to be sin or a sinful act. 

Growing up it gets grouped under peer pressure. The pressure to conform to what those around you have accepted as right and is considered normal. 

In the Bible we are expressly instructed not to live as the rest of the world. To avoid even the appearance of evil.  Where? Well right here is a prime example. 1 Corinthians 10. So as to ensure understanding I included the whole chapter. 

"For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and they all passed through the sea; and they all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and they all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink, for they were drinking from a spiritual rock which followed them; and the rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased; for their dead bodies were spread out in the wilderness.

Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they indeed craved them. Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play.” Nor are we to commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in one day. Nor are we to put the Lord to the test, as some of them did, and were killed by the snakes. Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let the one who thinks he stands watch out that he does not fall. No temptation has overtaken you except something common to mankind; and God is faithful, so He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to wise people; you then, judge what I say. Is the cup of blessing which we bless not a sharing in the blood of Christ? Is the bread which we break not a sharing in the body of Christ? Since there is one loaf, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one loaf. Look at the people of Israel; are those who eat the sacrifices not partners in the altar? What do I mean then? That food sacrificed to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, but I say that things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons; you cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? We are not stronger than He, are we?

All things are permitted, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted, but not all things build people up. No one is to seek his own advantage, but rather that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions, for the sake of conscience; for the earth is the Lords, and all it contains. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions, for the sake of conscience. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of that one who informed you and for the sake of conscience; Now by “conscience” I do not mean your own, but the other person’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered about that for which I give thanks?

Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all things for the glory of God. Do not offend Jews or Greeks, or the church of God; just as I also please everyone in all things, not seeking my own benefit but the benefit of the many, so that they may be saved."

As Christians in this world we are not to be following Satan's plans for world conquest. 
To be sure of what you engage in, in your life, measure it against God's Word. 

We are easily taken in without even realizing it concerning all aspects of our lives. 
We are taught from early on in life who not to question. Then, like everything he touches, Satan twists and perverts that into what works to shut down the Christian in this world. 

Twisted and perverted are the ways of Satan.  The first rule of warfare is to know your enemy. 

How many of you honestly acknowledge that you, as a child of God, are at war with the rest of mankind solely for that reason?  To become a child of God puts you at odds with the world. 

You will become Christ's workmanship. The indwelling Holy Spirit will be making God-centric changes to your heart and mind. You will, as long as you are breathing, be tempted to follow the ways of this world. Those in the ground can no longer be tempted. The dead in Christ are safe with Him. The dead who rejected Christ are likewise, interestingly enough, safe from temptation in Hell. Temptation only impacts the living. 

Our excuses for the sins we permit are the gage to show how near or far we are from walking as Children of God. 

You can, I can, we all can create justification to sin. We can create extremely plausible reasons why we have not stopped doing this or that in our lives. Pointing the finger to a prior generation in the family. Pointing to hereditary excuses. Pointing anywhere other than at ourselves for choosing to disobey God's Word. 

As Scripture also points out concerning the Believer, while our sins are covered by the shed blood of Christ, we WILL give an account of our lives before Jesus. 

It beyond boggles my mind that in the moments after the Rapture, countless billions of believers will have that played out in Christ's Throne Room all at the same time. Time doesn't exist in Heaven. 

At the Final Judgment of all unbelievers, the same happens. All will have their day in Christ Jesus’s Court all at the same time. 

We are told to consider our ways in Scripture. We are told what is right in God's eyes and what isn't.  We are told what to dwell on, that is to say what to think about, and what not to. 

We choose to bow to the pressures of conformity to the world or we choose to be obedient to God. Jesus Himself said you can't serve two Masters. You will cling to one and dispise the other. 

Choosing to obey God can come with consequences. With how the world views ethics and integrity, it can be difficult. Daniel and his friends faced it. Joseph faced it. Others in the Bible faced it.  

You must choose to obey. It will not come naturally. 

It may indeed come down to losing friends and family.  What the world calls good and acceptable you should measure against God's Word. Don’t expect many or even all to understand that stance.

You, like Joshua's stance, must choose this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

We ARE so Easily Deceived

We ARE so Easily Deceived 

Let no one deceive you. EPHESIANS 5:6 

A well-known defense attorney named Charles A. Peruto Jr. was asked about the admission by Pete Rose, after fourteen years of denial, that he bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Peruto replied dryly, “So now 100 percent of the population knows he bet on baseball. The only person who didn’t know before he confessed was him.” It’s odd how easy it is to deceive ourselves. Is it possible that your husband, your wife, or your best friend has a better grasp of your strengths and weaknesses than you do? Is it possible that you’re in denial about a particular weakness, insisting you don’t have a problem, though it’s perfectly obvious to everyone else that you do? Those who work with addictions say that denial and self-deception are our greatest enemies. We insist we don’t have a problem when it’s readily apparent to everyone else that we’re in deep trouble. It isn’t just addictive disorders, of course. All sin is self-deceiving. Ask God to show you if there is an area in your life that needs correction. Pray in these words from an old hymn: “Search me, O God, and know my heart today! Try me, O Father, and know my thoughts, I pray.”   - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

Self-deception is an infection that everyone born has contracted. As the play on words goes, we live in the land of denile. 

I deceive me all the time. So do you. As a popular movie quote goes: we can't handle the truth!

We make off the cuff choices and decisions without considering the ramifications. 

We allow things in our lives if for no other reason than those things make us feel good. 
We allow and wrap our arms around things that clearly are contrary to God’s Word and then wonder why our world is crumbling down. 

We create special rooms in our homes either dedicated to something like a sports team or even the room of a loved one who passed away...a shrine as it were. The reality is something or someone has been elevated to a position or place higher than God in our lives.

Throughout my life I have heard over and over the phrase that says something about "if (insert name) was alive, they would say..." or even that they wouldn't approve...

We can so easily put stock in what opinions the dead might or might not say or not say but don't listen to God’s Word when it comes to being self deceived?  That we don’t listen when God’s Word clearly teaches about how to identify idolatry?  That it clearly shows how all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God? 

What's terrible and horrific is exactly what is found in the story of the Rich man and Lazarus. 

The dead Rich man wanted someone to go back to the land of the living to warn his family and friends about the reality of Hell. 

The horrific and terrible thing is even in today’s world coming back from the dead wouldn't change people's minds on the reality of Heaven and Hell. 

A very popular book "Heaven is for Real".  It didn't change the world nor did it cause a Revival of Biblical proportions. It was popularized for a while. 

Goes to prove how deeply we can be deceived. We can spend our lives in intensive self-evaluation. We are not honestly qualified for that. We will never find fault with our way of living or in our determination of right and wrong. 

Simply put we cannot create a standard we must rely on a set standard. The only one qualified to do that is our Creator. To deny having a Creator doesn’t nullify the reality that He is really real. 

Lies have been conceived about God since Adam and Eve. Deception started in a perfect world.   Read that again. 

Lies about Heaven, lies about Hell have been passed down throughout generations. 

People are pouring into Hell every second. Only those found to be in Christ Jesus enter into Heaven.  That's the set standard of God, not on any basis of good and evil we come up with. 

Everyone who stands before a judge claims innocence. Lawyers are paid to do whatever to get people off the charges against them. 

In Christ's court, He allows no lawyers. 
In Christ's court, truth is revealed, not asked for nor is it based upon interpretation. 
In Christ's court, you are shown the truth in every aspect that words cannot speak alone. 

The Bible is clear that those who come to Christ for salvation are "sealed in the Spirit".

Once salvation is real in a person's life the Spirit testifies to the truth of that person being a Child of God. As Paul spoke of in Romans, once the Spirit testifies concerning the truth that a person is indeed saved, then its no longer based on what works we do.  A saved person may backslide but they cannot lose their salvation in Christ Jesus. 

We are honestly never careful enough about our thoughts and desires. We unknowingly introduce things in our lives based on the wrong things and cause ourselves no end of trouble. 

When God’s insisting on a change in us we whine about it trying to convince Him that we know better. We also decide to believe what we can’t do.

We deceive ourselves. 

We don’t like confrontation. Nobody really does. Confronting ourselves least of all. 

We embrace aspects of this world that are, in comparison, a cleaned up kid ready for Church to worshipGod, wallowing in a pig sty. 

It's been very hard coming to terms with God’s truth about me.  I am only seeing a small part of what He sees that still needs done in me to make me more like Christ. It's not really different than you only being superficially aware of what's happening within your body. 

You and I cannot trust ourselves to live life. Adam and Eve had perfect bodies, a whole, 100 percent capacity brain...and they still sinned. Being intelligent or an intellectual person will not save you in Christ's court. Faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation alone saves.

I can be one of the most loving, brilliant, giving, honest people and if I don't have salvation in Christ Jesus I will find myself entering Hell at the end of my life. 

Hell is not under the rule of Satan. 
Hell does not have a party going on. 
Hell isn't where the beer flows freely nor is it where you finally get to live life unhindered. 

Hell is under the rule and authority of Jesus Christ. It is a holding place of people who rejected Christ Jesus for salvation. People are finding out that everything they denied about Jesus and God is really real.  They wake up down there to find exactly what the Rich man found. Nothing more, nothing less. 

The choice is before this world to come to Christ is only found in the land of the living. 

I can guarantee you that by the Word of God, there's nobody in Hell who doesn’t completely understand the reality of God’s Word concerning sin. They either are weeping in torment or they are enraged in torment at being there but their reality is they are there and cannot go back for a second chance. They are told the same as the Rich man, that even should someone come back from the dead, those they want to warn wouldn't believe. 

Ask God to open your eyes to the truth about sin, death and the cross of Christ. 
Ask God to show you just how much you've let yourself be deceived. 
Ask God to show you the truth. 

Your only chance at a second chance is right now in the land of the living. 

Friday, August 27, 2021

Following His Direction Not Necessarily Ours

Following His Direction Not Necessarily Ours 

May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ. 2 THESSALONIANS 3:5 

The nineteenth century was the period of westward expansion as wagon trains rolled across the Great Plains toward California. By the 1850s, some of the most sought-after people in America were the frontier scouts. Men like Kit Carson and Jim Bridger, who had spent years exploring the western regions, were hired to lead the pioneers safely to their destination. They alone knew the dangers and how to avoid them. They couldn’t move the Rocky Mountains, but they knew the way through them. When the apostle Paul prayed that God would “direct” believers, he was praying that God would go before them and remove the obstacles in their way—the literal meaning of the word direct. God doesn’t just point and say, “Go there.” Like a frontier scout, He leads the way and removes the obstacles and dangers that would keep us from growing in maturity in Christ. But be careful if you pray Paul’s prayer! What you count as a possession—a relationship, a material idol, a secret sin—God may see as a problem and remove it. Life is filled with obstacles to maturity. Only God can remove them, helping us grow up before we grow old. - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

In the last five or six years God has done some amazing surgeries in me. 

In places in Scripture we read of Jesus being the Potter and we are the clay. All too often we can be noisy clay. Constantly asking Him "But why?" when He institutes a change in our lives that certainly doesn't appear to be anything we were thinking or had asked for. 

I know that I am among the noisy clay. I have often asked many questions about why this or why that.  If you have met me in real life you already know that I like to learn things or about things. Sometimes it's gotten me in trouble. 

The hardest things are Jesus’s methods to answer both my prayers and to follow His own word to be His workmanship. We must realize that the part of being His workmanship comes first. 

There's times when we are only in certain circumstances for a season. Either due to His knowledge that we aren't ready for the next step or due to our obstinate behavior at resisting that which He says has to happen. 

Be assured every obstacle that stands in the way of completing His work in your life will be touched, and likely removed. 

The Christian life is never a problem. It's our resisting the Spirit of God that becomes the problem.  

I have honestly hated some of the changes that have happened in my life, but I have my trust in God to lean on when those things don't make sense. 

To understand why drives me more often than not when faced with questions. It really drives me to distraction more than people realize. I can totally zone out in a crowd when my mind is still preoccupied with a problem. 

What I have learned about my physical body in the last 4 to 5 months bothers me greatly. It's a perplexing thing. It drives me to ask God why. To learn that much of what I loved to eat is truly causing much of my health problems is horrible. I have been learning to adapt but it's a hard struggle.  It's likely due to His directing my steps. I never realized the things that I am learning about me. I never realized the soft excuses that I have used concerning food nor was I ever hearing it in others.  The "I just can't do that" line. Well I couldn't either until Jesus put it before me in such a way that choice wasn't an option. I had never considered how hard it would be until that came upon me.  I am getting used to it but that's OK. In Heaven I plan on making up for what I can't eat now. 

That's just one example.

Habits we have in this life are also a hard hit area in the work of Christ Jesus in us.

We really don't get it that we, in our excuses and reasoning, hinder the work of God in our lives. We want the benefit of the result but don't want to go through what it takes to get there.

The Spiritual reality is this: we were bought with a price. We are to honor that with a Godly life. To be Holy as He is Holy. 

If there are things in our lives that get in the way of His directing our lives...they will be revealed and removed. 

When we answered that door, invited Jesus to come in and be Lord of our lives, there's things that did and didn't happen. 

One is He didn't come in and only sit in the foyer of our heart. He didn't even come in and only sit in the family room or living room. He didn't come in and go to a room all His own. 

Two is He didn't come in to be silent. He came in with words to speak. 

Three is He came in knowing there was work to be done. He came in with the knowledge of everything about you and I. The option of opening each door to each room of our hearts is ours until such a time as it conflicts with that work He is doing in us.  Then there's two options. Either we willingly hand Him that key or He busts down the door. We made Him Lord of us, not a cohabitor of our hearts. Scripture is clear that that work WILL be done. If we constantly resist that work, we risk quenching the Spirit. We risk being taken from this world. One way or another His work WILL be accomplished in us.

Being willing to trust Him is where we are at. We can easily be a misguided people. I know that I can be.  I can jump the gun as fast as anyone. Rush in where I wasn't ready. Then Jesus has to now rescue me and start some things all over again. 

Something to note is this: sometimes we ask things in prayer not realizing what that will do to us.  

Jacob, while his brother Esau was yet still far off prayed a prayer about his brother. The answer changed Jacob as well as his brother.  

To get an answer to prayer, about something in your life, might just take you through things that won't be easy. 

Jesus has been removing many things from my life that are incompatible with both my prayer requests and His work in me. 

Before you think about being upset with your life or are angry about situations, really consider that it could be that He is working in you and it's going to hurt for a while. The promise is that He is there every step of the way. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Prayer's Impact on Priorities

Prayer's Impact on Priorities 

He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. LUKE 18:1 

Here is something I have learned about prayer that I have not seen mentioned in books on prayer I have read: prayer is meant to be preventative more than remedial. We usually treat prayer as remedial, meaning we pray when we have a need or are in trouble. But in Luke 18:1, Jesus says that at all times we “ought to pray . . . and not lose heart.” In other words, prayer isn’t the last thought; it’s the first thought. It is preventative, not remedial. Also, instead of praying when we are tempted, Jesus says we should pray that we may not “enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). When we are not under pressure and stress, we should be praying so that we might be shored up and defended against the pressures that will come. Until we come to the place of prayer, we will never find release from stress. If we treat prayer as just a religious ritual or option, then we are not truly living in dependence upon God. Prayer is the soul of man crying out in inadequacy to a God who is adequate, a God who is able to do what man cannot.

- Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” MATTHEW 20:28 

Like any proud parent, Salome wanted her sons to have seats of honor in the kingdom Jesus was establishing. So she went to Jesus, knelt before Him, and made her request. Jesus recognized that this misguided follower was blinded by the values and ways of the world. He gently responded: “You do not know what you ask.” Then He asked the sons a question: “Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?”—a cryptic reference to the cup of His imminent crucifixion and the baptism of His sacrificial death (v. 22). At issue was the radical difference between the kingdom of God and the systems of this world. The world tells us to look out for ourselves; God tells us to give ourselves away. The world tells us to rule; God tells us to serve. The world tells us to be first; God tells us to put others ahead of ourselves. The King of kings came to serve. The world will see Jesus in us when they see us serve. You cannot build God’s kingdom using the worlds methods and values. Let Christ show you where the world has crept in to your thinking, and your heart. - Blackaby Being Still With God 

You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: Holiness To The Lord. 

Lord God, help me to pursue holiness, without which I will not see You. You are Spirit, and those who worship You must worship in spirit and truth. I am like an unclean thing, and all my righteousnesses are like filthy rags. By those who come near You, Lord God, You must be regarded as holy; and before all the people You must be glorified. This is the law of the temple: the whole area surrounding the mountaintop is most holy. Holiness adorns Your house, O Lord, forever. For my sake, Jesus sanctifies Himself, that I also may be sanctified by the truth. Seeing that I have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, I come boldly to Your throne of grace, that I may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Thank You for cleansing me by the blood of Your Son. Thank You, Holy God, for welcoming me to Your throne of grace and being the Source of help whatever my needs— spiritual, physical, emotional. 

EXODUS 28:36; HEBREWS 12:14; JOHN 4:24; ISAIAH 64:6; LEVITICUS 10:3; EZEKIEL 43:12; PSALM 93:5; JOHN 17:19; HEBREWS 4:14, 16 - Dr. David Jeremiah Life-Changing Moments with God 

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15–16 

These days we are bombarded with opportunities that entice us to invest our time and energy. Each day the voices of urgency cry out for every available moment. So many causes promise that time spent on them will reap great rewards; how can we recognize God's voice among so many competing voices? A fool makes unwise choices with his time. With every new opportunity that comes along, the fool chases off in a different direction, not questioning whether that is the best choice. The loudest voice gains his attention. At some point the fool discovers to his dismay that he has squandered the investment of his time. The days in which you live are evil. Marriages are under tremendous pressure; families are disintegrating. Multitudes are dying each year without hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Investing your life wisely is critical to you and to those around you. Foolishly spending your time in sinful or wasteful pursuits can cost you and others dearly. Often, it is not evil pursuits that rob your time. Rather, the temptation is to sacrifice what is best for what is good. The enemy knows that blatantly tempting you with evil will be obvious, so he will lure you with distractions, leaving you no time to carry out God's will. He will tempt you to so fill your schedule with good things that you have no time for God's best. You may inadvertently substitute religious activity for God's will, pursuing your own goals for God's kingdom instead of waiting for His assignment. Time is a precious commodity. Be sure to invest it wisely. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Yes there's a lot to consider after reading 4 devotionals.  But look deeper at the importance of your priorities in life and how prayer is as important as breathing in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. 

I haven't left out Spurgeon. He was asked what's more important reading your Bible or Praying. His response was that very sentiment. What's more important, breathing in or breathing out?

In the first devotional we see Dr. Jeremiah talking about how prayer is a preventative medicine. Look no further than the entire book of Psalms. The Bible says that David was a man after God's own heart. Most of Psalms are prayers!

In the Second we read about right priorities. Servant Leadership is what Jesus did in practice teaching others to do the same.  In the rare cases of experiencing it in my life the fruit of it touched everyone and everything towards peace and prosperity. 

In the Third, written as a prayer, says :Seeing that I have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, I come boldly to Your throne of grace, that I may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Thank You for cleansing me by the blood of Your Son. Thank You, Holy God, for welcoming me to Your throne of grace and being the Source of help whatever my needs— spiritual, physical, emotional.

Before ever reading as far as the last devotional that is included today the verse it centers on is what came to mind.  "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." Ephesians 5:15–16 

Breathing is only important to physical beings. Breathing and water consumption can keep your body going a good long time.  Simple enough to understand that prayer is part of your breathing as a believer. Scripture says Jesus is the water. 

Daniel writes of his 'practice' of praying three times a day. He kept no secret about it. His enemies in the government knew it and wanted to use that as a means to kill him.

Paul's letters all speak on aspects of his prayers or what's important to pray about, to focus on and to dwell upon. 

Simply create an account with LinkedIn and you can easily find millions of misguided people on what constitutes leaders and leadership. The Biblical example is only found there to be read by others only when a Godly person dares to share that.

This world teaches you to value self above all other cares and concerns. To even pray ought to include the needs of others, not just yourself. 

We read of the helmet of Salvation, it covers the whole head. That helmet helps keep the mind where it ought to be focused on. This is in Ephesians 6.

If you aren't praying at least daily, why are you Spiritually holding your breath?
When you do pray, is it only about your wants and desires?
When you do pray, are you praying for others? 

When you pray...consider your priorities.  
Jesus said whomever seeks to be first will be last and the last first. 

Mark 10:43-45 "But it is not this way among you; rather, whoever wants to become prominent among you shall be your servant; and whoever wants to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

You Were Robbed! As Much as I...

You Were Robbed! As Much as I...

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 

Jesus warns us to be on guard for thieves who will try to rob us of what God has for us. Jesus wants us to enjoy abundant life (John 10:10). Since the time of Adam and Eve, people have had to choose whom to believe. Satan convinced Adam and Eve that forfeiting their obedience to God would gain them everything. Instead, their disobedience robbed them of all they had. For the rest of their lives they experienced only a fraction of the blessings God had intended. Scripture is replete with accounts of those who forfeited their inheritance as children of God in order to gain that which was transitory and empty. The world seeks to convince you that you will find fulfillment if you adopt its standard of morality for your marriage, raising your children, advancing your career, or pursuing pleasure. If you believe this, you will never experience the blessings God intended for you. Sin brings death (Rom. 6:23). It is tragic to listen to the voices of the world instead of to the One who created life and who wants you to experience life to its fullest. Jesus wants you to live your life with security, knowing that you are a beloved child of God. If you are not experiencing love, joy, and peace, you have settled for less than what God intends for you. If you have been making excuses for why you are not experiencing an abundant and joyful life, determine today to settle for nothing less than God's best for your life. Stop following the world's way of finding satisfaction. Instead, listen to the Savior's voice, and you will find true fulfillment. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

We don't often look around in our lives and declare that sentiment. 

That being "I was robbed!".  We often look at life with some semblance of security. 

Yet we have been robbed. Sin robs us in every aspect of our lives. 

We both make up excuses for our decisions or we just straight up decide to sin.  Either way, in sin, we disobey God's Word. We sin against a Holy God. It's why Jesus, the Son of God, the perfect sacrifice, had to go through all that He did. 

I look back on my short life and although I don't remember a lot of specifics, I remember the sense of loss.  

I remember the fall to the Spiritual ground.

I remember the taunting laughter from both my sin nature and from the Demons who witnessed it. The berating words, the whole kicking me while I was down thing.  The daily barrage of belittling words trying to convince me of who I really was.

I certainly think that I understand that aspect of the Prodigal Son. That point in his life where he both loathed what he was doing and how it made him feel. Starving while feeding pigs.

You might or might not have thought along those lines. To me I am reminded of Paul's writings and warnings. To be on my guard. That the Devil roaming about seeking someone to devour. 

We can all feel a million miles away from God. 

The truth is exactly what I have experienced my Friend. 

We are never more than 1 step away from God. 

That truth broke me the very first time I experienced it.  The first lie that Satan's minions ever told me was that I was too far gone for God to ever care about me.  That He would never come looking for me. To give up. To quit. 

You, my Dear Reader, are no farther than one step away from the God who saves. As in the Prodigal Son, He always looks on the horizon for the Son who's trying to make it home. 

This song gives me goosebumps just about every time. I have often cried when trying to sing it. 

The God Who Stays - Matthew West

If I were You I would've given up on me by now
I would've labeled me a lost cause
'Cause I feel just like a lost cause
If I were You I would've turned around and walked away
I would've labeled me beyond repair
'Cause I feel like I'm beyond repair
Oh, but somehow You don't see me like I do
Somehow You're still here
You're the God who stays
You're the God who stays
You're the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You're the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
I used to hide
Every time I thought I let You down
I always thought I had to earn my way
But I'm learning You don't work that way, no
'Cause somehow You don't see me like I do
Somehow You're still here
You're the God who stays
You're the God who stays
You're the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You're the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
My shame can't separate
My guilt can't separate
My past can't separate
I'm Yours forever
My sin can't separate
My scars can't separate
My failures can't separate
I'm Yours forever
No enemy can separate
No power of hell can take away
Your love for me will never change
I'm Yours forever
'Cause you're the God who stays
You're the God who stays
You're the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You're the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays
You're the God who stays
You're the one who runs in my direction
When the whole world walks away
You're the God who stands
With wide open arms
And You tell me nothing I have ever done can separate my heart
From the God who stays

We allow ourselves to be robbed, thinking there's no other recourse to our situation. 

We allow ourselves to listen to lies over and over because we don't know how to fight against them. 

We allow ourselves to be carried away rather than wrap our hands around the lifeline that the Spirit of God throws out to us.

True security in this life is only found in Christ Jesus. Not in any physical manner. Not in any physical construction made by mankind or huen out of the Earth. 

Listen not to the lies. Listen for that still small voice of the Spirit of God. 

Turn away from the sin that so easily entangles and cry out to Jesus to save. 

He has never lost one yet that has come to Christ. Never will either. 

The pleasures of this world will deceive you as much as any open faced lie. Be on your guard!

You live in a world that wants you to take what belongs to God in your life and spend it on yourself. I am not speaking solely of money. Of time, of energy, of effort.  Taking your attention off the cross you are to bear and putting it on you.

If your passions get enflamed for things of this world and not toward your walk with Jesus it's time to put on the brakes and really consider why that is.  Sadly, in my life, I have done it and see millions do it. They are more zealous for a sports team than they are for Jesus. That is sin that easily entangles. 

Look at your heart. Look with eyes wide open and you will see how you have been robbed. 

As long as a person takes a breath there's hope.  

As long as a person turns to make it right with God, they will always find Him running to them. 

So What do you need to do today?

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Too Close to that Line

Too Close to that Line

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. JAMES 4:4 

Adulterers and adulteresses? James couldn’t be addressing you—or could he? . . . God wants us to love Him with all of our being. He is a jealous God who will not share His rightful place in our hearts with anyone or anything. But we human beings are easily distracted by the world with its immoral, self-indulgent outlook on life. James boldly declared that if we love either the sinful pleasures of the world or the good things of the world more than we love God, then we have committed spiritual adultery. The world, which can indeed be alluring, sees God’s wisdom as foolishness. Yet, to God, the world’s wisdom is folly and its values lead to death. So will you look for joy in the pleasures the world offers or in God and His will for your life? Your choice reveals who is Lord in your life, and the results confirm the differences between God’s ways and the world’s. Following the wisdom of the world—like committing adultery—leads to destruction. Don’t deceive yourself: you are not immune to such unfaithfulness. - Blackaby Being Still With God 

We all probably either were or know of someone, perhaps a relative or such that you could see pushing the lines of right and wrong to the very edge. 

Some laugh it off as just being ornery. As being a difficult child. A difficult person. 

The truth is that's sin in the making. 

We see many passages in the New Testament about how dangerous being too close to the world can be to the believer. 

We use our flawed judgment on good and bad as a gage to determine how far is too far. Of when we should stop n turn back. 

Look at just traffic fatalities. How many of those thousands per day would have been avoided if only better judgment had occurred?

How many divorces wouldn't have happened if the thoughts and intentions were more Godly rather than worldly?

How many relationships wouldn't be broken over misunderstandings rather than healed?

I am out shopping and can see apathy breeding apathy in the parent-child relationship.  Rather than be the responsible adult and teaching the children to obey, they appease the child to shut them up.  Then wonder why, down the road, the child has problems with authority. 

We cannot be in love with both the things of this world and with God. 

The Bible spells that out clearly. Love for the world means hatred towards God. 

Within many so-called Churches we see all the elements of a secular concert, not a true worship service.  No tickets to buy but the cost is immeasurable. Teaching people to be entertained rather than face the sin that so easily entangles. Teach that the warm fuzzy feeling is more important than being right before a Holy God. 

We also entertain things in our lives that we don't think anyone notices. We are no different than those we read about in the Old Testament. The secret sins we are sure nobody sees. Just that God always sees. All the time. He never sleeps nor does He slumber. Didn't read that passage huh?

We often do not take sin as seriously as Jesus did. 

I keep saying we because I falter in this as well. I am a sinful man, am and will be in this fight against sin in the members of this body of mine until either the Rapture or until God calls me home. 

It's taken years to disentangle myself from many fruitless things that I "loved".  The most recent is turning out to be food. But the greatest struggle was with wasted time in television, movies and reading my fill of the science fiction world.

I, like you my Dear Reader, am an expert in a well crafted excuse. In coming up with a rock solid set of reasons to be doing what we do. 

Such as deserving this or that. Earning this or that. Or that it's not going to hurt anyone. Oh the best ones revolve around how much this will help us serve God better. Self-indulgent behavior always gets us into trouble. 

We live in a world that makes a mockery of sin. We live among people who would rather love the darkness and avoid the light of Jesus.  

We often put way too much emphasis on self rather than the well-being of others. 

Sin is within us and we need to take it as seriously as Jesus did. Read the 4 Gospels. How often did He get away to pray with His Father?  How often was it revealed that sin was the real reason for someone's physical problems?  Their supposed physical illnesses were spiritual in nature? How often after a healing did Jesus admonish the person to go and sin no more?

Those sins we get enticed by are what put Jesus on the cross. 

Yes, those secret sins of yours that you find so much enjoyment in helped put Jesus on the cross. 

Your attitude towards sin always impacts your walk with Jesus. 

I am heavy with reminders of lives that I negatively impacted.  Of people whom I will never forget nor be able to do anything to repair the damage that I caused in my flawed judgment. 

I know that in Christ I am forgiven, but my soul hurts over what I cannot do anything about. 

You can probably relate of you are honest.  In Christ there is healing.  

Paul's life was replete with reminders of his former life as Saul. He could never escape his former self when confronted by people whom he formerly prerscecuted.  He was shown how much he would suffer for the physical things he did. 

Take stock of your life and really look at what your heart desires and you say that you love. 
Take stock in your life and really look to see what you deem as important. 

If you aren't looking to grow in Christ then you are going the wrong way. 
If sin isn't bothering you then you need to stop, repent, and turn back to the cross. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

Just Enough

Just Enough 

And the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you little by little; you will be unable to destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Deuteronomy 7:22 

When God led His people into the Promised Land, He did so step by step. If He had allowed them to annihilate their enemies at once, the land would have been too difficult to manage. So He allowed some of the enemies to remain for a time in order to maintain the land and suppress the wildlife. In doing so, God taught His people to trust Him step by step. He gave them only as much responsibility as they could handle at one time. As God leads you in your Christian growth, He will allow challenges that match your character and relationship to Him. God will not totally change your character at once when you become a Christian. Rather, He will lead you through a process to become more like His Son. He will keep working in an area in your life until it is controlled by the Holy Spirit. You may eagerly desire maturity in every area of your character, but steady, gradual growth is more lasting. God will not take shortcuts in His process of making you like Christ. He sees your life from eternity and will take as long as necessary to produce lasting spiritual growth in you. Do not become impatient while God is producing Christ-likeness in you. Do not seek more responsibilities than those He has given you. Obey all that you know He has asked, and He will lead you at a pace that fits your present character and His purposes for you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Oh the lessons that I have in this area.

I have on many occasions thought that I understood the plan of God for me and rushed into the fire only to be burned.  

There's still other occasions when I have been right where God's Plan was working out in me.

My worst case that I can recall of rushing into something that I was ill prepared for caused me decades of time to retreat from. The lives it touched in probably the wrong way, the resources lost, those are lost to eternity and cannot be taken back. That's what not thinking before leaping does in my life and probably yours. 

I still have mild nightmares about those days. The Spirit leaves my thoughts at that time as a reminder tied around my neck of what not to do. I don't argue the wisdom in His doing that. 

I had been, much like Israel, shown where a ministry would be going that God had plans for me to be involved in. I, like some of the bad examples in Biblical history, rushed in. Letting go of God’s hand in the process. To say the least I was extremely unprepared, seriously ill equipped, no where near mature enough to handle where I went. I find myself praying many times for people whom I have never met whose lives I impacted negatively.  My finite wisdom is no match for God’s. 

I will not go into details.  It's sufficient to say that I bear deep regret over those years. Wasted my time and efforts both getting into and struggling to get out of that situation. It's not at all that God abandoned me, but it was me who hadn't reached the end of me to cry out to Him. 

I am indeed living out that ministry today that He had showed me decades ago. If only I hadn't been so wreckless in my thoughts as to get ahead of God maybe the lives of more would be more positively affected. 

This ministry of which I speak is this blog. Even decades ago I couldn't fathom what I am doing with it today.  I wasn't prepared. I have a computer repair ministry as well.  That too God took years to prepare me for.  We live in a microwave society that wants results in minutes and yet still complains on even how long those minutes take. 

My Friend, my Dear Reader, do not think for a moment that your thoughts are equal to God's thoughts.  With great patience receive instruction from the Spirit of God and await Him to be the one to direct your paths. 

Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen."

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."

In our lives we may not understand God's wisdom. But we are to trust Him.

Right now we see Christians under attack, many losing their lives only because of what they believe.  This isn't to at all say they are in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Spirit of God has not abandoned them. God's power over evil has not diminished. Not overseas nor even here in America. Most of the so-called Churches in this world deny Spiritual warfare. Most refuse to teach what the Bible says about it. Spiritual warfare is part of what took me down the wrong path decades ago. I deceived myself and rushed off without God's blessing or His protection. Right into enemy territory.  

Many claiming to be Christians will find themselves still here after the Rapture. Contrary to what a CNN reporter wrote, yes the Rapture of the Church is a very real thing that will happen at some point in the near future. Yes it is eluded to in the Bible. 

The reality of why secular people can't understand what they think they read in the Bible is because without the Spirit of God it's foolishness to them. 1 Corinthians 2:14 "But a natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

Even if it's spelled out many unbelievers just won't get it. Those who's hearts that the Spirit is working on might grasp the basics in order to find salvation, but the deeper things of God will be hidden. 

You and I must trust God for the direction of our lives. More often than not, just like Israel, we will be given just enough to either stand still or to see the direction to go. 

Do not get ahead of God. This portion of Scripture is in Luke 14, not far after Jesus says to take up your own cross. "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to face the one coming against him with twenty thousand? Otherwise, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and requests terms of peace."  Or as another passage says, Luke 7:35 "And yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

Pray that you and God are on the same page.  Pray that you aren't getting ahead of God. 
Pray that you are living the life He wants of you.  Do not quench the Spirit of God in your life. 

We as yet may face the dangers in America as those in other places in this world. Live lives that show Christ regardless of what the world says. Satan knows his time is short. Knows that all his attempts to hinder the work of the Spirit has failed. God's Plan cannot be twarted by Satan's schemes. 

Indeed do not get ahead of God, but find our where you are to learn more about Him, be obedient to Him and stay where He wants you to be until He moves you. You may only get just enough...but that's OK. 

Sunday, August 22, 2021

A Life that is Different

A Life that is Different 

[Ahaz] did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God. 2 KINGS 16:2 

Wouldn’t yesterday have gone better had you checked in with the Lord more often? Don’t you wish you’d stopped and asked God for direction before making that decision? Wouldn’t it be great if calling on the Spirit to give you self-control were a way of life? It’s a sobering truth that all our deeds—good and bad—are done in God’s sight. The Lord watches our busy days, quick decisions, and unplanned reactions and knows whether or not our lives honor Him. God wants you to honor Him with all you say and do; He wants your life to radiate your love for Him; and He wants the next generation to remember you as a person of faith. His Spirit is at work in your life to make all this happen. Furthermore, God is not the only One watching your life. When you cry out to God, the world sees God’s goodness to you and watches how God responds to someone who trusts Him and who turns to Him. They learn that trust in God brings deliverance. So, as God blesses you and people watch Him work in your life, keep your eyes on Him. And remember, everything you do, absolutely everything, is done in the sight of God. - Blackaby Being Still With God 

Our views on good and bad, right and wrong, good and evil, are as tainted as black muddy water versus clear spring water in the eyes of God. 

We are many centuries removed from the first sin committed by Adam and Eve but by no means are we any less in our ways of self justification. 

Yesterday I could say that it was a very good, very successful day. 
I wouldn't be telling the truth in its entirety if I were to speak of it in all 100 percent truth. 

There were thoughts that shouldn't have been. Thoughts? Yes thoughts are as much a part of your deeds of the day as is eating or physical labor. 

More often than not we do as any that crossed the mind of Adam and Eve, we justify those thoughts to appease our conscience. Then we quickly dismiss the guilt that ought to have shown itself and move on. But as we read above, God noticed. 

As Christians we are to not live as the world lives. We are aliens and visitors until our part of the Plan of God is completed. It's not entirely impossible to have a rough life as a believer your entire life. It's also not entirely impossible to have one that isn't filled with stress and strife. 
Most of us are a mix of both. 

The plan and purpose of Satan is to distract and cause disarray to those who are believers in every way possible. To get them to be lazy, to get them to be forgetful. To get them to be thinking just a bit more about themselves and their ideas than that of God’s plan and purpose. 

Really look at your yesterday.

There's a very good chance you see nothing wrong with it. 

Filter your yesterday through the lenses of Scripture.  Now how does it look?

In just my yesterday's thoughts and events I can see more than one time where I failed to live up to my commitment to God...and those are just the ones that I see.  Jesus sees all thoughts, all actions, all intentions of everyone all the time. 

The grace and mercy of God covers my failures in my life, it is upon me to ask for forgiveness. Job, every day was praying for every aspect of His life and that of his family. Even the remote possibilities of sin.  Sin is that dangerous!

It is a battle every day.  Letting go of self so that we become more like Christ. It is an inevitability. We are His workmanship, therefore, the changes WILL happen. We either will come through those changes with the right attitude or the wrong. Taking up my cross means using both hands.  You cannot hold onto the world and your cross too.

Consider, as Blackaby asked, just how differently your yesterday might have been had you come to Christ a bit more often during your day. 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

I Have This Hope

I Have This Hope

“I did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’” Isaiah 45:19 ESV 

We can gain great comfort by considering what God has not said. What He has said is full of inexpressible comfort and delight, but what He has not said is just as rich. It was one of these “said nots” that preserved the kingdom of Israel in the days of King Jeroboam, for “the LORD had not said he would blot out the name of Israel completely” (2 Kings 14:27 NLT). In today’s Scripture, we have an assurance that God will answer prayer, because He “did not say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’” If you have bitter thoughts against yourself, remember this: whatever your doubt and fear may say, if God has not cut you off from mercy there is no room for despair. Even the voice of your conscience carries little weight if it is not seconded by the voice of God. Certainly, you should tremble at what God has said—but don’t allow your imagination to overwhelm you with depression and a sinful despair. Many fearful people are vexed by the suspicion that something in God’s decrees shuts them out from hope. But here is a complete refutation to that idea, for no true seeker can be consigned to wrath. The beginning of today’s verse says, “I did not speak in secret, in a land of darkness”—even though God is far beyond human understanding, He does not say, “Seek me in vain.” God has clearly revealed that He will hear the prayers of those who call on Him, and that declaration cannot be overturned. God has spoken so firmly, so truthfully, and so righteously that there can be no room for doubt. He does not reveal His mind in unintelligible words; He speaks plainly and positively, saying, “Ask, and it will be given to you” (Matthew 7:7 ESV). Oh, trembling Christian, believe this sure truth—that your prayer must and will be heard, and that never, even in the secrets of eternity, has the Lord said to any living soul, “Seek me in vain.” - C. H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

Before going further the words to a Christian song going through my head appear to be working with this devotional. 

I Have This Hope - Tenth Avenue North

As I walk this great unknown
Questions come and questions go
Was there purpose for the pain?
Did I cry these tears in vain?
I don't want to live in fear
I want to trust that You are near
Trust Your grace can be seen
In both triumph and tragedy
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go
But sometimes my faith feels thin
Like the night will never end
Will You catch every tear
Or will You just leave me here?
But I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go
Yes, I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go
So, whatever happens I will not be afraid
Cause You are closer than this breath that I take
You calm the storm when I hear You call my name
I still believe that one day I'll see Your face
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You're with me
I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go

It's probably the most heartbreaking and distressful thing that I see in life is people totally devoid of hope in Christ Jesus. 

I read in Paul's letters of his admonition to those Churches to remember the hope they have in the finished work of Christ Jesus. 

I see people drawn to constant tears over family and friends that are going through so much pain and painful times yet they push the hope of Christ away. 

That brings me to remembering that story of the woman in the storm.  The rains were coming,  water is rising. She cries out to God to save her! A truck comes down her street. They offer to take her to safety.  She declines, God will save  her.  A boat comes by and they offer to take her to safety. She says no thanks, God will save her!  The waters rise. A helicopter sees her on the roof of her house. They throw her a line. She hollered to them no thanks, God would save her. She dies in that storm and finds herself standing before Jesus really upset. Why didn't you save me?  Jesus responded with "I sent a truck, a boat and a helicopter, what more did you need?".

We often miss the hope right in front of us. 

We also get so used to handling our problems that we don't think to hope in a response from God. 

We live often in luxury compared to many places in the world. Thinking as the world does in just doing things yourself and forgetting that our place in this world is to show hope to a dying world. 

How else will mankind be without excuse in the day of Christ Jesus unless they are exposed to the hope only found in Jesus Christ? 

I pray daily for those whom I currently and have formerly worked with. Realizing that God had me cross paths with those individuals for a reason. There are no happenstance with life. There are no coincidences in life.  There are God-incidences. There are opportunities to show hope.

Your life, if you are a child of God, is to be a living testimony. 
For those reading this who have not come to Christ for salvation, this is the truth you seek.

To find hope in this world means coming to Christ to receive the free gift of Salvation. 
It's no sign of weakness to cry out to the One who can save you!  You who are parents, you, I hope, don't berate your children because they have hope in you as their parent do you?

Oh the heartbreak at the tears of someone who just refuses to embrace what Jesus offers!

It's OK not to have all the answers. It's OK to hope in the One who does. 

We who are in Christ hope in the promises of God. 
Fear being alone? Jesus promised never to leave us OR forsake us.  
Can anyone you know or have known in your life ever fit that promise unconditionally?

That's just ONE promise. 

In the Bible there's so many more. 

"I have this hope
In the depth of my soul
In the flood or the fire
You're with me and You won't let go"

The Bible is full of examples of people who hoped in God and His promises..

Let today be your day when you turn to them yourself. 

Friday, August 20, 2021

As We Walk

As We Walk

Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters . . . showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things. TITUS 2:9–10 The culture Paul addressed here was different from our own, yet the point he made here to servants is equally valid for those of us who are servants of the Lord today. Consider Paul’s message . . . Working people spend a great percentage of time at their jobs. Their most important mission field may be their colleagues and customers. Christian workers approach each day as an undeserved opportunity to share Christ with others through their words and actions. If you are going to be an effective witness for Christ, don’t be lazy! Don’t be a complainer. Don’t do substandard work. Don’t put in minimal effort. You represent Christ! Honor Him with your labor. - Blackaby Being Still With God 

Having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. ROMANS 6:18 As familiar as many of us are with the Passover and Exodus, one aspect of that great event is often overlooked: God redeemed His chosen people from bondage to Pharaoh for the purpose that they might become slaves to Him. Freedom for the sake of absolute freedom from all responsibility was never God’s purpose. The children of Israel, once they came out of Egypt, did not suddenly scatter to the four points of the compass to do whatever they wished. God’s desire was that they might walk in His will and invest their freedom from bondage in obedience to His will. Why? So He might bless them! When they failed to obey Him, He did not revoke their redemption and send them back into bondage—but they did miss out on the temporal blessings of continued obedience. The parallel between the nation of Israel in the Old Testament and the individual believer today is inescapable. We should invest our freedom from slavery to sin, not in indulging the whims of the flesh, but in seeking to serve the God who redeemed us. - Dr. David Jeremiah Morning and Evening 

They restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall. Nehemiah 3:8 ESV Well-fortified cities have broad walls, as Jerusalem in her glory did. In a similar way, the New Jerusalem must be surrounded and preserved by a broad wall of nonconformity to the world, by separation from its customs and spirit. The tendency today is to break down the holy barrier and make the difference between the church and the world insignificant. Professing Christians are no longer strict and puritan, questionable entertainment is everywhere, frivolous pastimes are indulged, and a general laxity threatens to deprive the Lord’s special people of the sacred distinctions that separate them from sinners. It will be a bad day for the church and the world when the proposed merger is complete. When the sons of God and the daughters of men are one, another deluge of wrath will be ushered in. Dear reader, make it your aim in heart, in word, in dress, and in action to maintain the broad wall, remembering that “friendship with the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4 ESV). The Broad Wall provided the inhabitants of Jerusalem a pleasant place from which to view the surrounding country. This reminds us of the Lord’s exceedingly broad commandments, in which we walk in communion with Jesus, overlooking scenes of earth and looking toward the glories of heaven. Separated from the world, denying ourselves all ungodliness and the lusts of the flesh, we are not in prison or restricted within any narrow bounds. No, we walk in liberty because we keep His commands. Come, reader—this evening, walk with God in His statutes. Like friends meeting on the city wall, meet your God in the way of holy prayer and meditation. You have a right to walk the strong wall of salvation, for you are a free citizen of the royal city. - C. H. Spurgeon Morning and Evening 

It's always interesting to me when you can read many different things, by decidedly different people, and come away with the same theme. 

Or as I have quoted another Godly man, if God is repeating Himself...listen!

The posts of both Dr. Michael Youseff and Dr. David Jeremiah of late both tie into this theme as well.  The world is pushing its way into the Church. Twisting the truth of God, pushing out doctrine.  Flooding it with entertainment, not praise and worship. Removing even the Bible from being taught as the infallible Word of God. 

This shows a people that isn't living with salvation in mind. 

Scripture says to live out your salvation with fear and trembling. That is, with respect and reverence. It should be the aim of believers to walk in a manner worthy of their calling in Christ Jesus, not as the world walks.

From what we do by ourselves, to work, to home life, to being out in the world. It should reflect a life with Christ Jesus. 

Nobody will ever look back, as a believer, to regret what they did in regards to walking as the Bible had taught them to do, say, and think. 

Every believer will look back, after seeing Jesus Christ face-to-face, and have regret at not doing more in the life they were given.

My regrets follow me daily. Things that I thought that I shouldn't have. Things that I did or didn't do. Thoughts that I should have had that came too late. 

From the moment we get up til we find our bed again at the end of the day we ought to strive to live Godly, holy, lives.  "Be Holy as I am Holy".

As it also happens in my Bible reading this morning we read this from 1 Corinthians 3 "And I, brothers and sisters, could not speak to you as spiritual people, but only as fleshly, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to consume it. But even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like ordinary people? For when one person says, “I am with Paul,” and another, “I am with Apollos,” are you not ordinary people?

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now the one who plants and the one who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw, each one’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each one’s work. If anyone’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet only so as through fire.

Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys the temple of God, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

Take care that no one deceives himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the sight of God. For it is written: “He is the one who catches the wise by their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are useless.” So then, no one is to be boasting in people. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

A lot to read, but it IS the Word of God. How are you living life?

Great concern among leading Pastors has them seeing the apathy within the Church today. 

In the letters to the Churches in Revelation Jesus Himself sends the warning to a Church about forgetting their first love. Which is Him!

Paul warned in his letters of how it would be in the last days. Of what manner of people those IN THE CHURCH would be like. Meaning exactly what Jesus asked. Would He even find the faith when He returns?

How ARE you walking in this life? Are the things that are important to God important to you?

Are you adding to the problem in the Church or are you setting the example of a Godly life?

You can't do both and please God. He already squashed that notion. You cannot serve two masters. 

Your entirety of your day should be with the idea that you do have a life to live for Christ. Regardless of your circumstances. Regardless of if it means missing out on things that the world says you deserve to enjoy. The grass withers and the flowers fade but the Word of God stands forever. 

Stop, turn, and repent. Start this day WITH Jesus. 

It makes all the difference in your present and your future as you stand before Christ to give an account of your life. 

I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day; I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t have time to pray. Problems just tumbled about me and heavier became each task. ‘Why doesn’t God help me,’ I wondered.

He answered, ‘You didn’t ask.’ I wanted to see joy and beauty, but the day toiled on, gray and bleak. I wondered why God didn’t show me; He said, ‘But you didn’t seek.’ 

I tried to come into God’s presence; I used all my keys at the lock. God gently and lovingly chided, ‘My child, you didn’t knock.’ 

I woke up early this morning and paused before entering the day. I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.