Friday, September 30, 2022

A Life IN

A Life IN
by David Brenneman 

"And you were dead in your offenses and sins, in which you previously walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all previously lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:1-10 NASB 

This is perhaps one of my favorite places of a before and after with coming to Christ for salvation.  The Believer ought to review this chapter often.  All too often we are like children playing with fire. How close to the world can we be and not be burned by following in its sinful ways and practices?

We are to be in the world yet not of this world.  John 15:19 NASB "If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you."

We can unfortunately crave the world's attention and admiration.  We can crave its acceptance, seeking to co-exist with it.  Jesus plainly says that the world's not going to like us because of who we are in Christ. 

Paul writes of what previously was and what ought to be now for those who are in Christ Jesus.

We are going to face opposition in this life for choosing Jesus.

"If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people." Romans 12:18 NASB.  This easily implies that quite often it's likely not going to be possible.  We are going to have people, if the real truth if situations were revealed, have issues with us because of our relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Another aspect is what can be referred to as "cuddling up" with the world.  Talking nice with it, giving in to its demands in order to placate it. To sooth its being upset with us for the hope of salvation in us. So we often can be found watering down the Word of God to please others. 

Oh the warnings about that. Peter and others boldly stood before the Jewish Leaders to state: 

"And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all [n]in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your own judgment;  for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”  When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man on whom this miracle of healing had been performed was more than forty years old." Acts 4:18-22 NASB 

Life IN Christ is supposed to be different from the world. 
Life IN Christ is not supposed to be us living so close that no difference is seen. 
Life IN Christ is to be us seeking to be filled with:

"For this reason I bend my knees before the Father, from whom [m]every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner self, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:14-19 NASB 

Quite the opposite of what the world seeks, which is its own glory and its own righteousness. 

Those in Christ Jesus want Jesus on the throne of their hearts.  Those who aren't in Christ want themselves on the throne of their hearts. 

We cannot live life trying to mix both worlds and please Him with whom our salvation rests.  Jesus was in this world but not of this world.  That's what He taught the Disciples. That's what those who were Disciples who became the Apostles taught others in the Church to be.

You cannot live a life in Christ by putting Him, His wishes for you, His desires for you on a shelf until you get to Him as a priority.  Your growth in sanctification depends on your obedience to the Word of God, not your striving to please the world. 

Take a look at your life.  Are you trying to blend in with the world?  Is your time, energy and effort going towards obedience to God's Word or to self?  Are you living for Jesus a life that is true. Striving to please Him in all that you do? 

When Believers stand before Jesus what we have done FOR Christ Jesus is what's going to be recognized as valuable.  Not our wealth, not our health nor our prosperity.  Not our sports teams, not our affiliations. Not what clubs we were a part of. Nothing but what we did in the body for Jesus is going to matter. 

Does your life show a life IN Christ?

Thursday, September 29, 2022

You're Probably Just Not Getting It

You're Probably Just Not Getting It 
by David Brenneman 

What we wrestle with mentally...
What we really face in the chaotic world...
What governments, institutions and agencies really are about...

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took Him along into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and he said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written:

‘He will give His angels orders concerning You’;


‘On their hands they will lift You up,
So that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written: ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil *took Him along to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”  Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to serve Him." Matthew 4:1-11 NASB 

To wrestle is to engage, to fight, to battle, to interact with.  

We can easily get a "Why me?" attitude.  Consider that there's really only a few types of people in this world.  Those who are dead set against the knowledge of God are one group. You have those who are undecided as the next group. Next are those who have come to Christ for salvation. 

Why you. An interesting question yet not one without Biblical answers.  If indeed you have come to Christ for salvation, you're no longer of this world. You are now a citizen of Heaven. You're also an enemy of Satan. You're sealed in the Spirit by God until the time of your departure from this world and He brings you to Heaven.  You become the workmanship of Jesus through the work of sanctification, becoming more like Christ.  In Christ you have a new set of responsibilities. A new life to live for the One who saved you. We will indeed find ourselves in opposition to the world by the work of God in us and our identity in Christ.  

Those outside of this life in Christ are subject, for the most part, to every whim that's permitted by God, that Satan and his minions can do.  I say for the most part because if indeed you are on your way to salvation by what the Spirit is doing in your life, the Spirit will indeed fight concerning those people.  

That first group is the harshest.  They either knowingly or unknowingly are obeying the god of this world.  They care not for the things of God. They live for themselves. They are used of Satan for his agenda.  Trying to thwart the God of the Bible. 

We are in a battle.  Lives are indeed at stake.  Heaven or Hell is the outcome.
Read the rest of the Gospel accounts and you see the war between God and Satan.  You see that lives are indeed on the line.  Sin and its consequences are very real.  Sin has much more to do with physical ailments than chemistry.  Sin has much more to do with mental issues than what is blamed on genetics or biology. 

In your day in front of you today...keep in mind that real battle.  The real reasons behind the struggles in this world.  The real reasons why the world is doing what it's doing. 

Biblical prophecy cannot be thwarted. Satan's expended countless resources to try to stop even a single event from happening that the Bible says will happen. 
He is also required to obey in each part of the Bible that applies to him.  He will fight and fight until that point when he is bound and cast into the bottomless pit for a thousand years, removing his influence on mankind for that time. 

He tries to alter the seasons. Tries to alter the climate of the world. Truth is this physical world will also comply with the Will of the God.  It's preparing for the events of the Bible that are soon about to take place.  Truth be known...this physical world is eager for the 7 year Great Tribulation to be over.  It's looking forward to a thousand years of Christ Jesus ruling here in person.  Jesus sort of spoke to this in saying that if people would be silent about Him the very stones would cry out. 

For the Friend what's keeping you?  There's nothing to fear in coming to Christ. The battle is probably harder on you than it would be if you would indeed choose Jesus.  Once you receive His free gift of salvation you have His divine protection. Satan's GOT to go through Jesus to get to you.  

"and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand." John 10:28-29 NASB 

For those of us who are in's imperative that we be found to be doers of the Word of God.  Be found faithful to our calling in Christ Jesus.  To be in the Word, be in prayer. Be praying for those who have yet to receive that wonderful gift of salvation. 

There's indeed a reasonable explanation for this world's events and happenings.  The Bible is where you will find it all.  The chaos does have an explanation.  It's found in the Bible.  There's countless distractions to keep our minds from the truth, but there's only 1 truth:  we need salvation in Christ Jesus alone.  That choice means Heaven or Hell for everyone after they die.  We cannot battle in this life on our own.  That same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in the lives of those who have placed their faith and trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation. 

We will be tempted to go it alone.  Satan's MO begins with divide and conquer.  He got Eve by herself, away from Adam and Jesus.  Satan's next is always subtlety. Small distractions, small thoughts, and slowly adds to them to keep people from God's truth.  Justification of what we do so that it makes perfect sense to us regardless of if it's against God's Word.  

Prayer is something that Satan's not able to prevent or predict.  It's a direct line to Jesus.  The Bible says that the fervent effective prayer of a righteous person obtains much.  The more we are aligned with God's plan and purpose for us the more our prayers will be answered because we will be praying for what He's eager to do.  There may still be no answers but again it's about praying that His Will be done...not necessarily ours. 

Scriptures also tell us that the battle belongs to the Lord.  Fight all he may, Jesus wins. 

He may remind us of our failures and failings but we get to remind him of his future.  He loses.

Pray up before setting out. Pray up before deciding on whatever is facing you.  Nehemiah's prayer is often mine. A simple "God I need help!".

So keep your eyes open to what's really going on around you.  It's probably not what you think it is.  Satan wants stagnant Believers in Christ Jesus. He wants distracted Believers in Christ Jesus. He wants Believer's in Christ Jesus to be about living life for themselves. He wants them spending time, energy and effort on creating their own ideas of a Heaven here on Earth.  While they do that, more people slide into Hell.  

A true translation of a passage in the Bible says that the power of the Church would bust down the gates of Hell.  That it would not be able to withstand the onslaught of the Church. The fervent prayer of a righteous person avails much. 

Reach out to Jesus in prayer before you start your day and continue throughout your day.  Let go of what's keeping you from a full life in Christ.  Let go of anything keeping you from salvation in Christ if you haven't yet decided.  Time is running out. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

He Won't Stop...But..

He Won't Stop...But...
by David Brenneman 

Have read people asking questions as to why this government or government agency is doing this or that. Why are those in the scientific community and medical community doing this or that. Why is it so obvious to some people but not others?

Satan's the Prince of the power of the air. He's temporarily, until such a time as enough is enough, the ruler of this world. 

Satan's chief aim is the Throne of God. 
It's on his agenda to discredit in even the smallest of details any aspect of the Word of God.  The goals and aims of all those same said institutions is to do just that. 

People wonder why so many things that seem to be the same thing.  Well, read the Gospels, Satan had way more than one path started to try to kill Jesus. The avenue of the cross was written in the Old Testament. It wasn't going to be any other way. 

As it is written. 

When tempted by Satan, that's how Jesus responded.  "It is written...".

In other somewhat less avenues of his, Satan's using everything he can to water down the Word of God in the lives of Believers.  He's trying to keep those who have not yet decided from finding out the truth of God.  He absolutely doesn't want more people added to the Book of Life. 

He uses every possible distraction that can be created in the thoughts of mankind.  Everything that's permitted by God that doesn't violate God's plan and purpose, that doesn't violate His Word. 

By everything it means everything. 

From what we call entertainment to what we eat, how we eat, how we interact with each other.  Everyone who is breathing is someone that the enemy of God has his sights on.  He is relentlessly pursuing his agenda. 

But...for those who are in Christ Jesus. 
For those who do claim the name of Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior we have the promises of God in our corner.  We have "Greater is He who is in you than he who is in this world." 1 John 4:4.

We have still others to trust in and rely on because Satan's plans cannot change them.  

His plans rely on subtlety. He will try to get you to convince you.  He will get you to justify what you do that has absolutely nothing to do with growing in Christ Jesus.  He will get you to fixate on anything and everything else so that you miss out on the blessings of God.  

One of his greatest is getting us to not forgive ourselves.  In this he had me for decades.  Literally.  Getting us to maybe forgive others.  Getting us no put even what on the surface seems to be good things as more important than growing in Christ.  Everything from the way we eat to the way we interact with people.  Paul was very conscious about his intentions and interactions with people. He didn't want to be that reason someone didn't live for Jesus the way they ought to. 

We also have the promise that the battle belongs to the Lord.  Though he fights it in every way, he is subject to the will of God. He has to report to Heaven daily. Read that in Job. He has to give an account himself. 

In Christ we have a hope that the world cannot know...but it's on us to live life in such a way that people see it. 

Look at your life. You are in the battle.  What things, what thoughts, have you convinced yourself are ok and 'safe' that Biblically are not?

What to you direct your passion and energy to that has nothing to do with your purpose in Christ? 

For me it's a struggle at times to keep on task.  It's a struggle to not just go with the flow.  To put my interests above the interests of others.  To sit and waste hours.  I admit there's times that I do.  

What is going on in your life that's never going to show anyone anything about how much Jesus loves them?  

We often don't associate things of the modern world as being rooted in idolatry yet when you apply the Scriptures, oh it's everywhere. 

An idol is anything or anyone that is elevated higher than God's plan and purpose for you in your heart and mind. Regardless of the justification.  Cars, food, recreational activities, people, hobbies, sports, jobs, family, individuals, study of history, fiction, non-fiction, it exists in the mind of man or in the physical world it's possible to become an idol if it takes the place of Jesus within the life of a Believer. 

Satan's best helpers are often those Christians he has already misguided.  

It's why it's so important to be in prayer, to be in the Word of God. To find a Bible believing, Bible preaching Church.  It's why we trust in the Word of God and not in ourselves.  Satan will try to get us to always trust in ourselves rather than checking with the Word of God or to ask God. 

Really realize just what's going on in the world.  The Bible WILL always come true. 
The future isn't going to be some utopia. There's never going to be some great awakening of mankind that saves everyone by the power of mankind.  

There's a day fixed that Jesus IS going to return. 
There's a day fixed that the Church will be taken from this world. 
There's a day fixed that the Great Tribulation will begin and will last for 7 years. 
There's a day fixed when Jesus will rule and reign on this Earth for 1,000 years. 
There's a day fixed for the final judgment of mankind. 

Satan's aims are to try to stop all of those and more. 

We need to be with other Believers. 
We need to be in the Word of God. 
We need better priorities in living that reflect our relationship with Jesus. 
We need to be about the Father’s business as Jesus was 2,000 years ago. 
We need a richer prayer life. 
We need a deeper prayer life.
We need an extreme makeover to rid our lives of what is taking God's place in our lives. 

What is in your life that isn't God honoring?
What's in your life that you need to reconsider?

Are you helping rather than hindering what Satan's doing in this world?  

Are your works causing people to glorify your Father in Heaven or are they so lackluster that people don't give you a second glance?

The Battle belongs to the Lord but we are His body if indeed we are in Christ Jesus. We have work to do that's ours to do.  Isaiah said Here am I, send me!  
Would your life look like someone who was sent by God to a lost world? 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Prepare for Battle

Prepare for a Battle 
by David Brenneman 

It's been said that to remove a bad habit you must replace it with something good. Furthermore I think it's been said that to make something new, stick, you must do it at least 66 days.  

Fully explains why most New Years Resolutions to go to the gym don't get past the end of January.  

We can't live this life as God intended if we aren't even attempting Godly habits.  What would your world look like if for 66 days you were intentionally pursuing "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33 NASB?

What would your life look like if "Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 NASB were on your mind when you interacted with others for 66 days?

What would your life be like if you were intentionally reading something, anything, from your Bible for 66 days? 

What would your life be like indeed!

What would happen is you rewriting the thought processes of your brain.  What would happen is your brain wouldn't have the time for things that shouldn't occupy it.

To be overtly blunt...I know way too much detail about way too many things in the science fiction world...and no where near as much of my Bible.  I know back stories and writer and director stories.  What really happened between writer's, director's, producer's, actor's and actresses.  What author's believe etc.  Couldn't tell you anything about sports.  I barely know what certain sports are and might be able to follow along in a public setting without looking too dumb.

Point is we all probably know way too much about things,  in way too much detail, that have absolutely zero impact on our Spiritual life...and we make phenomenal excuses for keeping those things there!  

Some of the most interestingly life changing stories to be heard are of those who's only input to their brains was a Bible. In those mission fields where a Bible, not social media, not the entertainment world, not political parties, not sports or sports figures, not even the world of fantasy have any influence on those change happened because of the Word of God. 

We convince ourselves we need to decompress with this or that thing. We need time to veg.  We earned it. We deserve it.  We choose, albeit intentionally, to spend that time on worldly ideas and thoughts rather than going to be with Jesus.  I am just as guilty as the next person. 

We only have so much time in this world to live life as God intended and most of the time we waste it.   Time is far more precious than silver or gold or precious stones.  Time is used and never can be replenished.  Time consumes everything and everyone and our thoughts ironically go towards trying to get it to pass more quickly!

We are immersed in a world that is mostly the way that the ruler of this world wants it...immersed in idolatry that's candy-coated to attract as many as is possible away from the righteous life that God desires for us.   

We get indoctrinated in schools and sometimes bad parenting along with it, to be all we can be in this world apart from God. 

We get taught at an early age how to fill our lives with stuff that has no bearing on growing in Christ Jesus.  The chains that we willingly put about ourselves!  We both latch onto and yet pray to be rescued from the same!

We need to be intentional about living for Jesus. We need to create lasting, good, habits in our lives.  We need to acknowledge those things that the Spirit says are not helping us and ask God to help break us of.  We cannot afford to look at life like the world does.  We cannot afford to try our level best to figure our how to integrate the desires of our hearts, that have nothing to do with our sanctification, into our lives.  

It really really bothered me that I could practically look at book titles of novels and could give you most of what happened in it verbally.  Same with movies or television shows.  Could tell you of things as yet undocumented that I found wrong in those same said things.  Yet it was a crushing blow to me that should I die and stand before Jesus, that I couldn't say that I even read my Bible once.  Over the years since that day I have totally lost count of how many times I have read through my Bible. 

It took being intentional to bring that about. 

To stop worrying, which is certainly a bad habit, means replacing it with something good like prayer.  So what if you bungle it starting out. Even the Disciples had to ask how to do it.  What they got was a model of what priorities were important, not a model to be emotionlessly repeated.  There and then they began steps on learning how to pray. 

Worry is essentially thoughts, feelings, emotions with no direction but just going around and around in your head. 

Prayer gives those things a direction away from you to the Throne of God, to the feet of Jesus Christ Himself, in an instant!

Praying repeatedly when worrying starts relieves your mind for other things.  

How about taking up that challenge?  Take one, the other or both. Praying or Bible reading for the next 66 days. that's 2 months and 6 days.  Stop focusing on something else in those times per day and focus on only that challenge.  Even if it's 5 minutes per day for 66 days. That would be 5 and a half hours with Jesus that you hadn't been doing before.  10 minutes per day would be 11 hours. 

What bad habits are you making yourself live with?  We can't cry out to God to deal with this or that if we aren't going to be willing to let go of those things when He grabs ahold of them.  We cannot hold onto desires that aren't going to grow us in Christ and expect to grow in Christ.  We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.  Good works as HE says not good as we think they should be. 

What would your life look like if for 66 days you were intentionally pursuing your relationship with Jesus in even 1 new way?

Prepare for a Battle when you do. Satan's not going to want to give you ground.  Prepare for temptations and thoughts that will try to convince you of you wasting your time, energy and effort. Prepare for everyone and everything to happen. Prepare for that bad habit not wanting to die.  Am just telling you now that same reason gym membership dies after the New Years Resolutions is what's going to happen to you.  

Life will happen and usually the first thing to go is what we do to grow in Christ Jesus.  The people who would help us grow will be among the first we will say we don't have time for or to be with.  Satan's big MO is divide and conquer.  Increase the stress so that forgetting to pray will happen. Increase whatever is bothering you already to get you to worry and not pray. 

Expect resistance when you seek to live Godly in Christ Jesus.  The Bible says that's what awaits those who seek to live that way. Expect it. Keep even sending short prayers for His help. Don't give up, don't give in and you WILL see positive change happen. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Time Isn't on Our Side

Time Isn't On Our Side 
by David Brenneman 

There indeed is a time that is for each person who breathes to have their moment before Jesus. 

Hebrews 10:30-31 NASB "For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.”It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God."

What do you think about when you consider standing before Jesus?  We all will someday.  Will it terrify you or bring you joy unlike anything you have ever known?

We live in "live for the moment, live in the moment" world.  Giving little of the time we have to God but often rather the leftovers. 

We waste so much on worry and desires that are about the moment or the future. 

We sometimes think that our moments of obedience outweigh the vast amount of time that we aren't obeying God's Word. 

We forget that He desires obedience not sacrifice. He sent away the so-called leaders of the Jewish people to go and learn what that meant. 

We pursue a life of personal desires that conflict most of the time with the desire of God in us.

We lift up organizations, businesses, sports, movies, entertainment of every kind, health, wealth, prosperity, self, above God.  We lose out on so much that could have been had we been fully living the life we were meant to have in Christ Jesus. 

Adding to our dilemma of living for self or things that matter not in light of eternity, we sometimes even do as is written in the Bible and think we are offering service unto God when we do such things...yet our hearts are far from God as is also written. 

We need a right relationship with Jesus. A relationship where our focus as Disciples isn't on the water but on He who stands on the water.  As followers of Christ Jesus we live a life of obedience in the one who gave up His life for me and you. 

Earthly happiness is a fleeting thing. It's something we look for yet find it never lasts. 

We look for this or that to bring about a life we think we desire or deserve...forgetting that passage where we are to deny ourselves and take up our own cross and follow Him.  Forgetting to take His yoke upon us because His burden is easy and His load is light.  

Time isn't on Our side in living life.  It takes a breath or a heartbeat to change it forever.  As I have shared, the husband of a former co-worker got up for a cup of coffee and fell dead to the floor.  In recent months my Wife merely turned on her way and her knee messed up.  Years ago I slept exactly wrong one night and woke up to an inability to move my head.  Repeatedly we hear of the statistics of most of your car accidents happen within a few miles of your home.  

We don't have all the time in front of us that we think we do.  We have a day that's fixed where we will indeed give an account of our lives before Jesus Christ Himself. 

I have often told people, as long as they breathe, there's hope.  Regret is what's mostly pouring out of Hell.  People weeping because they missed out all because of themselves.  There will be no finger pointing at the Judgment Seat of God in that day. Everyone stands or falls on whether or not they had a right real relationship with Jesus Christ through salvation in Him alone. 

We often don't understand what worship is.  We are often worshipping and don't realize it for what it is.  We take what belongs only to God, to Jesus, and give it to someone or something else.  We set up idols and don't recognize them.  We put people and things up on a pillar and point others to them to be recognized as worthy and don't see that for what it is.

We wonder why life isn't going well and we are contributing to that by not living the full life that God desires for us.

I often have to do my own review on my why's.  Why am I wanting this or that. Why am I doing this or that.  Why do I have this or that.  Why's lead to other questions. What's my motivation? Am I going to point people to Jesus or to myself or someone or something else?  Am I walking in a manner worthy of the calling that I have in Christ?  Am I being a hypocrite or a follower of Christ?  Will my day before Jesus Christ show anything that He considers worthy of value? 

Your life, your breath, isn't for you to spend on you after you come to Christ for salvation. We are a new creation in Christ Jesus. We have a life to live as He sees fit. We have a responsibility as followers of Christ to live a life that honors Him.  It may not be a life we are thinking that's 'us' but it will be a life that He's desiring to give us. We are workers in His fields. We are to obey in what He wants done in the time we have in those fields.  Our goal is to receive that "Well done!" when we are finished. We are so easily distracted by the countless ways this world at Satan's direction draws people into sinful practices.  We are unable outside of a life in Christ to fight on our own.  If obedience were possible without a relationship with Jesus then Jesus died needlessly.  

We also don't need to stay where we are. Time is too short to waste on trivial things that do not matter in light of eternity.  We don't need to keep holding onto the past. We don't need to stay in whatever state we are if indeed it's unpleasant.  

Take the hand of Jesus and ask Him to see you THROUGH it to the other side, whatever it takes, however He sees fit.  We often let go of His hand when life gets difficult.  We often start trusting in ourselves and our wisdom and knowledge.  We start trusting our senses rather than the Spirit within us that is from God through Christ Jesus. 

Time is so short. Most do not know at all when deaths door will open.  The man who's voice is behind the audio version of the New American Standard Bible and another version...within a few days of completing those...he died. Quite unexpectedly.  

We have but one life to live...making the most of every opportunity is what the Bible teaches.  My mental state often gets misunderstood. I have a multitasking mind.  I sometimes do check-out at the oddest of times because of that.  It often settles down when I am focusing on just my moment with Jesus. 

When you look at your life, how you are spending it, would you describe it as being a fully devoted follower of Christ?  Would you say mostly? Would you say maybe half?  Less?  It's really important to determine that and fix that now.  Remember our lives are not our own we were bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  We owe Him everything.  We ought to honor Him in what we do even if it's not what we prefer to be doing.

If you stepped into eternity today...would people describe you as a follower of Christ or list off things that never pointed people to Jesus?  Right now you have the time to get life right.  Right now you can choose to live as one who does not fear that day to come.  Right now you have the time...

Sunday, September 25, 2022

An Observation of People

An Observation of People 
by David Brenneman 

We often stay in situations that God doesn't desire for us to remain in.  We willingly enslave ourselves to a moment in time, to a circumstance, to things that cause us to fixate on them and not on Jesus. 

Psalm 23 says that He leads us THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death. He didn't say anything about setting up camp and putting up an address number. 

In Matthew 18:12-20 NASB "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains, and go and search for the one that is lost? And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven for one of these little ones to perish."

Jesus doesn't want us living in a lie. He wants us to live in His truth. 

He wants to reach as many as would have Him save them. 

We often wonder at the behavior of the children of others in public.  Much can be attributed to parenting.  Children who don't know of the concept of consequences to their deeds and actions.   That it's going to hurt sometimes and that there's reasons why you don't do some things. 

When people's perceptions are fixated its difficult to get them to move.  

In my life I had several decades of day after day of lies of Satan berating me, of trying to convince me of my worthlessness in this world.  Of how I would never measure up to what my thoughts of God required of me.  

I am oh so thankful that at my lowest, Jesus reached through it all and pulled me up out of it. Speaking truth to me.  Telling me who I am in Christ. Telling me that I indeed am loved by Him and His Father. 

Our world couches lies within a sliver of truth.  Beit everything from jobs to diet programs to medical procedures.  If mankind's thoughts are involved, we have a significant chance that lies are involved. 
Sin is in this world. 

My life wasn't happy deep inside. I knew not what to do about it.  I knew that I accepted Christ at a young age but the follow-up wasn't there.  The Discipleship teaching that is.  Which does leave a lot of room for misconceptions and error.

Our minds want acceptance for exactly who we are. We want the confirmation of others that our choices are right and true. 
We want our kingdom established that runs the way we want. Free of conflict. 

This is exactly what is meant by "everyone does what is right in their own eyes".  

When we let go of our wants our ideas on living life, and invite Jesus to lead instead, life is promised to be interesting.

Our lives are plagued with opportunities to misdirect our passion and desires.  

Our lives are easily caught up in fears that keep us from moving.  

When we stand alone that is. 

It often blows my mind the way people love living in a lie rather than what could be for them.  I know of many people who have a misguided sense of loyalty that's actually causing them great misery that they refuse to acknowledge as that.

I know of people who have turned away from God's calling in their lives because of conflict with others in their past.  They've embraced the world's ideas on a peaceful life rather than what God's wanting to do through them.

These people have sat down in the valley of the shadow of death and aren't listening to Jesus telling them that this isn't what He wants of them. 

Jesus didn't want me living in my own brand of misery.  He came to give us life, life more abundant.  He came to sanctify us in His truth.  He came to bring us moments of joy that are often inexpressible in words.  

When indeed we are in thess low points it's often that we are carrying baggage that we need to let go of in order to get to the other side of the valley. 

Our wants and desires need to align with God's in order to grow in Christ Jesus.  We are tempted in every way to embrace the small and great things of this world. 

We are tempted to doubt our standing in Christ Jesus. 

We are tempted to be stubborn about situations rather than letting go, trusting in God, and moving on.

The thing about that story of leaving the 99 to search for the one is that the Good Shepherd does something intentional to that one to make it more dependent upon the Shepherd than it ever was before. To teach it not to go off and do its own thing. 
He breaks the leg of the sheep to cause it to stay close to the Shepherd.  We often are in some tight circumstances because we are needing to learn to be dependent upon our Great Shepherd rather than on our own devices.  

Praying without ceasing becomes like breathing.  Our hearts hide less when we open them more to Jesus to work with. 
Our lives get reshaped to be what Jesus needs us to be and not what we thought it should be. 

It's not written down but it's easily implied by the part of the Gospels where Jesus told them when He sent them out of what not to take with them. They carried around no caravan of supplies.  Their being a Disciple meant a wholehearted dependence upon Jesus for everything, every day.  

It matters not what the situation is in our lives, from dietary to medical to employment to parenting to anything...our dependence ought to be on our Shepherd before its on the world.  Yes God often uses things of this world as answers to prayer but we need to be sure of what's presented as being from God and not just a moment of weakness bearing fruit. 

It's more than what would Jesus do. 
It's what is He wanting me to do. 
It's am I letting go of what He says.
It's am I taking up what He says. 
It's am I trusting in Him to see me through what He never once intended me to remain in. 

We cannot know the will of God if we aren't going to listen to what He's told us already...why would He tell us more?

Indeed God freely gives wisdom to all who would ask. But listening to it is another thing. 

Saturday, September 24, 2022


by David Brenneman 

Regret is what is probably the most prevalent emotion that pours out of Hell by those who go there.  

It's been said that upon dying, everyone's theology is corrected. 

We are encouraged, by way of song and poetry, to live for the moment or to believe that time is on our side.  

We read in the Scriptures "But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.  For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it, either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 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.  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 6:6-10 NASB 

We pursue so much in life.  
We try so hard to get what the world teaches us that we have earned or deserve. 
We strive to do this or that in order to gain what we think will bring peace and rest to out lives...and then come to the conclusion albeit briefly that it doesn't last.

Time isn't on our side.  Time is relentlessly moving forward in this physical world. 

Time can appear to stretch on forever or we blink and it's gone. 

We are given only a certain amount of time to live life as God has written in the books for us.  Scripture tells us that He knows, intimately, every second of our lives before we were even born. 

What we do with those moments is important!  What we decide about God is important!  

I would rather have my theology corrected by God in this life rather than to die and have no recourse, no way to alter it, to where I might benefit. 

In Hell, weeping and gnashing of teeth is a constant thing.  Regret is heaviest among those who are the most ready to acknowledge God's sovereignty.  In what we read in Luke 16:19-31 NASB, we see regret: “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, enjoying himself in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,  and longing to be fed from the scraps which fell from the rich man’s table; not only that, the dogs also were coming and licking his sores.  Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s arms; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he raised his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his arms. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who want to go over from here to you will not be able, nor will any people cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I request of you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment as well.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”

When you get real about your life...
When you really think about those things you have pursued...
When you look at what you have accumulated...
When you look at what you have accomplished...

Is regret there among your thoughts?

We have this hope in Christ Jesus for a better life. We have this hope by faith in the Son of God who loved us, gave Himself for us.  We have such opportunity to live a regret free life in Christ Jesus!  But do we realize it?  Do we find contentment in it?  Do we squander those precious moments that we are given and cannot take back?

We waste those moments on regret, on guilt, on shame.  Satan's minions and sometimes himself, hit us daily to remind us of things that aren't true about God and us.  Attempting to make us believe lies about our identity.  

We need to be connected to a growing body of Believers in Christ Jesus to avert thoughts and feelings that drain us. That take away our effectiveness in Christ Jesus.  Regret doesn't need to be the definition of our lives. Peace and contentment is possible in a right relationship with Jesus Christ.  Being happy by what makes Jesus happy is one key way. Being about the Father’s business as Jesus was brought happiness to Jesus.  

Look at your life.  Are you trying to fill it with poor substitutes for contentment?  Are you so immersed in regret that you can't see?  My Dear Friend, God has so much more in store for you than that!

Hope is only truly found in Christ Jesus. 

Hope is never to be seen in Hell.  

All hope is lost for those who enter into Hell...and there's nobody there that wants to be there. 

Salvation in Christ Jesus is where true love, peace and contentment can be found in this life.  We are saved by faith and not of works that we can do.  We could have eternity and never do enough to cover 1 single sin.  What man couldn't do Jesus did. Salvation is free for all who would receive it by simply asking. 

Come to Christ today and find the cure for regret. Maybe return to Christ today and ask Him to forgive you and restore your relationship with Him.  Let today be the day that the chains of regret are broken.  

Friday, September 23, 2022

Can't Go it Alone

Can't Go it Alone

by David Brenneman

Oftentimes we don't consider the ramifications of our decisions.  We see a situation or a problem and in a moment of time make a choice that had we thought it through we wouldn't have done.  Was reading in Galatians this morning and of Paul confronting Peter about essentially living a double life.  

Do we live two lives?  Maybe more?  Do we show up at Church being one way and after we leave turn into someone else?  When we go to work are we yet still someone else?  When in the privacy of our homes are we someone else?  When we are out eating or shopping are we yet someone else?

Peter was trying to please people he was with and got caught because it was leading to hypocrisy.  He was leading others astray with his behavior.

We who are in Christ have but one life to live in Christ Jesus.  It's something to keep in mind is the being dead to self and alive in Christ.  It's something to put one another above ourselves.  To take up our own cross and to follow Christ.  To take His yoke upon us for His burden is load is easy and His burden is light.   Don't we often see that last part as being backwards?  We think that the load is heavy and the burden of living for Christ being difficult?

For more than a decade or so I fought with my own 'demons'.  Seeing my faults, seeing my things that I needed to overcome in my life.  Seeing my own hypocrisy in me.  Being reminded daily by Christ's enemy of this or that where I was failing at life. 

The enemy wanted me to refer to myself as a failure in Christ.

The enemy wanted me to refer to myself as one who would never overcome my sins.

Nobody in this world should be identifying as what they once were before coming to Christ. 

"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." Galatians 2:20 NASB95

What we often do is try to go after unrealistic expectations.  We try to do as the world does and seek approval from the world and not from God as to our identity. 

We often try to create Heaven here on Earth.  We spend millions in a lifetime trying to seek our will to be done, to seek our way to do things, to live life. 

"Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, being diligent to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all." Galatians 4:1-6 NASB


"So I say this, and affirm in the Lord, that you are to no longer walk just as the Gentiles (Aka: those in the World) also walk, in the futility of their minds, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves up to indecent behavior for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." Galatians 4:17-24

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB

When we are on our own, by ourselves, we are vulnerable. We are in need of being with others in the body of Christ to lift each other up.  Scriptures tells us to bear one another's burdens and thus fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2. 

The wonderous thing about prayer is that distance means nothing to God.  Where two or more are gathered there He is in the midst. Matthew 18:19-20.  If I'm praying here when you are praying where you are. Jesus still shows up!  Prayer is all the sweeter when it's a physically in person group meeting but honest fervent prayer has no bounds.

Going it alone tends to lead to many embarrassing moments and to losing to temptation.  Proverbs says that with an abundance of counselor's there is victory.  We read that in Luke 14:31 "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?".

He sits down and considers it with the wise men he surrounds himself with.  History is replete with leaders of countries who were foolish enough to go to war without considering the cost or consequences.

What does your life look like?  Are you going it alone?  Are you at all living a double life?  

What does that person you see in the mirror show?   We can find ourselves quickly in the valley of indecision.  Not knowing what way to turn when we are on our own.  The enemy of God loves it when we're separated from 'the herd'.  

The idea of the 'pack' mentality was created by God.  The children of Israel for 80 years were in the wilderness.  God kept them together all that time to protect themselves from those they would run into.

In the wild, animals often go about in packs to protect the oldest to the youngest because even they know if one gets separated they are vulnerable. 

We need good deep appropriate relationships with the others in the body of Christ.  We need to stick together in the body of Christ for our sanctification in Christ Jesus.  We need each other to do those deeds that He has prepared beforehand that we might walk in them.   

Look at your life...are you trying to go it alone?  Are you intentionally keeping people at a distance for all the wrong reasons?  Are you living a life that is identified as being in Christ as your identity?   Satan wants people to believe they are defined as their past failures.  He wants people to believe they still divorced, still an alcoholic, they are still this or still that.  He wanted me to believe that I was defined by what I was forgiven of!  

As shown the other day what it says in Ecclesiastes ""And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart." 4:12 NASB.

Pray about your situation. Pray about who's lives you can be a part of. Pray about whom God would have in your life to help you grow, and for you to help them grow in Christ.    

Thursday, September 22, 2022

What Thoughts in the Morning...

What Thoughts in the Morning...
by David Brenneman

When I wake up to a segment of a hymn repeating in my mind that, my Friend, is always a good thing.

This morning it happened again and I looked up the words to try to remember the rest.  It was "When Morning Gilds the Skies" - Author unknown from my brief search. 

When morning gilds the skies,
My heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer,
To Jesus I repair;
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind?
A solace here I find,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss?
My comfort still is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When sleep her balm denies,
My silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evil thoughts molest,
With this I shield my breast:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

The night becomes as day
When from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The pow’rs of darkness fear
When this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

In heav’n’s eternal bliss
The loveliest strain is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let earth, and sea, and sky
From depth to height reply,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, while life is mine,
My song of love divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Sing this eternal song
Through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

A question was asked this week of thinking on the idea of not going it alone in the walk with Jesus.  It's innately difficult to praise God with a group of like-minded Believers if you aren't with them to praise God together.  Of course you can have personal praise time.  King David, King Solomon, Daniel etc. often evidently were in the habit of praising God individually.  

In the place of this question being asked it was said that much care should be taken with regards to those who are indeed trying to go it alone as to not to categorize them. As my particular comment had to do with cells in a body that are there to be part of that body and what we call cells that feed off the body but do not contribute to it being called cancerous. The care being suggested being that we might dismiss people if we don't immediately judge them as being unworthy of our time.

Being sure of your salvation in Christ Jesus is imperative to truly worshiping Him.  In James 1:22-26 NASB it says "But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this person’s religion is worthless."  

In Revelation 3:14-22 NASB "“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Origin of the creation of God, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have no need of anything,” and you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to apply to your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. The one who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat with My Father on His throne. The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

While I agree with it being said to be careful of categorizing people...because for a few decades I was categorized as being one of those unworthy for people's time.  I lived that in my life. In much of the last 21 years of my life I pretty much was forced to 'go it alone' with God in my daily-weekly walk because of how closed people were where we lived to relationships.  People would be friendly enough on Sunday's but wouldn't open their hearts or homes during the week to getting to know us.  To say the least it was indeed a struggle.  We've moved and are trying harder to open new relationships with the people here. We do not want to be going it alone in our new hometown.

On my mowing days I have nearly an hour or so of personal praise time.  When possible at work I use either a Bluetooth speaker or my Bluetooth earpiece to listen to praise music.  In Christ I can be anywhere and praise the name of Jesus Christ.

James sort of hits the  nail on the head about the 'lone wolf' mentality of trying to live life with God apart from people.  Jesus came to seek and save the lost...He said to some that He didn't come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.  

An effectual doer also follows the Word of God which says clearly not to forsake the assembly as is the habit of some.  We need to get together with other like-minded Believers in order to grow in Christ...that is our Christ Jesus.  

There are stories and I'm sure video's of what has happened to children found in the wilderness that had no form of structured upbringing.  They are incredibly hard to teach how to be a 'normal' human being.  We need each other to help each other.  A single hand has a difficult time washing itself by itself.

We need each other to be reminded on more deeper levels of the love of God, of our progress in Christ Jesus through mutual encouragement.  We need each other to tend to each other's wounds from this world.  We need each other to truly say "May Jesus Christ Be Praised!"

This notion of 'going it alone' is sort of a sore spot with me as you might have read between the lines of my mentioning it going on for 21 years.  It's been that way not just for myself but my Wife as well.  We want Godly relationships with other Believers.  We want to be an active part of the body of Christ and not to be misconstrued as not being part of it.  It's a very unencouraging week when you mostly go from Sunday to Sunday not hearing from anyone you go to church with.  It's different for me as I have been involved with a second group from church but not my Wife.  Just being truthful here.  I know the events of recent years still weighs on people's minds as to getting together, but as said we lived with the same thing like that for a couple of decades.  Unlike the last few decades we're reaching out more and more to try to make connections.

The greatest praise moments of my life came when I was with large groups of people singing "Praise Him! Praise Him!" and other hymns.  

We also learn how to navigate life by being with other like-minded Believers.  The enemy of the cross of Christ would love nothing more than for Believers to go it alone.  Jesus said He is the vine we are the branches apart from Him we can do nothing.  If you're not in the Word of God, if you're not reading it or making it a part of your have a much harder time navigating life.  

Being with other like-minded Believers also tends to bring out things that the Spirit is doing in our lives.  People tend to learn that they aren't the only one's going through something.  The enemy of Christ Jesus would love us to believe that it's only happening to us.

While we might indeed, as I often do while mowing, find great joy in praising God where I am alone, still greater joy is found when you stand alongside others who are also proclaiming that Jesus Christ is to be praised.

We need each other to lift up each other.  It's in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 where we're told that two are better than one. 

We indeed will know people by their fruits...but that form of judgement isn't to be in regards to shunning people but to know how to better help them.  We need to understand people to help people.

Our we have accepted it in Christ the same as seek and save the lost, whomever it may be wherever it may be...and to be praising God along the way, individually and together.  We need the word of God to indeed teach us all things as all scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 

Life will indeed seem lonely and harsh when we go it alone.  We tend to give in to fears much easier when we are believing and seeing that we are alone.  We need each other to lift up each other in Christ Jesus.  We share prayer requests, we share praise's for what He's done in our lives together.  You stand alone in a forest talking about the great things that God has done...who would cry out an AMEN along side of you if it's only you?  

We indeed need each other.  We are in the body to grow in Christ Jesus together. As Paul preached about the parts of the body so it is.  Hands need the feet that need the arm that need the eyes that need the ears that part is unnecessary and no part is unneeded in the body of Christ.  No part is to be trying to live life by himself or herself while calling itself a Christian.  

The enemy of Christ loves us to be alone while hungry, while we are angry, while we are lonely and while we are tired.  He loves it when we play "what if..." in our minds with nobody there to keep us in check with the Word of God.  He loves it when we stay away from other Believers.  Wolves stay in packs to protect the pack.  Enemies of that pack know to search them out and go for the weakest link and try to separate it from the pack to go for the kill. 

In all human history there's only two individuals who will absolutely go from this world, for sure, to Hell.  That's the False Prophet and the AntiChrist.  Both are the only two really un-Saveable people.  
Everyone else who has the breath of life has the opportunity to have a rich life in Christ Jesus while on this Earth, no matter where they are, no matter who they are.

We need to indeed love on people to show them Jesus is indeed alive and well and has a plan for them in this life.  We need to show them by being with them how to indeed say "May Jesus Christ be Praised!" can change their life forever. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2022


by David Brenneman

"This is the third time I am coming to you. 'Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'  I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not spare anyone, since you are seeking proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you."" 2 Corinthians 13:1-4 NASB95

I read this and read this this morning and often wonder just what would any of the churches that I've attended in my life do if Paul lived in this day and age and wrote something like this towards them.  Would they or I have taken him seriously?  

We often read of the Advanced Team that goes ahead of popular people.  Those that are sent ahead to make sure everything from where the person is going to stay, how they will get around town, what places they might eat if they do eat out, who they will meet with etc. is taken care of.

Paul's letters were his only advance warning of his pending arrival, which, could take quite a long time in light of how long it took to get from place to place in those days.  They wouldn't know if he wrote something, honestly, and left that same day to arrive near the time the letter was written or if he left days or months later.  They just knew he was coming.  They knew from his letter that there was going to be meetings with people.  They knew to get their act together and straighten up and be prepared...he was coming and they knew from his letters what to expect when he got there.

Their individual issues and problems probably got seriously reprioritized.  They probably started having 'cleaning days' to get the place ready for his arrival.  Many probably were personally impacted by his coming because they volunteered to offer their place for him to stay.  So preparations needed to be made to support him in his ministry while he was there.

What if indeed Paul lived in today's world and decided to come it the church you attend or to you?  What would you do differently than you do today?  What would you have to stop doing because in all truthfulness you know he would not approve of?  What would you start doing that you weren't doing before he would come?  What is in your pantry, in your kitchen, your Man Cave or She Cave that you would be removing to put in storage somewhere until after he left?  What would you be doing differently?  Would the house be rearranged to show him that television wasn't your high priority in your living room?  Would you indeed start packing up a lot of stuff for him not to see?

Please don't lie to yourself and say you wouldn't do anything differently.  We all know we would do something if not everything differently if some celebrity were saying in advance that they were coming.
Some would actually do like King Hezekiah and actually show off everything in our house.  Some would install locks on doors to keep people out.

Now...consider the larger until now unsaid question:  What if Jesus decided to stay at your house physically?  What if He did and you had to go to work, you came home and you just find Him sitting in a chair in your house just looking at you.  He then asks you to please sit down He's got some questions for you about some things He found in your house.  How would you react?  What would you do?  This is Jesus we're talking about.  This is sort of big step from a person like Paul who would have to physically go to and through everything in your home to begin to ask that question. This is Jesus who already knows.

What would you do differently?  Sure we can be bold and say we are what we are.  Until we would hear that knock on the door, knowing who was on the other side. Things would get tossed under a rug, behind a pillow, thrown in a closet. 

People are often very brash towards God until the very things they stand on come crashing down and there's nothing between them and God.  People can think they are content until what makes them content is taken away by God or our own devices and consequences.

If...Jesus were to visit you, what would you do differently?  Would you try to make yourself live differently even though He already knows everything you have been doing already?  As kids we often did that with our parents.  We're doing something we shouldn't have and it's plainly obvious our parents already knew what we were into...yet try to play dumb or act like nothing was going on.  This doesn't work with Jesus.

Our reasons for why we do things and our excuses for doing what we do really are going to be tested when we know for sure that Jesus is going to be knocking on that door to our house, our home.

Read in the Gospels and you see that Jesus always asks questions that go just a bit deeper than people were expecting.  He goes to the heart of the matter.  

Jesus came to seek and save the lost in this world..and He found many many people.

If someone like Paul would write you a letter that began like 2 Corinthians 13 does...what would you do?   You already have his first letter, this is his second time writing...and it's obvious that others that know you have been writing to him.  

Jesus taught his Disciples a lot.  He taught them what it meant to deny self and take up their own cross and to follow Him.  Their wants, their desires, were filtered by the cross they would carry.  Everything from their status amongst themselves to their possessions were filtered by the cross they would carry.

If the cross you take up to follow Jesus would become a filter in your life would you have much to let go of?  We often catch glimpses of someone carrying a cross in movies and television shows leading up to Easter Sunday.  It truly takes everything left in a person to keep that cross on their backs to bear that weight.  

We often don't think that this or that in our lives is all that bad.  That we deserve this or that because we're not that bad.  We often allow habits that in all honesty we would absolutely not do if Paul or Jesus would be visiting physically.  We wouldn't eat the same.  Lots of things would be done differently while they stayed. 

The thing about this "If..." is that it's not an if.  

Jesus does want to enter your life and to be your Savior.  He wants a personal relationship with you if only you would open the door and bid Him enter in.   You aren't defined by your past.  You aren't identified by what you've done in your past. You aren't even defined by your present situation.  When you come to Christ you are now a child of the King.  You are now a child of God.  You have had all your sins, all your past wiped clean.  Are given new Spiritual clothes to wear that are without spot or blemish.  You're given the Spirit of God to live in you and guide you.  You may not escape the consequences of your physical choices and decisions but as it was with Daniel and what happened to his friends, you won't ever face anything alone.  You also become part of the body of Christ while on this Earth.  You have a place in the body of Christ and have new responsibilities that are for you to be doing.  Life will get different but in a very good way.  You'll learn of things to let go of in your life that just aren't important anymore.

When we live for Jesus...should it ever be that hypothetical situation of Him coming to visit...there's no place in our hearts or homes that we wouldn't be afraid of Him knowing about or of Him asking about.


I imagine it would be difficult for those getting that letter to read.  You have some there who indeed were living as they were taught in regards to being a fully devoted follower of Jesus.  Then you have others reading it who probably realized quickly they have to change and change now before he arrives.  Then there's others who are so caught up in themselves who will indeed be those whom he would call out publicly and privately.  

When we moved quite a bit of the lives we had built up was left behind as donations or the trash.
When we moved in we made a greater attempt to look at what we were placing in this new to us home.
Our priorities changed somewhat because of this move meant new things in our lives.

If...if...if you were suddenly face to face with Paul or Jesus...would you become like the man whom Jesus met with who promised to make retribution to everyone he'd ever defrauded?  Would you be any different than you are today?   Would you be a Mary or a Martha when they came into your home?
Another aspect of Martha's busyness is that while doing so she wasn't giving herself time to consider what Jesus was teaching that meant so much to Mary.  We often do things in our lives to 'keep from thinking'.  We veg out on binge watching movies or television shows or other things to keep from thinking.  We can even binge on books and articles.  We can waste hours doing things that do nothing for us Spiritually.  

But notice one huge thing about Jesus in the Gospels.  Not one single person regretted their personal time with Him.  The only exception would be those who opposed Him.  Everyone who spent personal time with Jesus came out better for it.  His Disciples never once wrote of regretting following Him. 

It's on you to choose to live for Jesus now in your life.  You can't change your past but you can change your now and your future by clearing out and getting rid of what really doesn't belong in your life, no matter what the world says you need in your life.  We are professionals at making excuses for why we do what we do. were paid a visit today...what would you do?

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Striving After the Wind

Striving After the Wind

by David Brenneman

"What the eyes see is better than what the soul desires. This too is futility and a striving after wind." Ecclesiastes 6:9 NASB95

We often don't look at there being a difference between the two, but it's evident from reading this from King Solomon...there is.

What do you see that's become more important than the desire of your soul?  Is not the desire of the soul of the Believer to be wanting what God wants?  We live in an honestly "Satanically Infused" world that has but one goal on his part.  To have the honor and glory of God for himself.  He constantly is trying to push to get his way all the while the Holy Spirit restrains him from going as far as his wishes dictate.  It's no secret of the 'big' things that Satan tries in this world.  It's the fact that most people have already been desensitized to his lesser attempts at gaining a footing in the lives of both Believers and the Unbelieving.

What the eye sees is better than what the soul desires...what an observation!

We often keep trying to 'tweak' our lives to just find one more piece of the puzzle to gain the peace and happiness that we think will complete our lives.  We often put that ahead of and in place of the desire of our souls...our sanctification in Christ Jesus.  We are not our own, we were bought with a price. 

"For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB95

"You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men." 1 Corinthians 7:23 NASB95

Oh the thoughts we don't consider as being dangerous!  

I used to have a Supervisor, long ago, who used to constantly accuse me of  "getting wrapped around the axel" when it comes to trying to solve problems.  Admittedly I do tend to keep at a problem until either I'm sure I exhausted my own ideas on it or know that I've come to that place where additional help is required.  We often get thoughts in our heads that don't seem to us as being dangerous.  My way of thinking through problems often doesn't seem dangerous.  Yet on many occasions it has indeed gotten me into trouble that could have been avoided.  First of which is to realize that maybe it's just not for me to be the one to resolve.  There's reasons why there's paid experts in this world.

We often do not realize the truth of King Solomon in our daily much of what he investigated is summed up as "striving after the wind".  

So much futility is wrapped up in what we think makes us happy.  We spend billions per year on entertainment that does nothing to build up anyone in Christ Jesus.  We can easily be those that call ourselves Christians yet during a sports game throw out the word of God for the sake of enjoyment.  Berating, belittling, even friends and family over a team.  It's one key reason why I do not follow any sports teams anymore.  I did not like at all the idea of tearing anyone down regardless of the reason.

Some of the worst times of my childhood were at my own hands.  Those times when it was within my power to build someone up or tear someone down and I chose to tear them down in order to fit in with the crowd.  Just like what adults do with sports teams.  

Where is the truth of God in those moments?  Essentially God's been told to wait in the other room until the game is over.

Where is the desire of the soul in those moments, if indeed the person is in Christ?  Told to wait in the other room until it's over.

When you look at your behavior in anything does it reflect a soul that is after sanctification in Christ Jesus?   Sports, entertainment things, politics, even religious discussions can have us display seriously unGodly responses to people.  I once knew a man who told me that he would pray for me because I wasn't an OSU fan.  My only thought, besides the shock of such a statement, was "'re going to pray that I follow you in your idolatry?' 

When we put things in God's place, that take that passion, that desire, that glory that belongs to Him and Him alone...and put it in place of Him...that's idolatry.   Even getting immersed entirely in studying people outside of the Bible, can, cause us to raise those people up to be on the same plain as those who wrote the Bible.  The Spirit protects the Bible, God's Holy Word.  The Spirit does not protect any other book, person or thing in that manor as He does the Word of God.

Sports wasn't the only thing that I was pouring too much of me into.  For me, there were things in the entertainment world that I did the same.  Music was one thing, science fiction was another.  Things that have absolutely no bearing on my soul's desire for sanctification in Christ Jesus.   Indeed as King Solomon wrote, I was following what my eyes desired.  Justifying it all.  Not at all considering the consequences of such choices.  Not realizing there were eternal ramifications.  

If your deeds done in your body were put to a bar graph that went from your birth to your death...and the only things that would register on that graph were those things you did for Jesus...would anything really cause that graph to rise at all?  Would there be great gaps between times you did what was right and necessary for your sanctification?  Would there be great gaps between times of you doing what God's called you to be doing?  It's a heavy thought for sure. 

All our deeds done in the body will be tested as though by fire.

"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." 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 NASB95

What you are doing in to to please your eyes or your soul?  What will become of what you've done in this life when it's tested as we just read?  

It's a sobering thought to stop and consider what we're doing and why we are doing it.  In family, among friends, at work, we often do something only because "that's how we've always done it".  No one understands why.  A story circulates of some 'family tradition' of cutting off the ends of a roast for a family gathering.  No one understood why.  So a curious one started going back a generation at a time to ask why.  Turns out the only reason it was ever really done generations ago was the roast wasn't fitting in the oven so the practice at the time was to cut off the ends so it would fit.

We often just accept what we're told by modern medicine because that's how the current 'standard of care' dictates.  Yet real 'in the trenches' doctors see past that to the truth of the human body and don't follow along with that.  

We often just accept what we're told of the human body and it's needs to be healthy.  This too is people who do not understand the human body trying to tell others how to do life right.  A university trained monkey's to not go after the hanging bananas at the middle of a room by using water to knock them away from it. They got used to the idea that they shouldn't try.  A new generation came in and the first generation wouldn't let them try because of the fear of the water that they never knew.  So that new generation never tried and never really knew why.  

So why do you do what you do?  Honestly, truthfully, you are unique in God's eyes.  You are you.  You are unlike anyone else, no matter how many survey's say you fit in this or that group of a million people for this or that.  What works for your mind, your soul, your body isn't what's necessarily going to work for someone else.  

Do you put more value on your sanctification in Christ Jesus than you do what catches your eye?

Are you at all seeing the futility that King Solomon spoke of in desiring what isn't going to cause you to grow in Christ?   My interpretation of "deny yourself, take up your own cross and follow Me" tends to lean towards those last 2 words. "follow Me".   Denying self is to not to give in to the eye candy of this world.  To not give in to what takes us from being fully devoted followers of Christ.  Even studying is a good thing, but in perspective.  I know of people with so much head knowledge about religious books that their real knowledge of the Word of God has been skewed to obscurity. 

"Set your mind on the things that are above" requires a mind that puts "Follow Me" ahead of "Hey God can you keep up with me?  This is what I want..."  After all...what we want is often really as effective as striving after the wind.  It doesn't last. Our deeds done in the body for THAT lasts...

Monday, September 19, 2022

Oh It's War Out There and in Here

Oh It's War Out There and in Here
by David Brenneman 
2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB "We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ".

Wars have happened since mankind decided that killing to take land, territory or possessions was a viable option. 

Wars in recent decades have escalated on so many fronts that people are unclear as to the scope of them.  You're at war and aren't even likely aware that you are. 

In the parable of the tares it's said that the tares among the wheat were put there by an enemy. 

"Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. And when the wheat sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also became evident. And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No; while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.”’”" Matthew 13:24-30 NASB 

We often don't think about such things but the Bible says specifically to pray for the guarding of our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 ought indeed to be our prayer each day.

We often don't check in with Jesus to see if the choices in front of us are of us or are of the enemy of the cross of Christ. 

We often think that only the "big things" need to be prayed about.

As one put it: If you only pray when you are in trouble then you are already in trouble.

People honestly put forth more effort in guarding their physical bodies than they do their Spiritual bodies.  Spending most of their non-working hours with physical fitness or diets but seriously neglect their Spiritual bodies.  I, personally, do not focus on my body unless given reason to do so. 
To me it's a distraction from what all God has for me to be doing.  

Garbage in garbage out mentally impacts your Spiritual body. Garbage in garbage out in eating does the same to your physical body.  Eat highly processed foods your body will eventually pay for it. Eat the way God intended and you live longer.  As only a side note that aligns with this war footing...corporations for decades have made processed foods addicting for a reason. Greed. They work with the so-called health industry to keep doctors and hospitals busy. Research it yourself.  A key item as I have learned from my Wife's research is statin drugs.  Your brain runs on cholesterol. Statin drugs intentionally drive the levels of cholesterol down. Statin drugs are pushed under the "standard of care" that doctors are taught to provide. But this is taking us off course...a little. 

Your mind and heart is a battlefield.
You must strive to take care of it. 
You must realize that the world isn't even going to be sunshine and rainbows.  Go back to 2 Corinthians 10:5. 

We also look at the life of Jesus.  He honestly was on a war footing at all times. Always ready for what would come His way by both friends and foes.  He constantly was in prayer to His Father to stay on course with His Father's plan. 

We will be enticed by the small thoughts and the big ones.  To be truthful the small thoughts are the more dangerous of the two.  As it's been said a mighty river can have its course changed by a correctly planted rock high enough upstream. 

We must pray concerning our hearts and minds.  Pray concerning the things that come up in life because only God knows where every option you will face can go and which one is right for you. 

In Ecclesiastes we read of how all is vanity.  We often know way, way more about things of this world than we do our Bible or even our God.  

We're told of the full armor of God in Ephesians. Are you wearing it if indeed you are a Christian?  

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints," Ephesians 6:10-18 NASB 

Read this: "Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves."

Read in Corinthians of all that Paul endured.  He went through a lot only because of standing firm in the faith. 

Satan's never going to go for all out assaults first.  He will entice you in the subtle things first.  He will try to get you to convince you that your ways are ok. 

Pray for today.  Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow because tomorrow has enough trouble of its own.  Pray for your heart and mind for today's things that you will face.  

Pray for your Spiritual body as well as your physical.  We easily can be misguided to misplace our passion in life.  

Praying without ceasing isn't a suggestion. 

What does your day look like?  It often seems tranquil enough.  But many a river, just below the surface, it's moving at a mind-boggling pace while the surface looks so peaceful.  

As with your physical body, what you feed your Spiritual body will either help or hinder growth.  In Ecclesiastes we read of Solomon essentially creating a Heaven here on Earth and yet found it to be like striving after the wind.  It was useless. He had a paradise to live in and still realized it was vain to strive for it.  We also strive for things in this life to find peace, rest and comfort.  Ever notice those things never last?  So did King Solomon. The wisest man to have ever lived next to Jesus Christ. 

How much do you guard your mind and heart?  Don't trust your feelings no matter what Yoda said in Star Wars.  Our feelings will get in the way.  Read Psalm 23.  Read in the Gospels of just what the Good Shepherd does. Regardless of what the sheep see, feel or do, His goal is the same. Sanctification. 

Pray pray pray.  Seek what God's wanting of you in your life today.  Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.  Expect the opposition.  Don't be startled when opposition happens. Expect wars to keep you off your game. Expect and prepare your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.  

Look at the people of the Bible. In every one, in every way, if God brought them to something, He brought them through it. 

Stand firm. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NASB "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."