Wednesday, November 30, 2022
A Fool says "There is no God"
by David Brenneman
"The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”
They are corrupt, they have committed detestable acts; There is no one who does good. The Lord has looked down from heaven upon the sons of mankind To see if there are any who understand, Who seek God. They have all turned aside, together they are corrupt; There is no one who does good, not even one. Do all the workers of injustice not know, Who devour my people as they eat bread, And do not call upon the Lord. There they are in great dread, For God is with a righteous generation. You would put to shame the plan of the poor, But the Lord is his refuge. Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion! When the Lord restores the fortunes of His people, Jacob will rejoice, Israel will be glad." Psalm 14 NASB
Much is written by King Solomon in Proverbs concerning fools. King David wrote of them as well.
We often are finding ourselves as being foolish when some piece of information proves out the error of our ways.
Many many people in this world indeed prove what John wrote and even in this they might argue.
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind. And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it. A man came, one sent from God, and his name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person. He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not accept Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God." John 1:1-9 NASB
People really don't want nor like it when something wrong is exposed to the rest of the world to see.
Except when what they did wrong has been declared by the world to be good or even normal.
In Hell countless billions of people are weeping and gnashing their teeth because there was no place for them to go in defending themselves against a Holy God.
You and I, in this world, can still choose the still better way that the Spirit speaks to in the Bible.
Those in Hell cry out to God in either rage or simply earnest that God would give them another chance. No second chances happen after we die.
It's easy, in this world of the living, to rebuff, to shake a fist at God. To be critical of Him and to be stubborn concerning His words that to enter into His Heaven you must be saved through Him.
You have that luxury for the moment. Jesus said there would come a day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Willingly or unwillingly every angel, every demon, every human being ever born will do so.
While we were dead in our trespasses and sins, Christ died for us. Ephesians 2:10.
While we weren't even aware of what sin was, He still died and arose again to pay for the sins of humanity. The catch being we must ask for that free gift of salvation.
Fools will reject it saying they don't need it...until 1 second after they die and relentlessly cry out for it.
This world has perhaps seen about 7 to 8 thousand years. For all who have died without Christ as Savior, their time there has no meaning for them. They have stepped into the horrors of an eternity without Jesus. They arrive every second to the revealed truth that Jesus was right and they were wrong. They rage at God and they weep at God. What they share is a cry to not be where they are. They don't want anyone else to be where they are...yet more show up.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Jesus made a way. He IS the Way.
In a few short weeks we celebrate His coming to Earth to make it possible. Those in the time before His coming looked forward to that day. Those living in that day didn't know yet what was about to happen. The Jewish Leaders were ignorant of the times in which they lived. I can only imagine the thunderous cry by those who were in Paradise when Jesus showed up to say "Come! We're going home to the place I prepared for you." Those on the other side of the chasm that separated Paradise from Hell crying out for Jesus to not leave them. The two thieves that died with Jesus. One by His side the other looking from Hell.
Jesus left and took those in Paradise with Him. Taking Paradise with Him. All that remains was Hell. I suppose it's even possible that the light that Hell enjoyed from the existence of Paradise left when Jesus took it with Him. Those who enjoyed the darkness were now in the dark.
The worst possible thing for anyone isn't any of even the most heinous of crimes that the world has seen or ever will see.
The worst is to die without Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
Getting past our pride to see our need to be saved is a mountain many don't want to climb.
Time is running out. The offer of Salvation is a limited time opportunity. Jesus said to His Disciples that a day is coming that was fixed by the Father’s own authority for the end of that offer before Jesus returns.
Soon Jesus will stand to come back and claim those who are alive in Christ and to give new bodies to them and those who have died in Christ throughout the centuries. We then return with Him to Heaven, glorified body and all, to celebrate with a feast beyond all feasts. After this return happens great and mighty judgments of God will be poured out on the Earth. Billions more will die. Jesus will bring an end to sin.
Still don't believe? My Dear Reader, I challenge you to a simple prayer. If you're not afraid to know then my challenge is for you. It's nothing complicated. Nothing of the sort. Simply pray and ask God to reveal Himself to you. To show you that He's real.
Jesus has been waiting your whole life to show you the answer to that question.
Let the truth be known.
Please don't dismiss this challenge. The only one stopping you is you. Please don't be that person who is the fool who wakes up in Hell to find only then that the truth that leads to life was within your grasp all along.
Tuesday, November 29, 2022
Too Busy? There's a Price...
by David Brenneman
Oh how life can go, how life can be.
Oh how we think we're up to the challenge on our own.
Oh how we easily think more of ourselves than we ought. In our abilities and our plans.
Oh how we pursue things that have absolutely no Heavenly significance.
Every morning there's the same temptation. Go do what I want to do rather than taking time to be with Jesus. Stay in bed a little longer. Spend that time in things onliine that don't really matter. There's things that occupy our minds that are occupying the valuable real estate that the Spirit's been clearing out.
Consider that today. If indeed you've come to Christ, there's no heart-mind renovation going on. This isn't like what used to be seen in "Extreme Home Makeover" where they force someone else's vision of a dream house upon an unsuspecting family and somehow every time they're overjoyed with the result every time.
Then you read of the problems down the road those families had with what was done to those homes. The rush to build in such a short time and the quality really wasn't there. Not so with what the Spirit does in the lives of those who come to Jesus for salvation. In Romans we read of a TRANSFORMATION. Taking what was dead and bringing it back to life in a new wonderous way. Rooms of the mind and heart are cleared out concerning sinful actions, activities and thoughts. The intent is to never allow them back in again. But oh how they want to slip back in.
Many people in this world, over the centuries, thought they could 'slip' into Heaven by being 'just good enough'. This too is a lie. No man comes to the Father (that is to enter Heaven) except through Jesus. You don't get in without meeting His requirements.
Many people who have come to Christ are indeed like those churches we read about that Paul, Peter, and John, etc wrote to. They wonder at the fiery ordeal that they are going through..when the Bible tells them what's going on...if only they would take the time to read it. Taking time to read your Bible is the Spirit putting back into our minds and hearts what truly belonged there in the first place. Not the junk we thought ought to be there.
Many people have redefined right and wrong, good and bad. We all do that. In time, the Spirit WILL prompt us concerning it and it's on us to adjust ourselves to His definition, not ours. There's many things no longer in my life that have been swept away by the Spirit. Those things just aren't doing me any good in growing in Christ. Most, if not all, were counter productive in growing in Christ.
Counter productive? Yes. What good is it to go to Church on Sunday's, maybe other days of the week, and when you're not there your choice of music in your player/radio/CD is only worldly music that's about every form of sin that the Bible says to abstain from? You are not going to grow in Christ if you keep using the wrong ingredients. What good is it to go to Church on Sunday's, maybe other days of the week, and when you're not there, in every Biblical sense, you have idols in your homes? You don't GO some place to worship God, to worship your Savior Jesus Christ, you do that EVERYWHERE.
You don't go through life excusing your language to yourself or others. Like the Scriptures say...we USED to be that way but should not be anymore.
When you're too busy for your walk with God...when you say it ends at your doorstep because your life demands you have it your way...then you're in trouble.
When you're too busy for your walk with God...when you say it doesn't belong in your car, in your workplace...then you're in trouble.
When you're too busy to talk with Jesus whole-heartedly...you're in trouble.
When you set your ambitions towards self and not towards God's calling in your life...you're in trouble.
Our calling in Christ Jesus...our part of the body that we're to be...was given to US by the Spirit. You received something from God...and when we aren't using it as He intended...we're sinning. When we give what belongs to God to the things of this world...we're sinning. When we make our goals and ambitions more important than what God wants of us in our lives...we're sinning.
"So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin." James 4:17 NASB
We indeed have lives and careers as the Spirit sees fit...but are you certain those are for you? As I was challenged to consider a bit over a year ago, so I challenge you. Is what you are doing in your life...all that is what you call important, all that you value, is it contributing towards your sanctification? Have you put health, entertainment, possessions, above your sanctification? Are you so close to the world that you blend in rather than stand out as a Christian?
If you're too busy to have obedience to God's Word be the central part of your life...then you're too busy with all the wrong things.
If you're feeding your mind worldly music that doesn't cause you to think what the Bible says is right, true and perfect about God, about your Savior..then you're feeding it the wrong things.
Excuses...that's what will be the first on the plate. I can't because of this going on. I can't because of that going on. I just don't have the time...
Hmm...I keep being lead to repeat the same thought: Everyone thinks that they have a today to live. Millions every second have their lives altered in a second in ways that they never saw coming. A diagnosis that wasn't what was expected. A traffic accident. A workplace accident or incident. Jobs gained and lost by way of a text or an email as has happened to some in recent weeks.
Do you REALLY want to stand on the statement "I just don't have the time..." when the very Savior and God who holds your life in HIS hands can cause you to HAVE the time?
Are you so desensitized to the sins of the world that what's going on in your own life that IS sin isn't bothering you? Pray for your sensitivity to sin increases.
Are you so close to the world that you don't see anything wrong with your life? Pray that your eyes are opened to the way that God sees your life...He WILL show you what needs to go. His ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts. As the Bible says of itself in the end what His Word has said is what stands.
If you're rushing into today having spent no time in prayer, not time even thanking God for another day...then you're in trouble.
If you're able to objectively look around your world and can see things that should Jesus Himself stop by to visit that He wouldn't appreciate seeing...then why would YOU have it/them?
Satan's #1 go to is "I can't just get rid of that I spent good money on it!" God says: so what. You can't take it with you. It's not helping you to grow in Christ.
We look to God's provision for life in Godliness, not in creating utopia here on Earth. We're not here to create our own slice of Heaven. There's no AND attached to the Great Commission. Paul wasn't prompted by the Holy Spirit to add 600 requirements to coming to Christ as had happened to the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were not nullified. Jesus said "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit." and "Love your neighbor as yourself." We read elsewhere in the New Testament of preferring one another above yourself. When God repeats Himself...LISTEN.
Oh...my Dear Reader, don't be too busy for your life in Christ. Don't be so close to the world's way of thinking that people can't tell you apart from the world.
A life in Christ is NOT a wasted life because we don't embrace what the world embraces. "Love not the world nor the things of this world."
Never be too busy or God will make you UN-busy.
Monday, November 28, 2022
by David Brenneman
Throughout the world, this time of year, the month of December builds up to professional football championships, college football championships etc. The draw being to hopefully see the best of the best. Sometimes it's the case, sometimes people are left wondering how some teams ever got as far as they did.
Thanksgiving ought to be the Kickoff for Christmas and not be something deemed as separate.
Thankfulness doesn't and shouldn't end just because there's a few weeks until Christmas. To read the account in the book of Luke the events leading up to the Savior being born took weeks to play out. It was weeks earlier when the Heavens opened and people were told of what was about to happen in Bethlehem.
People these days all know of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and a day earmarked for Giving.
We ought to be grateful and thankful for each day we've been given to live. I have been prompted to write already of how quickly life can take a turn. We shouldn't take the breath we breathe for granted. We shouldn't miss opportunities to live out our faith. We certainly cannot afford to be silent when those closest to us are headed for Hell.
A priest in the Old Testament knew of his sons ungodly behavior and had even been told what would happen to them and himself. He still chose to be silent rather than to lovingly correct them.
What does this have to do with being thankful? Everything. We are doing nobody any favors by keeping the greatest gift of all time to ourselves. Share what Jesus has done in your life, perhaps now is the time that those you care about might find that same salvation that saved you. They too then would have something great and fantastic to celebrate this Christmas more than any money could ever buy.
The Greatest gift ever cost Jesus His life in order to make the only way possible to be saved. For God so loved you, me, the world, so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.
Keeping quiet when a celebration is but a confession away is just not right.
We are indeed in the last days if not hours before Jesus Christ returns. Pretty much all that remains is those last people who haven't come to Christ for salvation. Once those do, there's going to be the greatest shout from Heaven. All there will celebrate, knowing full well why King Jesus is getting up from His Throne.
The Bible says that Heaven celebrates when anyone comes to Christ for salvation. Let's be about the Father’s business and keep our testimony at the ready this year. The Kickoff has happened.
The Greatest thing all Believers can do is to be found by Him to be doing what we've been called to be doing. To be doers of the Word and not just hearers who deceive themselves. It may mean risking relationships. You have to move some dirt to plant seeds. You have to remove a few weeds to make the area suitable for real plants. Do what you're called to be doing and trust God for the results. Don't let your pride get in the way as that priest did.
Now is the drive for the rest of the month to be found by Jesus living the obedient life.
"Oh give thanks to the LORD, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples." 1 Chronicles 16:8 NASB
Sunday, November 27, 2022
Oh the Things to Come
by David Brenneman
In my investigations of my thinking this morning the train of thought has been heavily on the words of Jesus "as in the days of Noah". Before anyone goes there, yes, I agree, no man knows the day nor the hour. However His Disciples asked and He told them of things to look for.
There's never coincidences involved where God's Word is involved. When the Spirit opens the eyes of someone they are opened.
Ezekiel 30:3 NASB "Wail 'alas for the day!' for the day is near even the day of the Lord is near; it will be a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations."
While this is in the midst of the prophecies of Israel, Judah and other nations, many prophecies have double implications. They apply to more than one occasion in history.
1 Corinthians 15:58 NASB "Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."
"The glory of the Lord will be revealed and all the people will see it together" Isaiah 40:5 NASB.
Even last night yet another spoke of the Lords return being close. Others this week spoke of the same to me.
I think there's a distinct link between "the fullness of the Gentiles" and the escalating idolatry in the world. The worship of self. The worship of others in the rebranding of what worship is. In reading of the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel, you read of the intense hatred that God has for idolatry in all its forms. He loathes idolatry. We often treat it as a punch line.
We joke about it in order to not think of it as God does.
1 Peter 4:2-5 NASB "so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human lusts, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of indecent behavior, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties, and wanton idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them in the same excesses of debauchery, and they slander you; but they will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as people, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God."
We ought to love whom the Creator God loves and hate what He hates. We shouldn't candy coat sin. We should do what we have been called to be doing.
The fixation by most every television, streaming, gaming, movie source out there is to candy coat sin and evil as not being that bad. To push Satan's agenda towards worshipping his coming world ruler.
The Bible says to beware of those who call good evil and evil good. We are told to watch for wolves in sheep's clothing within the Church. We are taught throughout the letters to the various Churches to be on the alert.
Are you? Are you ready to be before Jesus? Are you living your life your way rather than what your calling in Christ Jesus is? Have you been putting off coming to Christ because you've believed a pack of lies about what happens after you do choose salvation in Christ Jesus?
We all must consider the truth that our lives can change in an instant.
Read any headlines and you can see the truth of that. We who are in Christ ought to be ready at given moment to enter into His presence. Are you?
To those who haven't yet come to Christ for salvation...why do you keep putting it off? There indeed is a day fast approaching when the offer will come to an end. Those references earlier to the wrath of God on this Earth is indeed coming.
If Hollywood and others have ever gotten one thing right...life can change in an instant at any moment in ways we never see coming.
Now is the time to be living the way that God intended for us to be living. Now isn't the time to be silent about telling others that Jesus is coming soon. Noah preached for a hundred years and when it happened only then did people get it. Too little too late. 7 or so billion people dead.
If left behind, those alive will see the judgment of God in the book of Revelation. Billions will be dying in the ensuing 7 years. Not thousands, not millions, billions.
You don't have to go through all that if indeed you come to Jesus Christ to be saved.
Those in Christ ought not to be keeping this good news to themselves.
Oh indeed the things that are to come...
Saturday, November 26, 2022
It's Ok to Not Be Ok...Sort Of
by David Brenneman
It's often been an interesting thing in my life to more or less have my emotions on my sleeve. In many cases, I will tell what's on my mind and heart. What's weird is when people ask then get squeamish and uncomfortable when I honestly answer.
Was reading a devotional from our Church when this train of thought left the station.
Indeed it's a rarity to run into people at Church that are sensitive to the needs of others to the point they would pass on a service in order to help someone through whatever came with them to Church that day.
I am also a proponent of being honest about what I am feeling should the person I am speaking with show genuine signs of interest. Sadly I often just say that I am ok when in fact I am not based on my perception of who I am speaking with.
What's weird is my being a selective introvert. It depends on situations and circumstances when I will engage people.
What's amazing to me is when I can tell it's not me doing the speaking but the Spirit within. In am often as impressed with what came out of me as they are to hear it.
In what was written in that blog post about it ok to not be ok, it's just not ok to stay that way. It was attributed to a specific person saying it but this wasn't the first time I had heard it.
Jesus never once wanted or wants those who are His workmanship staying in the valley of the shadow of death. He doesn't want those who are His to avoid the calling with which they have been called. He never once wants us to feel like He's left or had given up on us.
Sometimes we just need to be alone with Jesus for only that purpose. Was reading yesterday something along the lines of it's ok to pray without words. That sometimes those are the best prayers offered.
We may indeed be in 24/7 pain. But that doesn't stop us from holding onto Jesus for our strength and hope.
We may not understand where we stand in this walk of life but it doesn't mean that Jesus ever left our side.
We may think whatever we will about anything and everything but Jesus is still the same yesterday, today and forever.
I often struggle with finding the words to pray. My emotions often are that overwhelming. I often know that fear of what might happen grips me. In those times "Help!" is the only prayer uttered in my mind and heart.
We can't wait for life to be better before we are going to be happy. That's one of the best thoughts that I have read this year.
Paul taught people to press on toward the upward call in Christ Jesus. We cannot run because people criticized us. We cannot run because of being hurt. We can shut down but we will still face it until we face it with Jesus. He won't let us face life alone. He WILL have a problem with us leaning on someone or something else rather than just Him.
In your day today in this time of being thankful, be a bit more grateful.
Ask Jesus to help you press on.
Ask Jesus to help you be sensitive to the needs of others, even if it disrupts your life. Just don't think of staying where you are. Jesus has far greater things in mind for you that are beyond what you can ask or think.
Friday, November 25, 2022
A Week of Unexpecteds
by David Brenneman
It's been a Busy week.
It's been a thankful week.
It's been a week of lives being altered in an instant.
Headlines of emergency services people dying in the line of duty due to a hit and run during another emergency call.
Someone who thought things were at home but they weren't. A family member was dying the day before Thanksgiving.
I have written of my own instances of life changing in an instant from years ago.
There's only One who knows what tomorrow holds and He’s the same who holds all of our tomorrows.
So many people in this world in any given moment that aren't considering the future in the right way.
Trusting in things of this world rather than appealing to the One who gave His life to save them. Scripture is very clear in that salvation is in no other name given men under Heaven. It's under only one name that every knee will bow and every tongue confess. The name of Jesus Christ.
We never consider the future as God sees it most of the time.
We're about looking for what's enjoyable even if it's short term.
Most in this world spend a great amount of time trying to avoid admitting they need a Savior. Looking at coincidence as an answer to situations and problems. Calling it fate.
I don't believe in fate. I don't believe in mystical this or that. Those things cannot save from the judgment concerning sin that will come upon all who reject Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.
Grief and sorrow permeates Hell.
Inescapable truth about rejection of Jesus Christ is in the minds of all who wake up in Hell.
Joy and thankfulness is what is found in Heaven through the saving work that Jesus did.
Jesus said: "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" in Revelation 3:20 NASB.
As many have portrayed in art. That door has no knob on the outside. The only one who can open that door is you.
Sadness can grip a person or a nation. But in Christ we have every reason to rejoice. Thankfulness will never be known by anyone again in Hell.
If Jesus indeed is knocking on the door of your heart, please open it. New age thinking won't save anyone. Worshipping anything or anyone else won't save anyone.
My prayer for all who read this is that they stop running from God. He has a whole wonderful life awaiting those who come to Him alone to receive His free gift of salvation.
Thursday, November 24, 2022
Life Check. Life Check. One...Two...
by David Brenneman
In reading this morniing, I haven't even gotten as far as I normally do and these thoughts came to mind.
Several decades ago I was an Audio-Visual Engineer for 20 years or so at the Church I grew up in and had been saved in. As such each service, be it for the Church or Weddings etc required sound checks on the equipment. In reading in my Life Principles Bible, Dr. Stanley speaks to what he calls Life Principle 29, "We learn more in our valley experiences than our mountaintops."
A year ago adversity was a weekly thing. Daily mental excercises when your mind is in two cities at once. We were in the midst of preparing to move and I worked in one city and still had a house in another that was a few hours away. We read of the passage that says "without faith it is impossible to please God". Without faith you can't think straight either. We need our faith to double check our bearings and make sure we're on that path that God put before us.
His take on adversity has 3 main points. 1) God allows adversity to get our attention. 2) Adversity leads to examination and 3) the effective lesson leads to change in behavior.
We're not here on this Earth to coast. We're not here to warm the bench. We're not here to honestly change the world for ourselves.
Those of us still here who are in Christ are to grow in Christ. Not be stagnant in Christ.
Growth requires resistance. Shallow trees have no firm root but may look nice and tall and vibrant...until the storms come.
100 plus year old trees only last as long as they do because of the Biblical truth about deep roots.
Sometimes our adversity indeed is there to give us a sound check. To show us just how far we've really come in our walk with Jesus. Doctors and institutions love to do studies. Taking a group of either materials or of people and exposing them to tests over time to determine change. This isn't some new idea.
The Spirit, over time, will show you how far you've come. The truth is there SHOULD be a difference in your life over time in living for Jesus.
But it hurts too much to think! Been there, done that, it's just at the time it wasn't my thought to get a t-shirt to prove it. Our pains might be great and indeed they probably are. As in some of his other points in today's reading, Dr. Stanley points out Job. Job went through some of the most excruiating things imaginable in physical problems anyone could endure. Satan threw everything at him because he was allowed to do anything and everything but take his life. Every emotional attack was orchestrated. Every physical dibiliating effect was on purpose. Pain Inside and out. In all of it he stayed true to his faith in God.
His last comments in that Life Principles say "If you are willing to allow God to surface the inner rubbish of your life, and if you are willing to change what needs to be changed, you will emerge from adversity closer to Christ, more mature as His child, and with far greater potential to reflect the love of God to the world around you."
This brings to mind the work of a smelter and the smelting process. It takes heat to bring out the dross. It takes a lot of heat to take out impurities. If metal could speak it would be screaming out in pain as the heat goes up and the impurities are brought to the surfece and are forcibly removed.
During this morning, before even beginning to read, the thoughts of "finding myself being useful to my Master" came to mind. Being sure that what I'm doing in life being found by Jesus when He returns doing what it is He had in mind for me to be doing is of utmost importance to me. I'm not on this planet to be focused on corporate profits or corporate goals. It's not even on possession accumulation. It's not about the money or the status. For all who are in Christ we're to be the branches and He is the vine we're attached to.
We read of His pruning the branches to bear more fruit. Pruning, like removing dross, can be painful. If you ask most anyone, they would prefer to be left alone. I am so grateful to my God that He has every intention in NOT leaving me alone to my own devices. I am grateful that He's still at work in me for His good. I'm grateful that no matter what the storms of life may be, He's over it and He decides what touches me and what does not.
If we think we're alone, we're far from it.
Nobody enjoys painful adversity. But it's often necessary for some good that God's got in mind. Scripture says He causes ALL things to work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. In Christ? You're automatically called according to His purpose. In Christ? You're supposed to love Him for all He's done for you.
Consider your thankfulness and your gratefulness today. Thanksgiving is to be a special day of gratitude...not just about eating. It's sadly ironic that the day following it shows a world that is ungrateful in how people treat people at stores while shopping.
Consider taking time today, without distractions, and spend some extra time with Jesus today. Telling Him of how grateful you are for your salvation and your life that's hidden in Him. Thank Him even for the painful things you're going through because you know He will cause them to turn out for good.
Wednesday, November 23, 2022
Boast Not in What You Will Do
by David Brenneman
"Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin." James 4:13-17 NASB
"But above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath; but your yes is to be yes, and your no, no, so that you do not fall under judgment." James 5:12 NASB
For some particular reason these thoughts complicate my mind in the fall and winter months more than other seasons. Perhaps it's from personal experience, perhaps it's in seeing it so clearly in the lives of others. In any case God's firmly implanted these thoughts in my mind and heart.
Which is interestingly ironic because indecision in life annoys me. I would rather decide and do than sit and be undecided.
In many many hundreds of lives we see them altered forever because if life not going the way they thought it ought to have gone.
We see a straight path towards a goal.
What happens is rarely that.
We want the straight shot to success.
We want this or that this morning, this afternoon, this day.
We want we want we want.
God says hold up there Hoss, not so fast.
We want to just go to work, much as I did in 2003. In less than 20 minutes into that drive to work my life was forever altered by an errant semi truck.
People go to the Doctor for what appears to be semi-harmless symptoms. In a week they are having surgery and cancer treatment options tossed at them.
These very vivid imprints on my mind make me extremely squeamish about committing to do something days down the road. As another movie quote goes its arrogant presumption on our parts to commit to something that we didn't consider asking God about.
We often want to be places because of family, but, God's obviously got other factors that we can't see that prevent us. Is this God being harsh with us? No.
Is this God not being considerate of our feelings? No.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, leaning not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
My own personal experiences cause me to be gun shy at times that perhaps I shouldn't be. It's that erring on the side of caution.
It also sometimes causes me to really consider the ramifications of giving my word.
In Biblical terms giving your word isn't some willy-nilly thing. It's not to be disposable. It's like a handshake used to be enough to seal a deal. It used to be the gold standard in decisions. It used to be counted on as good as done.
We often don't look at the simpler things that the Bible teaches as being paramount to a stronger walk with Jesus.
Consider what Jesus said to the Jewish Leaders. The stone they rejected was the chief corner stone. It's the plan and purpose of God that will always be the right choice the right decision.
It's really boasting to say we will do this or will do that. I hope that I will be able to do this or that, go here or there. If God wants me at a place then by His enabling I will be there.
In many cases in my own life God's not permitted what I want through hardship in illness or something breaking or some other circumstance. It's just taken decades of my life to realize there are other factors. Factors like it's not meant for me to participate. Factors like I am strong enough to handle a Spiritual battle that He's sparing someone else from being in. Factors like He wants to bless someone and my stepping aside from doing it myself will make it possible. Factors like my being in a dark valley is keeping someone else from it that's not strong enough to deal with it.
Scripture says we are not our own, we were bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We aren't here to create our own kingdom. We aren't here to get our will done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
We read that we all like sheep have gone astray. Each one doing their own thing.
Everyone seems to want to do what's right in their own eyes.
Jesus gave us a commissioning.
Jesus forewarned us about what to expect from life.
We ought to remember we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.
I have relatives that recently had their lives greatly altered because of what God allowed in their life. Sometimes He allows things to get our attention who are saved. For others who aren't saved it's to show them He's there waiting for them.
Jesus is transforming lives, not remodeling lives as Dr. Charles Stanley wrote in today's Life Principles entry.
He is making all things new, not rehashing them.
He wrote of doing a new work in people.
Consider well your day.
Consider well your possible arrogance in making decisions outside of asking Him first. We aren't wrong to hope in going here or there. In doing something or not doing something. But keep God in the picture.
Tuesday, November 22, 2022
Who Are You Friends With?
by David Brenneman
"How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart." Psalms 119:2 NASB
"What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body’s parts? You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures. You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, “He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us”? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you." James 4:1-10 NASB
"for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:21 NASB
Is your life full of things and people that you've convinced yourself are what's best for you?
An interesting question.
Are you friends with the world? That part of James stood out this morning. Some argue that they have thousands of friends on social media. But how many truly known them?
What also stood out was how the rest of the Triune God desires for the completion of all things so that we are all together again. The Spirit is at work in this world and yet is in Heaven as well. When Christ returns all who have the Spirit will leave and the Spirit will step aside as the restraining One in world affairs. Judgment will come because He will no longer stand in the way of it.
We can look at our social status we can look at an address book, we can look at our list of who's getting a Christmas card this year...when we do...do we think of where those people are headed? If they are saved by the shed blood of Jesus Christ we know they will go to their home in Heaven. We also ought not forget that those who are not, will not, see Heaven.
We often gather with people to forget about life. We are intentionally doing activities to not dwell on the seriousness of life.
But life is serious when all that is done. It may have been delayed but it's still there.
Some never make it home from some fun gathering, never considering their eternal future.
Friendship with the world. You read in the prophecies of the Old Testament and you see the honest heartbreak of the Lord Jesus Christ at the depths of friendship that Israel and Judah had with the world.
Lamentations...a book of lamenting...of mourning and sadness.
We read over and over how the Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. He takes no pleasure in the death of sinners. He certainly didn't leave perfection in Heaven, live a sinless life, die as a perfect sacrifice for the sins of humanity because it was the fun thing to do. He didn't come to be entertained by the Jewish Leaders.
He didn't come for the dinners. He came to save lives.
We really don't consider most of our life choices as being that bad. But...if we honestly looked at them as God sees them, would we have made those choices?
Would we be those, should Jesus physically be here preaching today, that He would be directing His Words towards?
Read your Bible...He IS here today, He IS speaking today...question is: Are we listening?
Are we indeed doing what we read in James? Spending on our pleasures rather than on what God intended us to be doing with what we've been given?
I have been trying to be intentional about this that I have often referred to as a second chance in my life. Truth be known, God alone knows, it could be my thousandth chance. It just took this long to be applied.
I have often thought about getting this or that "just because". It wouldn't be something that I NEED, it wouldn't help me in my walk with Jesus. In this time in my life it's becoming a more easily given "no".
Being commissioned by Jesus...as all who are in Christ are...we have a mission and a purpose in life and as in Christ's example in living His life...it's not us.
We aren't to give our heart and soul and mind to the corporate world.
We aren't to give our hearts to anything in this world.
We aren't to be, honestly, promoting things of this world but rather to be pointing people to Jesus.
Jesus said the world wouldn't like us for it. They hated Him so they're not going to be too happy with us for doing what we've been charged with doing in Christ Jesus.
Are the lines between you and the world blurred?
Is there no clear distinction between you and the world?
This is a huge indicator of where our hearts are. "Love not the world nor the things of this world".
Rather read it all: "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world." 1 John 2:15-17 NASB.
When I stand before Jesus in giving an account of my life, my hope is that it will show that Christ was active and alive in me.
I don't want to be nor do I want any who read this or anyone that I know to ever hear: Depart from Me for I never knew you.
For Jesus to say those words means they were no friends of His.
Are you so focused on things in life, in prosperity, in your little slice of Heaven that you're ineffective in your life in Christ?
We who are in Christ have an irrevocable calling in Christ Jesus according to what Paul was directed to write in Romans.
We cannot replace it because of how people treated us.
We cannot fulfill something else rather than it because of how mean people are.
We were told in advance that people would be how they are. We cannot even use being surprised as an excuse. We cannot use the painful emotions as an excuse because we read that Jesus endured that as well.
We are to be in the world yet not of this world. Our citizenship is in Heaven with Jesus.
Look at what you've grown accustomed to in your life and see if it needs to go. We were challenged many months ago to look at our time. I struggle still with effective use of it. But I am pushing to replace wasted time with profitable time with Jesus. I don't want to look back over my life and see a close relationship with the world. Do you?
Monday, November 21, 2022
Thanksgiving and Cursing?
by David Brenneman
"Do not become teachers in large numbers, my brothers, since you know that we who are teachers will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to rein in the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their whole body as well. Look at the ships too: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are nevertheless directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot determines. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of unrighteousness; the tongue is set among our body’s parts as that which defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one among mankind can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way. Does a spring send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, bear olives, or a vine bear figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh." James 3:1-12 NASB
It's actually a reason for what I have been taught in regards to root cause analysis of problems. My tongue that is.
I see it in many others from Pastors on down as it were. People justifying verbal exchanges in regards to what's purported to be entertaining or sports. Does not the Bible, outside of what we just read in James speak to the point that every careless word will be asked about by Jesus? Matthew 12:36 NASB "But I tell you that for every careless word that people speak, they will give an account of it on the day of judgment."
Are not all who live and breathe the reason why Jesus came, lead a sinless life, was horribly mistreated, crucified and died on a cross? Wasn't it for everyone that He arose from the dead unto all who would believe?
Then indeed what we read in James and from Jesus Himself ought to cause conviction. It did in me a decade ago. I know myself enough to avoid some obvious things in life and situations where people are berated in the name of entertainment is one of them. I also have this as a chief reason to not watch television in general. I don't like situation comedy that berates or belittles people. If God is saying it's not acceptable then I shouldn't either.
We really need to look at what the Bible says about the tongue. What it says in Proverbs about how even a fool when silent is considered wise.
We ought not present to the world two versions of ourselves. The Bible seems very clear on the truth that as image bearers of God since Adam and Eve, we ought not to treat people this way. Jesus even had stern words for people calling people stupid.
Can we expect any form of leniency from Jesus just because we thought it was entertaining? Because we thought it was ok by our standards when it was clearly not ok by His?
We are taught to lift up one another in brotherly love in Christ Jesus. We are taught by Jesus on how to pray. We are taught in Romans to avoid intentional sin. When we deliberately choose to go against God's Word then we deliberately sin.
This Thanksgiving is often no different than the others before it in regards to the day after it with an aptly named day referred to as Black Friday. People regard it as entertaining and often the people involved try to one up others in the hopes of being recorded and going viral. Being the worst offenders on that day is a badge of honor to some. People laugh about what people go through on that day. But does God think it's funny?
Thanksgiving used to really be about being thankful for all that God has done in our lives over the last year. Just like Sundays used to be a day of rest but as the NFL is quick to say "Sunday's used to belong to the Church but now it belongs to us."
We are taught in the Bible to let our speech, conduct and love reflect Christ in us. Not sometimes. All the time.
If it means things that the world calls acceptable being earmarked as not, so be it. If it means being on the outside looking in, so be it. I will have to give an account of my life to Jesus.
So many Christians go to whatever lengths they can to get as close to the world as they can in the hopes that they don't get burned. Again the Bible addresses that. "Love not the world nor the things of the world".
We cannot have no attempts on our part to control our tongue. We need to bear fruits in respect to repentance. We need to show the fruits of the Spirit. We certainly do not when we use our tongues unwisely.
"But I tell you that for every careless word that people speak, they will give an account of it on the day of judgment."
How can we be a thankful people and also tear people apart?
Careless is to not care.
Being thankful more, complaining less, has been attributed to miraculous healing in people. So do you think that God's Word really was right all along?
We waste so much time on rage and anger. To that end the Bible says that the anger of man does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
We have no excuse.
So while the world is being as the world is, we are to be different. If we want a revival, if we want the Spirit to move mightily, we need to get our own house in order first.
The more that I focus on what God wants of me than on my circumstances that I can see, the more I see His hands in my life.
We need more true thankfulness and less negative verbal exchanges. If it means giving up something to make our walk with Jesus better is it really a loss?
Sunday, November 20, 2022
Do You Need Mercy From God?
by David Brenneman
Last night wasn't good for me physically. Dinner that I prepared didn't sit well with my digestive system. Somewhere around midnight my lone simple prayer was for God's mercy in this physical discomfort that was profound.
It made me think of that prayer later after some semblance of sleep sort of came and the constant times of getting up ended. Mercy had been granted.
Which made me remember Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB "The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."
Even in the midst of what I was going through He was still there. Still with me.
We often don't consider needing mercy from God.
We often think getting saved was it, we got His unmeritted favor. We often go off and continue to do what His Word says not to, intentionally.
We aren't off the hook after receiving the free gift of salvation. We are certainly in need of His mercy. We need to consider it well that there ARE consequences to intentional sin.
When we participate in sin that the Bible says is sin, and are repeatedly doing it, the book of Romans says that's a practiced sin. We willingly do it with the hopes that it doesn't need to stop. To be Holy as God is Holy requires stopping sin. Willful or otherwise.
We need His mercy to not give us what we do deserve for our willful acts of sin.
Physical discomfort is often the result of various factors. Some we did by accident others intentionally and still others unintentionally due to the actions of others.
I think of my Wife's advice about my eating habits. It's on me if I am willing to live with the consequences of my choices. I could do like millions of people and just pop a pill to curb most of the effects of modern foods or learn to eat differently and forgo the pills.
It's incredibly challenging. Modern foods are essentially geared towards necessitating medical care. As quoted from the movie "The Fugitive" with Tommy Lee Jones "my God. It's a monster. A billion dollar a year monster" referring to the medical industry.
There's little mercy to be had physically when you intentionally eat the way people are taught today.
We should always be sensitive to what the Spirit teaches us. We will also need to be prepared to hear what we don't want to hear. He's going to tell us what needs to stop in our lives.
Grace and mercy go together.
His unmeritted favor works with His not giving us what we deserve.
We need to be more self aware of His mercy and grace. I fail Jesus daily yet He's given me no reason why He would ever leave me. Great indeed is His faithfulness.
When we're under duress we often don't think straight. Another reason for needing His Mercy. Most of the time given a choice, we will choose what feels better rather than what it is God's saying we need.
I am thankful for His mercy not only last night but daily. It's refreshing to know it's new every morning.
My body’s not fully recovered but its getting there. Be thankful that He's not given you what you didn't deserve. It only began with not sending you to Hell for your sins. It's His not giving us what we do deserve daily because of His great mercy and imputed righteousness.
We need to be more intentional about being thankful.
Saturday, November 19, 2022
by David Brenneman
James 1:27c NASB "and to keep oneself unstained by the world.'
That caught me this morning. When thinking about those whom I know who often are in the midst of many things, stained seems to fit.
Stained by people critical of them causing them to go down a path they normally wouldn't have gone.
Stained by people bullying them causing them to retreat from people.
Stained by sins that were avoidable but they didn't resist.
Stained by pride so they cut off the relationship rather than work through it.
Stains happen in relationships and no amount of physical detergent will clean it.
Unstained by the world...we go out into a very dirty sin-cursed world every day. It's near impossible to not return at the end of the day tainted. We need the cleansing power of the Spirit to make us clean again.
I have known people who went the wrong way in Spiritual battles. Now they are much farther from God than they ever were. Yet they don't see it. In time I am sure that they will go through the Prodigal Son process much as I have in my life.
The most persistent person in the world isn't any of us, it's the Spirit of God.
We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them. Ephesians 2:10.
There's no maybe about that work beginning in the life of a Believer and no maybe that it will be accomplished.
In Christ Jesus stains will be removed.
We will see life differently and won't be able to unsee it God's way. Ezekiel got a broad education on seeing people and the world as Jesus saw and sees it. Truth was revealed over and over to Ezekiel and he was required to tell those in Jerusalem what truth that the Lord Jesus Christ had to say.
We get stained so easily and aren't as concerned about it as we should be.
We listen to the world in regards to relabeling sin as entertainment. We listen to the world and relabel sin as mistakes. We listen to the world in how to begin or end relationships. We have millions of self-help books and as Believers we only need one...the Bible.
Look at your choices.
Look at your decisions.
Look at what you've surrounded yourself with in possessions.
Look at where your money goes.
It's time to turn and ask God to cleanse once more to start the day with eyes that see and to have ears that hear so that we might turn and be healed.
Friday, November 18, 2022
Complaining or Grateful?
by David Brenneman
It's interesting to stop n separate thoughts based solely on those two words.
Saw a short video on children complaining that their Dad never gets them anything.
He starts in the kitchen and shows them running water.
He moves to the refrigerator and opens it to show food.
He moves a little closer to home and goes into their room and shows them what they have.
What they lacked was appreciation.
What they were giving into was selfishness. Trying to keep up with others.
They had no appreciation for what they already had.
How often are we that way? God answers prayers and we don't even give Him a nod of appreciation? Are we at all grateful?
One of the verse of the day that I read this morning was "Sanctify them in Truth, Your Word is Truth". Truth isn't subjective. It it's interpretative. Jesus is Truth and as another passage I read this morning says that He changes not. In Him there is no variation or shifting shadow. In His perfection there's no need to be surprised by anything or anyone.
We live in a world that indeed doesn't appreciate what's been given. I like the video snippets of these people who are intentionally going to the streets to bless people. In some cases its just food and drink. Some it's cash to get them back into an apartment instead of the streets. One, who was an amputee said it had been 10 years since he could walk. The man sounded like he was straight out of the Gospel stories of Jesus healing. He just wanted to walk again. So they bought him his artificial leg.
We must not forget to be grateful to our God for all He's done and is doing that we haven't the foggiest idea why we're going through it. From what we understand and what all we don't, in Him there's no shifting shadow. He hasn't changed...it's us that often changes based on our level of selfishness.
Don't get it wrong, many prophets and others complained to God in the Bible. Just take care that your emotions don't get ahead of you. Emotions get us in a world of trouble. As my Dad often told us growing up: don't let your speedboat mouth overrun your rowboat tail end.
Don't get ahead of God.
In one story the Disciples thought they understood the situation and were angry at some people. Wanted to know from Jesus if He wanted THEM to call down fire from Heaven.
We often seek peace in specific special environments. Vacation get aways etc. The world loves to sugar coat our sin cursed world to believe we haven't seen anything yet and need to spend a little more to get it. Be busy doing and you'll get there.
Goes back to Mary and Martha.
Less is more. Honestly after moving it's a monthly if not weekly habit to donate stuff. The less that's in my way the more room there is to work out projects. We donate to two places that have ministries they provide for.
We are exceedingly grateful to God for our home. We want it to be God honoring as much as is possible.
I look around at things that we have been given. The problems we have been able to overcome, those big ones and small ones, and we are grateful.
God's still in the business of miracles from losing keys or the phone to hot water tanks and electric panels.
In the Old Testament what started Israel down the path to lost fellowship with the Lord Jesus was being ungrateful. Read Psalms on David's grateful heart.
We don't need to keep up with the Jones's.
We need to be grateful for what we have been given, we need to bring our requests to God but be careful of what we ask for. It's not always what is truly right for us to have. We need to remember we are not creating nor should attempt to create a slice of Heaven here on Earth.
CCC: Clutter creates complaints.
Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication ACTS of prayer.
Being thankful and grateful comes before asking for things.
We also miss out on what Mary sought. Peace by getting away to be with Jesus. Being busy all the time isn't necessary being right with God. Being about the Father’s business is the right thing.
So many billions of dissatisfied angry people in this world because they were taught if you complained enough you'll get someone to give you what you want.
People aren't taught that there's consequences to their actions and society at large has been silencing the consequences. Someone else who had nothing to do with what transpired foots the bill.
Prayer isn't just for a select group of people. It was meant to be the catalyst towards a transformed life. Sanctify them in the Truth, Your Word is Truth. Holiness isn't ever going to be taught by the world or in online courses with a degree attached. Holiness is what washes away the complaints and produces a grateful heart. The more time you spend with Jesus the more you learn of what all He's got in mind for you.
It's ok to share your heart's desire and pain with Jesus. It's exactly what Jesus wants of you. He's at the door of every single room of your heart but will await YOU to open them to let Him in.
Be true with Jesus and He always will be true with you. Be on guard against the schemes of the Devil. It's always in the sugar coated details we get burned.
Spend time being thankful and grateful more than complaining.
See how your outlook on life changes.
Thursday, November 17, 2022
What Needs to Go?
by David Brenneman
A year ago was the day we announced we were in contract to move. Weeks of intense downsizing and we weren't done. We really began many months earlier but now it was coming down to the wire. Our realtor here would do what seemed impossible to us and actually found a storage unit for us to use. Due to the virus we were on our own in moving.
Yet in Christ we weren't alone.
In constant daily prayer we moved along inch by inch. Obstacles were discovered and God cast them aside. He wasn't going to let anything get in the way of our moving. Why? Not because of us or how good people we were. Because of what then? We were moving to further our sanctification in Christ Jesus. We wanted a life closer to Jesus. We wanted to be where we needed to be to grow in Christ.
Guess what? God not only wants that for us, He wants it for you too.
What things are you surrounding yourself with that are not helping you grow closer to what you are supposed to be in Christ?
Are your activities in line with that of a Believer in Christ? A Christ follower?
Are you daily reading your Bible?
Are you in as constant a prayer as is practical and possible?
Is your work life honoring to God?
Is your home life honoring to God?
Are your hobbies honoring to Him?
If not, as the graphic says, it needs to go.
We read from Paul to cast aside what's holding us down. To shed whatever isn't helping our sanctification. We aren't supposed to be making suggestions to Jesus while He's working on us as His workmanship. We aren't supposed to bargain for what we want to keep. We are to follow His example as He prayed to His Heavenly Father "Your Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven".
Jesus didn't live the life He did for His own purposes or pleasure. He lived it to save lives. He did it to be obedient to His Father. He gave up every perfect thing in Heaven to come to this sin cursed world to save.
Isn't that at all more important than your hobbies, your personal tastes, your own lifestyle? The Disciples stated that they gave up everything to follow Jesus. Their wants, their desires, their vocation, in many, even their families.
We can't love anything or anyone more than we love the living Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Matthew 10:37-39 NASB "The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And the one who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. The one who has found his life will lose it, and the one who has lost his life on My account will find it."
Jesus is to be our All in All.
When we do leave this world we take nothing with us.
When we look at the Old Testament, the utter hatred of idolatry by Jesus is profoundly explicit. If Jesus hates it, showed the world through the punishment towards His own chosen people, shouldn't we stand up and take notice?
People dance around word usage in order to stay in sins they don't want to give up.
Do you hoard rather than find ways to help others?
Do you insist on coveting things you shouldn't?
Do you lift up things in this world higher than your obedience to God's Word?
Are you truly abiding in His vine?
Are you bearing fruit in accordance with repentance? Are you intentional about your life in Christ as one who has taken up your own cross to follow Jesus?
If not, why not? If you stood before Jesus in the next few minutes, what answer would you give as to why you should be let into His Heaven? Because of how good a person you were? Not good enough. Because of anything isn't good enough if it isn't because of Jesus Christ.
We ought to live God honoring lives at all times. There no off the clock time in that life. No time where we can truthfully indulge in sin in order to ask forgiveness later and not honestly mean it, for we're willing to do it again.
In the book of Romans Paul wrote of practiced sin. Intentional, deliberate, sins that we know we ought not to be participating in yet choose to do.
Are you doing any? Are you running from what God's got in mind for you to be doing? Are you willing to tell Him "your Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven"?
Food for thought for today: look at your surroundings. Just that. Look at what you've spent money on. What does it say about your walk with Jesus?
Read this from Dr. Charles Stanley, Life Principle 16:
Wednesday, November 16, 2022
by David Brenneman
Last year, especially from October 14th til Christmas, was a seriously heavy time in walking by faith for us.
In his Life Principle #28, Dr. Charles Stanley is indeed referring to why it's so important to not make excuses for gathering with other Believers, but it relates to what we read in Hebrews about faith.
Ezekiel had his life changed by Jesus to reflect the heart of God. Think about that.
Jesus was wanting in any and every single way His people to return to Him.
Lives like Ezekiel were lived out in faith to try to reach some, reach anyone, to bring them back to a right relationship with Jesus.
We often go through deep things in life that certainly are not what we wished to experience in life.
I mourn for those who do not have Jesus to lean on. It's heartbreaking when people would rather do what those did in Ezekiel's day and turn to anything or anyone else rather than the one true God. When they turn to new age thinking. It's also heartbreaking when those known to be family won't say anything to them. It reminds me of the many places in the Old Testament where from Priests to watchman were rebuked and or lost their own lives because they didn't warn their own.
We are to live lives by faith in the Son of God who gave His life for us. We are to rest in His promises and not the world's assurances.
Hebrews has what's been referred to as the faith chapters in its showing what many have done in living lives by faith.
An interestingly accurate portrayal is in an Indiana Jones movie of walking on faith when he has only the clue of taking a step onto what surely looks like it ought to be certain failure and death. In his case he figures out enough to toss pebbles in front of him to reveal the way to go.
In our case we often, like those saints of old, are not going to understand exactly why we went through what we did, when we did, when obvious non-miracles existed that were out of reach to us.
For me, why was I born with the physical limits that I was? Why did my Wife have to go through the breast cancer surgery and follow-up? Why was our first-born taken to Heaven before we could see him? Why was that semi running a red light that seriously altered my life? Why was there a massive thunderstorm the night my Dad was leaving this world for Heaven and I wasn't able to go up to see him? There are no easy answers to all of these.
There's just one thought from Jesus concerning all of them: trust me, I know what I am doing. Many things you go through are for my glory, to bring others to salvation. They just won't see any other way. What I do in your life, when you obey Me, they will see. Perhaps right away, perhaps later, they will think on what you have gone through as well as those you love that also belong to Me. Your physical eyes cannot see enough of the Spiritual forces that are fighting to keep others from salvation in Me. Trust me.
We often struggle with life. We have pure motives often to do the right thing. We are often hindered because it's just not for us to be the one to do it.
Consider the prophets of old. Each was chosen by God specifically, in those moments of time, to reach someone. The Spirit thought so much to include those lives in the Bibles we read. So that thousands of years later lives would still be impacted.
We indeed live a different life when living by faith. We do our level best to take the steps that the Spirit directs us to. As Scripture says that the mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.
We share what we know of God's work in our lives. We shouldn't keep it to ourselves. We are to bear one another’s burdens and fulfill the law of Christ. We should never forsake being with others because we need reminders of those today seeing the work of God through faith.
People often wonder where these posts come from. I repeated say it's not from me, I am just as amazed as they in reading it later myself. I write what I am told to write.
Obedience often takes us places we never thought possible. Obedience often comes with heartache. Obedience will always grow us in Christ no matter who you are.
Obeying by coming to Christ is always the first step. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith in the Son of God who gave His life for me, I can do nothing. With faith, nothing that God gives us to go through is impossible.
Keeping silent when we put our feelings before our faith only harms everyone who we care about. When we know the right thing to do and do not do it we sin, that's what the Bible says.
Our pain in this life won't truly go away until we who are in Christ step into eternity in Heaven. I am not a believer in that those in Heaven see into time. That's an attribute only of God. There would be a flooded Heaven with the tears of all who went on before us as God's truth is seen by us and we see see the world as He does. We enter into His rest in Heaven. We wait in Heaven for that moment when His Father says it's time. We are separated from this world until we return with Jesus when He does.
Look at your faith today. Look at why you haven't gone farther in life. When we refuse to take the steps that God has in mind for us to take, we are telling the all-knowing God of the Universe that we know better than God.
When we put our feelings ahead of our faith we will just cause our lessons to be repeated until we do. Jonah proved you cannot run from God's Will. Jesus prayed to His Father that His Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. We can run from the criticism of others and fill our lives with supposed success but we will return to the situation and still need to complete that lesson. Our hardening our hearts, regardless of our reasons, is never a good thing in the eyes of God.
Look at your life today and see if you're really living the life that God's desired for you. If necessary, be brutally honest with God and ask Him to open your eyes to see.
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
This World is Not My Home
by David Brenneman
Consider this in Hebrews 11:13-16 NASB
I have not checked or looked it up, but have to wonder if this passage had something to do with the hymn by the same name as this post.
"This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
O Lord, You know I have no friend like You,
If heaven’s not my home, then, Lord, what will I do?
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
They’re all expecting me, and that’s one thing I know—
My Savior pardoned me, and now I onward go;
I know He’ll take me through though I am weak and poor,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
I have a loving Savior up in glory-land,
I don’t expect to stop until I with Him stand;
He’s waiting now for me in heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
Just up in glory-land we’ll live eternally,
The saints on every hand are shouting victory,
Their songs of sweetest praise drift back from heaven’s shore,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore."
Are you? Are you working hard at what it is that God's got for you to be doing for Him or are you doing your best to make this world home?
We've been to many hotels in 20 plus years. Most have all the good amenities. Most had pools and a breakfast. All had televisions in the room. Good things but it wasn't home.
We have had extended stays at wonderful cabins. Beautiful scenery. Yet it wasn't home.
Even after such things we got home and there was just something about sleeping in our own bed.
It's oh so easy, especially in a world of keeping up with the Jones's, in keeping up appearances, to spend our time, energy and effort into remoulding the world around us into our own image of what it should be like.
Some inevitably come to a moment of downsizing. They have 2 vehicles, a two car garage and can't get 1 into it. You go through their home and it's got stuff everywhere. Sometimes a path to each room.
But it isn't home to Believer's in Christ Jesus. What we read here in Hebrews ought to be true of Believer's today.
We easily fall into traps that cause our finances to keep going towards paying off purchases to pay for what we did to handle an emergency or to pay for something we really didn't need or could have waited for. It often is the result of the unexpected as well. Or trying to make someone else happy.
People often wonder about giving at a Church. They are often some of those whom it pains them to put something in an offering yet will go out after the service to a $30 and up meal. Oh how people have developed misplaced priorities.
This world isn't our home. In Christ indeed we are passing through. We are here and not immediately taken at our receiving salvation because it would benefit ourselves and others by our transformation process as written in Romans. Our journey in Christ while we live is to cause others to see their own need for salvation in Christ.
Another hymn..."This little light of mine". Most don't need the rest of the words.
Children are taught that one but it's the adults who really need to remember it.
The Great Commission is about the light of Jesus Christ in us being shown to the world, of making Disciples.
Those alive in Christ Jesus right now ought to be expecting the return of Jesus Christ at any time. The parables of Jesus concerning this ought to be on the minds of those who believe. To be ready, eagerly, for His return. To be available now for the work He has for us to be doing rather than living for self, thinking that His return is a long way off.
There too is the passage of not loving the world nor the things in the world. There are no U-Haul's on caskets. Nobody with the most toys when they die wins. The only thing that goes with you into the presence of Jesus is what you did in the body of Christ for Christ Jesus.
My Mom's spoken many times of a lesson that she says that it was God who taught her. Don't get attached to things. She loved a particular vehicle we used to have and God used a drunk driver to destroy it. To her that was a strong lesson in not loving things in this world.
People get enraged at physical things being damaged or destroyed.
People get excessively emotional about family heirlooms being broken, sold, given away or lost.
Yet they do not consider that this world isn't our home. We have a home awaiting us in Heaven made by our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Consider this: HE is waiting for us with a hopeful expectation of telling us "Well done!", but in your case and mine, will that be what we hear? Will our lives be so wrapped up in self that we forgot this isn't home, that we have a life in Christ that has a purpose?
Personally, the last year and a half have been eye opening to me on my attachments to this world. We had a huge surge in separation from things a year ago when we were preparing to move. We all probably have relatives or friends who have passed on who have honestly left a mess. So much stuff to find a new home for. Nobody took anything with them.
Reread that passage. Think about what you are doing in the life given to you in Christ. Are you taunting God by your choices? Are you being a Disciple with an eye on reaching others for Jesus? By taunting you are still engaging in sinful ways that are against God's Word, maybe asking for forgiveness for them yet you persist in doing them willingly. You have convinced yourself that there's nothing wrong with those things even though God's Word is pretty clear about them.
When we let go we will find there's more time to spend and for some that lack of activity feels like an empty void. Be intentional in those moments to go to Jesus. We don't need to fill our lives and garages with self.
Jesus said His yoke is easy and His load is light. Yet we pile on things in life instead straining to cry out to God "It's ok! I got this! No problem here!" as we are in danger of it all really crashing down on us.
We don't know what His load is like because we've never gone there to take that upon our shoulders.
Paul taught of running a race. The end being in Heaven. He spoke of not being entangled in the things of this world.
In what ways have you willingly been entangled in this world?
Are you so busy that you have no time for God?
Are your activities about you or about learning to be who He intended you to be in Christ?
Are your pursuits about making this world your home or in looking forward to your home in Heaven?
Things to consider for sure.
Monday, November 14, 2022
No Right to Continue in Sin
by David Brenneman
Hebrews 10:26-31 NASB
One of my life's things has been to observe people. When not speaking it's often best to be listening. We who are in Christ ought to indeed live lives as ascribed by the writers of the Bible as holy, that is, set apart.
An observation of my life and others is that we indeed look for loopholes with God's Word. Finding out if there some 'hack' to still dabble in things that the Bible expressly calls sin or sinful behavior. We read in John chapter 1 of how people loved the darkness rather than the Light.
We often want the best of both worlds. We want to enjoy as much sin as we can and yet put on Christ when it becomes necessary or needed.
We would rather keep on hearing without hearing and seeing without seeing as the Lord Jesus Christ accused the Jews of doing. Ignorance isn't bliss.
We find excuses and rational reasons to...face it...enjoy what Biblically are sinful activities. We find reasons to rage at people whom Christ died for as well as us. We find reasons to justify our being judgemental of people whom Christ died for as well as us. We find it easy to condemn others in the name of fun or entertainment.
We see no, and you will find no, chapter or book in the Bible that says any of that is acceptable to God.
There's no acceptable idolatry.
There's no acceptable adultery.
There's no acceptable ruthless judging of others.
There's no acceptable sins to a Holy God.
Set apart means something to Him.
Holiness means something to Jesus.
Do you not realize or know that EVERY careless word you have spoken or have thought will be asked about by Jesus?
Do you not realize or know that the truth of your thoughts and intentions will be asked about by Jesus?
Do you not realize that your daily activity has the souls of people in the balance? That the choices you make impact lives? Sometimes greatly sometimes infinitesimal. But we do impact the lives of people by what we display in our lives more than by what we say.
It's extremely saddening to me to hear of how my words or actions did wrong in someone's life.
It's extremely difficult to see people who are supposed to be Christians looking no different than the world.
It's excruciating to me to see people who were once so strong in the Lord living a life so far removed from what they used to live. It honestly makes me want to cry.
In my being His workmanship Jesus has taught me to remove many things from my heart and mind. Things that I had been justifying that He said was sin.
A most notable was my attachment to things that I had justified putting higher than my relationship with Jesus. Of course I didn't see it that way at first but His evidence to me from me was overwhelming. I hadn't realized how infected I had been until my Great Physician showed me my chart while on my back in His hospital.
You too must come to terms with you.
You must look at what you too have been justifying and making rational excuses for in your life. Things like idolatry enraged the Lord Jesus Christ so much that whole books were written about it, thousands of years were spent addressing it with Israel and Judah. Yet we often dismiss it as some old part of the Bible that doesn't happen today. Guess what? Several thousand years ago when you read of those real accounts in the Bible, they too didn't believe it was true of them either. Read the book of Jeremiah, read Lamentations, read Ezekiel.
People loved the darkness rather than the Light.
Look at your choices because those will show you who you worship.
Matthew 16:25-26 NASB "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what good will it do a person if he gains the whole world, but forfeits his soul? Or what will a person give in exchange for his soul?"
Is you being happy on your terms going to be a good thing for you when you explain your life to Jesus?
Are your choices shaping you to be like Christ or are they keeping you separated from Him?
We read "choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord". Can you look at your house, clothing, music and television choices, your hobbies, your interests, and say without a doubt that you have chosen to serve the Lord? Have you justified your choices in order to live for you rather than for Jesus?
Think about it. Jesus has been putting me on my back many times to get me to realize how much I have not chosen His ways and have embraced my own.
Your challenge today is to get real, pray that you would have eyes that see, ears that hear, that you too would turn and be healed.