Sunday, December 10, 2023

There is an Ending Coming

There is an Ending Coming 
by David Brenneman 

"A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God." ‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:3‬.

We do well to keep in mind that the return of Jesus Christ is still imminent.  We're supposed to live daily as if it were to be today.  We know not when. No man does. 

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will." Matthew 23:42-44.

Had you known in advance, would you live your life any differently?  My Dear Reader, you DO know in advance.  What are you holding onto that you shouldn't be?  What have you given importance to your life that you shouldn't be because those things are not honoring to God?

At any moment our lives can be called into account.  Any individual who's breathed their last unexpectedly surely thought there would have been another to come. 

We shouldn't be so consumed with the pursuit of individual joy that we neglect the work of the Spirit of God in us and in the world.  We are only seeing the delay of the return of Jesus Christ because He’s not willing that any should perish but that all would come to Him and be saved.  He isn't willing, but, do not take it lightly.  He's isn't willing, but His Father set a specific day that enough is enough will signal that ending.  

“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.  For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be." Matthew 24:36-39.

The warning is not to be taken fearfully, but for those in Christ Jesus, it should be in joyful expectation.  

“Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.  But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.  For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will." Matthew 24:42-44.

There's nothing to fear for those who are in Christ, who are indeed sealed by the Spirit of God.  Our joy will be made complete.  Our leaving this world for our true home occurs.  The monkey of sin will be permanently off our backs. Harming our relationship with Jesus Christ no more. 

We who are in Christ have no condemnation for sins against us.  
Those who are not saved have the full brunt of condemnation awaiting them. 

Those who are saved are written in the Lamb's book of Life.  Those who are not are guaranteed a guilty verdict.

No amount of good done by anyone will equal the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on a cross to pay for sins. A perfectly lived life would still be condemned because that person is still born in sin. We cannot be good enough, cannot live right enough, to satisfy the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ that is required to enter into His rest in Heaven.  

What are you doing that you're not taking this alert seriously?  Life, indeed, must go on and be lived but that attitude in which we live it must include God's perspective. Must include obedience to what He says is important.  

Our world isn't progressing towards a man-made utopia.  There's no paradise awaiting people on Earth because of our genius at solving world problems.  As someone once said "Nobody gets out of the world alive.".

Are you being intentionally ignorant? Are you sticking your head in the sand?  Hoping that you get to do in life what you want, hoping that the return of Jesus comes after your time on Earth is done? 

Why be that way?

Why not embrace His truth?
Why not let go of the things that are honestly weighing you down?

In His example of the King and the talents, Jesus showed what waiting expectantly could be like.  

I am more than happy to be considering that today might be that day.  I am convinced, by being told by the Spirit, that the return would be in my lifetime.  I am not setting dates, just stating the facts as I know them.  Spreading the word of God to this world is heavily impressed upon me.  God made this blog writing possible.  Every day He has something for me to write, just as He said He would.  Obedience doesn't need to be as complicated as we might make it seem. 

What has the Spirit wanted of you?  It might not even be what you'd ever thought of.  5 years ago I never thought once of writing like this.  What might be your part in preparing people for the day of His appearing?  

There is an Ending Coming...

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Saturday, December 9, 2023

What are you looking for?

What are you looking for?
by David Brenneman 

We're all looking for something.  Whether you accept it or not you too, my Friend, are seeking.  What Satan's done in response is to try to fill your mind with anything but seeking out the full relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Everything from recreation to job titles to popularity contests vies for our attention. 

Our hearts and minds were originally created for a right relationship with Jesus Christ.  Sin pollutes and dilutes this.  Sin is going to try to sway your heart.   Not in any "Hey! I'm sin! Over here! Let's do this!" kind of way.

Sin is going to use deception.  Every form every kind and every single time.  

"Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures." James 1:12-18.

Temptation can either be something so known to be evil that it's unmistakable or it can be couched in something so grand that it's appearance and experience are as warm as a blanket on a winter's night.  We WILL face temptations in most all it's various ways because we still have a sin nature that doesn't want the Spirit changing us. 

What we look for in life ought to be considering what it is that Jesus Christ wants of us in life.  If indeed we're denying ourselves, taking up our own cross, and are following Him...who's calling the shots?  At that point it most certainly ought to be Jesus.  If indeed we're being taught of God as the Scriptures say, our desires ought to begin to be those things that the Spirit desires. 

Look at the progression of growing that the Disciples went through.  Slowly they began down a path of learning that brought out the attributes of Jesus in them.  After the coming of the Spirit of God, all that they had learned about came shining through.  Then they began living the righteous life that God desires for them.  

We're also people that ironically are proud of our ruts.  Proud of those things in our lives that are not God honoring because we've grown so accustomed to them being a part of us.  We can't see our blindside. Not only can we not see it, we're refusing to call those things as God does.  

My Dear Reader if God's labeling some thoughts, some things, in the world as stumbling blocks, then indeed that's exactly what they are. If He’s pointing toward something or even someone in your life that's higher in your heart than Himself, then quit arguing with Jesus and agree with Him.  We dismiss conviction as easily as swatting away a fly.  "Oh that's not what that looks like!" or "You're kidding me! That's not what that is!".  To be blunt, and as direct as possible as well as to preserve clarity: My Dear Reader are you calling God a liar?

We have not arrived at Heaven's door. 
We have not arrived at that point of sanctification that the struggles to fight it are gone from our lives.
We have not come to any place where coasting is acceptable. 
We must do as the Spirit has on the alert. Do not let your guard down.  Be ready.  

The opening verse...Psalm 27:8. We're to be seeking Jesus...every single day.  Not writing Him into a few moments of our unnecessarily busy schedules.  We're supposed to be submitting to the teachings of the Spirit...because that's one of His reasons for being here.  He seals the saved in Christ Jesus. He preserves the Scriptures. He draws people to Jesus for salvation and He teaches those who've come to Christ. 

What you practice in life is what you give an account of concerning your life.  Paul wrote of practiced sin. Practiced sins are those we willingly embrace without allowing the conviction of the Spirit to change our way of thinking.. Practiced life in Christ is a life that is accepting of the convictions of the Spirit to make us more like Christ Jesus.  

Are you seeking to know Jesus better at all?  Or is that other stuff in your life more important?  Is that game more important? Is that hobby more important?  Is your car more important?  Is this person or that person more important?  

I attack nothing, yet, the conviction of the Spirit will point to everything that you actually have elevated about Jesus.   If you just got defensive, even for a split second, then the Spirit has identified something in your life.  

It's not being naive to see that some stuff in life brings out the sin nature so well during things that weren't designed to be bad.  I have been around long enough to see how, by way of example, a football game can take Godly people and bring out the worst attributes of the sin nature in them.  A NASCAR race.  A peewee baseball game. A new car's care.  A classic car's care.  A bird even looks at a car recently washed and waxed and people want to get out a shotgun to keep them away.  The attributes of Jesus tossed aside. 

What are you going to look for today?  Might you do even one thing differently?
Might you make a call out of concern for someone else rather that that other thing that's not as important in the eyes of God?
Might you take a walk to clear your mind and heart to open it up to what the Spirit is wanting to teach you rather than hours in front of a television? 

What are you going to do differently?
What you do as Believer's is supposed to be done in such a way that people see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.  

Think about that...deeply.   

Friday, December 8, 2023

Just because it's there...

Just because it's there...
by David Brenneman 

"All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor. Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake. But if anyone says to you, “This is meat sacrificed to idols,” do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for conscience’ sake; I mean not your own conscience, but the other man’s; for why is my freedom judged by another’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I slandered concerning that for which I give thanks? Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense either to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of the many, so that they may be saved." 1 Corinthians‬ ‭10:23‭-‬33‬

"Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ." ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:1‬

Wearing down the defenses is a tactic as old as humanity in battles both large and small.  It matters not if it's in changing the direction of the country to whether or not to take another bite.  

The world wants whatever is allowed to Satan by God.  Satan's not allowed to step over any lines with any person, group of people, or even nations that goes contrary to the will of God for mankind.  Yet he's not alone in this. We too, you and I, are held within the same limitations.  When Jesus said that not one of the tiniest of portions of the Word of God would pass away, that all would be fulfilled, it wasn't anything but the truth.  

Aspirations are good...and to be truthful...I am searching for some that are acceptable to My Savior.  I have aspirations but no means of pursuing them.  Should I pursue them, and this isn't tooting my own horn, it would change the course of humanity.  How do I know?  I asked.  Who?  Jesus.  I was shown that indeed some of my ideas would have worked...but they didn't fit in with His plans for mankind. 

I could have had a minor tantrum and started off with "But God!"...but I knew better.   That wouldn't be trusting in the Lord with all my heart. 

We aren't alone in our battles, no matter how big or small.  It's simply a fact of life. 

Saying no takes practice. Honestly it does.  Know a good friend who teaches or coaches, however you want to view it, to stand in front of the bathroom mirror and practice saying no to specific individuals. Keep doing it until you can convincingly do so.  The same could be applied to doing things or eating or whatever.  

The New Testament is replete with example after example of how we're in training.  The lessons begin and until we repeat it enough we aren't going to learn them.  It's going to be new ways of thinking, of doing to achieve a new result in our growth as Believers. 

What we do for Jesus is what we give an account of.  Whether good or bad.  Making wise decisions about life is only possible when we choose what the Spirit is pointing us towards in our training in righteousness.  Saying no to things that are incredibly desirable is part of this.  Worldly thinking calls it short term pain long term gain...well that's probably Biblical in its origins.  

Learning to resist temptation takes practice.  Sins are almost always described as practiced sins that are repeatedly committed.  A sinful idea or practice presents itself and we choose to participate or not. We either consider the ramifications or we don't.  We choose to see how it impact others or we don't.  

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  This is going to include trusting in His no answers.  It's going to include His not now answers.  It's going to include you having to choose on your own to refuse something now to get something later.  

Training is a process of repeating what you want to see, feel, or do so much it becomes second nature.  

Just because I can do something doesn't immediately follow that I should do that thing.  One of the best one-lines from a movie.  

Companies, countries, groups of any size do not have your best interests in mind more than your Savior if you indeed are saved in Christ Jesus.  He is to be your personal Savior. Your personal trainer is the Spirit of God.  

People like to hire personal trainers.  Most personal trainers will walk if you're not going to do what you are paying them for.  They don't have the patience to wait around for you.  The Spirit has all the patience of God in dealing with you.  When we realize that His will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven is in our best interests, regardless of how agonizing life is...then we're going somewhere. 

You are in training in righteousness.  
You are being taught to be fully devoted followers of Christ Jesus. 
You are not to follow in the ways of the world.  

Start today differently.  Start today with acknowledging your need to listen to your Trainer in Christ Jesus.  You cannot do before you hear from Him.  Just because temptation or desires that aren't necessarily temptation are before you...doesn't mean that's what's good for you.   The prize is that crown of righteousness to give back to Jesus.  

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

With You and For You

With You and For You 
by David Brenneman 

‭‭"Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh,  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.  For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries." Hebrews 10:19-27.

Really take the time to slowly read this passage.  LET it stop you as you do on various words.  We live in a world that loves to go fast and not stop n smell the roses.  A world that people are constantly fixing suspension parts of vehicle's because they don't slow down to navigate the roads properly. 

We often read the same way.  

Having confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus.  Really chew on this.  When you open in prayer, even what's to you an awkward prayer, it's still confidence that your thoughts and feelings are going to some place because of your relationship with Jesus.  He said to pray, that your heart would be heard, and you believe it to be true. Even if life might not feel like what's on your heart has been heard. 

"let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water." Every child who prays gets this without even having to stop and consider it all.  They just know that they are sincere without rationalizing it.  In this we also see confession.  Praying that our personal sins would be forgiven and forgotten...just as He promised to do. 

Read the rest like that.  It's different isn't it?  

The world will always think true Believer's are nuts to pray in all sincerity, yet, they will always not reject those prayers.   

When the fervent prayers of a righteous person are prayed, people know.  The person praying knows.  The person being prayed for, knows.  God the Father is glorified and people will recognize from whom all blessings flow.

In the battlefield of life, there really are no atheists.  Just like the saying that there are no atheists in foxholes.  People tend to have their every objection to the belief in the reality of Jesus Christ when fears strip it all away at the perils of mortal danger. 

"When peace like a river attendeth my way,
when sorrows like sea billows roll;
whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say,
"It is well, it is well with my soul."

It is well with my soul;
it is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, let this blest assurance control: that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and has shed his own blood for my soul. 

It is well with my soul;
it is well, it is well with my soul.

My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! my sin, not in part, but the whole,
is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more; praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! 

It is well with my soul;
it is well, it is well with my soul.

O Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; the trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend; even so, it is well with my soul. 

It is well with my soul;
it is well, it is well with my soul."
- Author: Horatio Gates Spafford (1873)

In recent days I have gone through several valley's.  Illnesses can do that to you.  You tend to narrow your thoughts to a certain field of view and a whole lot falls away.  

The waves of life are going to swell and rise up.  They are just going to.  It's a simple fact of life.  So ok. We can accept that.  The next step is getting into rhythm with it and not let these overwhelm or overcome us.  This can only be ours to live like this in a right relationship with Jesus Christ.  His promises only count, only apply, when we're in that right relationship.  

Coming to Christ starts us down that path. Coming to Christ begins that work in us.  It's on us to daily confess our sins and He promises to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering".

"I'm done" isn't in the vocabulary of those who are going down the road of life that the Spirit is leading people through.  We aren't to be quitters in the calling for which we HAVE been called in Christ Jesus.  Perseverance.  

We have a God who truly loves us and wants what's best for's on us to trust Him when He says He really does know what is best.  

Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication.  Many times we learn the most from children because they are unhindered by our doubts.  They have no problems showing adoration to parents. The simple hugs n wanting to be held and heard.  Confession...there's a significant need to wipe the slate clean before going any further in talking to God through Jesus.  Read Daniel's prayers.  Thanks...being thankful for what you've seen of God in your life and for those things you're totally unaware of.'s when we make our requests known unto God.  

Your day is going to threaten to consume you at times.  Those waves of life are going to rise up.  Just like Noah's Ark...when we're safe in His waves can harm us or keep us under.  Unsinkable. 

Start today differently.  It's never too late, short of death, to start living the life God intended for you.  It's not about social media, not about bills, or family matters. It's about what Jesus wants to do in your life with you and for you.  

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Being Who You are in Christ

Being Who You are in Christ 
by David Brenneman 

‬"but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;  ‭1 Peter‬ ‭3:15.

It can be a thing that causes you fear to read that passage.  Sanctification is God's work in you.  It's not necessarily something you are doing of yourself.  It's the work of the Spirit of God.  When that moment arrives, and in God's timing it can be anywhere, being ready is more important than knowing what to say. 

We as humans ,more so than as Christians if we indeed are Christians, fear the unknown more than we fear the known.  We can devise very distorted views in our own minds of what might happen, of what might be, long before anything ever happens. It's our nature.  We want to see results that are pleasing to ourselves. Doesn't matter what it is. 

Truth is what Scripture says that it is.  Being ready is simply agreeing with Jesus that if He presents the moment to us, in His eyes we're ready, just be ourselves in Christ and speak what we're lead to speak in that moment.  No more, no less.  

Your unique in the body of Christ.  It's why you are not ever going to be like those you might sit next to in Church.  In your own human body, even the cells that make up your hand might be side-by-side, they are unique in regards to their placement in your body.  

In Christ we read long ago of what it says about us in the body of Christ. "If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired." 1 Corinthians 12:17-18.

We don't need to wonder if we'll do well or not.  The Bible says that when those moments come upon us, He will speak. He will give us the words. "But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say." Matthew 10:19. 

Look back over your life.  When things have happened and were of God, could you explain them any other way?  Of course not.  They were of God.  It matters not how we perceive the outcome.  The Bible says His words will not return void or empty.  When His words go forth they will always accomplish what their purpose is.  

Fear is one of the extremely first events in the life of Adam and Eve upon making the first human sin...if not the first it certainly was the second. The first probably being pride at a feeble attempt to be like God. 

There's no need to second guess because if you relax and be in the moment God's put you in, He'll be doing the talking through you.  He desires your obedience.

I am one who's got some socially awkward issues.  An introvert who becomes an extrovert under very select circumstances.  Sometimes as an introvert the circumstances will cause a fight or flight problem.  Sometimes they won't.  In all times that it's a "God thing" nothing bothers me.  My life's circumstances to date have a lot of scars from previously abusive peers in my time in school.  Lots of scars from abusive supervisors who were less than welcome in their depictions of me.  But in every case that it was the Spirit doing His work through me there was none of that shining through.  

Another way to look at it is to get rid of the notion of needing to attain to some level of spiritual greatness that we see others as being before we believe we're ready. 

That's one of Satan's stronger tactics. 

If God wanted you to be another Billy Graham He would have already prepared you to be that way.  Had He wanted another like Dr. Charles Stanley, He would have already put those plans in motion in your life.  He wants you to be who you are in this here this now.  Those men were put here to teach you.  The Bible says that those who preach the word are held to a higher calling in Christ Jesus.  Worthy of double honor.  If you aren't a preacher that's ok too.  Be the best you that you are to be in Christ...and as Dr. Stanley said...leave the consequences to Him.  

Leave the consequences of obedience to God's Word to God.  Plain and simple. 

Daniel was in the lion’s den because he obeyed God's word rather than the edict of mankind and left the consequences to Him.  

Job did the same.  Job went through Hell on Earth but stayed true to obeying God in His heart.  

Mary, as is well known this time of year, obeyed God's word through the Angel and left the consequences to Him.  Joseph, her husband, obeyed the word of God through the Angel and left the consequences to Him. 

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1.

We who are in Christ have the faith to believe that Jesus saved us.  

Keep ahold of that same faith that He will keep all His other promises. 

Be who you uniquely are in Christ Jesus wherever you go, wherever you are.  Don't try to be like this person or that person. You are not those people in Christ.  

You are you in Christ.  

Be the best you in Christ that you are to be.  The account you give wherever you stand before Jesus will only be about what you did in the body of Christ for Him.  

"Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:17.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

All He's Done...Lately Even

All He's Done...Lately Even 
by David Brenneman 

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.

When I feel afraid, think I've lost my way,
still you're there right beside me,
and nothing will I fear as Iong as you are near.
Please be near me to the end.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.

I will not forget your love for me,
and yet my heart forever is wandering.
Jesus, be my guide and hold me to your side, and I will love you to the end.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.

In recent days some things have happened to me that I have little doubt were answered due to prayers of myself and others that my God gets all the credit for taking care of.   He is my Great Physician. He is my Savior who said He would never leave me nor forsake me.  

My health was beginning down a road that would have negatively impacted my work life.  Thankfully, I did have PTO time to cover it, even more thankfully, He spared me unnecessary extended use of it.  Some were afraid that it was 'the' virus.  Whether it would be or not, it matters not to my Healer.  Nothing has been created that a single word from Him would not take care of.  When He returns again at the end of the thousand year reign, the multitudes of the Earth will take a stand against Him for battle and He will simply speak a word and the battle will be over. Period. 

When Daniel prayed, before he got finished with his prayer, the answer from Jesus was already on its way.  When Jesus prayed the angel stood with Him immediately to strengthen Him. When Paul was going to trial the Lord stood with him.

My Dear Reader, when we face whatever life has, He stands with us who are in Christ Jesus.  

One of my favorite moving episodes of M*A*S*H was when one of the nurses was seen by Hawkeye in a way he had never seen before.  As the story went, hours earlier the two had gotten into it because he never once looked at her as someone interesting, just all the other nurses.  On that night shift, a soldier was calling out to someone who couldn't possibly be there. She went to his bedside and held his hand, pretending to be that loved one. In a few moments he passed.  The point being, whether we live or not through whatever we face, as Believers, Jesus is right there with us, in the thick of it with us. He doesn't care what the disease is, doesn't care what the sickness is, what the social protocol is, He is there.  Whether to comfort towards recovery or to comfort in order to come home to be with Himself, He’s ever present. 

We can easily, in our world today, dismiss His entire contribution to our improved health.  We took pills, the doctors injected a medicine, we used ice or a hot patch and got better.  Often neglecting to remember who it was who allowed those things to exist in the first place.  Allowed? Yes allowed.  As an inventor I know personally that God's not allowed me to invent some things because they would not work in His plan for humanity.  What we do have in this world is either allowed or not because of the still ongoing truth that regardless of his attempts, Satan does not rule over all, only God does through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. 

Why does He allow illness and sickness, in some cases that end in death?  There's nobody who can answer that question.  Some people's lives impact a few some impact millions in their life and in their death.  Some, through their suffering, heavily motivate others in ways they never could be to impact still others into action. 

My life isn't entirely about me.  Your life isn't entirely about you.  For those who are saved in Christ Jesus our lives are certainly not about us at all.  We are told by Jesus to deny ourselves, take up our own cross, and follow Him.  We are told in the Scriptures that we are not our own, we were bought with a price, the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  We die to self and live to Christ daily.  Trusting and obeying.  Trusting not in our own understanding.  In all our ways acknowledging Him and He will make your paths straight.  We aren't going to get it most of the time.  Get used to it.  

A very good example is the minor blow up between Mr. Miyagi and Daniel in the original Karate Kid.  Mr. Miyagi promised to train Daniel and had been giving him things to do around his property.  Daniel was fully unaware that he was being trained. And when he blew up at Mr. Miyagi he was shown just how far he had come in it.

You will not, I will not, understand why we go through most anything.  Yes sometimes things just break. Even in that, God is sovereign.  I have seen really old stuff last decades.  Other stuff not.  Have seen things that had no right to still work, working still.  Have seen God's hands in my life when He lets me see it. Sometimes He knows that I need to see a little bit.  

I am very thankful that the armchair diagnoses of a few who thought what I had was wrong.  Am very grateful to those who prayed regardless.  As the Scriptures say I am the Lord's and He is mine.  

Be thankful in everything, in every gain and every loss.  Be grateful for your eyesight or if it gets taken. Be grateful for your ability to walk if you can or even if you cannot. The Bible says to be thankful in everything. To some people even to have what infirmities others have it would mean a lot. 

A Pastor had been involved in a horrific accident. He soon was mad at God for all the torment of the recovery process, to the extent that in his anguish he was cursing God. Much later, after fully recovered, God opened his eyes to the reasons why he went through it all. At least 5 unreachable people to others were reachable now through him.  Unless he had been through all least 5 wouldn't now be part of the family of God.  By now it's in the thousands if not more. Read the book yourself. 90 Minutes in Heaven. 

Pray before you have situations. Remembering that to Jesus everything is simply a situation, not a problem or set of problems.  Complicated to us, never, to Him. "in everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB.

Monday, December 4, 2023

What We don't know

What We don't know 
by David Brenneman 
Our lives are more governed by timing than we care to admit.  We think this should happen at this moment in time or that should happen on that day.  When things fall through we think that it wasn't God's timing or He said no to it.

We ought to realize there's way more going on in both our lives and the lives of people around us than is seen, felt, or heard.

For those in Christ Jesus, we ought to be living different lives from those who are not yet.  Scripture says we ought to be seeking holiness as He is holy.  That we are washed, we are sanctified, made clean in Jesus Christ.  We are not defined by the sins that brought us to the feet of Jesus for salvation.  

We indeed likely do not know a tenth of what's really going on in our lives that the Spirit is working on in us and in the lives of those around us.  Our world teaches people to be self-centered and to puff ourselves up by titles and possessions.  To insist that people accept people as they define themselves.  The Bible defines everything and everyone.  We were once dead in our trespasses and sins, made alive in Christ Jesus.  We are defined as children of God.  Adopted into the family of God.  Heirs to God.  We are not here to define ourselves in any way that waters down that definition. 

Once we accept who and what we are in Christ, the next is to seek to live for Jesus in obedience in all we do, say and think. 

Our walk with Jesus is actually fraught with many perilous times.  We have no idea what we have avoided that could have meant our end in this life.  We were mildly inconvenienced by this or that and yes what we planned didn't very well could have been Jesus saving us from something worse. 

Our walk with Jesus is not to be for convenience sake.  Not for when life isn't going to plan.  

It's a commitment of the highest order. 

This commitment will entail happenings that we're just not going to understand.  It's on us to trust and obey.  Denying self, taking up our own cross and follow Him.  It's a 24/7 thing. 

Being thankful to God for what you don't know about is as important as being thankful for what you do know about. 

Being grateful for all He's done that you know of and what you don't.  

We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.  That's what the Bible says.  We are a new creation.  We are imputed His righteousness.

In your awareness and when you are unaware, God is continuing His work in you.  

Not understanding is something to get used to.  Proverbs tells you to not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  Doesn't say you will understand that road you are on...just for you to keep walking it.

Job probably didn't know about what happened behind the scenes in his life until Jesus showed up to take them all with Him to Heaven at the resurrection. 

There's more happening than we can wrap our minds around.  We don't know why God allows some things and denied others.  We don't know why someone is taken from this world and others are not.

Appreciate what you have in Christ Jesus.  Appreciate the highs and lows that Jesus allows. 

Remember always that in the life of every single Believer that before anything can happen in their lives Jesus has to approve of it.  We are in His hands at all times.  

I was reading in Samuel this morning and was really seeing how appreciative David was towards God for everything in His life. Not just the kingdom but everything.  

How appreciative are you towards Jesus for all He's done for you?  How much are you putting into living for Jesus?  He died for you...are you living for Him?  Are you thankful for everything or just what made you happy?  

Even a unexpected sickness that keeps you home, was planned by Jesus.  It could have been that something could have happened on your way to work that would have not been good towards you. 
That flat tire that held you up for an hour might have kept you from a horrible accident. 
We had a GPS mess up that, had it not happened, we would have missed a very good time with someone for lunch that we would have missed. 

Scripture says that in everything give thanks for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18. 

Everything we do in regards to life is likely not as it appears to be.  Some things for sure are. But in regards to life as a whole...oh the plans of God for us. 

Be thankful.  

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Hello Innkeeper

Hello Innkeeper 
by David Brenneman 

We all decide either to bid Him come in or we don't.

We all decide, if indeed we asked Him to save us, to rule and reign in our hearts or to sit in a corner while we go about living life. 

We decide how much obedience is enough rather than to wholly rely on the word of God.  

We decide sometimes without realizing it. 

Choice is what came from the cross of Jesus Christ.  The choice to come to Christ or to reject.  The choice to listen or tell Him to talk to the hand. 

The examples of the first disciples show that choosing to leave self behind all the time is central to being a follower of Jesus Christ.   As Jesus said "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."  

From eating to decision making, that covers everything.  It's not something meant to be harsh with regards to our desires, but is meant to show is a still better way.   Jesus also said "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul? What can a man give in exchange for his soul?".  

Perhaps another way of looking at this is...where were the Disciples priorities?  What was being taught to them to be important to the work of the Father? 

Satan's most easiest go-to is "Did God really say...".  Somewhere on his list are convincing Believer's that they were only blessed in order to spend those blessings on themselves.  That they were certainly blessed in order to go enjoy the world.  

We read in the Book of Acts, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and other places of the true Church being taught to edify one another. To help meet one another's burdens. To help them to grow in Christ Jesus.  Wow, interestingly enough, much the same as what they learned from the Disciples turned Apostles.  

Only God knows what's going on in the hearts of men and women.  Only He knows where He truly stands in your heart.  You may think that you know, but He knows your heart better than you.  He is truth and there's no shifting shadows in Him.  He isn't deceived by any personal thoughts or worldly thinking. 

He knows where He stands with you.  

How can this also be said?  Note very clearly that when Jesus separates those who are saved from those who are not...He never asked a question. No survey on the life lived was handed out. Nobody will need to say a word.  The Spirit testifies by acknowledging that a man's or woman's name is written in the Lamb's book of Life.  Jesus always knows who is in that book. 

So where does Jesus fit into your life?  Is getting your way more important than learning from Him?  Is getting what you want more important than obeying?   

Questions have been asked of what the phrase "President and not resident" of our hearts means.  The President has absolute rights to direct what is done, when it's done and whether or not it will be done.  The resident is a visitor with only superficial rights and permissions.  In computer terms it's the difference between an Administrator and a Guest account.  An Administrator can make any changes desired.  A Guest needs the permission of the Administrator. 

What is Jesus Christ to you?  Really.  Just what does His Name mean to you?  Doing good things for yourself and others will never get your name written in that Book of Life.  Wholly relying on the shed blood of Jesus Christ and His substitutionary atonement for our sins does.  Faith in His work on the cross and not of ourselves.  
Scripture says that if it were possible for mankind to save themselves then Jesus died needlessly.  

This Christmas time...stop and consider just what Jesus is to you in your life.  Jesus as a "good man" a "good friend" or a smile to "the man upstairs" will get you a one-way ticket to Hell.  Jesus as your living Lord and Savior will get you escorted to your place in Heaven with Him.

Nobody is promised a single breath.
It's not an involuntarily physical response.
It's a gift from God.  Merry Christmas. 

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Getting Dirty

Getting Dirty 
by David Brenneman 

"And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed mercy toward him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:25-37

"What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?  If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." James 2:14-17.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’  Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink?  And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’ Matthew 25:34-40.

When you consider the old statement made towards disciples in Jesus's day...and consider what is seen in modern boot camp get the impression that those in training are going to have to get dirty to be trained properly. 

In Jesus's day the saying for one who was chosen to be someone's disciple was "May you be covered in the dust of your Master".  Following so close to what you were taught that you completely were in obedience. 

It means also that those trained are expected to eventually get dirty while engaging the opposition.  

We too, after coming to Christ, are beginning training.  We're not to avoid situations and circumstances where the Spirit directs us to enter in.  We are to obey and be the hands and feet of Jesus wherever the Spirit leads.

A life in Christ isn't all sunshine and rainbows.  It's going to hurt at times in ways we're not at all expecting.  We're going to face the enemy of God.  It's a given because we belong to Christ Jesus. 

We should not go through this life thinking that we've arrived, that now showers of blessings will only be ours going forward until we're called home or the Rapture of the Church.  

We have read a lot of Scripture this day...and these aren't the only passages that point to this in the lives of Believers. Jesus said that those who live Godly in Christ Jesus are going to suffer.  Life's going to hurt in choosing to follow Jesus at times. 

We never read in the Bible of getting a trophy for participating.  It's not a one and done thing.  We aren't supposed to be the same people at coming to Christ as we will be wherever we see Jesus.  Paul wrote in Romans of being a transformed life.  A life that should be helping others both come to Christ and for helping others grow in Christ. 

Both of these require the Believer to get dirty.  It's going to change the hearts of the Believer helping as well as the Believer in need. 

Growing in Christ IS the life of the Believer. 

We aren't going to know, in this life, what our attitudes and our actions have REALLY done for the Kingdom of God.  

Where do we get this?  Read again what the people did in response to Jesus.  "When did we...". They didn't see...but Jesus did. 

Doing what the Spirit tells us and leaving the results to God is what the trainee is supposed to be doing.  If ever you have seen a real boot know that single-mindedness isn't a healthy proposition.  Doing exactly as you are told is what gets you through it.

At times we need to check ourselves.  To be sure we aren't the Levite or the Priest...and be sure we're the Good Samaritan.   

I have been told that I am very self aware.  Spend a lot of time thinking about life and whether or not you're living as the Spirit teaches and you tend to lean that way.   I agree with Paul...I don't want to run this race only to be disqualified at the end.  

Life is more than we're capable of seeing or handling on our own.  Life needs the guidance and teaching of the Spirit of God and our faith in what obedience to God's Word will achieve.  

Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus.  Just be sure it's going to get you dirty.  It's going to mean scars and wounds.  It's going to require spiritual surgeries. Denying self and taking up our own cross and following Jesus is more than a catch phrase.  The work of the Spirit of God in us is to remove what isn't needed to be like Christ and replace it with what is.  We won't be left to stay the same.  Jesus didn't die and rise again 3 days later to just hand out tickets to Heaven.  Coming to Christ comes with the cost of our sinful life to have it replaced with a new life in Christ Jesus. 

So be ready...we know not what the Spirit will present to us to be doing.  Who's life will need our assistance.  Who's suffering and needs an ear.  Who's down and needs lifted up.  It's going to mean getting dirty.  Even Jesus had to have His feet washed.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Friday, December 1, 2023

It's just one...It's not that bad...

It's just's not that bad...
by David Brenneman 

Oh how much a slippery slope is temptation!  Oh how little is given to understand concerning it!   

I am not normally given to quoting outside of the Bible sources that aren't spiritually inspired...but part of this particular quote is familiar to a great many people. 

"Sun Tzu said Know the enemy and know yourself in a hundred battles you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning or losing are equal. If ignorant both of your enemy and of yourself, you are certain in every battle to be in peril." 

Do you take the time to understand what your actions show others of what you believe?  Do you take time to understand what little you have considered concerning the true well-being of others?

"And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:12-13.  

Many people do not consider how slippery the slope is with regards to temptation.  

"It's not that bad. Just take a bite!  Just take just one, it won't hurt anything!"

Yes, that one apple didn't do much in the Garden of Eden except condemn mankind to the curse of sin.  

People who make such statements just wouldn't hand a recovering alcoholic a drink would they?  Wouldn't hand a person who's quit smoking a cigarette would they?  

When it comes to life, being aware of stumbling blocks is essential.  If it weren't  God wouldn't have written warnings about it.  

Temptation is not in need of grand words or gestures.  Temptation requires nothing but a single thought to fall over that edge. 

We really all ought to consider one another above ourselves as written  "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Philippians 2:3-4.

It's not easy to do as it is to say.  What areas some are not vulnerable in, others might be.

We can be selfish without seeing that that's what it is.  We can disregard what others are experiencing at just seeing something or someone without consideration to what it might do to their spiritual life.  

Temptation is as attractive as it needs to be to lead thoughts and feelings towards sin.

Sometimes we are so familiar with the path that we don't recognize it for what it is.  Sometimes we know and have given up trying to fight it.  It doesn't make it right in the eyes of God.  

Growing in Christ Jesus is the work that the Spirit is doing in the life of every single Believer.  Temptation and sins that result are what hinders that work.  

People shouldn't be offered things or be able to have things that will cause them to stumble.   Some are strong enough to say no, still others will not put up a fight whatsoever and have no consideration to the consequences. 

Regarding one another as more important than ourselves is counter to the selfish will of the sin nature.  

As someone else once said of the two natures within...the one you feed is the one who grows.  

It's not easy to stop a train of thought that leads to a moments personal happiness.  
It's where the thoughts behind the phrase "comfort foods" comes from.  It's where various coping mechanisms have been derived.  It's why there are so many counselors out in the world for helping people deal with situations that appear to be more than their minds are capable of handling.

A very good visual example is a freight train.  There's no shortage of videos or security footage concerning freight train disasters.  These several thousand ton trains cannot stop on a dime.  Disaster awaits whatever is stuck on the tracks.  A vehicle or object goes too far when they should have heeded the warnings...and pays the price.  Sometimes in the costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars to clean up.  

There's costs involved with stumbling blocks.  Jesus gives a stern warning concerning them.  

"Woe to the world because of stumbling blocks! Occasions for stumbling are bound to come, but woe to the one by whom the stumbling block comes!" Matthew 18:7.

It's a matter of training that causes the brakes to be used.  Anyone can start a vehicle. Anyone can easily see how easy it is to use the gas pedal. The harder part is the learning how to properly use the brakes.  Speeding is easy.  Failure to have assured clear distance is probably the next most written ticket.  

The next time you offer something that might not be a temptation for aware of how it might be for the next person.  It's not always about food or drink or something consumed.  

For me it's not necessarily those things but rather situations and circumstances.  I have read of the evil ways of people in the Bible.  If how evil evil can be in written history.  I know how much evil that I am aware that I can be towards myself and others.  But I have no idea what those limits are.  Some situations I avoid because of conviction.  I know what I have done in my past in those circumstances.  Of how certainly un-Christ-like behavior came out of me.  So I avoid those situations.  Don't put myself where temptation exists.  Just like former alcoholics avoid bars.  Just like those who have succeeded at weight loss avoid the buffet.  

"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." James 1:14-15.

Accepted doesn't always mean it's right. 

I know that I have to try harder to be considerate of others...what about you? I know that there's things that I know harm others that aren't harmful to me.  Is it so great a sacrifice to be considerate?  

Being careful of how we see things and situations is essential.  We could be causing others to stumble in what we don't see as a problem.  Being right in God's eyes is far more important than being right in our own or even other's lives. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Not My Job?

Not My Job?
by David Brenneman 

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able,  for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.  Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.  For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’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 man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.  If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.  Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are." 1 Corinthians‬ ‭3:1‭-‬17.

There's no such thing for several things in the lives of Christians. 

There's no such thing as having 'arrived'.  Nobody will see full satisfaction in this life. 

There's no such thing as going it alone. 
We were created to be in fruitful, beneficial, relationships in Christ. 

There's no such thing as not doing something in the body of Christ.  We read in 1 Corinthians 12:18 "But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired."

We have this as well "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10. 

So why oh why do people who claim the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, why are they not living out lives as though what's central to a Christian life isn't important? Why do they treat the promptings of the Spirit with a hand held up saying 'stop' when He’s directing them towards something He has for them to do or to learn?

We are not on vacation after coming to Christ.  Hardly.  The journey in Christ began with our being brought back to life spiritually because of salvation in Christ Jesus.  We are not receiving a "get out of Hell free" card to go do whatever we want.

We are to be living a life in full appreciation for all He's done for us. 
No where in the Scriptures do we read that God is ok with our leftover time, leftover energy, leftover efforts.  

No where do we read that we will get to the point where it's someone else's job. 

No where do we read that it's always going to be all sunshine and rainbows.  

It is repeatedly described by the writers of the New Testament that we are in training, discipleship training, that is only going to be completed upon leaving this world.   We are going to face situations that are too difficult for us because our reliance should never be on self. 

When you look at your life, my Dear Reader, do you look at it from His perspective?  Because you should.  In Christ, the Disciples, who later became the Apostles, learned to do that. They were tasked with making more disciples. The 'next generation' to follow them could never be called Apostles because that distinction was only for those directly trained by Jesus Christ.  All who would follow them would be taught of the high cost of living for Jesus.  The cost is high because the rewards are higher. 

Do you honestly know more about various things of this world than you do about your Bible?  

Do you only pray when you are in trouble?  If so, you're already in trouble.
Do you pour out the blessings you have been blessed with only on yourself, with no consideration for others in the body of Christ?  

Do you exercise the Spiritual body that you have?  

Do you feed it as regularly, if not more so than your physical body?

Do the words we opened up with cause you to stop and consider exactly what's to be your experience with Jesus Christ when you face Him face-to-face?

The standards are high for good reason.  The price was high.  Jesus didn't shed His blood for less than half-hearted lives in Him.  Jesus is not just your Savior, He’s your Teacher through the Spirit. He’s to be the Lord of your life.  President of your heart.  The only one calling the shots.  

You who are in Christ have a specific, special, purpose in this here this now in human history.  So many in the professing Church are oblivious to their calling.  Are immersed in idolatry and don't recognize it. Are living lives of practiced sin and don't see it. Paul wrote about practiced sin in Romans.  Might want to go back and read that book.

You who are in Christ Jesus are now supposed to be part of the Royal Priesthood.  Do you realize the whole implications of this?  We are adopted into the Holy family of God.  We live in a world that has a fixation on the fantasy lives of Kings and Queens.  The 'royals' as they and their families are referred to.   They have protocols to follow for practically every single social situation.  They are more devout in following these than most Christians are at following the teachings of the Spirit of God. 

Yes, my Dear Reader, living out your salvation with fear and trembling is a very real thing. "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;  for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13.

Why is our world in so much disarray? Could it be in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ? Certainly.  Could it also be because we're not living out lives in Christ that reflect Jesus?  Oh most certainly.  

If we lived lives that lay aside self with its passions and desires, and took up what the Spirit teaches in respect to that, what a grand change that would be!

If we were interested in being intentional about the life we have in Christ, what a grand change that would be too.

If get the point.  Will the works of your life be fully consumed by fire or will there be any gold left for a crown to give to Jesus?  

The full Christian life is your life.  It's more than your job its your best chance at being your true best in impacting the world for Jesus...the President, not resident, of your heart.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

What is Seen

What is Seen 
by David Brenneman 

‭‭"But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?" James 2:18-20.

‭‭"A good man will obtain favor from the Lord, But He will condemn a man who devises evil." Proverbs12:2.

‬ ‭"However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” ‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭12:14

"But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one." ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭2:14‭-‬15‬ ‭

Do you consider it well that image that is produced by the presence of your life in this world?  

In James, we read about the importance of the truth that faith must be exercised.  There must be works that accompany faith.  We see in Proverbs 12:2 of how a person's life is ever before the Lord Jesus. 

In 2 Samuel...there are possible consequences when we are intentionally pursuing that which God's Word says we should not.  

When we consider the portion in to the church in Corinthians...we are to appraise life as one who is indeed saved and interested in the things of God that make for growing in Christ.  Casting aside things that tear people down.  There's no situation, no "humor", that's acceptable in regards to the treatment of other people that tears down someone.  I really really am indignant about hating a group of people based on entertainment or sports. 
A chief reason being that we're teaching the unbelieving that is acceptable in the Lord.

Paul's writing concerning causing another to stumble is applicable to this train of thought.   He was ever mindful of how others would take his thoughts and actions.  He said that of any such action on his part caused another to stumble, that is to hinder or stop the work of God in someone else's life, he would never do it again.  

Now I get it, I understand it, concerning the off-handed words tossed around.  I used to participate myself...until I was convinced by the Spirit that I wasn't helping Him in doing so.  That Believer's are ever under the microscope of the unbelieving.  That's what happens when light is applied to a scene or situation.  

"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 iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell." James 3:5-6.  

What are you showing the world around you?  It doesn't end at words, our deeds, are also subject to examination.  How are you dressed?  Do you present Christ to the world or something else?

When you interact with the world...your words and they depict a life in Christ or that of someone trying to fit into the world?  

The Bible rightfully calls all Believers as aliens and visitors to this world.  When you visit another country, and people there will figure out what country you hail from, they will judge your country or your part of your country based on your words and actions.

What is seen by the world when the world looks at you?  Do they see the hands and feet of Jesus?  Do they see someone who walks their talk?  Do they see someone who's separated from the world yet in the world?  We're to be holy as He is holy.  Holy is to be set apart.  Different on purpose. 

How are you really seen by those around you?  As one walking with Jesus or one who only talks a good talk but isn't?

A life in Christ isn't a name badge to wear to get you club benefits all the while you continue to be as you once were.  

A life in Christ is to be a transformed life. A light in the world that's a reflection of a true relationship with Jesus.  Unmarred by the world's priorities.  

Putting off the old self and it's practices and putting on Christ.  

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭12:11‬ ‭"He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense."

Are you pursuing what's of worth to God?
Are you seen as one who has been with Jesus?
The arbitrary use of the words we use like "hate", must be really considered before being uttered.  Same goes for what we say about "love".  

Someone might be ready to come to Christ for salvation and our potential carelessness might cause that to be delayed or harmed.  

Satan's aim is the prevention of people coming to Christ for salvation.  He knows full well of the prophecies of the Bible. He knows full well that there's a "last" person who will come to Christ for salvation before the events of the book of Revelation. 

How we are seen in the life we've been given is very important to be considering. 

No job is worth more than a soul saved.
No opportunity is worth more either. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Driving Forces

Driving Forces 
by David Brenneman 

It always amazes me to watch compromise happen in the lives of people right before my eyes.  It possibly is seen in other's as they might be aware enough to examine my life.  

Compromise and justification tend to go hand in hand.  A compromise is often justified before its enacted upon. 

Dr. Charles Stanley's comments on these two verses are about how we're viewed by others who meet us in life after we've come to Christ for salvation. 

Would people see a different person in you?  Would there be as some have compared it to, enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?

What's the driving force in why you do do what you do do do?

Are you intentional in your actions before others?  Do you justify your actions when they don't align with the example of Jesus?   As we saw in Proverbs yesterday, God doesn't like that phrase "I was just joking" with regards to deceiving others. 

When your life is seen do people see a conformist or a person who stands on what they believe in Jesus?  

Fitting in isn't all that it's cracked up to be as far as worldly mindedness goes.  If you have to compromise your obedience to Jesus in any Dear Reader...the price is too high. 

"and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:4.  

"You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we." 2 Corinthians 10:7. 

"We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," 2 Corinthians 10:5.

Someone recently said again something that I have heard for many years. I believe it was Dr. David Jeremiah in his study on Romans 8.  That Jesus is either President or the resident in our hearts.  That which we feed is what grows within us.

What is getting fed within you my Friend?

You will know them by their fruits, Jesus said.  He also said He is the vine, we are the branches...and that apart from Him we can do nothing.

In reading this morning, a hymn written in 1912 by James Rowe came to mind. 

I was sinking deep in sin,
Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within,
Sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me–
Now safe am I.
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

All my heart to Him I give,
Ever to Him I'll cling,
In His blessed presence live,
Ever His praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul's best songs;
Faithful, loving service, too,
To Him belongs. 

Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

Souls in danger, look above,
Jesus completely saves;
He will lift you by His love
Out of the angry waves.
He's the Master of the sea,
Billows His will obey;
He your Savior wants to be–
Be saved today.

Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.

If indeed the love of Christ has lifted you...does your life show it?  Would those who aren't in Christ yet see something in you that was different?  At some point, if not at all times, all Christians are under the worldly microscope.  Being on our best behavior is not really an option.  

Just as in agriculture, all it takes is one wrong move, one wrong step, to ruin a year's worth of work.   We can, through carelessness, ruin the work the Spirit is doing in others. 

Is doing whatever is right in God's eyes important to you?  It's going to probably alienate you from some people.  It will probably draw ridicule from some.  However, it might be your obedience in your walk with Jesus Christ that causes someone to take that step themselves.  

Your walk with Jesus is supposed to cause others to glorify your Father in Heaven.  

So what's driving you?  Do people who see your social media pages see someone walking with Jesus?  In your goings and coming do people see Jesus in you?   

It's probably going to mean not fitting in with some circles of people. 

Is living the Christian life the way the Spirit is teaching you bothering you or is it encouraging you?  We cannot live a life pleasing to God by having Jesus be the resident of our hearts. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Monday, November 27, 2023

The Set Example

The Set Example 
by David Brenneman 

"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
‭1 Peter‬ ‭4:10‬.

"But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints;  and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Ephesians 5:3-5.

"So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “Was I not joking?”" Proverbs 26:19.

Ephesians 4:29 "Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.

"but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6.

Wow...I  certainly am not one to be able to find a path to the Scriptures as many men of God whom I have known can do or have been able to do.  

So many people tend to not take the Word of God seriously.  While there might be a time and place for must be taken to not tarnish the name of Jesus Christ to the world by our words, deeds, and actions.  

We already have read of taking every thought captive in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 and the reasons why.   We are here in this life to represent Christ to a fallen world.  We're not here to promote idolatry in any fashion or form.  We've been chosen by God to be children of God not to participate in the deeds of darkness. 

The Scriptures tell us of the horrific abilities of the tongue.  Of how it can build people up or tear them down.  Yet the seriousness of that teaching gets lost when it's either convenient or when society or social pressures dictate.  

Growing up there was indeed the peer pressures to conform to how to treat others and it had nothing to do with Godly teaching.  In as far back as elementary school children get taught how to use words to harm others and to get others to do your bidding.  There's Scripture that tells us to avoid abusive speech in Ephesians 4:31 "All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness.".

We are to live life in Christ in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.  Glorify our Father in Heaven can be read as praise our Father in Heaven.

As directed to write in other posts, so it's repeated...we justify too much in our lives to please the world around us rather than God.  

Too many professing Christians are living lives that aren't much different than those in the world.  You cannot tell them apart. 

Which is extremely dangerous!  Jesus testified that MANY will say to Him that they did many things in His name and HE will tell them to depart for He never knew them.

Do you, my Dear Reader, want to be known by the Lord Jesus Christ or be known by the world?  

Are you going to be told you represented Jesus well or will you find nothing but shame on that day of review?

Course jesting...there's no place for it in Christ.  Joking about hating others for any reason has no place for it in Christ.  There's no joking about human lives in Christ.  We are to live lives in Christ that reflect Christ.  We are to speak words that edify, that lift up one another in love. 

So what that the world will think us to be odd or weird.  They are in darkness. They are going to.  All Christians are in training to become fully devoted followers of Christ Jesus.  We are to be living transformed lives.  We aren't to be living conformed lives. 

It's a very sore subject to me when people joke about hating other people for things as stupid as rivalries.  I was subject to a lot of verbal abuse in regards to this when I was younger.  As a young adult onward I have seen such verbal abuse hurt others in regards to their testimony in Christ.  

When you participate in the deeds of darkness do you not realize that you are harming your own testimony in Christ?  

When you justify your actions, even your purchases, to embrace idolatry, do you not think about that testimony?

Growing in Christ, because of all that He did to save us, forgiving each of us for our sins, is to be our most important priority.  We're not to be conformed to the world.  We're not to seek to fit in.  We're aliens in this present world.  The command from Jesus is firm.  "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.

Learning how to be like Him and teach others to do the same.  

The set example is Jesus Christ Himself. 

It probably steps on toes...but when you get dressed are you promoting idolatry?  Paul said that if he did anything to cause someone to stumble he would never do it again.  Would anyone say that of you?

We're to live life in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven, period. 

The deeds that we do in our bodies that were done in obedience to Jesus are the only valuable things that matter. 

The set example is Jesus Christ. 

Set your mind on things above and not on the things that are of this world.  Doesn't say anything about when you get time, to consider it. 

Are you living a life that shows Jesus to others or a life that lifts you up?

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. 

As I heard Dr. David Jeremiah say in his study on Romans 8. Jesus is either resident or President of your heart.  Which is He?  You must choose who's acceptance means more.  Jesus or the world. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.