Sunday, February 5, 2023

No Separation

No Separation
by David Brenneman

We certainly live in a world that strives to push for separation between what we believe and the rest of living life.  
The world doesn't want Christianity anywhere because it testifies to it's deeds that they are in darkness.  It's not so with other religions because they are already in the darkness.  Everyone from individuals to companies either embrace or reject having beliefs on display for the world to see.  In some countries it's a certified death sentence to reveal that you are a Christ follower.  The other end of that spectrum are those who could care less.

What's interesting to note is that nowhere in the Bible are we to live different lives based on where we are.  Everywhere the Disciples went they were to represent their Master.   When with Jesus, their Master, they were taught to represent Him.  Jesus never taught them to go do their own thing when on 'their own time'.  At all times they were to be Disciples of Christ.  Later, they would at all times, be Apostles of Christ.  

When we read in the book of Revelation there's only two groups that Jesus comes up with.  Those who were true believers and those who were not.  There's no sub-groups.  There's no special groups, certainly no in-between groups.  Jesus had John write earlier in the book that He hated lukewarmness.  That He would spit such out.  

Today's reading that I found myself in had to do with Jesus calling out the Pharisee's for who they were...which likely upset more than a few.  For all we know it's what helped spark that fire in Saul to be the way he was before his conversion that we read about in the book of Acts. 

I've never laid claim to any of these writings being of me or my own creation.  As I'm prompted, that's what gets typed.  I am certainly more amazed at the end result than perhaps anyone who's reading them when completed.  I've no idea if this is how writers of the Bible felt or not.  Will be interesting to compare notes on it some day in Heaven.  I can say that it's been through my walk with my Savior, Jesus Christ, that quite often He gives me some unique insights that I certainly never would have seen on my own.  Both into His Word, and into other people and situations.  All credit goes to Jesus if anyone finds anything written here of help to them. 

There's no separation to be had in our lives for living out life.  There shouldn't be times or places in our lives that are 'off limits' to the truth of God's Word with respect to those things.  We shouldn't have parts of our lives that are off limits to the Spirit.  We shouldn't consider work and home life as separate.  In God's eyes they are not.  Joseph was the same Joseph whether he was with his family or with those he was sold into slavery to serve.  What does the Bible say throughout his experiences?  The Lord was with him.  Why?  Because Joseph remained the same before the Lord regardless of his circumstances.  Joseph didn't think for a moment that he was on his own or that he could live or be different between his personal time and his public time. The Lord was with him because he lived life in the way that pleased the Lord. 

Our world indeed, very similarly to a graphic I read today about the United States, wants the benefits of Christianity but not the responsiblity of it.  Both companies and people do.  Companies want to be known as Christian based companies yet do not follow through with honoring God in all their their practices.  Just some...enough to be seen as doing something along those lines.  People do the same individually.  They want to be seen as being a Christian but go out and live lives that aren't truly reflecting a relationship with Jesus.  Can't have it both ways.  When we try that, we introduce idolatry.  Really read what Moses was told to write and teach the children of Israel.   They were told to write them down and keep them with them as they went out and lived life.  When in doubt, stop and read what was hanging around their necks.  Go back to what the Lord had said to do in this situation or that.

In my study here, as I write this, I look at what I've been prompted to do with this area.  It's a growing collection of reminders of God's Word.  I have a huge poster of all the names of Jesus and the places in the Bible they are found.  I have a plaque that I made with Philippians 4:13 on it. Another that refers to the passage about setting your mind on things above.  Another that I wrote out of Psalm 143:8-12.  One large one that just simply says "Pray".  Still one more that's something that my Wife wrote on a note to me saying "I love you!".  A recent addition is "Be strong & courageous do not be terrified do not be discouraged for the Lord  your God will be with you wherever you go".

In all the teachings of Jesus I cannot at all find one that says to live life with a candle burning at both ends.
In all the teachings of Jesus I cannot at all find one that says to live a life of self or selfishness.
In all the teachings of Jesus I CAN find many that say to not do many things that give God a bad name.  
Many, in their desire to utilize God's Name, yet do not live it out, find that it doesn't work that way.  

There's no separation in our lives that should exist.  Not from home and work, not at home either between us and others in the household.  Not in our time to be spent not on even our eating or leisure.  When we give God our seconds rather than our firsts in life, we will live out what's said in Malachi.  A purse full of holes.
We will indeed keep striving after things that cannot ever sustain us or fulfill us.  We will keep on doing yet never having enough to get things done.  When the children of Israel WERE indeed obeying...we read of how the Lord rebuked the devourer....their clothing, their shoes, the things that they had didn't wear out.
We miss out on blessings when we try to live a life of self...even if we have convinced ourselves that we're doing it for God!  Read what the people tried to tell Jesus after He separated people in the book fo Revelation.  They claimed to have done many many things in Jesus's name...and what did He say in response?  Depart from Me for I never knew you.

Part of living, a very large part, if not really the whole part, of living the Christian life, is to live it wholly in service and obedience to Jesus in everything.
Work, as well as leisure is all a part of our lives that are to be lived in obedience to the Word of God.  We are not on this world to live for ourselves.  We are not here to indulge in all our own selfish desires.  We read that as being the FIRST group of people we're warned of in the end times...people being lovers of self.

Look at your life...look at how you spend it.  What you're doing with it.  Are you trying to live life differently out in public from what you do by yourself?  
Are you wanting the benefits of being a Christian yet aren't living it out?  Are you honestly treating God like your personal genie?

There is no separation to be had or should be sought in life.  From the moment our eyes open till the end of the day when they close in sleep, we're to live lives pleasing to God in all respects.  All.  Taking up our cross and following Jesus...He never once said to set it down when we felt like it.

Self examination should be done now, before we stand before Jesus.  If you are finding that you have been trying to live separate lives...now's the time to put a stop to that.  We're to do all that we do to the glory of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.   Are you?  Do you use such lines in your mouth or mind that go along the lines of "But God wants me to enjoy....".  Really?  Are you sure?  Did you compare those thoughts with what God's Word has to say?  Certainly God does want us to enjoy His creation.  Through the lense of obedience to His Word. 

"All things are permitted for me, but not all things are of benefit. All things are permitted for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12 NASB.

"We are destroying argruments 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 NASB.

"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." Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB.

"Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning. For I trust in You. Teach me the way in which I should walk; for to You I lift up my soul. Deliver me, oh Lord, from my enemies, I take refuge in You.  Teach me to do Your will, for You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. For the sake of Your Name, O Lord, revive me. In Your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble. And in Your lovingkindness, cut off my enemies and destroy all who afflict my soul, for I am Your servant." Psalm 143:8-12 NASB.

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Creation Knows

Creation Knows
by David Brenneman 

"Were creation suddenly articulate
With a thousand tongues to lift one cryThen from North to South and East to WestWe'd hear Christ be magnified
Were the whole Earth echoing His eminenceHis name would burst from sea and skyFrom rivers to the mountain topsWe'd hear Christ be magnified
Oh! Christ be magnifiedLet His praise ariseChrist be magnified in meOh! Christ be magnifiedFrom the altar of my lifeChrist be magnified in me"

- from "Christ Be Magnified" Cody Carnes

In the Gospels we read of those telling Jesus to silence those proclaiming praise to Him...His response was that the very rocks would cry out.  

"and yet some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, rebuke Your disciples! Jesus replied, "I tell you, if these stop speaking, the stones will cry out!"

What I love about this is the exclaimation at the end. Not to mention the emphasis! WILL cry out!  Creation KNOWS, Creation was READY to jump in and shower Jesus with praise...so if creation gets it, what's our problem with doing so?  Why are we so silent so often?  Isn't creation groaning even now?  Isn't creation going through troubled times even now?  Isn't creation seeing what mankind's doing to it and doing in rebellion to God?  Creation knows full well the impact of sin on it because of Adam and Eve.  Creation knows.  All creation from Adam, Eve, the serpent, to the ground received that curse on that day of the fall of mankind.

Yet when Jesus was here in person, creation was way more excited to see Him than the humans of the day.  I often wonder at the smallest of things that my mind reads in the Bible.  Like the colt that Jesus rode into town on.  What crossed it's mind that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords was riding on it that day?
The palm branches that day that were used to wave at Jesus.  The cloaks themselves of the people which were very much hand made that covered the road.  They too wanted to cry out in joy.  They KNEW what that day meant and what it meant to Jesus. 

Jesus was excited for that day.  Yet He wept because of how few, if any, knew what that day meant.  Creation knew more than the people of the day.  If it was at the right time that Jesus was born of a virgin in a manger, then it follows that it was at the right time that Jesus was arriving on this very day, this very hour, this very minute...and yet again...people didn't get it.

When Jesus returns...people aren't going to get it...but Creation WILL get it.  Creation will know.

As it was in the days of Noah...so shall it be when the Son of Man returns.  Creation KNEW what was coming in the days of Noah.  Every single animal that had died, God knew of each and every one down to the last flea, ant, etc.  Creation knows that Jesus keeps His Word.  

Creation longs for the day when Jesus returns in ways we can't see nor imagine.  Creation, in most cases has more faith than humans at the Word of God.
When Jesus returns it will be accompanied by a global earthquake.  Why's that?  Because Creation KNOWS.

What's interesting is towards the end of the book of Revelation, people will cry out for the rocks to fall on them.  To hide them from He who sits upon the Throne. In our world today scientists try to explain away every aspect of creation to avoid considering that it was created in the first place.

Creation knows...but do you?  Do you acknowledge Jesus as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords?  Do you know Him as your Lord and Savior?  If you do not, your next destination isn't going to be Heaven when you die.  If you do not have salvation in Christ Jesus alone...then you've rejected Him.  There is no in-between.
There's no 'not choosing' of either.  You have either believed and received or you have denied and rejected.  There's no slipping in on good behavior.  No one could accumulate enough 'good behavior' to cover a single sin.  We're born in sin so there's no amount of good behavior to remove that.

Jesus is coming again.  Jesus is awaiting that day set by His Father to come back and get those who are His.  The ground will open up, Creation will let go of all those held in its charge and then those who are alive will join them in the air and forever shall we be with Jesus.  Creation will gladly give back the dead who have died in Christ over the centuries.  

Christ will be magnified in His Creation and when all is said and done He WILL be magnified in all of eternity.  It's a funny, different, way to look at having the faith of a mustard seed...when you consider the faith of a rock to cry out to Jesus in praise.  One way or another there would be NO silence on that day of His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.   Will you be crying out for joy on that day Jesus returns, or will you be here, seeing the carnage when those who have believed leave here...crying out yourselves for Jesus to return?  

Jesus keeps His Father's timetable.  Jesus keeps His word.  Creation knows...and Creation awaits.  Do you?

Friday, February 3, 2023

It IS Strange

It IS Strange 
by David Brenneman 

In Matthew 22, Jesus tells the parable of the Marriage Feast. It's a forshadowing of the Invitation to all to come to Christ to be saved and to be with Him forever.  The Invitation is for all, regardless of race, regardless of color, regardless of anything.  Yet look at what the response is from most people.

Verse 3-5 (NASB) "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.  Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."' But they paid no attention and went on their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest siezed his slaves and mistreated them and killed them."

It's strange and yet not so strange.  What you value you make the time for.  When you indeed choose to make time for God, He's ready to be there to make time to be with you.  Do you push Him away?

In Exodus 33:11a NASB "Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to a friend."  

We read in the Gospels that in that moment of the event of the Transfiguration, Moses was one of those speaking with Jesus.  Again, face-to-face. 

It's strange how we choose to either value our time or waste it either knowingly or unknowingly...or we are wreckless about it, not considering the days.

Bad habits are to be replaced, not just removed.  Because eventually you will go back to them again because of familiarity.  I've replaced aimless television watching with instructionals.   There's value to spending time wisely.   You want to do something you should first learn how to do it.  In Godly living you need to ask God what it is that He considers Godly, then pursue it. 

We waste so much time in our culture yet at the same time complain that there's not enough time to do things, to get things done.

We listen to the world as to what is supposed to be of value.  The craze is to look for 'influencers'.  The ONLY Influencer that I want in my life is the Spirit of God.
I added additional Bible reading to my day and it's been a wonderful thing to do.  

Choosing to spend more time with God tends to improve the relationship WITH God.  Funny how that works.
I have 3 journals that I write in.  1 is my daily, 1 is my ideas to build or do and the last is my things found in the Bible as I find them.  

It's funny how people think about giving at church yet they have to issues with spending money on self for take-out or a restaurant right after church.
It's funny how people indeed, as the picture shows, will spend 2 to 6 hours at sports events or concerts, yet complain about spending an hour or so with others worshipping God.
It's funny how people think they don't have the time to spend reading, yet they find the time to spend on other frivolous things that do not do anything for them in the long run.
It's funny how people think they can't live with out this or that, yet for thousands of years those things didn't exist and people got along just fine.
It's funny how...this can go on forever...because the mind of man drifts that much!

The truth is it's not funny at all.  The decision to come to Christ, that Invitation that is written about is NOT some thing that is easily tossed aside.
There's no other choice you will ever make that will CERTAINLY impact your future life after you die as much as THAT one.

It's funny how people wil dodge that question because they are afraid of what it might mean.  
Afraid of what it could do to their lives when in all truth and honesty, they DO NOT KNOW.
It's the unknown that they fear more than fearing spending eternity in painful torment rather than the insignificance of the few years they have in this physical world.
Good deeds are done by countless billions in Hell.  Consider that one for a moment.  By some...ALL THEIR EARTHLY LIVES.  Think on THAT one.
Yes, people who, by all worldly standards were pillars of the community in which they lived!  People who gave all the appearances of loving others and themselves!  People who spent their fortunes on the less fortunate!  People who gave of themselves above and beyond!  Are in painful torment in Hell.

Why?  Because they ignored and refused the Great Invitation from God to come to Christ and be saved.

They indeed wasted everything they ever did because they said no.  

YOU, my Dear Reader, have a choice before you that they did.
YOU, my Dear Reader, can make a choice that will impact your eternity.
YOU, my Dear Reader, have Jesus right outside the door of your heart, gently knocking, asking you to let Him in.  That's YOUR Invitation...it ONLY exists while you are breathing.  

You have nothing to fear about the future after you choose to receive the free gift of Salvation in Christ Jesus alone.  Nothing!  As Jesus said to others He says to you...what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit your soul?   God has SO many good things in store for those who decide to come to Him and be saved.  The Bible says that eye has not seen nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man all that the Lord has prepared for them.

He's PREPARED for you.  Did you realize that?  Did you know that?

Jesus is ready for you.  Every single thing that you think is right or even wrong in your life, He's prepared for it!

It's strange how we often drift from thinking about such things...why?  It's proof of our sin nature.  It's proof from within that we need that free gift to set us free from sin.  Our sin nature wants nothing to do with that free gift from Jesus.  It's GOING to try to talk you out of it because IT wants to stay on the throne of your heart.  It doesn't want that eviction notice from on high.

It's strange how your mind has probably been distracted all the while reading this.  

Jesus is at the door of your heart gently knocking...and waiting...don't let it be strange.  Don't let it be that the day comes when you no longer hear that knocking because Jesus came and the invitation is withdrawn.  Salvation will indeed come to those during the Great Tribulation that's coming...but woe to those who are saved in those days, to those who came to Christ AFTER Jesus returned.  You thought the last few years were difficult...it's nothing in comparison.

Don't let it be strange...find the new normal in Jesus that's just on the other side of you saying "Come in!"

Thursday, February 2, 2023

I'm a Somebody Because of Jesus

I'm a Somebody Because of Jesus
by David Brenneman

"Why You ever chose me Has always been a mystery
All my life I've been told I belong At the end of the line
With all the other not-quitesWith all the never-get-it-rightsBut it turns out they're the ones You were looking for All this time
'Cause I'm just a nobodyTrying to tell everybodyAll about SomebodyWho saved my soulEver since You rescued meYou gave my heart a song to sing
I'm living for the world to see Nobody but JesusI'm living for the world to see Nobody but Jesus
Moses had stage frightWhen David brought a rock to a sword fightYou picked twelve outsiders nobody would have chosenAnd You changed the world
Well the moral of the story is Everybody's got a purposeSo when I hear that devil start talking to me saying"Who do you think you are?"I say
I'm just a nobodyTrying to tell everybodyAll about SomebodyWho saved my soulEver since You rescued meYou gave my heart a song to sing
I'm living for the world to see Nobody but JesusI'm living for the world to see Nobody but Jesus
So let me go down, down, down in historyAs another blood-bought faithful member of a familyAnd if they all forget my name, well that's fine with meI'm living for the world to see Nobody but Jesus
So let me go down, down, down in history (Goin' down in history)As another blood-bought faithful member of a family(That's all I ever wanna be)And if they all forget my name, well that's fine with meI'm living for the world to seeNobody but Jesus
'Cause I'm just a nobodyTrying to tell everybody All about SomebodyWho saved my soul (Gonna save, gonna save my soul)Ever since You rescued meYou gave my heart a song to sing (You gave me a song to sing)
I'm living for the world to see Nobody but Jesus(Nobody but You, Lord)I'm living for the world to see Nobody but JesusI'm living for the world to see Nobody but Jesus"
-Casting Crowns "Nobody" 2018

We certainly live in a world where money and status in social media are the drive to make people way more important than they are.  From Politics to worldly Religion and everywhere inbetween.  What the world reveres and wars to own as another song by a group called Hillsong had out called "Knowing You Jesus" says in it's opening.

"but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NASB...we don't know what all is possible when we leave the choices to God instead of what OUR eyes see and OUR ears want to hear.

In my life between demons, Satan maybe and certainly my sin nature, people and my own internal struggles have tried to tell me what and who I am.   It's those types that WILL NOT tell you the truth about you.  In Christ is where I am.  A child of God is who I am.  My hope is that people would look at my life and see that God was with him, just as it's written in Genesis about Joseph. 

This way of thinking isn't going to be popular because it's the opposite of the thinking of selfishness that Satan wants all to subscribe to.  
He wants us to think of ourselves first rather than what the Bible says of preferring one another above ourselves.
He wants us to wallow in self-pity rather than to take our hearts to God to be healed.
He wants us to go in circles mentally in worrying rather than to go to God in prayer.
He wants us to spend our time, energy and efforts into building up ourselves at the expense of others.  
He wants us to strive to build our own little 'heaven' here on Earth rather than to help those in need.
He wants...and so easily gets both the believing and the unbelieving to buy into it, after all, he's had centuries to perfect it.

In the scheme of things I indeed, in this physical world, am a nobody.  Only in Christ am I a somebody.   Within me are battles that rage over trying to make me think I'm this or that I'm that.   Even in Scripture it says to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to but to think with sound judgment in Romans 12:3.

In Christ we have a role, a responsiblity, and it's not on us to decide what it is or is not going to be.  We don't have the right to tell God "Oh no, you got the wrong guy, that's GOT to be for someone else!"  AKA Jonah syndrome.   Go read up on that and get back with me.  

We were given gifts by the Spirit to be used in service for Jesus, after we came to Christ that is.  It's not on us to decide one day that all that's changed and we are going to go do something else.  That way CAN lead to "Depart from Me for I never knew you.".

Romans 11:29 NASB "for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."  If we subscribe to "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." as it says in Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB, then self should be last on our list of priorities.

Self gets self in trouble when self is all self thinks about.

When we all stand before Jesus, self is what gets burned away to reveal what was done in the body for Jesus.  So self doesn't matter.  Degrees and education won't matter when we stand before Jesus.  Our bank account statement won't even be brought up.  The number of places we stayed for this or that vacation won't be brought up.  The only thing that will matter is what we did in the body for Jesus...which was to reach others for Jesus. To show them the way to the cross so that they too can find the Savior who is Christ the Lord.

We can and will convince ourselves of a great many things in order to gain the most comfort in this life.  We are NOT promised comfort as the world subscribes to that definition of it.   We are promised the peace that passes all understanding to those who are in Christ Jesus.  We are promised that if the world hated Jesus they aren't going to be liking us much either, look at the middle east and see how much new Christian's are liked.  

Satan and his minions love it when we get ourselves to do their work for them.  When we teach others to do the same.  When we convince them that focusing things that do not matter are ok.   

Recharging WITH Jesus is ok...we need to make sure our own wells aren't going dry before we go to help someone else.  This can be seen in the passage where Jesus says to take the log out of our own eye before we try to help others take the speck out of theirs.  We read that Jesus OFTEN got away to be with His Father.
We do not ever find Jesus trying to win a popularity contest.  We do NOT ever see Him trying to be winsome in His own right but to DO the will of His Father that is in Heaven.  Jesus NEVER puffed Himself up. 

He came to seek and save the lost...so what are you doing while you are on this Earth?   Are you at all being the somebody that Jesus made you to be in Him, or are you living out your days in only the ways that you want them to be lived?  If you are in Christ, then you have a job to do IN Christ that the Spirit said was for YOU to be doing.  

I had some very strong battles in recent weeks concerning my identity in this world.  Going back to some earlier teachings that I can remember, I began hand writing index cards with verses and to seek out even small plaques and things with verses on them to remind me of who I am in Christ.  To remind myself to be praying.  To remind myself to be strong and courageous to not be terrified to not be discouraged for the Lord my God will be with me wherever I go.  To pray Psalm 143:8-12 for me.  My sin nature is very potent but not more powerful than the Spirit within me from giving my life to Christ.  

My aim is to be told "Well done" by my Savior.  What's yours?  
My hope is to be able to stand before Jesus to see His open arms welcoming me home.  What's yours?
My desire is to be found doing what He called me to be doing. What's yours?

Are you living for the company you work for?  I don't.  I'm done with that.  Been there done that and I threw away the t-shirts that proved it.  I do what I do as unto the Lord while at work.  I do not live for my job.   I honestly do not hold those with high education in any high esteem because it's only of Earthly value, not Heavenly value.   We can easily convince ourselves that what we're doing by putting our all into who we work for and still do it for the wrong reasons.  
Our physical health is of some importance because God didn't design us to be stupid about taking care of it, but, it's nothing to elevate higher than our relationship with God.  It's not to be on the same plain as our Spiritual food that's only found in the Word of God and a right relationship with God.
Anything that we elevate higher than our relationship with God can be an idol and God takes a very very dim view of idols.  Many, Jesus said, MANY will say to Him on that day that they did this in His Name and that in His Name...and He will say depart from Me for I never knew you.  People will be doing all kinds of things THINKING they are offering service to God...that's not me saying it that's what it says in the Bible.  There's what it says in 1 Timothy 4 about being wary of false teachers as well as 2 Peter 2...who will be AMONG those who believe.  They will be IN the professing Church.

If you want to be a somebody then Jesus has some words for you.

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." Matthew 16:24-25 NASB.

In the list of who's-who for the end times "Lovers of self" is first on that list.  Putting self first.  Creating self into our own image of self.  Putting self first.

If you want to be somebody then be who you were meant to be in Christ if you've come to Christ to be saved.
If you haven't yet...then that opportunity awaits you...to be someone more than you see yourself as right now.  We don't know and cannot know what great things that God has in store for us until we come to Him to be saved...THEN we find out.  It's nothing to be scared about nothing to fear.  

In this world I'm happy to be a nobody by their definition of it.  
In Christ I am happy that in Him I am a somebody because He saved my soul.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

THE Writer

THE Writer
by David Brenneman 

It's an easy thing to stop and look back over a life and either assign blame or take or give credit to people in regards to how a life turned out.  

I couldn't do that because...
I didn't go because of...
They shouldn't have...
I can never forgive them for...

We look at life as a sum of pluses and minuses. Events or people added or subtracted. We look for, hopefully, the positive in the negative. 

Life is much more than our wandering eyes can see nor our aging ears can hear. 

Life was meant to be a very personal relationship with Jesus Christ. From the very beginning, with Adam and Eve, that's how it was.

No pretenses between people or between people and God. 

We are often, whether you admit it or not, are on the rebranding hunt. How to better ourselves. How to, more succinctly say it, to find peace within ourselves on our terms. Jesus says that only in a right, real, relationship with Him is this ever going to be possible.  

Those who have entered into a life with Christ by asking for salvation in Him, do indeed live a different life than the rest of the world.  Out of gratitude for all He's done, Christians live for Him.  He took up a cross, the cross, for us, taking upon Himself that which we rightly deserve. We deserve to pay for our own sins. We are all born in sin.  We all are in need of what salvation offers. The world has hundreds of religions that try to create a false peace between God and man, only the path that the Bible spells out actually works. 

Jesus said that He is the way, singular, the truth, singular, and the life, singular. No one, again singular, comes to the Father, but through Him, singular.  

We read in Isaiah 55:8-9 NASB "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts."

In Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB "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."

We need what the singular path that Jesus is in order to truly live life to the fullest. 

Mark 8:36 NASB "For what does it benefit a person to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?"

Contrary to what you might choose to believe, there are billionaires, Nobel Prize laureates, philanthropists, intellectuals, countless other types of "good" and "nobel" by the world's standards in Hell. 

Why? They, like you and I, were born in sin, and are in need of a Savior, who is Christ the Lord Jesus. 

We cannot fathom what Jesus lived through on the cross.  For the first time, the only ever time, in all of eternity Jesus was separated from His Father.  Why? He chose to because His Father loved ever single human being that much. 

We owe Jesus to give Him our all. 

We WILL be tempted by every possible scheme of sin and Satan to interject some form of selfishness into that life after coming to Christ to be saved. 

We will because we still have a sin nature that's not separated from us yet. 

We will run from God's intended path for us or we will unknowingly just start down a path that looks like it's from God but isn't and maybe we will just wake up one day and suddenly realize it. Sometimes it will be the result of us not realizing it and He will intervene on our behalf to show us the hard way.

We need to reconsider our life in that a: we need the salvation that's free in Christ and b: we owe Him oh so much. We need not fear the future when our life is then safely kept in His hands. 

When we do indeed seek His kingdom and His righteousness then we see Him working in us and through us. 

We can then look back over our lives and THEN see the true Writer's pen on the canvas of our life. 



Tuesday, January 31, 2023

No Credit for Us to Take

No Credit for Us to Take
by David Brenneman


All religions DO lead somewhere, but it's NOT to Heaven. Every single man-made religion in this world leads only to the gates of Hell.

The only path to righteousness is found in a life given to Christ. The only way, the way to living, to a well-lived life, is found in Christ Jesus. It's not found on the stock market, not found in degree's or education achieved. It's not found in intelligence aquired over time. Jesus told His Disciples this: "Then some children were brought to Him so that He might lay His hands on them and pray; and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, "Let the children alone, and do not hinder them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:13-14 NASB. Likewise go back to Chapter 18:2-4 NASB "And He called a child to Himself and set him among them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. So whoever will humble himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Due to sin and it's awful consequences...we want to be on top. We want to be the one calling the shots. We want to be the one to tell God how it's going to be. Of how we are here to rule this world and He should get in line like everyone else. Those are the thoughts of the god of this world throughout the centuries.
Satan's branded all kinds of worldly religions to try to pave a way to deceive people into thinking they can get to heaven on their own merits.

There's absolutely nobody going through Heaven's gates that has not been saved in Christ Jesus. Some may point to children who have not had the opportunity to decide either to accept or reject salvation. The Bible points to an age of 'accountability' of when children know and truly understand right from wrong. Honestly due to maturity it does vary from child to child. As the Scriptures point to, God will by no means condemn a child that doesn't know it's right hand from it's left.

Adults, from the young adults to the aged all know on some level of what's right and what's wrong. The only exception being those who are not mentally developed to know right and wrong. To be intentionally non-specific...God knows who will or won't come to Christ, He knows who is able and who is not. We know this by it being Jesus, not any angels, who separates the saved from the unsaved in Revelation. Jesus spoke in the Gospels of being the Good Shepherd. Of how His sheep know His voice and follow Him. When you consider His telling of the Good Shepherd, it takes you to how a shepherd protects his or her sheep. Of how they lay their life on the line for the sheep to keep out the ravenous wolves and others that would go after their sheep. They would pen in an area for the sheep to stay in and the shepherd would be the 'gate' of them coming in or going out.  

There is only one place the religions of this world 'coexist' as that graphic that's been made popular from all the so-called religions of this world show.  
That's in Hell. Since Jesus is THE way, THE truth and THE life, then there IS NO OTHER. To be humbled before God as the Scriptures we read point to, it means to let go of self, and to go for what God's wanting of us and through us. It's to not overcomplicate the Scriptures when presenting them to others as the Pharisee's and Sadducee's would do. Which would put walls between them and God. In a sermon from this last Sunday the one preaching mentioned a quote he'd written in the front of his Bible of his then youth Pastor. "There are only two things that last forever: God and People. It's our job to bring the two together."

It's the job of born-again believers to live in such a way that people see God's hand in us. Not us. It's not about the world seeing and applauding our physical achievements or our intelligence. It's not about our diet or our exercise that people might see and want to know more about. Perfectly healthy, perfectly intelligent people die every single moment of the day. When we stand before Jesus, our resume will not be taken into account. Our time spent in the body as a believer that's in that accounting we will give has to do with what we did in our bodies for Christ.   

Jesus has proven over all the centuries since before Adam and Eve...that no one comes to the Father but through Him.  
Good works have never gotten 1 person admission to the streets of Heaven.
There are no 'scales' of good and bad to be weighed that will ever be used by Jesus to decide if someone should or shouldn't get into His Heaven.
Proof of that is the Final Judgment in the book of Revelation. Everyone's 'good' and 'bad' will pass through the fire. Even after all that...even IF they lived an exemplary life...if their names were not found in the Book of Life, they were cast into the Lake of Fire. Eternal separation from God. The final deciding point is that book. That book is only populated by the names of those who have come to Christ for salvation.

You may have not yet come to Christ for salvation. You have have been living with a false 'hope' that maybe God will change His mind and spare you. It doesn't work that way. A false hope like that is just one of thousands of 'ways' that people try to get into Heaven without using the only door there is...Jesus.
False hopes and false ideas of how to get into Heaven abound and have for centuries.   

The thing is...you don't have to worry about being good enough...when you come to Christ, HE makes you good enough. He casts your sins as far as the east is from the west, remembering them no more. That's written in the Bible and Jesus said of His Word that NOBODY will ever change it to make even 1 part untrue.
We don't have to be trying to make ourselves good enough before coming. We don't have to be concerned about what He MIGHT have us do after we do. That's just part of trusting Him with our life after we come to Him. When we are cleansed, when we are washed of our sins, we want to do what we can for the One who did it for us. Look at Isaiah 6. After his sins were removed, Isaiah didn't care, the weight was lifted from his heart and his mind. Out of gratitude he just wanted to be of use to the Lord Jesus for what He had done for him.

When you come to Christ and do receive His free gift of salvation a weight you never knew you were under is lifted. You had just gotten used to it all your life so you didn't know it was really there. Really real. 

But I like who I am! Guess what...the Spirit of God tends to take even what we think is the best parts of us...and quite often makes them even better. We just need to be willing to trust Him with the results and the method to get them.  


We know not what all we are capable of until we trust God for what's to come and become of us. We only know our limitations and are often finding them to be chains that bind us and are not a tool to help us. I am also a firm believer that not everyone is meant to be a leader. As a follower of Christ...Christ leads. I care not for what the status and all the fluff of what this world ascribes to elevated learning or of worldly success. Success in the eyes of God has to do with what we did in the body for Jesus. What did we do to show people Jesus. As one sermon title I remember said: Daring to be an Andrew. Andrew, one of the Disciples was well known for bringing people to Jesus. He brought Peter to Jesus. Jesus did all the rest with every single person Andrew brought.

"But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” as it says in Romans 10. 


Monday, January 30, 2023

Not Too Dirty for Him

Not Too Dirty for Him
by David Brenneman

Many, many people believe that Jesus couldn't or wouldn't ever love one such as themselves.  Many, many, people go off and do their own thing because they don't think that what they do or don't do will really matter because they think they are THAT dirty.  That they've done so much 'bad' stuff in their lives that Jesus couldn't possibly forgive them nor accept them.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!

Perfection is unattainable in our own efforts.  Christ became the perfect sacrifice because only He could do so for the sins of mankind.  Only He had lived a perfect, sinless, life and could be worthy to be the one to take anyone's place, let alone be enough to offer up what was needed for all humanity for all time.

There's many cliche's out there.  "Be patient with me, God's not finished with me yet."  "Not perfect, just forgiven." "Work in progress." "We catch em' Jesus clean's em."

What we do is come by faith and trust Jesus to keep His word to do the rest.  Jesus never ever turns away anyone who would come to Him to be saved.  Even at our lowest He's there.  At our perceived 'hightest', He's there too.  It's in our low times we tend to rely on Him more.  

Much of my life has been a battle of wills between my sin nature and me over the subject of me.  It's easy to point to Satan and say it's his fault for most everything that's not been good in my life.  Truth is choice became ours when Christ arose from the dead.  The choice to choose to sin or not to.  The choice to listen to our sin nature or listen to the Spirit of God.  Choice is before all who would come to Christ to be saved.  

The world wants people to believe (and as Satan is the 'god' of this world it's his plan and purpose) that there's many ways to get to Heaven.  Well, in a sense, there is.  His idea of heaven, not God's true Heaven.  Satan wants all mankind to worship him and not God.  Satan wants people, and angels, to worship him.  He cares not how low he convinces people that they are in order to keep them from the truth of God about them.

Yes, Satan does not care what he does or in better terms, what he's permitted to do, to make you think you are something you are not.  
He cares not who goes to Hell, he just doesn't want anyone to make it to Heaven.  When you decide to come to Christ, he loses.  Not to say he won't try to keep you from speaking up, from doing what you will be called to be doing, but he won't be anything but a sore loser.  When Jesus arose from the dead, Satan lost for all eternity.  The Father's plan was for those who believe by coming to Christ for salvation to share that with others so that they too might be saved.  It simply takes the faith of a child to do so.  Children don't over-think what their parents tell them.  Many many times we mess up in life by overthinking what God's chosen to make simple.  We are in a world where you go through much and learn how not to trust.  It's in Christ we learn we can implicitly trust Jesus.

Nobody who is breathing air is too far from salvation in Christ Jesus.  All are one step away.  One choice, one decision away, from freedom from the guilt of sin that weighs upon all.  That dirt, that heaviness, of wrongs done.  This isn't to say that those who have done things won't still see consequences to their physical actions after coming to Christ to be saved, it means they won't face them alone.  Alone.  That's one of Satan's heaviest hitting soft chains.  He wants you to think that you are alone.  That nobody would want you, that there's no way that Jesus would accept you.  That you aren't worth anything to anyone.  

Just as bad is that he also pushes people to think more highly of themselves than they ought to.  That life is going too good for them to 'need' salvation.  They got money, they got respect, they got all they ever wanted in life, why should they 'need' to be saved?   Because the choice of salvation is more than what your eyes see or  your ears hear.  Salvation in Christ Jesus decides your eternal future.  Those who come to Christ, upon death, are immediately received into His arms into God's Heaven.  Those who don't, DO begin paying for their own sins in a very real place called Hell.  There's no throne in Hell where Satan and his minions sit and watch people being put through torture or pain.  Satan's never been there.  Only those demons condemned by God are there.  The rest are in this world in which we live along with Satan. 

Evil is disguised in this world as people getting what they want, however it's to be gotten.  Yet in Exodus 23 NASB we read some examples of things that God says are evil, that are sins.  These evils are displayed and perpetuated to look like it's all being done for good!  That JUSTICE is being served!   But what does it say? "You shall not bear a false report (aka do not lie about or for someone); do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. You shall not follow the masses in doing evil, nor shall you testify in a dispute so as to turn aside after a multitude in order to pervert justice; nor shall you be partial to a poor man in his dispute." (v1-3).  Sins are any thoughts or actions that go against the Word of God.   We are born in sin because of Adam and Eve's original sin.  So we're guilty from the get-go.   It doesn't get better from there.  A single sin is enough to be sent to the firey Hell.  A single thought.  A single action. 

In Christ Jesus, through the salvation offered only through Him, He washes all that away.  Completely.  When God the Father looks upon any who have come to Christ in faith for salvation, He only sees Jesus.  He doesn't see our sins.  Jesus promises to cast our sins as far away as the east is from the west.  

Peace.  Peace comes with salvation in Christ as well.  The weight is lifted, the guilt can be removed, and a peace comes that we can't explain.  What's very very hard for some is that they have gotten so used to the guilt that it no longer bothers them.  The Bible calls this a hard heart.  I am a firm believer that as long as God grants the gift of breathing to anyone, then anyone can come to Christ to be saved.  Hope only ends when you're no longer breathing.  

Some may argue about some of the most vile, evil, people in this world.  That there's NO way that God would forgive them or save them.  Not true.
In the book of Daniel we read of his generation's Pharaoh.  God had set this man upon the entire world.  He thought he was indeed all that and a slice of bread.
Whom he wished he killed whom he wished to spare, he spared.  In his mind life and death of anyone was in his hands to grant or deny.  We read in Daniel that God humbled him and showed him the truth of his life and his need to acknowledge God as the one who sets up kingdoms and removes them.  This world leader had unparalleled power to kill or spare.  Even today, we have leaders who want to be the same, in the last 200 years we've seen people try to rise to power to wield that kind of power.  God's not allowed it because it's not in His plan just yet.  The return of Christ hasn't happened yet.

Even those we read of in the book of Revelation, the AntiChrist and the False Prophet, WILL bow the knee to Jesus Christ.  

Dirty.  Oh you indeed may have done some things in your life, but hope is not lost.  Hope still is there before you.  Hope is there waiting in the person of Jesus Christ, arms open, calling to you to trust Him, and come to Him and let Him take care of you.  Don't listen to anyone or anything that says you don't need Him or that you would never be accepted or loved by Him.  If you were the only human alive He would have died to take your place.  

I can't fathom the love of God for me.  It's more than my mind can wrap itself around.  I just know that He does love me, He did die for me, and I do my best to live for Him because of His sacrifice on the cross in my place.  

You'll also be tempted to think you don't need it because 'you're not that bad'.  In terms of sin, 1 strike equals 3 and you're out.  The first strike is being born in sin.  We all are.  Therefore we're 'out'.  Only salvation in Christ Jesus puts us on base in life.  Only salvation in Christ allows us on the field to play the game the way it was meant to be played.  

Be ready, because you'll be told or you will think that you don't need all this.  Those thoughts will come because sin is so utterly sinful. 

For God so loved YOU that He gave His one and only Son, that if YOU believe in Him, YOU will have eternal life. 

Think about John 3:17-18 not just 3:16 NASB "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him. The one who believes in Him is not judged; the one who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God."

Jesus stands just outside the door of your heart. He is gently knocking, asking to come in.  Will you let Him?

Sunday, January 29, 2023

No Celebrity Status

No Celebrity Status 
by David Brenneman 

"Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35 NASB. 

"But many who are first will be last; and the last, first" Matthew 19:30 NASB. 

The only place in creation where there's any importance placed upon societal status is in this physical world. It doesn't exist in Heaven or Hell. There's no one here or who has lived that is in some elevated status after dying. 

To be humble in this life, to not seek out that which indeed is here today and gone tomorrow, is far better.  

We buy clothes or adorn ourselves in many ways to try to increase acceptance by others. As some have said: we buy things we don't need to impress people we don't even like or may even know. 

There's something indeed to be said for contentment. Both in living and in the status of our lives. 

People crave having as many followers as they can get on social media, falsely believing that it increases their self-worth. 

In Christ, where my only eternal value resides, I can never be loved or accepted any more than I am. Can't be any less or any more.  

We wonder at society at times and rightly so. Satan loves to create situations where self-worth is questioned. Loves to get us to enter into self-condemnation. Loves to get us to drift off course from God's intended plan for us just enough to "taint" the resulting life.

Satan loves to push status in careers. Loves to put value where God sees none that is of value in light of eternity. 

Degrees and Diplomas, Certifications, Doctorates, etc. really are only of value in this world. Scholarships gain notoriety and fame. Being an actor or actress, a singer or songwriter, gains popularity. Nothing of which is of value on the othet side of life. 

The Disciples were tempted to put value on even their own positions within the scope of being Jesus's Disciples. We read earlier what Jesus said of this.

It aligns perfectly with setting our minds on things above and not on the things that are of this world. 

It aligns perfectly with preferring one another above ourselves. 

It aligns perfectly with doing all that we do as unto the Lord. 

It aligns with the very nature of Christ Jesus.  

We do not what?  

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12 NASB.  

We are to do what?

"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 NASB. 

Everything from how we eat to how we exercise to how we teach to how we learn in this world wants us to put value on those things rather than valuing what is valued by God. 

We are in a war that is about people. It's about the souls of people. Jesus died once for all. Giving His life a ransom for many. 

The treasure that's in Heaven is people. 

We indeed need to consider it more each day to value what is valuable in the eyes of God. Pursuing what the world says is of value is not going to be the same because of what the god of this world values.

Pray for discernment in what you do and why you are doing it.  

Pray for your heart and mind to be aligned with the work the Spirit wants you to be doing.  

Let go of what the world wants you to value regarding your image and the value others may or may not place on you.



Saturday, January 28, 2023

Open Up

Open Up
by David Brenneman 

"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:24 NASB 

Thinking on this verse of the day from Biblegateway, it took me to remembering a few other passages. One being the great passage in Ephesians 6, where we read of putting on the whole armor of God. That one and where Paul wrote of that we battle not against flesh and blood, that the war is ongoing in the Spiritual world.  

This physical world is going to have an end. It's woes will will eventually be done away with. We will indeed see the victory of God in our lives and the lives of others if we but look.

As a line from a song goes, we shouldn't formed by feelings, but hold fast to what is true. If it puts me in the fire I'll rejoice because you're there too.  

Thoughts and emotions will often trip us up. It doesn't take much. In Exodus in their first times being near the Lord, Israel was panicking by what their eyes were seeing and their ears hearing. One of the first things that the Lord told them NOT to do is one of the first they do end up doing. Making an image of gold to worship of something on the Earth. Something to physically see that would get their love and devotion. Something essentially from the darkness of this world that is a rejection of the light that the preincarnate Jesus was to be to them and what He had spelled out in the 10 Commandments. 

Do you view your life at all from a Spiritual perspective? Do you consider what you are doing from God's point of view? Are you at all concerned for those in the harvest that Jesus said to pray for help in going out into? Those in Christ aren't to fill out a resume and tell God what we are going to do. We aren't to tell God we are choosing where we are going to serve. There is no "career day" with God where we shop around for employment where we see ourselves in the years to come. 

We are set in the body of Christ when we are saved in Christ Jesus as the Spirit sees fit. That calling of God is irrevocable as said in Paul's book to the Romans. We aren't to quit at our calling because of others nor of ourselves. We aren't to use excuses of being hurt for ceasing the work that the Spirit has us doing. We likewise should not use success as a gauge for going into a different direction either. We are admonished to be sure of our calling in Christ Jesus and stand fast in it. Success is a deceiver at times. We easily can be lead astray by popularity or money. Thinking those things are more than they are. 

Do you look at your life through Spiritual eyes? With regard to the Spiritual impact of your physical decisions? Are you intentional about your walk, your relationship with Jesus? Have you given in to worldly success and its perks and have stopped doing what you were called to be doing in Christ?  

Those who are saved in Christ Jesus have 
been given a job to be doing in the body of Christ. Our responsibility is to be obedient in it. Joseph was one who remained obedient to living right before the Lord no matter his physical circumstances, even in success. We repeatedly read of the Lord being with him.  

First, be sure of your calling in Christ Jesus, by way of knowing for sure that you are saved. Then, find out what it is that the Spirit wants you to be doing, then do it with your everything. Don't look at what you're called to be doing as you doing it on your own. In Christ means He's there with you. Trust and Obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. 

If you haven't given your life to Christ, no amount of works will gain you favor with Jesus. He eventually will tell you to depart from Him for He never knew you. Salvation is always the first step.  

Isaiah, after being forgiven and now seeing with clear Spiritual eyes readily volunteered "Here am I! Send me!".

Open up your eyes and see the Spiritual world around you. Pray for discernment in what you do and when you should do it. Pray for you to be ready to obey when the Spirit prompts you to go and do. Even if the world calls you crazy for doing so. 

Let today begin a better chapter of your life. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Oh the Unacknowledged Battle

Oh the Unacknowledged Battle
By David Brenneman

Oh that unacknowledged battle that we fight....and probably don't even realize we are fighting.  It's often not easy to stand with truth when others have not seen it yet.  It's harder still to speak the truth when others do not want to hear it.  What's hardest of all is seeing a battle that others refuse to acknowledge exists.

Was looking at the headlines again this morning before writing..and am only in the beginning chapters of Exodus.  It's amazing the way the people were with Moses and Aaron.  The way they constantly grumbled an complained quite often right after the Lord provided for them.  He was teaching them His ordinances and His statutes and they kept on keeping on with honestly wanting another task master like they had in Egypt.  Look later in their story and you eventually see them rejecting the Lord as their King and demanding to have a king like the other nations of the world.  The Lord Jesus told Moses not to take it personally that they had not rejected Moses, they had rejected the Lord as their king.  So that's where Saul came from.  Saul became a great disappointment but in the long run his dealings with David actually helped David become a great King.  Much as the terrible things that Joseph went through became training for when he would be lifted up to rule over the affairs of Egypt.

We indeed wrestle/fight not against flesh and bood.  We fight ideologies, we fight against theories, we fight against the thoughts and intentions in a spiritual world that overlay's our own physical world.  See it in the headlines of someone who so mutiliated his body to look like an alien that he wonders why even others 'discriminate' against him.  Take one look and you really see a demon possessed person.  God would never, ever, direct anyone to do such things to his or her body.  Still others I see in the headlines are of the still hot topic of abortion.  Go back several thousand years.  We have records of at least 1 Pharaoh who wanted all male babies murdered.  That was of Satan.  We go ahead a few thousand years to Herod who also wanted all males under a certain age killed.  As a meme I read again had said "same demons, different government" when it comes to such things.

It's not easy being positive in a very much negative, dark, world.  Which this world is.  The only lights in this world are those who have Jesus as their Savior.  All the rest of this world is immersed in darkness. Consider a night view from space.  Very similar in nature are the points of light in this darkness we call daily living.
In the beginning of the book of John it's written that people loved the darkness rather than the light for their deeds were evil.  We're warned later on in the New Testament to beware of those who call good evil and evil good.  These are warnings of how inseparable, at the time being, the physical is from the spiritual.

Our hardest days are going to be on how to find a way to be close to God when things aren't going well.  I find myself praying on the way to work, quite often on the way home, through out the day at times when there's both reason and a moment to take that time.  It's not easy when those you work with are going through things themselves and they aren't looking for help through Jesus.  

"Trust and Obey" was attributed to John H. Sammis in 1887.  It's quite often one of my 'go-to' hymns when things aren't quite going right.
"When I walk with the Lord, in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will, he abides with us still, and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share, but our toil he doth richly repay,
not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross, but is blest if we trust and obey
Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
But we can never can prove the delights of his love until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows, for the joy he bestows, are for them who will trust and oby.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at his feet, or we'll walk by this side in the way.
what he says we will do, where he sends we will go; never fear only trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

We are indeed living in some hard times spiritually.  Many don't see or want to acknowledge the real battles that they face each day.   They would much rather have their head in the sand than to realize what's truly going on.  Many go to great lengths to avoid conflict by way of willful ignorance.  Choosing not to acknowledge what their eyes and ears tell and show them.  Spiritual warfare knows no separation between the personal and the public life.  It knows no separation between church and state.  It knows no separation at all.  

We miss out on what God's doing when we choose to ignore the battle and thereby not put on the whole armor of God because we choose to see no need to wear it...and are actually surprised when we get wounded?  

It's God's will for our sanctification...that is our becoming more like Christ.  I don't go to work and do what I do for the image of the company.  My work is done in accordance with Colossians 3:23-24.  We have things to be done each day that the Lord gives us to do.  We do them to the best of our ability in Christ Jesus as unto the Lord Himself.  Others likely aren't going to get that who are not in Christ and are not saved.  Yet it's those who are in Christ that sometimes they come to in order to seek God's favor.

We indeed are all in a war, a war that's been going on since before mankind was created by God.  The closer to Christ people become the more intense the warfare.  Unless sent there by God, the same demons are here today that were around when Jesus walked the earth, the same that were here when evil was so rampant that God called for a global flood to wipe out humanity save 8 people.  Demons know how to manipulate people, how to influence people, how to organize people, to do Satan's will and not God's Will.  No demon or Satan cares at all who goes to Hell upon dying.  He just doesn't want what God wants, which is to see everyone come to the knowledge of salvation in Christ Jesus.  Why do governments condone the killing of babies?  The answer is this: "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whover causes one of these little ones who believes 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. Woe to the world because of it's stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes! (Matthew 18:4-7 NASB) "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven continually see the face of My Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 18:10-11 NASB). "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish." (Matthew 18:14 NASB).

The abortion issue is just but one.  The mutilating of genders, of even thoughts and perceptions, evil is seen only by those who recognize it for what it is who do not have their heads in the sand hoping for better.  It's a war.  The battle, as the Bible says, belongs to the Lord.  Nobody will ever cause even one part of His Word not to come true.  Not Satan, not his demons, not me, not you.  At some point in the near future, every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.  Nobody's going to care who had the most toys, the most this or the most that.  Nobody's going to care about their vacations or their troubles in life when they face Jesus.  When He separates the believing from the unbelieving all anyone will care about is His verdict because it's unchangeable at that point.  Everyone's "But Lord!" who didn't have a real relationship with Jesus will be dismissed as guilty.  Everyone who has lived long enough to know good from evil has a choice to make.  

I don't always get life right in God's eyes.  I ask for His forgiveness and try to move on.  Satan and his demons love the rear view mirror way of driving.  Focus on that and not what's coming.  He loves to remind us of our past.  Of how we're failing today.  We get caught up in an endless circle if we dwell on what we shouldn't.  When the world was the way it was in Jesus's day, even He often got away and spent time with His Father.  If Jesus did it, needed it, we can hardly do any less.  Pray on, pray over, pray through life.  Choose your battles because you will face them if you acknowledge them in time.  Not every battle you are invited to is yours to fight.  Many are for the Lord to fight and not you.  Insisting on a battle isn't a good thing either.  We indeed will get encouraged to jump into a battle that the Lord isn't wanting us to fight.  Pray for wisdom in those cases. 

So when you go out into the world realize that the truth is we have to be ready for what comes when it comes.  We have an enemy who cares not if we go to Hell, but does NOT want us to go to Heaven.  He does NOT want God's Will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.  He cares not what we do for ourselves as long as it does not go with our sanctification in Christ Jesus.  He wants us to put what the world wants ahead of what God wants.  He will never be overt about it.  He'll get you to choose to do it instead.  Be careful!  As Paul said to Timothy, fight the good fight, finish the race.  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

Looking

Looking
by David Brenneman

To quote Israel when he spoke to the particular Pharaoh who was over his son Joseph (Genesis 47:9 NASB) "So Jacob said to Pharaoh, "The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning." The days of my sojourning are fifty-five, few and unpleasant have been the years of my life.  

Few and unpleasant? We see what we do, but God sees both us, and the greater picture. The greater plan of God that always is moving towards the ending of sin in this universe. Sin was defeated at the cross of Christ. Sin was defeated but it's impact on lives would yet be felt for at least several thousand years more.

When we read of the moments even after the miraculous salvation of the people of Israel after that particular Pharaoh and his entire army died in the sea...the people yet were not looking with a whole heart towards the Lord as they ought to have been. They had just walked through on the bottom of the sea on dry land. No doubt it wasn't just dry, but probably clear of debris in order to not be a distraction for them on the way through. Some probably did grab something to remember it by. But oh how quickly they forgot. How quickly even when being chased that they would trade what the Lord was doing for them for the familiarity of even the so-called benefits of slavery to the Egyptians.  

Are you even looking for the Lord's return? Are you at all looking for those things that, while they might not be seen by the Jews as being a sign to be observed, are a sign to the rest of us Gentiles? There will be people here whom Jesus said WOULD be that yet again will be preparing the way for the Lord. Don't look for these people in the headlines because the god of this world absolutely does not want THAT news to get out. Are they here today? Lord only knows. But what we DO know is that the promise of Jesus is that they WOULD be coming.

"As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead." And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist." - Matthew 17:9-13 NASB

"And while some where talking about the temple, that it was decorated with beautiful stones and vowed gifts, He said, "As for these things which you are observing, the days will come when there will not be left one stone upon the another, which will not be torn down." They asked Him questions, saying "Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?" And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying "I am He', and, 'The time is near." Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and revolts, do not be alarmed; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately." Then He continued by saing to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be massive earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrible sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, turning you over to the synagogues and prisons, bringing you before kings and govenors on account of My name. It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony. So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; for I will provide you elequence and wisdom which none of your adversaries will be able to oppose or refute. But you will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, other relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death, and you will be hated by all people because of My name. And yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are inside the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; because these are days of punishment, so that all things which have been written will be fulfilled. Woe to those women who are pregnant, and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people; and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and waves, people fainting from fear and expectation of the things that are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. And He told them a parable: "Look at the fig tree and all the trees: as soon as they put forth leaves, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near. So you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will not pass away." Luke 21:10-33 NASB.

Much of what you read happened, exactly as Jesus said already. Jerusalem was indeed trampled under by the Romans within a few decades of these words being said. I have often wondered at just what those back then saw in the Heavens. What did they see concerning the moon and stars? Were they remembering these words of Jesus? Were they looking for what He said to look for? Are we looking at all today for His return or are we more concerned about what's coming up in the next season of things on Netflix or Hulu? Are we more concerned about whether or not it's pizza tonight or chicken? Are we more concerned about the things in this world than the various things that the Spirit is allowing people to see that are a confirmation of the Word of God?

Are you looking at all for what's to come? Are you at all concerned about being found by Jesus doing what it was He, through the Spirit's placement of you in the body of Christ, what you were intended to be doing for the Kingdom of God? Are you more interested in trinkets and memorabilia than helping those in need?
Are you leading a life that says "Jesus lives here"? Are you at all doing anything that says you are more concerned about how Christ will view your life than the world would view it?

We are still in the part of "the times of the Gentiles". That time is not yet fulfilled. But it's close. We often see references to a cup being filled concerning sin. That cup, upon observation, I would say is getting very close to being filled. There's sins now revealed in this world that it's easy to see from the Bible have never been uttered before by man. Perversion of God's Word on a scale that's possibly unprecidented in the Church. Perversion of the truth of God concerning even the biological gender of an individual in ways never found in history. My thoughts are always in what I call a multi-track state. Several trains at the same time.
While I don't watch the news, I do skim headlines for bits of confirmation of God's Word about the end times. It's there to be had if you know what to look for.

Truth is: Jesus said the things we just read and it HAPPENED. If that much DID happen, you had better bet that the rest WILL take place. For nearly 20 plus years there's been factions ready to build the next Temple in Jerusalem. It won't take decades to do as it did in ages past due to modern construction techniques. If you search you will find that there's groups in Israel teaching a generation of priests what to do in this new Temple when it's built. They've been reproducing what is to be used in the Temple. They've gone from scarely 1 or 2 certified Red heifer's to many. Look at the Heavens....see anything in the news about strange things happening there? Certainly plenty. See of places on this world where it's been kingdom vs kingdom? Nation against nation? See anything about earthquakes and famines? I certainly do.

But what of this Elijah that is to come. Is he here already? Jesus said he would be here before Jesus returns physically. Consider that part well. It's not implying that it will be before Jesus comes SPIRITUALLY, to take the Church that's alive today along with those who have died in Christ. If you read in Revelation there's God's two Witnesses. One is probably Elijah and the other is probably Moses. Nobody will be able to oppose them and their teaching until a specific time. Even then their deaths will not last but 3 days before they are brought back to life to leave this world right in front of full view of the world.

Are you at all looking beyond your 'space'? Are you at all looking beyond the things in your 'world'? Are you at all aware that Jesus COULD return at any moment? Even the early Church didn't know and throughout their generations they were told to be ready. Jesus said that He would come at a time and an hour when we would least expect. My only gut feeling is that I will be driving when it happens. I have had a vision of sorts of that and or of being at a desk much like I have today...heading straight up. Roofs were not a hinderance.  

I long for that day to happen....do you? Are you saved in Christ Jesus? Are you sure about your salvation? There are no second shots at it when Jesus DOES come. Those left behind will be in far greater turmoil than what you read here today. Read the last book of the Bible for what those will go through. The millions who have died in the last 200 years alone won't stack up to the billions who will die in those years. 

I do not look for an earthly career as the world sees it. I look to be a doer of the Word. I do not care much of what people think of me when it comes to criticism. I want to be what God wants me to be in this world while I am here. I want to look forward to finishing well for my Savior. Do you?

Are you at all looking or are you consumed by the things of this world? Are you at all looking at living a life that's pleasing to the one who saved you, if you are saved? If you are not...my prayer is that you would come to Christ to be saved. Come as you are, Jesus will do the rest. His arms are open wide to all would call upon Him to be saved.  

"But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13 NASB