Tuesday, January 31, 2023
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
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
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
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
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
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
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
History, Another Reason
by David Brenneman
"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things." Philippians 4:8 NASB
Exodus 12:14 NASB "'Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance." Exodus 12:24 NASB "And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever."
Back in the earlier chapters God had said that it would take 430 years before they would leave Egypt to enter the land promised of God to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. "Now the time that the sons of Israel lived in Egypt was four hundred and thirty years. And at the end of four hundred and thirty years, to the very day, all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt." This also is the lead in to the Ordinance of the Passover...verse 42 says that the Lord Jesus told them to do this throughout all their generations...in earlier verses He tells them to be ready to explain this to their children when they ask "Why are we doing this?".
Chapter 13 of Exodus Verse 8-9 "You shall tell your son on that day, saying, 'It is because of wht the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.' And it shall serve as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt."
Even in these two chapters there's an implied command to take note of the things that God's done for you because later on in life when things aren't going so well you have those things to remember. We are indeed a forgetful people. It doesn't honestly take much in the way of burdens and trials to bring us to our knees both emotionally and physically let alone spiritually.
We quite often forget of what it says in Ephesians 6:12 NASB "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers, against the rulers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.".
In more places than just Matthew 16 verse 4, Jesus says this in response to questions from the Pharisee's and Sadducees "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah." And He left them and went away." That sign of Jonah was what Jesus taught of what would happen concerning Himself. That it would be Him who would be the one who would die on a cross be in the grave for 3 days and then to arise from the dead. That same sign is what all generations have been given since....yet even today people want more. They want their own sign, their own proof, that Jesus is real that the need for the cross is real that salvation is through no other.
We're reminded in Ephesians 6:12 of what it's really about. This world points everyone towards physical and psychological cures to what ails us. Towards emotion healing. Towards all kinds of things except that which we need which is what is found in the Word of God. It was faith in God that healed those whom Jesus healed. On several occasions we can read that Jesus saw that someone had the faith to be made well. It's also highly evident that demonic activity was rampant in Jesus's day. Do you honestly think that it's not in our world? Consider it well that the Old Testament says that 1/3rd of the host of Heaven fell with Satan. That's a LOT of demons. Only a select few were already sentenced to eternity in Hell right away. Some were reserved for the judgments to come in the book of Revelation. The rest are in this world in which we live. Note that the "Legion" that was in the possessed man asked to be sent into the swine and so they did. The swine ran headlong into the water and died. It did NOT kill the demons. They left for other places. They were not sent to Hell. Look at the other times Jesus cast out demons often He instructed them not to enter into them again.
We read in the book of John of people loving the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.
These too are reminders of TRUTH.
We need to remember what's TRUE. Philippians 4:8 NASB "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there's any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.".
We need to remember our positive faith history because we really are no better than the first generation of the children of Israel. We are prone to forget when the going gets tough. We're prone to forget when the unexpected happens. We are prone to forget when it was Jesus who said they hated Me they will hate you also. We will take it personally, we will want to run the other way when people relentlessly criticize us. We will.
When attacks come, and they will, we need to be reminded not just of truth but God's truth. Our perceived truth may not be the same. We can easily think that the path we are on is what God wanted...but since we didn't wait on Him...we're now going down the wrong path. Our emotions will wreck us. Remember Satan loves to mimic God's activities....with a twist. He began with "Did God really say?". Look at what's recorded of his interactions with Jesus in the wilderness. What did Satan bring up? How did Jesus answer? How did Jesus answer the Jewish Leaders?
Satan tried to destroy Jesus at the cross...he failed.
Satan tried to destroy Peter before Jesus went to the cross...Jesus reinstated him after the resurrection.
Satan tried to destroy the Church...Jesus took Saul and Paul was born...and the Church grew.
Satan will try to get you to believe anything and everything...EVEN IF...it's so miniscule that it's hardly perceived...just a pebble can change the course of a river downstream. It's very important to remember all the good that the Father has done for us, to us, through us in Jesus's Name.
Jesus often got away to pray. He was teaching by example that you can't go through life draining your well within. He prayed because of who and what His, and now our, Father is. He needed that continued intimacy and so do we. Prayer helps us to stay grounded in God's truth. The more we grow in Christ the more our prayers will align with what God's doing and wanting to do in our lives. When our wells are running dry we find ourselves in situtions where we make emotional decisions which aren't going to be the right ones. We begin the "If only"'s. If only I could get away for a bit I'll be ok. If only this would happen then I would do...
Trust in the Lord with all your heart...this implies that we need to remember what's true...Philippians 4:8.
So what are you focusing on? What are you relying on? Please don't let it be your feelings and emotions. If left to ourselves we will run the other way from those things that we need to go through. We're promised to not go through life alone when we're in a relationship with Jesus as He is our Savior, our Shepherd. Psalm 23 shows and tells us much of what Paul taught later. That life is going to have highs and lows, valleys that are dark mountain tops that are brighter and more beautiful than imagined. Jesus had Paul write of the fact that He came to give us life, and not just life, but life more abundant. As Mark Lowry spoke of in one of his video's...it will be filled with higher highs and lower lows than we ever imagined. But it comes with a reminder. What's high and good and what's low and not so good...will pass. Mark said in the video that his favorite verse in fact he called it his life verse was "And it came to pass." It didn't come to stay.
It came to pass. Think on that. As he says before he sings a song about it in the video...it came to pass. Life is in motion life wasn't meant for us to stay in a moment albiet a good moment or a bad one. We're going to go THROUGH things not sit in them. We need reminders to look at that show us where God took us THROUGH things and we came out on the other side.
We need daily reminders of our positive faith history in order to tell Satan where to go. For him to get away from us because our faith history says that God loves us, God has a plan for us and He will see us through whatever it is.
Think on these things Paul wrote in Philippians 4:8. Are you?
Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Remembering YOUR History
by David Brenneman
Right now my reading in both my Bible plans has me in Exodus. Oh the lessons taught to the people of Israel! To the Egyptians! Ever stop to think about the fact that in Paradise where Moses had eventually arrived and that quite possibly he could look over and see that same Pharaoh who did all those things against him and God's people? When you read of their final days in Egypt, the Lord established reminders. He began to teach them of things to remember and to teach to the next generation. Told them to remember what all the Lord their God did for them.
And then they quickly forgot when the next bit of trouble came. When the next this or that happened. They weren't obeying very well. They were saved on the very day that the Lord said they would be and nobody noticed. Jesus came upon this Earth at the appointed time and nobody noticed in all Israel.
The people were used to being a broken people in the land of Egypt. Used to just doing what they were told by their so-called masters. So they were told so they did. They just accepted it and although distressing they learned to live with it rather than at all seeking the God of their fathers. They had no reminders from the time of Joseph or of Israel. The memorials that had been set up were long forgotten as to why Isreal, or Joseph had set them up. The lessons in the wilderness for the next 80 years were to be the beginning of turning the people towards relying on God and not themselves, not on what only their eyes could see or ears would hear.
In the beginning days of those 80 Moses was told to give the people reminders. To get them to do this in order to get them to think differently. Some did, some did not.
In the ensuing days some would even yet still rebel against Moses and Aaron. Truth is they were rebelling against the Lord Jesus Christ.
In Psalms there's the writings of David that are of him asking to be reminded of the things of God. Life is going to be hard, we need reminders.
We need to realize that in our lived, just as it was in Israel back then, the hand of God is at work in us and He is for us.
70 people entered Egypt in the days of Israel's arriving in the days of Joseph being a leader there. Over 600,000 left Egypt with Pharaoh on their heels to try to bring them back. 70 to over 600,000 in 430 years. God's promise missed by them that He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that Abraham's offspring would be as the sand of the seashore. There's one thing they didn't remember or realize. The memorials that Jacob set up to remind himself and others of the great things God did were there but forgotten. That's another. Moses knew somehow to bring the bones of Joseph with them as they left so someone in the 430 years knew to remember that.
Jesus used the wilderness journey to create a reliance upon Him. To turn their hearts towards Him. To get them to look up. Jesus was the Lord God we read about in the Old Testament. We know this from the first chapter of the book of John. Another reminder.
In the bulk of the Old Testament we find one after another of the reminders of God in the lives of people.
In today's terminology what we read of in God's instructions to Moses is for them to journal about their relationship with God. To write down and remember. To teach it to their children. Today we ought to be writing down our faith history just as God had taught Moses to do and had instructed Moses to teach the people of Israel to do.
Some have said that it's not good to dwell on the past. The negative things, for sure, don't dwell on those. Satan loves to remind you and I about our past. We remind him of his future. We ought to always be mindful and reminded of the great things that God's done in our lives. Reason being we WILL be hit with things in our future that will at times shake us to the core of who we are. Things that will emotionally wreck us. We need reminders of God's work in us to keep us from running away from our calling in Christ Jesus. Dr. John Whitcomb often quoted Romans 3:4 a lot. Let God be found true and every man a liar. We need daily reminders of God's truth. The truth found in His Word and what He says is true of us. What His decided will for us is, not what we try to make it to be. Remember that we read that many will attempt to say they did this or that in Jesus's name. They weren't doing what they were called to be doing. They weren't doing it for Jesus. Many had not the right relationship with Jesus to begin with.
Be sure of your relationship with Jesus then keep a journal or notebook of your faith history. Keep it with you. When times get rough, and they will, you will need reminders of the great things that God's done in you and for you.
I use two apps on my phone and tablet. I am one who types rather than hand writes. I know of others who love to hand write journals. Whatever you need to do, do it.
We will be tempted to think we don't need it. It's not my instruction it's God's. The Lord gave examples for us to learn from and live by. It's up to us to do.
Monday, January 23, 2023
For Sake of Appearances
by David Brenneman
Am reading in Matthew this morning and Jesus had had enough of some of the things that the Pharisee's were saying He and His Disciples ought to be doing.
Doing things that were for the sake of appearance, not because of any real need to be done. Doing it to 'look' religious. This too is in the world today.
Many places and peoples set up things to look like God's there when in reality the passage that Jesus quoted from Isaiah rings as true today as it did back then. "This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.".
Nobody really likes to look like they don't know what they're doing. I certainly do not. I get extremely uncomfortable when in certain situaitons and I just want to run from the room, even if I know the people there. Having issues in socal situations has been a problem of mine for all my life. If you notice me actually comfortable in a social situation...it's because of what God has done, not what I've brought to the table.
Many in the entertainment world, in the political world, even in a great deal of religious circles concerning many mega-churches, go through the elaborate in order to present an appearance. A very powerful example of somewone who put on a show for sake of appearances and wasn't noticed until too late was Robin Williams. Nobody knew or understood that he was hiding such personal pain. We can probably add Naomi Judd to that list too.
Add to the mix the massive problem that most do not want to get involved in helping someone else in distress. They want all the good stuff but don't want to go through any of the bad to get there. It is extremely evident when both the person recording a video of someone in distress and the dozens that pass them by rather than stopping to help would rather get it on video than be a caring human being.
The Jewish leaders loved to put on things for sake of appearances. They wanted a Christ that would agree with their rules and regulations. Wanted a Messiah that would laud them for their efforts. They added hundreds and hundreds of rules to what God had said in the Old Testament only because they could. The people were basically afraid of them and wouldn't confront them. Jesus both would and did. What was different this time was that Jesus didn't just speak out against them, He did so as one who spoke with authority. There was something about Jesus's condemnation of them that always hit a nerve with them. Others had likely spoken against them and in doing so in their own power and own wisdom were squashed and done away with. Not so with the Lord of all Creation.
Appearances. We go through so much in spending on appearances. We go through so much money spent on diet fads and programs that do not work to improve a health problem. Programs do not work. The culture has been crafted to accept this false idea. It's easily searched that food companies have crafted foods to make specific one's addictive for a reason. It feeds the medical industry. Medicine for decades has been a business not a service. They want repeat customers. They only work on what is needed to maintain a 'standard of care' not to heal or to cure. Healed people, cured people have no need for a doctor.
In much the same way these Jewish leaders, and many even today, craft what is said to keep people coming back for all the wrong reasons. They take advantage of people's emotions and feelings in order to keep them ensnared into a world that they do not need to be in and shouldn't be in.
Jesus tells many, that they need to depart from Him for He never knew them. They did all kinds of things in His Name but never had a real relationship with Him. Just as these so-called leaders never had a real relationship with the God they said they followed. Their hearts were far from God, just as Jesus had said.
Are you in a real relationship with Jesus? Or are you going through the motions only looking to feel better about yourself? Look in the mirror, will there be a person looking back at you that is honestly a doer of the Word of God rather than a hearer only? Do you spend what you make solely on you and the wants of your family and do not care about those that God cares about? Yesterday's sermon had to do with giving, both of ourselves as well as our financial contributions. Would you be characterized as a giver or as one who passes by those in need because of how it would make you look?
Is your walk with Jesus genuine? Or do you only ask Him to come out of a room in your heart when there's a problem you can't handle? Do you 'try to do good' rather than actually be the good that God says is right?
Are you part of the problem in misleading people or are you a worker in the harvest as Jesus said to pray for? I'm not knocking good health. What I'm lead to use as material isn't of me. I just write as directed. It IS good to be healthy but to obsess over it or to rely on medical maintenance drugs when it's not necessary or on so called meal plans that cause people to go into unnecessary debt...that's not good. To those I strongly suggest what the Bible says: for any who lack wisdom to ask of God who gives freely to all who ask. Similiarly...do not be wise in your own estimation but understand what the will of God is. That being our sanctification because of our justification before God.
Will your life be characterized as these to whom Jesus was confronting? It doesn't escape the notice that these people got a 2nd chance to change. Possibly among them was Nicodemus who indeed came to Jesus in secret in where we find John 3:16's conversation. Yet at the same time quite possibly one or more times we read of these Pharisee's going off on Jesus, one of them COULD have been Saul who later became Paul. When Jesus separates people at the last judgment...there will be no second chances.
When you look in the mirror is there a real, right, relationship with Jesus to be seen? Or are you more concerned about your image? When you go out in public are you at all approachable in your demeanor by others? Are you living out the life God intended for you or are you doing your own thing albiet with a twist? Giving God what's "His" on Sunday's and doing your own thing the rest of the week? Would you be characterized by others as one who prefers others above yourself?
Our feelings and emotions will always get us into trouble. We spend billions per year on things to make us forget or to remember. We spend billions on spur of the moment decisions that ultimately fail. We get involved with multi-level marketing schemes and don't even see them for what they are, because they keep promising and we keep believing that they will deliver. We get caught up in the ideas that you're not successful unless you have a degree to flaunt in front of others. We get caught up on our clothing purchases, our car purchases, truck purchases. Our 'toys' that we keep going into debt to get in order to keep up appearances. We do all this while we drive on by those in need. While we walk past those in need. Even when traveling we make sure to only go to those places that bring us temporary happiness and joy rather than to see how people there are really living and to help them. Buying things there we don't need and as I heard in a video snippet...bringing home that vacation in the form of prolonged debt. Still paying it off months and maybe years after it's been over.
All in keeping up appearances...in trying to look like someone who's successful in the world's eyes rather than one who's succeeded in the life that God designed for us. They aren't the same. Our first example was Robin Williams. His ability to make people laugh yet it all just hid a pain he wouldn't share. It's quite probable that he didn't have a relationship with Jesus because of what we know of his manor of death. Others who had incredible IQ's who died and at no point in their public life ever acknowledged a relationship with God...if these people--regardless of how they contributed to mankind---died without Christ, they are in Hell. Their appearances did them no good. Their not being genuine did them no good.
Make sure your life is indeed, as the Scriptures say, is hidden in Christ with God.
Make sure that you're not living a lie, that you're not trying to keep up with appearences in order to not be seen as an embarrassment to the world.
Make sure that you are not lying to yourself about what's important and what isn't.
Jesus set the standard. His workmanship in every person who is saved in Christ Jesus is to make us more like Him, not make us more acceptable to the world.
Take that very personally. Please do. Jesus said they hated Me they will hate you too. To be like Christ rather than the world isn't going to make you popular.
To be like Christ is going to make you different than the world for a good reason...so that the world would see the goodness of Jesus and not ourselves.
If you're in Christ you have a job to be doing to the best of your ability as assigned by the Spirit of God in His Church...are you doing it? Or are you doing your own thing that has all the appearances of something from God but isn't what you were called to be doing? You must look in the mirror and ask God to reveal the truth about you to you. I can't tell you, your parents can't tell you, your best friend can't tell you. The only one who searches the hearts and knows the thoughts and intentions of the heart can tell you...and that one is Jesus. The one who's doing His work in you.
I struggle in social situations and sometimes I know why other times I do not. Many times, in hinde sight, it's because God's moving me through something.
Psalm 23 says more than we realize and what we need to hear.
"The Lord is my Shepherd, I will not be in need. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for the sake of His Name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the preesence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me allt the days of my life, and my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever." NASB.
That valley of the shadow of death isn't just what things in life that have every appearance of looking ugly and evil.
Evil, as easily seen in our world today, is being made to look like good things. We're warned in the Scriptures to beware of those who call good evil and evil good.
Evil can look like so many 'good' things to us. Nursery rhymes are written about it and we miss it's hidden meaning. Children enticed by all that's good and it's a trap.
When you look in the mirror what do you see? Are you seeing what you want to see or are you willing to take a step and ask Jesus to show you the real you?
Are you willing to take a step and ask Him if what you're doing is what He wants of you? Are you? Sadly I know of many who have turned away from their calling to do what they think God's wanting of them and the fruits bear witness that their perception of truth isn't true in God's eyes. Jesus said you would know people by their fruits.
Pray. Ask the Spirit to show you the truth about you. It may cost you, it may actually finally fulfill you. You may find yourself going down an entirely different path than you think is right for you to be on. The road to Heaven has thousands of exits that all promise so many things that all look like they are from God. That's what Satan does along our way. James 1:5 NASB "But if any of you lacks widom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.". He's not going to come and make fun of you or mock you because you asked or for why you asked. But...He wants you to ask. Will you?
Sunday, January 22, 2023
How We See Life Isn't How Life Is
by David Brenneman
Jesus is more concerned about your holiness than your happiness.
"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we also have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we celebrate in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us." Romans 5:1-5 NASB
2 Thessalonians 4:3a NASB "For this is the will of God, your sanctification."
We who are in Christ Jesus aren't necessarily going to face a life of success and pleasure that we see those in the world pursuing. We aren't necessarily going to have a life of personal dreams achieved. We need to understand that in Christ there's but 2 priorities of God concerning Believers. The first is our sanctification. Our being made to be like Christ through His work in us. To achieve this means an intimate relationship with Jesus. It means taking down the walls we have erected in our hearts and to become what we were always intended to be in Christ Jesus. The second is to be doing that which is assigned to us to be doing in the body of Christ by the Spirit of God.
Some might point towards a verse that says that if we delight in the Lord He will give us the desires of our hearts. Actually, consider reading that backwards. The desire of our hearts should be in delighting in the Lord.
When our desires and God's will are the same, God sized things happen. When we pursue knowing Jesus, He honors that. When we pursue intimacy with Him, He honors that. When we do as the Spirit directs us, He honors that.
It may not make sense. But it will be right in His eyes, according to His purpose and His plan.
Sometimes we think we've messed up God's plan too much to be of use to Him. My Dear Reader, you aren't that good. Neither am I. Things might be delayed, they might be adjusted, but God's will will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Sometimes our disobedience causes God to shift something that we were given to do off to someone else who is being obedient. His plans for mankind will not be thwarted. What's written in the Bible will still take place. Jesus said not one portion will not be fulfilled to the smallest letter.
Part of His will is going to be difficulties. It's going to be struggles. We learn in these to have a deeper intimacy with Jesus. We learn to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and to lean not on our own understanding. We learn that He indeed has never left us or forsaken us. We learn to love others as He first loved us. We learn to let go of the things that this world traps people in. Making more room in our hearts for the things of God.
Being successful isn't necessarily what the world defines it as. Some come to Christ and go through a lot. It doesn't mean they are failing at Christianity. Sometimes the things we go through are incredibly difficult and painful. Just like in the physical world, Spiritual surgeries can be equally painful. Sometimes needing to be done in stages so as to preserve the patients ability to survive. Jesus never stops in His work in our lives. He doesn't grow tired. Never is weary. He is patient with us in our infirmities. He's well acquainted with grief. He was a man of sorrows after all. He indeed wants what's best for us. It may not take the shape and form we are thinking of either.
Pray often and as frequently as breathing. Find out through your prayers what's next.
Be intentional in being in God's Word. Don't allow distractions that don't need to be there. Be honest with you about what needs to leave your life. If it's coming between you and Jesus, get rid of it. Don't justify what doesn't belong.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Set your mind on things above not on the things of this world. Pray without ceasing.
Ask Jesus how you can become more like Christ. Listen.
Many things in this world will be extremely attractive to you. Choosing to take up your own cross and following Jesus is far more important. When life gets difficult remember who is there with you. Remember your positive faith history. Write it down. Read it often. It's been God's instructions through most of the Old Testament.
God's enemy wants us to panic when we see things happening to us and to those around us. He wants us to jump to conclusions. Most of the time, my jumping just gets me to the wrong conclusion. I don't see what God sees. I don't know what God knows. I just know His words to me are : Trust Me.
Indeed some point to another that eye has not seen nor has ear heard nor has it entered the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9. Well...look at that again. It does not mean nor say anything about any exclusions from difficulties. Many many saints in Heaven had no idea of the real truth behind what was going on that lead to them departing this world to step into eternity. We do not know what God knows. What is important is to make the most of our time. We live in a world that spends billions on NOT making the most of our time. Spending millions on people to play sports when there's other things that the Lord says are of a higher priority. Millions are spent on disposable entertainment. Billions even. Passing along the debt to the next generation. Handing away rights and priveleges to get something rather than pursuing what God wants in a person's life.
Look at what motivates you. Look at what you do in your 'down time'. Look at where you spend your time more than where you spend your money. Is there any dedicated time spent with Jesus each day? Are your thoughts on your day first thing rather than on what Jesus wants you to be doing in your day?
His workmanship will not stop until we step into eternity. His Spirit will not stop in doing what must be done to make us more like Christ. Our obedience and disobedience only determines how much of that will be done while we breath the breathe of life. We will either see the blessings of God for doing so or miss out on the blessings of God for not doing so.
I''m facing some difficult times tomorrow and as odd as it may sound I'm ok with it. I'm ok with whether or not I am able to keep a certification or to lose it. Achieving it was enough. I'm ready to move on. Things that used to be important to me just no longer are. I just want to have a job to do that is helping others.
I do not want the weight of a mortgage so I'm praying that God takes care of that, so that I can get a job that lets me help others by using all that He's taught me throughout my life. I'm not striving for any other worldly dreams or aspirations. I've already achieved what was possible for me in this life. Done things that I thought I'd never do and then some. My dream job awaits only in the timing of God. When He says so, so it shall be. I want to encourage all of you to consider it well that there's much more to your life than you can ever imagine in Christ Jesus. Being willing to accept what God wants for you is the first step. His will to be done, not ours. As part of a 'theme' has been...do everything we do as to the Lord. Do it to the best of our ability. Do it with the right attitude. Remember all the good that God's done in our lives. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. Let's do this...
Saturday, January 21, 2023
What are You Invested in?
by David Brenneman
"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." Galatians 6:7-8 NASB
To sow is defined as: plant seed by scattered on the earth. Also plant seeds of a plant or crop.
It implies an intentional investment of time, energy and effort. Of focus of intention to gain a positive result.
Now, re-read that opening passage with those definitions in mind.
Changes your perspective doesn't it?
We don't consider much of our lives as being as personal as it really is in light of Scripture. It's either us investing all that in us, or it's us investing in something greater than us. Jesus implored the Disciples to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Here's that reference again to reaping something sewn.
What are you doing in your days? Focused on you or on what you've been called to do in Christ? Pushing product or services or living out a life in Christ as He intended for you? My prayer these days for me is to be working at whatever it is that lets me use my talents and abilities given to me by God for God. That includes employment. That includes 'home life'. It includes being out in the world. The harvest Jesus spoke of is the world. That sort of encompasses everyone. Note that implies everything as well.
Steven Curtis Chapman has that song out called "Do Everything" many years ago.
It's message is clear: do everything to the glory of the One who made you because He made you to do everything for Him...to tell the story of grace in our lives.
As the song goes on to say...we often wonder if it matters at all. It does matter as long as what we do is for the right reasons. As Jesus said in this opening passage...of what and who we sew our seeds into.
I've learned a very, well, painful, lesson while living those 20 plus years in the wilderness. I'm, at heart, a very loyal person to what it is I do and to whom I do things for. It wasn't until we were granted this gift of moving here, did it finally hit me that the toll it took on me for putting so much of me into a company was too much. My priorities are to be God, my Wife, then others, then me. Scriptures says to prefer one another above yourself. Jesus lived that out. We should live that out. It may mean waiting on the things that we 'want'...or at least think we want at the time.
Are you investing in what Jesus wants you to be investing in...which is people? Or are you investing in self? Your wants, your desires, your this, your that?
Are you justifying taking the blessings He's bestowed upon you and spend them on yourself rather than using those things to invest in others? Take a good hard look at what you've accumulated. Look at where your time goes. Remember sewing seed involves time, energy, and effort. Time was the first part. Energy. Our passion, our gusto, our moxi, emotions, take all that and give it a Godly direction if you aren't. EVERYTHING you own will be left behind for someone else to deal with should God call you home. Look at all the estate sales that keep happening. Total strangers invited in to dispose of someone else's belongings. No sense of emotional attachment to those things that the original owner who passed away had for them. Not a person in Heaven or Hell is concerned about that china cabinet or those sets of dishes or all the clothes or trinkets.
When we get to that day when Jesus calls all who have believed into giving an account...it's NOT going to be about how much stuff we had. It's what we did for Jesus while in the body. Not what we did for self that will come out of that fire it will be tested by. Self will be burned up and be consumed by that fire. What's done for Christ will remain and come out of the other side of that fire.
When you consider this day you step into...the clothes you go through to wear, the food you've chosen to consume, the drink you will either make or stop by some place to get, is all of that being done to the glory of God? The warnings of God for the end times starts out with "lovers of self...". Does this define you?
Are you justifying your actions with a deceptive belief in how you deserve this or that? Jesus said "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." in Matthew 6:21 NASB.
Nothing is as important to a farmer as good seed. Of planting intentionally what they want to see as a crop. They want a specific result at the end of their labors. Much is spent, on the order of billions per year, on wasted things. "Planned obsolescence" is built into most everything you buy. From food to appliances and vehicles. Even your medications are not designed to make you truly healthy. Consider how those are even described! "Maintenance drugs".
What are you sewing in your life? What are you investing in? My dream job, which I pray for daily, is to have a job where I can help people with the talents and abilities that God gave me over the course of my life. I want to invest in people, not products. I want my loyalty to be with the One who saved me. I saw a description given after I took an online test a few years ago of a type of person called a Reliable Realist. It does pretty much sum up much of me.
A Reliable Realist is a very precise, reserved and demanding person. Their most prominent quality is reliability and they will always make every effort to keep any promise given. They are more quiet and serious people. They do not talk a lot but they are good listeners.
God first, people second, ourselves last. Don't take what blessings are given to us and waste them in sewing to ourselves first. First fruits belong to God.
Be honest with you. While Jesus hasn't come back yet, you still have time to sew your time, energy and effort into His harvest. Get to it!
Friday, January 20, 2023
Separation of the Believing from the Unbelieving
by David Brenneman
In Matthew 13 Jesus left the crowds and went into the house. His disciples came to Him and asked Him to explain the parable of the tares of the field. Not only did He explain that. In order that they truly understand, He told the same parable in other ways. Leaving no doubt of the truth and severity of what was going to happen.
In my late night post last night that's only on my blog site, it was something like that here. Telling the truth of things whether or not people really want to hear it or not.
People today do not want to consider it at all that God would reject them because of them not having received Jesus Christ as their Savior.
People today do not want ot consider it at all that God has to deal with sin that they find no fault with and actually find pleasure in.
People today are no different than the people throughout history in all these things. People don't see themselves as any less worthy of Heaven as those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus alone for salvation.
Here's your interesting factoid. In discussing wheat and tares there's this to note: they can look almost the same. One is real wheat one is 'fake wheat'. It isn't wheat at all. To those who find it mixed among their wheat they know exactly what it is but it would cause more harm than good to take it out before it's time to harvest.
In movies and in fiction books we read of or see of people vanishing when Jesus returns. Husbands vanishing in front of wives. Children vanishing from the arms of mothers. People screaming out because they cannot find nor fathom why their loved one's are not here. Global catastrophies because of millions of vanishing people.
This is coming. It's as certain as the truth of the first coming of Jesus is His second coming.
Millions of people will face the extremely harsh reality of the truth that they didn't measure up to God's standard: salvation in Christ Jesus.
They were not sealed in the Spirit which comes to each who believe in Christ for salvation. God puts His mark on all who believe. He knows who are the wheat and who are the tares....the fake wheat.
People today think that these spots of horror across the globe are bad. Bad hasn't happened yet. The only time bad was ever as close as it will get is when God brought the global flood to the whole planet. Billions all across the world died within hours. Some instantly some not so quickly. But all those billions did die.
Sin must and will be dealt with. If someone, anyone, who understands right from wrong dies without salvation in Jesus Christ...Hell is where they go to next.
Jesus never ever will be asking questions of anyone as to whether or not they measured up to His standards. There's no curve being graded on. None of this everyone gets a trophy situation. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, knows who are His and who are not. To be succinct...no Earthly shepherd goes and questions sheep to see if they were his or hers or if they were someone else's. Even Earthly shepherds know their own sheep from others.
Do not think for a moment that when it comes to the Spiritual that Jesus will 'cut people some slack'. Because He won't. It's not His will that any should perish.
It's also not His will He's doing what He does for. He does what He does, is doing what He's doing for the glory of HIS Father.
People today think that by being in among people who are Believers that it will make them that much more appealing to God to be spared.
It doesn't work that way. Back up and read what was said of wheat and tares-fake wheat. People who merely associate with Christian's don't gain salvation by association. It doesn't work that way.
You must choose to come to Christ on your own and you must repent from your sins, asking Jesus to forgive you and make you His own. In Romans 12 we read of being trasnformed. That is to be taken from being fake wheat and made into real wheat...by the work of the Spirit of God within us.
Like in yesterday night's post...we must have the Spirit in us to be safe and secure from every scheme of the Devil and his minions. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit...they have the potential to inhabit anyone. Only with salvation does there come a 'no vacancy' sign upon a person.
Only through the shed blood of Jesus can you be saved. There are no multiple ways to be saved. Jesus Himself said that HE is the Way. Singular. One.
Oh the horror of those who died in the global flood as written in Genesis. Yet compared to what's coming to this world in the judgments in the book of Revelation...they were spared the worst. Most of them went immediately to Hell rather than suffered along the way. In the 7 years of judgments, at various points, yes billions will go to Hell in an instant. Still others will long for death but not find it. They will be physically tormented in ways no man has thought could happen to them.
Jesus is pleading with all to come to Him. To get out of the drowning waters of life and into His lifeboat. To be with Him for eternity is but a decision away from anyone. We don't know what our today is going to be like. Like a friend's husband. You could stand up for another cup of coffee and leave this world before your body hits the floor. You do not know how much longer you have any more than I do for myself. I just know that my Jesus awaits me when my life on Earth is through.
Jesus in Matthew 13 not only explained the 1 parable to His disciples, He took the time to cover it in other ways said to them. He was making sure they understood completely. Sadly even Judas understood yet didn't believe Him. He was a tare among the wheat. He was uprooted at the proper time, just as Jesus said would be happening in these parables that He explained to them. Think on that one.
Jesus doesn't just want you to get into His lifeboat. He wants an intimate relationship with you. He wants you to know Him and have a life to the full. We believe what we're shown by others as to how good life can get. The world teaches self. Jesus teaches how to be selfless. The world want you to do and be and go get what you can for you. Jesus wants you to give away what He's given you...which is the good news that saved you.
Are you faking it? Are you going about life 'trying' to be good enough and thinking that you 'hope' Jesus will cut you some slack? It certainly doesn't work that way. Nobody will be 'cut some slack'. In the Final Judgement after those horrific 7 years and after the 1,000 years that Jesus Himself rules the world, EVERY person who lived that hadn't already gone to be with Jesus will be shown how their ideas and their works didn't measure up to the requirement of salvation in Christ. After all their thoughts, words, deeds are weighed...the final call is the book of Life. Not written there, not going to be going anywhere but the lake of fire.
You are either safe by having salvation in Christ Jesus or your next destination is torment in Hell until that Final judgement when your next destination is the lake of fire. Spending eternity paying for your own sins. Eternity separated from God.
Salvation is free it's available right now. Stop believing the lies of this world about what happens to those who come to Christ. Stop believing you're 'maybe' good enough. Rely on the Spirit of God to make you right before God. Don't listen to the lies swirling about your head about 'what happens to people who give in to Christianity'. Satan cares not who goes to Hell. He just doesn't want anyone to listen and be saved. By you constantly saying no to the free gift of salvation in Christ...you're doing exactly what Satan wants. Oh the lies the world tells everyone about how to find joy and prosperity. Jesus said that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Don't believe anything Satan tells you!
For God so loved YOU that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Read the next verses after John 3:16. "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 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. And this is the judgment, that the Light (Jesus) has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light (Jesus); for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light (Jesus), and does not come to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices (lives) the truth comes to the Light (Jesus), so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God."
I added the (Jesus) emphasis because if you read in the first chapter of the book of John you will read John describing Jesus as the Light.
By not coming to Christ, those who have not, are judged already. The sentence just hasn't been carried out yet and won't until they breath their last.
Those who have been judged already love what Satan has to say and has to offer in this world rather than the truth of God in Christ Jesus.
The message of salvation is simple, so simple a child can understand it. That's how easy the Father made it for you and I and everyone.
The next move is yours. You who have not believed have a choice to make. Those of you who have also have a choice to make each day....living your life honoring what God has done through Jesus to save you or living for yourself. Those who have not believed have consequences to face. You're considered guilty in the eyes of God no matter what you might do in this life. The choice is still with you as long as you have a breath to breathe.
Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Little one's to Him belong, they are weak but He is strong. Yes Jesus loves me! Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.