Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Not Supposed to be Easy

Not Supposed to be Easy
by David Brenneman

In Christ we're given a measure of faith.  The Bible says that to us.  What we do with it is up to us.  Faith, must be nurtured, so that it can grow and not wither.
I was reading in Mark this morning and I was in Chapter 6, Jesus had just fed the 5,000.  Faith was going to be given a chance to grow in them but it would appear to be struggling.  Ever feel that in your life?  Facing something and having diffculty seeing the other side?  

The most apt description I can have for that still comes from a movie.  The first Indiana Jones movie.  He has a piece of paper that shows he must take a step of faith to get across a chasm to the other side.  He figures out that the way to go there was meticulously painted so that for anyone standing on the side he was on would not see the way to go in front of them.  He tossed some loose stones out in front of him to see.  

Trees, plants, are all examples of faith.  They are constant real examples of the parable that Jesus gave about seeds.  Of how when seeds are planted in the right soil at the right time, good things indeed come.  When struggles come it does indeed slow down.  For some it stops perhaps for a while or for good.  Depends on if they were saved to begin with.

In verse 46 Jesus says goodbye to the crowd, then leaves for the mountain to pray.  All the while his Disciples are in a boat trying to get to where they were sent.  We know this because verse 45 says He had them get into the boat and go ahead of Him.  So they were sent.  They knew not that it would be a difficult time.  They just obeyed and went.  Much as we do each day we're given.  We're sent into the world not knowing what's coming next.  

So Jesus goes farther inland to the mountain to pray.  Yet we read He sees them struggling against the wind to get to where He sent them.  Ever feel that way as well?  You know the direction that God's sent you yet it seems impossible to get there?   As someone once pointed out to me, God can't direct your steps if you aren't walking.   So they obeyed...and we see they weren't doing so well.  Now consider the fact that all of them were seasoned fishermen.  All knew how to handle what they were up against which is why they persisted.  They had been struggling for several hours it seems.

Jesus came to them...directly to them.  Intending to pass them by it says.  He really freaked them out by doing this and tells them not to be afraid.  He gets into the boat and the wind that had been the problem stopped....but it reads that they hadn't learned anything from what they had been experiencing in the last afternoon.  Learned nothing from the evidence of the power of God.  Their faith was still fighting to get out of the shell and ground it was in.

We also struggle in this life.  We often are at a cross-roads.  I am right now.  It often hits me and causes anxiety.  Considering the story of the Disciples...I'm in good company.  They had it too.  The biggest thing to do is to keep taking it to Jesus.  Keep reminding ourselves of His promises.  In the last several days I've made the choice to keep praying more.  To ask Him to be in the boat with me.  To see us to the other side.  

Our faith grows by way of the challenges we face.  Sometimes it's not about us at all.  We face a struggle because someone else isn't strong enough to handle it so it's been given to us.  We read that God causes all things to work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.   

Yes I see the mounting waves.  Yes I see the boat rocking.  Yes I see the concern in my own face in the mirror.  
Truth says : "I have not changed.  I am the same yesterday, today, and forever."
Truth says : "I will not leave you nor forsake you."
Truth says : "I have loved you with an everlasting love."
Truth says : "Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
Truth says : "You are in my hand and no one can pluck you out of it."
Truth says : "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, make your requests known unto God."

So now you see why increasing prayer time was necessary and important.  For seeds to sprout they must force themselves into the soil.  Must push out when they cannot see in order to find the water and nutrients to live.  We're compared to seeds planted in that parable that Jesus gave.  

Truth says that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.  We need to delve deeper into our Bible not farther away from it when things aren't going our way.  Being intentional about real Spiritual food is necessary to nurture faith.

I've no doubt that God's not brought us all this way to let us down now.  He moved us to the other side of a mountain that was impassable to bring us to where we are today.   God's not done with us yet.  His plans for us were established when the world was created.  He knew us before we were born.  Before Adam and Eve ever breathed their first breath.  Our faith history is important to remember.  In a book that is still in it's infancy stages...there's a story of how God put gutters on our house in Columbus.  There's a story of how He took a semi truck and kept it from killing me.  There's the story of how I met my Wife.  When things aren't going well, when fear rises, remembering your faith history is extremely important.

As Mark Lowry said in his video before singing "This Too Shall Pass" he points out that whether or not you're having a good day or a bad day...it will pass.  Nothing came to stay.  It came to pass.  That, he said, was his life verse.  Whatever we are facing, what we are facing right now, God's in it with us and He WILL bring it to pass what must be in order to get us through to the other side.  We must persist in being faithful.  To keep our eyes upon Jesus as the hymn writer said. Look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

It's not to say we still won't face anxiety or fears.  It doesn't mean we failed at living the Christian life.  It means we learn to grow deeper and press on towards the upward call in Christ Jesus that we have.   Don't ever expect Satan to roll over and stop trying to hinder our growth in Christ Jesus.  Scripture is clear that He who began a good work in us WILL continue it.   That we ARE His workmanship.  Satan will try what He's allowed to (read the beginning of the book of Job).   Satan cannot stop our sanctification.   We can slow it by our disobedience.  That's where the forgiveness of God, His Grace and His Mercy come in.  

Growing in Christ isn't supposed to be easy...but in Christ all things are possible.  Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face...and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.   So if you would...keep us in prayer while we pray ourselves.

Monday, February 27, 2023

What We Think...

What We think...
by David Brenneman

Was looking at a post from a year ago...and it had been about our point of view not changing anything with God.

In the book of Numbers I had just read this morning had to do with the rebellion of Korah.  He and his family had been chosen to help in the service within the family of the Levi's.  His point of view, easily seen as having been wrought in selfish desires for recognition, cost him, his wife, and children and even other relatives their lives.  The very ground opened up and in the only recorded time in history, all of them and their possessions went down to Sheole/Hades.  The only time someone took their stuff with them.

Our point of view doesn't change God's view on sin.  Sin was what caused Adam and Eve to lose it all and be driven out of Eden.  Driven out of Paradise.  The very saddening part for them was that they could see it from a distance but were forbidden to go back into it.  They would never know paradise again until Jesus took them from what's been called Abraham's bosom after His resurrection.  Sometimes that place is also called Paradise...but to them...they knew the first Paradise. Which reminded me of those who saw the Second Temple...many wept because they remembered the first that was Solomon's Temple, created from King David's blueprints.  

Korah had wanted to believe he and his own were just as worthy to stand before God as Moses and Aaron had been. 

In this world we live with many billions of people who think that they too have just as great a right to stand before God the Father justified.  That they think that they are worthy to do so.  Very much this proved that the rebellion of Korah has not died...because it was wrought in the mind of Satan.

Satan thought he is worthy to sit on the Throne of God.  He tempts and prods people to gain power and authority to believe the same.  From the least to the greatest in this world the temptation is the same.  From the least to the greatest the truth is sin is the same.  A single sin is enough to prevent anyone from being in Heaven. One.

What we think isn't truth.  We read in the Bible that the only one who is truth is Jesus.  His word is truth.  He knows every aspect, every angle, every possibility, in every situation.  Every behind the scenes thing.  Every hidden thought is laid bare before Him.  Every secret.  That's my Jesus. We read that He searches the hearts of man (and women).  He knows every intention of the heart.  Long before we do.  He knows when people are just only thinking that He's a liar and have not said it outloud.  He knows when people truly believe that He's not who He said He was.  

Read in Mark 6 of what happened in His own hometown.  So great was their unbelief that even His miracles, performed elsewhere, would not have changed their minds.  It's a very very powerful statement in verse 5 NASB "And He could not do any miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them."  Likewise verse 6 speaks volumes NASB "And He was amazed at their unbelief."

How often are we the one's that He's amazed at concerning our own unbelief?   I'm sure there's times that, while He loves me unconditionally, that Jesus shakes His head at me because of how I am some times.  

What we think doesn't change God's eternal plan for mankind.
What we think does not change our need to come to Christ for salvation.
What we think about what we see in our lives doesn't change the truth of God's still doing a work in us.
What we think about our present or our future doesn't change God's truth about us.
What we think doesn't change God's personal plans for us.   
What we think doesn't change the identity that God gave us from birth.  God makes no mistakes.  

Sin causes people to think what they do about God.  That they don't need Him.  That He didn't create them as they feel that they are.  That He's punishing them and has been all their lives.   That they are no good.  That they have no purpose.  That...well....fill in the blank.  


In Christ I am a new creation.  That's in 2 Corinthians 5:17.
In Christ I am loved by Him.  That's in John 15:9-11.

When we came to Christ, if you're reading this and you've now come to Christ, in that salvation that's received and and accepted...we are a new creation.  When God the Father sees us, He doesn't see all the filth and dirt of sin, He sees Jesus standing in our place.  

After that rebellion of Korah and his family...not soon afterwards there was more rebellion.  It cost 14,700 people their lives.  They refused to believe they were as bad off as the Lord said that they were in their sins.   They died in their sins.  Aaron had to quickly make atonment for them and stand in the way between the Lord and them.  Aaron was the temporary priest to do that.  Jesus is the everlasting Priest.  When we come to Jesus to be saved...He stands in for us.  He did so on the cross to remove our sins from us.

What we do from that point on in our lives is to live for Him.  To want what He wants of us and in us.  He wants us to know His Truth.  That's the job of the Spirit of God...to teach us His truth.   To share that with others.   To show others that they too are loved by Jesus if only they would come to Him on His terms they would find the freedom and love that they've been missing all their lives.

I am, and I hope this doesn't change, always amazed at what all I find myself writing about each morning.  To be honest, I as I wrote a year ago, it's still the same today.  I'm excited for the times in which I am living, but saddened because I know it will not end well for mankind.  We are indeed living in those days right before Jesus returns.  I have what I think are great, fantastic, ideas for inventions etc...but know that they will not come about...because they would not help mankind in the long run.  Would do nothing for the true problem plaguing mankind: the sin problem.  

There is no paradise to be found on Earth...ever since Adam and Eve mankind has been trying to create it here.  The true joy and bliss of what they had before they sinned the world will never know this side of Heaven.  Think on that one.  They walked and talked with Truth and were not ashamed of anything.  We can't go 30 seconds without a mere thought causing shame some days. 

Jesus wants a vibrant, real, relationship with each and every person...but unbelief...that causes a rift that causes things not to be done by Jesus.  
We are all one step away from finding ourselves in the arms of Jesus who awaits our turning to Him with open arms.  
His Light of Truth goes everywhere, and it is through everything.  It goes into every single hidden thing in our hearts and minds.  He knows all that and still loves us and still wants us to be sanctified, to be justfied, before Him.  Hope is only lost when we leave this world without salvation in Jesus Christ alone.

Our anger against God does not and will not change His mind.  We read that in the Bible too.  The anger of man does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.  James 1:20.

Indeed even in Colossians 3:23-24...we're do do all that we do as unto the Lord...to do our best.  Our very best.  Not what's 'good enough'.  Not half-heartedly.
Jesus did NOT endure the cross 'half-heartedly'.  

What we think...what's on your mind? as Facebook puts it to get us to make a 'post'.  The funny irony is they, like the mainstream news, want to retrain you to think what they think is the right way to think.   They want to be the one's to tell you how to think.  To train you.  That's the irony of "television programming".  It was accepted as such concerning a television schedule for a day...but the truth is much deeper.  We are easily taken in by video's and television and even the news...into places in our minds and hearts that simple conversations often cannot go in a straight-forward fashion.

Someone once said the best place to be is in the center of God's Will for them.  It's the same for all of us.  The best place for us to be...our thoughts as well as our actions...is the center of what God's will is for us.  It may not look like what we think it ought to look like....because God knows more than we do on what it should look like.  

Oh what we think...people often don't ask me (I know because I have asked them why many don't ask me) what I am thinking because my thoughts are often heavy.  Can't help that.  The more I read of my Bible...the more I understand of my relationship with God...He made me different for a reason.  We read in the Bible that the Spirit has placed each who have come to Christ in the body of Christ AS HE SEES FIT.  So that is how things are with how I think.  I used to run from that idea of thinking that way until the day that God said it was time to stop running and to embrace what He had in mind for me.  To let go of what He MIGHT ask me to do and to just be willing to do whatever.  You know what I think?  What I learned?   The fear of that was worthless.  There, not a complicated thought in that at all.

Satan wants all to believe that a life in Christ is going to be full of loss.  Full of letting go of things we think we should keep because we like them.
Satan wants us to lose our identity in Christ.  Wants us to believe we are something that we are not.  

What God thinks...He thinks about you all the time.  
What God thinks...He has a plan for you that's more than you ever thought possible.
What God thinks...He thought that you were valuable enough to die for you...so He did.

What God thinks about you is more than you will ever know this side of Heaven...but unless you come to Jesus to be saved...then you will never know.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Attack on Your Identity

Attack on Your Identity 
by David Brenneman 

The most prevalent attack on humanity has been with regards to identity.  It began with Adam and Eve.  When they fell into sin, the first to be changed was how they saw themselves.  Their identity.  They rushed to find something to cover up with.  Even today due to social media and the news it's extremely visible in society.  Demands are made on others to accept or reject identity.  It has not changed in the 6 to 8 thousand years that mankind has been around.  Satan's go-to attack is in regards to identity.  It begins in the home in most cases and then peer pressure comes in to find ways to alter identity to fit what the world wants to see.  If you want to be successful you must...  If you want to achieve then you must become...  If you're not losing weight then you are not being...

In Christ Jesus we're told that we are loved for who we are, as we were created to be.  Some just cannot accept that.  God made no mistakes in how we were born.  Some look to any means possible to prove God wrong.  

If I had a dollar for every time that both my sin nature and Satan came after me by attacking my identity, I would have retired over half my life ago.
We will never win the battle of identity with the God of this Universe when we are opposed to who we were made to be at our creation. 
Any who think otherwise, upon standing face to face with Jesus in the future judgement...will find that everything they have done to themselves will have been reversed.   We will only appear before Jesus as He had created us to be.  He is the God of Truth.  God's Truth is the ONLY ultimate unending unwavering truth.

Even as close as this morning...my identity kept coming under attack.  I have people close and those not so close believing they know my identity.  I have had employers try to influence my identity.  Have had those in the public school system shaping my identity.  

When you look at what trouble the people will be in before Jesus returns:  the list begins with identity.  "they will be lovers of self" or some translations say "lovers of themselves".   Satan goes with what works.  Creative he is not.  He cares not who is in Hell.  Just as long as people don't make it to Heaven on God's terms through Jesus Christ alone.  It dawned on me the other day...and I've lost track of how many times I've read through the Bible.  None of the demons that Jesus cast out were sentenced to Hell.  They were cast out and they are still in this world today.  Satan indeed lost at the Cross of Christ.  Satan could not warp or alter Jesus's identity when He had been in the wilderness for 40 days.  Jesus shaped the future of the Church by shaping identity:  Be a Disciple - Make Disciples.  In regards to the body of Christ: All in Christ Jesus are part of the body of Christ - Identity.

Our santification is to make us more like Christ - a change in identity from 'the old man' or 'old person' into the new one in Christ Jesus.

Many people choose to run off and 'find themselves' with getaway's and vacations.  Or to 'try something new' even.

When our identity is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ we do not need to look to anyone's approval in this world.  Not from our looks, our eating habits, our thinking.  We do need to be descipled but not constantly coached.   Jesus said the Helper, the Holy Spirit would be within each person who is saved in Christ Jesus.  We have all the help we will ever truly need in the power and person of that part of the Godhead.  We should not forsake the assembly, as the Scriptures say is the habit of some, we ought to both be learning from each other and to be doing as the Apostles...showing a still better way to live in Christ.

There is no sin more powerful than Jesus.  There's no thoughts that cannot be conquered in Christ Jesus.  In our microwave society of wanting things faster than we get them we lose sight in the truth that God's timing is not our timing.  Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus as the song goes.
The sin of false identity is for some the absolute hardest to deal with.  For many suicide is their out when they believe their acceptance isn't going to happen.

The only upardonable sin is to die without having Jesus as your Savior and Lord.   No amount of changes to our identity will ever make us equal to the requirement of the Cross of Christ to save a soul.  Nobody's advice, nobody's teaching, coaching, or anything, that does not lead towards a true life in Christ is worth anything in light of eternity.  We don't need 24/7 on call counselor's or coaches to live life.  We need to be surrounded by those who are true Disciples and who walk the talk of praying for others.  Truth be told the healthiest of people can fall over dead at any moment because God says their time is up.  The most knowledgeable of people, with the highest of IQ's can still fall over dead in a heartbeat because God says their time is up.  

Those of us who are in Christ have our identity in who He says we are.  He says we are loved by Him.  Loved by His Father.  Loved by the Spirit.  We are forgiven. We are chosen. Not forsaken. I am who He says that I am.  Yes those are out of a song.   Hillsong "Who You Say I am".

Who the Son sets free...is free indeed.  I'm a child of God...Yes I am.
Free at last He has ransomed me. His grace runs deep...while I was a slave to sin Jesus died for me.
I am chosen not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me not against me
I am who You say I am
You are for me not against me
I am who you say I am

There is so much freedom from the identity problem when we go back to that truth:  In Christ I am who HE says that I am.  My mind, my imagination, the world's demands, the world's ideals, the world's choices DO NOT define me.  

If you're reading this and you're confused about who you are.  
If you're reading this and have been confused about the battles in your mind.

Only in Christ is there one powerful enough to show you who you are and that you are loved by Him.
You are the reason that Jesus was on the cross.
You are worth everything to Him...that He would leave His perfect Heaven to come to earth to live as He did...was to save even the likes of you.
You are not forsaken.  You were not cast away from God.  You are a somebody to Him and He loves you.

Oh how these attacks can be relentless.  There's a very very big reason why.  When we find our identity where it always has been...and we live that out...Satan loses.  He's a very very sore loser.  Sometimes the greatest of prayers is simple: "Lord! SAVE ME!!"  As Peter cried out from the water.

Let today be your first taste of freedom...  

Saturday, February 25, 2023

What is that to you? You follow Me!

What is that to you? You follow Me!
by David Brenneman 

John 21:20-22 NASB. 

Having just been forgiven and restored...Peter just about did it again.  What stuck out to me yet again last night was those 3 words. Jesus was telling Peter what was more important, what was a higher priority. "You follow Me!"

It's always interesting when other passages come to mind after really considering those 3 words. 

Peter was certainly coming off of a well rounded time of weakness.  He had betrayed Jesus, ran away, was sulking in misery.  

Then another showed up in my memories on Facebook. 

Our highest priority isn't making others happy. 
It's not making our employer happy. 
It's not even making ourselves happy.

Our calling in Christ Jesus is to follow Him. 

Was reminded yesterday of those called in Christ are set apart. They are special. We are to live life in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.  

We are not to put the focus on us. That is selfishness. When we are pointing people to us we are hiding the cross of Jesus Christ. When our priorities are not God first then we are putting self or others first. 

When we moved God enabled me to make a clean break in my life.  I refuse to put even my employer ahead of God's priority, which is people.  My Wife is my first consideration after my Savior. My family is next. Church family is next. My friends are what follows. Employer and others are what's next. My walk with Jesus is my first priority even over what the world wants me to focus on which is health and wealth. My health isn't my primary concern. 

My hope, when Jesus returns, is to be found following Him. 

What about you?  Would your life be described as a great this or that, or would you be described as one who follows Jesus?

Would people describe your life as a a follower of Jesus?  Not that hard of a question. 

Jesus was very direct with Peter. "You follow Me!".  

Take a good look at your social media that you do. Is it reflecting you following Jesus?  Or is it pointing people towards the world's standards of thinking of self?

We read that before Jesus returns people will be lovers of self.  

There's much to take in with those 3 words.  Much to consider in everything we do.  Colossians 3:23-34 NASB "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."

Whatever you do.  Same as saying everything you do. ALL that you do. 
Same as saying "You! Follow Me! Do what I have done. Obey all that I have commanded. Live life in such a way that people see your good works and glorify My Father who is in Heaven. I am with you. Take up your own cross and follow Me. Put off your old self with its practices and put on the new self in Christ Jesus."

The worst place to be is to claim to be a follower of Christ Jesus in name only and not in reality.   Millions will cry out to Jesus that they did this or that in His name. They will be told to depart from Him for He never knew them.  

People all around us are consumed with self.  Health can be a consuming idol. Wealth can be a consuming idol. Prosperity can be a consuming idol.  Our looks and worldly identity can be a consuming idol. 

Matthew 22:37-39 NASB "And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’This is the great and foremost commandment.The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’".

This is: You Follow Me! 

Take a good look at what you keep making important to you.  It will show who or what is on the Throne of your life.  

Take a good hard look at what you are making important to you. If it isn't truly following Jesus as He taught and has commanded...

Take time in this here and now to get your life back to a right relationship with Jesus.  

Nobody will look back on life when it's reviewed before Jesus and think they should have done more for self. That they didn't do enough for self. Nobody will wonder if they should have focused more on health or wealth or prosperity.  We will all be shown what all we did in the body for Jesus.  We will see who it was we were following. 

I really don't have a problem with people not seeing me.  I really want people to see Jesus.  I want to do what Andrew did. Pointing people to Jesus so that they may follow Him too.  Jesus is the way the truth and the life. Not me. Not my job. Not my health.  Not my hobbies. Not anything that's important to self.  

The message is pretty clear. 

You follow Me!

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Fool

The Fool
by David Brenneman 

Read through the book of Proverbs and much is said of the fool and the foolish.  Much is said of those who would go so far as to deny Jesus as being the Christ.
The other day I shared what Dr. Charles Stanley had written regarding the "unpardonable state".    That place where many today reside in regards to their denial concerning God in their lives.  

We've lived for quite a few decades now with the increased push towards pushing God out of schools and businesses.  Most colleges and universities used to be the primary learning locations for theology.  Now they are not and now they are the very ones who teach rejection of God in schools and in life after schools.

We also live in an increasingly connected world that isn't what it seems to be.  The interconnection is intentional.  The level of intensity of it is intentional.  It's not some random confluence of events that's adding up to a better society for now or the near future.  It's a recreation of the old Roman Empire with all of it's shortcomings essentially done away with.   A good example is that if you own a smart phone with the way it's done these days it's always knowing what is being said around it.  They made it so that you cannot remove the batteries not because they don't trust people to do that much correctly on their own, it's so that it cannot be fully shut off.  But that's a rabbit trail for the moment.

This world is getting ready for something much bigger than it ever thought possible even 50 years ago.   It's interesting that many of the oft asked questions on social media platforms has to do do with how well you remember how it used to be. 

When we live in a world where those in the so-called news networks have a melt-down on live television to decry that it's their job to tell us what to think.  
When we live in a world where hundreds of news stations quote the same montra about how you need to trust them and not what you read or watch in social media...it's programming alright.   We are the programmed.

The fool says in his (or her) heart that there is no God.   We read in the first chapter of the book of John verses 9-13 NASB "This was the true Light that, coming into the world, enlightens every person."  <--- Light is capitolized for a reason...refers to Jesus Christ.  Every person.  Note that too.  Every person will be exposed to the Light of Christ.  "He was in the world, and the world came into being through Him, and yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not accept Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

Going back before verse 9.  "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has not come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of mankind.  And the Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not grasp it."

Jesus is the one reaching out His hand to a mankind that insists that it's done nothing wrong.
Jesus is the one reaching out His hand to pull one and all out of the darkness and into His marvelous light.
Jesus is the one reaching out His hand and oh so many are pushing it away.

Those who do...are indeed the fools.  In time, all will kneel before Jesus Christ.  All will bow down before He who sits on the Throne.
All those who try to decide what's right in their own eyes will indeed learn that what's right in their eyes must align with what's right in God's eyes.

Jesus loved every single person so much that He was willing to take the penalty of sin onto Himself to keep people from paying it themselves.

In Christ we find both the Light and life.  We find the truth about us, not what the world or our sin nature tries to tell us that we are.  

Jesus is indeed coming soon.  Many millions will be feeling shock and horror that the lies of this world were indeed that...lies...when He returns and millions of people are taken away.  Many will rage at God for taking them as well.  Millions and billions will be dying during those days after the Rapture of the Church.  The foolish here will at some point even cry out for the rocks and mountains to fall on them to try to hide them from He who sits on the Throne.  From Jesus.  Not for feeling like they aren't worthy of what He has to offer, but because they refuse to acknowledge their own wrong.

Jesus is THE Way.
Jesus is THE Truth.
Jesus is THE Life.

No one comes to the Father but through Him.  Not even Satan can have his own way in Heaven.  The Bible says that God beheld him like lightening when iniquity was found in his heart.  That quickly he was kicked out of Heaven.

Changing our physical appearance will not change who we are inside.  The fool says that it's correcting what God made a mistake doing when they were born.
God made no mistake.  My Dear Reader God doesn't make junk.  God doesn't sin, God doesn't do what's ever going to be bad or harmful to us.  He wants eternal fellowship with us as He created us to be.  

The fool...in some places in Proverbs it's very brutally direct to say that they are unreasoning beings.  That wisdom does not reside with them.  That it's useless to argue with one.  There's many many other things.  In the early days of the wisdome granted to him by God, Solomon wrote quite a bit about human behavior in Proverbs.

In this life we are given the chance to not be the foolish.  Jesus made salvation so simple a child could understand it.  Sin separates us from God.  Jesus is the only answer that cures that.  Pushing Jesus away isn't wise.  It leads to eternal separation in pain and suffering for all eternity.   Denying it does not change it.  In Hell there are none who will say that the pain and suffering are faked.  None who will deny the truth of that intensity.  None who will deny that they do not want to be where they are.  Only in this life do you have the chance to avoid that.   Once you die you no longer have any hope.  

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 

Hope is only found in Jesus. Jesus is the only answer to all foolishness.  You must choose, you must decide.  The gift of God in Christ for salvation is free.  But it IS a limited time offer.   Turn your eyes upon Jesus...look full in His wonderful face...and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Which of These has Happened to You?

Which of These has Happened to You?
by David Brenneman

"Again He began to teach by the sea. And such a very large crowd gathered to Him that He got into a boat on the sea and sat down; and the whole crowd was by the sea on the land. And He was teaching them many things in parables, and was saying to them in His teaching,  “Listen to this! Behold, the sower went out to sow;  as he was sowing, some seed fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate it up. Other seed fell on the rocky ground where it did not have much soil; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of soil. And when the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. Other seeds fell into the good soil, and as they grew up and increased, they yielded a crop and produced thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much.” And He was saying, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” As soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve disciples, began asking Him about the parables.  And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but for those who are outside, everything comes in parables,  so that while seeing they may see, and not perceive, and while hearing, they may hear, and not understand, otherwise they might return and it would be forgiven them.” And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How will you understand all the parables?  The sower sows the word.  These are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them.  And in a similar way these are the ones sown with seed on the rocky places, who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy;  and yet they have no firm root in themselves, but are only temporary; then, when affliction or persecution occurs because of the word, immediately they fall away.  And others are the ones sown with seed among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word,  but the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things enter and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.  And those are the ones sown with seed on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundred times as much.”" Mark 4:1-20 NASB

Some have heard the phrase in their lifetime "It happens to the best of us".  The thing is life happens to all of us. 

When we look into this particular parable...what at least I see this morning is that it really covers everyone possible in this world.  Jesus left nobody out.
When we consider another this particular passage in light of another in Romans 1:20 NASB "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

Going back a little to get the full context "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who supress the truth in unrighteousness, because that wich is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them." 

Everyone who has ever lived and had enough understanding in living life...that is the knowing of good and evil...are without excuse when standing before Jesus.
And everyone WILL stand before Jesus.  

Consider it well that everyone will see His power revealed not just in the beginning of things with the Rapture of the Church, but will indeed see it in the 7 years called the Great Tribulation before He once again fully steps down from Heaven into human history to personally rule the Earth for a thousand years.  Judgments are determined and will be carried out during that 7 years.  The world WILL see with beyond HD clarity that God's will WILL be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
That indeed there is just cause for the Holy Righteous One to judge the world concerning sin.

But oh so many think it's an inconsequential thing and disregard the truth of God.  Even those people fit in to this parable.
The truth is everyone can fit into every part of this parable.  It covers everyone from those who are staunch in their disregard and hatred of anything to do with the Word of God to those who listen and are fruit bearer's of that Word implanted.

Which are you?  Where do you fall in this parable?  You're in there somewhere, just as I am.  If we indeed believe or do not believe we are somewhere in that parable.  

In my evening Bible reading time in my Life Principles Daily Bible...Dr. Charles Stanley had something to say concerning the Unpardonable Sin. This is a portion of it: "Jesus is our ultimate, final, and complete sacrifice. Today, salvation is open to every person. When Jesus is your Savior, you cannot commit the unpardonable sin as the Pharasee's did. Their situation cannot repeat itself because of what Jesus provided for us on the Cross.  However, understand there is still a way for a person to sin against the Holy Spirit in such a way that is unpardonable. Instead of the unpardonable sin, I call it the unpardonable state.
Hebrews 10:26, 27 tells us, "for if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice of sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment". The unpardonable state is when people deliberatly chooseto reject the Lord Jesus after hearing the good news of salvation. They completely turn away from God and willfully choose not to believe in Christ as their Savior under any condition. What have they done? They have chosen to remain without forgiveness for their sin (John 3:17,18).
Friend, if you've never received Jesus as your Savior, do not remain in the unpardonable state. Turn to Him, ask Him to forgive your sins, and trust Him to save you. It's the best decision you'll ever make."

Consider that last part of what Dr. Stanley has to say if you've indeed been rejecting Jesus's message to you.  I'm reminded of the scenes in the movies of the masses out in the water after a particular ship struck an iceberg.  Jesus is the one in the boat calling out to all who would listen.  Wanting to bring them into His boat, to safety.  Soon He won't be calling as He has been.   When the Rapture of the Church takes place, and it WILL take place, things are going to be insanely different here on Earth.  

Wait not another day my Dear Reader.  Wait no longer to listen and obey if indeed you've heard the Word of God and are saved, to begin living life as He intended for you.  We're not to be lovers of self...we're not to be putting our wants, needs and desires ahead of what God wants for us in this life.  Those who are at the end of that parable are the one's who listened and obeyed...and saw the blessings of God pour out in their lives.

You're somewhere in that parable...so where are you in it?

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Slow Down

Slow Down 
by David Brenneman 

Our world seems to thrive on the push push push.  To not give the human mind a chance to recover from the last impactful thing that just happened. 

There's reason for that. As I read once "A tired body means a tired mind. Tired minds make mistakes".

How often do we see the world trying to rush Jesus in the 4 Gospels? 

More importantly, how often do we see Jesus ignore that push and either just Himself or Himself and His Disciples go away from it all?  

Jesus's non-rushed environment was in the presence of His Father. 

Our world absolutely does not want thinking people. Does not want anyone figuring out the plans of those who might hold some semblance of control over the masses.  This isn't a conspiracy theory, this is indeed Biblical.  When we pray for others, for those in authority over our lives, we cause world events to move towards what God wants and desires rather than what Satan wants or desires.  When we read that those prayers are a command in the Bible it makes sense as to why.  We aren't to just wing it in life. 

Our lives in Christ are to be spent as He sees fit by way of the Spirit's direction.  We need, even as the Disciples did, to slow down and spend time with Jesus.  To pray to OUR Father in Heaven as well.  Jesus said that when we came to Christ for salvation His Father became our Father too.

Peace and rest are certainly fought for in this world.  Many cannot find it and actually go out of their way to make sure others won't find it either.  These would be the toxic people in our lives. 

Jesus said it is His peace that He leaves with us.  It's something to pray for when we feel pressured.

This world has outright told us through various news services that it's their job to tell us what to think.  To rely on them and to ironically not put much thought behind what they tell us.  It's found in various video interviews of those exact words and ideas. Satan is "the ruler of this world". Defeated at the cross but he still persists at fighting.  Twisting and perverting the minds and lives of people. 

We are indeed in a world war over information. What we see, what we hear, it's all about the information.  We get told what to buy, what not to buy. We get told of how we must follow the standard of care in regards to health, even when it flies in the face of reason.  All to keep us from peace and rest. 

To slow down we need to be intentional. 
To slow down will mean sacrificing things and maybe relationships.  Our relationship with Jesus ought to be paramount. It's Biblical priorities. Love God with everything and then love people. Then introduce people to Jesus. 

It's ironic as well that a television stations order of programs is referred to as television programming.  The reality is its the public that's getting programmed.  People being desensitized to situations before they happen so as to make them more susceptible to instructions.  It's a psychological reality if you read up on it.

Staying on track...slow down.  Get with Jesus more often.  Do an Extreme Makeover if you must in your life to seek God's truth and not what the world defines as truth.  The world WILL lie to you. It has to in order to protect itself.  Everyone is expendable in the eyes of Satan. He cares not if the whole of humanity ends up in Hell as long as he can make his power grab for the Throne of God. 

Satan will try and his minions will try to offer sweet treats of distractions to you and I.  He will never be overt in anything. He is not going to wave a sign denoting "sin ahead!". For Believers in Christ he cannot possess them. He can't be where the Spirit of God resides. He can't read their minds either.  Based on his past successes and his knowledge of humanity he can figure out how best to derail the lives of Believers.  He knows how to make you so busy that you aren't aware of God in your life...even with "good" things. 

Jesus often took the Disciples away from everyone.  How often do you consider taking intentional time away to be with Him?  Our world wouldn't fight it so much and so hard if it wasn't important.  

This world is pushing information overload for a reason.  To keep the minds of humanity unaware of what is going on in it.

Slow down.  Remove distractions. Learn from God's Word. Discover real truth.  You find that pattern in the Gospels. Spend time in prayer with Jesus and talk to your Father in Heaven if indeed you are saved in Christ Jesus.  If not, let today be the day you discover salvation that is so rich and free and only found in a right relationship with Jesus Christ. 

We waste hours and hours of each day filling our minds with things only because they sound ok. Sound good. But are they beneficial?  

Slowing down and spending time with Jesus refills that well within us that Jesus said would be there.  If it was important enough for Jesus to teach it, it's important enough for His enemy to strive to prevent it.  Whatever is important to God is what is the enemy of God wants to twist, pervert, deny or to kill. 

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you. 
Set your minds on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world. 
Pray without ceasing. 

You see these post Gospel passages lived out in the life of Jesus in those Gospels. 
When We do do those things the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Giving Thanks When it Seems Impossible

Giving Thanks When it Seems Impossible 
by David Brenneman 

Yesterday sure was what amounted to as a "Monday".  Seemed like Murphy's Law was ruling the day.  It, for sure, was discouraging.  

At one of my breaks I caught this from Dr. David Jeremiah on Facebook:  "Praising God in tough situations isn’t always easy; it takes practice to praise God when we are having a bad day or week or month. But we can and should keep practicing! The next time you have a difficult day or face a tough situation, think of one thing you can praise God for. Maybe you can praise Him for a delicious sandwich at lunch or a yummy pizza for dinner. Maybe you can praise Him for the colorful flowers in your backyard or a good friend to talk to. Maybe you can praise Him for family who loves you and cares for you. The key is to look for one thing, no matter how small, to praise God for and then pray to Him and thank Him for that. The more you do this, the more things you will find to praise God for, no matter how your day is going!"

When people are excessively critical, when they are coming at you from what seems like all sides...it's easy to try to run to whatever is safe.   To just give up and run the other way.  To make matters worse we often justify our new direction in life and touting our former successes as reason to go that new direction. Problem is: what if in all our reasoning we didn't do or go where God wanted us to be?  

We do what we do, react how we react in life only because of a few things. Intentional and unintentional sin. Sometimes it's not sin at all but just the path that God has us on. Psalm 23 sort of depicts things as being rough at times when David refers to a valley of the shadow of death.

I know that in my past jumping into what appeared to be a lifeboat going away from a situation seemed like the right thing to do.  

Looking at people today who struggle with dealing with the heavy things of life that others made it through...many you can tell have never hit rock bottom.  Someone kept them from finding out what the pain of it teaches. 

When we try to escape what God's path for us takes us we lose out on what it would have taught us.  Even if it's excruciatingly difficult. Even if we think we can't handle it.  You would be right!  We can't.  In Christ we CAN. 

Yesterday, after reading that post, I stopped myself and pushed myself into a thankful mode. 

I remembered things to be thankful for. 

I remembered a chorus from Church. 
"Thank you Lord for saving my soul. 
Thank you Lord for making me whole. 
Thank you Lord for giving to me,
Thy rich salvation so pure and free."

I pushed my mind towards being thankful rather than allowing either the day or the critics get to me.  To be honest I was ready to throw in the towel. To give up for the day.  I am reminded of part of a passage of being shown "a more excellent way".

Physical problems can likewise push us right off the road that God has us on. We justify changing our life because of the trauma we go through rather than staying the course.  Physical and Spiritual trauma are the same. Both are referred to in Psalm 23.  You can throw emotional trauma in there too.  We know not what Paul's request of God was about but it proved to be a weakness that in Christ he would boast about.  

We are as Paul was...in a race. We are to do as the Bible says in regards to running it as if running for the prize at the end. 
We are going to have all kinds of things get in the way.  But regardless our calling in Christ Jesus is irrevocable.  We see that playing out in the life of Jesus. We see it in the lives of the Apostles because they were taught by Jesus. We see them following the Great Commission in making Disciples, teaching them all that Jesus commanded. Making them fully aware of what to expect in life. Many were killed by many various ways by the Romans but those people stayed the course, remaining faithful. 

We, regardless of what we face, must remain faithful.  We must not get off the rough road we are on because we justify our doing so. In and of ourselves life is GOING to be too hard for us. 

It brings me to what happened next. 

My mood brightened. My day turned around because of setting my mind on things above. On being thankful in spite of how the day began. To keep on thanking God throughout the morning. 

It's easy to quit and go the way of the world.  Many people come to Christ and do that.  At just the wrong moment they decide that some teaching was too difficult or some situations are too much. That it can't be God's will for them to go through something and they justify not going there. Be mindful of the Old Testament examples. A priest knew of what things his sons had done which was against God and he refused to admonish them to make things right between them and God. They died in their sins.  

We read in the Bible this too: he who knows the good he ought to do and does not do it, sins.

When facing what appears to be a fork in the road, when life is overwhelming. Stop. Push yourself into being thankful instead. 
Push yourself into a right frame of mind. 

Push...some say push means: Pray Until Something Happens. 

There's another song, of course, "Give Thanks" by Don Moen.

"Give thanks with a grateful heart
Give thanks to the Holy OneGive thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heartGive thanks to the Holy OneGive thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"Let the poor say, "I am richBecause of what the Lord has done for us"
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"Let the poor say, "I am richBecause of what the Lord has done for us"

Give thanks with a grateful heart (with a grateful heart)Give thanks to the Holy One (to the Holy One)Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

Give thanks with a grateful heart (with a grateful heart)Give thanks to the Holy One (to the Holy One)Give thanks because He's given Jesus Christ, His Son

And now let the weak say, "I am strong"Let the poor say, "I am richBecause of what the Lord has done for us"
And now let the weak say, "I am strong"Let the poor say, "I am rich (I am rich)Because of what the Lord has done for us"Give thanks
We give thanks to You"

What do you have to be thankful for?
Are you one of those who abandoned your calling in Christ? Stop. Return to God and ask forgiveness for giving up. He indeed will show you a still better way. 
Are you one of those who is overwhelmed? Stop. Find anything to be thankful for to God and let that list grow. 
Are you really not living as you know you ought to be? Stop. Jesus is one step away from taking you back into His arms. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

With Right Purpose

With Right Purpose 
by David Brenneman 
Most have read or at least might have heard of the book "Purpose Driven Life". 

This isn't a review of that book.  It's just there as a means to point out that whether in Christianity or outside of it people are looking for a purpose to living life. 

In Christ, the right purpose is to do the will of the Father in us and through us.  It's not about promoting self.  It's not about becoming what we think is what we ought to be.  It's not about us when we consider denying ourselves, taking up our own cross, and following Jesus. 

We are promised troubles in this life. 

We are going to have to deal with obstinate, difficult, people.  We are going to have critical people pointing out this or that about us.  We may even have a season of life where it seems never ending. 

If God's allowing it, find God's purpose in it.  Don't give up and hide. Don't pursue other things in life that you think would take care of that.  Seek first what?  His Kingdom and His righteousness. 

Our right purpose is found when we acknowledge His Lordship in our lives. 
Our right purpose is found when we are at the center of God's will for us.

When we give an account of our lives, thoughts and intentions will be revealed. 

Consider Mark chapter 2 when Jesus reads the minds of His critics and says out loud what they were thinking and has an answer for them.  Their very thoughts and intentions were revealed. THAT was what they were amazed at probably moreso than the man being healed. 

God knows your thoughts and your intentions at all times.  Confession is our acknowledging what He already knows. 

Our world wants to promote self in every way imaginable.  We read in the Bible that in the last days people will be lovers of self.  In the Church and outside of the Church.  When we focus on self we aren't looking at Jesus.  When we focus on the rear view mirror we run into things in front of us because we are always moving. 

When you look at your life today are you living out Christ in you or you in you?  Only one will will be done on Earth. 

Are you hiding out under what amounts to something that's all well and good on the surface because it's safe to you?  Are you trying to stay off the road of life because of the hazards between you and Heavens door?  Some do.  They are more afraid of what God MIGHT ask of them rather than to ask Him to find out. So they never get into their Bible, never seek to serve, never spend much time in prayer.  Some do Christianity on their own terms.  They may read their Bible, may pray, but pick n choose what's comfortable to them rather than what the Spirit is calling them to be an to do. Some have let the hurts of the past dictate their present in that they walked away from their calling. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB. 

Many say they do but most of the time, if they are honest, begin with "But God...you saw what happened!".

Some have allowed the will of others to derail their walk with Jesus.  Having traded His purpose for their purpose. 

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness wasn't a suggestion. 

Taking up our own cross and following Jesus wasn't a suggestion or just a good idea. 

In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God wasn't a suggestion either.  

When the road of life looks complicated or difficult, spend more time in prayer rather than less.  

When we are tempted to go the easy safe way rather than God's way...beware...troubles will still find you. 

Our identity as Christians is bound up in Christ Jesus, not in our given names on Earth.  We aren't here for ourselves our purpose is two-fold. To live out life in Christ, becoming more like Christ, and to participate in doing our part in the body of Christ as assigned by the Spirit of God.  Everything else is to come after that. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself.  

Our character should reflect Jesus to a lost world.  Our life should be a reflection of His light.  It's also probably going to hurt at times.  But as Paul was told so are we told.  His grace is sufficient for power is perfected in weakness.  

You purpose and mine is the same in Christ Jesus.  If you haven't come to Christ for salvation yet, yours is to come to Christ and find what you have been missing, what you have been seeking all your life. 

Our own understanding gets in the way all the time.  We don't know what God knows. 
We will deceive ourselves because we can due to our sin nature.  We will try to skate through this life as safely as we can.

When you look at your life do you see the character of Jesus?  Or do you see your own success story?  

This will tell you if you are living your right purpose in life. 

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Wrong Kinds of Friendships

Wrong Kinds of Friendships
by David Brenneman 

Dr. Michael Youseff

But also: "You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." James 4:4 NASB 

We really ought to take great care in looking for direction in life.  Our ways are certainly not God's ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. 

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

I was brought around to these notions this morning after reading in Mark.  The passage was talking of Jesus healing many people, both the ill and the demon possessed.  Jesus could have easily been going for the popular vote after so many were seeking Him out.  But what does He do?  Jesus indeed healing and freed all who had come to Him. Jesus leaves everyone to go to a secluded place to talk to His Father instead.  Making sure that the path He's walking is what His Father wanted.  The next scene...Jesus says they are leaving the area.  Weren't there more to be healed and freed?  Yes. But He had repeatedly said He was doing the will of His Father who sent Him. 

He knew the hearts of mankind...we read of that in other places. He also recognized that Satan was attempting to overwhelm Him...if it were even possible. 

We are taught...but do we heed the same calling to get away to find out what our Father in Heaven wants of us?  I admit that I don't always.  I quite often do what's been put before me and call it a day.  But within that ought to be checking in to find out if what I am doing is what I am supposed to be doing. 

We can easily gravitate towards certain things and relationships.  We sometimes do it because of shared experiences or shared issues.  But even in these we ought to pray first.  Jesus didn't do His own will...He was after doing His Father's will. 

The Bible says in Philippians 4:6 NASB "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

In everything means in everything. Just like all means all and that's all all means. 

If the relationship you are in has taken you from your calling in Christ then while it may look and feel great, you're not doing what you were called to be doing and now there's a problem between you and Jesus. 

It's been repeated that in Romans 11:29  Paul wrote of the gifts and calling of God is irrevocable. It cannot be ended by human agencies. Not by outside forces nor ourselves. Jonah was given a calling by God. Look at the proof of Romans 11:29 in that whole book.  

Though painful and for decades confusing Joseph went through much in his determination to consider his gifts and calling of God with him.  He finally gets it when it all came together and explains it to his brothers.  While he could have done much with those in this world at that time in his life we read : "The Lord was with him".

Job went through what can only be described as Hell on Earth because of all that Satan was permitted to do to him. We really don't have much to stand on when it comes to complaining about life's circumstances in comparison. Job stayed faithful. 

Jesus stayed faithful to His Father's wishes.  

He stayed faithful in His relationships with His Disciples that were from His Father. Quite often we see that He was scratching His head at them not understanding things but He remained faithful. 

We often, I know that I have, go with giving up rather than pressing on when the things of this world get to be too much.  When relationships get to be hard. 

Critical people have existed since Cain. Our sin nature and the enemy of God knows us better than we know ourselves.  All three will try to get us to go down paths that are not from God.  To honestly get us to take the easy way. 

God's word says that all who live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer.  That faith chapter in Hebrews lists many who in this moment are rejoicing in Heaven.  They indeed will be told or have been told "Well done".

We were created for a right relationship with Jesus. When we get that right then our relationship with others is next.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. 

Love your neighbor as yourself. 

We aren't to put self first. Even when the going gets tough.

So really consider the relationships that you have.  Look at whether or not you are really interested in doing life entirely God's way and not your own.  We can easily find people to surround ourselves with that make us feel better for all the wrong reasons.  

Be entirely the person you are supposed to be in Christ. Nobody will stand with you when you stand before Jesus. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Fear of Loss

Fear of Loss
by David Brenneman 

"For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:39-39 NASB. 

We often find ourselves in a place of loss.  From losing pets to people to things to even simply thoughts. 

We lose those things and can be overwhelmed by the loss.  It indeed can be all consuming. 

In Christ the only thing that matters can never be lost...the love of Jesus. 

Friends will come and go. Some will change in ways that you never saw coming.  Whereas you used to be able to talk with them, now you can't.  Sometimes all it took was distance and an angry reaction at something. Sometimes it's things we don't see at all.  They or we left the path that God has everyone on. 

Fearing loss is what drives so many to spend so much on preserving things.  From thoughts, ideas and feelings, to physical objects in this world.  Millions are spent almost daily in the act of preserving history that is going to disintegrate anyway. 

But whatever we hold onto the most that is outside the will of God for us...we will inevitably lose.  It can be anything from health to wealth and everything in between.  Jesus said what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?  What do we gain from a life that has so much spent on self that the meaning of life, the obedient following of the Word of God, is made less important?

For me, I consider my health of only moderate importance. I would rather not waste my time on that when I would rather actively pursue my relationship with Jesus. My body, like everyone's, degrades with time.  Spending hours focusing on self rather than on what is put before me to do in Christ doesn't work for me.   

Spending hours staring at those playing sports has always been a waste to me. But that's me.  Spending my time learning either of the things of God or of how to do something so that I might be able to help others is what I do. 

I used to have a very big fear of losing my thoughts and ideas because of not being able to recall things like many others do. 
I don't actually take notes because I don't remember why I wrote what I wrote.  I lose the meaning behind the words. 

Losing friends hurts me the worst. I tend to try to be as loyal as I can be.  Losing contact over frivolous things. Losing because of distance or misunderstandings that phone calls or letters wouldn't fix. It happens. 

My best learned go to is prayer. Jesus has never left me.  Jesus is always truthful with me.  Jesus said that He loves me. When I have people issues Jesus is the first to hear about it because He can and will go wherever I cannot in resolving those things. 

It may still mean a loss for a time but He's the Healer of souls. He can tend to the unseen wounds that we try to hide.  

You indeed may be going through loss of some kind, take it to Jesus in prayer. 
You don't have to go it alone.  Jesus can bring about healing that we need to have. 

Won't mean that things might get worse before they get better. That's happened in my life before too.

Won't mean a quick resolution because it took time for the loss to happen. 

I certainly miss being able to talk to some even today who are still living.  There are various reasons and circumstances as to why for some. For others, they've just changed so much in recent years that it's not easy to talk to them anymore. 

Pray on, pray over and pray through life.
Jesus is that unchanging rock we can depend on to always be who He is. That friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Friday, February 17, 2023

God is Patient with Us? Why?

God is Patient with Us? Why?
by David Brenneman 

"Why would God need to be patient with me when I didn't DO anything?"  Some ask this even today.  There in is part of the problem.  People even today don't think they've done anything to offend or upset God.   He tells everyone why.  Whether or not they accept what He has to say is another story. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23 NASB.  The glory of God is God's standard, the bar He set, His expectations for human beings.  "But I still didn't do anything!  Why would that apply to me?"  Well, you see, we're all born into sin.  Adam and Eve were the first and we've all come from them...and by lineage, we are all impacted by sin.  It's in our DNA and nothing we can do in and of ourselves can ever get rid of it.  If that were the case Jesus would have been born as a man, lived as a man, suffered and died on a cross, for no good reason what-so-ever.   

Begs another question for some of you probably:  Why would He go through all that?  The answer is simple.  You have asked the question and you are the answer.

Most of the known world is familiar with John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, what whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.".

But read what comes next.  That's the thing about life with God, there's always something next.

"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. And this is the judgement, that the Light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the Light; for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light, so that his deeds will not be exposed. But the one who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds will be revealed as having been performed in God." John 3:17-21 NASB.

Jesus didn't come to condemn you or I, He came to save mankind, all who would come to Him to be saved would be saved.  When we DO come to Jesus for salvation, we do not stand condemned any longer.  God takes the righteousness of Jesus and imputes that to all who come.  What that means is that for all who come to Jesus to be saved, when God looks at us, all He sees is Jesus.  He doesn't see our sins because they are no more.  He casts them as far away as the east is from the west.  That's Psalm 103 if you're interested.

But I know I'm not a good person!  How in the world would someone like me be saved?   It's simple.  You come to Jesus, and He does what's necessary and needed.  It's you and I trusting in what He has done to do what must be done, to save each and every one of us. 

"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 

We, as adults, complicate the whole salvation issue way more than it needs to be.  Why?  Because our sin nature, that sin that we are born with, wants absolutely nothing to do with the salvation that is offered in Jesus Christ.  It wants to be the one to call the shots.  It wants to do what it wants to do to make it feel the way it feels. 

Jesus has not returned yet not because He's off somewhere sleeping.  It's not because He has other things to be doing.  It wasn't Him that set the day of His return.  It was His Father who set the year, the month, the day, the hour, the minute, the second of when that time would be.  Why keep it s secret?  There's probably some more Biblical reason than even the most prominent theologian can come up with...but my thoughts go towards it does keep Satan from knowing what's going to happen before it happens in that particular case.   We read that Satan's always got an antichrist ready in every generation.  Always has one that he's prepared to put on the world stage to rule the world...but he has no idea when that date is.  It was unspoken for good reason.  Some easily point to the passage of Jesus not being willing that any should perish and that all would come to repentance. 2 Peter 3 again.   

There's probably a list that's as long as your arm as to why Satan isn't to know.  Also why humans would not know either.  We can look at the fact that one passage that says that every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.  We can look at the passage that says that every man and woman will be without excuse.  Now THAT one strikes me as probably the more human of reasons why we wouldn't be able to know when.  We would try to cram for the 'test' of judgment.  It would also taint the truth that indeed everyone does what's right in their own eyes.   For every man to be without excuse, means every single possiblity of every type of response to Jesus asking why we didn't accept Him as our Savior...would be played out.  With the myriad of thoughts and ways of the human mind...that's a lot of possibilities.  It's still not going to stop people from saying "But God!!! I....".  

If you haven't come to Jesus to be saved, your name is not written down in the Book of Life.  In much of today's language, the Membership book.  That book of those who have a membership in the Kingdom of Heaven.  It's not written there it's a guaranteed thing that those people will find themselves UNNECESSARILY in torment in Hell upon dying.   It's unnecessary because while we yet breathe the breath of life, we have the chance to do the right thing in God's eyes.  We have the opportunity to ask to be saved by Jesus.  To have our sins forgiven, taken away, so that we might find life in Him.  

A single sin is enough to keep anyone from entering into Heaven.  We all have that, those who understand right from wrong that is.  I hold to the belief that those not able to understand are granted a mercy and grace in regards to salvation such as those born with mental disabilities and those up to what the Bible refers to as the age of accountability.   When the Rapture of the Church happens I know that millions of babies, toddlers and small children will be disappearing along with the young adult and adult population who fall into that catagory as well as those who have truly placed their faith and trust in Jesus for salvation.  

It's a certainty.  

It's going to happen.

Jesus IS going to return, just as He said, at an hour that we are not going to expect it.   You aren't going to be able to point to some sign in nature and claim that is His entrance.  You aren't going to have the news services putting up a headline saying that He's coming in the next few days....not that they would anyway.
You aren't going to know because nobody does.  That's why the Bible says to all who come to Christ...to be ready.  To be about telling others about Jesus while there's still time to do so.  

"But my life will be so boring!"
"But I will have to give up what I like to do! What I love to do!"

Ok...consider this...you're on a sinking ship....and you have on one hand the things that you really like, really love on one side and on the other hand you have a lifeboat to take you to safety...which is more important?  

Consider it also...eternity is well...for all eternity.  To choose to reject salvation in Christ means eternal separation...not in some paradise...but in torment.  God's Word says there's a severe penalty for sin.  It's in painful torment in Hell at first, until the Final Judgment as told of at the end of time in the book of Revelation, then it's the Lake of Fire that will burn for all eternity.   It is never ending.  Never...ending.  Read that again.  It's n e v e r ending.

Are all the excuses that you hold onto really worth spending eternity in agony forever that will not go away?

Jesus loves you even in your worst.  He cannot love you any more nor can He love you any less than He does right now.  The cost is: free.
As it's written in the Bible too:  what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet lose his soul?  Easily put...there are billionaires and millionaires in Hell.
People who had 'everything' their hearts desired.  They took none of it with them.

We all often get satisfied with sin too.  We are all prone to get comfortable with the level of life that we lead and don't think that changing it is worth the risk.
My Dear Reader...please don't let that be a reason to say no to Jesus. 

The gift is free....and there is a time limit to leave when Jesus returns.  Many will cry out to Jesus AFTER He has returned to come back and get them.
You do NOT want to be in that camp.  
You do NOT want to be one of those people.

If you think the life-altering changes that have happened in the last half dozen years were irritating...they are nothing compared to what's coming.
We live in a world with the THREAT of global economic collapse.  After the Rapture...that's going to happen as a certainty.
We live in a world with THREATS of a dictator trying to take over the world.  After the Rapture...that's going to be a certainty.
We live in a world with THREATS of global natural disasters.  After the Rapture...God's going to use nature to impart judgments on this world...that's going to be a certainty.
We live in a world with THREATS of people killing and stealing.  After the Rapture...that too is a certainty.

Even in the scope of several world wars and countless smaller ones...we have never ever seen in human history what's going to happen in 7 short years after the Rapture. 

Those who have salvation in Christ Jesus won't be here.  They won't see it.   After the Rapture, many indeed will find salvation, and will be the hunted in this world.  Satan will know that it's time and will have a world leader who will insist on being worshipped.  Those who don't will be killed.  

Let today be the day that you know for sure that you're going to be safe in the arms of Jesus.
Let today be the day that you find real life and real purpose in the life you live.
Please don't put it off any longer.  Sooner or later there WILL be that last person in this 'age', this time period, as designated by the Father who will be saved.
It will happen.  The first happened on the cross next to Jesus.  

Salvation is free.  There's nothing to earn, no card to punch, no credits to rack up. Jesus paid it all.  It's His gift to you, should you receive it. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Not Supposed to Do That

Not Supposed To Do That
by David Brenneman

There's a home inspector who makes video's that always begin with him showing the viewer something and inevitably he says "It's not supposed to do that".
After each thing he finds and shows, he says that line.  I've seen so many of them that when something I see isn't working right, I can hear him say "It's not supposed to do that.".  

In recent days God's taken me to write about parts of the body of Christ and what they are supposed to be doing.  The Bible says that the Spirit is the one who sets the members of the body of Christ where He sees fit.  We read earlier in the New Testament that the Spirit of God is "the Helper" that Jesus said would come.  In the original language it's interpreted as "another of the same kind" as Jesus.  Thus the three in one God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all are God.

But when running into people not doing what they are to be doing in Christ and it's obvious it makes it harder to know what to do or say.  Sometimes those people are Prodigal's.  Sons or daughters of God who are indeed saved yet have not come back around just yet.   Some are intentional about staying on the side-lines when that's not what God wants of those who are in Christ.  We come to Jesus to be saved, we receive the same command as written to the Disciples.  Historically speaking when they weren't doing the 'Go therefore..." part of that command God caused the world situation to change in order to cause them to get out and preach the word to the world.  Thus the great persecution of the Church in it's beginning.

What came to mind this morning along all of this, when I woke up, was this passage in Romans 10:14-17 NASB "How then are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they to believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher? But how are they to preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!"  However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, "Lord who has believed our report?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ."

This comes before Romans 11:29 NASB, obviously, where we read that "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.".   When we come to Christ we are indeed cleansed of sin, and we begin a new life in Him, for Him.  Out of gratitude for all that He's done for us.  Some of it's honestly going to shake us to our core and rightly so.   Sometimes we're going to be on the mountain tops, sometimes we're going to think we're never leaving the deep dark valley's of life.
Sometimes it's going to appear like one or the other is never ending.  But it does.  All storms come and go.  Which is one of the reasons why I love Mark Lowry's one video where he mentions his love for the passage "it came to pass".   It didn't come to stay.  Whatever we're facing in life it will pass.  

But sometimes we don't wait.  Sometimes the pain, the hurt, or even the apparent joy and apparent peace, are enough to sideline us from serving God in the way His Spirit intended us to.   I was prompted to remind by the words of Charley Pride's "This Highway Leads to Glory" the other day that there's always always always going to be signs to get you to get off the road.  No different than billboards on any major interstate in the United States.  They only make money if you decide it's worth your time to get off and purchase an item or a service.  Satan's only effective if we decide what we see is worth it to go after.

Emotional pain that goes on and on can easily tempt us to take one of those off ramps.  Being under immense stress can.  Been there, done that.  Before we moved I gave away all the t-shirts that proved it.  The hardest thing for me at times is that while I may KNOW where someone's headed, if they aren't ready to hear it, I can't tell them what they won't accept in the here and now moment.

Many will stand before Jesus to give an account of their lives in Christ and have not a whole lot to show for it because they gave up.  Because they decided it was too much so they pulled off the highway and turned off the car.  Some will because of the things that they were going through either physically, emotionally, or both.  Sadly it's taken God much of my life to get me to this point where I am in my life today about some things.  By no means have I arrived, I just have learned to wait rather than to jump the gun.  I don't always, but am getting there more than I used to.

There are indeed those who are born to be preachers of the Word.  When you hear them you know it.  Billy Graham certainly was.  You can tell it in Dr. David Jeremiah.  You can tell it in Dr. Charles Stanley.  Dr. John C. Whitcomb, whom I've spoken of as well.  Their love of God far exceeded or exceeds their views on trials and problems.  

The thing is we who are in Christ are to be examples of the Light of Christ to the world in all respects.  There's no turning it on or off just because we went to work or got in the car for a drive in a busy city.  We don't get a card that exempts us under certain circumstances.  Look at the lives of the pillars of the Old Testament who were commended by their faith.  Quite often in the book of Hebrews Chapter 11 it's called the "Faith Chapter".  It's certainly 40 verses of reminders from God that to stay the course, to finish the race well, is worth it.

We won't ever know it if we don't pursue it.  If we don't heed the words of the Apostle Paul in staying the course, in finishing the race.  

We will indeed face things that are going to be hard.  We will and we need to realize we aren't the one doing that work in us to make us more like Christ.  The Spirit is.  He's going to have to do spiritual surgeries that are NOT going to feel good in order to make us more like Christ.   Our giving up isn't going to stop that. It's going to delay that, but it's not going to stop that.  

Our taking the easy way out isn't either.   We have a calling that we read in Romans 11:29 that says that it's from God and it's irrevocable.   We read in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 that begins with "For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ."  Just as Paul goes on to write to the Corinthians so it's written to us. "If the foot says, "Because I'm not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any less a part of the body." (NASB).

Because our role isn't turning out to be what we expected in the body it doesn't make it on us to try to change that or to deny it or to stop doing it.  We all have a part in the body who are in Christ Jesus, if indeed we are saved through Christ and are in Christ.

So indeed it's difficult knowing how to address things when people aren't supposed to do that.
It's not easy when people choose to be stubborn when you can see the train wreck that's coming.
Have seen many people go through this because of pride.  Pride blinds people to the real truth.

We read of Jesus looking over a city and telling the Disciples to pray to the Lord of the Harvest that He may send out more workers into His harvest.
Guess what...that's every single believer who's come to Christ.  

When you look at your life, are you trying to figure out how to hide on the sidelines or are you being an Isaiah "Here am I! Send me!".
When you look at your life, have you been just trying to muddle through each day hoping that you don't have to say or do anything to others about God?
When you look at your life, are you trying to recreate yourself into another part of the body of Christ because the part chosen for you by God is getting too painful or got too painful to you?
When you look at your life, would YOU look at you and say "Well done" as we all hope to hear from Jesus when we give an account of our lives before Him?

Will your life show a life of running from God or will it show a life spent running to God?  Quite often lives are cut short because people, even Christian's, display a heart unwilling to bend to the will of God for them.  For all who come to Christ 2 Thessalonians 4:3a says that His will is our sanctification.  Our becoming more and more like Jesus while we yet breathe the breath of life in this world.  That workmanship we read in Ephesians 2:10 is that sanctification process.  That process by which we take off the old self and put on the new self in Christ...Ephesians 4:22-24. 

Look at Jonah a different way.  We read of his resistance to the will of God and his running.  He had a genuine hatred for the people of Nineveh.  He wanted them dead, wanted all of them dead.  Jesus tells him that he's not seeing what God sees.  In that moment of time, one person would make all the difference in a generation of people turning to God.  One person.   In our day, one person often is all it takes for God to cause a Spirit lead revival starting.   All real true revivals are began by the Spirit of God, not by someone throwing out a tent and saying that they are having one. 

One person, called of God, obedient to God can change a generation.  That's when a body part of Christ does what it's supposed to be doing...the body works together as intended by the Spirit of God to touch the lives of those around us.   When that body part of Christ is either fighting or has given up then it's putting a burden on the other parts of the body to pick up the slack.   Put your arm in a sling and try to live a normal life as if it wasn't.  Your other body parts try to make up for the inactivity of that part you immobilized.

I've said before that much of what I'm lead to write comes from lessons learned.  This is one of them.  I tried to jump ahead of God thinking I knew where He was going and I wasn't prepared for it.  I hadn't learned the job that I was going to be doing yet...His way.   I also had tried to sit on the sidelines hoping that the Rapture would happen and I wouldn't be put in any more situations that caused me grief and stress.   I had also tried to be some other part of the body that wasn't for me to be.  Tried to also only help those who were Christian's as well and not do what I was called to do.  Let me tell you, it's a rough set of lessons.

We often quit and give up because we see the man in the mirror as ourselves not being good enough or strong enough.  So we keep trying on other clothes to make that man in the mirror look like someone else in order to feel better about ourselves.  Doesn't work that way when it's not the new self in Christ that we're putting on. 

Timothy was commanded to preach the word, in season and out of season, when people wanted to hear it and when they didn't.  Paul was talking about those in the body of Christ probably more so than those people that Timothy would run into from the world.  In the other letters of Paul he warns of false teachers and that they would be in the Church trying to change the Church in ways that God did not want.

Look at your life today and really be truthful to yourself...ask God plainly if you're really living the life that HE intended for you to be living.
Are you that light hidden under a basket that isn't showing itself to the world?  Not supposed to do that.
Are you sitting on the sidelines waiting for the return of Christ hoping to not be called into the game?  Not supposed to do that.
Are you deciding what you are going to do in service to God instead of what you were called to do by the Spirit? Not supposed to do that.
Have you pulled off the road of life that leads to Heaven instead of pressing on?  Not supposed to do that.

We may feel better when we are doing what we're not supposed to be doing...but in the process...we grieve the Holy Spirit by doing so. 

Not supposed to do that.