Friday, March 31, 2023

Part of it? A Part of Your Life?

Part of it? Part of Your Life?
by David Brenneman 

"Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NASB. 

Food for thought: Does the Spirit of God take a vacation from being within you?  

If indeed you are saved, are born again in Christ Jesus, the Spirit of God comes to live within you.  

Are we ever to live any part of our lives as if He's gone off somewhere?

Are we ever to mentally lock Him in a room while we do our own thing?

In His work in our lives, making us more like Jesus, do we essentially fight Him in what we will or won't allow Him to do?

Do we censor God?  Do we try to call the shots?  Do we push back on His workmanship to say what we will or won't accept Him doing in our lives?

Is it your all that you've placed on the altar?

Was reading also in Luke this morning and you could see how the Pharisees and the Sadducee's lived for the approval of men, who loved lording their position above others.  Who didn't want anyone rocking the boat.  Didn't want the power and authority they wielded to go away. 

Watch shows on gangs today and it's not too dissimilar.  

Jesus taught to take up your own cross and follow Him.  What all else can you hold onto if you're carrying a cross?  Truthfully? Absolutely nothing. 

When you sit by yourself, when you are out and about in the world, do you remember to take the Spirit along with you?  Do you not realize He's never left you?  

Colossians 3:23-25 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. For the one who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality."

Our work begins when we open our eyes each morning. Not when we arrive at a location to do something for an employer. 

Colossians 3:2 NASB "Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth."

Go back through the Old Testament and search for often and how many times...did people get in trouble for doing what was right in their own eyes?

What does it say in Proverbs?  "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."

See that 3 letter word?  All.

All of you is what God wants. Not this part of your life or that part of your life. All.

Read in the words of Moses what the children of Israel were told to do. What did Jesus tell others of what was important?  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself. 

There's that word again. All.

Is your all given to Jesus?
Do you consider your ways as if He were standing right there with you?
Or are you too busy?
Are you over thinking life so much that you don't realize the freedom that exists in a right relationship with Jesus?

Think about your desires. Do they align with God's will for you?  Are you wanting what God wants of you? Are you a diligent worker in His harvest?

Maybe the problems of our world are our own because we're not taking God seriously enough. Sin leads to death. Eternal separation from God. Sin is real with real consequences. Jesus paid the price to save humanity if humanity would only turn to Him for His free gift. Jesus IS coming again. Would you be caught in a selfish act or incident when that moment happens?  If you believed enough to be saved, are you now living as if the rest of what He said is true?

All of you is what Jesus wants of you. 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Necessity of Repentance

The Necessity of Repentance 
by David Brenneman 

In Luke chapter 5 Jesus makes mention of something to the Pharisees were grumbling about.  Jesus tells them that He didn't come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.  

He goes on to explain something in a way that they likely understood.  The reasons for not sewing a new patch into something old.  You can't keep doing the same old things and expect change to cover it.

We live in a world that's proliferated and inundated with ways to be placing our hearts and minds everywhere but with Jesus.  Looking for humanly ways to cover over sins by calling them "choices" or "mistakes".  Redefining Biblical truths in order to salve a conscious mind. 

It's not something new. 

Paul wrote of it and warned people to avoid such people...who would be within the Church.

Just like in his day, people tried influencing the Church from within.  He instructed them to beware of false teachers. 

Many many so-called churches today do not teach repentance. Do not teach the truth of God with impartiality.  They mislead and deceive people into believing that they don't need to turn from sin.  They don't even allow their followers to call what people do as being sin.  

Such places will be full of people after the Rapture of the Church happens and they only then learn of how they were deceived.

When we come to Christ for salvation turning away from sin is a must.
When we come to Christ for salvation agreeing with Jesus as to what sin IS is a must.

The point of salvation in Christ Jesus is to admit, confess, that we are sinners in need of a Savior who is Christ the Lord.  If we confess this need and yet insist on continuing in a life of sin, then we weren't saved to begin with.  We need to follow the Biblical example and confess, repent that is to turn away from, and rejoin Jesus in the righteous life that He desires for us. 

In 2 Timothy 3 we read the descriptions of how impostors in the church would be like.  People who want to put on a show of Godliness on a Sunday yet live for themselves before they ever leave the building.  

You cannot serve God and your own sinful appetites and there not be consequences. 

People who are saved are to long for the return of Jesus Christ. To be on the alert. To be excited at the prospect of stepping into eternity to forever be with Jesus. 

These false teachers are avoiding the topic of this as well as repentance.  

Sin is dirty, sin is ugly, it's wrapped up in glitz and glamorous packaging. 

Sin is why Jesus came as the perfect sacrifice to pay the penalty of it for all mankind, for all who would believe in Him who died in their place. Having arisen from the dead to conquer sin, death and the grave.

We are all to be shining examples of Christ Jesus in us. Pointing people towards that same free gift of salvation that we ourselves received.  We are to grow in Christ, that is the workmanship that He's doing in us.  We aren't to remain in our sins. We aren't to continue in what Paul referred to as practiced sin. A willful sin that we refuse to surrender to God to deal with.  

My Dear Reader, everything Jesus did, everything He said, is truth. Turning away from sin is only truly possible with the power of the Holy Spirit.  Living life the way that the Spirit directs us. Not the way that the world entices us. We will be enticed to cave in and go the easy way. We will be enticed to dismiss the thought that God's way is right and true.  We will be shown, just as Jesus was, of how we unnecessarily burden ourselves with the things that come with serving God.  That we did enough for Jesus, that now we can take it easy.  That the pressures of serving are too much that we need to step away or step into something easier.  Deceptions of the enemy of God always start small. With little choices that turn people away from the righteous life that God desires.

Repentance is a necessity. Repentance is something that we often wrestle with. 

We're going to face opposition, but Jesus said to be of good cheer, He's overcome the world.  

Is the character of Christ Jesus growing in you?  If not, what's in the way?  Are you seeking your own interests or the interests of God?  Are you holding onto what He's defined as sin but you don't call it that? 

You either get your theology corrected here or you do when you stand before Jesus.  

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Seeking Power

Seeking Power 
by David Brenneman 

It's an interesting thing when you take the time to look at things from a different angle, a different perspective, than what you appear to be seeing.

The world is full of people seeking power over something or someone. Power over troubles in doing things, power over people who wield power over them. Seeking power to end someone from doing something. 

Luke 5:16 NASB "But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray."

Jesus, by His example, taught this to His Disciples, but it certainly looks like it was often missed until they wrote about it later. 

We often forget that our power to live life is found only in a right relationship with Jesus. 

We all will try, in some fashion, some way, to alter events, situations, to bring about what we have it in our minds and hearts to see.

"All of us, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;" Isaiah 53:6a NASB. 

We read in Genesis, of right before the Great Flood, that each man did what was right in their own eyes. Throughout the history of the children of Israel, we read of them turning away from the Lord to do what was right in their own eyes. 

People trying to gain an advantage, gain power and authority to really do one thing. Prove God wrong, to say that it's possible to have a good life without a relationship with Jesus. To create a paradise here on Earth.  To prove the word of God wrong. 

That's what sin does and what sin does in the hearts of every single person.

Sin promotes itself. Sin disbelieves God.

Jesus didn't seek His own will when He walked among us. He didn't even crush the demons He cast out.  He said that He didn't come to judge and He didn't. He cast no demons into Hell. He urged those who had sinned to turn away from it. When He returns, it will be to take those who have put their faith and trust in Him alone for salvation. THEN judgment is coming. 

Jesus often got away to be with His Father. He often spoke at length with Him. He was showing how the relationship ought to be between God and mankind. 

Jesus didn't throw around His power. He very well could have. He was tempted to by Satan.  

Jesus taught that every single moment of every single day ought to have measured, clear, responses that reflect the power of God in us. There's not an example that He gave that didn't show us how the character of Christ in us wasn't going to impact people around us. There's no vacation time away from the Christian life. There's no time in being His workmanship that the clay is ever told: "go ahead, do what you want for a while".

When the Disciples were taught to deny themselves, to take up their own cross and follow Him, Jesus meant for it to be for life.  We cannot know the mind of God without the Spirit of God in us. We cannot go about life seeking our own interests and avoiding what God's calling us to be and do in Him. 

When we try to create this world into our own image we will find it empty and maybe will look back and have the wisdom to see that it was in vain. 

Seek first what? His kingdom and His righteousness. His kingdom has all the authority and power to live life as He intended us to live. 

We will find disappointment after disappointment if we are only living for self. What does go on? What does last?

"The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8 NASB.

We only, maybe, learn too little too late that we wasted life not recognizing that God's way was better, that His way was right and true.  That our striving was as the writer of Ecclesiastes said...striving after the wind.  Our lives are filled with watching people leave behind belongings and watching legacies wither.  Millions of storage units every day are sold off because people died and left a mess for someone else to clean up.  Their efforts to create the world into their own image a failure. 

Jesus sought the power to live life in His relationship with His Father and nowhere else. Where are you seeking yours?  What are you leaning on to live life?  Are you trying to spend your time, energy and effort to create a world around you that is your idea of paradise?  

It is something to consider. Is what you pursue in your life bringing you into a deeper relationship with Jesus?  That's Jesus's example in how He related to His Father. He didn't take up His power until after His resurrection. He set it aside to obey His Father's will.  Everything He did was in obedience to His Father’s will. 

The seeking of power of a person over someone else or a group of people is futile.  The seeking of fulfilling self is futile.  

Reread Isaiah in what it said about the word of God stands forever.  Part of that word is His will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Part of that is His will for us in Christ Jesus, to be transformed into the image of Christ Jesus. Part of that is our sanctification. 

The Holy Spirit isn't some power cell to enable us to do what we want when we want it.  He's another of the same kind as Jesus. The 3rd person in the Trinity.  He's working towards the same end goal of making each Believer more like Christ. 

Is a right relationship with Jesus important to you? Is understanding and obeying the word of God important to you?
Are you pursuing your will to be done in your life or God's will to be done in your life?  

Set your mind on things above not on the things that are of this world. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Believe it.

Believe it.
by David Brenneman 

"For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time." 1 Timothy 2:5-6 NASB 

"And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee; and He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, because His message was delivered with authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, “Leave us alone! What business do You have with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in the midst of the people, it came out of him without doing him any harm. And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another, saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!” And the news about Him was spreading into every locality of the surrounding region." Luke 4:31-37

The reality of life is wrapped up in the truth of God, His love for mankind, His judgment to come.  

People today want to blame everything or someone else when it comes to what appears to be psychological problems of the carnage we see in the news.  

Demons never went away after what we read in the New Testament.  They are still among us.  They believe in the power of God far more than most people do.  They fully acknowledge the truth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. 

People everywhere want to believe that "good" people find their way to Heaven. 

There's no entry into Heaven without true salvation in Christ Jesus.  There is no buying your way in. No one alive can make purchases to anyone to get in. A living person's dedication to living out a life of 'purity' cannot redeem one soul.  The Bible is rather clear that Jesus is the only Mediator between God and mankind.  Just as equally clear it says that by no other name under heaven that has been given among mankind by which we must be saved, only in Jesus Christ. 

People in this world are deceived into living a life that God never intended for people to live.

Pursuing things that do not matter. 
Pursuing desires that do nothing to address their exit from this world. 

Jesus said that He stands at the door and knocks. That door, my Dear Reader, is at the hearts of men and women everywhere. 

We achieve nothing at pointing people to ourselves.  We are never to do any such thing.  Our lives are to be a reflection of our relationship with Jesus.  The forgiveness, grace and mercy available in a life lived for Jesus. 

We see tragedy after tragedy in the news...where is God in these things? Many in this world want God on their terms.  They cry out when it's their only other option.  In the book of Judges this is what we read of the children of Israel doing. 

In Jesus's day we see that demons are an acknowledged reality to what they saw in their lives. 

In 2,000 years demons have been working on trying to hide in plain sight.  

Demons, as well as humans, must obey the overall plan of God. They cannot break the Word of God. They cannot do things that would negate God's will for mankind. 
They fight God daily in their pursuit of succeeding at least once in this.

The reality of the Bible is what we DO see in our world.  We battle not against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12 NASB "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.".

We, both in the Church as well as outside of it, do not take that passage seriously enough. 

People will not rest in peace who do not have Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  The very next second of their existence is in painful torment in Hell. A life of good deeds means nothing.  We are born in sin and only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can wash that away.  Biblically speaking you can potentially live a perfect life by the world's standards and guarantee your place in Hell.  Salvation is a free gift of God through Jesus Christ.  There's nothing you do to earn it. It's free to all who ask. 

Jesus did all the work on the cross and sealed the deal when He arose from the dead.  

Demons point the world away from this truth by way of the tragedies they create.
They do it through anger, malice, the list goes on.  Anything to keep people from the truth of God that they are permitted by God to do, they will do.  

My Dear Reader before you today is death and life. Your way and God's love for you as shown through what Jesus did to save you.  You can be set free from the sins that have permeated your life.  You can know for sure that should you die today that your very next moment will be in Heaven.  Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father, that is to enter Heaven, but through Him.  

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 

The powers of darkness don't want you knowing the truth. The demons know that everything that Jesus spoke of was truth. 
Demons are in this world right now fighting the seeds of life in the lives of men and women from coming to the surface, from salvation taking place in them.  

Seeds of sin always bear the fruit of sin. As Dr. Charles Stanley said in one of his life principles, there are no crop failures in regards to the seeds of sin. Sin, brings death. Eternal separation from God. A single sin is enough.

My Friend, do not take this message lightly.  Jesus loved you enough to take the penalty of your sins upon Himself. He took your place and died for you that you might find life in Christ Jesus. 

Monday, March 27, 2023

To Follow

To Follow 
by David Brenneman 

To follow isn't to be in the lead. 
To obey is to not be the one in charge, calling the shots. 
To listen isn't for us to be speaking. 

We're to follow Jesus in obedience. 
We're to be doing:  Pointing people to Jesus.  Arranging the introduction.  Being who we were meant to be in Christ Jesus. 

Much of my life that I look back upon, at least to me, is wasted.  Quite probably in God's eyes was a necessity nonetheless to bring about what is going on in my life today.  

As the days go by I am less and less interested in the things of this world and am more and more interested in what God's wanting me to be interested in.

We aren't to be in the drivers seat. 
We aren't to be telling God what we want in life to make our world into what we deem is best.  That's not God's will. Not even close.  Giving us what we want when we want it does not grow us in Christ.

When you look at your life, your prayer life, what is it filled with?  Just thanking God for your food with the same exact words every time?  Is it you always repeating the same things without any emotion behind them?  Is there no feelings to your talk with Jesus?

Are you in a relationship with Jesus or do you in all reality look at Him as someone you hired?

The Great Commission was for all of us who have come to Christ for salvation.  

It's not about getting everything we want in life to be happy here.  It's not about coasting through life until we die or He returns.  

It's doing something fruitful with what He's given to us.  Look up the parable of the talents.  Those who did something with what they were entrusted were rewarded by the King. Those who didn't were condemned for their lack of obedience. 

Are you living for what makes you happy or are you living for what makes Jesus happy?  When what makes God happy makes us happy then we're getting it.

We're to be His workmanship. We are to becoming what He wants us to be in this life, not what we see ourselves as being. 
It's not to be us deciding to be this or be that. It's not us listening to the world on how we ought to pursue life. 

His workmanship means we are to become what He's envisioned us as being. We read elsewhere that He is the potter and we are the clay. We don't tell the potter what's acceptable or what the finished product will look like. 

We read in Romans 12 of living a transformed life. We read in Paul's writings of putting off the old self and its practices and putting on the new self in Christ Jesus. 

To follow in Jesus's name and indeed in Jesus's teaching, the Disciples had to constantly and consistently, say no to themselves.  They were being taught how to deny themselves to take up their own cross and to follow Jesus. 

In the tail end of the Great Commission we read Jesus commanded them to teach others ALL that He commanded them.

We who are in Christ are part of the body of Christ with a clear purpose in the body for specific things to be done by us through His power.  His will is our sanctification, our being made into the character of Christ. That's the objective of being His workmanship.  It's not for us to seek out cushy safe to us places to live out our days in a utopia of our creation. To spend more time with Jesus should be what excites us. 

To be who we were meant to be in Christ. 
Not who we necessarily see ourselves as being. 

I've given up on many dreams for my life. They were shown to me by God as just not fitting into His plans for me and for His overall plan for mankind.  His plans for me are going to have rough patches. Going to have hard times.  Going to have people being harshly critical of me. Going to be strained at times.  But in all of it I am to trust and obey. 

In all of it you are meant to trust and obey. 

We sin greatly when we are technically trying to command God to obey us.
We sin when we persist in living in ways that contradict the Bible. 
We sin when God's word isn't important to us. 
We sin when we insist on life being how we want it. 

This world is not our home. We're just passing through.  We don't go on vacations and get hotels rooms and then spend time at Home Depot, while we are there, doing a makeover of the room do we? 

We're given a great many things in life. Many are seen by us as blessings...but are they really?  Are we truly blessed when what we pursue or maybe are given and it causes us to be more separated from the will of God in us?  We're told that if something or someone causes us or someone else to stumble we are to avoid it. We're told by Jesus to cast such things away.  

If indeed you claim to be a follower of Christ Jesus are you following Him or your idea of who Jesus is?  My Dear Reader MANY will say they did a great many things in their lives for Jesus and they will be told to depart from Him for He never knew them.  We're told that many will hold to a form of godliness although they have denied its power.  Lives wasted because there wasn't a real relationship with Jesus Christ. They never were truly saved. 

Please don't let this be you!

Be sure of your salvation in Christ Jesus. 
Be sure that whatever is important to Jesus is important to you. 
Be sure that you are following and not trying to push Jesus out of the driver's seat. 

The Helper, as Jesus called Him, the Paraclete, means "another like Me of the same kind". The indwelling Holy Spirit is to have full authority in our lives to do with us, to us and for us as He sees fit.

There's to be no rooms in our hearts that He cannot clean out or renovate. 

Therefore if any man is in Christ He is a new creation, behold old things have passed away and new things have come. 

Is there evidence of this in your life?  If not, my Dear Reader, you now know what to do. 

Sunday, March 26, 2023


by David Brenneman 

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary's mount out-poured–
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Sin and despair, like the sea-waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater– yes, grace untold–
Points to the Refuge, the mighty Cross. 
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
All who are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive? 
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

Author: Julia H. Johnston (1910)
Grace Greater Than All Our Sin 

Oh the wake up reminders.  Waking up to being reminded of the grace of God.  Of the truth of God that takes our sins and casts them as far away as the east is from the west. 

But you don't know what I have done! The thoughts that I have had! The things that I did! The words that I have said!  There's too much for God to ever forgive me!  

My Dear Reader, all that you are aware of and all that you're not aware of, in regards to your sins...Jesus took upon Himself and on the judgment decree concerning you stamped "paid in full"...if indeed you have Him as your personal Lord and Savior. Trusting in what He did on that cross to pay for your sins gets you that summary judgment wiped clean. But you my Friend must choose to accept that free gift and you must trust God with doing what He promised you. buts...Once you come to Christ for salvation you're now a child of God, with all the rights and privileges that go with it. Forgiveness being one of the greatest. Grace...God's Riches At Christ's Expense.  God's unmerited favor. Unmerited meaning there is nothing you did to earn it, nothing you ever need to do to gain more of it. Your deeds do not add to your being saved.  There are no works to do. 

What works you DO do are out of appreciation for all He's done to save you. 

But I!  Yes, sin has that effect on people.  It's a normal reaction to realizing He's a Holy God and we are not holy in and of ourselves. 

I have no need by way of reminders that I need His grace and His mercy.  His mercy is not doing to us what we often deserve. 

"In common usage, mercy and grace are often used interchangeably. They do not mean the same thing, but they are integrally related and may be considered two sides of the same coin in salvation. When God saves a person, He extends both mercy and grace. Mercy is forgiving the sinner and withholding the punishment that is justly deserved. Grace is heaping undeserved blessings upon the sinner. In salvation, God does not show one without the other. In Christ, the believer experiences both mercy and grace." -from 'Got Questions' post. 

Now if sin ISN'T bothering you after coming to Christ, then there indeed is a significant problem. Sin is going to happen in the life of Believers because we still battle that part of us until either we die or Jesus returns to take us to be with Him. Forgiveness is but a prayer away. Turning from it back to a life that honors Jesus. 

You and I are going to get knocked down by sin.  If indeed we came to Christ for salvation, the Spirit is within us, empowering us towards the Godly work He had in mind for us as well as making us more like Christ. We will be as distracted as a squirrel and a dog at times when it comes to sin. 

It's why it's important not to go it alone in living for Jesus. 

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad-hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus Who died in my place,
Bearing on Calv’ry my sin and disgrace;
Such love constrains me to answer His call,
Follow His leading and give Him my all.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus, wherever I am,
Doing each duty in His holy Name;
Willing to suffer affliction and loss,
Deeming each trial a part of my cross.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.
O Jesus, Lord and Savior, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me;
I own no other Master, my heart shall be Thy throne;
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

Author: Thomas O. Chisholm (1917) 
Living for Jesus 

We are in constant daily need for reminders of His love for us and our need for His transforming power in us.  We need to realize we can't do life apart from Jesus.  We can't fight sin when the cross proved that it took the power of God to defeat it.  To defeat it daily in your life requires us to keep in touch with the one who can deal with it. Sin is going to remind you of all it offers.  It's going to be appealing. Remind sin that it's not worth it and that Jesus defeated it. 

Grace greater than all our sin it exceeds our sin and our guilt. It's there for all who have called upon Jesus to save them. 

So no matter how your sin looks to you, if indeed you are in Christ, turn from it, turn to Jesus and ask forgiveness for it. Remind yourself that in Christ you are a new creation. Old things passed away, new things have come. 

The Bible says that Jesus, right now, is seated at the right hand of His Father, interceding on our behalf. He is our mediator.  When we are saved by Jesus, the Father looks at us and only sees Jesus. 

Oh the grace of God.  I woke up needing His reminder myself.  He says that someone out there needs reminding too.  I have often felt that there ought to be, that there MUST be a punishment for when I sin. Jesus says that in Him I am forgiven...that once I ask Him to forgive let it go. Get back to walking with Dear Reader He says the same thing to you. 

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Did You Run?

Did You Run?
by David Brenneman 

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." Romans 8:28-30 NASB 

Life is going to be hard.  Life in Christ is promised to be more abundant.  As Mark Lowry said in a video of his, it means higher highs and lower lows than we think we are able to handle. And he is right!

But many run from God, although they won't call it that.  They will just find some cushy place to "serve" because of how people treated them.  

Does this stop the work of God in us?  No...but it will cause the lessons necessary to get back on track with the character of Christ being created in us to be more involved and intense. 

Jesus came to seek and save the lost in this world. 
Jesus said to beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out more workers into His harvest.  

That would be all who claim to be in Christ Jesus.  Not some, not a select few, everyone.  

We also need to not grow weary from doing good as it says in Galatians. We are often going to be bombarded. Dragged down. Beat up. All in the service to our God.  We are told this in advance!

1 Peter 4:12 NASB "Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you."

We go through life, often bewildered, because things aren't going to our plans. 

Back up there...who's plans? 
We who are in Christ are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.  

So things have happened. People will be harsh with you and I. People will be critical of you and I.  Maybe even excessively so. 

Are we to run from them or trust Jesus?

Satan is an equal opportunity liar. 
Satan will lie to, lie about, and lie to protect what he's invested in. Jesus said that he is a liar and the father of lies. He's the deceiver. He's the enemy of God. 

He absolutely wants to know the date and time of the Rapture but doesn't know it because it's only between the Father and the Son of God. 

He knows it hinges on a particular someone being the last to be saved before that moment in time happens. 

So he's using every tool he's developed to slow or halt people who are Christians from living out their faith.  Keeping them so distracted and consumed by this world that they aren't living for Jesus with a whole heart.  Everything from indulging in self to every imaginable thing.  

His aim is to slow or prevent in as many ways as possible Believers from becoming fully devoted followers of Christ Jesus. 

Using success as a deceptive practice as well.  Pride in success is a big one. Worldly accolades and popularity. 

Whatever it takes to keep people from introducing people to Jesus.

When you look at your life honestly are you a fully devoted follower of Christ?  Be truthful. If the word maybe, or the phrase sometimes, describes you, then my friend you need to reevaluate your life. If you know your calling in Christ Jesus and you left it, it's time to stop running and go back.  A chief fear tool of Satan is planting the seeds of "but what if God wants me to give up..." or "what if He asks me to..." or "you just don't understand those people are so critical!!!".

As it's written in the anything too difficult for God?  Who formed the mouth? Who knew everything about you before you were born? Who set you in the body of Christ as He saw fit?  

Have you ran from God? Dodged your calling in Christ for something else? 

This is all, regardless of our reasoning, disobedience.  Jonah is a prime example of what disobedience to God's calling will get you. Jesus taught of the Parable of the Prodigal Son.  

Several in the Bible ran from things and were told by God to return and submit to those He put in authority over them.  

We aren't to seek to change our position in the body of Christ for something easier and with less conflict. That's tantamount to saying that God the Spirit didn't know what He was doing or thinking in placing you where He did. You're accusing Him of making a mistake. 

To grow your character of Christ in you, you need to obey and submit to what God sees as necessary for you. Regardless of how complicated or difficult it may seem. 

It's not too late, as long as a person is breathing, to return to God, ask for forgiveness, and go back to what He's called you to be doing. After all you WILL be asked of Jesus why you didn't. Will any excuse you provide going to stack up against all He went through to save you?

It's always healthy to take a self evaluation of our Spiritual life. Is growing in Christ important to you? Is obedience to God's Word important to you? If not, why not? 

Run back to Jesus instead of away from Him. He loves you unconditionally and is waiting with open arms to receive you back. Yes life is going to be difficult but He promised you would never do it alone. 

Friday, March 24, 2023

A Life Worthy of His Sacrifice

A Life Worthy of His Sacrifice 
by David Brenneman 

What we do in this life as Believers is not for the furtherance of our careers, not the pursuit of happiness even.  It's not about our creativity or our celebration of our achievements.  It's not about accolades and things like wonderful times. 

Pursuit of things that aren't in accordance with the will of God in our lives are deemed selfish.  What does the Bible say?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  Doesn't say you will get what you think that you want. 

Let's go further.  Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart." NASB

We read in the New Testament that we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.  

We have a purpose in this life, regardless of how we view it, to live for the One who gave His all for us to be saved.

So many want to have their cake and eat it too.  Thinking that there MUST be some way to live for self and live for Jesus too.

Can two people drive a vehicle at the same time behind the wheel?  But what does the Bible say?  Jesus said you cannot serve two masters. You will hate the one and cling to the other.  Love the one and despise the other.

Look at our world. 

Time is growing short.  We soon may be in the presence of Jesus and what will our lives show?  Will it show us as doing our best for our Savior, or show us as doing our best for ourselves?

What is the will of God for you and I? Our sanctification. Our becoming more like Christ Jesus is His will for us.  We were created in the image of God.  We were created for a right relationship with Jesus. Sin broke that relationship. Jesus became the cure for that.  

What He's done made a right relationship possible. Is your life filled with an attitude of gratitude?  Is much of your prayers just repetition without heart, without feeling, behind it?  Are your activities really mostly you complaining to God about not getting this or that? 

Jesus Christ didn't live a sinless life, die a horrible death on a cross, endure separation from God the Father, raise from the dead, all for us...just so that we can live a carefree life of personal wanton pleasure.  His sacrifice wasn't so that after coming to Christ we now get to live as we want to, as we see fit.  Our life in Christ is to mean what He defines it to mean.  The Helper, the Holy Spirit, sets each Believer in the body as He sees fit. We don't decide what we're going to or not do for Jesus. 

We don't pick our career and then basically tell Him to live with it because that's all we're going to do.  

We don't tell the One who sacrificed everything that we won't sacrifice a thing for Him and what He did to save us. 

We don't spend our time not reading His Word at all. We don't cozy up to the world and make excuses to continue in sin. We don't put our peace and contentment ahead of what He wants of us to become in Christ. 

What He's Done all glory to the Father and the Son. My sins are forgiven, my future is Heaven. I praise God for what He's done...

Look up that song.  Read in Hebrews of the hall of faith. Of what all people did to serve God.  Of how that was more important than what the world offered them.   

Satan offered Jesus the world. Just bow down to him and He wouldn't need to go to the cross. He would give Him whatever He would desire if He would just do that. 

My Dear Reader, Satan offers you the same thing. You don't need to put up with difficult people, just take up this offer or that "good" thing that he presents to you and he will leave you alone.  You can coast through life.  Satan is a liar and the father of lies.  He's the destroyer of life. He's the enemy of God.  

So many Believers think that God's intentions are for their health, wealth and prosperity because of passages of the Bible taken out of context. God's will is our sanctification FIRST.  We are promised, PROMISED, mind you, that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer.   

When you look at your surroundings, your possessions, indeed you might say you are blessed.  But are those things you have, that you are surrounded with, are they at all causing you to live in a right relationship with Jesus?  Are you spending quality time with Jesus?  Are you making excuses for why you haven't been?  

Can a person draw water from the well of Christ Jesus without an effort to put the bucket down into it first?  He is the vine, we are the branches.  His Father is the vine dresser. He prunes the branches to get them to bear more fruit.  

We are workers in His fields, reaping His harvest. Which means we do what He has for us to be doing in Christ.  Not what we want in those fields. Not what is safe by our standards. 

Take a look at your life. Does it reflect a life lived for the One who saved you?  As Dr. Charles Stanley has mentioned your character becoming more like Christ?  If your character isn't then you're making one or more wrong choices in how you live life.  When we give an account of our lives before Jesus, everything that wasn't done for Jesus will be burned up.  Will be shown to be WORTHLESS.  Selfish ambition nets us nothing in Christ Jesus.  The generation that will be, is the one that is now, when Jesus returns. Lovers of self.  Don't take my word for it, read it.

"For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such people as these." 2 Timothy 3:2-5 NASB 

Watch Facebook video's, watch YouTube video's.  They are filled with people such as these.  

Satan is even getting Believer's desensitized to this list of qualities. People everywhere are being programmed by our media outlets to downplay sin. Downplay living for Jesus. Downplaying the consequences of sin. Calling it just a mistake, a bad choice, bad luck. Mistakes, bad choices, bad luck are not what held Jesus to the cross. Those things aren't the reason He suffered and died. Sin was. Our sins were. 

We owe Him way more of ourselves than we do.

Jesus promised us life, but not just life, life more abundant. This isn't an implication of health, wealth and prosperity. It's higher highs and lower lows than a life without Him.  It's going to be painful trips that seem like the valley of the shadow of death to us.  It's going to be standing on the mountain tops looking down at how far we have come in Christ Jesus.  It's going to be our becoming more like Christ Jesus...not us being all we can be for ourselves. 

Pray today that your eyes would be opened, that you would objectively see your life as it is, not what you think it appears to be.  Ask Jesus to show you. You might be surprised by what you find out.  Jesus told His Disciples that nobody who's given up their lives for Him and the sake of the Kingdom who won't get more than they ever thought possible in this life and the life to come.  

Open the eyes of my heart Lord open the eyes of my heart...

Thursday, March 23, 2023

We May Run, But He's the God Who Stays

We May Run, But He's the God Who Stays 
by David Brenneman 

There's songs today that don't do much to lift up God, others, cause me to lift up my hands and arms outstretched wanting my God to just take me in His arms. 

I made a choice many many years ago to push out music that has lyrics that aren't going to help me praise my God.  I do not need music to remind me of sins or sinful ways and behaviors, negative thoughts and feelings.  

We only see that after the resurrection of Jesus Christ that His Disciples, now Apostles because of their having personally witnessed His death, burial and His resurrection, standing firm in what life tried throwing at them. 

Right up to the death of Jesus, we read that the word of God was fulfilled that the Shepherd would be struck and they would flee.  So they did.  

But after the resurrection and after receiving the Holy Spirit themselves, they soon learned to stand firm.

We aren't Apostles, nobody after them can or will be.  Jesus, in the Great Commission, said to them to go make Disciples.  

We're told in the Scriptures that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer.  It's something to expect.  After all when we came to Christ for salvation we became children of God and enemies of the god of this world.  We too are taught, as Disciples, to stand firm.  We read in Romans about our calling in Christ Jesus as being irrevocable.  We read in Corinthians that we are part of the body of Christ. We read that it's the Spirit who assigns us within the body of Christ. We don't pick our job, role, or position in the body of Christ.  We are to be the best at what the Spirit has for us to be doing. To stand firm in our calling in Christ. 

But often times we get distracted by the world. We see what appears to be peace and rest in doing something other than our calling in Christ Jesus and pursue whatever it is.  We like sheep, go astray, each going off to do their own thing.

Sometimes we get spooked and run. We get bombarded and in our own strength fall flat thinking we're done.  We can't keep doing what God called us to do. What does the Bible say? Press on. 

We should take to heart what Paul's said. 
Press on towards the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  I recently re-saw a video segment of a Christian movie. A football player was called out by his coach concerning giving his best. Through the challenge of the coach he learned what his very best meant. It meant it was going to hurt. Was going to be painful. Was going to mean people weren't going to understand or see him as he thought they would see him.  

We're not to run from our calling in Christ Jesus.  We are to do our best, our very best, in what we were called to be and do in Christ.  To run is to disobey the calling of God in our lives.  Adam fled from the presence of the Lord, didn't go so well.  Jonah fled from the Lord, didn't fare so well.  

You and I are going to be tempted to take the easy way out.  We are going to desire a cushy assignment that we will probably even think came from God. 

The challenge is to stand firm in Christ Jesus.   To stay true to our calling in Christ Jesus regardless of how painful it is.  

Take a good look at your life.  Did you face something harsh in serving Christ and run away?  Convinced yourself that you're done with that?  Oh, my Dear Reader.  Go back to God and return to full obedience to God's will for you.  Satan tried tempting Jesus to take the easy way.  To just do this and he would go easy on Him.  Nothing that the Apostles faced in serving Christ was the easy way.  

Run back to your life in Christ as He intended for it to be with you. 

He is the God who stays. He has a job for you to be doing in the body. There's no parts of the body of Christ that are allowed to skate by in service to God.  Elements of the body that aren't doing what the body needs them to be doing, but rather leach off the body, are cancers. We are called to be attached to the Vine. We are the branches. Branches that separate from the vine are as good as dead.  

Look in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Be bold and ask the Spirit to show you who you're living for. To reveal to you whether or not you are being true to His calling for you.  

God's plan and purpose should be lived out in your life. Not your plan and purpose.  We're all here under the same plan of God to reach people who have not heard and show them to a right relationship with Jesus.  That's the Great Commission. To make Disciples, teaching them to do all that He commanded.  

We may run from what God's got in mind for us, but as long as we are breathing, we can run back.  

We're not going to add to that crown of righteousness by being what we wanted to be in this life. We will add to it by living out our calling in Christ Jesus.  ALL that we did do for self will be burned away.  🔥 
What remains that of life that we did in Christ Jesus will be what's valuable. 

The God Who Stays

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

No Matter Where, The King is in the Room

No Matter Where, the King is in the Room 
by David Brenneman 

His Name is Jesus by Phil Wickham just is one of those songs that the more it rings in my mind that there's more to be understood.  

We often can feel like we're overwhelmed. Jesus is still there with us. The King is in the room. 
We often can feel lonely. Jesus is still there. The King is in the room. 
We often can feel like we're getting bombarded from all directions. Jesus is still there. The King is in the room. 

The truth that hit me yesterday at work was that no matter what my day looks like, no matter how hard life seems, the King is in the room.

Life is going good? The King is in the room. 
Life is not going so well? The King is still in the room. 

No matters what hits us in life, no matter if it's our bathroom, bedroom, back porch, or standing on the surface of Mars. The King is in the room.  Jesus's promise to never leave us nor forsake us rings true in that statement, that the King is in the room. 

People being incessantly critical of you? The King is still in the room. 

People badgering you and won't let up? The King is in the room.

Daniel in the lions den, the King was in the room. 
Daniel's 3 friends in the fiery furnace, the King was in the room. 
The boat on rough waters, the Disciples learned that the King was in the room. 

Look about you, there's no reason to run from your calling in Christ Jesus, the King is there in the room.  Jonah learned that lesson.  

It astounds me to see people abandoning their calling in Christ Jesus because of how people treated them...having quickly forgotten that the King was in the room.

We are going to have storms in life. We aren't going to have it right as rain all the time.  In Christ Jesus we are behind enemy lines.  We are not of this world. We have targets painted on us. But what does the Bible say? Be of good cheer. Be strong and courageous. What did the Bible tell us of Joseph's life? The Lord was with him, the King was in the room.

Look up the lyrics to that song.  It's a simple search in Google. "lyrics his name is Jesus".

Quite often I hear this song and in my minds eye I have my arms raised, praising God, wanting so much to be picked up and held by my Father in Heaven.  

His name is Jesus, light of the world, there's freedom in His name...
The King is in the room...
The Savior's in the room...

We can quickly think situations are too much for us to handle. Quickly forgetting that He's right there with us. 

Oh the King is in the room. 
The Saviors in the soul beyond the boundaries of His grace. 

Joshua knew that while he obeyed, while he kept his faith in the Lord his God, that the Lord would be with him.  Read the book named after him. He understood the power of the King being in the room. 

Isaiah fell to his knees when he saw that the King was before him and that he was in the King's room.

Take comfort in the truth that the King is in the room with you. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Hearing and Listening Aren't the Same

Hearing and Listening Aren't the Same 
by David Brenneman 

I always find it interesting when God speaks and I am in a position to actually hear.  Of those times when, from my perspective, I get other random resources and somehow God brings the same message out of both.

Something that I was taught about Bible reading rings true in these circumstances too.  If you're interested and intent on reading to learn more about Christ, look for whatever is being repeated to you.

Dr. Charles Stanley's book "Listening to God", Dr. David Jeremiah's book "Overcomer" and Pastor Nick Cleveland & Pastor Steve Kern's "The Core 24". 

Certainly drawn from different times they were written and different people but God does what He does to get a message across. 

Just how often are we hearing but not listening to God?

We want to hear what our own heart wants to hear from Him.  We want to hear about the successes we want to see. We want to hear from God what pleases us to see, to hear, to know. 

It's all backwards to what ought to be happening. 

Our worldly successes, if done from a self perspective, are really meaningless in the eyes of God.  We read of the downfall of many in these times of the end as being lovers of themselves. We see it right in our faces when the thing to do is to take "selfies".  The thing on social media, beit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, elsewhere is to gain "followers" to essentially gather people to approve of us. To gain the favor of men and women. To Get as much glory in this moment of life as we puff up and build up the love of self.  To hear what we want to hear not necessarily what we need to hear.

God's not interested in puffing us up. He's interested in a right relationship with Jesus.  He's wanting us to keep a healthy position between our self identity and what He says we are in Christ.  

God's wanting what?  

"You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.  Therefore, ridding yourselves of all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does." James 1:19-25 NASB 

Quick to hear.  Active time spent in stopping the pursuit of self to hear what the Spirit says.  We read in Revelation it being repeated "He who has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the Churches".

We are told by Jesus that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, would come and teach us all things. 

Are you a student of Christ who talks all the time when He's trying to teach?  As one put it we were given 2 ears and 1 mouth.  Listen more, speak less.

We aren't here to hear what we want out of God as if that were our purpose of being here after coming to Christ to be saved. 

We are to lead transformed lives in Christ. 
We are His workmanship, He's making of the lumber of our lives not a house but a Temple.  A place that's right for the Spirit of God to reside. 

Look in the mirror.  Are you looking after your own interests or the interests of God?  If the question sounds familiar it's a statement by Jesus to Peter.  

Are you being prideful in your successes? Are you looking more for what good things people will say of you or is your life pointing people to Jesus? 
Are you working towards staying in a safe place away from the Spiritual battlefield that's got the conflicts inherent to a life growing in Christ?

Are you at all listening to the Spirit?  Or have you really been telling Him to talk to the hand? 

Many have.  Many have what Jesus said that the Disciples had in their early stages of training...a hardened heart. A heart that's not open to truly listening to God. 

I encourage you to stop in your tracks. Look at your motivations.  Look at what you've done even in the last week or so.

Are you living a life that you approve of but deep down you know that Jesus wouldn't?

Are your interests being put ahead of God's?

Are you at all spending time sitting at the feet of Jesus listening with all your attention?  While things probably did need done, Jesus refused to take that kind of moment from Mary when her sister was bent on doing other things. 

Are you cultivated a right relationship with Jesus or are you cultivating your relationship with the world?  We're taught by Jesus that we cannot serve two masters. We will love the one and despise the other.  

Who gets the love of your heart? God or the world?  Who you listen to, speaks volumes. 

Pray, as the Old Testament prophet did concerning his servant...that your eyes would be opened to the truth about yourself.  That you would have ears that hear and eyes that see as the Spirit directs and wants to teach you about Jesus. 

Monday, March 20, 2023

God: Storms? What Storms?

God: Storms? What Storms?
by David Brenneman 

Mark 4:35-41 NASB "On that day, when evening came, He *said to them, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd, they took Him along with them in the boat, just as He was; and other boats were with Him. And there *arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and *said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”"

Wow March sure seems like a month of storms for me.  I look back over my Facebook memories and there's been a lot that has happened pretty much almost on the same day it seems. 

I am also doing some reminiscing over my school years at my old High school. It's slated to be torn down.  Remembering the good that happened there as well as the storms that happened there for me.

Had me remembering people whom God used to protect me while I was there.  Being the nerd that I am I wasn't too popular.  Was the target of many people for some not so pleasant things.  Storms. 

In the looking back over our lives at what's come upon us, quite often the storms seemed incredibly stressful and strong. Yet we see God's hands in all of them.  You can too in yours if you look. 

This week, the last several actually, are storm filled.  We need reminded by God that He is Lord over the storms no matter what they are or where they are. No matter how big or how intense. The Lord Jesus Christ will continue to do what He's always done. He will tell those storms to hush and be still.  It's us who learn to do the same. 

Jesus asked them a simple question after He hushed the storms.  

Our faith isn't strengthened in the easy times of life. It grows during the storms. Our roots in God grow stronger and deeper when the winds and rains buffet our existence.  Doesn't nature itself show us this?  Shallow roots to a big tree are never a good thing. The right storms and they topple over.  It takes a great storm to topple a tree with very deep roots.  

This morning I feel much as I did on a fall day in 2021. Was leaving where I was temporarily staying to drive back to Columbus. Another whirlwind weekend ahead of sorting, donating and pitching things to get ready to move.  The storms I found myself in that day were a lesson to remember for the rest of my life. Dr. David Jeremiah in his book Overcomer describes something similar that was his experience. 

He was taken down into an area underground. The only source of light was on his head.  The darkness was so absolute that his only way forward was to walk only where the spot of light had illuminated. Walking by faith, he said, was much the very same thing. 

My drive was much the same. I had to go forward because the harshness of the storm wouldn't let me pull off.  I was being made to go through it. Driving where my eyes could see because of the light of my vehicle.  

In our lives things are going to get complicated. Going to be rough. As we talked this past few Saturday's in our Men's Group...we grow in our adversities. 

Today and the next few weeks it's probably going to feel much like that drive. 

In Proverbs we read: "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps." Chapter 16 verse 9 NASB. 

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

I am also reminded of a song where the words say "peace be still say the word and I will, set my feet upon the sea..."

We are not alone. You are not, I am not. 
No human being is alone. Jesus is everywhere.  Whether you are saved in Christ matters in regards as to how close you are to Him.  Those of you who might be reading this who aren't saved, who have not placed your faith and trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation, you have been on your own up till today.  You can change that in this moment of your life.  

In Christ you have all the faith you need to get through this life. Your faith builds in your walk with Jesus. The storms inside and out will try to harm you but Jesus is stronger. He commands the winds and the rains.  They don't tell Him how it's going to be, He tells them.  

In no way is God ever surprised by what is happening in our lives.  He has two plans in motion at all times for Believers and two for those who haven't yet come to Christ for salvation.  For the Believers it's our growing in Christ to be like Christ. The other is the fulfillment of Scripture towards the prophecies of God. 

For the unbelieving it's to show them that God does love them and wants a personal relationship with well as to show them that there's wrath to come from God concerning sin. People do not need to be afraid of that wrath when they come to Christ for salvation. 

My storms will try to rock my world, but the one in whom I trust will tell those storms that they are not all that. He will do as He's done and will continue to do until either my time on Earth is done or the Rapture of the Church...He will guide us through this and every single storm of life.

Growing us in Christ all the way.  We only fool ourselves when we are intentionally looking to live a life free of storms. We aren't going to grow in Christ as we should without them.  Read the parable of building a house upon the rock and what happened to the house built upon the sand. 

Storms? What Storms? God is still God. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Banquet is Being Prepared

The Banquet is Being Prepared 
by David Brenneman 

"Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take extra oil with them; but the prudent ones took oil in flasks with their lamps. Now while the groom was delaying, they all became drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there finally was a shout: ‘Behold, the groom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps.  But the foolish virgins said to the prudent ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’  However, the prudent ones answered, ‘No, there most certainly would not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’  But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the groom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Yet later, the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, because you do not know the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:1-13 NASB 

We know that Jesus said He would return at that moment established by His Father. 

For those who have been students of Bible prophecy, you know that there's really not much, if anything, left between now and that point in time. 

As Jesus concluded His parable He said very clearly "Be on the alert then, because you do not know the day nor the hour.".

What of you my Friend? Are you at all looking beyond what your eyes see and your ears hear in this life to what's coming?  Are you looking beyond the four walls of your home? Are you at all concerned about what concerns God?

Jesus never once broke a promise. The curses of the Lord Jesus are also happening in human history as well as those promises.  Some very significant happenings to the people of Israel are a result of the curses of God from the early writings of Moses. 

No one will thwart the will of God in regards to finishing up what remains of Bible prophecy. No one will know that day or hour of Jesus coming to claim the bodies of the dead in Christ or those who are alive and remain who are saved in Christ Jesus. 

It's the plan of Satan to deceive, to distract, to numb, to desensitize people to the urgency of the hour at hand. 

As written before, the whole thought behind television, movies, video games, streaming, is to further the goals of Satan in this world. The Bible clearly speaks to that end. Satan wants to drive out all mention of the One True God and have God's creation worship himself. 

The plan and purpose for Believers isn't to thrive and be successful in this world as its chief priority. It's the same mission as Jesus had.  To seek and save the lost lives of the world.  The Great Commission isn't just for Pastors only. It is for all who name the name of Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. 

There will be nobody sneaking into Heaven. Nobody slipping in unawares. 
Nobody who simply believes that God exists.  The Bible says that even the demons do that, and at least they shudder at the thought of God.  

Jesus taught that a person's faith must exceed that faith of the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Their's wasn't much beyond that of what the demons confess when you think about it. 

Are your priorities in life right?  Are you living for yourself or for your Savior?  Are you spending time with Jesus every day? 

Are you as serious about His work in you as He is about doing that work in you?

That's an extremely important question and point. 

We indeed read that we are His workmanship. But quite often we keep trying to get off the work table to do our own thing.

When we do that, we're taking our minds and eyes and heart off of what Jesus wants for us. 

We stop being ready for that day and hour.

A phrase I read last night in Dr. David Jeremiah's book Overcomer was to have a listening heart.  Those who are eagerly awaiting the return of Jesus Christ are listening for that shout, that trumpet to sound, saying it's time. That the Wedding Supper is ready. The Feast of the Bride of Christ is ready. Our home that's been prepared by Jesus is ready for us. That the beginning of the last week of the prophecy of Daniel is about to begin, better understood in the book of Revelation. 

Are you living your life prepared to be in the presence of Jesus in an instant?

It will be that fast. No warning. No sign to be observed other than people just being gone from every walk of life. Every profession every age group. 

In the blink of an eye it will all happen. 

Live your life as a Believer in Christ Jesus in such a way that people see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. 

Live life knowing that what you do in Christ will survive the test of fire when examined by Jesus. 

Live knowing that you're doing your best in living life for the one who saved you. 

To God be the glory great things He has done...

Saturday, March 18, 2023

A Necessity is Reproof

A Necessity is Reproof 
by David Brenneman 

I, like probably most of you, aren't the greatest at receiving criticism.  
When it's daily, it is much like being hit physically. 

What Dr. Charles Stanley said in this point is, at least to me, the part or portion that I have been missing.  Asking God if there's any truth to what's been said.  

We, more than we might think, take what people say at face value. 

We hear it or see it and we just take it in and believe it. But what does God say about it? 

In the book of John it's written that Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.   

Just because people make statements to us about us, doesn't make them a truth sayer.  You and I are hearing their singular perception which can be influenced by so many variables.  Not the least of which is a sin nature tainting their views on life. 

While reproof is necessary, so are a few others, but lets put it in context. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work."

The Merriam Webster dictionary says: reproof is a criticism for a fault. 

If we indeed are to receive a criticism it should indeed be filtered through the Word of God.  

Every single person who lives in our world has sin impairing their judgment. Everyone.  No exceptions.  Only the Word of God, only the Spirit of God, can impart truth.   It's never going to be my opinion or your opinion or anyone's opinion that matters in light of eternity.  

We read such things in the Bible of Jesus separating the believers from the unbelieving in preparation for judgment.  Ever really realize that there's going to be screaming people in denial of Him separating them from friends and family?  
Jesus is truth and He is going to stand on it to judge mankind.  He knows the hearts of mankind because He is God. Now when He is critical of someone it's an absolutely true statement that He imparts.

Asking Jesus if there's any truth in what someone says ought to be our first response.   

A singular criticism stands out to me from this past week.  Even before reading that piece from Dr. Charles Stanley that I've quoted, I had checked with Jesus about it.

His response was that I and the person who said what was said to me are in two different stages of work in Him.  This other person isn't to where I am.  Give them grace.  So I did and moved on. 

I could have easily gone on the defensive. I could have easily shredded their argument.  But it's not about me.  We who are in Christ are part of the great commission.  To make disciples, teaching others to obey all that Jesus commanded. 

In due time God will deal with people in His way and through His work.  Our finite minds do not know every outcome from the situations we find ourselves in. God does. We do not know if our criticism we return will really lift up someone or do harm when it's in our own understanding of things and we haven't consulted Jesus. 

Prayer doesn't necessarily mean stopping what we're doing, bowing our heads, folding our hands and praying either out loud or to ourselves.  Nehemiah was in the middle of talking to the King and just quickly prayed for help. 

We can do the same. 
We should do the same. 

We often run to safe places to get away from critical people.  King David had someone critical of him, nagging him, following him. One of his soldiers wanted to kill the guy to shut him up for what he was saying about the King.  David told him to leave him alone. David knew something that the soldier didn't. 

When we ask for wisdom, the Bible says that God freely gives us wisdom.   We need to seek His wisdom. It's His kingdom come and His will to be done in our lives. 

Running away doesn't always mean failure.

Sometimes it's necessary for integrity.
Sometimes we do need to press on because that's the will of God for us.

Knowing the difference still requires prayer.  We need to be listening to God's leading and not just hearing what we want to hear.  

We are told to pray without ceasing. Akin to circular breathing.  Constant and unbroken. 

I prayed for the individual who said what they did.  I pray for myself at our next encounter.  Jacob had prayed about his next encounter with Esau...the result was God changed them both. 

Expect the Spirit to do a work in your life when you correctly pray about criticism.  

Friday, March 17, 2023

Many Are Our Steps

Many Are Our Steps
by David Brenneman 

It wasn't a good night's sleep last night.  All throughout my dreams there was stressful things to go through.  At one point I must have been physically moving around while sleeping because one of our cats came to me, waking me up. 

Stress in dreams probably is something from the day before, just manifested in different or similar ways.  The events in my dream never happened in any way, shape or form in the real world.  But the feelings and emotions of it stayed with me after waking up. 

There's indeed winds of change coming for us and the transition through it will have some complications.  God's always going to do what He always does, which is provide and get us through it.  It's just going to probably be rough waters ahead for a short time until things start to balance out. 

Proverbs 16:9 is one of my favorite verses.  So much in a few words concerning wisdom.  God can't direct steps that aren't moving.  We also must be willing to go where He directs. 

The verse of today on Biblegateway ties into what I have shared so far.

"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." Psalm 23:1-3 NASB. 

Last night I opted to sell some more things on Ebay and surprisingly they both sold within minutes if not a few hours.  So today has that happening. Finding boxes, materials to ship as well as getting them out.  Not too stressful, but those are steps being directed. 

Have interviews today.  One by phone a 2nd is an in person one.  Actually not stressing about either.  As has happened in the past, God will show me which to go after.  More steps being directed. 

So where is this underlying stress coming from?  Considering the future of things, could be called the fallout of the changes coming.  I know that God's never ever let us down. Know that He's already prepared beforehand so there's that too.  I have often struggled with what's on the other side of big events. 

Another passage is appropriate, of course. 

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

Financial things probably attribute to most people's stress. Where's what's needed going to come from?  You know what I mean. 

It's why faith history is so important. 
Remembering what you've faced with Jesus. Knowing that in all those times He's never ever let you down when you put your life in His hands. People will always let you down but by the power of His Name He cannot and will not.

We have the story of how we met and got married. 
We have the story of the gutters on the house we moved into after getting married that had been my Wife's before we were married. 
We have the story of when that semi truck ran a red light and hit me on my way to work. 
We have the story of getting my Wife through her breast cancer.
We have the story of how the company I had hired into after moving to Columbus was sold and what the owner did for us all. 
We have the stories of many many more people and things that could be told of the last 20 plus years.  God is faithful. 

I know not the details more often than not. I am to keep doing what Jesus puts in front of me to be doing. That's all I know to do.  Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  Doesn't say might make, says will make.  Doesn't say maybe. Doesn't say those things at all.  Says will make. 

We are easily stressed by what we cannot see or fully understand.  Our minds don't know nor our hearts understand what is God's plan and purpose for what we do go through.  

My plans for this day?  Prayer.  Do what I know to do and pray.  As I was reading last night in Dr. David Jeremiah's book Overcomer, was reminded of ACTS once more.  Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication.  Do the first 3 THEN bring my requests to My God. 

My Jesus loves me and wants what's best for me.  He promised never to leave me nor forsake me.  Faith history proves that time and time again. 

When you're stressed and don't know where help will come from, pray.
When you're stressed and don't know what to do, pray.

God's got your back. He's got your front and every side there is concerning you. 

Take active steps in the way that He's taking you and He will direct you.