Monday, July 31, 2023

But not in there! Please don't go in there!

But not in there! Please don't go in there!
by David Brenneman 

What always amazes me every day is when and what I am instructed to write about.  For those who read til the end, you'll note that there is now a used by permission note that's linked to the Lockman Foundation.  That's at their request.  I reached out to them, wasn't them to me.  Have had the letter of permission for many years, just figured out how to add individual links.

That being said...on we go...
In Jeremiah 29:13 we read what the Lord Jesus Christ said to him.  That if we seek Him that we will find Him if we look with all our heart.  

By what we know of the word "all", it means...well...all...everything, every aspect, every part, every portion.  No excuses, no exceptions. 

But how often do we actively keep pointing Jesus to allllll the other rooms in our hearts that we have been obedient to let Him into and yet know that we're trying to keep Him out of certain places, certain parts. 

We all do it.  Our sin nature is predisposed towards selfishness.  To keeping back something we really don't want to let go of.  Either from embarrassment or from selfish desire, it's been tucked away.  Yet Jesus wants in to that room that we keep pointing Him away from. 

It matters not how faithful we are in everything else we do in Christ. 

He wants all of our hearts. 

We can pursue Bible studies, new Christians to hang out with, new churches to attend.  Can be intentional on serving.

If we're going to resist in giving our whole heart to Jesus we have a significant problem. 

"For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." James 2:10.

We need to realize that no part of our old self is making it to Heaven.  There's no part or portion that Jesus is going to keep of our sin nature.  

We need to read between the lines of "If someone says, “I love God,” and yet he hates his brother or sister, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother and sister whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen." 1 John 4:20.

Some of the most poignant moments in Heaven must be when Believers only then realize just what they held onto for no Heavenly good reason. That relationships, marriages, families, friends, etc. were broken because of their own disobedience...that had Jesus been given access to their whole wouldn't have happened. 

It doesn't matter how obedient we are in this here this now...if we are keeping account of wrongs suffered...we are sinning.  If we are holding grudges...we are sinning. If we are secretly doing things we ought not to be that are against God's Word...we are sinning. 

Sin, willful, sin keeps us separated from God.  Sin, practiced sin, intentional sin, keeps us separated from God. 

It's our choice and we bear the consequences of that choice in a broken relationship with Jesus. 

Our all must be on the altar.  Even in the Old Testament examples of bringing offerings...only the best and WHOLE offering was to be brought.

What parts of your life are you trying to keep Jesus from going into? Do you foolishly think that He doesn't already know? That He doesn't already see your song n dance attempts at distracting Him?

Don't you see how foolish it is to try to deceive yourself let alone the Savior of your life?

It was an amazing description that I read in a book yesterday.  We may obey in the aspect of the Communion with foot washing.  When Jesus got up and proceeded to wash their feet wasn't at all like we experience today in remembrance.  Those were some really dirty, encrusted feet. Yet He washed them clean as only the Lord Creator God would do. Even those feet of the one who would betray Him. We, today, would be embarrassed to show up at a Communion with dirty feet knowing there was going to be a foot washing. 

We read and in most cases at a Communion are warned to only partake if we have examined what? Our hearts.

Our whole heart.  We can sin in partaking of Communion with a heart that's not right before Jesus.  Even if it's not the whole Communion and is only the Bread and Cup, our whole heart must be right before partaking.  

We are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.  It's more than implied that our whole being, our whole heart, must be accessible to Him.  

It's heartbreaking to hear of Believers treating other Believers with animosity, anger, in every type of way that Jesus would not treat His Disciples.  

We are never going to grow in Christ if Christ doesn't have all of us to work with. 

We may have to put off our life choices to get right with Jesus.  He is to be the Lord of our lives, heart and soul and mind and spirit.  He may bring us back to what we are holding onto, He may not. 

Only Trust Him, Only Trust Him only trust Him now. He will save you He will save you, He will save you now. 

I like old hymns because they contain reminders that my life is not my own. They remind me that no matter what joy I think of in living life, Jesus has much more in store. 

Do you have rooms in your heart that you have been keeping closed to Jesus?  Are you, truthfully, disobedient in your life because you are indeed demanding your way and not His for your life?  Refusing to let go of something is a guaranteed thing that He will make you let go of it. Your only decision left will be either you doing it willingly or unwillingly. But it WILL happen.

You may be pouring as much Godly teaching into your every waking moment and are disobeying, willfully, in one will hinder you. Guaranteed. 

When we willingly are stubborn about not letting go and letting God, it's what the Bible says is a hard heart. It's the Old Testament name for stiff-necked.  

We are never to harden our hearts against the will of God for us. 

My Dear Reader, open your whole heart to Jesus today.  The Spirit is going to keep on with convicting until you do.  The possibility always exists that your disobedience will cause Him to remove you from this world.  The Name of Jesus is to be held in highest honor.  He will not allow it to be tarnished by disobedient children.  He has us here in human history to reach those who would come to Christ for salvation.  Not for personal sake or satisfaction.  Not for human goals or human dreams.  Paul, Peter, John, the others did not get the life that they wanted in life.  They got what was promised if they would come to Christ for salvation. They were obedient and millions of people have been reached for Jesus because they gave up their life for the sake of the Gospel. 

Are you giving your whole heart to Jesus? 

All Excerpts of the NASB95, NASB are used by permission, the Lockman Foundation 

Sunday, July 30, 2023

What would you say?

What would you say? 
by David Brenneman 

When we give an account of our lives before Jesus...what will you say in regards and in response to your acts of selfishness?  We have all done many of those. I surely have.  

Sometimes we have the opportunity to ask for forgiveness, sometimes we don't.

But do we really think we decide our path in life?  That we must 'fight' for what we want?  Isn't the life of a Believer about surrendering our wants, our desires, our everything at the cross of Jesus Christ?

Our ways are not God's ways nor our thoughts His thoughts.  

We are not to follow the world in fighting for what we want in life.  We are to surrender our lives to Christ and are to be open to be used of God as the Spirit sees fit.  

We come to Christ, the Bible says, and the Spirit places us in the body of Christ as He sees fit.  He has a specific job for us in the body of Christ.  We don't present a resume and apply for what we feel is right for us or for what appeals to us.  For sure, we don't dig our heels in and tell Him what we will or won't do.  

In Christ we are part of the plan of God to reach the lost of this generation.  Those are the deeds done in our bodies that matter.  

It's not about what possessions we were granted.  Nobody who was truly living a Godly life is going to be thanking Jesus for houses, cars, money, clothing, etc. on that day they give an account of their life to Jesus.  Nobody is going to be thanking Jesus for their glorious career and how much it brought them.

Nobody will be honored for what they selfishly did that broke the covenant of God in marriage.  Nobody will be honored for climbing the corporate ladder to gain prominence for themselves. 

Nobody will be honored for any of these things:
lovers of self
lovers of money
disobedient to parents
malicious gossips
without self-control
haters of good
being lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God 
(from 2 Timothy 3 NASB95 Lockman Foundation)

Many many people will try to say they did all sorts of things in His Name.  When Jesus says many, He means MANY. 

Some, likely, will indeed be Believers who will see the works of their hands burn up on that altar...having little or nothing left to give back to Jesus. 

What drives you?  
What ambitions are behind what you are doing in your life?

Some people really believe that what they are doing is indeed God honoring...yet it cannot be if they are breaking His Word in even the littlest of things written in the Bible. 

Jesus Christ said that not one letter, not one of the tiniest of parts of His Word will pass away.  

We aren't at a buffet in Christ.  We must always examine our motives.  If it's self preservation it must be 100 percent by the Spirit's direction...which means it will not break any part or portion of the Word of God.  There won't be a hint of selfishness in it.

We surrender our lives to Christ in order to not only receive salvation, but to begin sanctification.  If any element of our lives is not an example of Jesus Christ it must go.  There's supposed to be such a difference in our lives that people are supposed to see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.  

Marriage is the most attacked of the things that God established even before the rest of the things of the Bible.  Outside of the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and Adam and Eve, His marriage Covenant was the first.  Second is probably the sanctity of life, and perhaps third is gender.  All of these are attacked throughout the Bible.  Satan hates what God has joined together. Satan hates any Covenant of God.  Satan hates anything that God has deemed as truth.  Satan hates everything that keeps him from the Throne of God.  If Jesus cares for and loves humanity, Satan will pervert and do his best to destroy and commandeer humanity and humanities identity. 

What will you say? What will you do?
Will you aimlessly, and insanely, try to defend your life that's revealed on that day before Jesus?  

Will you start, today, to just live a life surrendered to the will of God for you?
It may not be what you want. 
In fact it's pretty much a given that it probably won't be what you want. 
Until we are obedient in everything we are the one with the problem.  

What we want means nothing in the grander scheme of things.  What does Jesus say? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and yet forfeit his soul?  What will he give in exchange for his soul?

We aren't promised prosperity and happiness as the world gives or offers it.

We are promised quite something different. Peace as God gives it. 
We are promised that the world isn't going to like our message of salvation that is fir all people. That they're going to persecute.

We are to be obedient to Christ Jesus in everything.  Again there is a set date that we will give an account of our lives before Jesus, for everything we have done in our bodies FOR HIM.  Not for ourselves. 

Will you be ashamed standing before Jesus because your life was actually laced with selfishness?  That you intentionally lived for self because you refused the path He set before you? 

What will you say?

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Going Where God said Not Yet

Going Where God said Not Yet 
by David Brenneman 

The lessons of the children of Israel are for everyone.  When their first go round to enter the Promised land was messed up by their fears, many died.  Many more lived to regret it for another 40 years. 

We often don't see through many of sin's temptations.  It's worth noting that not every single temptation is from Satan or an act of Satan.  Much of the time we are our own culprit.  We do not exercise patience or we flat out don't even try. 

We also are the first to justify our actions even in the name of Jesus.  

When we are ahead of God, we're in the wrong position in living life. When we grab ahold of something before He says so, we are in a wrong position as well. 

What we see might even be in our future, but God's timing isn't for it to be ours yet. 

Not yet isn't a no from God to us.  It's on us to trust God and wait.  To hold our horses.  To put the brakes on. 

We really wouldn't see that what we're doing is wrong either.  Why would we when we got what we wanted?  But before we celebrate...are we ignoring God's Word? Are we causing problems with other Believers by holding on?  Are we at risk of justifying our position?  

A passage to remember is its the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away. 

When something is of God then it won't violate even the smallest letter of His Word.  

When we say "thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" we need to realize it means in every way, shape, and form.  Not only in what the world sees in our lives but in every single jot and tittle just as Jesus said of the Word of God.  We are by sinful nature selfish people.  We must realize that's part of what began the fall of mankind. 

We WILL lie to ourselves about our true intentions of why we do what we do.  Our sin nature wants its way.  

I would encourage you to look at your life from a different perspective.  Look at it through the eyes of the Spirit.  Ask Him if you are at all traveling down the road of self deception.  

Do you use, or I should say, over use "I"?

I want this. I needed this. My is also heavily used.  My this, my need for...

Attacking others is another symptom.
To keep from letting go it will happen.  

Believe it as well that God WILL grow silent while our disobedience persists. 

We can try to show Him how much we love Him and all the ways we are doing whatever for Him.  But He will insist on going in that room of your heart that isn't obeying Him.  That isn't surrendered to Him. 

Disobedience won't be allowed to go on indefinitely.  Going back to where we were obedient is our only recourse.  The children of Israel had another 40 years to learn what they didn't the first time around when it came to trusting God, obeying God and believing God. 

Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

When we walk with the Lord, in the light of his word, what a glory he sheds on our way. While we do his good will, he abides with us still. Never fear only trust and obey. 

The Spirit will never point us in going a path that causes us to violate God's Word. Will never suggest that we ought to at all live for self.  

Never will He point us towards something before it's time either.  God will provide opportunities to learn patience.  Will provide a way of escape when temptation knocks...

I don't know who all needed to read this, was just prompted to write it.

Do You Not Seek More? Why Not?

Do You Not Seek More? Why Not?
by David Brenneman 

When the Spirit causes my mind to sing...

"More about Jesus would I know,

More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.

More, more about Jesus,
More, more about Jesus;
More of His saving fullness see,
More of His love who died for me.

2 More about Jesus let me learn,
More of His holy will discern;
Spirit of God, my teacher be,
Showing the things of Christ to me. [Refrain]

3 More about Jesus in His Word,
Holding communion with my Lord;
Hearing His voice in ev'ry line,
Making each faithful saying mine. [Refrain]

4 More about Jesus on His throne,
Riches in glory all His own;
More of His kingdom's sure increase;
More of His coming, Prince of peace. [Refrain]

"More About Jesus" Author: E. E. Hewitt (1887)

Some, I think, find it odd or disturbing to want to dig deeper into learning more about Jesus.  Why wouldn't you want to?

If indeed you are saved, wouldn't you want to know more about the One who saved you?

Wouldn't spending more time "in class" with the Spirit be to your advantage in fulfilling God's Will for you in your sanctification?

See, we live in a world that wants to program people to stay away, to steer clear of, the teachings of the Spirit of God. 

You just probably haven't looked at it in that particular way.

Movies, streaming, television, etc. All are attempting to sway your thinking away from the things of God, away from the righteous life that God desires for us. 

A little distraction from this crazy world is ok!  Justifying your immersion into those things.  There's nothing wrong with enjoying God's creation.  There's much to be said of what's wrong with being willingly consumed by those distractions. 

It was long before our Pastor preached on the number of minutes in a day that we have and the challenge he gave to each of us to see how we spent them.  

I had already cut television watching out of my days. Most, if not all movies as well.  

In more recent months I have added to this morning reading that I do to prepare for what you might have been reading here.  I added Dr. Charles Stanley's Life Principles Daily Bible and more recently Dr. David Jeremiah's Study Bible to my evening reading.  

In my week I do meet with a group of guys with a heart for learning to grow in Christ. Am working on how to serve God locally. Might be getting into another Adult Bible study.  

This goes again towards the hymn that began this post.  

What are you doing to enrich your fellowship with Jesus?  What are you doing to limit how much the world is getting access to your mind and heart?  

Programming is to establish a set of known and desired steps in a sought after behavior.  People these days do not realize how far and by how much they have been programmed to be desensitized to certain situations that happen in our world.  It's legal in the United States to propagandize US citizens now.  That is, to intentionally either mislead them or to lead them in a specific direction. 

Satan's been perfecting his means of swaying people's opinions about everything with the goal of his need to position people against the God of the Bible. 

In little ways and big ways we need to be alert.  Jesus said through the Spirit to be on the alert for the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. 

Be alert!  Be watching, be on the defense!  The helmet of salvation is to protect your mind.  Are you making sure that you are wearing it?

Seek more about Jesus in your Bible and through prayer. Songs, hymns and spiritual songs making melody in your hearts before God.  

The challenge for you is to really look at what's got your attention, what's trying to enter your mind and heart.  Do you want more about Jesus or more about what this world wants you to be?

Friday, July 28, 2023

Who do you seek?

Who do you seek?
by David Brenneman 

"And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?”" John 1:38a NASB95 

"O God, You are my God; I shall seek You earnestly; My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, In a dry and weary land where there is no water."  Psalms 63:1 NASB95

What are you doing to pursue Jesus? 
Do you read your Bible?  Do you pray? 
What else do you do?  

Jesus seeks those who will follow Him with a whole heart, not part of it.  There are no part-time Believers in Heaven, there ought to be none in this world either. 

Do you think people in Heaven are as lackadaisical there as they might have been in living life in this world?  

"You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
I'm seeking You like a precious jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name

Taking my cross my sin my shame
Raising again I praise Your name
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I run dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name

You are my strength when I am weak
You are the treasure that I seek
You are my all in all
When I fall down You pick me up
When I run dry You fill my cup
You are my all in all

Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name, lets go
Jesus, Lamb of God
Holy is Your name"
-Dennis Jernigan "You Are My All in All"

My view on how to live life beyond pails in comparison to what a life in Christ is to be about.

What did it take, on King David's part, to become a man after God's own heart?  What was it in his early years as King, that Solomon learned and knew about God?  What all did Samuel know, how did he desire what the Lord desired?  Elijah, Elisha...these whom guided the people of Israel.  

What about you?

We aren't of a different cloth as they. 

We aren't all that different from the Disciples.  We are disciples...we are to be living life as the Spirit sees fit for us.

Jesus said if anyone wishes to follow Him, he (or she) must deny themselves, and take up their own cross and follow Him. 

What are you doing to deny self?

What efforts are you putting into putting the Word of God in your heart and mind?  What are you doing with what you have read?  Are you denying it? Fighting it? Allowing it to change you?  

You are either seeking what Jesus wants in you and for you or you are seeking what self wants. 

The further warnings of Paul to Timothy were about how people claiming to be Christians will in fact be lovers of themselves.  

Are you seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness wholeheartedly or are you in fact only doing so as long as you get what you want?  If we put conditions on our obedience then it's not with a whole heart.  If we can throw away what God has joined together as easily as signing a paper, then we aren't given to living life with a whole heart before Jesus.  There's a clear set of instructions in 1 Corinthians 7 that many people disregard.  

In other areas we try to still grasp our own wants and desires, ignoring the prompting of the Spirit to let go.  We claim this reason or that reason and in fact harm our relationship with Jesus instead. 

Our sanctification is the Spirit's highest priority.  Not our happiness. Our sanctification may indeed come at the expense of our happiness, for some, even their lives.  

Is your all on the altar before Jesus?
Do you still pursue what you want in utter disregard for the prompting of the Spirit?

The Spirit isn't going to bark instructions. Isn't going to yell at you in what you should or shouldn't be doing.  He's going to point you to Jesus as your example to live by concerning obedience. 

Are you just going through life with wreckless abandon?  Not concerning yourself since coming to Christ?  If that's your really need to reconsider what coming to Christ for salvation is all about.  

Let today be the first day of the rest of your life that's spent living life in the way that the Spirit indwelling you intends for you to live.  Paul said in Romans to live a transformed life.  One that wasn't like it used to be.  Putting off the old self and its practices and putting on Christ. 

Does Jesus have your heart, mind, soul and spirit?  Is He seeing you taking up your own cross?  The Bible says that He searches the hearts.  What does He see in yours?  Who do you seek?  Do you seek Him?  Jesus knows the truth about your every single thought and intention.  He knows.

So consider your ways, as the Bible also says to do.  Consider your ways. 

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Looking But Will Not Find

Looking But Will Not Find 
by David Brenneman 

Many seek refuge from the ills of society in books, the theater, concerts, movies, games, television etc.  Seeking some semblance of personal peace.  Seeking what cannot be found outside of a right relationship with Jesus.  Some, brazenly shake a fist at God, demanding He show Himself.  Some, vehemently deny His existence and strive for every way to show that there is no God. 

Some aren't outspoken at all but do seek to know about the God of Heaven.

Jesus kept every single promise that He made to anyone.  Jesus came, according to the Scriptures. Jesus lived according to the Scriptures. Jesus died, was buried, and arose 3 days later, also, according to the Scriptures.  No one else in human history has been able to do everything that Jesus did and said.

He told people up front that we will not know the day nor the hour of His return, but to be alert.  Be ready.  

Are you?  Would a look of your week thus far show any indication that you were ready to see Jesus face-to-face? 

There will be no warning. 

This isn't going to go like it does in every cinematic blockbuster movie or television show, or streaming feature.  

People do not realize that their place of "escape", is meant to desensitize them to the truth about the reality of the return of Jesus Christ.  People are programmed by the programming of television, movies, streaming etc.  This world, for the moment, is Satan's world. He has been twisting the Word of God for centuries. Has been trying to capture the Throne of God since iniquity was found in him and he was cast down from Heaven.  He does not want people believing in, nor to be considering, the truths of God's word. 

He doesn't want people taking the Word of God as true.  He knows that there IS a day set by the Father for Jesus to return.  He does not want you, me, or anyone, being ready for it. 

He wants us to be so accustomed to living for self that we don't seek Jesus in anything in our lives. To keep us from making disciples, from teaching others to observe all that Jesus commanded.  Satan knows that there indeed WILL be a person who will be the bookend to the age of Christianity.  The thief on the cross being the first. 

When that last person to be saved is saved, then that is it.

No sign from Heaven to be observed by the world.  Other than the obvious that millions of people will vanish in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye and globally disasters will happen all at once.

If you at all believe that Jesus was, was who He said He was, and know that He always spoke the truth...then you know that being ready is what you ought to be. 

How well do you feed your mind, your heart and your soul?  How much time do you spend on praying, on reading your Bible? How much do you spend on you doing your own thing? How much do you spend on things that do nothing for you Spiritually? 

Seriously, we either prolong the return of Jesus Christ or we hasten it.  The plan of God the Father was to have Jesus teach the Disciples, who became the Apostles. Then for them to teach others to observe all that Jesus commanded. Making more disciples.  

Personally I am trying to eat better Spiritually.  What about you?  I know that the return of Jesus Christ is very likely going to happen in my lifetime. Pretty much there are no more prophecies that need to happen before Jesus comes back.  Meaning it can be at any time. 

The warnings about how churches will become in the letters it's to the Thessalonians and the letters to Timothy are what's happening today in the so-called churches of the world.  Churches that preach the whole counsel of God are extremely rare.  Churches that are little more that self-centered places to just get a pick-me-up are everywhere.  Preaching churches that tell the need to repent and turn to Jesus to be saved are few and far between.

Are you really ready to stand before Jesus?  Are you at all filling your heart with the Word of God?  Is what's important to Jesus important to you?  Are you hung up on denominations?  Are you hung up on just being better than so-and-so?   Are you at all seeking for you what God's will is for you? 

Do you seek your sanctification in Christ Jesus?

Do you set your mind on things above and not on the things that are of this world?

Are you developing your friendship with Jesus?  

Will shame grip you in that instant you stand before Jesus or will it be joy at being with Him at long last?

Make more time to be in prayer, in the Word of God.  Make more of your days than you are. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

How Much?

How Much?
by David Brenneman 

How much of your day goes to Jesus?

How much time do you spend in prayer?

How often during what you do, do your thoughts go towards what the Bible says that God thinks about?

How often during your day do you come to Christ in thankfulness rather than only in need?

Yesterday I was given a very good reason to just be coming in thankfulness.  When I leave work each day I pray on my way home, thanking God for getting me through the day.  Yesterday it was something more.  Sunday our garage door broke.  Was sitting in my recliner, much as I am now, and I heard a tremendously loud bang. After realizing it wasn't a cat tree falling over again, we investigated to find one of the springs on the garage door snapped.  We managed to lift it n get the car out.  The next day we made a call n it indeed was going to be pricey.  We prayed about it because we really couldn't afford that kind of hit financially.  God heard us.
We had it fixed as it was indeed a necessity.  The very next day, God sent a blessing to cover that and then some. 

"What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge--
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there."
Author: Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1855)

How often do you leave Jesus at your house when you go about you day?
How often is your heart far from Him?

How often are you quitting when God's just needing you to get back into the game? That He's already taken care of things and is waiting for you?

It was just about a week ago this blog hit 110,000 views.  Praying that God would take it farther, last night it already broke 111,000 views.  

Let's be honest, I am weak and heavy laden. I am cumbered with a load of care. 

Jesus isn't on the other side of the Universe.  He's right here if we would just acknowledge Him.  Just give Him our time. 

A while ago our Pastor preached on that subject.  Today I certainly have increased my time in which I spend with My Savior. 

In this moment in the morning is but one. I look for moments that I can afford to listen to Godly material during the day.  At night before going to bed I read my Life Principles Daily Bible. 4 sections of the Bible to read. I have now added Dr. David Jeremiah's Study Bible. Am reading through the book of Proverbs in that along with what Dr. Jeremiah's had to say about each chapter.  

Are you so consumed with having it your way that you have set Jesus aside?

Are you a doer or a hearer only?

When you read your Bible you learn much about what self-deception is about. In reading the books of Ezra and now Nehemiah, you read them admit what the Pharisees and Sadducees denied.  Those two in Jesus's day stated they weren't slaves to anyone. Yet indeed they were...and had been for centuries. 

In reading I had been curious. Was looking at maps of Gethsemane and where it was in regards to the Temple.  Gives a different perspective on the night He was betrayed. 

Jesus doesn't want your lip service. 
Jesus wants you.  He's jealous for you. 

"Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy
When all of a sudden
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me
And oh, how He loves us, oh
Oh, how He loves us
How He loves us all" 
- From 'How He Loves' -David Crowder Band

Is it sinking in yet?  We do a seriously understand the relationship that Jesus seeks to have with us?

Life isn't about our fulfilling our dreams that we want for ourselves.  That's akin to what we read in the Bible about everyone doing what was right in their own eyes. 

Life is about coming to the realization that we needed a Savior, who is Christ Jesus. 
Then it's a life of transformation into the kind of person that is like Christ. It's our laying aside our wants and ways in favor of what Jesus has in mind for us.

How much value do you place on your relationship with Jesus?  

Does it bother you at all when you make choices or decisions and are showing Him you don't care what He thinks?

Does it bother you when you will stand before Jesus to give an account of your life and you know that in this moment you will have nothing to show for it?

Today can be your first step in the right direction.  Today can be you beginning to store up treasure in Heaven.  

Today you can start off on the right foot with that long awaited conversation with Jesus that He's been dying to have with you.

Jesus said we would know people by their fruits. What kind of fruit are you? Good or rotten?  Fragrant or fowl?  Would someone looking at your social media see Jesus when they see you or would they see a life distracted by everything else?  Would they even have to dig to through your vast amounts of posts to see what you believed?   

I am not a fan of those kinds of posts where you are goaded into liking and sharing if you believe this or that about God or Jesus...that if you don't then you're ashamed of Jesus and He will be ashamed of you.  A half second or so to twist Scripture is a half a lifetime to fix in understanding what that passage really means. 

Do you make the most of every opportunity? 

"making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:16-17 NIV

"This is the will of God for you, your sanctification" 2 Thessalonians 4:3a.

It's not your will your life your way. 

Take a good look at your life and figure out who is in the driver's seat.  Figure out how important what is important to Jesus is to you. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

My Redeemer

My Redeemer 
by David Brenneman 

"There is a redeemer
Jesus, God's own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One
Jesus my redeemer
Name above all names
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Oh, for sinners slain
Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done
When I stand in Glory
I will see His face
And there I'll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place
Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done
There is a redeemer
Jesus, God's own Son
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah
Holy One
Thank you, oh my father
For giving us Your Son
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done
And leaving Your Spirit
'Til the work on Earth is done"
- "There is a Redeemer" - Melody Green 

Waking up to hymns in my head is perhaps the best time of my day, especially when going to bed things weigh on my mind. 

Knowing why but not knowing why are often at the forefront of my mind.  There's knowing why in the universal scheme of things and there's this little corner of the world that my life pertains to.  

Life is very difficult for me to digest at times.  Most people that I am around are extroverts and I most certainly am not.  Many strive to be leaders. I do not. Many have some incling of an idea of what they want to do in life, again, I do not.  Knowledge without direction is pretty much useless.  

I know a lot. I also know that what I know is useless without proper application.  

It's been a daily prayer for direction for me. I want to go where God wants me to go. I want to be doing what He wants me to be doing. I want to provide for my family in the right vocation for me. I want to grow in Christ.  

It's why I have been removing things from my life while at the same time replacing with beneficial things.  It's not easy at times to be intentional about positive replacements.  Satan would prefer Christians to veg out, to convince them that they've earned it.  

Is life that difficult?  Depends on your point of view and how you are in your relationship with Jesus.  

Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB95 "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."

But go back to the verses before these. 

"My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man." Proverbs 3:1-4 NASB95. 

So many people don't want instruction. They just want that microwave result. That instant response. That immediate answer. 
Patience isn't part of their thinking. Having no concept of perseverance because they know nothing of what it means to wait.
Be it waiting on people or waiting on the Lord.

What also hurts in learning is keeping an account of wrongs.  We insist on not doing what we ask God to do according to His Word.  We ask Him to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He then promises to forgive us and cast our sins as far away as the east is from the west, remembering them no more. 

Some of this may seem like I am rambling, but then again, I only write what I am prompted to write. 

My life right now is a struggle.  A struggle to move forward with things that need done when it's just not there to do it.  A struggle to helps others in their own struggles to see that they are making either good choices or terrible ones.  

Satan tries to get to every Believer.  He wants to disrupt the sanctification of the children of God.  He often doesn't have to do much because we inadvertently do much on our own with embracing our sin nature rather than the work of God in us. 

Every single Believer has a very divine reason for being born in this here this now in human history.  I have a Godly appointed job to be doing in this world. If you are a Believer so do you.  

Next comes training.  The Spirit teaches us all things.  Not just what we like or want to know, but all things.  Knowing Jesus and knowing the truth that in Christ we have an enemy.  Knowing that our sin nature will try to twist the Word of God. Knowing that our sin nature will try to get us to say and do things that have nothing to do with growing in Christ Jesus. 

Knowing that Jesus is in our corner, that we have His full support to grow in Him, should encourage us.  

We may never understand why we go through rough waters.  I am certainly fully aware of this truth.  My only warnings from the Spirit at times are simply "Rough waters ahead. Hang on."  No explanation of what kind or for how long.  

It's on me to trust in the Lord with all my heart and to not lean on my own understanding. 

It's on me to be in His Word daily. 

It's on me to spend time with Him daily in prayer.  

It's on me to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. 

It's on me to remember that I have a Redeemer.  Job.  His reminder to himself throughout all that he suffered through was that regardless of how rough the waters were, his Redeemer lives. 

God does hear my pleas, my groanings too deep for words. He does know my tears, every single one.  He knows my pains that I cannot speak to others. He knows my fears and my struggles.  He is my Redeemer, my Savior, my Shepherd. He knows my heart. He knows that I am trying my best for Him.  He knows the days that all I want to do is cry.  He knows. 

We don't have a Savior who doesn't understand.  The Bible says quite differently than the world in this regard. He was a man of sorrows, well acquainted with grief.  He is jealous for us. He loved us enough to leave Heaven to live a sinless life and to die a cruel death, taking all the sins of all humanity upon Himself.  He took my place on calvary.  He took your place too. 

I do cry a lot actually. Many times with tears, many times without, just inside me. 

It breaks my heart to see Believer's not acting like Believer's. Not seeing that they are grieving the Spirit of God because selfishness is running so deep in them. Not seeing that they are honestly seeking their will to be done and not God's.  That they would rather disobey God to keep what they cannot. 

My Redeemer lives. He will have His day. He will cause all to see His truth. He will cause all to know Him as He is known. 

Truth Redeemer lives. 
Truth is...He knows my every thought. 
Truth is...He's never left me alone. 
Truth is...His love for me is never ending. 

Monday, July 24, 2023

When it Isn't

When it Isn't 
by David Brenneman 

"All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His faithful mercies?
Who through life has been my guide
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Ere by faith in Him to dwell
For I know whate'er fall me
Jesus doeth all things well
All of the way my Savior leads me
And He cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me strength for every trial
And He feeds me with the living bread
And though my weary steps may falter
And my soul a-thirst may be
Gushing from a rock before me
Though a spirit joy I see
And all the way my Savior leads me
Oh, the fullness of His love
Perfect rest in me is promised
In my Father's house above
When my spirit clothed immortal
Wings it's flight through the realms of the day
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way"
"All the Way My Savior Leads Me" - Fanny Crosby 1875

"When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
It is well (it is well) with my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come
Let this blest assurance control
That Christ (yes, He has) has regarded my helpless estate
And has shed His own blood for my soul
It is well (it is well) with my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul" - It Is Well With My Soul (When Peace, Like a River)
Horatio Gates Spafford (1873)

When it isn't well with my soul.
It's something of a difficult time for me, and quite often God tends to put me on display through what it He's permitted to happen.

There is the passage that says that we walk by faith and not by sight.  

It's hard.  It's difficult to say the least. 

When there's already a heap of things vying for your attention that are complex in nature needing fixed, and one more adds itself to the list.  That's what happened last night.  One more major thing happened.  

When things pile up, you begin to self-examine.  To wonder what may have happened that it would appear that God's favor has been removed.  

It's not removed, His mercy is still there.  As I thought of these heavy things, I am again drawn to that Great Storm of 2021.  That one where I began a trip back to Columbus and shortly after getting on the major highway things went quickly from bad to worse.  All I could do was pray and drive.  Couldn't pull off, couldn't slow down.  All I could do was trust and obey. 

We aren't going to understand much of why God allowed things to happen in our lives.  That's just a fact of life.  We aren't going to get an explanation from Him for what we see happening in the world.  

I know that my Redeemer lives. 

That was Job's response. 

Joseph knew that the Lord was with him. 

Daniel had the Lord with him in the lion's den. 

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had Jesus with them in the furnace. 

All the way my Savior leads me. 

This week at work is going to be filled with struggles.  Keeping my wits about me will be a high priority.   

Pray on, pray over, pray through.

Bringing everything to the feet of Jesus, the good, the bad and the ugly.  

Am searching in other areas and am constantly in prayer for that solution as well.  

All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His faithful mercies?

Remembering what He's already brought us through, is the best practice to have. 

He has always been faithful. 
He has always been ahead of the game. 

He has always been able to handle everything this world has tried to do.

It's not because of anything we have done, it's on account of His great Name.  We are children of God.  Bought with a price. The blood of Jesus Christ.  He took my place on calvary. He died for me, I live for Him.  
Understanding isn't a given in life.  Our minds can't cope with everything that the Lord Jesus Christ takes into consideration in our lives as well as those whom we are meant to impact.

As a side note...if it causes pain to the enemy of God that I testify to the mercies of my God...all the better. 

God is taking this blog places that I never could have imagined.  He is bringing it into households where the message of salvation never would have entered otherwise.  Someone, somewhere, is impacted by what He has me write.  If my trials bring even one person to the reality that they need Jesus, it's well worth it.  If the pain that Satan thinks he's inflicting on me or my family is causing even 1 to reconsider the message of Salvation it's worth it.  Paul listed many severe trials that he went through for the sake of the Gospel.  Beatings, stoned, shipwrecked, bitten by poisonous snakes.  

Those in the Faith chapter in Hebrews.

When we go through rough waters with Jesus, we join our names to that faith chapter list. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I will not be in need. He lets me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For the sake of His name.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cupoverflows. Certainly goodness and faithfulness will follow me all the days of my life, And my dwelling will be in the house of the Lord forever.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

What of Self?

What of Self?
by David Brenneman 

It is shown to us in the Bible that indeed Timothy was Paul's son in the Lord. He wrote him many things that became the basis to what a man of God was to have as a foundation from which to be a Pastor. In his letters it's also evident that all Pastor's were to be shown in the original language.  

But the point that stands out this morning has to do with what He wrote him about what's termed the "End Times".  

In some circles it's been preached that the end times began when Christ ascended to Heaven.  To that, I would agree, from a certain point of view.  To the point that I believe Paul is writing to Timothy about, that is at least to me, a prophetic statement.  Pointing to a future times that hadn't yet come about. 

We do indeed live in what can be interpreted as some of the most selfish times yet seen on the Earth. 

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, 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 men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses,  always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of depraved mind, rejected in regard to the faith.  But they will not make further progress; for their folly will be obvious to all, just as Jannes’s and Jambres’s folly was also." 2 Timothy 3:1-9 NASB95 

What would be the answer to this?  Read on...

"Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me! Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them,  and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  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." 2 Timothy 3:10-17 NASB95 

In reading in the book of Acts, we see these attributes are lived out in Paul's life.  It isn't just that he wrote of them to Timothy, he lived them.  When convinced of something as being from God, there was no persuading him to do otherwise.
Even if such people appeared to have come to him from God. Honestly, with the many who came to Paul, telling him again and again of what awaited him in Jerusalem, I really thought he would say the words of Jesus "get behind Me Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s purposes, but men’s.” 

How often we are stumbling blocks to others due to selfishness. We want what we want and don't care what others think or say or feel.  Rather than waiting on the true timing of God, we proceed with no real instruction from God to lay ahold of what we have.  We just know we wanted it and have it.

In Proverbs there are warnings of such things.  My current addition to my daily reading is a chapter a day from Dr. David Jeremiah's Study Bible from the book of Proverbs.  

Self will manifest in so many ways. From the overt to the so subtle.  From the in your face to the so slight it might be missed.  We are a culture these days that obsesses over everything from psychology to diets. From entertainment to employment.  Selfishness permeates our culture.  60 seconds of advertisements point to self at any given time. 

Selfishness breeds selfishness.  

In Christ we are to what?  Prefer one another above ourselves. "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;" Romans 12:10 NASB95. 

What was the example AND experience of the early Church?  People who cared about people. People who sold off property and things, bringing the proceeds to the Apostles to distribute to any who had need.

What was the example of Jesus Christ?  He sought the best welfare of those He ministered to.  

Satan's scheme is centered around selfishness, to pervert everything that God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit values. 

God values strong marriages between one man and one woman. Look at the destroyed marriages today. Convincing Believers to leave what God joined together.  Convincing people that marriages can be another way other than what Jesus established. 

Convincing Believers to be the best and who cares who you step on to get there. 

Convincing Believers to look out for themselves first.  

Selfishness that he is writing to Timothy about is within the Church. 

We have thousands of so-called churches that these things are rampant in.  Which is causing the world to not know who to believe.  

Look in the mirror. Would your life show more evidence of being a Christ-follower or more of showcasing you?

Would your day be valued by the currency of time spent with your Savior...would you be given anything in coinage?  Or would you be broke?

Would you, on a graph, be able to show anything significant in your daily living that would be able to prove you are indeed following Christ?

Are You following Jesus or following your own desires?  Jesus was the servant of all, the Self wants to be served when you really boil it down.  

Beware of selfishness and everything Paul wrote to Timothy.  Beware because you have nothing to stand on in your defense if you embrace any of it. 

In Christ we are not to let things or ideas run away with us.  We aren't to be afraid of this or that. Of what people may think if wr adhere to the Word of God. 

We plant seeds all the time. Plant good seeds.  Seeds that are free of selfishness. 

Saturday, July 22, 2023

What We Want Vs What God Says

What We Want Vs What God Says 
by David Brenneman 

We certainly want justice! We don't want to wait for it!  We want it now!

Really?  Consider it well what the Bible says.  "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 1:19-26 NASB95 

"saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”" Luke 22:42 NASB95. 

Did not Jesus have every right to be angry at those who would mislead others about Himself, His Father and the Spirit?

Did not Jesus have every right to be angry with those who abused Him, beat Him, nailed Him to the cross?  

Does not Jesus have every right to instantly send people to Hell for their here and now rejection of His free gift of salvation?

We really need to consider what it is that's true and necessary vs what we think is deserved.  

We are to submit to the rule and the authority of God in our's not for us to demand that God submit to ours.

But I don't do that!

Not in so many words or ways but yes we often do.  When we decide to disobey the Word of God in favor of our own path in life.  We decide what is the right and true definition of good rather than to seek out what Jesus said truly is true.  We don't like to wait. So we rush headlong into decisions. We didn't like what so-and-so said or did so we met out our own words or actions to deal with it instead of taking it to the Lord in prayer. 

It's certainly arrogant to think our wisdom exceeds that of God in the situations we face.  It's proven to be that in the four Gospels. Dozens of examples of human arrogance as displayed in the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  

We want microwave justice.  We want results instantly.  God says what?  Patience.  Love is patient, love is kind. What all DOES it say?

"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails;" 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a NASB95. 

But God! Look what they said! Look at what they did! 

Hmm.  You would so easily forget that the same God you are complaining to didn't already know your situation since before time began?  That He is well acquainted with grief?  That He was a man of sorrows?  That His heart was breaking on that walk to Gethsemane? That it was breaking as He was taking to that place to be crucified?

We have no rights to reserve for metting out our own justice.  We have no standings to base our thoughts on what constitutes justice.  Only He is God over all and in all. 

We must always take it to the Lord in prayer.  King David wrote time and time again about his situations that he did that very thing. 

Those in the Church were rebuked because they were suing one another rather than keeping it within the Church and seeking God's help in situations.

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.  Jesus sought the Father’s Kingdom and the Father’s righteousness. 

Consider how different this world would be without the unmerited favor of God. 

Consider how different this world would be without the mercy of God. 

Consider how you really really wouldn't like your life if God chose to withhold His grace and mercy from you.

Jesus knows our every thought, every intention.  Knows our every pain. Every sorrow.  He knows.  He also says "My Child, trust Me. As for you, you follow Me."

We have a world that has turned everything that God holds dear as disposable.  Disposable marriages, disposable children. Disposable this and that. Throw it away, get another.  

Jesus isn't to be disposable to you. What He says ought to be at the center of your life.  What He teaches should be on your heart and mind.  Pray for those who persecute you or say perverse things about you.  Take it to the Lord in prayer. 

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge--
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

Author: Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1855)

Friday, July 21, 2023

Only As Long as is Necessary

Only As Long as is Necessary 
by David Brenneman 

Been listening through the 30 Life Principles by Dr. Charles Stanley.  

Life often isn't what we want it to be...probably the understatement of the year. 

In Life Principle #7 The Dark Moments in Our Life, he says "God has designed adversity, regardless of its source, to become a turning point from which you take your greatest leaps forward in spiritual growth. He allows adversity to remain in your life only until He accomplishes His purpose in you. He will not keep it in your life one second longer than is necessary."

Adversity is anything that causes us distress or discomfort of any type or kind. 

Can be home life related, work related, friendship related, marriage related, acquaintance related or something so personal that only you and God know what it is.

If you're interested, go to:

But as to today's writing...let's go see what is written about Jacob and his brother Esau. 

"The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and the camels, into two companies; for he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape.” Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’” Genesis 32:6-12 NASB95 

Jacob prayed in his distress.  

Jesus answered by changing both Esau AND Jacob.   

Our prayers concerning our adversities should change us as well as whatever is pressing upon our hearts.  God doesn't want to leave us in a distressed state. He still intends to complete that work in us of sanctification that He began when we first came to Christ for salvation.

Do you think the formerly know as "trickster", Jacob was becoming a changed man?  For sure he was.  His changing character would be profound enough to merit his name being changed to Israel. 

It's not hard to see that Jacob was scared.  He had stolen his brother's birthright.  Stolen his brother's blessing from his Father.  Think he had good reason to be scared?

We face adversities in our lives for various reasons. What the reason is we may never fully know.   

What ought to be first and foremost in our hearts and minds is to seek out what it is that God's either allowing or is doing that will bring us into a closer relationship with Jesus...His ultimate goal is always our sanctification, not necessarily our happiness. 

Some of the strongest Christians in Church history, by all worldly accounts, looked to have lived distressed lives. Look at the faith chapter, as it were. 

There's a lot to read, but my Dear Reader, it's worth reading!

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.” He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the exodus of the sons of Israel, and gave orders concerning his bones. By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child; and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace. And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect."
Hebrews Chapter 11 NASB95. 

We will indeed cry out to Jesus in our distress.  I have more times than I can count.  

Our adversities, our distress, ought to drive us towards Jesus, not away from Him.

Every storm has had an end to it.  
Everything we come face-to-face with will either cause us to cling to Jesus all the more or cause us to separate from Him. 

There is no middle ground. 

As Dr. Stanley said..only as long as is necessary to accomplish the will of God for you.  

It means not letting any root of bitterness take root.
It means that we don't give up on others in Christ.  Especially if they are Believers.  
It means, potentially, sacrificing what we think we need to bring about whatever God's doing.  It means, my Dear Reader, God wants your whole heart.  Adversities tend to bring to light that He doesn't have your whole heart.  He is jealous for you. 
So many within the Church give up on covenant relationships that are between them, God, and their spouse.  God says in Genesis that what He has joined together let no one separate.  It has been since the, woman and Jesus...for life. 

On our first His kingdom and His righteousness. Seek what His will is for us.  Separation is never His will for us. 

Jesus, as we read yesterday, set aside His own will in favor of whatever His Father wanted.  

Pray today for your eyes to see why you are going through what you are.  Pray for your wisdom to come from God. Pray for His will to be done in you through your adversities.  

Pray on, pray over, pray through.  Do NOT give up just because the world tells you that is your only way.  Create your own war room.  Your place to do battle on your knees.  Your place of remembrance of the righteousness life that God desires for you.  Your place to seek Him. To enter His Throne Room.  We battle not against flesh and blood. We, in Christ, are fighters.  We don't give up on whatever the will of God for us is.  We don't stop praying until we see a very definitive no from God.  We aren't quitters in that regard.

It's time to go to battle, to war, alongside those heroes of the faith.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Not My Will but Yours

Not My Will but Yours 
by David Brenneman 

We really really want our will to happen in our little corner of the world.  We want an image of ourselves that we approve of to be accepted, honored, held in high esteem, by others. 

We do.  Really we do.  It matters not if it's Believers or the unbelieving that are considered, everyone does this.  

Jesus taught differently.  It had bugged me in reading in the book of Acts, until last night, about how many times Paul was warned of what awaited him if he continued to Jerusalem.  He very much was being Christ-like.  He told the people who would weep at his determination to be there by Pentecost...he was ready to die for Jesus if that indeed was to be his future.  He was convinced in the Spirit to make this journey, no matter the cost.

It's our will that gets in the way of growing in Christ.  It's us who keep trying to manipulate Jesus to get us what we desire.  We really don't see the manipulation but we indeed are doing it when all we do is open in prayer with a list of demands. 

A very significant prayer happened between Jacob and his brother Esau.  
When we pray with the right heart attitude be ready for our own heart and mind to be changed as well as the person or people we pray for.  That's what happened in Jacob's prayer. 

We indeed will be hurt by others...the path towards healing goes through the arms of forgiveness.  Be it forgiving ourselves or the other party.  We are NOT suggested to forgive. We are commanded to forgive as Christ forgave us. No, it's not impossible, because we would never be given an impossible task by God that would be out of character for Jesus. 

"For if you forgive other people for their offenses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive other people, then your Father will not forgive your offenses." Matthew 6:14-15 NASB. 

Our journey in life as a Believer is to become what Jesus desires us to be and in the manner that He chooses for us, that is the crux of being His workmanship. 

We shouldn't try to be more than what He's called us to be unless we get definitive proof from the Spirit to do so. 

Honestly, and with all sincerity, we don't choose a different path in life because we were hurt by others.  If we have Christ Jesus in us, we follow what example He gave us.  He said to His Father: "saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.”" Luke 22:42 NASB95. 

If we follow in the character of Christ, our prayers ought to begin to mirror those of Jesus. 

Pain and suffering are a part of life as a child of God.  Jesus said ahead of time that those who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer.  A Spiritual fact of life.

Forgiveness begins with you and I. 
We first must forgive ourselves.  Many times our shortsightedness gets us into trouble.  Sometimes we neglect to obey something in Christ that at the time didn't seem to be significant but later on in life we see it had everything to do with our current situation.

Secondly...there are no problems in God's eyes. Just situations that He's already infinitely more aware of than you or I. 

Next, don't assume or presume.  Don't get set on any particular outcome.  If Jesus is the leader of our lives, He will dictate the path when we trust and obey. 

When obstacles come, and we are told in the Bible that they indeed will come, we take them to the Lord in prayer.  We do not run on our assumptions.  

We love to proclaim it when we readily see God making a way where once there was no way.  We gladly declare that God is good.  

When things aren't going so well we wonder where is God in all of this.  He never left. He is still leading if we are still obediently following. 

If we look at our pursuit of it Christ-centered?  Is our day to day our trying to yet still get our will to be done?

Paul's words of "But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength"...mirror those of Joseph.  Joseph knew not why he was going through so much emotional pain. His family betrayed him. Sold him even. He is tossed out of that frying pan and into a skillet after being falsely accused. Then from that into another fire. He had nobody in his family until God brought his family to him.  But even when that happened...look closely...Joseph acted in the character of Christ Jesus.  Why?  Read what the Scripture says...the Lord was with him. 

In your pain of needing to forgive remember what all Jesus said and did.  He forgave and as followers of Christ so should we.

Our first priority isn't justice or even whatever is fair.  It's to live in the character of Christ Jesus.  That is seeking His will to be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. 

Facing others who aren't living life in Christ as they ought and it's causing pain in your relationship?  Create a war room.  Dedicate time in prayer from a forgiving heart as Christ would be doing.  

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
all because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer!

Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Can we find a friend so faithful
who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
take it to the Lord in prayer!

Are we weak and heavy laden,
cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge--
take it to the Lord in prayer!
Do your friends despise, forsake you?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he'll take and shield you;
you will find a solace there.

What a Friend We Have in Jesus 
-Author: Joseph Medlicott Scriven (1855)