Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Needing Light in this Present Darkness

Needing Light in this Present Darkness 
by David Brenneman 

In the beginning of the book of John we read of John the Baptist referring to himself as a precursor to the Light. 

"There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.  He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man." John 1:6-9.

We who are in Christ are to be lights in this dark world.  To reflect the Light of Jesus Christ to all we cross paths with.   

"nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house." Matthew 5:15.

It's extremely important to remember your identity in this world. The Spirit testifies concerning those who have come to Christ for salvation.  

The world should see the light of Jesus Christ in us.  This is what brings us to the persecutions that we read of in the Bible as well as our own experiences or what we read in the news. 

The world hates the light because it's deeds are evil.

Our world is still extremely influenced by Satan.  He, by now, is a master at getting us to downplay the severity of the message of salvation...at the urgency of the return of Jesus. 

His message isn't to outright stop telling others, but rather to put it off, someone else will do it.  He will convince people to take time for self before putting themselves out there in telling others about their need to be saved.  That there's time.  That someone else "more qualified" can tell others about Jesus. 

If you are indeed saved, you are already more than qualified to tell anyone about how you came to Christ for salvation. 

By putting off living a life for Jesus, you are indeed doing what Jesus spoke of earlier in Matthew.  You are putting that light you received under a basket. 

The interesting thing about light is it really needs no explanation as to what it is. 

It's a revealer of the truth of what surrounds a person.  It exposes whatever was being done in the dark.  

‭‭"So Jesus said to them, “My time is not yet here, but your time is always opportune. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil." John7:6-7.

When we live in the light, we can expect those who frolic in the darkness to have a problem with us.  

Even after the 7 year Great Tribulation, after a full thousand years of Jesus bringing perfect peace to this fallen world, after all the misery, pain, destruction are far removed from mankind's way of life...mankind will still turn on Jesus. 

‭‭"This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:19-21.

Look at the hold that the world tries to have on you. 

The world wants you to take your convictions and keep them to yourself. 
The world wants you to keep your faith to yourself. 
The world is more than willing to demonstrate their hatred for the truth that the Gospel message reveals in themselves. 

But we are to stand firm anyway.  Be suited up for battle.  Be that light in this present darkness.

Right up until the Rapture of the Church happens, we will still see people coming to Christ for salvation.  There's a line of demarcation between that last person before the Rapture and after.  Only Jesus knows who those people will be.  It's on the true Church to be about the Father’s business in showing the Light of Jesus Christ.  It's on all Believers to keep testifying to the Truth.  Pointing people to Jesus.  Every single Believer has the ability to point people to Jesus. There is no doctorate or degree needed.  When it comes to sharing the gospel, education is entirely overrated.  A willing heart that loves Jesus is all that anyone needs. 

So today...take that cover off that light of Jesus that is in you.

Be in the Word of God daily and listen to what He's telling you.  Be like Ananias who simply said "Yes Lord?" when he was spoken to.  Be in conversation daily with Jesus as well.  Ananias shared his fears and Jesus took care of them...he believed Jesus. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Monday, October 30, 2023

The Message to All

The Message to All
by David Brenneman

"Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality,  but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him. The word which He sent to the sons of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all)— you yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead. And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” ‭‭Acts‬ ‭10:34‭-‬43‬.

We're quickly approaching that time of year when it's both welcomed and rejected by people of this world.  The message of the Gospel that begins with the birth of Jesus Christ.  The thoughts of thanksgiving and the thoughts of gifts to men and women from God above are seen in this passage from the Bible.  

People in various corners of the world point to various things in the Bible to say that God isn't for them.  That if God won't accept them as they say they are, then, they want no part of Him or His salvation. 

What most do not recognize in our day and age is the work of either the Spirit of God or the deeds of darkness done by demon possessed people.  

In even this short testimony of Peter, we read of what oppression the Devil is doing to people.  

The Scriptures are there to tell us not only how to live life, but, to show us what to be on the lookout for with regards to the enemy of God.  

Satan's schemes begin with attempts at discrediting the Gospel message.  But when the willing heart is open to that message, he is powerless to stop it.  His next best defense is to get those who are saved either too busy or too scared to tell more people. 

Look at the lives saved by Jesus in the Gospels.  Look at the ones that were so demonically involved that it took the full direct authority of Jesus Christ to get them to leave someone.  Look at the reality of demons written in the Book of Acts where those who weren't really Believers tried to cast them out and what became of them.  

Demons are going to try to steal the message of the Gospel from anyone hearing it, reading it, or seeing it.  

We like reading this passage:
"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2.

Angels walk among us as well as Demons.  Believe it that if we can entertain angels without knowing it, we can be face-to-face with demons without knowing it.

We're given Spiritual Armor for a reason.  We learn discernment from the Spirit of God from God's Word.  We need to be more active in prayer if we honestly believe that God does nothing but by the prayers of His people. 

In our world, your world and mine, we need eyes that see.  Many people will believe in the ability of a chair to bear their weight to sit in before they will believe the truth of the world around them as described by God's Word. 

We need to be soldiers ready to face what the Spirit brings into our lives.  We're not going to see a peaceful Earth.  Regardless of what supposed plans of so-called peace that the world speaks to...it's all heading towards the events of the book of Revelation.  

The truth of what Paul wrote in Romans 10..."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.

Is that message, as is Peter's in what we read...that changes lives.  It's what brings the right to be called Sons and Daughters of God.  It's what seals us in the Spirit of God.  It's what allows us the right to cry out to Jesus and know we have been heard.   

To be blunt...our careers, in our eyes, are worthless in the Spiritual scheme of things.  Our purpose is to fulfill God's plan for us in whatever respect that looks like.  It's not to be our will being done on Earth, but His.  Our lives are to be a testimony of the great things that God has done for us. 

Even in the Great Tribulation that's on the horizon, even through those horrific years, the Gospel message will not be stopped. 

People will still be saved in the Great Tribulation.  

What are you doing to be a light in this world?  Is your focus on your own wants and desires or on learning and doing what Jesus has you here for?  You are not here by accident. You are here because in this exact point in time because you are the best person to complete the tasks that Jesus has need of being done.  Just know you will face opposition. From within and from without.  Your sin nature will try to shut you up.  People around you will try to shut you down.  We read of the charge in the Bible of pressing on towards that upward call in Christ Jesus.  

To press on gives the idea of setting your feet as someone on the front lines, digging in each footstep to push your way forward.  The winds and weather might hit but you keep moving forward. 

Don't let people or situations rob you of the messages coming in the next few months.  Jesus said we know not the day nor the hour of His return.  Keep sharing the message, don't be surprised by the firey ordeals we face.  Satan's a sore loser. He can try to influence the minds of Believers but he cannot possess a Believer.  He isn't creative.  He only does what has worked before.  He has the ability to possess those who aren't saved. 

Pray on, pray over, pray through whatever is coming in your today.  Don't let the enemy of God steal your joy in the thanksgiving, the birth of Jesus, that the months to come will speak of.

Let the message of the Gospel still be heard, felt, and seen in your life. 

Sunday, October 29, 2023

You Just Don't Want to Admit It

You Just Don't Want to Admit It
by David Brenneman 

We know not the day nor the hour of the return of Jesus Christ...but that's not what this is about. 

You don't want to admit that you realistically owe the very breath you breathe to Him as well.  You, my Dear Reader, do not know when you will breathe your last.

Millions per moment are dying "unexpected" deaths.  People who, under what's been termed 'normal' circumstances, wouldn't have died.  

People standing up to go get something, a cup of coffee, a check in a mirror to see if something is on their face, dropping.

People who go for a swim not returning again to the land of the living.  People in insurance companies twist statistics all the time to either avoid payout due to untimely death or they just pay it.

We just don't like to admit our potential mortality. People working on vehicles themselves without good prior experience dying from a slip of the hand.  People just walking a yard as they have done a million times before.

While the Scriptures say that God has set eternity in the hearts of mankind, our own hubris gets us to not consider the moment in time in which we live with greater importance. 

Do you truly realize that in a split second you can either be in Heaven or Hell?  There's no wandering around the Earth after dying.  

"Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord--for we walk by faith, not by sight—but we are of good courage and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord." 2 Corinthians 5:6-8.

We listen to this fallen world as to priorities and not to the Creator of all things.  What becomes of what you leave behind?  The people, the things...think about it.

No this isn't some Halloween style of post.   This is in the wake of so many publicized deaths that people erroneously portray as untimely deaths. 

In God's scheme of things there's no such thing. 

In God's plan and purpose you have a very defined purpose.  Your life isn't your own, you were bought with a price, the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  We're to live for the one who took our place on calvary.  

We don't consider the future.  Don't often consider the mess we might leave others should Jesus say our time is up.

This plan and purpose...should you persist in not fulfilling it...it will be given to another.  You may or may not live out your days.  But you will give an account before Jesus as to why you didn't.  You.

We really need to consider the cost to Jesus before we decide not to count every single moment as precious in His sight. 

Some out there reading this might not even get to finish reading it.  Jesus determines the length of days to those who have the breathe of life that He granted them.  Satan indeed is the destroyer of life.  If God values it Satan wants it.  Read the chapters of the book of Job from when Jesus replies to Job. 

Why does Jesus allow so much death from abortions to wars and senseless violence?  It ought to teach people the value of life. It's extremely fragile.  It's granted...and shouldn't be taken for granted. 

We accumulate so much stuff to honestly create our own version of Heaven here on Earth and don't realize the parables of Jesus that, in this, apply to all. Someone else will get what you leave behind.  All the wills or non use of them are the red tape that happens.  But your stuff will never mean the same to those who get it next. 

As someone coined the phrase, there are no U-haul's on caskets.  Nothing here on Earth is ov value in the next life except for those with the breathe of life.  

Really consider your mortality.  Really consider just what you are contributing to the plan of God for you.  Do you mistakenly think that an hour or so on a Sunday morning is enough? Are you kidding me?  Jesus wants our all on the altar.  

If you stand before Jesus today...will you be glad to see Him or ashamed because of how you were living?  

We don't like to think about death but it's the consequence of sin.  After Jesus responded to Job, in as much as his life was good before his trials, the remaining years of his life probably were far more enlightened.  Sure he was physically blessed in many more ways than before, but nobody who ever comes face-to-face with Jesus is ever the same.

If you're not a changed person after meeting Jesus, question your salvation.  Nobody who comes to Christ for salvation should be the same as they have always been.  Growing in Christ should be happening. In Romans 12 it's called a transformed life.  A changed life in Christ should be for all to see.  

We don't want to think about consequences, but, Jesus says they are there, so they are real.  

Live each day as if it were your last.  Live to be the best you can be in Christ.  Colossians 3:23-24.  Look at the examples of those in the early Church.  Many millions of whom you read who received the New Testament died because of living for Jesus and they cared not about stuff.  Paul commended many in those letters for their concern for him and the saints. 

Consider today just how precious that breathe you breathe really is...don't take it for granted.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

By the Mercies of God

By the Mercies of God 
by David Brenneman 

"compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm." 

A week ago I was on my way to the bank to make a deposit.  While on my way, I observed a police vehicle.  Didn't think too much of it since that's to be expected.  I wasn't speeding, in fact, with the obvious influx of people in the area due to a game I was driving intentionally slower.  However this particular police vehicle pulled out behind me and was there for some time. I looked in my rear view mirror and the lights came on.  What had I done?  Driving too slow?  I pulled over into a safe place and as I had been instructed when dealing with the police, put my truck in park and left my hands on the steering wheel.  No sudden moves.  She came along the drivers side and I motioned that I have crank windows.  She certainly seemed to be in a good mood. She laughingly asked "Hi there...did you have a birthday recently?"  I groaned and looked up at the ceiling of my truck.  It all fell into place.  I had forgotten to get my tags. 

Before I could say much more than it had been a very intense week, she assured me that it was ok. She was giving me a warning and offered several choices to get it rectified.  I thanked her and after she left I thanked God for that reminder and asked Him to forgive me for my forgetfulness.  I finished going to the bank and parked the truck until I could figure out what to do next. 

The owner of where I work, upon telling him this story said "that's the difference between justice and mercy".  

Quite easily I could have been fined.  
Quite easily she could have been in a bad mood, could have been having a bad day.

All throughout your day you need to be looking for the mercies of God.  Those moments and things that He doesn't mete out justice towards us that we so easily deserve.

We deserve the justice of God just as much as anyone who's born in sin.  We deserve that punishment that Jesus took on the cross.  We deserve it, but, my Friend are you living in appreciation for the mercy bestowed upon your life that you're probably taking for granted?

God's mercies are new every morning. 
"The Lord’s acts of mercy indeed do not end, For His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23.

So again are you at all aware of what COULD be happening in your life that isn't?

Are you at all considering the truth of what you DO deserve?  Oh and you DO deserve it!  

Grace is God's unmerited favor. It's often referred to as God's Riches At Christ's Expense.

We just do not consider for even a single heartbeat the mercies of God. 

We just think that our personal happiness is paramount.  That our peace is one of if not the highest priority.  

We really don't take stock in the rest of the truth of God's word concerning how to live life.  

Even Christians are severely guilty of doing what is right in their own eyes. 

Read the Old Testament...why was Jesus so lamenting of His chosen people?  They kept on being stiff-necked over life.

Kept on doing whatever was right in their own eyes.  Kept on serving other gods. 

But you don't do that! Or do you?

Christians don't have other gods do they?

A job can be a god. A sport can be a god.
Movies can be a god.  My Dear Reader, anything or anyone that can be elevated above God in your life...is a god in your life. 

People don't realize just what constitutes worship.  When passion, devotion, energy, is given to anyone or anything more than it's given to Jesus then its idolatry. 

One of the most horrific things that I was ever told in Church by a brother in Christ about my not being a fan of that Ohio State football team was "I'll pray for you about that".  

Oh if only we would have a more healthy view of God's mercies.  

But truth be told...would it matter to you?
Mercies were often given and shown by Jesus in the Old Testament and the people didn't recognize it or acknowledge it for very long.

Look in the mirror.  How are you dressed? Are you dressed with respect to your position in Christ?  I realize this is going to cause some people to want to argue...but do you wear clothing that promotes idolatry?  

God's grace and mercy should never ever be taken for granted. 

What we do in this world for Jesus is what matters and the attitude with which we do it.  All the idolatrous things that were so much a part of our lives will be burned up. 

All those hours of movie and television watching...all those sporting events...everything that took place that had nothing to do with positively impacting our sanctification in Christ are going up in flames. 

Will there be enough left to form a crown to toss at Jesus's feet?  

Take time today to really be real with yourself and your Savior.  Maybe it's time you had a wake-up call like my traffic stop.

Maybe it is time for an unrestricted makeover of your heart.

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Do You Not Want THE Key?

Do You Not Want THE Key?
by David Brenneman 

"Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” And He said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”  The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.  Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying,  and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight.” But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem;  and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.”  But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake.”  So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”  And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;  and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”  ‭‭Acts‬ ‭9:1‭-‬20‬.

Did you see?  Did you catch what had happened?  Later on in testifying of his own credentials, Paul, aka Saul, was one of THE most learned of his time in regards to the Word of God...the entire Old Testament.  One of the most learned yet...the lock had never been turned...never ever had been opened as to the truth of God's word to him. 

In those days of silence and solitude, Saul was in deep communication with Jesus.  The Spirit was showing him "great and wonderful things that he did not know".

The world we live in is in that same darkness that Saul was in before coming to Christ for salvation.  Nobody who embraces the darkness of this sinful world will see what it is the Spirit testifies to about Jesus.

We don't need to over complicate the message of the Gospel.  The Father refused to complicate it so that even a child could understand it.  You do not need some form of higher education.  Do not even need seminary teaching.  Do not need a high intelligence quotient.  What does the Bible say? Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

Certifications, degrees, completions of courses, are not at all necessary to unlock the Word of God. 

It takes faith in Christ Jesus. It takes a willing heart, it takes trust in God. Had Jesus not interceded in Saul's life, his higher education in regards to what the priest's taught would not have saved him.  He would have died in his own sins just as most of his compatriots will do or had already done.

Jesus has already testified in regards to this.  Many will say on that day "Lord, Lord! We did this in your name, and that in your name!  He will say depart from Me for I never knew you."  

Had Jesus not stopped Saul...Saul, for all his intense knowledge of God...would have been one of those "many".

In those days of being sight less, Saul was getting a spiritual education.  Was in deep conversations with Jesus.  Was being shown every single place where he had missed in the Word of God where Jesus was mentioned.  Was shown because the key, Jesus, was put in the lock of the mind of Saul, and had been turned.  An obvious lock that we don't see we have ourselves. 

Only the Spirit can teach the true things of God to mankind.  We view teachers in schools as those who unlock the potential in students.  Showing them the path towards learning.  Teachers taught me and showed me the possibilities.  

You cheat yourself if you're not seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. You cheat yourself if you are not making time for Jesus and yourself.  
You are just as blind as Saul had been if you aren't pursuing a right relationship with Jesus. 

Entertainment doesn't matter in light of eternity. 
Sports doesn't matter in light of eternity. 
Recreation doesn't matter in light of eternity.
Devotion and dedication to your employer doesn't mean anything in light of eternity. 

Your personal happiness does not mean anything beneficial in light of eternity. 

Your personal relationship with Jesus Christ means everything in light of eternity. 

Do you, my Dear Reader, want to hear Jesus mention you as His Friend or as one whom He will say He doesn't know?

Are your thoughts on you getting what you want, when you want it, more important to you than whatever is important to Jesus?

This is so so important to grasp.  Jesus said that He is a jealous God.  Jealous for our hearts and minds. Wanting first place in importance.  We do not see clearly enough just how subtly we keep things in or near our hearts that have no business being there. 

We are in a culture that prides itself on idolatry and calls it everything but that.

We often begrudgingly go to church for an hour or two, yet look forward to many hours of sports. 

We often grumble about spending time in our Bible yet will seek out everything else that can occupy our minds on any other subject.

We will be intentional on texting or calling people yet neglect or forget to call Jesus.

We make, whether or not we acknowledge it, our own will as being more important than the Will of God. 

Look at the way people of the beginning of the Church lived.  How they selflessly gave up whatever they owned or did in order to have deep relationships with each other in Christ.  They helped each other get out of debt.   Providing for each other in regards to food.  Did whatever they did or spoke to edify others in Christ.  They had a real relationship with Jesus.  They weren't hoarders, weren't selfish.  Ananias was obviously used to hearing verbally from Jesus.  We get nothing at all to indicate that he was surprised to hear Jesus talk to him.  

My Dear Reader...if you are truly in Christ...if you indeed say that you believe and are saved...what are you making more important than knowing Him?   

Which will it be?  Welcome! or Depart from Me, for I never knew you. 

Nobody will ever see Heaven based on works alone. Nobody will get there on their own merits or reputation for how well they lived to help others.  Nobody will get there based on their IQ or anything else. 

Are you at all eager to learn more, see more, do more for Jesus?  Is that at all important to you?   

Put the key in and ask the Spirit to turn it. Ask Him to show you great and wonderful things that you did not know.  Jesus didn't willingly die for you just to punch you a ticket to go live for yourself until it was time to go. He’s waiting to hear from you. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Wasted Time. Wasted Efforts

Wasted Time. Wasted Efforts 
by David Brenneman 

"Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger and forsake wrath. Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity." Psalms 37:1-11.

Whether you are saved or you are not...you spend time, energy and effort doing life. 

What true fruits come from what you pursue?  What real eternity-difference-making fruits come from what you've planted in your life?  Are you at all putting your efforts into whatever is important to Jesus?  

I skim through posts of others and can see what people consider as important to them.  For some, it's family, friends, God even.   Others, you wonder why they are so passionate about things that don't matter in the eternal scheme of things.  Wasted energy, wasted emotions.  

If anyone who weren't a Believer took those things written as a testimony...they wouldn't see God at all.  

When God wasn't at the center of the lives of His chosen people...they became people who had no real regard for His truth.  

Do you regard the truths of God's word as more valuable than gold?  Or do the various things of this world hold more of your attention, efforts, than what God is trying to do in your life?

All I once held dear, built my life upon
All this world reveres, and wars to own
All I once thought gain I have counted loss
Spent and worthless now, compared to this
Knowing You, Jesus
Knowing You
There is no greater thing
You're my all, You're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love You, Lord
Now my heart's desire is to know You more
To be found in You and known as Yours
To possess by faith what I could not earn
All-surpassing gift of righteousness
Knowing You, Jesus
Knowing You
There is no greater thing
You're my all, You're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love You, Lord
Oh, to know the power of Your risen life
And to know You in Your sufferings
To become like You in Your death, my Lord
So with You to live and never die
Knowing You, Jesus
Knowing You
There is no greater thing
You're my all, You're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
You're my all, You're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
You're my all, You're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love You, Lord
You're my all, You're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love You, Lord
-"Knowing You Jesus" Graham Kendrick 

Are you giving Jesus a good reputation in the life you live?  

A simple yes or no answer.  Either you are all in or you're not.  When the children of Israel truly followed the Lord Jesus as He had instructed them...life was better than they could possibly have imagined.  

The work of Believers is not to be caught up in the things of this world that will inevitably become traps to their soul's strength.  

I can't fathom how people calling themselves Christians are so rude, angry, disrespectful...and justify it in the name of a sport.  They are to be first and foremost representing Jesus. 

I can't begin to understand how people who are supposed to be showing the love of Christ Jesus to a lost world behave as they do and sleep at night.  

Does not the soul of another matter to them as much as it does to Jesus?

So much wasted time, wasted emotions, wasted effort in living life.  When a Believer stands before Jesus...and their lived are tested as if by fire...all that will be burned up and counted as loss.

Psalms 37 points us towards delighting ourselves in the Lord.  Not in what this world holds dear.  If it's important to the world, it isn't important to Jesus.  

Are you investing your time in your relationship with Jesus?  Or are you wasting what little time on this Earth that you have been given?  

If the Church today were as interested in living the Christian life as they did at the Church's beginning...what kind of world would we be living in?  People then loved to give unconditionally.  People then were selling off whatever they had to help others in the body of Christ.  People lived lives that the Spirit used to draw people to Jesus.  

Me, personally, I gave up on anything to do with sports, with many other things, because I saw how it wasn't bringing out Christ Jesus in me.  It was me being rude, me being angry for no good reason.  It was me degrading others.  Was me tearing people down and not building them up. It was me not being a Christ-like example.  There's no Godly excuse acceptable unto God to tear people down and to gloat over it.  It was extremely convicting.  

How well do you think it will sit with you to find out that your words, your behavior, pushed someone away from Jesus Christ for salvation?  You're not going to find anything good said by the Spirit in the Bible about things considered as "just kidding".

What we do in life should be unto the Lord Jesus Christ first.  We who are in Christ are representing Him to a lost world.  There are many times I am convicted because I realized too little too late that my attitude or behavior wasn't right before Jesus. 

My Dear Reader, I don't know if it matters as much to you as it does to Jesus, but how you live your life matters in the plan of God for mankind. 

It's not at all easy to keep taking every thought captive.  2 Corinthians 10:5 "We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," isn't a suggestion at living life in Christ, it's training in righteousness.  

Is knowing Jesus more valuable to you than whatever is in your life?  Are you going to be commended by Jesus for how well you represented Him to the world you lived in?

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Not What You Think You are Worth

Not What You Think You are Worth 
by David Brenneman 

In Christ, those who have indeed been saved, and the opportunity for all is found our true identity.  Not in worldly titles, not in occupations, not in social status, not in even any aspect of credit scores or social media. In the only way that matters, either a person is saved or they are not.  Those who are, are considered washed of their sins. Cleansed of all unrighteousness. Purified as no launderer can ever make clean of any and all sins. 

But you must be saved to have those sins erased.  

"As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12. 

"This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 

But all that begins our identity is found in coming to Christ as He said to. 

"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 

Our worth is entirely wrapped up in what Jesus says.  Jesus showed time and time again in the Old Testament of the extreme dangers of doing what you want.  A cursory search on Google and you find all kinds of so-called music telling you to do what you want. From the not-so-subtle to the profanity laced, Satan's message to you is to live for self.  Fulfill your own desires, don't give a care what anyone else thinks or believes.  

The children of Israel are the chosen people of God.  This will never change.  But even they have time and time again turned from serving their Lord Jesus.  In reading the book of Judges, we find many examples of them repeatedly crying out to God to save them.   The most obvious way would be to quit straying from God's Word...but they didn't.  Satan began with "Did God really say..." and that one line has been used billions of times A DAY since.

Satan or his minions will use that with you.

It's guaranteed.  It might be some subtle variation but it will be those words. 

This one thought is so detrimental to humans that when Jesus separates those who are saved from those who are not, many of those who aren't will question Him.  Didn't we do this in your name or that in your name?  These lived for self and never came to the place of fully trusting in Jesus Christ for salvation alone.   

Be sure of your salvation in Christ Jesus. 

Don't just guess you are, know that you are.  Eternity is an extremely long time to be spent in torment paying for your own sins.  

Something significant to note in that passage of Jesus separating those who are saved from those who aren't is that there's no third category.  There is no camp of people who simply deny the validity of what Jesus did to separate people.  If a person's name is not written in the Lamb's book of Life...Hell is the first destination, after the Great White Throne Judgment...the Lake of Fire is next.

"so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:10-11.

Everyone single person and every angel and every fallen angel will confess Jesus Christ is Lord.  Even Satan is going to have to. 

You, my Dear Reader, have a life granted unto you to live.  

Your choice is not so difficult. Come to Christ and be saved, living in obedience to Jesus, immediately entering Heaven when you die. Or die in your own sins and face the eternal consequences, first in Hell, then later that Lake of Fire. 

Jesus had every single person who has ever lived on His mind when He was on the cross.  When He was beaten almost to the point of being unrecognizable, to that point even He needed help in bearing His cross to where He was crucified...He was thinking of you. He did that for you and I. 

But you must be the one who asks Him to save you...and then you need to give way to His ways in your life.  Not going it alone.  Living a life of gratitude for all He's done for you. 

Our world will always find ever increasing ever more interesting ways to get you to be self seeking.  Come to Christ as you are and see Him change your life for the best.  Not the better, for the best.  God has only the best in mind for you...it's just not going to look like your ideas of it.  

Been saved in Christ...living like it?
Not yet saved?  Time is running out. 

Once Jesus returns for His Church...life will literally feel like Hell on Earth in the judgments to come. 

‭"Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, For the day of the Lord is coming; Surely it is near,"
Joel 2:1

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Do You Really?

Do You Really?
by David Brenneman 

I love you Lord and I lift my voice...
to worship you, oh my soul rejoice. 
Take joy my King, in what you hear...
may it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear. 

Regardless of where you allow your mind to go...do you ever rein it in and just try to shut off all the world demands of you in order to just let Jesus know how much you love Him?

I woke up to that chorus playing in my mind.  We used to sing it a lot in the church that I grew up in. 

This song is one of my favorites.  Sometimes it leads into more...which is simply awesome.  

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God

One day ev'ry tongue will confess You are God
One day ev'ry knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those Who gladly choose you now

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Come, just as you are before your God

One day ev'ry tongue will confess You are God
One day ev'ry knee will bow
Still the greatest treasure remains for those, Who gladly choose you now

Willingly we choose to surrender our lives
Willingly our knees will bow
With all our hearts, oh, mind and strength
We gladly choose you now

Come, now is the time to worship
Come, now is the time to give your heart
Come, just as you are to worship
Oh, come, just as you are before your God
Come, oh
Come, oh
Come, oh you nations
Come, come and worship
Oh, come (come and worship your maker!)

When the Spirit breaks out a playlist in your heart and mind, do you shut it down, shut it off, or do you embrace it?   

King David brought many, many songs to the world.  King David, before becoming King, used to play for King Saul.  The songs of praise would drive away any demons that were messing with King Saul.  

Demons cannot delve out their evil intentions when the Lord is being praised. 

My Dear Reader, everything in your life is to be secondary to your relationship with your Savior, Jesus Christ.  The Bible says that He is to have first place in your heart, mind, soul and spirit.  So, it begs the question: Does He?  Do you shut down the Spirit prompting you towards worship or do you embrace it?

In writing my book I am prompted to remember the various stages of my faith. Seeing how, not just the times of intense spiritual battles, but the times of praise that God used to push my roots deeper.

You are not living in this time of human history to get the most for yourself out of whatever is available in anything.  Go backwards a few steps my Dear Friend to when you came to Christ.  Jesus said that one must come as a child.  Children do not care about what adults do. The children who came to Jesus simply loved being with Jesus.  They loved Him without reservation or with any skepticism. No preconceived notions. No doubts, certainly no fears.  

The Spirit protects the Word of God. 
The Spirit teaches us more about Jesus. 

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

Take back your childhood in Christ. 
Lay your worries, your concerns, at His feet.  

‭‭John‬ ‭4:23‭-‬24‬ ‭"But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Probably our greatest problem in our lives is our negligence in worship...it's absolutely not just for Sunday Mornings, Sunday nights or Wednesday nights.  

We read "that, in reference to your former way of life, you are to rid yourselves of the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you are to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth." Ephesians 4:22-24. 

So, spiritually, did you get dressed for today?  Are you intentional in your life towards your life in Christ?  Or is what you do with regards to Jesus in a daytimer?  Something that you schedule in?  Something you put aside when you are out in the world?  

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You as a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You?  And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of Mine, you did it for Me.’ Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you accursed people, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or as a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it for one of the least of these, you did not do it for Me, either.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46.

So...how do you show that the love of Christ is in you?  How are you going to change how you worship Him today?

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Who Do You Seek?

Who Do You Seek?
by David Brenneman 

Was reading in the final chapters of the book of Joshua...the charge presented to the children of Israel as well as the firm warning of the Lord Jesus. The proof beyond measure that in every way, every promise, the Lord kept everything to His chosen people.

Was reminded recently concerning some of the things that they were told to do in taking the Promised land.  Killing every single human being, regardless of age.  Some considered such orders barbaric.  But these were the commands of God.  What purpose would killing even children?

God, in His infinite wisdom, shows over and over again what a single individual left from a race can do in the other stories of the Bible.  Joash was hidden until he was old enough to reign as King. Moses was hidden until he could be old enough for the work of the Lord concerning Israel's children. Hezekiah's son brought on some of the harshest judgments by the Lord Jesus because of Hezekiah wanted not to die, or more importantly, his not wanting to accept the plan of God for his life.

We do not realize the power of the right person at the right time in human history. 
Interestingly enough, Satan does. 

Why do you think that Satan is the biggest proponent of abortion?  Why do you think he is the biggest proponent of tempting Believers into idle lives?  Of getting Believers to justify their idolatry and waste valuable time, energy and money on useless things? 

If it weren't for individuals being at the right place and the right time, we wouldn't have had Paul, or Timothy, or Peter, or Billy Graham, D.L. Moody, or Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis.  

People who were seeking God, who wanted for their lives what God wanted for their lives to reach others for Christ. 

We, in not just the western world, but all over, use culture, use ideologies, use peer pressure, to justify our choices in allowing what the Bible explicitly says is idolatry. 

We set up idols in our physical world as well as our virtual world.  We believe the world's definition of what constitutes worship and disregard what the Bible says is worship concerning idols.

We have more opportunities to approach the Throne of God than at any time in human history yet we don't.

We could very well be one of the next Billy Graham's, the next C.S. Lewis, the next Charles Spurgeon or even the next Charles Stanley.  

Do you seek the same things that the Spirit desires for you to be seeking in this life?  We so erroneously put so much value in our perception of self and of how others view us, more concerned of how we will be seen rather than how we're seen by God. 

All that the world seeks and wars to own...is worthless.  All that God says is important is the only thing that's of true value.  Who cares about fantasy, of sports, of political figures, of this possession or that...in light of eternity...what we truly value in our brief spot in history should align with what God says is of value. 

Nothing at all that the world values will survive the test of fire given to our lives when we stand before Jesus to give an account of our lives. 

Do you seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, or do you seek your own?

We can approach the Throne of Jesus in prayer, anytime, and in any place.  Is this of least or most importance to you?

Joshua made that now most famous statement and challenge to the children of Israel. 

"But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15.

The words of Jesus...Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. How much? All of it. The leftovers from doing your own life first? Uh no.
After you get your life in order first? No again.  

When you are thinking about your day today...find a way, a reason, to seek first His kingdom...and make it stick.  Tomorrow...be intentional on doing that again.  

Be brutally honest with you and boldly ask the Spirit to show you what must leave your life in order to be who God wants you to be. 

Who do you seek?  If seeking God first bothers you...then...my Dear Reader...you have discovered your most significant problem. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Never ever? Never Ever.

Never ever?  Never Ever. 
By David Brenneman 

‭“And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You." Psalms 39:7.

"Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass." Joshua 21:45.

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,
and with all who will trust and obey.

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

Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey. 

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

But we never can prove
the delights of his love
until all on the altar we lay;
for the favor he shows,
for the joy he bestows,
are for them who will trust and obey. 

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

Then in fellowship sweet
we will sit at his feet,
or we'll walk by his side in the way;
what he says we will do,
where he sends we will go;
never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
-"Trust and Obey" -John Sammis 1887.

My mind wants to go in various directions this morning.  Wants to try to figure out how to deal with situations that have unexpectedly arisen in our lives.  Unexpected to us, known before the dawn of time, to Jesus.  

In my sleep I know not what troubles me in the physical world.  It's a sorely tempting place to be.  If it weren't a place of temptation, King Solomon wouldn't have written warnings about it.  

Joshua 21:45 was part of my Bible reading this morning.  Where some may call it a coincidence, that's never the case with the Spirit. Have you ever considered that every single thing that the Spirit has done or will do is always intentional towards the plan of God for you?  There are no Personal Time Off days, no vacation days, for the Spirit of God.  He’s the keeper of the Word of God. He’s the Helper.  The teacher of all the things of God. He seals those who have come to Christ.  Without the Spirit's confirmation, no one spends eternity with Jesus Christ.  

Never ever has a single individual left Hell apart from the will of God.  That was fulfilled by Jesus when He arose from the dead.  Everyone else stays there until the Final Judgment...and even then...at the will of God they will stand before Jesus.  Various demons, for Hell was originally created for them, are staying in Hell until that Final Judgment day. 

Never ever has a single individual entered into Heaven apart from the will of God.  The Spirit is involved in every single person who departs this world.  Satan and his minions must obey all summons by Jesus to appear before Him.  

Never have any of the words of Jesus Christ ever failed.  If it's not come to pass its only because it's not time yet.  Jesus said that not one jot or tittle would ever pass away from the Word of God.  All would occur.  

My mind wants to stress, to worry, but my heart reads and remembers the Word of God.  When my mind wants to race, I have to put the brakes on with the Word of God. 

I have been learning that while my mind has been hardwired for troubleshooting, that when it comes to living life, it's ok when I can't figure it out. I just need to trust the One who has it all figured out. 

"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.  

"Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:5-7. Many have verses 6 and 7 memorized...back up to verse 5.  Gentle spirit implies a calm spirit. A peaceful spirit. Why? Because the Lord is near. 

Joseph was totally on his own, in a culture and place 100% foreign to him. What does the Bible say? "The Lord was with Joseph".
Repeatedly that is said after his totally altered life begins to happen. 

Which is another of the promises of God. 
"for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”" Hebrews 13:5b.

Satan's go to is always always always "Did God really say...".  

"Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him For the help of His presence." Psalms 42:5.

"Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;" Psalms 37:7a.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord More than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning." Psalms 130:5-6.

My Dear Reader...this is what I am going to do...wait upon the Lord.  Am going to keep doing whatever He’s put before me until He changes things...until He provides. 

Never had He ever failed in a single promise...just as Joshua wrote. 

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Sometimes it's best to HALT

Sometimes it's best to HALT
by David Brenneman 

Probably a strange mix of this verse and the concept of HALT.  

When we're most at risk is when we need someone to be in our corner.  When vulnerability strikes were in danger of a sin nature that by now you're understanding doesn't get tired. Or maybe that's never crossed your mind...that your sin nature doesn't get tired?  It looks for weakness in order to take advantage of us in those moments of life.

When we're Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.

I find it interesting that in at least the written accounts, angry doesn't seem to be the one area Satan didn't test Jesus in. 

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after He had fasted for forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” But He answered and said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him along into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and he *said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written: ‘He will give His angels orders concerning You’; and ‘On their hands they will lift You up, So that You do not strike Your foot against a stone.’” Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written: ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took Him along to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory; and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him; and behold, angels came and began to serve Him." Matthew 4:1-11.

Jesus had no sin for to trip Him up. Jesus,  by the time Satan had showed up, was probably a prime candidate in Satan's eyes.  Been by Himself for 40 days...that's over a month, I think the Jewish calendar is a 30 day month.  It clearly says that nobody was around Him.  It says clearly that He was hungry. No food often tends to make a body susceptible to being tired and vulnerable to suggestion. 

Yet Satan's not considering what had already happened.  The Spirit was with Him.  Later on in the story of the woman at the well.  The Disciples thought He was speaking about food.  Jesus said He had food to eat that they didn't know about.  

"Meanwhile the disciples were urging Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat something.” But He said to them, “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” So the disciples were saying to one another, “No one brought Him anything to eat, did he?”  Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to accomplish His work." John 4:31-34.

Leaning into our relationship with Jesus through the Spirit in our times of weakness is a necessity.  Finding a brother who will stand with you is a great idea as well.  

We're never to go through the Christian life alone.  We're meant to live in relationships with other Believers.  Life alone only sets us up for battles we're not prepared to fight. 

I end up many times at the end of a long day entering into the realm of HALT.  

It's much harder to admit we need help or sometimes we're so quickly slipping that we're unprepared to call for help.

My Dear Reader we're not defined by those moments we fail to fight nor are we defined by anything that has tripped us up in our walk with Jesus. 

When we came to Christ we got our adoption papers certified by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  Validated by God the Father and certified by the Spirit.  

Both Satan and your sin nature want you to believe otherwise.  

TobyMac has a song "Get Back Up"

"You turned away when I looked you in the eye
And hesitated when I asked if you were alright
Seems like you're fighting for you life
But why, oh, why?
Wide awake in the middle of your nightmare
You saw it comin' but it hit you out of nowhere
And there's always scars
When you fall that far

We lose our way
We get back up again
It's never too late to get back up again
And one day you gonna' shine again
You may be knocked down
But not out forever
Lose our way
We get back up again
So get up, get up
You gonna shine again
Never too late to get back up again
You may be knocked down
But not out forever
(May be knocked down but not out forever)

You rolled out at the dawning of the day
Heart racin' as you made your little get away
It feels like you've been runnin' all your life
But, why, oh, why?

So you pull away from the love that would've been there
And start believin' that your situation's unfair

But there's always scars
When you fall that far

We lose our way
We get back up again
It's never too late to get back up again
And one day, you gonna shine again
You may be knocked down but not out forever
We lose our way, we get back up again
So get up, get up
You gonna shine again
It's never too late, to get back up again
You may be knocked down, but not out forever
May be knocked down, but not out forever

This is love callin', love callin', out to the broken
This is love callin'
This is love callin', love callin', out to the broken
This is love callin'
This is love callin', love callin'
I am so broken
This is love callin' love callin

We lose our way, (way way way ay ay ay)
We get back up again, (get back up again)
It's never too late (late late late ate ate ate)
You may be knocked down but not out forever

Lose our way
We get back up again
So get up get up
You gonna shine again
Never too late to get back up again
You may be knocked down
But not out forever

This is love (lose our way) callin' love callin' (get back up again)
To the broken
This is love (never too late) callin'
(May be knocked down but not out forever)
This is love (lose our way) callin' love callin' (we get back up again)
To the broken
This is love (never too late) callin'
(May be knocked down but not out forever)

This is love callin' love callin'
Out to the broken
This is love callin'

My Dear Reader, forgiveness for the Believer is a prayer away.  The Bible says "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. 

My prayer continues to find as close a friend as I had with my brother in Christ, Russ Alexander.  The Spirit reminds me when HALT is starting.  It's my own stubbornness in trying to finish something that trips me up. 

"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8. 

Take a different look at why you're struggling in your day.  You just probably are getting involved with HALT and even the Bible says these things are common to man.  

Run to Jesus in prayer, don't walk.  He will always run to you.  

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Friday, October 20, 2023

He WILL Finish it...

He WILL Finish it...
by David Brenneman 

I have both heard conversations and have been asked why something like the Holocaust was allowed by God to happen.  In no way is it something to be taken lightly...the judgments of God always begin with the house of God.  

In Daniel we do read of the future judgments concerning Israel.  We can do the math and in reading other parts of the Bible find that 1 week of the 70 hasn't happened yet.  That week, which in Biblical terms is 7 years.  That week of judgments is found in living color in the book of Revelation.  Read it closely for yourself. 

Now, go back to the first 5 books of the Bible.  Read of the very explicit blessings and the curses that Moses told the children of Israel what would befall them in regards to their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.  

Read in Psalms, Song of Solomon, Habakkuk, other books and see the longing of the Lord to call to His chosen people to come back to Him. 

Read Habakkuk especially.  Read of all the written times of other nations being lead by the Lord Jesus to come and kill much of the nation of Israel in judgment because they turned their hearts from God.  

In all cases, my Dear Reader, the Lord kept a remnant that would turn their hearts back to the Lord.  

The list of reasons for the judgments begins always with them turning their hearts from God. Serving others gods. 

Something like the holocaust has happened many times in Israel's history.  

Many many will die in the 7 year Great Tribulation.  A remnant will be saved through this as well.  The full judgments in this up and coming Great Tribulation are against the whole of the human race.  Scripture itself says that if those judgments weren't limited that none would survive.

Denying God gets nobody anywhere.  Turning from God to self-made or man-made idols will put up a wall between you and Jesus.  "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit." was never a "suggestion".  We in this western world often casually throw out the phrase of loving this or loving that.  Sometimes in my life, I can guarantee you that when I claimed to love something, that the Spirit had something to say about it...if I were listening.  

All Christians should love God with their everything.  All should have the priorities of God first, spouse second, everyone else third.  No physical object should ever be loved by Believers.  No ideologies should be loved by Believers that are not bound to the Word of God. 

The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus Himself says in the Old Testament that His name is Jealous.  He is jealous for His people.  He strongly desires a right relationship with all who claim that He is their Savior.  He is jealous when it comes to the nation of Israel.  

The curses of God are not like at all the curses of human beings.  When God cursed in the events surrounding the fall of mankind in Genesis...nobody escaped it.
When the Lord had Moses tell the nation of Israel what would happen should they turn from God...those curses happened. 

The Holocaust was a judgment from God intended to do as all the others in Israel's history were to do...turn the nation back to Jesus. Was it written in the Bible to happen?  Possibly.  The only person who could shed that light on that question is the Spirit.  

The judgment of God is coming soon.  Any known specific prophecies needing to happen before the Rapture of the Church, which precedes the Great Tribulation have happened.  The Rapture could be at any time.  Denying God's judgment will gain nothing to anyone.  

What does this mean for you and I?  Jesus said the we are blessed if we heed the words of Jesus.  That we are found by Him to be doers of the word and not just hearers who delude themselves.  What does that have to do with the judgments of God?  In Christ we do not stand condemned who have placed our faith and trust in Christ Jesus alone for salvation.  But relying only on that in name only and not in practice, will bring about the discipline of the Lord.  You see, the nation of Israel in their good times and their bad always thought that they could do what they wanted because of their name.  

Jesus said they honor them with their lips but their hearts were far from Him.  

Would that describe your life?  That you too have come to Christ for salvation yet continue to live as you want?  Jesus said, and it's not a suggestion, to love not the world nor the things of this world.  There's never, ever, going to be a "just kidding" moment in the judgments of God that are coming. No excuses or exceptions will be accepted for how the lives of people lived their lives.  If a person did not have their name in the Lamb's book of Life, then the Lake of Fire is their destination.  Believers will give an account of their lives before Jesus...their works tested as by fire.

God doesn't judge in order to just stamp "denied" on human life.  Judgments are to turn people back to Jesus.  Read it for yourself...Jesus wants hearts turned back to Him.  

Jesus wants all of our hearts.  Jesus in no way WANTS people in Hell.  The Bible has all sorts of prophecies that have come about and all that remain will be completed.  

Does Jesus have your heart?  All of it?  Do you love things in this world, honestly, more than you do Jesus?

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Oh the Rage of Nations and People!

Oh the Rage of Nations and People!
by David Brenneman 

"Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger And terrify them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” “I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession. ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’” Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the Lord with  reverence And rejoice with trembling. Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!" Psalm 2.

It's funny, really, that news outlets think that they are reporting something new concerning the Middle East.  Think that they understand and are going to educate you on what's REALLY going on over there. 

My Dear Reader, what's happening and has always been happening with regards to Israel has been foretold in the Bible long before any of us were ever thought to be born. 

The whole inclusiveness environment that's permeating the global culture...is nothing short of people taking their stand against the word of God.  Battle lines are showing themselves ever more clearly each day.  The fears of many for generations are being realized or we see the very foundation of them happening before our eyes.  

"And he *said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy. Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying." Revelation 22:10-15.

Jesus spoke these final words to the last book of the Bible.  Jesus said and did everything that He came to accomplish and did it...would you honestly believe that He wouldn't keep His promise of returning?

People around us spiritually raise either holy hands to worship Jesus or they spiritually raise a fist at God in anger.  Somewhere in-between are some who are undecided...and those undecided are among the reasons why Jesus hasn't returned yet.  

Jesus said through Paul, that in these times in which we find ourselves: "‭‬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.

If He claimed, thousands of years before living, to live, die, arise from the dead, exactly as He said He would...you can surely guarantee He is going to return. 

Oh the rage that we see...the willingness to embrace the darkness of sin. Perverting justice. Twisted minds that are trying to even convince themselves and others that God made a mistake in creating them.  That it's on them to "correct" it through surgery and medication. The rage of world religions that seek to murder any who do come to Christ for salvation.  

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 5:20.  

We see it happening right now in our world.  People taking a stand against their Creator.  It does not matter at all if anyone says that they do not believe these words of Jesus in His Word...they will accept His rule and authority at some point in their future.  

My Dear Reader...fear not what is going on around you in this world.  Those who are in Christ are safe in Christ.  The Bible says of Jesus: “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!" in Luke 12:4-5.

Me? I find all this exciting. Should anything happen to me...my next thoughts will be had in the presence of my Savior.  I know where I am going after I die.  Do you? 

You, my Dear Friend, can know today that you are saved.  You can be secure in the hands of Jesus.  Read on...Jesus said that the message of the Gospel would be easy enough that a child could understand it.

"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.

As quickly as people rage, they do so in futility.  There's no success in all human history to be found in warring with the Creator of the Universe.  

There's no greater love to be found than in the arms of Jesus Christ. 

There's a peace to be had that's only found after you come to Christ for salvation.  Nothing in this world compares to it.

Read the rest of the book of Revelation. You think people are crazy with anger and outbursts now?  During the known judgments of God people are going to go off the charts with rage and anger in ways nobody has seen yet.  

The good news is that those who are saved in Christ will never see those days. 
Jesus is getting ready to stand up and call for those who are saved to come home. 

Will you be one of them?  

All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.