Thursday, November 30, 2023
Not My Job?
by David Brenneman
"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are." 1 Corinthians 3:1-17.
There's no such thing for several things in the lives of Christians.
There's no such thing as having 'arrived'. Nobody will see full satisfaction in this life.
There's no such thing as going it alone.
We were created to be in fruitful, beneficial, relationships in Christ.
There's no such thing as not doing something in the body of Christ. We read in 1 Corinthians 12:18 "But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired."
We have this as well "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10.
So why oh why do people who claim the name of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, why are they not living out lives as though what's central to a Christian life isn't important? Why do they treat the promptings of the Spirit with a hand held up saying 'stop' when He’s directing them towards something He has for them to do or to learn?
We are not on vacation after coming to Christ. Hardly. The journey in Christ began with our being brought back to life spiritually because of salvation in Christ Jesus. We are not receiving a "get out of Hell free" card to go do whatever we want.
We are to be living a life in full appreciation for all He's done for us.
No where in the Scriptures do we read that God is ok with our leftover time, leftover energy, leftover efforts.
No where do we read that we will get to the point where it's someone else's job.
No where do we read that it's always going to be all sunshine and rainbows.
It is repeatedly described by the writers of the New Testament that we are in training, discipleship training, that is only going to be completed upon leaving this world. We are going to face situations that are too difficult for us because our reliance should never be on self.
When you look at your life, my Dear Reader, do you look at it from His perspective? Because you should. In Christ, the Disciples, who later became the Apostles, learned to do that. They were tasked with making more disciples. The 'next generation' to follow them could never be called Apostles because that distinction was only for those directly trained by Jesus Christ. All who would follow them would be taught of the high cost of living for Jesus. The cost is high because the rewards are higher.
Do you honestly know more about various things of this world than you do about your Bible?
Do you only pray when you are in trouble? If so, you're already in trouble.
Do you pour out the blessings you have been blessed with only on yourself, with no consideration for others in the body of Christ?
Do you exercise the Spiritual body that you have?
Do you feed it as regularly, if not more so than your physical body?
Do the words we opened up with cause you to stop and consider exactly what's to be your experience with Jesus Christ when you face Him face-to-face?
The standards are high for good reason. The price was high. Jesus didn't shed His blood for less than half-hearted lives in Him. Jesus is not just your Savior, He’s your Teacher through the Spirit. He’s to be the Lord of your life. President of your heart. The only one calling the shots.
You who are in Christ have a specific, special, purpose in this here this now in human history. So many in the professing Church are oblivious to their calling. Are immersed in idolatry and don't recognize it. Are living lives of practiced sin and don't see it. Paul wrote about practiced sin in Romans. Might want to go back and read that book.
You who are in Christ Jesus are now supposed to be part of the Royal Priesthood. Do you realize the whole implications of this? We are adopted into the Holy family of God. We live in a world that has a fixation on the fantasy lives of Kings and Queens. The 'royals' as they and their families are referred to. They have protocols to follow for practically every single social situation. They are more devout in following these than most Christians are at following the teachings of the Spirit of God.
Yes, my Dear Reader, living out your salvation with fear and trembling is a very real thing. "So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to desire and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:12-13.
Why is our world in so much disarray? Could it be in preparation for the return of Jesus Christ? Certainly. Could it also be because we're not living out lives in Christ that reflect Jesus? Oh most certainly.
If we lived lives that lay aside self with its passions and desires, and took up what the Spirit teaches in respect to that, what a grand change that would be!
If we were interested in being intentional about the life we have in Christ, what a grand change that would be too.
If we...well...you get the point. Will the works of your life be fully consumed by fire or will there be any gold left for a crown to give to Jesus?
The full Christian life is your life. It's more than your job its your best chance at being your true best in impacting the world for Jesus...the President, not resident, of your heart.
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
What is Seen
by David Brenneman
"But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?" James 2:18-20.
"A good man will obtain favor from the Lord, But He will condemn a man who devises evil." Proverbs12:2.
"However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” 2 Samuel 12:14
"But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one." 1 Corinthians 2:14-15
Do you consider it well that image that is produced by the presence of your life in this world?
In James, we read about the importance of the truth that faith must be exercised. There must be works that accompany faith. We see in Proverbs 12:2 of how a person's life is ever before the Lord Jesus.
In 2 Samuel...there are possible consequences when we are intentionally pursuing that which God's Word says we should not.
When we consider the portion in to the church in Corinthians...we are to appraise life as one who is indeed saved and interested in the things of God that make for growing in Christ. Casting aside things that tear people down. There's no situation, no "humor", that's acceptable in regards to the treatment of other people that tears down someone. I really really am indignant about hating a group of people based on entertainment or sports.
A chief reason being that we're teaching the unbelieving that is acceptable in the Lord.
Paul's writing concerning causing another to stumble is applicable to this train of thought. He was ever mindful of how others would take his thoughts and actions. He said that of any such action on his part caused another to stumble, that is to hinder or stop the work of God in someone else's life, he would never do it again.
Now I get it, I understand it, concerning the off-handed words tossed around. I used to participate myself...until I was convinced by the Spirit that I wasn't helping Him in doing so. That Believer's are ever under the microscope of the unbelieving. That's what happens when light is applied to a scene or situation.
"So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell." James 3:5-6.
What are you showing the world around you? It doesn't end at words, our deeds, are also subject to examination. How are you dressed? Do you present Christ to the world or something else?
When you interact with the world...your words and actions...do they depict a life in Christ or that of someone trying to fit into the world?
The Bible rightfully calls all Believers as aliens and visitors to this world. When you visit another country, and people there will figure out what country you hail from, they will judge your country or your part of your country based on your words and actions.
What is seen by the world when the world looks at you? Do they see the hands and feet of Jesus? Do they see someone who walks their talk? Do they see someone who's separated from the world yet in the world? We're to be holy as He is holy. Holy is to be set apart. Different on purpose.
How are you really seen by those around you? As one walking with Jesus or one who only talks a good talk but isn't?
A life in Christ isn't a name badge to wear to get you club benefits all the while you continue to be as you once were.
A life in Christ is to be a transformed life. A light in the world that's a reflection of a true relationship with Jesus. Unmarred by the world's priorities.
Putting off the old self and it's practices and putting on Christ.
Proverbs 12:11 "He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who pursues worthless things lacks sense."
Are you pursuing what's of worth to God?
Are you seen as one who has been with Jesus?
The arbitrary use of the words we use like "hate", must be really considered before being uttered. Same goes for what we say about "love".
Someone might be ready to come to Christ for salvation and our potential carelessness might cause that to be delayed or harmed.
Satan's aim is the prevention of people coming to Christ for salvation. He knows full well of the prophecies of the Bible. He knows full well that there's a "last" person who will come to Christ for salvation before the events of the book of Revelation.
How we are seen in the life we've been given is very important to be considering.
No job is worth more than a soul saved.
No opportunity is worth more either.
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
by David Brenneman
It always amazes me to watch compromise happen in the lives of people right before my eyes. It possibly is seen in other's as they might be aware enough to examine my life.
Compromise and justification tend to go hand in hand. A compromise is often justified before its enacted upon.
Dr. Charles Stanley's comments on these two verses are about how we're viewed by others who meet us in life after we've come to Christ for salvation.
Would people see a different person in you? Would there be as some have compared it to, enough evidence to convict you of being a Christian?
What's the driving force in why you do do what you do do do?
Are you intentional in your actions before others? Do you justify your actions when they don't align with the example of Jesus? As we saw in Proverbs yesterday, God doesn't like that phrase "I was just joking" with regards to deceiving others.
When your life is seen do people see a conformist or a person who stands on what they believe in Jesus?
Fitting in isn't all that it's cracked up to be as far as worldly mindedness goes. If you have to compromise your obedience to Jesus in any way...my Dear Reader...the price is too high.
"and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks." Ephesians 5:4.
"You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, have him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so too are we." 2 Corinthians 10:7.
"We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ," 2 Corinthians 10:5.
Someone recently said again something that I have heard for many years. I believe it was Dr. David Jeremiah in his study on Romans 8. That Jesus is either President or the resident in our hearts. That which we feed is what grows within us.
What is getting fed within you my Friend?
You will know them by their fruits, Jesus said. He also said He is the vine, we are the branches...and that apart from Him we can do nothing.
In reading this morning, a hymn written in 1912 by James Rowe came to mind.
I was sinking deep in sin,
Far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within,
Sinking to rise no more;
But the Master of the sea
Heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me–
Now safe am I.
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.
All my heart to Him I give,
Ever to Him I'll cling,
In His blessed presence live,
Ever His praises sing.
Love so mighty and so true
Merits my soul's best songs;
Faithful, loving service, too,
To Him belongs.
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.
Souls in danger, look above,
Jesus completely saves;
He will lift you by His love
Out of the angry waves.
He's the Master of the sea,
Billows His will obey;
He your Savior wants to be–
Be saved today.
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me;
Love lifted me,
Love lifted me,
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me.
If indeed the love of Christ has lifted you...does your life show it? Would those who aren't in Christ yet see something in you that was different? At some point, if not at all times, all Christians are under the worldly microscope. Being on our best behavior is not really an option.
Just as in agriculture, all it takes is one wrong move, one wrong step, to ruin a year's worth of work. We can, through carelessness, ruin the work the Spirit is doing in others.
Is doing whatever is right in God's eyes important to you? It's going to probably alienate you from some people. It will probably draw ridicule from some. However, it might be your obedience in your walk with Jesus Christ that causes someone to take that step themselves.
Your walk with Jesus is supposed to cause others to glorify your Father in Heaven.
So what's driving you? Do people who see your social media pages see someone walking with Jesus? In your goings and coming do people see Jesus in you?
It's probably going to mean not fitting in with some circles of people.
Is living the Christian life the way the Spirit is teaching you bothering you or is it encouraging you? We cannot live a life pleasing to God by having Jesus be the resident of our hearts.
Monday, November 27, 2023
The Set Example
by David Brenneman
"As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God."
1 Peter 4:10.
"But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." Ephesians 5:3-5.
"So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “Was I not joking?”" Proverbs 26:19.
Ephesians 4:29 "Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth, but if there is any good word for edification according to the need of the moment, say that, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:16.
"but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6.
Wow...I certainly am not one to be able to find a path to the Scriptures as many men of God whom I have known can do or have been able to do.
So many people tend to not take the Word of God seriously. While there might be a time and place for humor...care must be taken to not tarnish the name of Jesus Christ to the world by our words, deeds, and actions.
We already have read of taking every thought captive in 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 and the reasons why. We are here in this life to represent Christ to a fallen world. We're not here to promote idolatry in any fashion or form. We've been chosen by God to be children of God not to participate in the deeds of darkness.
The Scriptures tell us of the horrific abilities of the tongue. Of how it can build people up or tear them down. Yet the seriousness of that teaching gets lost when it's either convenient or when society or social pressures dictate.
Growing up there was indeed the peer pressures to conform to how to treat others and it had nothing to do with Godly teaching. In as far back as elementary school children get taught how to use words to harm others and to get others to do your bidding. There's Scripture that tells us to avoid abusive speech in Ephesians 4:31 "All bitterness, and rage, and wrath, and clamor, and abusive speech, must be removed from you, together with all wickedness.".
We are to live life in Christ in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. Glorify our Father in Heaven can be read as praise our Father in Heaven.
As directed to write in other posts, so it's repeated...we justify too much in our lives to please the world around us rather than God.
Too many professing Christians are living lives that aren't much different than those in the world. You cannot tell them apart.
Which is extremely dangerous! Jesus testified that MANY will say to Him that they did many things in His name and HE will tell them to depart for He never knew them.
Do you, my Dear Reader, want to be known by the Lord Jesus Christ or be known by the world?
Are you going to be told you represented Jesus well or will you find nothing but shame on that day of review?
Course jesting...there's no place for it in Christ. Joking about hating others for any reason has no place for it in Christ. There's no joking about human lives in Christ. We are to live lives in Christ that reflect Christ. We are to speak words that edify, that lift up one another in love.
So what that the world will think us to be odd or weird. They are in darkness. They are going to. All Christians are in training to become fully devoted followers of Christ Jesus. We are to be living transformed lives. We aren't to be living conformed lives.
It's a very sore subject to me when people joke about hating other people for things as stupid as rivalries. I was subject to a lot of verbal abuse in regards to this when I was younger. As a young adult onward I have seen such verbal abuse hurt others in regards to their testimony in Christ.
When you participate in the deeds of darkness do you not realize that you are harming your own testimony in Christ?
When you justify your actions, even your purchases, to embrace idolatry, do you not think about that testimony?
Growing in Christ, because of all that He did to save us, forgiving each of us for our sins, is to be our most important priority. We're not to be conformed to the world. We're not to seek to fit in. We're aliens in this present world. The command from Jesus is firm. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20.
Learning how to be like Him and teach others to do the same.
The set example is Jesus Christ Himself.
It probably steps on toes...but when you get dressed are you promoting idolatry? Paul said that if he did anything to cause someone to stumble he would never do it again. Would anyone say that of you?
We're to live life in such a way that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven, period.
The deeds that we do in our bodies that were done in obedience to Jesus are the only valuable things that matter.
The set example is Jesus Christ.
Set your mind on things above and not on the things that are of this world. Doesn't say anything about when you get time, to consider it.
Are you living a life that shows Jesus to others or a life that lifts you up?
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.
As I heard Dr. David Jeremiah say in his study on Romans 8. Jesus is either resident or President of your heart. Which is He? You must choose who's acceptance means more. Jesus or the world.
All NASB 1995 and NASB Scripture Excerpts used by permission. (C) Lockman Foundation.
Sunday, November 26, 2023
Joyful Yet Serious
by David Brenneman
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16.
Dr. Charles Stanley's comments on verse 13 stood out to me last night. Especially when reflecting on misdirected feelings and emotions that so many people, probably including myself, have in our world today.
"The Christian life is both a joyful experience and a serious business. It takes conscious, deliberate, Spirit-filled action to ponder God's grace and Jesus' return in such a way that it positively shapes how we live."
For decades, if not centuries, we have been enticed to turn our thoughts and feelings towards things of this world that in reality belong to Christ Jesus.
We have a pandora's box of possibilities spread out before mankind unlike any other time in human history unequaled since the days of Noah.
What's been as interesting is the justification of it all. Of how we can swiftly and convincingly justify our turning life into something that isn't taught in the Bible is possible...and living with it in complete comfort.
Jesus taught something that relates to this. "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to the person through whom the stumbling block comes!" Matthew 18:7.
Would you, my Dear Reader, even ever look for stumbling blocks? Would you recognize these in your own life? Probably not. Satan's gift wrapping techniques are second to none. His abilities to convince sinful human beings to embrace little things to trip them up and to be able to live with the consequences is unparalleled.
He absolutely hates it when we indeed are aware of his schemes and teach others to be on the alert for them. Which is why so many Pastor's, these Men of God, are in battles daily to stay in the pulpit.
Most people would not recognize a stumbling block on their own unless they consider consulting someone wiser than themselves.
Sometimes, as it was with myself on at least one occasion, the Spirit pretty much slapped me upside the head to get my attention. To make me look at what was true, not what I had accepted as true. I say at least one time because when we are serious about walking with Jesus, more and more things will be shown to us to get rid of from our lives. It's on us to obey. When we dismiss those spiritual promptings we will likely be forced to live with the consequences until we do agree with the Spirit.
What are you embracing in this world that the Bible specifically speaks against that really is what God said it was? Look at the sheer volume of times and things that the New Testament tells us about idolatry. Are you taking what belongs only to God and give it to what in reality is an idol in God's eyes that you've convinced yourself isn't? Who's truth will win the day?
The Disciples were taught by Jesus concerning Spiritual life in Christ. It isn't for the faint of heart. It's serious business. It's going to produce joy unspeakable and will be full of glory for Jesus when we stand before Him to give an account of our lives.
We are taught through many letters in the New Testament to be on the alert. Well...are you?
We are taught to put off the old self and it's practices...well...do you?
We are taught to do whatever we do as unto the Lord...do you? Should Jesus Himself be sitting or standing there with you, would you still be thinking, saying, or doing whatever you are engaged in?
Are you using your time wisely for the days are evil.
We are so disconnected from the life that God desires for us by our justification of what we have kept in our lives that shouldn't be there.
We aren't going to see where or when our justification to embrace what God says is an idol will cause someone to put off coming to Christ for salvation.
Our useless outrage at things in this world could be keeping those who were ready to come to Christ from doing so...do you realize that?
Paul taught "And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble." 1 Corinthians 8:12-13
Joy may or may not be seen by us in this life while we obey and follow Him. We either cause people to come towards Christ or to walk away by our lives that are seen. We are supposed to be the light of the world.
Consider it well just what all you have embraced in this world.
Consider it well just what you may be doing that is showing the world that you aren't a fully devoted follower of Jesus.
For many who are putting Christianity under a microscope, it's all or nothing to them. They either see people being Jesus to the world or they see fakes, frauds. They see nothing that attracts them to the love of Christ when they see words and or actions that show nothing to do with Jesus.
In Proverbs there's words of warning against even doing things that are even joking around in people's lives.
Saving people is the highest priority, outside of protecting the Word of God, for the Spirit. He’s always about the Father’s business and always finds joy in those who live in Christ as they should. Is the first to celebrate those coming to Christ for salvation.
A Life in Christ Jesus is both a joyful experience and a serious business.
Saturday, November 25, 2023
Being Ready, Don't Worry
by David Brenneman
"I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5.
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8.
"At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." 2 Timothy 4:16-18.
The grouping of the Scriptures was intentional. In the first, we read of basically what the title of this blog post begins with. Being ready, a reminder to Timothy to stand firm. To suit up, putting on the whole armor of God.
The second group is that reminder that he wasn't to worry, not to trust his eyes. The Lord would be with him too. He was already told to not let people look down on him because of his youth.
That last group has to do with faith history to remember all that the Lord Jesus had done with, through and for Paul...that He would do as much, if not more, than those things for Timothy.
There's times, many if not most times, that I know not where these posts come from. I am indeed an aspiring writer, but being eloquent in writing, still isn't my forte. When I meet with God for these posts, it is in utter amazement to see what results. My hope and prayer is that through these, people come to Christ for salvation or come back to Jesus to live the life He intended for them. Speaking boldly through these writings is the work of the Spirit, this isn't of me. In person it takes quite a bit to get me to speak with boldness. Likewise Timothy was being admonished to stand firm in what he's been taught and to lean on the Lord Jesus as his strength. People would fail him, much as many had with Paul.
People probably wouldn't understand what directive that Paul was, through the Spirit, giving to him. That's ok. It's why it's ok for me as well if others don't understand concerning me. God's will for you isn't what it is for me, outside of our sanctification. We all have our own purpose in the body of Christ. We are not to shrink away or to run from it. We are to embrace it.
At first, many years ago now, it terrified me to write such spiritual things. There's a great responsibility in doing so. It was tge Spirit telling me that He would give me the words and the opportunity, it would be on me to obey.
For you, my Dear Reader, obedience is on your doorstep. Jesus IS opportunity knocking. Jesus is there in you and for you. People need to know about the love of Christ Jesus for them. Not telling them is prolonging the return of Jesus Christ.
Jesus isn't willing that any should perish but that all come to Him to be saved.
Are you being called to do something and aren't out of fear? Look again at these passages. Be encouraged by what Paul told his son in the faith. Opportunity is knocking just for you and His name is Jesus.
Is it scary? It can be. 3 people were given gifts by a certain King before a journey. All were to give an account of them upon the King's return. 2 did very well, 1 went and hid what he was given, doing nothing, and consequently bringing dishonor to the King.
As the great hymn says "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross!"
Are you going to bring honor to the name of Jesus or are you going to bring shame on yourself for running from His call for you in Christ?
Is a life of comfort and ease more important than obedience to God's will for you? Are you actually participating in deeds of darkness by justifying your idolatry in this world? The Scriptures say that we are all tempted in the same ways.
Have you been trying to keep the clothes of your old self, rather than to discard them in favor of what you have been given in Christ?
It's time to be in the world but not of the world. It's time to stand firm, regardless of what the world has to say about it.
Perhaps you are the one who will be witnessing to that last person who will accept Christ right before His return.
Be ready, don't worry. Obey.
Friday, November 24, 2023
Richest, Most Addictive Temptations
by David Brenneman
It's said that medical professionals have determined why certain cookies are as addictive as they are is that the peculiar chemical makeup impacts the same brain centers as crack does towards a person on drugs. Satan's gotten people to create such things.
The propensity for evil desires is within everyone. The ability to twist and distort reality is ever present. When something works to effectively keep either from the truth of God or keep people from living out the Word of God, Satan catalogs that and uses it on whomever is receptive.
Our world is filled with countless modern marvels. Abilities heretofore unheard-of.
What we were able to do even 20 years ago pales in comparison to what can be done today.
Over the decades Satan's convinced Believer's to embrace things that are indeed what the Bible calls practiced sin by repackaging what those sinful things are. Introducing idolatry on a scale that mankind hasn't seen since the days leading up to the Great Flood in the book of Genesis.
People laying aside Christ-like attributes in the name of competition. People justifying cutting people down in the name of entertainment. People enjoying berating and belittling others in the name of a sport. Oh its not entirely sports. People have been severely injured by just wearing the wrong costumes in the wrong place.
To read what Paul wrote, points people to being aware of the schemes of the Devil. Awareness so that you do not fall prey to those things or those ideas.
I endured much at the words of people growing up. Other children in school were not kind. Verbal warfare was constantly happening. We can really really see, if we are willing, the truth of what the Bible says about the tongue being the very center of iniquity.
"For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh." James 3:2-12.
Satan's schemes require Godly wisdom to identify and to avoid. Scripture says that if anyone lacks wisdom to ask of God who gives freely to all who ask.
We can, unfortunately, find enjoyment in hurting others by our words and our actions. That's our nature, not the new nature in Christ Jesus. That's us as sinful human beings.
Today's known as Black Friday. As some have taken to describe it, it's a day where people trample others to gain things the day after they are thankful for what they've been given by God.
Our world is filled with candy coated, sugar drenched, "Oreo" cookie laced, temptations that are meant not only to be addictive, but are made to escalate and get worse. We can, in this very moment, talk to a handheld device and do a thousand times more damaging things to our hearts and minds than were possible 20 years ago. We can use powerful technology for good or evil based solely on the desire of the person wielding it.
We are warned in the Bible yet people are so drawn in, so given to the addiction, that they can't see how it's a problem.
When the Spirit says to put on Christ, do you really think it's like clothing to take off later on when life doesn't seem so difficult? When we are told to lay aside the old self and its practices, do you not realize that it's a moment by moment danger? We read of taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus. Do you not realize that wasn't given as a suggestion for your downtime moments?
If you took that as seriously as the Spirit intended you to, would you have still embarked on that train of course jesting you did in the name of "fun"? Would you still have verbally abused another because of entertainment?
My Dear Reader, do you not realize that every careless word we will give an account of? Do you really want to keep adding to your personal shame on that day?
Consider well what the Spirit teaches concerning the characteristics of Jesus Christ. Are the fruits of self more evident in your life than the fruits of the Spirit?
When words come forth from your mouth, would people be edified according to the need of the moment, giving grace to those who hear?
We must choose who will be followed. Either the Spirit or the world.
Thursday, November 23, 2023
Who Gets Your Happy?
by David Brenneman
Something or someone will get your happiness. You will decide who's worthy.
The big question is how much, if any, does Jesus get?
Satan has for so long come up with ever more subtle ways to draw what ought to be what goes to Jesus and gets people to place it elsewhere.
Our sin nature really knows no bounds.
Consider it well just how many times that the Lord cut short the lives of people because of the intensity of the evil present within them. He saw their beginning from their end just as He knows yours. He saw that they wouldn't ever come to Christ for salvation. Saw that they would either draw themselves or many others from the plan of God for mankind.
On many occasions I have heard people say in interviews that someone left this world too soon. Most people want to use their wisdom to question the wisdom of God. To refute what He has decided.
Today's decade of people is attempting, and sadly successfully so, to redefine what God's Word says is sin AND sin's consequences. Giving a perception that indeed what is evil isn't so bad. That things done in jest aren't so bad, aren't so sinful.
Truth is the Spirit teaches the same yesterday, today and forever.
Truth is Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Truth is that no matter how someone or something appears to bring happiness at the cost of grieving the Spirit, it's not beneficial or good for those growing in Christ.
And indeed when we embrace with joy those things that do not give rise to growing in Christ, we only hurt ourselves and the people that the Spirit has put in our paths.
"I am not serious! I was only joking!" Oh, my Dear Reader, on many occasions, after such things were done to me, I was not laughing. I wasn't at all joyful. Was not at all joining in with them in their definition of fun times. The test of time shows yet the pain of such things.
The Bible teaches us not to participate in such things.
All it takes to harm a growing plant is one single wrong move. A single incident can cause months, if not years, of attempting to repair itself.
Paul wrote of us needing to encourage one another all the more as we see the day of Christ drawing near. To lift one another up. To make disciples in the name of Jesus Christ. Putting off the old self and its practices. Putting on the new self, putting on the whole armor of God.
We will give our joy, our happiness, to things and people to whom it is misplaced. Most that I have encountered in my travels do not see the harm in trash talk. Calling it harmless fun. Calling it something other than harming another.
I am very thankful for those who chose to go the other way with regards to how they treated me. Those who chose to get to know me rather than not.
I am very great for the people who became friends by actually trying to get to know me rather than thinking the risk wasn't worth it.
In my life I have had lessons where God's shown me of my misplaced joy. Of various things or groups of people whom were placed higher on the shelf, put on the center stage of my heart.
Question any and every single decision in your life when you at all begin to think about how to downgrade the consequences, of how you can justify.
We who are in Christ are supposed to reflect Christ. He is the light of the world.
Our happiness is going to either go towards what is God honoring or its going to go towards something or someone who isn't.
We will either obtain harmful scars from our decisions or will build up endurance to withstand greater attempts to dethrone Jesus in our hearts.
Satan's schemes are to get people to willingly dethrone Jesus with us. Trying to make the things of this world look so juicy and good that what Jesus offers looks so much worse.
Robbing people of joy in the name of anything isn't honoring God. Several times in the book of Proverbs its written of the harm in saying "I was just joking!"
It's incredibly difficult to be thankful towards people when they've made decisions that took away other people's joy.
This Thanksgiving, examine your choices. Be sure that you're walking with Jesus as the Spirit has directed. That we're uplifting others. That we're encouraging them all the more as we see the day drawing near.
Many questions are rhetorically asked in regards to decisions in the Bible.
Growing in Christ means letting go of the things of this world. It means to embrace what Jesus would embrace. It means looking for the things of God that the Spirit is wanting and waiting to teach you.
Temptation abounds in our world.
Don't let it rob you of true joy in Christ.
Wednesday, November 22, 2023
Where are you walking?
by David Brenneman
We all walk a path in life...where are you going?
"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come." 2 Corinthians 5:17. Is this a reflection of your life? That something new is at work in and through you? That, from the outside looking in, it would be said of you that you're walking with Jesus?
Do you see this in yourself that the Spirit is directing your paths? Proverbs 3:5-6 "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." Or "Man’s steps are ordained by the Lord,How then can man understand his way?" Proverbs 20:24?
Is this also evident in your life? "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them." Ephesians 2:10.
Rooted and built up. Established is perhaps a stronger, better, way to state that.
In our first year in our new-to-us home, we had 2 very tall pine trees. After a professional evaluation, it was determined to have them removed because the roots were too shallow. The right kind of storm and they would come down, perhaps into our property, perhaps into one of our vehicles or the house. As to a way to say it, while the outward appearance was vibrant growth, these were not walking in the ways of the Earth to be long-lasting trees.
People who are left behind often reflect on the lives of those who were recently deceased, trying to find fitting words to convey how special these people were to family and friends. My life, as it is, if so described, I would want people to know that it was evident that I loved Jesus and wanted others to come to Him for salvation too. Nothing else of my life is as valuable as that to me.
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.
Would people say they saw you trusting and obeying Jesus? Would they say that you pointed people to Jesus?
I really do not want people describing me as loving anything in this world. Because I do not love any of my possessions. Nor have I loved any of the places that I have worked.
We are either walking with Jesus or we are not. We are to be following Jesus, not to be the ones directing His paths. Disciples are followers, not the ones telling the Master how it is or how it will be.
Would you take a look at your priorities? Do you engage in things, go places, do life, in ways that are not that of a follower of Jesus Christ? Do you justify trash talking others? Do you persist in going a way that will not be God honoring in the end? Does the work of your hands build you up and not others in the faith?
Rooted and established. Jesus said He is the vine and we are the branches. That if we indeed abide in Him we will bear much fruit. That apart from Him we can do nothing. This is to say that what we would be doing apart from the will of God would be worthless, a waste of time and resources. We, in essence, be hearers of the word and not doers of it.
Is finding out what God wants for you important to you? Are you reading His words to you? Are you talking to Him as one would respectfully talk to your Teacher? In any classroom setting that I have ever been in, to disrespect the teacher would never go well for the offender.
If we truly mean "your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" wouldn't it be seen in your life?
Take a good look at your priorities.
Take a listen to yourself as you speak to yourself and others.
Take a look at even 24 hours of your life. Who got those minutes? Were they spent wisely as the man who built his house upon the rock? Were they spent as the other guy, on the sand?
Are you really honoring your Teacher or making sure the honor goes to you?
What we do for Jesus is what will survive that trial by fire. Everything else will be counted as a waste.
It's not too late. Start today with a new commitment to being the follower of Jesus Christ that you ought to be. Be prepared to let go of the things that will not bear righteous fruit in your life. If you are truly giving your life to live in Christ to Him alone, there will be things, habits, and other things to let go of.
Trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus...but to trust and obey.
Tuesday, November 21, 2023
by David Brenneman
In our certainly "look at me, identify me as I want to see me" culture, so many millions of people are going to be rudely awakened when they stand before Jesus someday.
We yet still live with the same kind of people who lived both 2,000 years ago, let alone those who lived before the Great Flood written about in the book of Genesis. People do not change as much as people would like to be known as having changed. A sin nature today is no greater or less than a sin nature that came from Adam and Eve. Sin is sin.
Just as true is that Jesus is the same in the here and now as Jesus was before all creation came about. He will be the same throughout eternity.
The sin nature has pride as its mantra. It's not too difficult to look down on the more visible attributes in humanity and call those things evil. Truth is every single person who has ever lived has the very same potential for the most horrific forms of evil both seen and imagined. Sin is what kept Jesus on the cross, its necessity of being dealt with held Him there.
The point of view of people doesn't matter in the light of the truth of God. Our opinions do not matter in the courts of the Most High God.
Many people, when reading the Bible, overlook so much when Jesus does so much in the absence of speaking.
People will most likely not give way to silence when Jesus acts in His divine judgment. Yet their outcome will remain the same. What Jesus says or does not say will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. When, not if, He separates humanity, it will be a permanent separation. No one will successfully dispute what Jesus's judgment means.
In our lives we have so much before us that's to magnify self. To get self to be recognizing, magnified about others.
When self is made higher something or someone else must decrease or be made lower.
To read what the Bible tells us, and to live it, is what raises people up in the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
Yesterday I obtained another certification. Yet that piece of paper does not define me in the eyes of God. None of my other certifications do. None of my diplomas do. Had I went for a degree, that would not.
My identity is found solely in Christ Jesus.
While once I was lost, now, I am found. Was blind but now I see. I was dead but now I live because of what my Savior did for me.
Demons are no joke. They exist in our world today the same as when Adam and Eve sinned the very first sin. They have become very crafty over the centuries.
It's taken thousands of years to duplicate what took place before the Tower of Babel...but it's here today. Pretty much all languages are easily cross-translated. Essentially back to a unified potential. Software is able to hear anyone's spoken word and translate it audibly.
What we're experiencing is not what the world's news outlets tell everyone. We are experiencing the preparation for the return of Jesus. Jesus told the world what to look for before He comes...have you ever considered looking for those things?
Jesus surely defeated Satan at the cross but history as written in the Bible must be carried out.
To watch in movies of reenactments of world history in which people are dispassionately separated into groups. One group to be released the other to certain death. Both sides crying out to the other and nothing being able to bring them back together again.
Fast forward to the day Jesus separates those who are His from those who are not. His judgment isn't cold or heartless. It's part of the cost of rejecting Him as being Lord and Savior, of saying no to His free gift of salvation. That cost is extremely high...for it was paid for with His own blood.
Some may think that Christians who take the Bible seriously are missing out on life. On the contrary, they are finding what true life is about. It's not found in self. It's found not in possessions or entertainment. It's found only in a life lived for Jesus. The Author and the Perfector of our faith.
The world would have people believe that to be a Christian means losing out, when in reality, they lose out on a truly lived life.
Being a sinner, saved by God's grace and mercy, means more as the basis of a lived life than anything anyone has ever achieved. When we really consider how all that is not done for Christ will be burned up and be thrown to the wind...what manner of man or woman of God ought we to be?
Jesus has defined what living life is about. Jesus has stated that there is a coming Judgment day. Jesus has made the only possible way to be saved from that judgment available to all.
Live your days in light of eternity viewed from God's perspective. Make your life count.
Monday, November 20, 2023
Sometimes the Need is Deeper
by David Brenneman
Some mornings life just feels extra heavy.
Some days life just feels like the burden of caring for self and others is more than we know how to handle.
This is why it's key, why it's essential, why it's necessary, to be in your Bible daily. Getting the reminders from God, through what's been written, to get us through these times.
Was sitting here last night skimming through my Daily Journal. Looking back at all the turmoil that surrounded our moving here. The times of despair and disappointment. The times when God still showed up exactly on time, regardless of what we thought in the moment.
We moved not at the height of the pandemic but it had an impact on our obtaining help to move. We were pushed to new limits we knew not we could achieve.
Even after moving, the struggles still are there, just not to those extremes. Building relationships is oh so much more difficult than fixing up the new-to-us house that's now our home.
People we now meet we're just beginning to hopefully get to know. Nobody realizes how much they take relationships for granted. A simple phone call goes much farther than they realize.
In everything we're learning of the truth that people are still dealing with the fallout of the pandemic in some respects. In other ways we're learning that our expectations might be more than they ought to be. That, over time, some people mean much more to us than we evidently now mean to them. It happens. It's not at all pleasant or joyful. It honestly is sad and potentially depressing.
But THE One who's proved to be steadfast is my Savior. It matters not, really, who cuts short a phone call or won't stay around to talk. My Savior never has left me at any point in time.
Faith history is far more important in the area of relationships than the feelings and emotions that accompany them.
People will disappoint, Jesus never will.
People can have tunnel vision and not see what their actions are doing to others. Jesus always has me on His mind.
While there's days of sadness and honestly grief, He’s sitting or standing right here with me. Same goes for all who call Him their Savior.
People were made for relationships. Primarily with Jesus Christ, second to each other. Satan has crafted temptations to destroy relationships, most just aren't aware of how his schemes work.
There were many times on my constant trips between Columbus and here when the tears flowed. Sometimes they still do.
Jesus makes it very evident that His arms are around me.
Whatever you do, do not take the gift of relationships that God's given you for granted. If you're given the opportunity to be in someone else's life, realize that is a gift to you by Jesus. Realize what it does to others when you aren't in the moment with them when they reach out to you. It's something that the Spirit has been working on me with realizing in myself.
If you make a commitment to call someone. Keep it.
If you're on the phone, remove distractions.
If they are in front of you, give them your full attention.
Jesus keeps every single appointment He makes. Every day, to everyone.
Our battles only appear overwhelming to us. Never to Jesus.
Our perception is not always what it appears to be. We allow so many distractions to dictate our actions. Someone stops by and we cut off someone else without realizing it.
People are in our lives because in this here this now we have our part in the business of the Father to complete. It's not about possessions or personal happiness coming first. Many people don't realize how little selfishness is required to mess up a relationship. As someone once said a small stone, aptly placed, will change the course of a mighty river.
Take care of the people that God's put in your life. Either by personal actions or by prayer. The Spirit works in the lives of every single person either pointing them towards salvation or towards growth in Christ. Relationships are the catalyst.
We will give an account of our lives before Jesus. Not about anything but what we did in our lives for Christ. How we were Jesus to those around us.
Consider your responses to the relationships that the Spirit has you involved with. If it's that important to God, it should be that important to you.
Sunday, November 19, 2023
No Fooling God...
by David Brenneman
These words describe the culture of forced acceptance in our world. Many places have inscribed these concepts into law in order to enforce their point of calling what is evil as good and good as evil.
There is no fooling God.
There will be none who have physically or psychologically altered themselves who will not stand before Jesus just as they were born. All lies and falsehoods will be stripped away before Him who identifies as Truth.
We live in a time where people have no idea how well they have been immersed in deception.
While creativity isn't one of Satan's stronger suites...getting sin cursed people to further sinful activities and ever more evil ways is one of his attributes.
It's amazing how little Believer's are taught the true art of Spiritual War. What it really entails, how deep behind enemy lines they are.
It's not a saying for a different time when Paul wrote "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints, and pray in my behalf, that speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak." Ephesians 6:12-20.
Or when he wrote "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 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, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete." 2 Corinthians 10:3-6.
We walk among so many disillusioned people. Every facet of human life today is impacted by Satan's schemes. From food provision to medical to especially psychological.
So what's to be done? "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 3:16-17.
Training is what. Spirit lead training. As He teaches us all things, we must be recognizing what the lessons are. That there indeed are lessons to be had. That we're not on a perpetual summer vacation after coming to Christ for salvation. That the stakes are high. Human life is at stake.
We are to be destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of the truth of God.
Satan's wanting people to run from it in order to gain ground.
The temptation is to flee, the battle belongs to the Lord, so fleeing is not what we should be doing if we're indeed called to something in Christ. If God leads you to something He will lead you through that thing. As Dr. Charles Stanley taught, obey God and leave the consequences to Him.
The battlefield is within one's mind first and foremost. The world is the other.
Being in God's word daily is imperative.
Success isn't how the world defines it.
Joshua 1:8 "This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success."
What are you doing in regards to seeking truth found only in Christ Jesus? Are you really fooling yourself in what you pursue in your life? Are the things you are running after honoring God or you?
Scripture says that He searches the hearts...He knows what you have been deceived by and what you haven't.
Be bold enough to ask the Spirit to show you what needs to happen in your life rather than what you only think that you want.
"We reap what we sow more than we sow and much later than we sow." Dr. Charles Stanley.
Saturday, November 18, 2023
Do You give up? Or Do you persist?
by David Brenneman
"But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me." Micah 7:7.
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." James 1:5-8.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8
"Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. A prayer of a righteous person, when it is brought about, can accomplish much." James 5:16.
Persistence is something that Jesus spoke of to His Disciples..."But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." Matthew 17:21.
Do we give up so easily? Are we at all learning persistence? We are indeed to be persistent...that's the lesson of the point in James 5:16. Persistent in what it is that the Spirit has put on your heart is worth fighting for on your knees.
We are often a people who like to split hairs in order to gain an advantage. Rewording contracts, obligations, and conversations in order to not be at the apparent wrong end of the stick.
Our specific call of the Spirit of God for our lives is going to be fraught with dangers. Let's get that out of the way right now. Jesus said that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will suffer. Persecutions will arise, but so does the power of Christ to combat it.
Soldiers who graduate boot camp are operating at a wholly different level than the green recruits coming in. The difference is persistence. Being taught what is necessary for the battles to come in order to survive and move forward.
His workmanship can be truly seen as His training...in righteousness. His schedule for your boot camp training is going to begin at one level and will progress to more complex endeavors. We read this in the conversations we read in the New Testament about eating. People still on soft foods vs those in the faith eating hearty meats Spiritually.
If indeed we're serious about living a life submitted to Jesus, we're going to need persistence. We're going to need to keep finding the strength to keep getting back up again and moving forward. Taking the hits and keep moving forward. Persistence.
We must couple that with the belief that He's there with us and has our best in mind for us. That His specific will for us will come about much easier through our obedience rather than our fighting the progress that He's trying to achieve in us.
We may not understand the why's...Job didn't. Daniel only partially did. Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel...take your pick...they never really understood a lot but obeyed anyway.
When we cross paths with others it's by no means a coincidence. They, just like us, were born in this here this now for the express purpose of being the most desired conditions for the seeds of salvation to take firm root in them.
It's not at all about prosperity or anything else. It's not about recognition. The only truly worthwhile recognition is to come to the Believer from Jesus on the day we give an account of our lives before Him.
Prayer must never be wishy-washy. Prayer must not be haphazard. Must not be anything less than our best efforts. Just like our Bible reading. That too must be our best efforts. It's on the final exam. Those are things that we will give an account about.
Take time today to determine your persistence level. Find out from the Spirit if you're being seen as giving your all.
There's a significant difference between a no from God and a person who gives up too easily.
We don't like to think about the depths of the dirty deeds of Satan in this world. Persistence in prayer is as valuable to the Believer as a rifle is to a soldier.
Demons are very active around everyone. Satan can only be in one place at one time. Our sin nature does more to derail us than demons. Demon possessed people are around us. 2,000 plus years ago those people could recognize that. We don't much today because it's not being taught.
Jesus is coming back some day...will you shrink back from His appearing because of how lazy you were in the faith or will you run to Him?
You can change that outcome today...with persistence.
Friday, November 17, 2023
The way of People
by David Brenneman
"The wicked earns deceptive wages, But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward. He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life, And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death. The perverse in heart are an abomination to the Lord, But the blameless in their walk are His delight. Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered." Proverbs 11:18-21
Proverbs 26:4-5 "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes. The self-confident fool thinks too highly of himself and his opinions, and he shares them freely."
The guide to living life isn't going to change. Jesus is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Jesus said that not one tiny part of the Word of God would pass away unfulfilled.
In a world of edits and rewrites, re-imagined works, of rebooted television shows and movies...there are none concerning the Word of God.
We can never go about living a successful life by picking and choosing what parts of the Bible are to be followed and what parts to toss.
We will never approach God and have Him ready to accept our critiquing His Word to make it more appealing to ourselves or the masses.
We indeed are told to guard our hearts. Says so right there in Proverbs 4:23.
When living this life...we need guidance, instruction, from the Author of life.
It's not for us to make this world into our own image either.
The treasure stored up in Heaven isn't anything material...it's people. Those who have freely received the gospel message and have Jesus Christ as their Savior.
The Disciples example of living in 4 Gospels is our example for life. What Jesus said and did was their example to learn and to duplicate.
They weren't taught how to get rich quick.
They weren't taught how to accumulate money or possessions.
They weren't taught how to mindlessly indulge in things of this world.
We do indeed move among all kinds of people. What's interesting is how well it's been lost that people who are Christians do not question those around them. Do not recognize those who are probably demon possessed. 2,000 plus years ago those kinds of people were recognized. We have been trained by this world, from a very young age, to accept whatever the world tells us to accept. To raise up as truth whatever the world defines as true. To condemn whatever the concensus of the world says should be condemned. Writing laws to that effect. Attempting to nullify the Word of God in the process.
Someone once said that all it takes for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.
Powerful people in powerful positions only think they have the upper hand...yet another self-deception. The Bible speaks to this...it is the Lord Jesus Christ who sets up rulers and removes them.
Those who think that their evil ways are good and who think that they have shown God who's in control...are only fooling themselves.
Those who have gone through drastic measures to alter their bodies will find, upon death, that it was for nothing. They cannot change the spirit that God created them to be.
The perversions of our society are not what's right and true. The Bible says to beware of those who call good as evil and evil as good.
In the Spiritual battles in which we find ourselves, there is no place for the soldier's of the Cross to stick their heads in the sand. There are no conscientious objectors in the Spiritual forces of God.
There are no parts of the body of Christ who serve no purpose. Things in a healthy human body all have a specific purpose. Things in a body or on a body that aren't supposed to be there for the good of the body...are cancerous. They are there to attack and destroy.
The smug of heart who raise a fist at God...will one day kneel before Jesus and confess that He is Lord.
Willingly or unwillingly all will be doing this. No excuses or exceptions...even Satan will comply.
We live in a world of crafted excuses. A world that loves to find loopholes and exceptions to enjoy sinful activities. To see how close to the line that is sin that we can get without crossing over.
The Bible teaches us to flee worldly temptations...not to try to dance with them.
If you breathed your last, what would your legacy be? Would people only speak about your hobbies, worldly interests, exploits, places lived...would there be more said of that kind of thing rather than a message to the world that sin is real, and Jesus saved you? That your relationship with Jesus meant more to you than anything? That your dying wish is that others would find that salvation too?
Nothing physical goes with anyone to the next life. Nothing.
We will only be known for the deeds done in our bodies. For those who are saved there's no chance at condemnation before Jesus. Because we have His righteousness. Those who aren't have their own...and there's absolutely no comparison.
Love God with our everything and love people. Regardless of how agonizing it might be.
I am learning how to live life in new ways because of how agonizing it is working with some people who are most likely demon possessed, having twisted minds, seared consciences. Yet they are still alive not at all interested in the mercy of God. That their life is condemning them before a Holy God. Jesus still died for such as these.
The Father’s business was in reaching people for salvation in Christ Jesus alone.
The going therefore to make disciples is the Father’s business.
The study of the Word of God teaches us how to do that.
Embracing the compromises of the world will never bring about the righteous life that God desires. We read in the Bible many times to be on the alert. You cannot be on the alert for something unless you are educated on what to be on the alert about.
My God has fixed a day in which He will judge the world. We have a very limited time on this Earth. We have much to learn in Christ and our world does not want us learning about it.
What are you intentional about in Christ Jesus?
What are you doing to further the Gospel?
What are you doing to be seen as Jesus wants you to be seen as in this world?
The only retirement plan in the Bible is death. It isn't 65 and out. There's no passage in the Bible saying it's someone else's job.
There's what you were given to be doing by the Spirit in the body of Christ. Loving God, loving people.
Would you be told "Well done!" by Jesus or asked "What were you thinking?".
While you are still breathing there's hope to start doing what you're placed in the body of Christ to be doing.
As Dr. Charles Stanley taught "obey God and leave the consequences to Him."
Start questioning and asking the Spirit to point out those things, those areas of your life where you have compromised. Be who you were meant to be in Christ. We live in a fallen world that's in opposition to the Word of God. Expect difficulties. Jesus told us that too.
We are not alone, pray at all times.
Recognize the importance of living right before Jesus rather than not offending others. You live fully for Jesus, you are GOING to offend others. Jesus said that they hated Him, they will hate us too. He also said to fear not that He has overcome the world.
Thursday, November 16, 2023
God Doesn't Want Your Pronouns
by David Brenneman
Many people with seared minds, seared consciences, are pushing their views of right and wrong on the rest of the world. Many of those likely could be described as being demon possessed. There's not too much difference between the Biblical examples of such people and those in our world today.
When people stand before Jesus on that coming Judgment day...most will try to point to their self definition rather than at all what the Bible said concerning themselves.
Even on that day there will be many many people who will be in denial about where they are and why the judgment of Jesus is against them.
The only way to be in that book of Life is because of Jesus. It's not on our merits that we are saved, but His. It's not on our jobs, our families, our friends, that anyone's names are written in the Lamb's book of Life. The thief on the cross...was certainly the prime example of one who did absolutely nothing for God and yet his belief in who and what Jesus is...brought him to Paradise with Jesus that day.
Pronouns used today point people to themselves. Being known as a Christ-follower is far more important to me than any job title, any description, anyone has ever or will ever give me.
Job titles do not impress me. I have, in my 30 or so years in the workforce, seen many people with titles who weren't stellar examples of humanity. I have known people who were indeed living out those adjectives of saved, redeemed, forgiven, justified, born-again. I have known some people who certainly put pronouns as what they demand others refer to them as.
What do you describe yourself as? What Jesus describes you as is the basis of where you will spend eternity. Jesus will separate all people's of every nationality of every age of humanity. Note it well that He will not provide a questionnaire before doing so. Jesus will separate those who received His free gift of salvation from those who did not. Scripture says that He searches the hearts of mankind. He has no reason for anyone to question Him about anything.
What's most notable is in His division of mankind on that day is the absolute authority to do so. The absolute acceptance of His judgment concerning who is to stand where. Personal opinions, personal feelings, will not matter. He is the Judge. All judgment has been given to him by the Father. His court, His rules.
Really think about that context.
We're talking trillions and trillions and trillions of people who will be separated by Jesus on the sole basis of acceptance or rejection of salvation.
Families will be separated.
Friends will be separated.
Cries will be heard from both sides of the aisle.
People who only thought they were saved, but had no fruit, no proof of a changed heart and mind, will find themselves in extreme shock and disbelief at not standing with the other Believers.
People who were saved but hadn't realized it will be standing with the rest who are sealed in the Spirit.
Pronouns mean nothing to the one who searches the hearts. Our self description will have zero impact on our eternal destination.
Receiving Christ Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior is what you are, not what you become. He did all the work. He became that perfect sacrifice required to remove sin. He did it all. In Christ we become a new creation. The old is passed away, behold the new has come. We were as good as dead in our trespasses and sins, made alive in Christ Jesus. That's what the Bible says.
The Bible goes on to say that the Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.
Without that testimony from the Spirit, people will not escape the judgment to come.
All supposed truths of mankind will be swept away that do not align with the truth of God. Redefining ourselves, surgeries to back that up, chemicals used, will never change what we were created to be by God. Our insistence on descriptors to reinforce what God has said in His Word are definitions of sin, will change nothing when we face a Holy God one day.
All will face Jesus just as they were conceived as.
Are you saved, redeemed, delivered, rescued, forgiven, justified, born-again and sanctified?
Anything else is a waste of everything we were born to be.
Jesus went through unimaginable pain and suffering to pay the price that no one else in human history ever could pay. He did it in obedience to His Father's will and desire that none would perish but that all would come to Christ for salvation. God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit all do not want any to be sent to Hell now nor the future Lake of Fire. But sin must be dealt with, must be addressed. Only in coming to Christ are sins forgiven and washed away.
Where do you think that you stand?
You are either saved in Christ Jesus or you are not. It doesn't matter what you personally feel is right or wrong. What God has said is truth was true, is true and always will be true.
Jesus is at the door of oh so many people's hearts asking to come in.