Saturday, April 13, 2024

Set Apart

Set Apart 
by David Brenneman 

‭"Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine." Leviticus 20:26.
It's a very big deal to the Father. Have you ever considered that?

Have you ever considered that the only things that you can take with you when you die are what you've done with, to, and for others?

Most might have heard an old phrase "your reputation precedes you".

Throughout His ministry here on Earth...Jesus's reputation preceded Him. Yet after every encounter with people...He got away to pray and be with His Father. 

Daily cleansing isn't just for the pores of your skin. Daily cleansing from life is a requirement in Spiritual growth and your Spiritual well-being. 

My interactions with people are very limited. Even though many think otherwise. I get tunnel vision when I work on practically everything that I do. Personal interaction clouds my thoughts so I really don't engage much in small talk while working. What's more is that I hold Colossians 3:24-34 as a standard.  

It's not in this aspect of my life where I feel set apart...it's in this aspect right here that I do. In my doing my part in showing up when and where Jesus wants to meet me, then we write.  

Some have tried to point to things that I have done that they referred to as my legacy. I really didn't consider those things as that. I highly doubt that should a day come where an obituary of me would be written that those things would be mentioned.

In your life there will be something that sets you apart in the work of God in your world for the kingdom of God. Everyone who is in the body of Christ is specifically set in that position by the Spirit of God. The Bible tells us that. This means that all who are in Christ Jesus are set apart for the work of service to God.

The Church of Jesus Christ is to be active, not as inactive as a couch potato. We're not to bash people over the head with the Bible but rather do as the Bible says...let your light so shine before men in such a way that people see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. 

We're in such a sensory saturated world. Trying to take the thoughts, feelings and emotions that belong to Christ Jesus and disburse them to people or events that do not matter in light of knowing Jesus.

Do you commit your way to the Lord? Hmm?

Do you set aside time before your day and before it ends to be with Jesus in some way? If you are in Christ isn't whatever is important to Jesus important to you?

Jesus was very intentional on setting the perfect example for His Disciples. We see the results in the lives of the Apostles. We see it handed down to the first Elders. The first Deacons and Deaconesses. We see it in the first Pastor. All written in the New Testament for our instruction. 

The next thing that we learn...is that there are no insignificant parts of the body of Christ. We are set apart from the world to serve our risen Savior, Jesus Christ, and regardless of what our role size might appear to be...it's significant in the eyes of God the Father and God the Son and God the Spirit. 

Some are living lives in Christ in such discomfort and pain. This does not mean you aren't able to fulfill your ministry in Christ. Continue in prayer until your heart and mind understand what it is you are to be doing. 

Jesus never moved on to any new city or place until He got word from His Father. Jesus always did what was pleasing to His Father.  

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.

A group called Casting Crowns had a song a few years back that has a very significant line in the lyrics. "I will praise you in the storm...". 

Regardless of what we face...we need to have the mind of Christ. Praising God in our struggles sets us very much apart from the world. 

If indeed you are saved...you are set apart for the work of God in Christ Jesus. That's what matters and what gived significance to your life. 

Find out when Jesus wants to meet with you and show up. Downsize your time spent on fruitless endeavors. Be intentional on being the holy, set apart, person you are to be as unto the Lord Jesus Christ. 

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

Friday, April 12, 2024

You Cannot Serve Both

You Cannot Serve Both
by David Brenneman 

‭"Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1 Corinthians 10:31.
‭"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality." Colossians 3:23-25.
"Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. 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 3:1-12.

Are the commands of God cumbersome? Are they not for our benefit, even if we do not understand them as yet?

In Proverbs do we not also read about the profit of the discipline that comes from Jesus?

Our world is certainly the perfection of fence riding. Of teaching people from their youth on up that it's ok, it's beneficial even, to live for yourself and to balance that against what anyone else wants including God. That 50-50 is ok.  

In Christ there's a significant challenge to that. In Christ we're to deny ourselves taking up our own cross and following Jesus. There's no fence to stand on, lean on, or sit on.  

My Dear Reader...Satan's the owner of that fence. Vain and empty philosophy is only rooted in the wiles of the Devil.  

Satan's schemes include the belief that this or that desire isn't really sin because it's not hurting anyone. 

Satan's schemes include the belief that sensual desires aren't necessarily bad if you find yourself enjoying it and that's all that matters. 

Satan's schemes involve compromise on every level of intensity.  

We cannot live a life that exemplifies the so-called best of the world and a life that's fully devoted to Christ. A life lived in pursuit of worldly gains rather than a life pursuing whatever the Spirit wants gets you nowhere. 

People today...it's mind boggling to see...do not understand what idolatry is. They only have a cursory knowledge of adultery. They dismiss the true effects of cursing.  

Such has happened so often that the scars have formed an an insensitivity to the things of God has occurred.

‭"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them." Romans 1:18-19.

A severe irony is we live in a society of purported fact checkers. People and artificial intelligence programs that supposedly seek out false narratives, false news stories.  

"For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." Romans 1:25.

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15.

Are you living a diligent life in Christ? Are you absolutely sure?

Are you holding onto things that God's word has defined as idolatry, or other sinful practices?

Are you at all walking in the Spirit?

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh." Galatians 5:16.

Are your desires in agreement with the desire of God for you?  

Right about now is when most minds cry our with "where's the fun in that?!".  

We're not too keen on the truth of God's word when we're not realizing that we're at war. We're not too keen on the truth that we have an enemy when we come to Christ for salvation. We're not too keen on the truth that our sin nature is on the side of our enemy. We have that sin nature until God calls us home or the Rapture of the Church happens. 

We're not too keen on really believing that God's truth in His Word is absolute truth. It's not to be bent to fit our personality or personal desires. 

We cannot live a life that has both pure water and filthy water coming from the same vessel and be glorifying God in the process. 

Take inventory of your life. 
Take inventory of your so-called successes.
Take inventory of what you hold dear to you.

Take inventory of where you really are in life with Jesus.

We're to live lives that cause others to see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. We're to live lives that are a testimony to the greatness of our God.  

The great revivals of the past came about solely because the Spirit moved people to the point of self examination and facing the truth about themselves and their relationship with Jesus.  

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


Thursday, April 11, 2024

Scripture with Scripture

Scripture with Scripture 
by David Brenneman 

I was reading in Daniel this morning, both Chapters 9 and 10, and my Bible reading plan took me to Luke 4:1-15. What's amazing to me is that Daniel makes mention of the Messiah's arrival and in that very passage in Luke...Jesus arrives after the temptations of Satan to really begin His ministry.

My Dear Reader...this is but a single example...many many more exist that support the validity of the truth that Jesus Christ is that Messiah. What's more...look for yourself...look specifically and ask the Spirit to open your eyes. Jesus Himself, after the resurrection, had a moment with some Disciples to open their minds to learn from Moses til then of Himself in the Scriptures.  

While tools such as apps, study guides, books, exist...please do not place them as equals to your Bible. Flavors of Bibles exist from various people. Be wary of some of these because just because their notes are in them it doesn't make them the Gospel.  

The absolute best example was what is written of the Berean Church. Paul or others might teach something, but, they would always go to the Scriptures to see if they were so.

Now, I highly doubt that they would simply go on their own interpretation of the Scriptures. Prayer and seeking the guidance of the Spirit have to be integral to learning concerning the Bible. Jesus said that He, the Spirit, would teach them all things. He didn't say that the Spirit and a list of as yet unlisted people would teach them all things. 

The unfortunate truth is many many people are going to be ashamed to learn the hard truth of their lives concerning what they have stood on all their lives. That they were mislead to believe things that were not of God. Jesus Himself said that there will be people such as this whom He will say to depart from Me for I never knew you. 

A profound fact is that Satan is a believer in God. A second profound fact is that Satan knows the Scriptures front to back. None of these facts or any others that define Satan or his minions...makes them saved individuals.  

You can believe in the authority of Jesus Christ and yet not be saved.  

Paul wrote an admonition to be sure of your salvation. We also read the instruction to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. Set your mind on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world.  

Yesterday we looked at Titus.  

Worldly desires aren't just sensual pleasures...it's vain philosophies. It's the truth that a single properly placed pebble can alter the course of a river.  

False teachers abound in our world today. Streaming content floods the internet on this topic.  

What's made matters worse is that while electronic media versions of the Bible are everywhere. You absolutely should procure a physical copy of the Bible. It takes seconds to manipulate an electronic document in small ways and nobody would be none the wiser. Whole school systems edit whatever is taught in public schools in this way.

While it's good to have the ability to search the Scriptures electronically, you need to know how to do it physically as well. Scripture says, ironically, that days are coming when it's going to be difficult to have a Bible. Jesus said that all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus are going to be persecuted. It's a matter of minutes to wipe out all digital versions of the Bible if some government chooses to do so.

Most of the western world isn't facing such persecutions. But unfortunately those days appear to be on the horizon. 

The Spirit is to be teaching...and we as the students...need to be listening and doing whatever He is teaching. His work in teaching is for our sanctification. His work is transformational. To make us more like Christ Jesus. 

While I like to learn things...what I learn of things in this world aren't necessarily going to transform my life. At least never to the degree that the work of the Spirit of God will do for me, to me, through me towards my life in Christ Jesus. 

Being in the Scriptures is something that's just the very same thing that Jesus said in the Gospels. He made mention that there were many people who longed to see His day and did not see it. Who longed to know the things that they now knew. Many millions never got to see the complete Bible and longed for it.

A life in Christ means making important to us whatever is important to Jesus. It's going to mean changes in what is a priority. Going to mean the world not understanding. Going to mean the world getting mad at us because of the stand we take in Christ. 

Jesus also said...to take heart...for He has overcome the world. 

Begin today if you've never committed to daily reading in your Bible. Ask your Teacher, the Spirit of God, to open your mind to the truths of God's word. Class is in session for as long as we breathe. 

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

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

What Drives Us...Seriously

What Drives Us...Seriously 
by David Brenneman 

‭"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you." Titus 2:11-15.
How seriously do you want to know Jesus? How seriously do you take His commands?  

"And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 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 28:18-20.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his [a]life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."" Matthew 16:24-25.

Our days have meaning if we're looking. If indeed Christ Jesus is your Lord and Savior you have more than a worldly life to live. In Christ we have purpose and a purpose. 

We have purpose to obey all that He commanded us.

We have a purpose to do our part in the body of Christ while we yet live here. 

These things ought to drive us, not be carry-on baggage to places we go, other things we do.  

A friend of mine daily looks to the list of the Life Principles of Dr. Charles Stanley as a 30 day daily reminder list. Today's is along the lines of God moving Heaven and Earth to show us His Will. 

Indeed when you read the book of Daniel, God indeed moved and Daniel was shown the will of God in the future of his people. 

We read in 2 Thessalonians 4 that the will of God for us is our sanctification. Not necessarily our health, wealth or prosperity. Not necessarily success as the world views it.

Success in God's eyes includes what the world calls an untimely death. Success in God's eyes includes going through things like cancer. It includes many things that the world absolutely will never understand because why? Because as the Bible says they are spiritually discerned.

Even in the realm of Believers we may not get insight from God. Sometimes, again as shown in the book of Daniel, there won't be others who will be able to explain the situation from God's perspective.  

The opening passage from Titus..."For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus."

We have a path to walk in life. We sometimes mistakenly get the idea that there's the path we want and the path that God desires as being different. They should be one and the same. He's to be our Great Shepherd. The One who leads. Up the mountains, down into the valleys. Teaching us through His Spirit.  

We are in the most distracted generation since pre-flood Earth.

The world today is actually getting drawn every direction possible exponentially. It's actually a significant rarity to hear of Believers getting away from the world to be alone with Jesus.

While the world calls much of what's possible and available to mankind as hopeful and encouraging...compare those things with Scripture. All things are what?  

"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything." 1 Corinthians 6:12.

Garbage in Garbage out. 

Proverbs teaches the value in being careful of what we take into our hearts and minds.

Our lives are supposed to be such that people see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. 

It's what's supposed to drive us. 

Worldly desires are going to be extremely tempting. Satan designed them to be. He’s had a few thousand years to understand how to get under people's skin. 

What drives you? Does obedience to God's Word drive you? Do you have an undocumented list of exclusions in regards to living life for Jesus? A list of stuff that you have been content with calling acceptable behavior that God's Word says isn't?

Take stock in your life...look carefully to see if indeed you are walking around Jesus or walking with Jesus. Whether you are beside Him or have gotten ahead of Him or even lost sight of Him.

You are alive and breathing.  
You have hope because He lives.
You can still take a step and be where you are supposed to be in Christ.

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

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

There have been Signs...

There have been Signs...
by David Brenneman 

Many many people have written many hundreds of predictions about the future. But out of all...only the Lord God who predicted everything about His human birth, life, death, burial and resurrection...pulled it all off. Absolutely nothing about the life of Jesus hasn't happened.  

In every shape and size of natural event experienced by mankind people look for signs among them. 

With all that was absolutely right about Jesus...why aren't more paying attention to what He said of His return?

To start...He said plainly that no man knows the day nor the hour. It wasn't even known to Him yet. The decision was made by the Father.  

Then He teaches by way of His own words what to look for that will lead up to that return by Him. Later the writers of the New Testament shed other lights on how the world will be before Jesus returns. 

But why do people persist? Mainly because they actually think so highly of themselves that they think they can figure out God without His help. Pride. Satan thought the exact same way leading up to the crucifixion...then Jesus arose from the dead and showed him oh how wrong he was. 

We face many who are like those Daniel faced whom are knowing that to bring us down they have to attack what we believe in Christ Jesus. 

Satan's still the somewhat master manipulator of this world. Somewhat because he must obey God with regards to the affairs of mankind. This is seen in the behind the scenes story of Job.

With all that there is in learning about Jesus...understanding signs and wonders really isn't all that important. The sanctifying work of the Spirit of God is about there being more of Jesus in us than us in us. It's not about all that other stuff. While yes those the King entrusted with talents knew someday that the King would return...two of them were about the King's business until that day. They knew that they didn't know when He would return so they remained ever watchful and ready.

We are called to be about the Father’s business. Sharing what Jesus has done with us, for us, in us. We don't save people...Jesus does. We have a purpose in life that's not about predictions regarding the future. We are set in the body of Christ Jesus as the Spirit sees fit to place us. There are no unuseful people in the body of Christ.  

What's also to be considered is the events of nature with regard to the end times as depicted in the Bible are NOT subject to our interpretation. They are not predicated upon events happening. If Jesus wanted a blizzard in Florida today it would just be happening. The depiction given in the book of Revelation that essentially describes an unusual eclipse...does not need to happen at the times we can calculate for a normal eclipse. 

These things are proven in the story of King Hezekiah. To move the shadow back up the steps required moving the whole planet we are on.
Nature, all creation, obeys the will of God without question. Joshua was told to have the Levites carry the Ark of the Covenant into the Jordan River at high tide. When their feet touched the water the water rose up in a heap and everyone crossed over on dry land. Not muddy ground. Nobody got wet.  

Lions in the den with Daniel...were told by the Spirit to leave Daniel alone and they obeyed without question.  

The Red Sea parted for the children of Israel to pass through on dry ground as well. 

Nature only appears to roll on through as if in chaos. But nothing, not a single hair on anyone's head, nor a single tear shed, not a single cry from even a hungry animal escapes the notice of God.

The Bible says all that. If the Bible was entirely correct about Jesus...
If Jesus is the only one who perfectly called His shot concerning His death, burial and resurrection...
If Jesus, after rising from the dead and bringing 500 others back to life to testify...

If indeed all these things are absolutely inerrantly true...what manner of child of God ought you and I to be?

We too ought to make whatever is important to Jesus, important to us. 

Forgiveness is not an option. 
Loving others is not an option. 
Time with Jesus daily is not an option. 
Praying isn't an option. 
Time learning from the Spirit through the Word of God isn't an option. 
Setting your mind on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world is not an option. 

There more than enough in just that list of non-negotiable, non-optional, segments of the Christian life to keep you and I going. 

Those aren't optional. That third person with the entrusted talents? He essentially sat on what he was entrusted with. Was too worried about how he would be viewed by others. Afraid to the point of inactivity. Afraid of his Master. Afraid of what others would think. In all of that he missed out on the blessings of his Master. 

Are you about the things that matter to Jesus with regards to you? Are you listening too much to what the world says is important and are inadvertently disregarding the Word of God? Are things like worldly success driving you or is pleasing Jesus driving you?  

There will be no signs except the sign of Jonah. As it was in the days of Noah. People marrying and being given in marriage until Jesus closed the door to that impossible boat that would be humanities future. No signs other than the preaching of Noah that every single person ignored, laughed at, mocked, ridiculed but those whom Jesus saved.  

In many parts of the world we saw a wonderful sight yesterday with that eclipse. Conspiracy theories abounded. Yet here we are today. 

The judgments of God are not bound by the laws of nature. 

Will you be ashamed at His return or will you be found by Him doing what you are here to be doing?  

That choice is yours. 

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

Monday, April 8, 2024

Adversity and You

Adversity and You 
by David Brenneman 

‭"Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” Daniel 4:37.

"The dark moments of our life will only so long as is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose for us." - Life Principle #7, Dr. Charles Stanley.

In the book of Daniel we see this play out in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar. In Habakkuk we see that adversity was in his future and was predestined by the Lord concerning Israel. 

In all the prophecies of Israel going into exile and when they would return...follow this principle. 

In the adversity shared by the children of Israel before, during and after Joseph...this too followed this principle.

Adversity lasted another 20 years for the beggar that Jesus did heal eventually. Huh? I believe that since later on in the Gospel accounts that the beggar who was at the Temple whom Jesus healed says he had been in that state for most all his life...that quite possibly the young boy Jesus saw him.  

It's possible that many were in adversity for decades because Jesus's ministry hadn't began yet. 

In our lives...what can we say?  

We often face adversity for many reasons. Sometimes it's on account of our deeds or maybe not. Sometimes it's because of our maturity in the faith whereas we are able to endure while someone else isn't strong enough in their faith to make it yet. Sometimes it's us, sometimes it's not.  

The result ought to be the same as a well known hymn writer said "To God be the glory great things He has done. So loved He the world that He gave us His Son. Who yielded His life an atonement for sin. And opened the life gate that all may come in. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice! Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!"

My life has had more than it's share of various adversities. As long as I live and breathe, there will be more. 

We come to Christ for salvation...the Spirit begins the work of sanctification in us. Our adversities are the fires of purification being turned up to remove the dross of our lives. Purifying what remains. The process requires a time of specific heat to a specific point for a specified duration. That's the well guarded secret of smelting...and is referred to in the book of Psalms. 

It does hurt, it is painful. Jesus said that all those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus are going to be persecuted. Painful days are a part of life in Christ. Painful days accompany workouts. Muscles get stressed and stretched. At the end the body is more useful for greater feats hitherto impossible to have achieved beforehand.

Recognizing the Spirit in your adversity is important. It's vital to not losing your head over the situation.  

If you're not seeing the Spirit of God in your adversity...either He’s that involved or we are in for a long period of His work in us.  

It's taken years, decades, to see the whittling away of me in me...and it's ok. 

Huh?

We come to Christ with a ton and a half of blind baggage. We come with chains of practiced sins for some that are going to take time to break. We come with things that are of no Earthly good to the mission and ministry of God in us.

They gotta go. We have to let go of them. Willingly or unwillingly they will be revealed and will be addressed. Some will appear to be adversities.  

I can relate, in a very small way, to these people Jesus healed who were in their adversities for longer than He was there on this Earth. 

Their lives would have been radically different had they not had their adversity. Jesus wouldn't have been glorified in the ways He was on the days they were set free. 

My day of freedom is yet future when I eventually step into Heaven. 

I was born partially blind in 1 eye. There's many things that billions take for granted in seeing that I will never know. 3D movies. Knowing what a sunrise or sunset looks like with two good eyes.  

This isn't a pitty party. God made me this way for His glory. I would likely be a very self-centered, arrogant, person without my infirmities. 

Does not Scripture say that He is the Potter and we are the clay? Does it not say that as the Potter, He has every single right to make vessels of honorable use and for common use?

There's purpose to everything Jesus does. We sometimes are granted the briefest of understanding about these things, sometimes not.

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. Period. 

Earlier, before his dream that lead to his exile from his throne, it never crossed his mind of what was coming. After Daniel's interpretation, he wasn't taking it seriously. A year later...in the moment the Lord spoke from Heaven to him that prophesy and he felt his pride being ripped from him...King Nebuchadnezzar knew who really ruled. He learned it was not him.  

We can be so full of ourselves that the option to drive us to our knees is an option. 

But it is only going to last as long as is necessary to achieve the will of God for us. 

Growing in Christ is more important than anything we hold dear in the world. Take up your own cross and follow Me! You cannot hold your own cross AND anything or anyone. 

Are there things you're holding on to that aren't beneficial to growing in Christ that He's said need to go?

Are you in the midst of adversity right now? Know that Jesus is there in it with you. 

At no point are we to take a seat in the valley of the shadow of death. He will take us through it. 

Search me oh God and know my heart today...as another hymn says.

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

Sunday, April 7, 2024

We are NOT Defined by Our Sins

We Are NOT Defined by Our Sins 
by David Brenneman 

Nightmares come to probably everyone regardless of age. Last night was one for me.  

Satan's not to blame for it anymore than him being personally involved in my life. It's a fools cop-out to keep blaming ours sins on his involvement in our lives. Satan does not have that attribute of God where he can be everywhere at once. He is absolutely not omnipresent. My sin nature does its own number on me in most debacles of my struggles. 

The same goes for everyone since Adam and Eve. Same is for all yet to be born.  

My first course of action this morning has been to remind myself of who I am and who's I am. My identity isn't in this mortal flesh nor is it defined by the environment in which I live move and have my being. When I heard the call and came to Christ Jesus for salvation, I was adopted into the family of God. I am a child of God. Heir to the Kingdom of God. Sins forgiven.  

Our enemies are all who oppose the will of God for all in Christ Jesus. 

We who are in Christ are a new creation. The old things have passed away behold new things have come.  

My Dear Reader this is the same for everyone who is in Christ Jesus. The same battles in varying degrees affect every single Believer. 

We face those in-your-face battles as well as pacifistic battles where it's just our thoughts and feelings carrying us into temptations we don't realize until it's too late to get out of.

Another aspect of being alert is to be aware. Self awareness is both necessary and critical. Knowing that if you aren't careful stepping into a cow pasture you will indeed step in something you'd rather not will go along way. 

My Friend, we can find ourselves in that cow pasture without leaving our bed. We can find it in our living room. Our car. In front of the television. A supposed innocent movie. A supposed innocent sporting event. Reacting to people in those settings rather than understanding the root cause of what just provoked our own reactions. 

We are being trained by the Spirit to fulfill our purpose in being here. Our sanctification. We are being trained to know the enemys of God and Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.  

We are admonished not to let out guard down. There's no time to let out guard down. We want a time where we can, but my Dear Reader, that will only be in the perfect peace and protection of Heaven. 

Not here.

Here we fight what?

"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." Ephesians 6:11-13.

We must realize some very distinct attributes of this.

Demons and Satan cannot indwell a Believer's life. They cannot be where the Spirit of God resides. It's impossible. This is another key reason we are admonished to be sure of our salvation. 

Demons are real. They are as real today as they were 2,000 plus years ago. I have met more than one very very real demons.  

Demons will respond to every single command of God. They must obey God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  

Expect them to entice every single Believer towards apathy. Towards what I'll call downgrading sins. To not think that particular sin is all that bad.  

Expect them to convince you to hoard God's blessings "just in case".

Expect them to lull you into a false sense of peace and security. I do believe that the pre-ministry precautions that Jesus told the Disciples applies to all who are in Christ Jesus. 

"Behold, I am sending you out like sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and innocent as doves." Matthew 10:16.

Lastly...and by no means is this a complete list...they cannot read minds. Expect them to influence your environment in order to manipulate your mind but they cannot read your mind.  

It's why there are indeed times where I pray silently. They cannot know what we pray to Jesus about when done silently. I know that Jesus knows my heart. If people don't get me, I know that He does. 
I know if people turn on me, He never will.

I know that I am forgiven, not forsaken.  

"I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
And I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true
And it's my joy to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
I'm forgiven because You were forsaken
I'm accepted, You were condemned
I'm alive and well, Your Spirit is within me
Because You died and rose again
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
You are my King
You are my King
Jesus, You are my King
You are my King
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
(Amazing love)
Amazing love, I know it's true
It's my joy to honor You
Amazing love, how can it be
That You, my King, should die for me?
(Amazing love)
Amazing love, I know it's true
And it's my joy to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
In all I do, to honor You
In all I do, let me honor You"
-Newsboys Released 2003.

We are in a war. We aren't dismissed from nor will ever be excused from it until the Rapture of the Church or we are called from this world. The battles are real, the war was won at the cross of Jesus Christ.  

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

Saturday, April 6, 2024

No Fans Allowed

No Fans Allowed 
by David Brenneman 

Definition of a Fan: a person who has a strong interest in or admiration for a particular person or thing.

Several years ago there was a book published called "Not a Fan" by Kyle Idleman. This would be a good follow-up to this post.

The worst thing to ever hear for any human being isn't related to the possible disappointments, hurts, or possible atrocities in this life. 

The worst possible comes from the mouth of Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, when He pronounces a judgment. "Depart from Me, for I never knew you."

There are so-called churches everywhere all over this world. 
There are non-church going people all over this world by the billions.

These people are merely fans of the Living God rather than those living a life in Christ Jesus. They aren't saved. They indeed are those whom Jesus wrote of who are honoring Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him.

One second. You can measure that yourself. Recite out loud "One one thousand" without rushing saying that will give you an idea of how long a time that is. Some also go by "one Mississippi" to get one second.

One second interestingly enough is longer than one heartbeat. One heartbeat after your time on Earth is done you will either find yourself in the wonderful awesome fantastic presence of Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Savior or you find yourself in the darkest most horrific pain as yet unimagined in the place Jesus said is filled with people weeping and gnashing their teeth. 

You have a few, possibly dozens, possibly even more that you encounter everywhere who are among those who are no more than fans of Christians. Are fans of Jesus Christ. Oh they love being around Believers. They love the music in various churches or concerts given by Christian artists, but they aren't fully devoted followers of Christ Jesus.  

Those who honor God with their lips but their hearts are far from Him are by definition: fans.  

They can be all pumped up and excited, dressed up for the event, and go away from it totally unchanged.

Romans 12:1-2 "Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

A life in Christ Jesus is not one that merely is warmed by being near a Christ-follower only to go away afterwards to do your own thing. 

Jesus says that MANY will say that Him on that day that they said and did things in His Name...and He will say to depart from Me for I never knew you.

We who are in Christ testify of what Jesus has done for us and in us. We tell of the wonders of what a life in Christ can be.

We cannot and do not save anyone.
The job of the Spirit of God is to convict hearts, to draw people to Jesus.  

If you haven't come to Christ on your own, and have not received His free gift of salvation, haven't repented for your own sins...question where you stand! Now, while you still have that heartbeat. Millions of people are born this very hour. Millions more thought they had one more day. They died in various places and ways all over the world. Some in accidents, some while walking or running. Some died in wars, some died in just turning over in bed.

Not one single person knew with 100% certainty that they were going to breathe their last...why? Because the Bible says clearly that life and death are in the hands of God in Christ Jesus. 

Are you struggling with this life you have? Have you really been just a fan of Jesus or of God and haven't really been saved? Are you letting fears of what might happen to your little kingdom that you are calling your world keep you from the Kingdom of God? Are you merely a fan of Jesus Christ and aren't one of His?  

The Bible says “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard,
And which have not entered the human heart, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.

The only people in the presence of Jesus Christ in this very moment are only those who were fully devoted followers of Christ Jesus at some point in this world. 

My Dear Reader there are billions and billions and billions of people in Hell and many billions more will join them before history ends. 

Jesus said the road is narrow that leads to life and there are few who find it. The way is wide that leads to destruction. 

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Him.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. 

"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 disappointed.” 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 “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13.

We lie to ourselves and others when we believe that everyone rests in peace at their death when they aren't saved. Only those who have passed from death to life in Christ are in peace. All the rest are weeping or gnashing their teeth in painful torment. 

“Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, enjoying himself in splendor every day. And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed from the scraps which fell from the rich man’s table; not only that, the dogs also were coming and licking his sores. Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s arms; and the rich man also died and was buried. And in Hades he raised his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his arms. And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set, so that those who want to go over from here to you will not be able, nor will any people cross over from there to us.’ And he said, ‘Then I request of you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not come to this place of torment as well.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” Luke 16:19-31. Jesus Himself said these words to all who were there and for all who have lived to this day. 

My Dear Reader...stop being a fan of Jesus Christ if indeed that's where you find yourself. Come to Jesus Christ for a living hope for a better life now and the one to come. 

Jesus said that He's at the door and is knocking, it's on you to open it and let Him in.

Time is really running out. 

Jesus also said there is a day, fixed by His Father by His own authority, that Jesus will return. All fans of Jesus Christ will stay behind. Horrors as yet unimagined await those still here to encounter the wrath of God in a 7 year period will happen soon after Jesus comes to take His Church home to be with Him. 

Don't be among those who honor God with their lips and their hearts are far from Him. It's time to enter the arms of Jesus now for forgiveness of sin and healing for your soul. 

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

Friday, April 5, 2024

Do You Meet With Jesus?

Do You Meet With Jesus?
by David Brenneman 

A while ago a friend asked me when I got up each morning. Atypical is 3:15 AM.  My days off it varies.  Was asked why so early?  My only response is that's when Jesus wants to meet with me.  Now over 5 years ago and still going that's been the norm.  

"Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep." Psalms 121:4.  No My Jesus doesn't sleep nor does He need to these days. 

I don't know if I do or don't get enough sleep but I do know that when I am faithful in showing up at that hour, my Savior shows up. 

The question for you is are you intentional on meeting with Jesus?

After all you're in a relationship with Jesus that's supposed to be an intimate relationship.  It's supposed to be personal to the very depths of your heart and soul.  But is it really?

Are you at all looking forward to when you're talking to Him?  

Are you already in the right frame of mind to be talking to the Sovereign God of the Universe? 

Is your heart right?  Are you harboring ill towards others?  

Was watching a short video of a guy talking about his experience in learning how to really forgive.  He was a Pastor of a church.  The Senior Pastor was lead elsewhere and he was nominated for the position.  There was a man in the congregation who really wasn't quiet about his not liking him. In very short order it sort of was mutual. Yet someone whom this Pastor knew told him that he needed to forgive that man.  He really wasn't wanting to. Then the Lord came to him and really let him know that he needed to pray for him. He didn't want to but the Spirit wasn't taking no for an answer. So he began muttering a prayer of forgiveness and blessing on the man.  After a few weeks he had what he called a vision of a 10 year old boy outside of a ranch. Jesus said to him that he might not know what all had happened to that man to make him like he was today but He knew.  Needless to say his prayers changed.  He really worked on real forgiveness. 

Jesus had met him and the result is always change.

So the question again is do you meet with Jesus?

He always wants your undivided attention.  He is always interested in whatever is on your mind and heart. He always is in your tomorrow before your tomorrow arrives.  

Yet so many people claiming to be Christians aren't making even a feeble attempt at meeting with Jesus after coming to Christ for salvation.  

Do you take deliberate time to be with Jesus?  Are you so wrapped up in self that He takes a back seat?

But I have this going on and that!  I don't have any time!  If I do that then I won't be able to...

My Dear Reader...think.

Stop your rambling about this or that and stop.  

When you stand before Jesus...to give an account of your life...is all that going to matter?  The ONLY thing that's going to survive the fires of that day are what we did for and with Jesus.  

When was the last time you really made doing something with Jesus a priority? 

Have you truly forgiven someone as Christ Jesus has forgiven you?  Are you embittered towards someone and are thinking more about how it made you feel rather than what Jesus sees in that person?  What if your definition of a friend is different from theirs?  If you don't forgive as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you, you aren't going to know.

My prayers for my perceived enemies is that God destroys their plans and turns their hearts to Jesus Christ for salvation.  King David and the various authors of the book of Psalms prayed that way.  

No doubt there are dynamics in play with my enemies that I will never know or understand. But my Jesus does.

How are you going to understand the mind of Christ if you don't meet with Him to get to know Him better?

What if you do?

What if it turns into more than once a day?  I meet with my Savior each morning. I also refuse to go to bed before reading my Bible again.  In my day I am more often than not in tunnel-vision mode.  I don't have the time to spend on thinking about those around me.  In my snippets of time in between I find myself praying more often than not.  Listening and maybe understanding  something more about what's going on in the lives of those around me even if there's no time to talk to them. 

When I get out of work...my thoughts turn to my life outside of work...and I pray a prayer of thanksgiving for Jesus getting me through my day.

Sometimes it's my praying for someone at work that I don't have the time to talk to.

Meet with Jesus...deliberately.

Meet with Him...forgive others as Christ Jesus has forgiven you.  Don't let a wall go up between you and Jesus.  

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

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Do We Let Things?

Do We Let Things?
by David Brenneman 



"All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. 

The prior section of 1 Corinthians 6 spells it out plainly that all who live in ungodliness will not see Heaven.  The world certainly doesn't want to hear words like those.  Everyone who lives a life in what God has said is any form of sexual perversion will only find the wrath of God resting upon them.  All who practice a life separated from God will find an eternity separated from God. 

For those of us who claim the name of Jesus there's the constant pressure to conform to the world's vain and empty philosophies.  To accept their lifestyles and to say nothing to them.  

Jesus said that those who seek to live a life in Christ Jesus are going to be persecuted.  Silent people who say nothing, do nothing, aren't the ones that get persecuted...at least not normally.   Satan's got no problems with Christian's who are not truly living out life as the Spirit directs them.

We are always encouraged by the world to not think, just do.  We aren't in any generation that considers the consequences of their actions. 

We aren't in a world that is seeking anything but it's own self interests. 

Paul states: All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.

Take care in what you embrace as a part of your life.  Take care as to what you allow and watch what you reject.  

The standard is the Word of God.  Not this person's book or lecture or that person's.  There are no other Apostles than the original 12. The titles that men and women make for themselves is a self-centered self-righteous take on life.  They will likely be among those whom Jesus will tell to depart from Me for I never knew you. 

When you participate in life...how much of it are you considering as a life lived in obedience to God's Word?

Do you let things get a foothold in your life that actually causes the Spirit to groan?

In the Old Testament many times people set up things on the way to or just outside the Temple to make people think it's endorsed by the Lord. 

When you get dressed...are you dressing in a way that honors God or something else from this world?

When you are out among people are you shining as an unhindered light or are you hiding the light of Jesus Christ to keep from drawing attention to yourself?

If you're decorating your home...is what's seen by visitors showing them that you live a life in Christ or is it really a shrine to something or someone from this world?

We're to honor Jesus in everything we do, whatever it is, for however long He determines.  The world is going to entice us to compromise. It wants a foothold in our thinking.  It wants us to believe the same exact thing that the serpent said to Adam and Eve.  "Did God really say...".

I CAN be a fan of this or that. But would God be honored in that or would that honor be taken away and misplaced elsewhere?

I CAN support someone or something that's in the headlines or even something or someone locally,  but would God be honored in that?

I CAN keep His blessings to myself with the thought that it's all there "just in case" something happens in the future.  

There's many examples.  The world knows no end to the temptations that can entice the mind and heart of man. 

Saying nothing, doing nothing, to stand firm in Christ Jesus just gets our lives to toss about and be filled with an avoidable chaos.

Paul asks: Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?

Should what we choose to engage in be allowed by us?  It's pretty plain to see that Paul is saying that what we are doing, saying, thinking, etc. is our making the Spirit participate in too.  Would you really want God to do, say or think some of the things that you are doing, saying, thinking?  

Jesus quite often didn't respond to the Jewish leaders.  He could have.  The reality is Jesus could have just spoken a word and we wouldn't be here.  The world would not even exist.  After all He's God.  

We are to make as important in our lives what He says is important for our lives.  That's what the Disciples were committed to.  Whatever Jesus said, taught, did, that was it, the end of discussion. 

What are you doing to BE a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ?

That is the question. 

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