Saturday, July 13, 2024

What and Who and Where?

What and Who and Where?
by David Brenneman 

"Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,  does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

The verse of the day was the portion of "does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth".

What and Who and Where does your rejoicing go?  Simple enough a question, but perhaps not such an easy one to answer. 

We unknowingly, perhaps unwittingly, do far more rejoicing in the unrighteous acts we engage in and others around us. Probably those we see in social media, the news, videos...we actually join the world in this.

To be in Christ is to be among those "called out" in this world to be different.  Different in that our hearts are being molded after our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.  

The rest of the passage is included because the true context is about the character of Christ. 

Long lived marriages are often because of the truth found here.  I used to be an Audio Engineer and weddings were very common.  Quite often this passage was quoted by the officiant with regards to the vows.

Would you characterize you as one taking intentional steps towards God's truth in your life?  

Do you embrace the things of this world or are you embracing the truths of God's word for you?  

I read something this morning that said that those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it.  Those who are intentionally not teaching the past want it repeated. 

Your past is to help you to recognize where you are in Christ right now.  To see what's coming and to prepare.  We really don't have much to stand on when we are rejoicing in the wrong things and thinking. 

Do you give your rejoicing to others that belongs to God?

Do you rejoice in things that you already know that God wouldn't appreciate or approve of?

Do you at all get excited about a passage of Scripture that you now understand?

Does seeing the Spirit working in your life or the lives of people around you cause you to rejoice more than the worldly stuff you are involved in?

Many Believer's are embracing idolatry and have no sense to recognize it.  It's not harping on that subject, it's acknowledging the truth of our day.  We have more access to more information to further more imagination than the days of Noah. 

We live among billions of people who choose to rejoice in unrighteousness.  We really do.

It should be a given that if we are indeed setting our minds on the things that are above that we should be rejoicing in the truth.  

If indeed we are trusting in the Lord with all our hearts...then we should be rejoicing in the truth. 

If indeed we are not embracing this world, we should be embracing Jesus. 

It's incredibly sad when I have been to churches where more passion, more excitement is had IN THE CHURCH SERVICE CONCERNING SPORTS than they immediately followed with in regards to a hymn praising Jesus.  I have had people seriously say they would pray for me concerning my lack of interest in a particular sports team. 

This isn't rejoicing in the truth.
That is rejoicing in the world.

Jesus said Heaven and Earth would pass away but His words would never pass away.   

We heard it straight from Him.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself.  No where in those two does the love of the things of this world come into the picture.

When you look at you in the mirror, do you see a person rejoicing in God's truth?

When you get dressed, is God honored by your choice of apparel?

When you speak to others about what excites you, is it about what Jesus is doing in your life?

When life comes at you...are you holding to rejoicing in the truth?

I can't help but recognize all the uses of the word "all" and immediately go to another passage. "All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness that the man of God may be adequate, equipped, for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16.

Put these two passages together and you really do have a different appreciation for the work of the Spirit of God in your life. 

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

Friday, July 12, 2024

Self Deceived We Easily Are

Self Deceived We Easily Are 
by David Brenneman 

While many in the faith cling to verses 5 and 6, read the rest of Proverbs 3. To help defeat self deception and self importance, Jesus provides examples. 

"My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. 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. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord Or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways And all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast. The Lord by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. By His knowledge the deeps were broken up And the skies drip with dew. My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. Then you will walk in your way securely And your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; For the Lord will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. Do not devise harm against your neighbor, While he lives securely beside you. Do not contend with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. For the devious are an abomination to the Lord; But He is intimate with the upright. The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor."
Our world is cursed. From the days of Adam and Eve's so it has been. At every single turn in human history Satan has been at odds with the plans of God for mankind. He has wanted all the glory due only to God. He's wanted the very throne of God. 

To achieve his aims he's been master deceiver. Jesus says that he is a liar and the father of lies.  

Regardless of your point of view Satan and his minions spend all your waking moments adjusting their strategies towards the ends of thwarting the will of God for every single Believer in Christ Jesus. 

"Know your enemy" has been a phrase used for a very very long time. Satan cannot possess the bodies of Believers. Satan cannot read the minds of Believers. Satan cannot remove the seal of God from a Believer. Satan CAN influence your choices and decisions by going to Jesus for permission. Read the opening chapters of the book of Job. Read the underlying truths in the Gospels...the Disciples were protected by the Father while training was happening. 

Praying for God's will for you will include dangers toils and snares.

It's good for you, regardless of your feelings on it because it grows you in Christ. Physical training, truthfully, honestly, stinks. But the rewards thereof are unmistakable. 

Nobody goes from the recliner to the finish line of a 5k just by getting a mind to do it. It takes an equipped body to do it. One that's been prepared for what is to come. 

We read of what the Bible says of Spiritual Warfare. Get used to that idea because it's 100% real. It's not stuff from 2,000 years ago. It's not made up stories. It's not make-believe. I have experienced some seriously heavy Spiritual Warfare in my life. Have met demons who were in places you wouldn't expect. They are as real today as at the dawn of creation when they fell along with Satan. 

Satan's plans include you choosing to go it alone by setting traps. 
Traps that look simple enough that you get it in your head that you don't need God's help. 

My Dear Reader, Satan's minions study you. Read that again. They study your life, your every desire, to see how it could be twisted towards derailing your life in Christ. 

Self-deception is a larger cancer in the world than cancer itself is. 

We don't even have the capacity that people 2,000 years ago did to recognize demons and demonic behavior! We don't recognize the traps that are set to get us to introduce "harmless" gods in our lives...and that is exactly what they are...gods. We take what is holy and cast the passion, honor, joy, and glory belonging only to Jesus upon Earthly things and people.  

We do this and don't even realize we did. We wear symbols of our idolatry. We have a greater depth of knowledge of our gods than we do the Living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That's one HUGE clue.

Our paths are made crooked, quite often, by our own choices...then we get to a point where we have to cry out for God's help. The chains we are bound up in are of our own designs, by way of our own desires.  

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. 

Clean House. 
It's demo day for your heart. 
Scripture says to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus.  
Destroyed speculations. Read it.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war 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 speculations and every lofty thing raised up 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. You are looking at things as they are outwardly. If anyone is confident in himself that he is Christ’s, let him consider this again within himself, that just as he is Christ’s, so also are we." 2 Corinthians 10:3-7.

Pray for yourself that your eyes would be opened. That the scales of deceptive practices would fall off so that you may see, know, experience, the love of God in Christ Jesus that is to be yours through obedience and the love of God for you. 

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

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Would You Recognize a god in Your Life?

Would You Recognize a god in Your Life?
by David Brenneman 

"Now when Asa heard these words and the prophecy which Azariah the son of Oded the prophet spoke, he took courage and removed the abominable idols from all the land of Judah and Benjamin and from the cities which he had captured in the hill country of Ephraim. He then restored the altar of the Lord which was in front of the porch of the Lord." 2 Chronicles 15:8.

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27.

“You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments." Exodus 20:3-6.

Many hope to have God seen in their lives.  But, a huge question is: Would you recognize a god in your life?  Are there idols set up in the hearts of mankind these days?  Most certainly!  

Some idols are disguised as countless "wonderful" things that this world offers. 

Some are at the behest of governments.  Things mandated that citizens must comply with. 

Some are indeed forced upon people even in a "free" society. 

Satan's minions, our own sin nature, certainly look for ways to ensnare the lives of Believers with secret idols by never calling them that.

Jesus said to "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself."  Therefore there's absolutely no room for any idols of any kind or form.

Yet...we have them.  Things we don't let go of, and place on a pedestal in our hearts in a place of honor.  It can be anything and everything that is possible in our world today, anything that our imagination can lay hold of. 

Do you not realize, from reading the opening chapters of the book of Job, that anything approved by Jesus can be used to test the heart?  For Believers, Satan's got to get permission. 

What do we read of the Lord Jesus?  Does not the Scriptures say that He tests the hearts?  He searches the hearts of mankind?  

Do you at all think that He's not searched yours?  Think again. 

He is omniscient, all knowing.
He is omnipresent, everywhere at once. 

The Spirit of God in the lives of Believers is going to point out things in our hearts and minds that have no place in the lives of people who belong to Christ Jesus. 

Wrong thinking, things that are taking up time that should be used of God for His purposes.  The Disciples, from sun up to sun down, followed Jesus wherever He lead them.  No vacation days. No PTO days. No siesta's. No sick days for sure.  Fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Period. 

The charge to the Disciples who would soon become Apostles, was to "Go, make disciples...teaching them all that I commanded you...".

So...let's go back to the basics...back to the opening question...would you recognize a god in your life?

As important as that, what would you do if you did?

There's but one throne in your heart. There's room only for one to sit upon it.
There's but one Book of Life that your name is written in blood in. The Lamb's book of Life. Jesus's book of all who believe and belong to Him. 

Are you devoted to Christ or podcasts that do nothing to grow your faith?

Are there things you possess that have realistically become a snare to your walk with Jesus?  This can be anything. 

Are you more knowledgeable of things worthless to the Kingdom of God and your growing in Christ?

Do you daily devote your heart to the work of the Spirit of God in you?

The Spirit worked with the Disciples 24/7.  He wants to do the same thing for you. 

It takes what Asa remove idols.  

"Really? Idols in today's world?" 

"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.

Does it get any clearer than this?

Idolatry is in the here and now. 

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come.  For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,  holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these." 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

People wear idols emblazoned on coats, hats, shirts, on their vehicles, oh its out there.  Trillion dollar industry it is.  Satan's extremely invested in idolatry.  He began with Adam and Eve and its not stopped. 

Covetousness is a form of idolatry. Wanting what someone else has or is doing and taking actions to obtain.  

We really need to acknowledge that our hearts are as open a book before Jesus as the sunshine of the day.  Nothing is hidden from whom we have to do.  

What to do?  Cast them far from us.  Admit that it is what God says it is.
Ask the Spirit for help.  He is, after all, the Helper sent to take up residence in our hearts. Not along side of us, but in us.  

Pray without ceasing. Seek the Lord always. There's nothing in our hearts that is stronger than the Spirit of God in Christ Jesus.  

This is going to be a lifelong battle.  We may let go of something and another is waiting to take its place. Set your mind on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world. 

Clean house...and see what Happens. 

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Behave as if Always in the Sight of God

Behave as if Always in the Sight of God 
by David Brenneman 

‭"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 salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain." Philippians 2:12-16.
‭"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:17-27.

I grew up in the Church. My earliest memories are of being in Church. I saw it, sometimes it was me, the seeing of how attitudes changed after Church let out.  

This thing of even in today's world it happens. People have a mindset that they gave God a few hours at Church so now they are on their own time. Life doesn't happen that way. 

We do not set the example of Christ by being part-time Christians.  

Paul lived out, Peter lived out, James lived out, Timothy lived out, all the surviving Apostles lived out Christ 24/7, 365 days a year.  

Living out their salvation with fear and trembling. Not fear as in afraid, fear as in with respect and honor. Not trembling as if paranoid, trembling as in taking every step seriously, taking...well...every thought captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus. 

We live in days that increasingly are after our every spare moment. We have advertisers that push into everything we put our eyes to.

Even has succumbed to the heavy-handed push of advertising on their free site. To me, personally, this dishonors God when it comes to the reading and study of God's word.

We can't go anywhere these days it seems without additional intrusion into how we think and its impact on how we behave.

The anger of man does not bring about the righteousness of God.

That's what my Bible says. 

We also have an obsession with seeking out that which stirs our anger yet does nothing to cause us to pray about those things before Jesus. 

There's no end to "content" being created to mock the behavior of others, to stir up anger, and leave people to themselves. 

The point of this is this: God's not after your free time. He's wanting you 24/7 365. He's wanting me for that time frame as well.  

We read of Jesus being the Great Shepherd. He is because He gives His sheep His undivided, unedited, unending attention and protection. 

He is wanting His sheep who hear His voice to give of their best to their Master, their Shepherd Jesus Christ.

When we focus on anger and the things that will never grow us in Christ, we waste our time here on Earth. If Satan can't get to your soul, he will try to make you useless to the cause of Christ. 

He will stir up your sin nature to get you to be of no use to Jesus. He will cause our emotions to get the best of us. Cause us to not think about the word of God as a first line of defense in our thinking because we're too busy reacting. 

If we paid more attention to the truth that Jesus isn't our butler and is to be our closest friend, confidant, our everything, would we be immersed in the things we are?

Would we see the truth of what He says is idolatry in our lives? If He says it is, then why do we not remove it from our lives? Idolatry is EVERYWHERE these days.

The drive in advertisers is towards the greatest form of idolatry: you. Selfishness. You getting what you earned, what you deserve, what you desire, who cares what it costs. 

Getting you to not help your brother in need because after all it's your time and hard earned money. If they would work harder then they wouldn't be in that position. Isn't this line of thinking the same as those in the story Jesus told of the Good Samaritan who did nothing for the person in need?

To live for Jesus is going to cost us those things that are most desirable to us. If anything is more important to us, be it time, energy or money, or possessions, they will become the chains that bind us. To some, these chains have been in place for so long they're now a blanket. Not thought of as a trap that they really are.

Do you give of your best to God?  
Do you intentionally meet with Jesus every single day?
Do you live life differently when you are alone versus being around other Believers? Around others who aren't saved yet? You realize what Hagar the concubine of Abraham said in the wilderness concerning her newfound thoughts of God? "You are the God who sees".

We read in Psalms of the revelations of King David that the Lord searches the hearts. From when we were formed in our Mother's womb He knew us.

We read of how jealous He is for the Spirit within us.  

We read of the truth from His own mouth that if He goes away, that He will return again. He's preparing a place for those who are His.

Are you seeing that your life is not your own? That you were bought with a price? The blood of Jesus Christ. That the price paid is too high for us to give our leftovers to our Savior and Lord?

Maybe we need a Spiritual episode of Hoarders. Clean out those things that are grabbing at our time, energy and efforts that indeed belong to Christ Jesus.  

I don't watch the news because the hearing of it causes me anger issues. I sift headlines online but that's it. It keeps me informed without causing my mind to be assaulted. 

I don't watch television because of it robbing my time from me.

I do look for instructional videos to teach me things that might help my skills. This is an avenue, I believe, that God is using with me to teach me free of charge.  

I do not sacrifice my times in the morning or before going to bed that belong to Christ for me. Those times in my Bible are non-negotiable.
Is your life really right before God? 
Do you live life in such a way that people see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven?

Jesus, by way of example, showed that He would rather spend His 'me' time with His Father than be alone. 

Do you see it that there's is never a moment when you are not to live life for Jesus? He is the God who sees.  

Take the time to be real with you. 
See if indeed you are seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. See if indeed He gets your best. See if you need to clear out things to make more room for the righteous life that God desires for you. 

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2024

What is Your Conduct Like?

What is Your Conduct Like?
by David Brenneman 

‭"Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me." Philippians 1:27-30.
‭"Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:1-11.
How are you really in living life?
How would you describe your behavior in dealing with yourself? With others? Would it be described of you that the love of Christ is within you?  

For most people it's not difficult to begin listing faults of others. 

It's much harder to look in the mirror and be objective about ourselves to the point of wanting to do something about what we see. 

Satan takes the form of a snake, deceives Eve. Eve takes the forbidden fruit, eats and convinces Adam to try it too. Sin is introduced. Separation from God is coming in ways they couldn't understand. Which is an irony considering the tree of which they ate. It's said that the tree leaves they used to cover themselves actually were a very bad idea. Bringing great skin irritation. The first sacrifices come next. Animals killed to bring about clothing for Adam and Eve. Blood is spilled in the name of sin. 

Cain kills Able his brother. In this moment Able becomes the only person in Paradise. My thought is that probably Jesus took care of him until others would show up. 

Our conduct can separate us from others and ourselves. We can become people that even we don't recognize. We create images for others to see and it takes great effort to maintain it. It can snowball into more and more decisions to keep it going rather than putting the brakes on. 

How truthful are you with you?

Do you put any REAL time, energy and effort into your relationship with Jesus? 

Until we get to Heaven, we won't fully know, even a taste of the relationship Adam had before the fall of mankind. That pre-sin experience has never been known by anyone else. The absolute purity of that relationship with Jesus. 

Adam gets a lot of grief over that original sin and all that humanity has gone through because of it. 

All the forms of evil as yet seen and what's to come are a result of that original sin. 

That original sin impacts every single person alive. It doesn't matter who it is in this world at any given moment sin is at war with them. It's at war with you. There are no conscientious objectors in the Spiritual Warfare at hand. There are no neutral parties.  

Because of sin your conduct has issues. Because of sin we have to work at our relationship with Jesus more than with ordinary people. 

Denying our issues presents more issues. Denying that we need the Spirit's help in navigating life and other interpersonal relationships makes it harder. 

We need to be truthful with ourselves concerning this sin nature and how slippery a slope any sin can be. 

The original sin came about by a simple doubt of what God had said. 

We easily fall for much less. Be honest. For most people it barely takes a glance to give way to a sin.

Our conduct, our character, is under assault daily. Never in any blatant fashion. That would be too easy to figure out and fight. 

It's become something of a joke but the truth is the first part of the cure of anything is admitting there's a problem. 

We who have come to Christ had to confess with our mouth that we needed a Savior who is Christ Jesus. Then we could proceed to asking Him to be the forgiver of our sin and the Leader of our lives. 

When an injury becomes unbearable we finally go to a doctor. Admitting there's an issue starts us on the road to healing. 

When addiction grips us, until we admit it's real and true, we're not going to break its grip.  

We also should never be a different person to different people. How many Christ's are there?  

We have one faith, one hope, one baptism in Christ Jesus our Lord.  

Praying for your conduct is as important as praying for the healing of your body. The most important, most influential, aspect of your life in God's plan for you is for those around you as well as yourself is to see Jesus in you. 

The character of Christ is what was left of the Disciples after the years of ministry that Jesus poured into them. Go and do likewise was their marching orders. 

If indeed the character of Christ is yours and growing, then indeed you're on the right track.  

So, when you are real with you, who do you see? An ego or your Savior? 

Funny thing about a mirror. It's a truth revealer. It doesn't show what we want to see. It shows what is reality.

You need to ask the God of all Truth to show you the real you.   

Peter, after betraying Jesus, denying Him, was beyond devastated. He was lost and aimlessly trying to pick up the pieces of his life. Went from confessing Jesus as Lord to what he did. Scripture says that he wept bitterly.  

His character appeared to be in pieces. When Jesus restored him, He showed Peter that it wasn't just in pieces, it was being put back together in a way that would glorify God. The parts of Peter that were no longer necessary were discarded.  

I have had a few times in my life where I wept bitterly at an altar. I felt like I was shattered. Which was absolutely true. Jesus needed to in order to get rid of that which wasn't good for His plan and purpose for my life.

It changed my conduct. You coming to terms with the reality of you before Jesus will likewise bring about heart change. Your conduct should change. Your character ought to change in ways that free you.

Are you willing to ask Jesus to show you the real you? To ask Him to do whatever He wants to and needs to in you? It's your living out your salvation in Christ that will open the eyes of those who are growing in Christ as well as those who have yet to come to Christ for salvation. Your conduct and your character will either draw people or push them away.

Pray for you to be real.

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

Monday, July 8, 2024

Where is this? It's Right Before Your Eyes

Where is this? It's Right Before Your Eyes. 
by David Brenneman 

‭"How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the wicked will perish." Psalms 1:1-6
Was reading this, this morning, and the more I read it, the more something else stood out. 

To walk in the counsel of the wicked is, quite frankly, to look to the world for advice on living life. 

We can unknowingly, unwittingly, be ingesting this counsel without realizing it, in just our everyday activities. 

We get drawn into a conversation that we're not necessarily participating in, but the wisdom spoken of isn't going to point us towards Godly wisdom.  

‭"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.

We can take in television commercials, take in advertising during videos or games, and not realize we've sat with the scoffers of the world. 

We get used to the "I can handle it" mentally without understanding that we, on our own, cannot live the righteous life that God desires for us. 

We can't shepherd ourselves. We need to be mindful of our Shepherd and Lord Jesus Christ. What He's doing, where He's going, leaving behind the elementary things of this world. 

How would you describe your time that God does get from you? Would you describe it as David wrote it here? Delight in the law of the Lord. I sort of noticed that the word law was not capitalized.  

David thought that meditation on the Word of God should be a continuous thing. Continually done.
Much as Paul writing of setting our minds on the things that are above and not on the things that are of this world. Gee where would Paul get that notion? 

Do you value your time?
Do you fill it with what matters most?  
Does your mind try to dwell on the word of God?

Only you know the answers to these questions. 

Well, you and the Holy Spirit. 

We can say we pray for wisdom from God...but do we show patience in waiting for His response or do we get ahead of Him?

A key attribute that Jesus had to deal with in the Disciples was them getting ahead of Him. Being impetuous. Slowing them down to the moment rather than running ahead.  

A very grievous time in my life was my getting so far ahead of God that it took over a decade to recover from it.  

We can be a people who run ahead much like the child in a store seeing the toys and listening very little with regards to patience in getting there.

We can also forget that others at a very different place in their growth in Christ.  

We can also forget that we're not to leave others behind. Coming alongside a troubled Believer is an attribute of Jesus.  

We can also forget to prefer one another above ourselves. In our driving need to get to a goal, as the world pushes for, we neglect to consider what that looks like to the unbelieving or the stumbling Believer. 

We can take in worldly wisdom by the bowl or glass full without realizing what is truly happening. 

‭"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." James 3:17-18.
For days Paul was rattled by the process the Spirit was using to show him Godly wisdom after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus.  

David, it is written, was considered to be a man after God's own heart. 

Look at Psalms 1 again. What does he start out with?

We feed out minds daily with both junk food and the Holy Word of God on the same plate. We rarely show the discretion required to keep our minds set on the Holy.

We easily fall prey to justification of our thoughts and actions in order to not feel as bad as we should about not following through with our commitment to giving Jesus our all.

We read in the Old Testament of "first fruits". That the Lord Jesus would get the very first of a crop, of the herd, of the day, of everything. Firstborn sons even.  

Does Jesus get your best or your leftovers because of how realistically commitment to Him that you are? Not how you say you are but how He really, already, sees you as being?

What precautions are you actively taking in regards to protecting your mind? Consider again the whole armor of God before you begin to answer. What are you doing about your heart? 

Are you keeping pace with Jesus or are you running ahead? Are you giving up and failing behind?

We want answers to questions and are impatient about how long it takes to get them. We have the most "knowledge" available at our fingertips yet are a civilization of the most ignorant people in regards to Spiritual things, Spiritual warfare.  

Do you try each day to give of your best to God?
Do you try each day to filter out the noise of the world?
Do you ask of God for wisdom or do you look first for it yourself from the world?

We find ourselves in so much trouble because we allow ourselves sips of pride in our lives. Take a sip here or there and stand on that as to why we really didn't go ask Him for help.  

It's an interesting notion that we have not because we ask not. We easily ask with wrong motives. Not seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness. Just the answer to our problems.

Take stock of where you are looking for wisdom. Take steps to be intentional on going to God first. 

Our lives are not our own. We were bought with a price. The precious blood of Jesus Christ. 

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

Sunday, July 7, 2024

What's to Come

What's to Come 
by David Brenneman 

‭"Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants the things which must soon take place. “And behold, I am coming quickly. Blessed is he who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” Revelation 22:1-7.
"And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” Revelation 22:10-11.
Do you ever truly think beyond your years?  

Many many people think of that vacation they've always wanted or to the one they recently had. 

I have heard all my life of the concept of a bucket list. Those things that people wish to see or do before they pass on.

I have heard of what the Believer's in my life are looking forward to when it's their time to go home to Heaven.  

For me...while yes family and friends who were there because they too said yes to Jesus's free gift of salvation are important to me to see...I want to see Jesus. I want to see Him with two good eyes. I want to have that embrace that I have longed for all my life more than anything else if I am being truthful.

Only those who have come to the place in their lives to know and understand they needed a Savior who is Christ the Lord will ever see Heaven. Those who understood that their good would never be good enough to get into Heaven. 

Hell is full of the arrogant, the prideful, those weeping only because only then did they find out that their good deeds of their lives didn't measure up. Weeping and gnashing of teeth. That's what Jesus repeatedly described. People who rejected Him.  

The future eternity of Believers is shown to be only really what the Bible reveals it to be. Once all of human history is completed, eternity begins for all of humanity. Either in torment in the lake of fire paying for their sins and rejection of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior or with Jesus forever being healed of those things that indeed were rough in their lives.

That Book of Life that is written in only when someone comes to Christ for salvation is everything. 

It's that reservation book at the hotel front desk that determines if entry is permitted or not.  

It's that which signifies that membership is confirmed and all the benefits thereof are granted. 

No human being at any time in human history has ever written their own name in that book because of how good they were...nobody but Jesus. It's His book. He is the Author and the Perfector of our faith. He is the Creator God. All things have come into being because of His plan and purpose for mankind. 

God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit were and are in complete agreement that you and I, all humanity, needed a perfect sacrifice in the name and person of Jesus Christ in order to cover our sins.

You will never see all the perfection of Heaven without first receiving the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.  

It's an entirely futile hope that you consider this idea, this notion, that you could even atone for a single sin let alone all you have committed before a Holy God.  

Millions of people die every day and night waking up in the torments of Hell who never ever believed that they deserved to be there.

We know this because at the Final Judgment, that's the case they will try to argue before Jesus Christ. They will speak of all the things they did...and even say they did those things for Him...and He will say "Depart from Me for I never knew you.".

The gift of God in Christ Jesus is not a golden ticket.  

The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. It is the recognition of that need and its the beginning of the right relationship between ourselves and our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. 

Believing isn't enough. The Bible says that even Demons believe...and shudder. Most, if not all of those who have rejected Jesus to date haven't even done that.  

We come to Christ for salvation it opens doors we never could have opened. We begin learning what it means to be saved. We have our hearts cleansed. We find the love of God that we've been looking for. 

Something else to consider. Simply being a Bible reader doesn't save you. The Bible is in probably every language known to mankind but until it penatrates the heart it does nothing. Satan's knowledge of the Bible surpasses all the Biblical scholars of any era. If reading an knowledge of the words of the Bible were enough then Satan would not be who he is. He was with Jesus from the beginning of all creation. He was with the Word of God.

You and I need to read and obey the Word of God. To be spending intentional time in prayer and the Word of God. To cultivate that right relationship with Jesus. To live in obedience to God's Word. Seeking Him daily, not just when we're in trouble. If you only do that then my Dear Reader you're already in trouble. 

If you only talk to Jesus when you feel like it, when you get around to it, how do you think that relationship is ever going to grow?

The Bible says to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. Seek what's important to Jesus and pursue it. Jesus loved us so that we can love Him and then to love others.

We who are saved, who are Christians, have a future coming that we cannot begin to really fathom or understand. It's not based in a sin cursed fallen world. 
What we know of it is only found in the Word of God.  

Oh what my new eyes will be able to see when My Jesus is before me.

Jesus said that if He goes to prepare a place for us that He will come again and receive us to Himself.  

That passage tells me that when we die, Jesus is the one who comes for all. The Believer's and the unbelieving. We will see either our Savior or our Judge. The choice is for all who breathe the breath of life.  

Know this: the promise of His coming the first time was fully and completely fulfilled according to the Scriptures. 

His return WILL BE fully and completely fulfilled according to the Scriptures. 

The world wants our minds set on the things of this world. The Spirit guides the minds of Believer's to the things that are of above in the Heavenly places. 

Oh as the Scriptures say...come quickly Lord Jesus. 

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

Saturday, July 6, 2024

Truths of Learning

Truths of Learning 
by David Brenneman 

Me: "God what am I to do?" I ask as the waters grow deeper and I can feel them rising where I stand. "I don't know how to swim!" I cry out.

God: "Really? You don't know how to swim. Don't you remember when I brought you through these waters before?"

My favorite take out of the original "The Karate Kid" was when Miyagi blows the mind of Daniel with regards to his training. As Miyagi began with "Not everything is as seem".

Our growth in Christ, our training in righteousness, isn't as we seem to understand it to be.

We often treat the roads of life we are currently on like it's the first time we ever saw them.

It's why I get it that journaling is so important. We need reminders of all that God has done in our lives to know where we are and might be headed to next. 

We need, much as Elijah's servant, to have our eyes opened to see the battlefield as it really is. 

Truly it truly is that the battle belongs to the Lord. He leads, we follow.  

Hymns speak to this truth in training in righteousness "where He leads me I will follow...I'll go with Him, with Him, all the way." Let’s not forget "trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.", "leaning leaning leaning on the everlasting arms."

Songs, hymns and spiritual songs are more than there to bring a joyful noise to the Lord Jesus. They add to our reminders from our journals to keep our minds sharp in life.

We aren't alone, ever.
Our hearts are always laid bare before Him with whom we have to do. 
He's known us since before we were formed in our Mother's womb.

Let's not forget the truth of Scripture. "‭ 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.
The truth of this world requires our knowledge of God in Christ Jesus to grow daily. We backslide in being steadfast in reading it will get us more concerned about the waters than the Creator who allowed them. 

Job did get a sharp rebuke concerning the Sovereign will of God. Will the fault finder contend with the Almighty?

It was an interesting dream that lead to my seeing an overflow of water trying to encompass me. Of my complaining to who was with me that was above the waters of my inability to swim. It didn't really take much to understand the dream. In this dream I could see the land to move towards. Somehow I knew that I would reach it. My reliance on my relationship with Jesus would be what would get me there. 

What's overwhelming you? Are you forgetting all that God's brought you through? Are you not allowing the available songs, hymns and spiritual songs to calm your mind and heart?  

Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.  

I have been getting taught by the Spirit of God to know that I don't need to figure out everything. It's where trusting in God comes into life. 

Do what I can do. Pray about what I see. Wait on the Lord for what's bigger than me. Move when He says to move, stay when He says to stay. "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.

What are you going to do now? Hmm?

Worry is a prayer with no direction, it only goes in circles in our minds. 

Prayer is a worry with a direction...directly to the Throne room of Jesus Christ. 

I also take that dream as others often have been. A possible foreshadowing of things to come. One of the things that the Bible says the Holy Spirit will do is often tell what is to come.  

In the meantime, Love God with our everything, love others. Let the training in righteousness continue. 

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

Friday, July 5, 2024

But I am a Good Person, Right?

But I am a Good Person, Right?
by David Brenneman 

‭"Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion,  That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God." Proverbs 30:7-9

"I'm a good person! God wouldn't send me to Hell!" 

"I'm a nice person! I don't think that I deserve to go to Hell!"

"I think the good things of my life will outweigh the bad.  God will see that and let me into Heaven."

All the above statements are going to land you in Hell when you die.

There's only one way to Heaven and it's only through faith and trust in what Christ Jesus alone did on the cross. That He alone lived a sinless life. Was cruelly beaten and crucified.  Taking our place with regards to the penalty for our sins. 
Rising again 3 days later as both Christ and King, saying "It is finished!"

You, my Dear Reader, delude yourself if you believe that there's any amount of good a person could do to inherit eternal life in Heaven with Jesus. 

Read what it says in the book of Revelation. "‭But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8.

"Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:11-15.

Did you catch that last sentence?

The only way, the only time, in your life, that your name could ever, would ever, be written in the Lamb's book of Life is when you come to Christ for salvation in YOUR life. 

Nobody can pray you into Heaven from Hell.  Nobody else ever fulfilled the requirements of being the perfect sin sacrifice but Jesus. 

When someone comes to Christ for salvation, a couple things happen. 

You are made new in Christ.  All sins are washed away.  He casts your sins as far away as the east is from the west. Remembering them no more. Psalms 103:12.

You are not saved on your merits. You are saved on the merits of the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord. 

Your name is now written down in that very specific, very special Book of Life.  Nobody can erase a name written there because those names are written in the blood of Christ. 

You receive a seal on your person that tells all the demons of this world to whom you belong and that signifies that you are now a child of God in Christ Jesus. 

None of the above is possible through human intervention or human interactions on their own. 

‭"I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” Galatians 2:21.

So what good is trying to live a good life apart from Jesus?  It is actually the same as those who live evil continually.  You read it in Revelation. Those thinking they lived a good life end up in the same place as those who blatantly denied Christ.  The Lake of Fire.  Being written in the Lamb's book of Life is everything. 

Don't necessarily take it from me. 
Read these things for yourself. 

‭"For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;" 2 Corinthians 5:14.

‭"For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." Colossians 3:3.

‭"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:6.

‭"For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." 1 Corinthians 2:2.

‭"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8.

‭"For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;  and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also." 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.

‭"For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;" 1 Peter 3:18.

‭"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;  who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?" Romans 8:31-35.

‭"But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many." Romans 5:15.

"‭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.” How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?  How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!”  However, they did not all heed the good news; for Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?”  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.  But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, And their words to the ends of the world.” Romans 10:8-18.

My Dear Reader, you and I were born entirely in our own sins.  We needed a Savior who is Christ Jesus.  Our "good" is by our own standards.  Our "good enough" is not nor will it ever be enough according to God's standard. God's standard is perfection available only in Christ. 

Time is indeed not on the side of humanity.  Jesus said that just as He left, He will return again to take with Him all who have called upon His Name for salvation.

If you have not. You will only know the unbearable, unbelievably painful loss of missing out when these people leave this world to forever be with Jesus. 

A ruler will arise after Jesus does take His people from this world who try to, and mostly succeed at, making the world believe he is God.  

Don't think it could never happen. 
Look at what you have lived through in your lifetime that you thought could never happen as well. 

Salvation is a free gift of God to all who believe.  No strings attached. 
Jesus did all the work.  When you come to Christ for salvation all His Father sees when He looks at the life of a Believer is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 

Please don't rely on your own understanding. Please don't think that God will cut you some slack. 
That God will do this or that for you because you did stuff for Him. 

Jesus says to those who believe such things to "depart from Me for I never knew you".

Take the right step today and know for sure that your salvation is secure in Christ Jesus.  Know that your home will be in Heaven with Jesus.  

You alone must choose. 

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

Thursday, July 4, 2024

God: May I Have Your Undivided Attention?

God: May I Have Your Undivided Attention?
by David Brenneman 

In any of your days this week, did you give God your undivided attention?

Is there a time, each day, that you spent specifically with Jesus?  In prayer, in reading your Bible, in thought?  

Paul wrote: "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." Colossians 3:16-17.

"And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ." Ephesians 5:18-21.

Yet more food for thought...James 4:17 "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."

You cannot grow in Christ if you aren't with Christ.  You cannot learn speech, love and conduct apart from your example who is Christ the Lord. 

People enlist in the military to serve their country. To learn from other soldiers on exactly what it means to be a soldier. To be as good as or better than their instructors.

People go to colleges and universities for a specific course study.  They are taught what is necessary and critical to become as good as their professors. The hope of professors is that their students would surpass them.

We who have come to Christ for salvation are to grow in respect to our salvation. 1 Peter 2:2.

We are to seek obedience in Christ Jesus with loving God with our everything and love others as He's loved us.

So...does Jesus ever get your undivided attention?  

Are we too busy talking to be in a position of listening?

Have we made up our minds to not listen to the prompting of the Spirit of God by our actions?

Many, having been hurt by others in this life, have shipwrecked their faith and have gone no farther on the path the Spirit had set them.  

Where would the rest of the book of Daniel be had Daniel caved into fear?  Where would the rest of the book of Revelation be if John hadn't pressed on?

Where would we be if those who came before us had given up?

It's incredibly saddening to hear of Pastor's, men of God, who abandon their position in the Church because of the battles that are part and parcel for their position.  The battle caused them to stop being who they were called to be and now those lives they could have touched to lead them to Christ for salvation are now for someone else to do. 

It's incredibly important to spend time eating physical foods.  It's incredibly important to drink appropriate drink.  

It's even more critical to be spiritually fed than even the physical things in our world.  Jesus told His Disciples that He had food to eat that they knew nothing about. His food was to do the will of His Father in Heaven. 

You, my Dear Reader, if indeed you are saved in Christ Jesus, have a divine purpose under Heaven.  You have a responsibility to sit at the feet of Jesus to learn from Him on how to grow in Him through His Spirit.  

What are you doing to eat and drink well in Christ?

What are you separating yourself from in order to be holy as He is holy?

What are you doing to feed yourself from the provisions of God for you?

Can you honestly say that daily Jesus gets your undivided attention?  

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Things You Do

Things You Do
by David Brenneman 

What things do you intentionally do with regards to your faith?

Do you keep your ways separated from your walk with Jesus? Why?

I'm reading in James this week on top of my regular reading in my Bible.  

Would you trust a person claiming to be a Mechanic if there wasn't any evidence that they knew what they were doing?

Would you trust a person claiming to be a Doctor if you never saw them with any patients?

Just the same, faith without any works is dead. As one devotional writer said, faith without any works is like a dead body in a morgue.  

A tree that's supposed to bear fruit that doesn't typically gets cut down and thrown in the fire.

People claiming to be Christians should have evidence to support their standing in Christ. 

The Pharisees and Sadducees had a reputation of being the spiritual leaders...yet the evidence said otherwise. 

In our lives in Christ we should have such a grateful heart that obedience to the leading of the Spirit in our lives takes precedence. 

As the old hymn says "where He leads me I will follow. I'll go with Him, with Him all the way".

Sure we have the must do's of our day. I must get up for the day. I must get dressed. I must prepare myself a lunch for later. Must show up to complete my agreement to work for someone who agrees to pay me for my services. We must take care of our bodies. We must abide, to the best of our ability and baring violations of the Word of God, by the laws of the land.  

Our commitment to that working relationship between employee and employer is God given. Therefore that work should be as unto the Lord. Regardless of what we feel about it. I often must ask for forgiveness of God because of my grumbling about my employer. 

Ok, so after work. This time too, in the life of a Believer, belongs to God in Christ Jesus. We aren't off of hook at any waking moment. 

We come to Christ, we become permanent Ambassadors of Jesus Christ until He calls us home. The position and title is irrevocable. No retirement program until we breathe no more.  

We are to live a life of gratitude for all that Jesus has done for us. Regardless of what life sends our way.  

The great temptation is to be distracted by self. Our sin nature will do whatever is possible to get us to think about self over service to others. Our sin nature will convince us of how to live in harmony with idolatry. You cannot get through 15 minutes of video online or television without commercials to that extent. 

Where does your time go?  

Would you have to convince someone that you are a Child of God or would the evidence of your life already show it?

Does your speech, love, and conduct support the claim that you are saved in Christ Jesus?

How much of what you say, what you decide, is peppered why "I"?

On the merits of evidence, could you be arrested or convicted of being a Christian? Would people know you are who you claim to be?

A person claiming to be a Christian who doesn't live it out, is the same as that one earlier claiming that they are a Doctor without any patients. 

Look around at what you hold close to your heart. I didn't say who you hold close to your heart, but what.

Our culture proudly displays idolatry everywhere and in the name of recreational this or that. We take the free gift of salvation and set it aside rather than give it away. We take what feelings, aspirations, desires that ought to be poured into a life in Christ and give those to the world...and convince ourselves that it's ok. God understands. 

If the culmination of your life were tried by fire, and the resultant gold produced was to make a gift to give back to Jesus...would there be enough to do so?

Faith, without works, is dead. 
Faith with no evidence of it, produces nothing to show for it. 

Do you commit time to reading your Bible?
Do you commit time to songs of praise that glorify our God?
Do you commit time to His will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven?
Do you commit time towards others in Jesus's name?

The things that you do should backup your life in Christ.  

Jesus said this: "‭And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it. For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." Luke 9:23-26.

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Things to Do

Things to Do
by David Brenneman 

"Let’s not become discouraged in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not become weary." Galatians 6:9.

"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27.

I find myself more and more trying not to waste my time. If going from one place to another in my house, if I can and it needs done, I try to do more to make fewer trips. Working smarter not harder. 

The struggle is real. 

Our enemy does prowl around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour. Some days it feels like my head is in his mouth. Some days I feel the sting of his claws. Some days it feels like he's sitting on me. 

The effects of Spiritual Warfare are real.

The Bible, the very Word of God, says that the effects are real, so why do so many professing Christians deny such things?

If these truths of the reality of life in Christ weren't as solid, as valid, as real as they are...why have it enshrined in Ephesians 6 concerning Spiritual Armor?

We do ourselves much harm as well when we run from battles that it was God's Will for us to engage in. 

When we quit on God in such times we give ground, more often than not, to the enemies of God. We will never know nor see the victory that could have been had we been more steadfast, more resilient, had been at the very least standing firm. 

I, at times, have been one who turned from the battle. Have seen others do it as well.  

The battle belongs to the Lord, according to His Word. At many times I am like that servant of Elisha who needed his eyes opened to see that those who were with them were more than those who were against them. 2 Kings 6:17.

We sometimes are brought back to that battle because it's still God's plan to include us in the victory to come. We won't get off the hook. 

What can be a very bad thing is people falling away from the battle only to start doing "things for God" that while may have merit, were not for them to be doing. Satan leaves them alone, even if he loses some ground, because the individual would do him more harm had they stayed the course, and had fought the good fight as Paul said. 

It's always possible to be doing things for God that aren't for you to be doing.  

Personally, and this isn't a boast, I CAN do a great many things. My obedience to my Savior is to be found doing what it is He has in mind for me to be doing. I have been given many talents and abilities. Experience has taught me a lot. Just because I am able does not follow that I automatically should.  

In becoming His Disciples, Jesus started out with basic things. The more He added to their teaching, the less they did of their own will. Regardless of how capable they were in many various things.  

Life is supposed to be less of us, more of Jesus for the Believer. 

People often are, and again I have been there done that, hurt and justify their exit from the battle.

We are indeed to be in the world but not of the world. Standing firm. 

Ephesians 6:11 "Put on the armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil."

1 Corinthians 16:13 "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."

‭1 Peter 1:13 "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."
‭Philippians 1:21-30 "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me."
‭Ephesians 4:4, 6-7 "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift."

See it? There's much we we are to learn in Christ, but the field of battle is the only place we're going to learn it. It's not a contradictory thing that we are to suit up in the whole armor of God while the battle belongs to the Lord.  

Look to the Old Testament. Some of their battles, they were to be ready for battle while being instructed specifically by the Lord Jesus to do nothing but watch Him fight.  

You may not be called to fight, but may merely be called to stand in the gap. Armor on, just to stand in the way of the schemes of the devil. Your strength in the faith may be a catalyst to encourage another who IS supposed to press on ahead. 

Oh my Dear Reader, you who are in Christ DO have God given purposes under Heaven. You DO have things to do that are indeed for you to be doing. Not being busy bodies looking busy without doing what we are called to be doing.  

Pray about your activities in your life. Ask for help in knowing what needs to go in order to be the best you can be in what it is that God's got for you to be doing.

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

Monday, July 1, 2024

How Unstained are You?

How Unstained are You?
by David Brenneman 

‭"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world." James 1:27.

It is a question worthy of serious thought and interest. 

In a world that is ever pushing the envelope of what constitutes truth, echoes of Pilate bounce off the walls of our minds. "What is truth?"

The world would have everyone believe that individual truth is where it's at.  Interestingly enough the Bible says this is the epitome of selfishness and self-centeredness. 

We can't look at our phones, our computer monitors, televisions, digital billboards, newspapers, podcasts, streaming videos, YouTube, Facebook, X (Formerly known as Twitter), Instagram, Tik-Tok, and any other form of interaction with the world and not come away with the stains it offers in exchange for interacting with the world. 

We aren't immune to any of it.  It's a core reason to spend more time, energy and effort living the Christian life as the Spirit directs than we do on ourselves. 

Our sin nature will always have some devious, twisted, distorted, disturbing plan to thwart whatever we have in mind for living life, always, always, always contrary to the will of God for us in Christ Jesus. 

Many churches consider footwashing as Jesus did it to His Disciples as optional. To be something more thought about than done.  Interestingly these same-said churches neglect to acknowledge the very words of Jesus when He said for us to do as He did to them.  

Our lives, even if we tried to be completely self-sustaining, are going to be stained by the world. 

We will have varying degrees of thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to.  Bible says so. 
We will have varying degrees of thinking less of others than ourselves. 
We will have varying degrees of giving into fear over walking in faith. 

We will waste time, energy and effort given to us daily as a gift from God all for lack of considering it for what it is.  Every day we wake up is a gift of grace from God to each of us. We are not promised a today. 

For those who are in Christ...remember the parable of the talents.  We are entrusted with the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not to keep it to ourselves but to pass it on.  We are part of the body of Christ and have a God-given  job to be doing in Christ. 

The Word of God shouldn't be distant to any Believer.  It shouldn't be what we pick up only when life has fallen apart, such as when we are trying to build or do something and as a last resort use the manual. 

How intentional are your days?

How intentional are you in regards to your living life in the best way possible according to the will of God for you?

God's will for all who are saved in Christ Jesus is our sanctification.  This is beyond measure more important than possessions or prestige or public opinion.  It's possible even to call it the antithesis of pride and self-centeredness. 

Our world is wrapped in self-centeredness, self-willed, people.   In his letter to Timothy, Paul wrote "‭But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these." 2 Timothy 3:1-5.

These listed here are the hallmarks of the stains of this world. We need to approach the Throne of Grace daily to ask for forgiveness of our sins to what end?  To cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  Cleanse.  Clean up. Wash. Remove stain and soiling.  

We can easily look back over a day and proclaim "That was a good day!" The reality is, would Jesus really agree with you?  I try to remember, much as Job did, to ask for forgiveness for my intentional and unintentional sins.  Those things that I am aware of and those that I am not. 

Even if you lived life in a bubble, you still wouldn't be unstained by the world. King David knew his sins would find him out.  Where could he go?  

It's important, daily, to be clean, not just physically, but spiritually as well.  We need to be reminded of our needs in Christ.  We need to remember we are not in a religion with God but a relationship with Jesus. 

Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you isn't a strong suggestion.  

So think about that unstained by the world are you?  How much effort are you putting into growing in Christ?  How much of your time, energy and effort goes to the ungodly things of this world?
How much of your time, energy and effort goes to living life for your Savior and Lord?

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