Monday, April 29, 2013


Psalm 51:16-17 - For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise.

We can do nothing of ourselves to win God's affection. We cannot work harder at this or that or be better people in our own strength. All He requires is our hearts and spirits, humbly coming to Him. That's all He wants. Why is that so difficult? Why are we such prideful people that we cannot loosen up, let go and just allow Him to have full access to our lives? Ach! 

He has so much to offer and we so often refuse. But He is willing to forgive if we just speak up! 

Psalm 51:3-4, 6 - For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


Ephesians 4:4-6 - There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 

There is an account (I don't like to use the word story) about a man named Gideon. He was a godly man and he heard God speak. He and his army were being sent out to fight the Midianites. God told him there were too many in his army to capture this enemy. He did not want all of Israel to proclaim that by their own hand they had defeated Midianites so he had Gideon make the statement that anyone fearful of the upcoming battle could be excused. Twenty-two thousand men left leaving ten thousand.

But God said this was still too large and He narrowed the army down to 300. His instructions were to take these 300 men to defeat the enemy.

God always uses the fewest, the least probable, the mundane, the most humble, the weakest, the persons of least regard to accomplish His goals. There are good reasons for this. One is He receives the glory. Two is to show that He CAN use the lesser people or circumstances to do the impossible...that these people, like the disciples and apostles, will not be able to take credit for what was prove the power of God, to prove His existence. This is not arrogance.

I believe He's doing the same thing in the Church today too. I believe He can take the grandiose mega churches and whittle them down to a God-size that He is able to manage. I'm not saying a large church cannot be effective if they are truly allowing God to do the work; if the pastors are willing to see what He is doing I think they will survive. But there is coming a time when all churches will be called to account for what they do in the name of Jesus. God knows the hearts of the churches and the leaders and people within each church.

This scripture in Ephesians is what the Church should be. One body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one God and each of us. Total unity. When that happens it becomes a church usable by God...and may become part of the last day's remnant church.

This Church will be a church without spot or wrinkle. All the churches that comprise this remnant church will be few in number compared to the rest of the churches. Wide is the road to destruction and narrow the way to life. God tells us this is the way it will be.

There are many in churches today who believe they will see heaven. It's what they've been taught. But is what they have been taught God's truth? Now that's the question.

There is a saying or a song that says God is good, all the time. And the truth is, He is. Even in His judgment He is good. It may seem like He's unfair but He isn't. He has every right to exact judgment to produce right or righteousness. Judgment comes and weeds out the wheat from the tares, which is a good thing for the wheat. Through His judgment we can learn better what is right. That's a good thing also.

I'm sure Gideon was sure wondering how paring down of his army was going to be good. But in the end He saw God's absolute power prevail through 300 men willing to do what they were asked. It's a bit like Joshua when he fought and defeated Jericho by marching and shouting and then watching as the walls fell and they were given access to their enemy. I'm sure that surprised the daylights out of the residents as well as the soldiers. They had to have been wondering what in the world was up. I'd like to see that happen today!

God may seem strange to some, too judgmental to others and even arrogant or self absorbed for the glory He commands of Himself. But you know what? He is worthy of every bit of it. He has every right and anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong. That's what is going to make the remnant a remnant some day. The few who are willing to follow Him under any circumstance. And that includes churches which soften the messages God brings. The truth of His Word which should not be added to or taken away from. The truth that can sometimes be hard and not what we want to hear. The truth that, yes, Jesus is good, but like He overturned the money changers tables in anger, He can have a righteous indignation against people too.

The road narrows that takes us to life. Let's be sure we are on it. Let's be sure we are hearing the honest truth of His Word. Let us be willing to be poked, prodded, molded and shaped into the person He knows we can be. Let us be vigilant, discerning, humble and flexible enough to change. When we do we will become part of that remnant, those people many will despise, reject and mock. But those who will be at the right place at the right time with the right attitude when He comes for His remnant. Those few, least, humble, mundane and weak whom God has an eye for.

1Peter 4:17 - For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Life in Heaven or Death in Hell?

Luke 16:25 - "But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.'"

Jesus tells of a very brief account in Luke about Lazarus and a rich man.

Lazarus was a beggar (not to be confused with Martha and Mary's brother). He sat at the gate to his city. Not a lot is said about him but we learn in the very few words a lot about him: ...there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (Luke 16:20-21) Quite the picture, isn't it? On the other hand there was a rich man, with fine clothing and good food in abundance.

They both died. Lazarus, it is told, was carried by the angels into the bosom of Abraham, which tells us he went to heaven because he was a godly man, probably trusting in God in all circumstances, not prone to despair over his plight and certainly not complaining (just speculating...). He knew his God and what was in store in death.

The rich man, however, died and was buried. No one to carry him anywhere. If anything he might have plunged into Hades where he was "tormented in this flame." I'm intrigued by the fact that this probably prominent rich man is not named where lowly Lazarus is. God elevates the humble and lowers the proud.

Well, this rich man could look up and see Lazarus resting peaceably in Abraham's bosom. He called out that he might be allowed one drop of water to quench his tongue of just a moment's heat. Abraham reminded him that he had already obtained all the good things of this worldly life that he desired. Lazarus, though, had nothing of consequence; it is said that he had been afflicted with evil things.

But God...delivers both the wicked and the just into their "just rewards." There is a gulf, as seen between these two men, both in death as in life. That gulf today is between men and God. We are separated from Him because of our sins. To close that gap can only be done through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. He will take us from death in this world to spiritual, eternal life. But we must forego all the things we once have thought as important and right, including the things this world has deemed right (morally and socially) in the eyes of man which are blatant sins against God. They are the things this country (and the world) is so divided over.

Like Lazarus, I'm glad I'm on the side of the minority. I'm glad that I am the one being mocked, jeered and called intolerant. It means I'm on the right side. The rich man isn't necessarily portraying a wealthy man. He portrays a man who is spiritually dead, whose wealth is more important than God. He is one who looked only to himself and his own beliefs and "tolerances" of life, apart from God. He did as he desired. He accumulated earthly things and gave no credit to God for what he had.

Lazarus had nothing apart from God. I'd like to know how Lazarus started he got where he was. What was his story? We all have stories. For a lot of us we might have related once to the rich man. On the other hand, many know very well the life of Lazarus.

Many of us may have stuff in our lives. It can be a lot of stuff or a little. But when it becomes more important than Jesus, it is a stumbling block. If we can look at what we have and say we could live without this or that and still be happy because we have what matters most, a life in Christ, we truly have arrived!

The rich man was rich in world stuff and world views; Lazarus had all that mattered, God. I'm assuming that despite his sores and place in life, he was provided for. God may have given him just what he needed, no more, because Lazarus trusted Him. Maybe God kept him in this place that he would stay focused on Him.

It is the world that is the great gulf. It blinds us to and separates us from the things of God, His righteousness, His goodness and mercy, His life. If a decision for Christ is not made before death that gulf is permanent. No one, no thing will remove one from death in hell to life in heaven. It is eternal.

The rich man called out that if he could not be taken from his place in torment could someone at least visit his brothers and warn them. The thing is, people can be warned and warned, but only that person being warned can make the final or God. They have to be open to receive. I shudder, I truly do, at the people some day who all along thought they were right in their own eyes and unknowingly mocking God, and who find themselves at the bottom end of the gulf. A decision can be made today to change all that. Seek God for the answer. Seek Him for salvation.

Read the whole account here. It's short!

Luke 16:30-31 - "And (the rich man) said, '...if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But (Abraham) said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’”

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Judge

Proverbs 14:27 - The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.

I've been devouring the Book of Judges. About how the people of Israel, God's people, whom He led out of captivity in Egypt to the land He promised them. About their constant disobedience now that they were settled in this land...a land where they had not fully banished the other peoples who lived there. How they continually served the gods (Baals) of these people, intermarried with them, and fell into sin because of them. How God was angered by their disobedience and considered abandoning them altogether. About how they would become oppressed and would cry out to God in this oppression, and how He would relent and deliver them.

Israel was a rebellious lot. They fell into idolatry and disbelief. God decided to set up judges to rule over the people, to deliver them from these people. While under the judge things went well; wars were won. But when he died they returned to their disobedience and additional sin...and another judge was brought in to deliver them.

I bring this up a lot...we are to learn from the past. The Bible is filled with "the past" examples of what happens to people when God is ignored or removed. It was only for Israel back then. Since Christ came to be our ultimate Deliverer, we can ALL learn from these experiences. He came for ALL mankind and when we are chosen to enter into relationship with Him we are like Israel, His people, His children. He requires the same obedience...not worshiping foreign gods, not associating with the ungodly being unequally yoked--at least to the point where we become influenced by them. It is still our obligation to point them to Christ.

Christ came to die for our sins because God so loved the world that He GAVE His one and only Son. And Christ willingly GAVE His life for our sins. And He GAVE that those who would believe on Him would be saved. (John 3:16)

Yes, God loves us like we will never be able to understand. And like a father with a child, He disciplines us, even to the point of sending judgment into our lives to make a point. This is for individuals through the trials we each go through or a nation who has decided to eliminate God from everything. We cannot continue to be a great nation, a great people, unless we return to God...humble ourselves...repent of our sins...including those that are so divisive and controversial today...abortion, same sex marriage, removing God from everything; even worshiping other gods, our idols: drugs, alcohol, money, cars, stuff.

Like in the time of Judges, God judged. Don't think He won't judge today either. It is my understanding that the Westboro Baptist Church believes judgment came upon Boston because the state was the first to allow same sex marriage. I'm not going to say yea or nay. If it is of God, He has the right. I don't like that this church is protesting funerals.

It is, however, during times of judgment that people wonder where He is and some may even turn back to Him. It's why He brings judgment. HE is the ultimate Judge. We who are against the blatant sins of this country can point them out. God knows who is for or against Him or the things of God. He will ultimately judge. Until then, we point out. Look at what God did to Israel... He still judges today. Let Him be the ultimate Judge. If He is going to judge each of us we should be fearing Him for our lives.

Judges 2:11-12 - Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals; and they forsook the Lord God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt; and they followed other gods from among the gods of the people who were all around them, and they bowed down to them; and they provoked the Lord to anger.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Without the Lord

Joshua 24:7,8,10,11- ...He put darkness between you and the Egyptians, brought the sea upon them, and covered them...I gave them into your hand...and I destroyed them from before you...So I delivered you out of his hand...I delivered them into your hand.

Joshua was old and about to end his life and leadership role with Israel. They had crossed over the Jordan to secure the land God had promised them. Joshua, like Moses, was reminding the of all God had done for them. What HE did for them. Joshua was also telling them that when they disobeyed God and began to worship other gods instead the LORD's anger would burn against them and they would perish from this land He had given them (Joshua 23). He was prophesying their future.

But for now they were right in God's eyes. He had protected them as they crossed over the Jordan and caused them to win battle after battle to secure their land by giving the enemy into their hands. Perhaps they were good battlers, perhaps not. It was only by God's hand that they won.

When we come to Christ, it is the same way. It is nothing that we do to secure His salvation. We can't be good enough or work hard enough. We come when we have come to the end of some battle in our lives and we allow the Lord to step in. That thing that has kept us from giving our hearts to God was given into His hand. And He has delivered us.

God has spiritually given us: a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant. (Joshua 24:13) This is our spiritual promised land. We did not labor or build or plant. All we had to do was receive what the Lord offered.

And what does the Lord ask in return? Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! (Joshua 24:14) Serve the Lord!

For many this seems old fashioned, for those days, not today. It is not what today's society would believe to be necessary. Days are getting short and it's time to take the Lord seriously. It's time to listen to His words that are timeless. It's time to put two and two together and realize there will be a day when we will have nowhere else to turn but God.

I was watching some of the Boston bombing news. I began to weep for the people in general. For those lost and questioning why these senseless things occur and who would even want to do this. I pray that God intervenes in some miraculous way in the lives of many, if not all, the people injured and their families, and those who viewed the events of the morning. I pray that once again people will begin to look up and not just to man. God can cause good to come out of evil. He can cause people to turn to Him. As long as we turn our backs on God, however, our enemy will strike.

We've had it all too good over the past several decades. Our belief that nothing can happen to us has been damaged. It has changed our attitudes. We keep upping the determination to be stronger and more secure. Reliance on self or government has replaced reliance on God. When they disobeyed God and began to worship other gods instead the LORD's anger would burn against them. Could that be happening? Don't laugh. Our reliance on all the good things we've had can be erased in a moment's notice. Even lives. But if we have stored up the things of heaven we can be content with little more than just enough. If we seek Him first all other things...all other necessary things...will be given to us. But most important is what He provides through His Son Jesus: eternal life. What more could a person want?

Joshua prophesied what would transpire for Israel. It has happened to us too in our attempt to eliminate God and serve the gods of our own choosing.

Joshua 24:15 - And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Friend of Sinners

Matthew 11:19 - The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children.”

Jesus is said to be a friend of sinners. I'm thinking we should not consider Him as loosely as a friend. I don't know that I would do that. How could my Lord and God who is the highly exalted one be considered a mere friend? Just my musings here...

I looked up the meaning of the word friend in the context of this scripture. Maybe it had some special meaning. Nope. It means: friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well; he who associates familiarly with one, a companion. Nothing out of the ordinary. It's what Jesus just was and did.

Let's look at it this way: HE is the friend of all. He befriends US first. But we really shouldn't look to Him as just a friend, like we do with our own. He is, however, THE best friend we can have. He loved us first and will always love us. How many of us can say we will always love someone? He loves us the way we are, but loves us enough to not allow us to remain in our current state!

He is always here for us. How many of us can say we would always be available for someone else? He died for us. Again, how many of us would volunteer to die for another (although it does happen)? Yes, HE is our friend. Do you see to what depth that is? We cannot think of that word friend loosely when discussing Jesus. To diminish the fact that He is the one who is highly exalted dismisses who He is.

He must be looked upon with reverence. He should never be lowered to our human understanding of friend. He was a friend of the disciples. Perhaps until they recognized Him as the risen Savior they treated Him as friend and teacher. They admired Him for the wisdom and manner in which He spoke and they knew there was something so different about Him. But the real knowledge had not yet been made clear.

I would presume after He died and the severity and awesomeness of what He had done became clear, and He was risen and returned to spend a little more time with them, they exalted Him. The idea that this Man had been their friend was now looked upon in absolute awe.

This is the God that created this universe, who holds us in the palm of His hand, who knows the number of hairs on our heads, who knew us and our names before time began and before He created us in our mothers' wombs, who was so perfect in His being that He was considered pure enough to be the spotless Lamb of God who died for the sins of all mankind...and lives yet today. HE befriended people that He might be Lord of their lives.

Oswald Chambers wrote: We know Him "according to the Spirit." The Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus to us and in us until we know who He is and know the exceeding majesty of Him...  When we come into right relationship with God, that Friend grows in a greater way, one we cannot describe as mere friend.

Joshua was confronted with a Man after he and Israel had crossed over the Jordan. He had a sword in His hand and Joshua asked Him if He was for them or their adversaries. He replied: No, but as Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come. THIS is how we should look at the Lord our God, Jesus...And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, "What does my Lord say to His servant?" Reverence.

Philippians 2:9-11 - Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Joshua and the Ark?

Joshua 3:5 - ..."Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you."

Oh, am I mistaken? Was it supposed to be Noah and the ark? Hmmmmm. Read on.

Moses had died. He had completed all his reminding the Israelites the things God had showed them, how He protected them during their 40 year traipsing through the wilderness. How He had provided for them...even how He had been angered at their disobedience, but still forgave them. What a glorious God we have. His love never fails...for those who dedicate themselves to Him.

By God's command, Joshua was chosen to lead Israel over the Jordan River to the promised land. He had proven himself dedicated to the LORD. They would need him as leader as they battled the enemies for their land. But Joshua didn't just hold up a sword and say Follow me as they moved on. No, he wanted them again to understand that their God was with them and He would do wonders.

So what did Joshua do to lead them? He had the ark of the LORD carried by the priests be the first to cross over the Jordan River. Like Moses and Israel crossing over the Red Sea on dry ground, here the Israelites would experience the same...because the LORD was with them and prepared the dry path across the Jordan as the soles of the priests carrying the ark stepped into the water.

I say all this to make yet another point! If we place God first and foremost in our lives, He promises to make ways, as a song states, where there seem to be no ways. When we step out in faith, He steps out ahead and guides us through tough times. He knows our enemy awaits us at every turn but when we stick close to Him we will know that "the living God is among you, and that He will without fail drive out from before you the (enemy)" (Joshua 3:10). 

This doesn't mean there won't be a battle. Even death might occur...but if we know the Lord Jesus and are in constant communion with and trust in Him, even in death we have life eternal. A win-win situation. Hallelujah.

After all of the Israelites had crossed over the Jordan on dry land they were to set up a monument of stones as a memorial of yet another time God had been with them. We can have memorials all throughout our lives of times when the Lord has redeemed us. They are our testimonials. Some will be small testimonies, some will be large. But they should be dotted throughout our lives (in Christ).

What happened next? God exalted Joshua before the people. The people's response? They feared (reverenced) Joshua like they did Moses. And shouldn't that be the response for us? That people who know when we express how God has aided us in some way might revere Him and perhaps see a need for His presence in their lives too?

And there's more. As those priests who carried the ark stepped foot from the dry ground of the Jordan back onto the dry ground of the promised land, the water assumed its position in the river bed as before...even to overflowing the banks.

Israel had more testimonies to show how the LORD their God had been with them. Let's let our God show us what He can do for us that others might see, know and follow this wonderful Lord we serve. Let us begin to recognize all the testimonies in our lives and cause them to become memorials to His love and faithfulness to those who love and are faithful to Him. 

Joshua 4:22,24 - shall let your children know, saying, "Israel crossed over this Jordan on dry land...that all the peoples of the earth may know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty, that you may fear the LORD your God forever."

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Hebrews 4:12 - For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

I was in deep conversation the other day with a good Christian friend. We do not see each other as much as we used to but for me, who is not a phone person, I love talking with her. We always end up talking about the Lord. And don't you know, we are always so refreshed and encouraged. And before you know it, we are worshiping God and praying for each other right then and there.

It's easy and so satisfying to be able to do that with people of like mind. I can't imagine how wonderful a day would be if every conversation ended up like this.

Today, however, it is a offense to many to even bring up the name of Jesus. I don't quite understand why. Maybe it's a feeling of insecurity or guilt. They know who Jesus is and think that's enough not wanting to take the time to know Him intimately. Why? Is it fear? Is it thinking they are not worthy of Him? Is it arrogance thinking they are worthy and He loves all people so....  No one is worthy. That's the bottom line. That's why we need Him.

There is no one religion that is better than another. It's about a relationship with one Person, Jesus Christ. That's the bottom line.

What is it that causes one to become offended at the name of Jesus? What goes through a person's mind at the moment they are confronted with even just a hint of someone who is serious about Him? It's like a cat...I swear this is how they think. Here's the scenario: They've been naughty and after being scolded they run under the bed to hide. To them it's just a game. Only half of their body is hidden, however, and their tail or hind quarters is still sticking out. I swear they think in their little minds, "Well, I can't see her, so she can't see me."

What I'm getting at is if we avoid talking about Jesus just maybe He doesn't see us or our sin. If we don't talk about Him or bring Him up we don't have to face it. It doesn't exist...just like the cat who thinks he/she's hidden because they can't see me.

So I know what I am to do. And it should always be in the love of Christ. He loved all people, even those who offended Him. He loved all so much He died for each of us...not that we should just give Him a wink and say, "Good job, Jesus. Glad You did that for me" and then go on living as if we owe Him nothing at all.

Oh, people, we do need to do something. We need to embrace what He has done. I despise that new age word but it's what He wants...for us to embrace Him and follow Him...and not be offended by Him or offend Him. We're not to embrace diversity of religions, as the world believes, we're to embrace one Man, Jesus Christ.

After all that...offense is the greatest fear I have! I admit my sin. Hopefully admitting it will cause me to do something about it. As much as I know that talking about Jesus to unbelievers is what we are to do, it is difficult for me to just open my mouth and speak. On the other hand, aren't we then offending Jesus if we do not?

There's no hiding from Him. So why not discuss the One who died to save us? Like with certain of my friends, it is so refreshing and joyful talking about the Lord. Oh, we ponder His judgments, His commands to us, and we counter it with the love He brings, the blessings when we do what is right in His eyes.

I know we are all equipped upon conversion to open and our mouths and speak of the greatness of our God, of what He has done and what He continues to do in our lives. We all, upon this conversion, want so much to share this knowledge. I did it; so have others. And when we hit blank looks or no response, in time we realize it's not something most people want to discuss...and the talking stops. What's so offensive about a life truly being saved? We are, sadly, an offense to the Lord when we do not open those mouths...of this I repent.

I read this the other morning: "We have the idea that prosperity, or happiness, or morality, is the end of man's existence; according to the Bible, it is something other, namely, 'to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.' When a man is right with God, God puts His honor in that man's keeping." Am I glorifying God by not talking about Him openly? Like I said above, there is a joy in speaking of Him...but it should go beyond preaching to the choir!

Lord, forgive me for not opening my mouth to speak. There is no one greater than You. Yes, You were an offense in Your day...even to Your own family...yes, You are the Word that causes offense, the Word that pierces our hearts and souls showing us what sinful people we are. Yes, You will judge all mankind on how they lived their lives either with or apart from You...WITH and apart. You will judge mouths that would not speak the truth when it was known. Lord, let the power of Your Spirit fall upon me that I might speak in the fullness of You about the fullness of You.

Matthew 11:6 - And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

What Can I Say?

Isaiah 61:3 - To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.

What can I say? I praise the Lord. 

I thank Him for who He is and what He does, for what He takes us through, over or around. 

I thank Him that I love Him because He first loved me. Somehow in my self-oriented life He managed to reveal Himself and I managed to see Him. He managed to speak and my ears were no longer deaf to His voice. He managed to say, "Come, follow Me" and I stepped out in faith. 

How I praise the Lord. In good times and bad, I will praise the Lord. He takes us into wildernesses and valleys to grow us and on mountain tops to refresh us, to edify us. When we have learned to praise Him in the valleys, we can know the abundance of life He brings. Joy in the midst of sorrow, beauty for ashes, filthy rags to clothes of righteousness. All because of Jesus.

Who wouldn't want this life? In talking with a friend today we pondered how we are who we are in Christ. That out of all the people in the world, we can be called His. And He is ours. Yet there are so many who desire not this life in Christ. Never have, never will. It's one of those mysteries. 

Are we perfect? No. But He works at peeling the layers off that we might one day look like Him. That's a very long way off, I'm afraid...

We have a hope, however, something very real to cling to. It is not born out of earthly desires. It comes to us from God the Father. How precious and amazing is that? A perfect gift. One like none other. One He offered to us. One we cling to. 

What can I say? I praise the Lord.

Psalm 31:19 - Oh, how great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You, which You have prepared for those who trust in You in the presence of the sons of men!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


John 8:12 - Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

Our pastor, Terry Fischer, spoke on Abundant Life on resurrection Sunday. He searched scriptures and read several to show us examples of what the Bible says about life. It was a great word study. Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ can we have an abundant life, one not just of living happily, but overflowing. Before I posted this blog, I reviewed my emails and found his Eyesalve devotion, highlighted above.

So...I sat down this morning and did my own research on the word. I searched a concordance and chose scripture after scripture on that one single word, life.

Surprisingly enough...but not just always points to Jesus. Without Him we have no life, no eternal life. We are dead in this world unless we have Him in our lives, in our hearts and that His words are alive and living within us as well. Let me give you some examples I came up with.

In Him is life - John 1:4
The Son brings life - John 11:25, 1John 5:11-12, John 6:40, John 10:28, John 5:26
The Spirit gives life - John 6:63, Romans 8:10
In Christ we have eternal life - 1john 5:11, John 6:47, Romans 6:23
Belief in Jesus is life - John 3:15
Christ is our life - Colossians 3:4
The Good Shepherd gives life - John 10:11
Hope in Christ is life - 1Corinthians 15:19
The Lord redeems life - Psalm 103:4, Psalm 72:14
Christ in me is life - Galatians 2:20

Then there were others describing other forms of life that only Christ gives to us:
Jesus is the:
Bread of life - John 6:35, 48, 51
Fountain of life - Psalm 36:9
Word of life - John 6:63, Psalm 119:50
Righteousness - Proverbs 12:28
Lovingkindness - Psalm 63:3
Truth - John 14:6, 20:31
Water - John 4:14
Narrow gate - Matthew 7:14
Wisdom, discretion - Proverbs 12:28
(God's) precepts (Word) - Psalm 119:93

There are also these examples:
Sound heart, wholesome tongue, understanding, humility, fear of the Lord, spiritual mindedness, instruction
Faith - 1Timothy 6:12
Seeking the Kingdom - Luke 12:28-29, 31

Many of the scriptures come out of the Book of John. This book is the most powerful book, I believe, pointing to Jesus and all He has for us. We see Him through the words He spoke, the healings He did, the images He gave us of who He is. His words are not all kind and loving, as some churches might say. He also has some hard sayings which He directed to Pharisees who believed because they knew the scriptures they were right with God. Jesus directed a lot of what He said to them to point out their faults. Yes, faults. He came to seek and save the lost, not those who were/are well, but those who are sick or dying in spirit of whom the Pharisees, despite their knowledge of scripture, were part.

I still find it hard to explain what belief in Christ truly means. It's not about knowing who Jesus is but knowing Him intimately...I've said it before and I'll say it again. You can know a person just by being a friend to them, but really knowing them is like being married and having an intimate relationship. You can, however, know a friend well by sharing your innermost thoughts and desires. It's the same with Jesus on a spiritual level. One can't just say they know who He is and believe that's enough. You have to get to knowing Him through His Word and His words. Read the Book of John and find out more about Him. He could really reveal Himself.

Just because we are alive in this world, that we breathe, work, love, play, marry and have children, are successful in life, have all we might desire (or not) doesn't mean we are alive. Being alive in the spirit is more important than alive in this world. Being alive is what one is when one receives Christ as the Lord and Savior of their life. In Him alone is eternal life. I will never be able to say it's all about Jesus.

Sadly, many do not understand this. It's that narrowness of thinking that is said believers have by unbelievers, or those just a little misguided in their thinking, those whose thinking is skewed because it is not the "normal" way of thinking by most others. Jesus described it Himself. There is life in that narrow way.

Matthew 7:13-14 - Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Walk This Way!

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.  A highway shall be there, and a road, and it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, shall not go astray. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast go up on it...But the redeemed shall walk there… Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go." (Isaiah 30:21, Isaiah 35:8-89, Isaiah 48:17)

I remember the old, old Mel Brooks movie Young Frankenstein where Igor is gimping along with a cane telling the young Dr. Frankenstein to "walk this way" and he meant it literally, not directionally.

What about the Bible? How many of us are so perfect that we will remember we are called to "walk this way?" I'm just as prone to taking the wrong direction, making the wrong mistakes…but then I hear in my spirit the words: This is the way, walk in it. Maybe not always in those exact words, but words that pretty much say the same thing.

When God tells you something, it is important to walk that way. When we do, wonderful things will happen. It doesn't mean not going through difficult times, but just going through, no matter what is ahead. Taking that narrow road, through the narrow gate, keeps us focused on the Lord. [Walk this way] by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. But the gate is small and the road is narrow that leads to true life. Only a few people find that road. (Matthew 7:13-14)

The way of a fool might seem right to him…thankfully, also, a wise woman listens to advice! Proverbs 12:15 - The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. When I began attending The Church in Wisconsin I was challenged right off the bat. Would I have been challenged had I not listened to God in so many words telling me to "walk this way; go here?" Would I have continued to remain comfortable and feeling like I had stopped growing? Did I need a kick in the pants to see that God wasn't done with me and needed me on a different track, to walk a different road?

I needed to be challenged. I knew when I sat in the new pew I needed the Word of God to penetrate my heart, to pierce my soul, to cause me to reconsider myself and where I was headed. I look back and can see I had almost become comatose. I was a breath away from walking in another direction. Yet I see God has other plans..."walk this way."

Sometimes He's gentle in His prodding. Sometimes He stops you dead in your tracks. And He wants you to "walk this way" literally and directionally.

My new church's goal is on being a remnant church. It is a church open to receiving people who want to be part of the remnant Church in the last days. That means a totally new level of understanding. It means a deeper relationship with God. It means hearing the truth at any cost. It means a hard word supported in love. The statement of faith, what they believe as a church, is that God's Word is all we need for instruction…no adding to it or taking away from it. It provides all we need for the ongoing and never-ending perfection of His people.

I'm on board with this and I believe I will be learning a lot. I will be convicted, sharpened, honed, humiliated (in a good sense), reduced to no more than what God desires of me. I will also be edified, perfected, sanctified and loved, elevated to where I should be in Him. Pastor Terry has been spent some time awhile back on this verse from Exodus 33:15 - And he said unto Him, "If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence." How much do we desire God's presence to be with us in the way we should go, how we should walk, how we will be protected? How much of a difference do I want to see in myself? Walking His way will be the key to securing these things

Philippians 3:12 - Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.

Hallelujah, He isn't giving up....

Monday, April 1, 2013

No Earthly Inheritance

Deuteronomy 18:1-2 - “The priests, the Levites—all the tribe of Levi—shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel; they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and His portion. Therefore they shall have no inheritance among their brethren; the Lord is their inheritance, as He said to them."

I've been camped in Deuteronomy, as I've mentioned before. Moses reminding Israel of what they have when the cross the Jordan River into the land God promised them. They can see it. Moses has been reminding them of what God has done for them and what He will continue to do when the cross over, if they cross over. It's their decision.

Coming to Christ promises us a new life. We must cross over from the old to the new, death to life. It's our decision. To receive the inheritance of the new land Israel was to possess, they had to be reminded to love the LORD their God and obey His commands.

People, this so is an example for us. It's all about whom we shall serve. Israel was asked to serve God. Our country became the promised land when the pilgrims sailed over to escape the religious captivity in England. We started out serving God. Today we are now serving other gods and aren't we reaping from it? We as individuals are asked to follow Christ and possess a new land and serve God. Without that possession we reap the consequences of our choices.

What does this have to do with the scripture above?? The Levites were the group chosen by God to be the priests for the people of Israel. They were given no earthly possessions, like the others. They lived lives dedicated to serving God. Everything they needed was provided.  

When we come to Christ, we have gone from death (in the world) to life (in Christ). Our inheritance is no longer here on earth, as inheritance goes. Our ultimate inheritance is now based on spiritual things, not earthly. Our life is hid in Christ. He is our portion, our inheritance, our all in all. What this world has to offer should fade in comparison. Our spiritual life should be viewed as greater than our earthly. We are also called priests when we come to Christ. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1Peter 2:9). But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth (Exodus 9:16).

So if we are considered this royal priesthood in Christ, Deuteronomy 18:6-7 should be a picture of how our lives are to be: So if a Levite comes from any of your gates, from where he dwells among all Israel, and comes with all the desire of his mind to the place which the LORD chooses, then he may serve in the name of the LORD his God as all his brethren the Levites do, who stand there before the LORD. If we come with all desire to God, we are worthy of serving Him, through the righteousness Christ has given us. We are counted as among the others who have dedicated their lives to Christ. The Levites only served God. We are to only serve God. It's not about what we have on earth, but what He has given us. 

I think of the words spoken by Jesus when He was being tempted in the wilderness. When Jesus was hungry satan said to Him to make stones into bread since He was the Son of God: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." No earthly food will bring us an eternal inheritance. 

At the same time in the wilderness Jesus was tempted again by the king of this world into worshiping him and if He did he would grant Him all authority on earth. Jesus again said all authority belongs to God alone and it is He we are to worship only. It is His authority which should viewed as ultimate authority, not our own or anyone else's. Nothing on earth is as great as what we may lay hold of in heaven, through Jesus Christ. 

Our enemy the devil knows his reign on earth will be coming to and end. He knows the end of the story. He longs to drag as many along down with him in through the gates of hell. So his job is to have us believe that what we experience and have in our earthly lives is what matters most. If people could fully grasp the concept of "you can't take it with you," perhaps more would be assured of eternal life in Christ. 

It's not just saying we know who He is and living as we desire thinking we are saved and going to heaven. It's knowing Him personally, living for Him, putting Him on the throne of our everyday lives, not just when we choose to go to church or at Christmas or Easter. It's knowing that the things of the world are nothing in comparison to what we will receive in heaven.

I cried out to You, O Lord : I said, “You are my refuge, My portion in the land of the living. O Lord, You are the portion of my inheritance and my cup; You maintain my lot. (Psalm 142:5, Psalm 16:5)