Thursday, August 29, 2013

And So It Continues

Acts 19:21 - And about that time there arose a great commotion about the Way.

And today there still arises a great commotion about the Way. In those days the commotion was in Rome. They had heard of Jesus but the commotion arose because of their worship of the goddess Diana and the shrines of great worth, made of silver, built in her honor. If those shrines would cease to be built because of allegiance going to Christ their prosperity would be in jeopardy. That caused great concern. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship." (Acts 19:27)

Prosperity over eternal life. Worship of an image made by human hands over worship of God. Self life, which will not last, over life in Christ which will. How skewed their thinking was.

And still is. A friend of mine and I had another deep discussion about what we see happening in this world. We sense it and wonder when something will erupt. Although we don't want it, we know it is inevitable and we look forward to it at the same time, knowing that the Day of the Lord is at hand. The unrest, the insecurity of the future. You can't say it isn't noticeable. You also can't say it surprises God. He knows exactly what's happening and we, my friend and I and many others, know also. We do not know the day or the hour, but we can know the season and this is the season.

People can think I'm crazy for thinking, believing and writing about this, but I'm certain there's a day coming soon when my words, as vague as they are right now, will take on a different meaning. What we sense in our spirits will become reality. We don't know to what to expect. It won't be pretty. The other shoe is about to drop. But if we are trusting in the Lord we will be given what we need when we need it...including peace.

All I can pray is that whatever it is it is powerful enough to open the eyes of the blind, take the heads of many out of the proverbial sand and cause many to look to the God of the heavens over the gods of this earth, those idols, whatever they might be, that one is afraid to let go of or lose because they are one's identity or life. Our lives are best when we have life in Christ, the Way...which idea causes commotion.

Perhaps when disaster strikes it will cause what is perceived as life on earth to be turned to where life truly is, where it comes from. People may find the Way. The days ahead will either cause some to understand this or they will turn others into more anger or despair. I pray it turns many to God. Our life on earth is here for a purpose greater than ourselves. God has tried for thousands of years to show us this. Some have taken it seriously, some have not.

We can find many things in this world to idolize: self, money, work, sports, things. All which can be taken away (including self) in a heartbeat. It's a lie to think that we might as well enjoy it while we can because some day we will die. If we aren't focused on God and truly aware of what He has to offer and not so dedicated to the things of the world because they give us temporary pleasure, we do not have what is most important. That also means that we cannot say we know God, say we dedicate our lives to Him and then live our lives as we have always done. It's turning from the world views of prosperity, idol worship and looking only to the Lord in heaven.

I pray that the eyes of worldly understanding would see, before it's too late, the state of the current times and understand why we are going through what we are...and most importantly to what end (which Way) one needs to truly be seeking and hoping for. It's not what you have in your pocket, in your house, in your garage, even in your own's what God has...nothing else.

1John 5:20 - And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not Forsaking the Assembly

Hebrews 10:24-25 - And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

For weeks I have had this go through my head. I have been part of a new church for six months now. While I am accepted and I'm very glad to be where no nonsense preaching is amidst the hard words of glossing over the hards words of truth...I am struggling a bit with fitting in. I know this is where I am to be. God directed me there. He laid the foundation two years, maybe more, before I even realized I would leave one church for another.

But there are established friendships which I seem to be having a difficult time entering into. Maybe six months isn't enough time. Maybe, on the other hand, this is God's will for not be so wrapped up in friends and growing closer to Him. He did, after all, remind me after I worried about leaving all my friends, that it's not about the friends I would be leaving, but about following where He was leading me.  Matthew 12:48-50 - But He answered... “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.”

So, okay, I am seeing two thing here. It's about following Him...and His friends are His followers. I know these people in this church are His followers too, and they are friends. So where's the problem? I can only believe that God will be continuing to direct my path and help me to see what all is going on. I'm sure it has to do with me and a change that needs to take place in me. I'm seeing this outside of church too. Directions I need to take. Words I need to speak. Fears I have to get over. Oh, praise God for the excitement in that!

It's so all about Him. Though I'm not certain where He is leading, I can do nothing but trust Him. There may be a major breakthrough for me along the way, one I cannot possibly fathom! Hah, I have been waiting for a major breakthrough for years...perhaps it won't be major but little by little, without my even recognizing it! Just like Him to do that.

I just know that while I question this feeling of aloneness in the midst of a congregation, I am also reminded that we are not to forsake the assembling together...God has appointed us to do so and it is where He is glorified in the midst of it. It is where we are instructed/instruct, encouraged/encourage...and perfected in Him (certainly what I need...don't we all). We are all needed with whatever we have to offer.

The part of that scripture that caused me to dig deeper was as is the manner of some. I found this explanation. It mainly deals with the Christians in Jesus' day, those who were turning radically from one religion to follow a man who turned religion upside down. It ends with a thought on today's thinking:
(1) some may have been deterred by the fear of persecution, as those who were thus assembled would be more exposed to danger than others. (Jews turning to Christianity...which even happens today.)
(2) some may have neglected the duty because they felt no interest in it - as professing Christians now sometimes do. (Today some have no interest in Christianity or any religion or blatant rejection of it.)
(3) it is possible that some may have had doubts about the necessity and propriety of this duty, and on that account may have neglected it. ("Christians" like I was who believed in Christ but didn't feel a need for a church.)
(4) or it may perhaps have been, though we can hardly suppose that this reason existed (back then), that some may have neglected it from a cause which now sometimes operates - from dissatisfaction with a preacher, or with some member or members of the church, or with some measure in the church.  (Needs no explanation.)  (Barnes Commentary)

I'm seeing that in the days ahead we cannot go on on our own without the assembly, rooted and grounded in at least the same beliefs. We need to know there are those around we can turn to in a time of need...or be there in the time of someone else's need. Who am I to say I can do this on my own? I know I cannot. I know I need the assembly. I learn from Christ but am strengthened by others here on earth as well...if I open my mouth to speak of the weaknesses I have, the doubts, the sin areas in my life. It's called corporate worship.

Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Treasure

Matthew 6:19-21 - “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is,  there your heart will be also."

One thing I know about the scripture above is being in Christ means having the greatest Treasure there is. In Christ we are protected from the moth and rust. Thieves may come and try to take this Treasure but cannot. The greatest treasure is not something we hold in our hand but Who we hold in our heart. We say in Christ but He is actually in us.

When I see a world in unrest it's satisfying to know that I lay claim to not just the knowledge of who Christ is, I am His and He is mine. I do not need to worry about tomorrow or what I have need of because He already knows. Just like we cannot see that our hearts hold Him, His provision too is held securely within yet unseen, unshakeable, impenetrable. 

He is my Treasure in heaven. I will hold fast to that promise. I will trust Him no matter where I am led and what I must go through because of Him, my Treasure.

It is written that God has no earthly home. It does not have four solid walls, a floor and a roof. Miracle of miracles, He is able to reside within each of us if we allow Him access. We are made the spiritual temple of His Holy Spirt. If we allow ourselves to downsize the treasures of earth and allow the Treasure of heaven which cannot be stolen by any person, any government, any person desiring to do me harm, to reside. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2Corinthians 1:21-22)

When we first realize this Treasure we are apt to believe He is ours and that we found Him. In time, however, we realize we are His and we are His desire... He searched us iut. he is then Treasure that cannot be removed unless we force Him out. 

My beloved is mine, and I am his... I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine... I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me. (Song of Solomon 2:16, 6:3, 7:10)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Truth Is...

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent-- the LORD detests them both.  Isaiah 5:20, Proverbs 17:15

These statements sure do encompass a lot of what we see in this world and more specifically in too many ways in this country. When did it all start, this politically correct attitude, this lack of immorality, lack of conscience, lack of wisdom...lack of truth? Well, it's been awhile since my last post and I guess I'm making up for it here.

I know God is in control. He's working not only in my life but the lives of others I know, putting us through difficult situations or uncovering our innermost faults that we might seek Him for strength, comfort, peace or most importantly, change within ourselves.

Change in the world starts with each one of us. But it all starts with having a knowledge of truth. And then there's the understanding that there is only one Truth. That Truth is Jesus Christ. And I know I bring this up a lot and my story never changes...just as God never changes. Jesus is the solution to all the world's problems. Yet I know we will always have problems because not all believe Jesus is the answer. There is one truth only. It's not up for interpretation.

Only Jesus offers up the honest truth, despite how hard it may be at times. He never promised it would be easy to follow Him. In fact, it is sometimes difficult. We are told some things must be let go of in order to follow Him. A change needs to take place in our lives. We cannot remain the same persons. He gave each of us a character and nature when He created us. It won't always be completely changed but He'll enhance it. He'll take the yuck out what we made of it and turn it into something more palatable.

The honest truth today is no longer what it used to be. It's been distorted. Truth has been exchanged for a lie as scripture states. What's sad is people take offense to that when it has been laid out plainly for us for thousands of years. God never changes; His Word changeth not; truth cannot be compro-mised...although it has.

Let me point out that in all things we are not to hate any person. It is the sin we are not to tolerate. Sounds judgmental or holier than thou, but it's more of the truth. Man has, for the most part, rebelled against God. He hates sin so we are to hate it too. He wishes that none should perish, but that we would see our sin as He does and allow the change within to take place. And as I so often think, what seems like an impossible task, a change that seems way too big, to God it is nothing. We have to believe the change can be done...not through our own devices (self help books, psychotherapy or believing we can just will ourselves to do a thing) but only through the power of Jesus Christ when He is sought and received.

So what are some of those (hard) truths??  Remember, God wants to make us holy. He's looking for a bride without spot or wrinkle in the last days when He returns. Not all will fit the bill...unless He works a change in us. Apart from the Ten Commandments, of which some are listed here, there are more:
Proverbs 6:16-19 - These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.
Galatians 5:19-21 - Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Leviticus 20:6,12-13 - And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law (or mothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, you get the picture), both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. 

Now people can debate these issues and find excuse. I know there are many who will say these do not apply to them or none of these things are in them. But we all carry something; we've all done something. We cannot debate these truths. We cannot justify. If a person does they are believing the lie, twisting the truth to suit personal ideas of right and wrong. It's no doubt why the world is in the state it's in today. It's all about self. To be honest I believed a lot of these things God would excuse because He loves us. The truth is because He loves us He has to put boundaries in our lives...and some day those boundaries will put us one side or the other of eternal Christ or in hell. A hard truth. This is a message for me as well as the next person.

You can disagree with what I've said. If you do it's not really me you disagree with but God. Another hard truth. These hard truths are why the Bible says it's a narrow road, this following Jesus...His way is difficult and few are able to travel it. I'll tell you, the fear of the Lord is the deciding factor for me. A reverent fear for the power He has in our lives and the power He has in this world.

We are nearing the end. The days we live in are proof. They have been outlined for us in God's Word. His Word (both real in the form of Jesus and as the written Word of God) is truth. Do you know the Truth? Just before Jesus was sentenced to be crucified Pontius Pilate tried to make sense of the whole situation of who Jesus was. He asked Jesus "What is truth?" Truth was standing before him but he received Him not.

Jesus came into the world that His truth would be heard...His testimony. He said to Pilate that everyone who is of the truth hears His voice. That hard word comes from the Truth. There are many who cannot hear His voice over the deceptive lies from another who vies for our attention and our lives. So I ask again. Do you know the Truth?

1John 2:3-5 - Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's All I Know

Romans 5:17 - For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

One man, Adam, sinned once for all and one Man, Jesus, and His grace (unmerited favor) took the sin away, once for all. A free gift. And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1Corinthians 15:45) 

Before I get going here, yes, Adam sinned. He was called the first Adam; Jesus was called the second Adam. One sinned, one paid the price to redeem that sin.

Thank you, Pastor Terry, for a word that will stick with me.

At Bible study one night I listened to him speak on the roles men and women play (or not) in the church. There is a hierarchy which can be found in various places in the Word. It is God, Jesus, Holy Spirit on the spiritual end and Man, woman, children on the earthly end, man reporting to God first, and women and children doing the same.

Anyway, Pastor Terry said something that so struck me: preach or teach what you know best. A couple weeks before that he said Paul only preached Jesus crucified. It was the one thing he could relate to most.

So if my blogs sound repetitive, you now know why. It's all about Jesus and what He did for us.

There's not much more to add to that. He lived, He died and He rose again from the dead...for us...or to be more precise, for those who call Him their Lord and Savior. He did it for all but ultimately only for those who receive Him.

We are all born into sin. No way to escape that. We are sin filled all our lives. Can't escape that either.

Only HIS righteousness, His sacrificial act of being the perfect Lamb of God could cleanse us of all unrighteousness. Yes, made clean, without having to do anything to gain it. It's a difficult concept if you don't come as a little child and believe after you've heard. We so want to make it about ourselves and what we can do or earn to receive God's love and forgiveness.  No wonder the road is narrow...

We may look at ourselves as better than someone else because we haven't murdered, as far as the secular definition of murder is, but we all have murdered from our hearts if we have hated someone.

If our work, hobby, money, things, even children are more important than God, we have placed an idol before Him.

We may think because we have not cheated on our spouse that we have not committed adultery. But the truth is if we have so much as ogled another person, lusted in our heart, or looked at pornography, we've committed adultery.

White lies are full blown lies to God, as difficult as that may seem.

I'm sure many of us have sassed our parents or done the opposite of what our parents knew to be right. We've dishonored them.

Taking anything that doesn't belong to you no matter how you might justify it, is wrong. Or using something, for that matter, for personal gain believing "it won't hurt; no one needs to know" can be up there with stealing.

And there's the dreaded envy...of anything. A reason to get a cooler car or bigger boat or go on a more expensive vacation, have bigger and more expensive jewelry or clothing, or belong to the fancier club.

I could go on through the commandments and show that each one of us has missed the mark. We are all sinners in need of God's grace. We cannot slip past that one.

That grace comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a very hard truth. It's one people will turn away from at this point in this blog. And the truth will be lost on them.

What I know and what I harp on is the truth. It's not about a religion. It's not about how good we think we are (compared to the next person) or what we can do to earn God's approval. It's not about telling Him that we will do better in the future if He forgives us now. We will never be able to buy Him off before we die.

Jesus died for all of us, all our sins. He came to earth to do this. He knew it would cost His life. He did it willingly. He also knew many would not receive Him.

All He wants from us us that relationship. One on one with Him. Just you and Him. And He is found in His Word and if you seek Him you will find Him. He will remove the scales from eyes so you one see and the walls from hearts so people can receive. He will restore deaf ears to hear His truth.

Those things that were so dang important will not be. We will know what is important and if we're smart we will cling to that.

There are so many examples throughout the Word that show us how and why He did this. That's why we need to read it.

It's not about any religion but about a relationship with one single Man, Jesus Christ. This is what I know and I'm sticking with this story...this truth. Forget all the man-made doctrines of the churches. Look to the Word of God for the answers. Seek Jesus and when you do you will know Who the truth is and He will set you free.

It's all about Him and what HE did for us. Not what we try to do to earn His love. Sometimes in life we have to buy people's love. But that isn't necessary with Jesus. It is His FINISHED WORK. We cannot add to what He has done. He proclaimed on the cross: "It is finished."

What I know is this: We are all sinners. We all need salvation. That only...ONLY...comes through Jesus Christ. No one else. And it IS mandatory to receive eternal life. Believe (and obey) on Him. Believe that only He has fulfilled this already. Go to the Source directly and if a church leader tries to tell you you must go through him, abandon that lie. All he should be doing is pointing you to Christ.

Put your ideas of good works, the "right" church, doctrinal lies aside and listen to what He has to tell us. It's why He wrote a book...for our instruction.

We may struggle with some of the truth of His Word because we have believed the lies, justifications and deception the majority of the world has fallen into. Just because the majority believes pretty much the same (many ways to God, you don't need God, He's a loving God but not judgmental) doesn't mean it's right.

This is all I know. It's my story and I'm sticking with it.

One God, One Man, one life = eternal life for ALL who receive.

Romans 4:5 - But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness...

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Proverbs 20:13 - Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread. 

I awoke this morning in Eagle River at 3:48 to the sounds of an overprotective raccoon and some whimpering baby 'coons. Some unknown, silent predator or prowler must have been getting a little too close to their nest.

Apart from that sound, all I could hear in the stillness of upper Wisconsin were my ears ringing (a touch of tinnitus going on there). Well, I couldn't get back to sleep. I flopped around awhile then noticed it growing lighter outside. The stars I was able to see out the window were fading fast. 

So at 5:15 I got up and made some coffee, took my Bible to a quiet corner of the living room and proceeded to read the Proverb above! How appropriate. I would call that a word from God!

With thankfulness in my heart I thought more about what I read. I pondered and meditated on just those few words and realized again how sometimes just the shortest verse can be filled, amazingly, by the knowledge He has shared with us.

We are called to arise and spend the first part of our day with God, seeking Him in prayer and in reading His Word....not loving sleep! It's like tithing in church. We give of the first ten percent of our earnings. We give off the top, like skimming the rich cream off the top of milk. We give the first, which is our best, to Him. 

We are in deep spiritual sleep if we do not know Christ, if we are not desiring Him.  And when we are in a spiritual sleep we are spiritually lazy. This produces hunger...that cannot be satisfied (with the things of the world. Jesus is called our Bread of life. In the Old Testament He came to Israel as they wandered the desert for forty years as manna from heaven. He is the Bread that sustains. Bread, like the Living Water He also is, that satisfies. 

There's a satisfaction in the world of unbelievers...but it does not compare to this type of satisfaction. With the daily bread, this manna from heaven, we can feel full of the Lord all day. World satisfaction is never really satisfied. Are you satisfied?

We are called to open our eyes. Seek God with all your heart. Seek Him for truth, peace, wisdom, knowledge...everlasting life. Seek and you will find if you do seek Him with all your heart. Will you be determined tomorrow to arise and open your eyes and be satisfied with the Bread of life?

Deuteronomy 4:29 - But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. 

Hear, Forgive

2Chronicles 6:19, 21 - Yet regard the prayer of Your servant and his supplication, O LORD my God, and listen to the cry and the prayer which Your servant is praying before You...And may You hear the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and when You hear, forgive.

I'll say it over and over, what has occurred in the past will happen again. The Bible shows us this is true. If prophetic words in the Old Testament predicted the coming of Jesus, the Savior of the world, then it makes sense that events of the past would happen as a guide and reminder of the great things God does for His people.

Solomon had just completed building the Temple of God. He gathered all the people and directed a heartfelt prayer to the LORD. If only all people would understand this. He is merciful, but we need to seek that mercy not just assume He "will understand."

In Chronicles 6 Solomon's prayer consisted of seven major prayer points. If or when the people have sinned, yet they seek Him for forgiveness, then hear their supplications and forgive them.

  • If anyone sins against his neighbor, pray that He would hear and act and judge.
  • If His people are defeated in battle because they have sinned against Him, yet confess their sin, may He hear and forgive.
  • When the rains cease because they have sinned against God yet pray and confess His name, may He hear and forgive.
  • When the land is filled with sickness, blight or enemy attack, if they seek God, then may He hear and forgive.
  • If a stranger should come into the land seeking and praying to God, may He hear and do likewise to him as to His own people.
  • When a battle arises and His people must fight, if they seek His assistance may He maintain their cause.
  • When they sin against Him, yet repent, pray and turn to God with whole hearts and souls, may He hear and forgive.

Everything revolves around God. He created and brought us to life. He knows the beginning from the end and if we want to be part of the glorious end...which we cannot fathom in our human minds could be better...we are called to take serious the things of God. That includes the mandate that we are to submit our lives to the authority of Jesus Christ by receiving His free gift of salvation, to become born again in the Spirit, not the flesh, to spend time in the Word learning the things of God, our real purpose here on earth and in this life.

This means we must do as the people have done, which is recorded in the Bible: know that we are all sinners, seek God, repent of our sins, receive Christ...and He will hear and forgive. If one never does this, He will not hear, nor forgive.

It is a sad misconception that everyone when they die will go to heaven because God is a good God and how could He not allow it if He loves everyone. I'm sure He grieves a lot over those who will not turn to Him before death, who are stubborn in their views, rebellious in nature and just plain hateful toward Him. These people have been fed lies from a very real, spiritual, enemy. Scripture says we do not battle with flesh and blood, but against rulers, authorities, powers and spiritual forces of evil of this dark world and in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Just because we can't see this doesn't mean it isn't happening around us. It's why there is evil in the world...and sin.

But, the Good News is Jesus Christ is also real. Satan is our adversary; the opposite of an adversary is friend and Jesus is called our Friend (not that He is a familial type friend. He still demands respect, reverence). But we can call on Him as the people of the Old Testament called on God. If we are sincere in that call, He will hear and forgive. Doesn't get much better than that.

1John 1:8-10 - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Light

Proverbs 20:12 - The hearing ear, the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.

Rambling thoughts yesterday! I read the Proverb above and was led to study the word light...just because of the phrase the seeing eye. Hmmm.

We all know that we need our eyes to see. We also know we cannot see in the dark; we need light. Consider this:

Genesis 1:3, 26-27 - And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness"...So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God created light and He created us, with eyes to see...only in the light. God created light to illuminate the world. When God created you and me, we were clothed in spiritual darkness. So God sent His Son Jesus, the Light of the world, that we might see, behold His glory, see His glorious light and be clothed in righteousness. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2Corinthians 4:6) ...I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. (John 8:12, John 12:46) 

Are you "seeing" this? A couple things Jesus has to say about the eye, light and the whole body:

The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matthew 6:22-23)
If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (Luke 11:36)

When we have the Light, we are able to see through His spiritual eyes. We are able to know what truth is and we allow this truth to become part of us in the way we live. However, if we allow ourselves to remain blinded, to keep those sunglasses on or heads in the sand, as it were, not allowing the Light in, we walk in darkness. The darkness can also be viewed as the world.

And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 1:5, John 3:19)

The Light of Christ is shining in this dark world. Most of the world does not comprehend Him; they are considered dead. They will be condemned if they choose to live this way. Many times people remain in the dark because they do not want to know that what they do is considered sin, wrong. They try to justify their actions to sweep that sin under a rug. The condemnation may not be felt right now, but it will when standing before a holy God some day...unless forgiveness is asked for today, choosing to follow Christ and learning right from wrong. Will we be perfect? No. But we will be able to turn from what is wrong to do right.

Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.” (Ephesians 5:14)

And hallelujah to those that do. A whole new world lies before us:

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. (1John 1:7)
For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8) 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) thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:12). 

We can live with the knowledge and hope of this inheritance today. We can live in and walk in the Light of Christ. We pretty much have special privileges being special people because we have chosen to step out of the darkness. This is not a flighty consideration. It is serious.

Like some commercials state: But wait, there's more...  We will receive the gift of eternal life and are promised a mansion in heaven. Although we will not be sitting on clouds playing harps, we will be  with Christ, our Lord and Savior.  From Genesis 1:3 where God created light, to this from Revelation, very near the end of the the Book, to describe the heavenly light. Living in a place totally free from darkness, in His Light, with Him:

There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

I urge you to read John 9 for more information on Jesus, the Light of the world.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

There is None Other

Romans 3:10-18 - As it is written:
There is none righteous, no, not one; 
There is none who understands; 
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.
Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit;
The poison of asps is under their lips; 
Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.
Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.
There is no fear of God before their eyes.

These Words came from God, not me.

I watched a short video today. So often I read or view things, listen to other people speak and relate so well with what they said and wish I had been able to come up with the same words. I may have said similar things in my own way, but another way seemed better.

First of all, might I just add that no matter what I say, the Bible says it better! If posted only scripture, it would be better. Because it is alive and speaks of truth.

But I digress. The video was about a woman dying of cancer with only weeks left to live and she spoke at a function to tell her story. We all have one, you know. We all have some history…abuse, prostitution, alcoholism, abortion, drugs, anger issues, theft, murder…the list can go on for a very long time but you get the point. Her point was this: we are all sinners, we all need salvation. She was dying and God did not spare her. But as she was preparing to die she had a message to share that others would find peace, hope and comfort, as she had. One seed that has died, when planted firmly in the ground, bears many more plants and many more seeds. This was her intention.

We are all born into this world into sin. There's no getting away from it. It's the way of the life in the flesh. It doesn't matter how good a life we try to live, how much we do for others, how much we donate to worthy charities, we are all filled with sin. It's human nature.

There is a way to change our nature. This involves some sort of death within us. At any stage of life we can find out or have heard what how to go about this. Perhaps some don't at first get it; some will reject it; some will take it and go with it. It's what we do when we hear that truly matters. It takes us from our fleshly nature and causes us to have a spiritual nature. Oh, we still do things in the flesh. It will always be something we have to fight.

Like I said, there is a way to change. I can tell you that I'd heard a couple of times how to make this change but the first time I went only through motions because I felt obligated to. I had ignored the whole evening by the time things were over. Many years later thoughts and yearnings were beginning to emerge which I didn't quite understand. And finally the day arrived when I came to real grips with the way to change.

This way is Jesus Christ, the Way, Truth and Life. He is the only Way to our Father in heaven. He is all the Truth we need to know. He brings us Life everlasting. He is the bridge that gaps that immense chasm between man and God that came as a result of Adam and Eve's sin.

They were sinless, like we should all have been, until they made one mistake. And that mistake changed the lives of each person after them. You cannot dispute the fact that you are wracked with sin. We all are. If you say that is not you, you believe a lie. Your eyes, heart and mind are blinded to the truth.

There is only one Truth and that is Jesus Christ. When you know Him you see the lies that have been sowed over the years of your life. Lies of a church, a clergyman, parents, friends, authority figures, news stations…another list goes on.

When you know Jesus, you know the Truth. Your eyes which were blind now see; your heart which was hardened has become flesh and moldable; your mind begins to take on true wisdom and knowledge…all which are amazing when you know Christ.

God sent His only Son to live a sinless life on earth that mankind would see, hear, believe and follow Him. Those that did carried on in His footsteps preaching what He preached. It has continued since then. What makes anyone today who lives for Christ any different than those disciples back then, I ask?  If you believe Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter or Paul, why not someone else preaching the same message? The Word of God has remained a constant in this life. (Although there are those who have distorted such truth.)

The Word of God will never completely be destroyed because it is from Him. Scripture states that the grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8). There is power in the Word. Christ is called the Word. The Word will never be destroyed…that same Word, Jesus, died and rose again to live forever. How powerful is all that? Here's more to chew on: 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 (Hebrews 4:12).

The Word (Jesus) of God knows all about you. He knows your sin…yet He loves you still. He is alive and active and as you read the Bible, the Word, you hear Him speak. And He knows you are a sinner in need of His salvation.

There are many religions in this world. Many also claim all religions somehow worship the same God/god. But it is not true. There is only one God, who created all things and all people. Man has chosen to make their own gods to suit their own purposes. There is only one God who can hear your prayers. No statue or idol or icon or whatever can do that. They are not alive; they have no spirits. It's a lie to think something other than direct communication with God will work. He does not come in the shape or personification of an animal. He also is not reached through the prayer to a dead person like a saint, or even His mother. He and He alone has the time and ability to hear our prayers. No man can stand in the gap between God and other men. Only one Man, the Lord Jesus Christ.

We do not live in a perfect world. We all struggle with something. We all have faced loss or illness and all will face death. Where we go after death lies in a decision we make while we're still able. We are to seek God while we still have the time. That means now, today, because we don't know what tomorrow or even the next hour will bring.

I have received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I am still learning how to trust, obey and place my faith in Him. It's part of my own personal struggle at times. But through times of doubt and struggle I hold on to my belief in all Christ has done for me, what He has taken me through, gotten me out of, and from which He has protected and freed me, even before I knew Him. Struggles in life will never go away. It's part of this sinful world we live in with an enemy of our soul who is literally hell-bent on bringing us down to his sorry level. Where God wishes that none should perish, satan wishes that all would.

I continue to pray that when the real troubles come I can share what this young woman did. God will not always take us out of our struggles but use them to strengthen us. And sometimes our personal struggles, even to death, are ways God can use the right person(s) to lead others to the saving grace that only Christ can bring. Lord, let me be as strong and courageous as this woman. Let me not ever ask, why me? But instead use me for Your glory to show who You are in this fallen world.

As she said so aptly: Jesus suffered. God did not spare Him. Why would He spare me if my suffering would result in good for you? If my suffering is the means God would use to bring even one person to Himself, it is an honor to suffer. Does that seem strange…but it is the only way that all of this makes any sense at all.

Some may argue that God is unkind to let us suffer. But knowing He has a plan for each and every one of us and that He is the one who will bring those plans to whatever fruition it will be, should take all the worry from us. In Christ we do not have to worry about what to eat or drink, what to wear, even what the next day will bring. We are to just "go against the flow" in Christ. I have an old t-shirt that says this. It referenced Romans 12:2 - And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Not being conformed to this fleshly world, but submitting to spiritual life in Christ, where by His Word we learn the way and the truth to receive the life. 

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek God. They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one. "Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." ...from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Psalm 14:2-3, Jeremiah 33:3, Deuteronomy 4:29)