Monday, September 30, 2013


Romans 8:38-39 - ...for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

The Holy Spirit. A powerful force in this world. Unseen yet still there. The third Person of the Trinity...just as much God as God the Father and God the Son. We cannot see any of these three but by faith we who are in Christ and have been filled with this same Holy Spirit upon receiving Christ know He is there...They are there.

We all know evil exists. We see it on the news daily if we watch or read about it in newspapers, magazines or online. Funny how the ruler of darkness, ruler of these principalities...AKA so evident. I suppose it has to do with his need to be noticed. Just my imagination there. His pride and arrogance got him booted out of heaven after all. It's why he's so bitter, hateful and vengeful today, determined to "get back" at God.

He is the one behind the evil powers that lurk in this world. He is fully aware his time is short and his desire is for darkness to cover the earth so people cannot see, so they stumble in this darkness, so they are blind to the approach of One who is greater than he.

Jesus WILL return, sooner than later. He's just as hard at work drawing men unto Himself. Some receive, most do not because the things in this world appear more glitzy, more tempting...more blingy...more tasteful than the things of God. This is the great deception of our enemy who IS the greatest deceiver of all time.

And it's not just physical stuff we are enamored with. The deceiver has done wonders with things like false doctrine, lust, pride-vanity-arrogance, lying, false dreams-visions-miracles, bitterness, lack of faith, which things I read about recently. I've been victim to we all have. When we live with these areas in our lives we are in sin...and according to the Word of God we are dead.

Jesus came to deliver us from these deceptions. He came to remove the blinders that we might see what is true and just and give us life...THROUGH Him. And He has commanded those who follow Him to pass this same word on that others might see. Again, the deceiver does not want us to have this life. He had it, let it go to his head and was rejected in God's kingdom. God will reject those who follow in the same way.
Acts 26:18 - Jesus said: [I am Jesus...I send you...] to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

God shared His plan of salvation. He shared His Son. He gave us His Son that we might receive Him to ourselves and obtain eternal life. The deceiver has a place already mapped out for him in the netherworld. And those who follow him will have theirs too. Jesus has gone ahead of us and prepares a place for us in Heaven. I doubt very highly the deceiver could care less where in his netherworld people reside...just that he get as many as possible there.

In Christ, thankfully, we cannot be separated from Him or the Father. We are heirs to the kingdom if we have sought the Light of the world. His light shines bright that we might see His wonders, to understand His truth, to experience His power through the gift of His Spirit which resides in us when we receive Him. His Spirit, His power, is greater than the powers of darkness...if we lay claim to that Spirit by way of Christ. Death may come to us but it's only physical and our spirit lives on forever.

In the last days it is told to us that these powers of darkness will become greater. We will wrestle
against these powers, not what we perceive to be peoples or nations. We see it happening. The work
of the enemy. Many blinded into believing his lies in all avenues of business, family, churches, government. A little leaven, so they say, leavens the whole lump. If a little leaven is in one person, imagine the amount in the world...pretty scary.
Ephesians 6:12 -  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 

But there is hope. His name is Jesus. He is our Hope, if we can see past the charade of one whose plan is to deceive us. He will return to fight the adversary...and He will win. That means all who have put their faith in Him and have received His Spirit into their lives will be winners also. We all like to win. Imagine losing this war. Won't make for anything but sore, literally, losers. Burned by the loss.
John 12:31-32 - Jesus said: Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.

Romans 8:37 - Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Self Denial, Brokenness and the Holy Spirit!

Colossians 1:27  - To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

We heard various pastors speak at a ministers conference at our church last week. Although the conference had no formal theme it seemed to be self denial and brokenness. While painful sounding topics, these are what is required to be a follower of Christ...not just for pastors who are called to be servants, as we all are.

There are numerous scriptures that tell us when we receive Christ we are not only called His children, we are in Christ, we believe on (in) Him and are to be like children to a parent, under His authority. But...we are also told He is in us. How can we be in Him and He in us? How many really like being told they need to submit to someone else? Hmmm? Ouch? This is what God demands.

He comes to us and leads us to Himself. He opens our heart that we might receive Him. And when we deny ourselves and are broken under the weight of the understanding of our own sinfulness, He comes into us in the form of the Holy Spirit, who gives us power...the power to understand and to obey. It is a greater power than what we think we have.

Growing up Lutheran and later in life having no faith in anything but myself, I'd heard about the Holy Ghost but knew nothing about Him. I might have understood then that He was a part of the Trinity. But for my feeble mind, until in my 50's, only God and His Son were the important two...but certainly not part of my life. So for those 50+ years I lived under my own power, my own strength, my own ideas of what was right and my own rebellious ways. In a short time I learned otherwise, as the Spirit of God began to tap on my spiritual shoulder.

Coming to Christ opens a part of your self that can receive wisdom, knowledge and truth. This comes in head knowledge but also in your spirit through the Holy Spirit which is the important part. When you are willing to be led by this Spirit your life is changed. Romans 8:14-16 explains this mystery: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God... Without this Spirit we are not sons of God. Plain and simple.

This is what makes it so difficult for others to comprehend...and more often sneer at. This added wisdom and knowledge imparted through the power of the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with my own wisdom. This wisdom is only received by coming to Christ...something anyone can do if they are willing. It must be a desire, as Philippians 3:10 states: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death...

Pastor Lee Shipp talked about how the Holy Spirit used an average yet willing teenage girl to conceive and birth the Son of God. It was the work of the Holy Spirit, not the work of man. When we come to Christ and we become one in Him, it is also a work of the Spirit of God. And yet He comes into us too. When we are broken of our ways which are of man and allow Him to have His way, He is birthed in us, spiritually, like Christ in Mary. Receiving, which also means letting go of ourselves, our pride, may be painful, but what happens after is well worth the pain. And...God produces no bad thing. Pastor Lee also stated: that which He has put in us, must also be something which He can take out. In other words, evidence of that Spirit at work in us. Thy will, O Lord, not mine.

Christ came to die for us. He expects us to die to ourselves for Him. He didn't come to save those who are healthy, but those who are sick (Matthew 9)...and we all fit into that category since we are all sinners, no matter how good a life we life...we are all dead in our sins until we receive Christ. And it requires one more act of dying to self to receive Him! Jesus' mother, as willing and submitted to the Father...and the Holy Spirit...needed her Son's salvation. No one is without this need. No one is righteous on his own. No one can call himself a child of God apart from Christ. And this only comes when we allow ourselves to be broken, deny ourselves and submit to God's authority...receive Christ and receive the power of His Holy Spirit.

Just this week I've seen endless scriptures about our salvation through Christ. Nothing new, just more focused on them, I guess. Not our own merits, deeds, ideas of righteousness, other words works. It is through Christ alone and that takes bending a knee or prostrating yourself to Him, humbly seeking His forgiveness, receiving Him, His Spirit...and then allowing the power of that Spirit to control our lives...which should be broken at this point.

Heavenly Father, if I have not been broken enough and have not denied enough of myself that the real power of Your Spirit might take over, I pray You would hear my prayer and do what You need to do within Me. Empower me, Lord, for You to use.

Ephesians 3:16 - that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sentence of Death

2Corinthians 1:9 - Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead...

A sentence of death. This was the gist of Pastor Terry Eddings' message Tuesday night at our church's ministers conference. Although ministers preach to build up the body of other ministers, the congregation is blessed by the words also. The Word of God is always for all people's edification and conviction, that we might become the men and women of God He desires us to be.

When we come to Christ we are called to this sentence of death that we might see how we are transformed, raised from the earthly death to spiritual life through Christ alone. This death must be the basis of our life, dying to self at all times. Look at Jesus. It was never about what He could gain from others. He was only about His Father's business helping others. His ministry was to heal broken bodies, minds and spirits that they should live. Entering into relationship with Jesus does that. He was called to be a Servant to all and His death on the cross was proof of this.

Imagine the magnitude of all this! Christ calls us into relationship with Him! We may think we've searched for Him (found God) or we believe we've known Him through our attending church, but it is He who ultimately draws us into a closer, more real relationship. When we heed His call and choose to follow He takes our sorry lives lived in the death of this world and raises us to spiritual life, just as He was raised to life after His physical death. Hallelujah! What a privilege to be counted as one who has been raised from the dead along with Christ.

But it also means dying to our old self and allowing the work of the Spirit to transform us into the image of Christ: But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2Corinthians 3:18).  As you can see in the scripture it doesn't happen immediately...are being's a lifelong process.

As Pastor E.'s not about our earthly lives and the status we attain or political affiliation or patriotism anymore. It's about a life lived in Jesus Christ. If we have our hearts set on Him we are set for life! All other things in life are meaningless, in the grand scheme of things. Paul said he counted all loss for the knowledge of Christ. (Philippians 3:18). Loss...death. In order to gain life in Christ we must experience this death. And this death is a grand death with the experience even grander.

But even this death comes with time. He asked us all if we are truly dead enough? Are pastors dead enough to not be afraid to preach the truth about hell and damnation, God's judgment, rather than just His love. Coming to Christ is more than an ooey gooey, wonderful experience. There are demands, which sometimes we don't want to hear about. Jesus' words can be very convicting. But they are hard because He loves us. He displayed tough love and we are subject to that too.

Coming to Christ is about doing God's will, not our own. (Colossians 1:24) The death we experience will be glorious (2Corinthians 3:18). If we are truly following Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us, the more we go to that mirror, the more we should see a change. The image will become clearer and clearer. And it should be a glorious reflection.

Do I have a ways to go? You know I do. Am I exactly where I need to be spiritually for Him to use me? Probably not...yet. I know I have a ways to go. We must be flexible in our lives and allow the Spirit to guide us. He may take us from one place to another at a moment's notice. Pastor E. told a story about how he was enjoying a time of celebrating the 4th of July with family when he was called by a burdened member of his congregation. He had to drop the celebration to minister to the troubled congregant. That's what we are to do. Be ready in season and out not just to preach the gospel but lend a hand, offer a prayer, be a servant. How are we doing? I know I need work!

Reading further in 2Corinthians 4 it says that our message to others may be veiled but that veil is there because they are blinded to the words...either they choose not to see or or hear, as I learned earlier this week...and when we reject the truth enough, God will harden our hearts to this truth.

But Pastor E. had these encouraging words: just as Jesus raised a four-day dead, smelly Lazarus from the grave, Jesus can bring anyone today out of the same death. There is always that hope if one is open to receiving Christ and losing their natural life for a spiritual one.

John 11:25-26 - Jesus said..., “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

I Urge You to Take Heart

Acts 27:31 - Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved."

There is an account in Acts where Paul is being sent by ship to Italy to appeal the case for his imprisonment (for refusing to stop preaching the Gospel). He fasted as they began their they voyage, and at the end of the fast Paul warned them he suspected rough days ahead and possible loss of lives and cargo. Of course those in charge of the ship were not persuaded and the trip continued as planned to seek a port in which to spend the winter.

The ship was on the Adriatic Sea and leaving Crete when storms arose and the men on the ship feared for their lives. They began the arduous task of lightening their load. The storm went on for days till they had lost all hope of surviving and sought to escape.

Paul spoke up again and pretty much told these experienced seamen they should have listened to him! But he also countered that with a bit of hope: And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. And he shared with them how he had been visited by an angel of God and told that he would be brought before Caesar; therefore God would protect them. The men still feared for their lives and were determined to abandon ship.

Again Paul urged them with words of hope and demonstrated his faith as he prayed, gave thanks to God in front of them all and ate. They ate as well, we're encouraged, abandoned the escape plans and instead set about to lighten the load of the ship.

All that to say like the Ark was security for Noah and his family and like these men were asked to stay on the ship and live, so is it with Jesus. Jesus was a type of Ark and He is who we should enter into relationship with to be saved. Paul was urging them to remain in and cling to the ship for safety.  Jesus calls us to remain in Him and cling to Him for our eternal safety. When we do this, life is not lost despite what storms of life come our way.

As I reread this, I the phrase there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. We are reminded that this body of ours will perish. It houses the soul, spirit and heart of each person...only. When we pass on, if we are in Christ there will be no loss of eternal life, but only of the body.

There is yet another verse in this particular chapter that spoke to me: ...they lightened the ship and threw out the wheat into the sea. I looked at that to mean like what we are to do when we come to Christ. We unburden ourselves. We lay our burdens down because the Lord tells us it is His yoke that is easy and His burden that is light. (Matthew 11:30) We cling to Him and He is the anchor for our soul. (Hebrews 6:19)

There was still a lot of work ahead for these seamen before the ship would run aground. And with the prayers of Paul, help from God, all lives were saved even in the midst of escape in the waters while the ship was torn apart by the storm. This is what our God will do for us if we determine ourselves to follow after Jesus.

If you remember, there was another time when a boat and men were in the midst of a storm. We will have storms in life, but if we are in and stay in Jesus, He will save us.

Matthew 8:23-27 - Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

Friday, September 6, 2013

Shame Can Bring Forgiveness

Psalm 83:16 - Fill their faces with shame, that they may seek Your name, O LORD.

I don't care how repetitive I am in my blog. The message will always be the same in the end...the most important thing there is is having a relationship with Jesus Christ, Son of Almighty God. Jesus, the only way, truth and life. Jesus, who died for our sins...something no one else has done.

In this nation we see people living lifestyles that exclude God. Many just don't think there is a need for Him. Maybe they hate anything He stands for and are offended. Or maybe they have been so badly hurt by a church that anger and bitterness consume them to a point where they will not step into a church again. Maybe they lost someone or something so horrible in their life that they are angry with God because they believe that a good God would not allow something so bad to occur.

I believe, as I have for a long time, that we are seeing the consequences of a nation turning its back on God. Do things look all that great these days? We are in days like the days of Noah: And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Luke 17:26-27) They heard the warnings Noah was putting out there but they did not want to believe them. Then it was too late.

Timothy later added this about those living in the last days: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God...(2Timothy 3:2-4). Ouch.

Some see what they want to see...because they have not God and have bought into the delusion: The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Thessalonians 2:9-12) Strong words? I guess!

I ask you to open your eyes and allow God to fill you with the wisdom of truth and knowledge. I ask myself time and again, who am I that God would allow me to see these things? I'm no one the world...but to It is a privilege to be counted as one who has just a tiny bit of wisdom and discernment.

Oh...but wait. That might be considered arrogant. And you know what? It might be. Some look at believers as arrogant because we say we have received Christ, believe we have a special relationship with Him, have changed spiritually, understand better His truth and, as one of these friends says, hold firm to our beliefs and have the hope Christ gives us, something others who aren't sure of this hope or have no beliefs don't understand because they have not heeded these words of God. Is it their fault? I don't know. If they have heard...even in these blogs (which are far from perfect)...and have laughed or determined the subject matter too absurd for their thinking, or they are offended because sometimes the content seems to offend...because it is the truth of God's Word...then, yes, they have chosen not to believe the truth and have believed the lie.

The truth is not difficult to grasp if one really wants to know it. God wants none to perish and there are many who will whether they live to be a hundred or die in an instant tomorrow. There is a very great need to know Jesus and His saving power. We cannot work for it. We must, though, desire and then seek it. Seek God.

Anyone who does not know God is His enemy of sorts. My prayer is that He would fill the faces of unbelievers with shame. Sometimes that's what we need to do...we need to see for ourselves the dreadful lives we live without Him. We need to see our sin and be ashamed, repent of those sins and seek Him. Then...He is just to forgive. He forgives as far as the east is from the west. The shame is then removed. A change will take place.

My message will not change. If it is offensive the offense is not with me but with He who showed us the truth. It's all about Jesus. Do you choose to follow Him or choose to live with others as in the last days of Noah? He's searching to and fro for those whose hearts are for Him that He might show Himself strong on their behalf. Will you join those He has sought and won over? It is unlike anything you have known. Join the "arrogant" ones who have a belief in something real and a hope like no other.

Isaiah 56:6 - Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

You Understand My Thought Afar Off

Psalm 139:2 - You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off.

Oh, how I know the Lord hears even my thoughts. This is sort of an addendum to the August 27 blog.  Although I struggled with the idea of feeling alone in a congregation, it wasn't the congregation I was feeling alone in...I was feeling out of God! If I had determined to stay home, though I dragged my feet to go to a church God had directed me to, I would not have become aware that I was in a very large, painful wilderness...until last Sunday.

I have tried a couple times to write this but fell short, wandering here and there in my thoughts.

Maybe I should just say this, when we acknowledge in whatever way we can that we will follow Christ, no matter what, it frees us from unnecessary burdens. I mean really frees us.

I also believe because I was obedient in my leaving one church and going to another I was experiencing doubt that only comes from the enemy...and often these trials come just before something big happens in your life. Call me crazy, but something is about to happen...and it's exciting. A breakthrough for me. But I needed to be tried first.

Last Sunday all I had been going through came to a head. Overhearing someone talking about something brought a comment from me that exploded the conversation without my feeling intrusive or changing of the subject. But I just happened to be in the right place at the right time with the right person and she walked me through a series of questions relating to my complaint, confusion, whatever it was. It ended with an If God chose not to do give you relief from this, would you still follow Him? As difficult as this was, determining whether I would follow God in spite of unanswered prayer I said Absolutely...despite how hard it would be. I knew the reverent fear of God was greater. I knew Him to be the only truth in life...and knowing the only truth also meant having some real idea what real life was all about...real life is trusting God in all things, especially when you don't sense His presence.

After a powerful, weepy day in church I wept going home and wanted nothing more than to be alone with my thoughts and with the Lord, to let all that transpired settle deep in my spirit. I'm certain today it's still settling in. The anguish I'd felt for a very long time, the aloneness I'd felt, the fear that I was walking slowly away from God, the feeling of helplessness, lack of joy and peace, was no more. A huge burden had been lifted.

All because of God's perfect timing. Just when I was certain I'd done something to cause Him to leave me and I was beside myself, He let me know I was not alone...and that others have been where I was. He'd heard my thoughts afar off...even though they may have been verbal as I wandered around the house! He was well acquainted with my tears as well.

Why did I have to go through this? As a test of my faith. It wasn't the first time and it won't be the last but maybe I will have an even greater understanding and next time just allow the test to take place, knowing, despite what thoughts and feelings I have (which are not always mine nor His but the enemy's) He is there.

Shrinking back is not an option. But digging in is. Shouting to Him in no uncertain terms that He will always be my God no matter what is what is necessary. That whatever may befall me, I will trust in Him. Only He knows why we are allowed to go through periods of unrest in our lives. It boils down to this: we must trust Him in all things. If we are His children, He has not forsaken us. We are being tested and tried that we might come out of His refining fire.


1Peter 1:7 -  that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ...