Saturday, November 30, 2013

Christ in Me

Galatians 1:13,15 - For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles...

One of the most impressive stories for me in the Bible is about the Apostle Paul. He proves that God can totally bring about tremendous change in ANYONE, if one is willing to let God to do this. It is comforting to know we have a God this powerful.

Paul was a persecutor of Christians. He was a Jew, a Pharisee, one well versed in Jewish laws and hated anyone whose beliefs opposed his, the Jewish beliefs. So he persecuted these Christ believers.

My how he was transformed on the road to Damascus. He met God, who blinded and troubled him; yet Paul knew without a doubt what had happened was real and he submitted to the hand of God. It became known to him he had been wrong and had done his religious understanding of the Jewish laws, his idea of who Jesus was and in his treatment of Christ believers.

God changed Paul's purpose in life from persecution to expounding on the truth of Christ. He was sent by God to preach what he had been so sure was false. He could no longer speak against Jesus. In fact, here are a number of things he said about himself:
Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God... (Romans 1:1)
Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God... (1Corinthians 1:1)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God...(2Corinthians 1:1, Ephesians 1:1, Colossians 1:1)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope...(ITimothy 1:1)
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus...(2Timothy 1:1)
But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ...(Philippians 1:12, 13)

You see, after he changed so dramatically, he could no longer live in his old manner because of the grace of God. His life was now in Christ and he gave all glory to Him. Look at the key words: called, separated, by the will of God, by the commandment, in Christ. While we are not all called in as great a manner as Paul, if we are believers in Christ, having come face to face with Him in some way, we will have changed also (a continual process) and we are to be disciples and called to preach the Gospel and its truth. In order to do that we must first know Who the Truth is. Paul shared the truth and confronted the lies with the people in Galatia, who he found out had turned away from what they first believed to another gospel after Christ had first been revealed to them.  I find it hard to understand how once the truth was/is heard one would turn away from it...but it did happen and still does.

I noticed a couple times Paul uses the word revelation. One, his encounter with the Lord was an extreme type of revelation. God so intensely revealed Himself to Paul. Then he says that the words he spoke and places he went were by revelation. He took no credit for where he went or what he said. Paul asked, Do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? His message was not self serving. He did not speak hoping to please God but to persuade men to seek God, not with words that would satisfy them but would cause them, like he, to turn to God. He spoke the truth of God that resided within him and which he was now convinced was real. And he further stated, if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.

What, a bondservant? Oh my. Does that make one shudder? If one knows Christ he also knows it is not slavery, it is having freedom in Christ, one which he wanted others to receive. How can I say this in a way that causes one to see that being in Christ is good, not evil? In Christ is protection from evil...not that we aren't tempted by evil, but that when we are, we can put our trust in one greater than all evil.

I wonder how many people really think about this, really consider what being in Christ is all about? It's not about being Lutheran, Methodist, Catholic or any other mainstream religion. It's about being in Christ. If this isn't the message being preached in churches, it is another gospel. All of life is about the Lord. He created, He draws men to Him, He saves, He redeems, He purifies, He sanctifies...He, He, He. He is as much alive today as He was when He walked on this earth. Oh, that people would see Him, not religion.

Like Paul later states, it pleased God to call him out of his former lifestyle through His grace to reveal Christ to him that he might preach the gospel. It pleased God. Pleased. After he persecuted? I looked up the word pleased in a Bible concordance: well content, chosen gladly, good, preferred, thought it best, took pleasure. Who can understand the mind of God that He would be pleased to use the vilest of men? And that's what He did and does. Because who gets the glory?

If Paul was called specifically to preach to those he formerly persecuted, imagine the difficulty, and the amount of persuasion it took, his own form of persecution, to preach now a different story. Paul said: But they were hearing only, “He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God in me. (Galatians 1:23-24)

Paul was dramatically transformed. His life was no longer his own. God gave him grace and used him in a great way. He now lived for God. This is what He calls us to do. How well are we all doing? Do we realize, like Paul, a difference? It's not about the rules and regulations of any religion...remember he was a Pharisee, well versed in the law...but about the total grace of God, a grace that came from God being pleased to use Paul...for His glory. Christ in... Here's one more thing Paul says about himself. Can we relate?

Galatians 2:20-21 - I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in in vain.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Psalm 107:21-22 - Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.

When one becomes a born again Christian one looks at life differently. While I am thankful for the freedoms we have had in the United States, I realize they can be taken away...which we are seeing. I'm still thankful for what we have left. If we live to see more erosion, will we still have something to be thankful for? If life becomes harder for whatever reason, will we still have something to be thankful for? If we call ourselves Christians, disciples of Christ, we should.

So what is my view of Thanksgiving? For some Thanksgiving is just another day off work, food, drink, football and family. Others will celebrate this year and truly will be thankful for God's goodness toward them. A very good friend of mine will testify to this through her waiting on God without any inkling of what she would be facing. And for some, her in particular, He has proven what trusting in Him is all about. (I may post this testimony in time!) I am thankful most of all for God's love, grace and mercy to me. Without Him there is no hope. In Him I have a freedom that cannot be taken away at someone else's whim.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness. Thanksgiving is thanking the Lord...that He chose me, redeemed me, guides me...and it is He I can put my trust in.

I recently found out that Thanksgiving as we may know it didn't really happen the way we think. If you are interested in what it might have been, you can research yourself. It was not as Christian a day as we all believe it to be, sad to say. It may have been thanksgiving for lives saved, but not so much for the way of life they lived.

Putting the real story aside, and coming to what we can truly be thankful for...we can thank God today for the physical blessings He has given us. But it's so much more than the physical blessings, or possessions. The biggest thanks we can have is the thanks for our salvation. Two verses prior to the ones above say this: Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.

Not a new story as far as my posts! When we come to the end of ourselves, can't possibly imagine how we will get through something, we CAN cry out to the Lord and He will heal and deliver through His Word, the Lord Jesus Christ. We can be thankful, truly thankful, if we have received Christ.

He offers the greatest blessing of all time. If we have called on Him for forgiveness of our sins and have continued to follow Him and trust in Him, we can lift up our voices in the most amazing thanksgiving. It's not always about the possessions we have or our freedoms but our spiritual condition, our rightness with God or relationship with Christ. Nothing is more important to God than that.

I am thankful for His sacrificial love for all of us. None of us deserve eternal life. But He offered up His life anyway so that all men who would call on His name, receive Him and wait on and trust in Him would have this eternal life. He gave His life for us. How can we not be thankful for that? When we are at the place where we can thank Him for this, then His hand will be upon us. But how do we live that out? By loving Him first, or what the world believes is important? Think about it...

Oswald Chambers wrote this: The religion of Jesus Christ is a religion of personal relationship to God and has NOTHING to do with possessions. Professional Christianity is a religion of possessions that are devoted to God. The disciple realizes that his life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses, because what we possess often possesses us; we are possessed by possession.

Look at it this way, though. If we have Christ we have the greatest possession. He is the greatest treasure. He will not leave or forsake anyone who claims this possession. Matthew 6 tells us 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.

There are many verses on thanks and thanksgiving to God. He is a great and awesome God who gives generously to those who trust Him. Sometimes what He gives isn't in ways we would expect. We might not even be able to put a finger on what He gives; sometimes it's just in the peace and contentment we feel. Then at other times, because He knows what we have need of (not want of) He provides. And He knows each one of us has need of a Savior. We should be thankful He provided His Son to be that Savior. We should be thankful for the freedom we have in Christ. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. (John 8:36) Do you know this freedom?

Psalm 100: Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. - A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Psalm 107:1-9 - Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy, and gathered out of the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a desolate way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, that they might go to a city for a dwelling place. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.

While this Psalm speaks of Israel and their ongoing disobedience and repentance and God's forgiveness, it speaks to all mankind. The message, as is all that is in the Bible, is relevant for today. It speaks of our salvation.

Many denominations/religions believe that being part of a church, going to Sunday school or catechism/confirmation classes or being baptized as a baby (all of which I did) are all it takes for salvation.

What do the words above show us?

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good and His mercy endures forever. He redeemed His people. When? When they wandered in the wilderness, hungry and thirsty, their souls...souls...fainting. They knew something was missing. They had lost sight of the God who they once worshiped and turned to their own ways. And He let them knowing some day they would realize His blessings were not like they had been.

God allows us to wander in our lives the same way. We may never have had a desire for God or thought we were in right standing because we did attend church and the other things mentioned above. But a day would/will come when we realize there is still something missing. It is a hunger in our souls. It might happen in a day of trouble. Most likely not a day but a season when all that seemed good is suddenly lost and we're wondering where has life gone or what have I done or why am I not satisfied even though I'm prosperous and seem to be blessed? We don't know where to turn. That's where Jesus comes in. God has allowed us to get to a place where seeking Him is what it will take to get out of what we view as doldrums, crisis, desperation and what God calls sin. Yes, sin. We are in sin when we are out of God's will.

His people did what we might do: cry out to the Lord in our time of trouble. He turns on the light so our souls might see. I know He did that for me. Suddenly it is clear. And He delivers from those distresses. He takes us down the right path, the right Way, through Jesus. The dwelling place is in Him and He in us.

Some will recognize their "lostness" and seek someone or something or a belief contrary to God. Others will recognize in an instant the One who will guide them down the lighted path so He can satisfy the longing in their souls and fill them with goodness, that other things won't satisfy. It may seem a bitter pill to have to take to learn the truth, but it is worth it. The word emancipate has come to mind a couple times the past couple days. We don't always know we are oppressed at first. In time we know we can't live like this anymore. If we seek God He becomes the way out of that oppression and we take hold of Him and are set free. The load is lightened, the burdens eased. Isn't it worth it? One might wish it had happened sooner.

Let me repeat the words: Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men! For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness.

2Corinthians 7:9-10 - Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner... For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Monday, November 18, 2013

He Does Because

Romans 11:33-36 - Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

God and His ways can really take us deep into our thoughts. Often we end up at a wall realizing our lack of knowledge on those things only He knows about. We can ask why would He do this or that and come away with our own unsatisfactory answers, none at all or coming to the conclusion that it's just because.

I had been messaging with a friend on the meaning of God's will. Out of it all, I have to admit my finite mind has to back off and believe one thing: because God can. Because He is sovereign...and He is. He does not cause or will evil, He allows it. But when He does, it is still for a purpose only He is privy to...because He is God...and He wants us to realize that.

He knew sin would enter into the world, yet He created it. Why? To show His glory. To show His nature, power and attributes, His goodness and judgment. To show what happens when you choose evil over good. We need to see both in order to make a choice. We all have choices to make and there will be consequences for them...good or bad.

When all is said and done the answer is, just because. Because He is Creator God. Because He is in control. Because He is sovereign. Because.

I'll tell you, when I get myself to a place where I don't have an answer...and it's okay not to have an answer; it's okay to say I don't know and defer to just trusting thoughts eventually run backward to the beginning where everything began. God, our Alpha, First, Creator. It all started with Him. His infinite wisdom, glory, judgment, plan, creation. He has done all things for His own glory. And that's all we need to know. We need to honor that too. We need to allow Him to be that glory. We cannot negate it.

He does...because!

Some of the points my friend stated she believed I know are not true. She does not believe God knows all things because why would He create at all knowing evil would exist. To show His glory... And why would He create Adam and Eve knowing they would bring sin into the world? To show His glory... And why does God allow death of innocent children? To show His glory...because He is sovereign. A verse from Psalm 139 tells us He is in control and sovereign: Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. They say we are His perfect creation and He knows the beginning from the end of each of our lives. Because of sin in the world, we die. Even this glorifies God, through His sovereign power.

I also know that we must see both sides of God. Just like we must see our sin in order to realize we have a God who loves us enough to allow evil, as it were, into our lives to appreciate how God can also take us out of that evil...through Jesus. We must see His judgment side, or the side we would just as soon not see or hear about, in order to realize His other side, the goodness and righteousness He is. I hope this makes sense. God reveals Himself in both the good and the judgmental. This all shows His glory. How? To show our need for Him in difficult times. To show He is sovereign. To draw us closer to Him, to see how we will react in difficult times, to see whether we are trusting Him.

In some churches only the good side is discussed. And maybe that's why it's hard for some to understand why bad things happen to good people, in particular children. Maybe they have learned only that God is love. I'm not saying that God is judging a small child in their death but that He allows it to happen. It is all part of this fallen world we are in.

So why would He create at all if He knew evil would exist? That question is a tough one. The only answer I can come up with, again, is to show His glory, though it may not seem like enough of an answer. Because He can, He is God. Because He wants His glory to be seen. We need to see His glory in order to believe in Him, although some never do. It's His plan for us, since we have been created by Him, to know Him, believe in Him, trust, follow and obey Him for our eternal life...

And what it boils down to is just believing and trusting Him in all circumstances. Plain and simple. That may just be the hardest thing man can do. Man wants to fix something, find a solution, come up with an answer. And some might even try to do this with God, find a solution about Him that man can understand. God wants us to just trust in Him, let His glory be revealed. Man wants his own glory. He wants his answers to always be the right answers. But we have to admit we don't have all the answers. We have to settle for the answer of just because.

Oh, the questions I will have for Him someday!! Others probably will too. However, the frustration can be quelled by knowing Jesus, following after Him, hearing Him speak through His Word, obeying Him and trusting in Him. That's what all of life is about. It's not all about us.

Job 11:7-9 - Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than heaven— what can you do? Deeper than Sheol— what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Way of the Cross

Isaiah 53:6 - All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

This country is in a great need of a spiritual awakening. ...As I've traveled from city to city I see how far people have wandered from God. Of all the things I've seen and heard there's only one message that can change people's lives. There is a way...if you come the way of the cross. - Billy Graham

Years ago I would have quickly curled my lip and switched the channel had I seen commercials advertising Billy Graham and one of his televised crusades. For the most part each crusade was pretty much the same, with the same message in different words. Wasn't that ultimately what Jesus did?

We are all like sheep, wandering in our own directions. We all are in need of a Shepherd to guide us in the way of truth. There is only one true Shepherd and He paid the price so we all could be free from our wandering and guided by Him.

There is only one message...and Jesus IS the Message. Billy Graham said it...There is only one way, the way of the cross. Jesus said it like this: I am the way, truth and the life... How can you change that truth? Jesus is the Way...of the cross. In those days crucifixion was done so that all could see. Crosses were set up along the roads leading to and from a town, like a warning for others. Picture the Way carrying the cross and the Way being mounted onto it with nails and the Way suffering thereon, then the Way giving up the ghost. Graham said the worst part wasn't all that He had to go through to get to the cross. The worst part was for a time being separated, forsaken from His Father. That's what we all are before Christ...separated from our Heavenly Father.

All Jesus has done for us. I AM THE WAY, He tells us. Like the warning if the crosses lining the way in the streets, He became the warning for us.

Hah! Yesterday our pastor, Terry Fischer, made mention of warning. Often people question how we can say God is a loving God but kill so many, as in the case of Sodom and Gomorrha, Samaria even other times when God's judgment fell on a people or nation, like how He does allow many to suffer the consequences of hell, although He's a loving God! He didn't cause the destruction without warning: He was merciful; He warned them, were Pastor Terry's words. He has sent prophets of old; he sent His Son.  Jesus' words of warning, and love, continue. So warning is a good thing. It's the hearers of the warnings who must decide if they want to listen or judge.

Sean Hannity had a special on Billy Graham. I wondered how he managed to do this. I would watch it with an open ear. A bit of doubt invaded my mind and heart because for all the important people Graham managed to reach and actually get to talk to or spiritually advise, I have to admit, I don't know to what extent their lives really changed, if they did. Perhaps he only planted the proverbial seed. Like Jesus, many may think Graham is just a good, wise man, maybe a prophet. They still believe what they want to believe.

It does cause me to wonder why and how so many think they understand? How different is it from my understanding or that of others? But then, it was a just a seed in my life years prior to my own conversion. And God knows the rest of all our stories. Only God knows the outcome of the lives Billy Graham has touched.

Graham said that though many would react to this message (if they decided to watch it) it is the truth and he said with all his heart he wanted to leave us with this truth. Graham wants to leave us...with the truth. This may be the last time we hear from this man of God. But till his dying breath he will give us the same message of truth...that Jesus is the only way, truth and life; we are to take up our cross and follow Him.

What is Jesus' message? That He loves you and is willing to forgive you of all your sins. But you must go by way of the cross. You must believe that He was virgin born, lived a holy life with the very real knowledge that He was going to die for all mankind. He knew not all would receive Him, not even some in His own family. Like Graham, His message would always be the same. There is only one message. Without Jesus there is no hope. Without Jesus there is death.

Graham pointed out several things about the cross:
. It is offensive...but a cross we all must face some day.
. We don't want to hear we are all sinners, but we are.
. It demands, not suggests, a new lifestyle from sin which is a disease that affects the heart.

Jesus is our only hope for our eternal future. He sets us free. We become new persons in Christ.

Don't think you're a sinner? That is the first sign you are. None are righteous. NO ONE. You can't name one person, not one. ALL are sinners. All are in need of Christ. Not working to receive Him but working for Him once He is received. There are endless testimonies of God's transforming power in people. If we look at these people and think "good for them; glad for them" and glad we haven't been there/done that because we've lived a better life than these transformed individuals, we look at ourselves as better than they...another sin. When I hear or read about how God intervened in such a personal, powerful way in one person's life, it reminds me of the day it all became so real for me...and other times when I knew the Lord had intervened in my life in some way.

As one young woman in the program put it: The truth is, there is no other way. Besides Christ and what He did there's no life. Isn't that what Jesus tells us? I am the way, truth and the life. All that He did for's mind boggling. He BECAME sin for us. He died on a cross where each of us should be. Without Him we remain in our sinful states. That is one truth. Another truth is we can be free of our sin if we receive Christ. Yet other truths: We will be forgiven of our sins and given eternal life; however, if we don't want to change what we are or how we view things we are rejecting Christ.

Graham spoke these wonderful words: Jesus was the only one born in this world without sin. But more than that He was a righteous one and when you come to Him you're clothed in His righteousness. God no longer sees your sin, nor your own heart. He sees Jesus.

We are told, as Graham said in one of his crusade messages, we don't have to understand all this...just believe. And anyone can believe...with all our heart. Believe, as Graham pointed out, means to commit...committing my life totally to Him. It's not just thinking in our minds, okay, I believe. It comes from a belief deep in your spirit, through repentance and faith in Him. One that causes a change in the way you think and believe. It causes you to want to be changed by a holy God. Repentance is that change. Recognizing you are a sinner and He is the only one who can forgive.

While Jesus may have died 2,000 years ago, He also arose and is still alive today ready to forgive anyone who is willing to put their faith and trust in the one true Way.

Some ask that you say a prayer to receive Christ. I received Christ before the prayer. The prayer was more a confirmation. Anyone can come to Christ by sincerely asking Him to show you what YOU need to see or hear to make Him real to you. It's not about a prayer. It's a heart issue and sincerity. Will your heart be the proper soil for receiving this seed?

John 10:11 - “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In Our Flesh

1Corinthians 1:27-30 - But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption...

Somehow my mind will not let go of a thought and it seems as I peruse this and that or meditate here and there, I have been led to areas too great to let just sit in my memory. As this blog sat a couple of days, some of these same words were spoken or prayed in church today.

Righteousness. I've written about it before. I've written that we cannot attain it by anything we do (in our flesh) but only by what Christ did for us. Christ alone. In His flesh. Not our works, not our good deeds. No outward thing can gain this righteousness. Not countless hours in His Word, or studying scriptures or even pounding the pavement for the Lord, although we are called to do these things...and often desire to do them when we have come to Christ. It is something between myself and Jesus. And it starts with a relationship with Him. In fact, as stated above, He uses the foolish, weak and base. He will not use one who believes he is smarter, wiser, mightier than most. He does not use self seekers. He uses the sin filled individual who at one time was sure he needed Someone greater in his life to get him through. God looks to those and uses those who have bowed a knee and a heart to Christ.

No work can ever be good enough. If we think we can buy our way to heaven, same thing. How much is enough? What amount of works are enough? Are we ever sure enough? We are told in Romans there is none righteous, not one. If we believe we've done enough, we fool ourselves...and wrongfully put ourselves on the same level as Christ...and if we believe that, we have sinned in our own pride. No works.....none, nada, zip, zero. Period. We will always fall short of the glory of God! However, in Christ we long to do good works, for Him.

Righteousness is looked upon as arrogance to those who do not understand what Christ has done...and those who have not received His gift of just that, a gift, undeserved...given to any who understand it is not about works. The works is what trips us up. We must do good to get ahead, step up that ladder to success, be recognized as "something." This is not God's view. Remember, He chooses the foolish, weak and base...that man cannot say it was something they did (in the flesh) to achieve their salvation. It is the work of Christ on the cross alone that redeems us, makes us righteous. His flesh torn, bruised, pierced, bloody. What He had to go through. And we must do no more than admit this, believe it and trust it. Nothing I've done, but all You've done, O God.

A simple concept, but difficult if we cannot put our pride, or self, aside for Someone else...for Jesus. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash away our guilty stains. How absolutely humbling and so against the nature of man. But true.

There is a book called The Pilgrim's Progress written by an early Christian writer and preacher named John Bunyan. He maintained that he was only a Christian, of no denomination. He struggled with this righteousness. He often felt he lacked in righteousness. He could only see his sin and the things he believed he could not attain to satisfy God. Could he ever be considered righteous? Was he truly saved? And as he dwelt on this issue he wrote:

But one day, as I was passing into the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing lest yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence fell upon my soul, “Your righteousness is in heaven”; and methought with it all, I saw, with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I say, as my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing, God could not say to me that He wants my righteousness, for that was just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

Now did my chains fall off my legs indeed. I was loosed from my afflictions and irons; my temptations also fled away; so that, from that time, those dreadful Scriptures of God left off to trouble me; now went I also home rejoicing, for the grace and love of God. So when I came home, I looked to see if I could find that sentence, “Your righteousness is in heaven,” but could not find such a saying; wherefore my heart began to sink again, only that was brought to my remembrance, “He is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1Cor. 1:30). By this word I saw the other sentence true.

For by this Scripture I saw that the man Christ Jesus, as He is distinct from us, as touching His bodily presence, so He is our righteousness and sanctification before God. Here therefore I lived, for some time, very sweetly at peace with God through Christ. Oh! methought, Christ, Christ! There was nothing but Christ that was before my eyes: I was not now only for looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ apart, as of His blood, burial, or His resurrection, but considering Him as a whole Christ, as He in whom all these, and all other virtues, relations, offices, and operations met together, and that He sat on the right hand of God in heaven.

All we need to do is let go of our own lofty ideas of righteousness and let Jesus do the work in us. This happens when we come to a place of relationship with Christ. He has done it all. The Son seated at the Father's right hand. The Mediator between God and man. Receive Christ, receive, righteousness. God cannot see in us what we see in us because He sees us through His Son. And there is nothing unrighteous about Jesus. Put on Christ. Put on the robes of righteousness...and don't allow the enemy to say otherwise. Don't allow doubts because of finicky feelings be our downfall. Look straight into the eyes of the Lord and know He has done it all...that no FLESH should glory in His presence. Not us, but He alone. Praise Him! He is the One who said, "It is finished" before HE died.

Romans 8:1-4 - There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Then Comes the End

1Corinthians 15:24-26 - Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 

Just as there was a beginning there will be an end. Genesis...Revelation. All things in between these two books show us all we need to know about life.

Man was created. He sinned. He died. Death was not supposed to be. So God the Father had to make a provision to allow His creation to once again have life. He stepped down from His heavenly throne to mingle with the ungodly, in the form of a Man, His own Son.

He knew no sin. He remained holy. He lived among the sinners without becoming defiled. He drew men to Him. He spoke the difficult truth in love. Just like God sent the prophets, He also sent Jesus. Many saw Him, believed in Him, followed Him and perpetuated His teachings that thousands of years later this Man, Jesus, could still be reachable by others.

His message was simple. I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6). He is the life. Without Him there is no life. We can believe He was just a man or a prophet or just say we know who He is, but we will not share in the life. We must take Him at His Word and believe all that He has shared with us. We must understand that unless we give up our ideas on how life is to be lived and live according to His commands we will not have life. 

God's people struggled with sin and so do we. Religions tell us what they believe is our responsibility to receive a life in heaven. But Jesus says, If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (Matthew 16:24, John 8:12). He asks us not to hold on dearly to the things we believe are giving us a great life on earth. They are the idols that keep us from a relationship with Jesus. He is asking us to put them aside and consider Him first. It means putting Him first. Putting Him first. First. Deny our selfish desires and seek Him. And part of this is picking up a Bible and finding out Who He is, listening to His words, showing an interest in Him. THEN you will have life...abundant life. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) And there you have it. Right back to that enemy...and death. 

It was prophesied that life will take a downturn in the latter days. I believe we are in the midst of these days. God was prepared for this. He knew at a prescribed time He would have to let all things come to another end, like in the days of Noah. The Son whom He allowed to die for the eternal spiritual lives of those who received His words, will one day return. This time He will return in a warring fashion to defeat the same enemy that Eve faced before she bit that forbidden fruit. All those of the remnant who have chosen to heed His words will come with Him, having refuge in Him. All others, the greater majority, will be cast aside. They will become His last days enemies whom He will defeat, whose lives will end. He will reign forever, His enemies beneath Him, while those who have believed these things will be covered by Him. He will reign forever. 

1Corinthians 15:27a - For “He (God) has put all things under His (Jesus) feet.”

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Isaiah 4:5-6 - ...then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain. 

This is what God longs to be for us. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ we wander this earth without the spiritual covering He provides.

This nation is losing it's standing in the world because of wickedness that has pervaded over the years...lack of respect for God, desiring to be our own self-made people, relishing in the wealth we created over the years and bowing down to it.

We have decided in our hearts that it is our wisdom and knowledge that makes us who we are, not God. Along with that we have decided that since we have this wealth we can spend any way we desire.

God punished His own people thousands of years ago for similar attitudes. Why should it be any different today if He is a God who never changes?

He longs to be our protection. The pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. He longs to be our covering. Christ can be that covering. He is our Tabernacle, our place of refuge and our shelter from the storm.

Why would these things be written if they were not for us to learn from? Before these particular verses was a horrifying picture...the wanton women languishing in their vanity, beauty, men, gowns, fragrances and accessories...and they were brought low. All they had was taken away, their nakedness (sins) uncovered for who He saw them to have become. They became a stench and with this humbling these women lamented.

But those who did not succumb to this lifestyle became the remnant of God. All that He had for them was, refuge, tabernacle and covering.

This is all a picture of Jesus. Do you know Him? Is He first in your life? Is He all you need? Do you trust in Him over the things of the world? He covenanted many years ago with a very few who believed Him. The covenant is His refuge, shelter, covering. It will be for those few in number, the remnant of the last days.

He has promised us everything good...spiritual goodness and blessing above material. He has shown us repeatedly what He offers and what He rejects. His covenant is with those who follow Him, who become part of His inheritance. Remember, it is about a remnant. Few will follow, few will receive Him and few will receive His inheritance.

Psalm 105:7-12 - He is the Lord our God; His judgments are in all the earth. He remembers His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, the covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel as an everlasting covenant, saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,” when they were few in number, indeed very few, and strangers in it. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Eye Salve!

Revelation 3:18 - I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

Yesterday after posting my blog, I checked my email. I thought about just going to post my pastor's devotion for yesterday but I couldn't stop my mind from thinking and fingers typing. Figures.

In the scripture above Jesus is asking people, counseling them, to "buy" some important things. Today we buy things to meet our needs. But many tend to neglect their spiritual needs. Jesus suggests gold, which cannot be burned in the most extreme fire; white garments, which we all visualize as meaning purity and cleanness, covering the things that should not be seen...especially our sins. (We can be covered by the blood of Christ.) And then there's the eye salve. What is a salve? Doesn't it soothe? And when your eyes are soothed and you can see, isn't it wonderful? I'm in Arizona where it's dry...and I have the start of glaucoma in one eye...and occasionally an eye drop is necessary to relieve the burning sensation. Not eye salve, but you get the point.

My pastor, Terry Fischer, from The Church in Wisconsin (yes, that's the name of our church), does a near-daily devotion. He has so aptly named them Eyesalve. The Word of God, our Bibles, should be that eye salve in our lives. The Bible speaks of things past which relate to things present and future. It is truth and life. At least it should be to those who delve into His Word, who long to hear Him speak through it, to learn His ways, His commandments and who long to know Him and better take Him at His Word.

I've said this many times...not only is the Bible the Word, but Jesus is the Word. Jesus is the only Person who brings life. No pastor, no priest, no rabbi or Buddhist monk...or any monk. Jesus alone. There is also not one religion better than another. It's not about a religion anyway and all about a relationship with Jesus Christ...the same Jesus who is more costly than gold, covers our sins that we are clothed in righteousness and who is the Word whose words are like an eye salve.

The Bible starts with creation and ends with death...which becomes our eternal life or death. All throughout the pages between the beginning and end are glimpses of this Man, Jesus, whose only desire is that we follow Him for this eternal life, in Him, to heaven. There is another eternity but it does not include Jesus or God. It only includes eternal torment for those who choose not to take God--or Jesus--at His Word and believe what the Word says or what Jesus, the Living Word, says. I got to thinking about this place. Do we commiserate with others who have ended up there or do we experience this torment all by ourselves??? Being alone would be the ultimate agony. Total separation.

So, my pastor's blog so confirmed in my spirit that what I wrote earlier was on target. (Link to blog)

The words I write may come across as critical or judgmental. Consider them tempered in love...albeit tough love. Consider them words Jesus would preach. I would only pray that before anyone moves them into the trash bin, they keep on reading for the part that says Jesus loves you and died for you and desires that you seek Him for eternal life and to not follow Him is not good. Not all I write is soft and delightful. But then neither are all the passages of the Word of God.

The Word was written by men but inspired of God. I'm not saying all I write is inspired by God!!! I would hope my words would, however, reflect God's heart. Proverbs 14:12 says: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. I urge you to shake that "I'm a ... whatever denomination ..." It's all about Jesus. Are we true followers of Him or of a man made religion? Do we listen to the clergyman or hear Jesus through His Word? This might be you read His Word to hear Him speak? Is your spirit being pricked?

His Word is for all to see and read. It is that eye salve. I urge anyone to begin to take Him at His Word. Open your hearts and minds to receive all He has for you...truth, blessing, judgment. I ask you to find a Bible, on line if absolutely necessary, and read all of John 3. It is an eye salve.

Again, if you did not read my blog yesterday, here's the link. Now, read and enjoy Pastor Terry's (short) devotion also from yesterday (emphasis is mine).

Posted on Nov 4 by Pastor Terry Fischer

“And they shall know that I am the LORD, and that I have not said in vain that I would do this evil unto them.” Ez. 6:10

There are 43 similar verses in the bible that say “…they (or ye) shall know that I am the Lord…” 39 of those verses are in Ezekiel. There are two ways that God makes it known to people that He is the Lord; one way is through blessing the other through judgment. 31 of those 43 times Ezekiel makes this statement, he is prophesying judgment. If you have ever been accused of being judgmental because you are just simply holding to the word of God imagine how Ezekiel must have felt. Anyway, what will it take for you to know the Lord better, judgment or blessing?

You can read Pastor Terry's devotions (Eyesalves) here. And you can sign up for them. He's concise and speaks in truth! - Laurie

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Terror of the Lord

Isaiah 2:19,21 - They shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily. To go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the crags of the rugged rocks, from the terror of the Lord and the glory of His majesty, when He arises to shake the earth mightily.

Isaiah was a prophet. He told of the judgment to come upon His people. God was frustrated and angry with Israel. They had seen His miracles, known His protection and provision over the years, but now they forgot Him. They were intent on making names for themselves, relishing in the works of their own hands, patting themselves on the back and living for self. Their stuff became their idols. They no longer looked to God as Provider.

As I read the first chapter I saw a similarity between these people and our nation, one that once was aware of the need for God, which people did not consider Him passé. God still pleads with us: "If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:19,20)

Amidst the majority of the people (then and now) there is a remnant of believers, however. Unless the Lord of hosts Had left to us a very small remnant, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been made like Gomorrah. (Isaiah 1:9) Everyone knows the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Two cities filled with sin. God told Abraham he would not destroy them if there would be even 10 righteous people...and there weren't.

I know sometimes when I write I sound critical. And people don't like to hear criticism. But sometimes it's through that criticism that something eventually hits home. Jesus spoke some harsh words Himself calling some hypocrites, blind fools, snakes and vipers. Not pleasant words at all, but the truth. When I write what God warns it may sound critical. How can anyone say that God who never changes, is always truthful, has warned us in the past and continues today is being critical. He's warning...........I pass on those warnings.

Our country has a small remnant of righteous people. Although we are headed for disastrous times, I do not believe we will be destroyed for the righteous...who still will have difficult days to go through because of the unrighteous.

As Isaiah goes on, God has him prophesy first the warning that if they put away their evil ways He will do right by them. If they do not His hand will come against those who come against Him. Isaiah 1:25,28: I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your alloy. The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed. God will still do this today because his Word has not changed...warning first...with His goodness to them if they heed and the results of their determination not to hear His words. Just not many take the time today to know what His Word has to say.

Oh, people. Does anyone see this? We are so imitating those days. As individuals, a nation and the world. Many do not hear the words of the prophets warning of the days to come. Many might say, they were ancient people and what does that have to do with today? Many believe that life just goes on as we have known it for our short time on earth. I look at it this way...Jesus will return; why not today or tomorrow? It has to happen sometime. Shouldn't we be ready? What do you think will happen if He does? Are you ready? Do you care? You should.

The signs of the times show the great and glorious day of the Lord is coming. Scoffers are in abundance. Evil abounds compared to 60 years ago, right? Wickedness in the form of complacency and self-seeking, self-pleasure is everywhere. And there are a lot of blind people...blind because if
they could see they would recognize their sin and who wants that?

There will be a day when the terror of the Lord will come. If I must be afraid of it, so should everyone. There WILL be a day when God will show the world His glory and righteousness. It will be a terror to those not with Him, to those who have ignored Him, who have said they believed in Him yet lived as they desired thinking they had nothing to fear. When this day comes, all those things one worked so hard for, so enjoyed, so proud about, will come to nothing...left behind when the fear of God so overcomes and sends people running and hiding because God's glory is too much to bear.

I share Isaiah's warning. It is not mine. As God spelled it out then, He spells it out in no uncertain terms today. He never changes, His Word is still true. He has shown us as an don't get mad at the messenger(s)! Ignorance is no excuse. Turning a blind eye or deaf ear is no excuse. God has shown us. Will you heed His warnings? Or will you laugh at what seems impossible? Isn't it He who created the heavens, earth and mankind, brought the Great Flood, was provider and protector to those who followed Him, rained judgment on those who did not, who sent His Son to die for all so we would not need to fear? Jesus is still the answer in this world. Just acknowledging Him is not enough. Knowing Him personally is. Trusting in Someone who is unseen, having faith in Him before the things we can see or feel.

Heed His warning or don't. Laugh or not. I voice not just my own opinion but that of others, which ultimately comes from God. It's up to you to make up your own mind.

For with God nothing will be impossible. Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You. (Luke 1:37, Jeremiah 32:17)