Monday, December 22, 2014

What Does the Lord Require?

Micah 6:1-8 - Hear now what the LORD says: 
        "Arise, plead your case before the mountains, 
        And let the hills hear your voice. 
        Hear, O you mountains, the LORD's complaint, 
        And you strong foundations of the earth; 
        For the LORD has a complaint against His people...

        "O My people, what have I done to you? 
        And how have I wearied you? Testify against Me.         
        For I brought you up from the land of Egypt, 
        I redeemed you from the house of bondage; 
        And I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. 
        O My people, remember now...
        That you may know the righteousness of the LORD." 

        With what shall I come before the LORD, 
        And bow myself before the High God? 
        Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, 
        With calves a year old? 
        Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, 
        Ten thousand rivers of oil? 
        Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, 
        The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 

        He has shown you, O man, what is good; 
        And what does the LORD require of you 
        But to do justly, to love mercy,         
        And to walk humbly with your God? 

Micah 6:8 has been a verse that has cropped up frequently lately for some reason. Maybe it's a message for me. What I do know it is a message for all of us.

The title in the Bible of this section I read was The Obliteration of Nations. Don't we seem to see obliteration of a lot of things these days? Power struggles, evil, threats of terrorism, outright terrorism, protesting and senseless killing. Let's face it, we cannot look around us and say all is well.

In these scriptures Micah is telling the people of Israel to listen to what God is telling him to tell them! The nation or people of Israel then were God's people. This would be like those today who say they belong to God. Egypt, I've mentioned before, is a type of the world, a form of captivity. People who live according to their own idea of how they want to live, apart from God.

So God had a complaint. As was brought up, again, in Sunday school, the Old Testament, where Micah is, is just as important as any book in the New Testament. Don't let anyone tell you only the New Testament is necessary. 1Corinthians 10:11 says: Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.

God remains the same today as He was then (Hebrews 13:8). There is no shadow of turning with Him (James 1:17). What He says in the Word He means. He doesn't change His mind because society or culture thinks it should. It's so hard to convince people of that. If He said something is a sin, it is. As our pastor said in church yesterday morning, sin is not a mistake, an accident, slip's a sin.

So anyway, God is asking His people Israel, who have repeatedly turned their backs on Him and sinned against Him, what has He done that they should do this? He might ask us as well, those of us who have received Christ and call ourselves believers yet live as we desire. Didn't He deliver them from captivity...didn't He save us from our sins through the blood of Jesus? Didn't He save Israel to show His righteousness to them...doesn't He do that with us? Doesn't He cloth us in righteousness upon receiving Christ?

And Israel missed it. They adhered to their sacrifices as their religious leaders called them to do frequently. Yet none of all those sacrifices were really what God desired. Same today...He doesn't want what we think are good deeds so that God will be pleased with us. What He wants is what verse 8 says: do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God? Then those deeds have meaning because they are done for His glory, not our own.

Some churches today adhere to beliefs or laws that are not biblical. Jesus said He came to not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. All those sacrifices...rolled into One. All He asks is that we follow Him, do what He commands. That's all He asks. I think we can all say we try to do justly and try to be merciful, but it means nothing if we are not walking humbly with God. To me humbly is acknowledging Him daily, submitting to Him over self. Oh, I need to hear this myself.

This verse was the one verse that was beautifully and gently spoken the day I received Christ as Lord and Savior April 18, 1999. I can still hear the pastor's voice! This is what He requires. He wants us. He wants all of each of us. Not that He can be a puppet master and pull strings. No, He wants relationship with us so that He can show us all He has done for us and all He will do for us if we are willing to give of ourselves to Him. You can't have relationship if you don't want to know Him intimately through His Word and devotion to Him. Hold nothing back. We need to ask for Him to reveal any wicked ways, any pride, judgment, name it...that prevents us from being the very person God wants us to be.

Being what He desires is not a bad thing. It's freeing. When we do as He requires life runs more smoothly. If we do not, we run into troubles. We will not be without trouble, but with God we can get through it in His strength. Without Him those struggles will be a burden. With God we have peace. Without Him we flounder.

It takes only a desire to know this great God, be willing to submit to the highest Authority. He desires to use us in a way He has created each of us to be used. He will use our strengths and weaknesses; He has equipped us each with certain talents. When we do as He requires we are successful, to use terms we recognize. Our success comes from His hand. And our success is for His glory because He placed in us what we have. I'm sure it can seem inconceivable doing God's will over our own is the way to go. But it is.

Lord, create in me a clean heart. Show me my faults, my improper desires. Empty me of me that You might fill me to overflowing so I can share what You have for me with others. There's plenty to go around! You must increase that I may decrease. Do this, Lord.

“God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ (‭Acts‬ ‭17‬:‭24-28‬)

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Times Like These

John 14:27 - Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

When tragedy strikes across the world in distant places, in our own country, even in our city, we can feel a sting. But when tragedy strikes close to home it becomes real. A new friend lost her life yesterday in a tragic car a drunk driver. We never, ever know when our last breath will be. We don't want to think about it; we don't want to talk about it. But it real life.

I write constantly about knowing Jesus. I know it can fall on deaf ears. I know not all understand. It is my understanding she loved the Lord, for which I am so thankful. As a follower of Jesus it is our responsibility, at any cost, to share Christ. He alone is the way, truth and life. He is the living God, bread of life, the fountain of living water who removes our endless thirst in this world. He gives us courage, confidence and a certain kind of peace that only comes from Him. Without Him we are lacking...a lot. In Him we lack no good thing.

While in this world there will be sadness that comes with death, that peace of God and even joy can lie deep in our spirits knowing that Jesus' hand reached the one who knew the Savior...or reaches out to those lost in this world that they may know the same Savior intimately. Jesus can be glorified through the death of one if just one more soul is saved through it.

The love of the Lord has no boundaries. It crosses over denominational lines. In the Word you will see that He died for all mankind. He longs for an intimate relationship with all. This relationship with Christ is not something He takes lightly. Jesus would not have otherwise said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭16-17)  "Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ " (‭John‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬)

Lord, I pray that my life would convey the message You so desire; may Your light so shine. May You reach out Your mighty hand even today to those who do not know You. I thank You that Your hand is ever outstretched for those willing to take it. I pray for family, friends and loved ones of this young woman, that Your peace and strength be with them through this very difficult time. 

Psalm 89:13-17 - You have a mighty arm; strong is Your hand, and high is Your right hand. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face. Blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! They walk, O LORD, in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all day long, and in Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and in Your favor our horn is exalted.

Monday, December 15, 2014

BEHOLD! The Word

Nothing says it better than the Word of God.

The beginning:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God SAID, “Let there be light"; and there was light.

Then God SAID, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
Then God SAID, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
Then God SAID, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.
Then God SAID, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years;
Then God SAID, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”
Then God SAID, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.
Then God SAID, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭1‬)

And God SAID it was all good. God the WORD, which word He spoke and it was accomplished. And He brought forth His Son Jesus, the one and the same WORD. I can't think of the One without going back to the beginning. Jesus, Alpha AND Omega, Beginning AND End because the WORD spoke the Word. Jesus, the light of the world which was rejected then and still is. What a great time to receive Him.

The truth, good news and the promise:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word WAS God. He was in the beginning with God. All things WERE MADE through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was LIFE, and the life was the light of men. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, AND THE WORLD DID NOT KNOW HIM.
[Then] the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭1-4,10,14‬)
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬)

And the light shines in the darkness, AND THE DARKNESS DID NOT COMPREHEND IT. But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who BELIEVE in His name: who were born, NOT of blood, NOR of the will of the flesh, NOR of the will of man, BUT OF GOD. ...“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"(‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭5,12-13,29‬)

More good news and conclusion (end):

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (‭2Corinthians‬ ‭5‬:‭17‬)

Behold, [some day soon] He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. (‭Revelation‬ ‭1‬:‭7‬)
"Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me." (‭Revelation‬ ‭3‬:‭11,20‬)

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” ...And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts." (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭5-6‬)
Behold, I am coming quickly!... “...behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work." (‭Revelation‬ ‭22‬:‭7,12‬)

We are about to celebrate the Word who became flesh just for us, for our sins. Do not forget who this season is truly about. Santa can't save, government can't save, good works and all our giving can't save, money can't save. But the Word who is Jesus can. Behold! The best gift is the gift of eternal life in and through Jesus Christ.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (‭Luke‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬)

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My Lord and My God!

John 20:26-31

And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it in My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing."

And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed."

And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

What a perfect time of year to believe. A perfect time of year to pay close attention to the words of our Christ's birth. To hear or read the words of life and truth.

There are many who know who Jesus is, who celebrate Christmas, who attend church on Christmas Eve, but who still do not know Him as their Lord and their God. He wants more than just ones knowing who He is. He wants a close relationship with as many as who will look beyond this knowledge, those who will seek Him with all their hearts.

When one comes to Christ, seeks Him in His Word, learns of Him and listens to His words of life, a whole new life awaits him. Not a life free from trouble but blessed in a different way. Way back in the Book of Isaiah the prophet He was named: For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭9‬:‭6‬). You've heard those names before.

We can know this Man. We can know there is life in His name. We do not have to touch His hands or reach into His side. We can believe. We can know that He is Wonderful in all He is, has done and will do. We can know He will be our Counselor...He will give us His Holy Spirit of truth, wisdom and power when we submit to Him. He is the Mighty God; there is no other God besides Him and when we are His, He will be mighty for us in so many ways. Everlasting Father...He will never leave us or forsake us; we will reign with Him in His Kingdom. As Prince of Peace even in dire circumstances we can have the peace that passes all understanding. ...If we just believe.

1Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭6-9‬ - In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 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, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Will Not Believe

John 20:18-25

Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her. Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace be with you."

When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. So Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you." 

And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained." 

Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

I chose to stop here though this part of the story is not finished.

The disciples now have seen Jesus. They've heard Him speak. They have recognized Him and knew all He had said was true. Even the words earlier came to fruition: But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (‭John‬ ‭15‬:‭26-27‬) They now were filled with the Holy Spirit to receive wisdom and power.

But here also is the account of Thomas who needed to see to believe. I think this is where many people are, needing to see and not believing by faith. If one looks around His glory is seen. In all of life His glory is seen. Yet we can take life and all we have for granted. We don't always take into account Who started our life, Who has given us all these things.

Many times we need to be put into a situation where we see for ourselves, through tragedy sometimes, the outstretched hand of the Lord wanting to rescue us. It happens spiritually. And we see, spiritually. We recognize Jesus before us and we believe.

I had no idea prior to my born again experience what was about to take place and even when it happened I couldn't fully comprehend what all had transpired. I just know I had met with Jesus in a moment and He changed my life. A desire to know more filled me...and believing all He had said was true. He breathed on me. His Holy Spirit filled me and began the teaching.

I can say, I have seen the Lord. And others might say, Not until I see Him for myself will I believe. Ask Him to show Himself, if you really want to know. If you are not absolutely sure, ask Him.

James 1:5-6 - If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Oh the Questions

John ‭6‬:‭25-40 - And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.” ‬

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.” 

Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” 

All these questions!

When did You come here?
What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?
What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? 
What work will You do? 

Jesus' answer: Do not labor for that which does not satisfy but only believe in Me, the bread of life.

How many times has He approached you and you did not notice? How many times have you thought you needed to be a better person before seeking Him? (Pride) Or how often do you consider all your good works will get you to heaven? (Pride) What sign do you need from Him before you will believe?

The sign He performed was His work done at the cross. All He asks is that we humble ourselves and believe in Him from the very depth of our souls. Yet it's our pride that tends to get in the way.

If He was willing to come down from heaven to us, to die for us, shouldn't we be willing to bow before Him?

Here's another chance to see Him and believe. Read His words above again. They are life. They satisfy. Nothing else will. If you can't believe me, believe Him.

Romans ‭4‬:‭2,4-5 - For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness...‬

Believe, Pride, Works, The Cross, Bread of Life, Humble Yourself

Saturday, December 6, 2014


John 20:10-17

Then the disciples went away to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

Then they said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him." Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and she did not know that it was Jesus.

Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, "Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where you have lain Him, and I will take Him away." Jesus said to her, "Mary!" She turned and said to Him, "Rabboni!" (which is to say, Teacher).

Jesus said to her, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, 'I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.'"

I don't know about you but I don't think I would have casually answered two angels if they appeared before me!

Looking in the other Gospels we see variations of the same event. Matthew says Mary Magdalene and "the other Mary" came to the tomb. And there was an earthquake, the stone was rolled away by a man in white clothing. He told the women not to fear for Jesus was risen. And Jesus met them and spoke to them as they headed to tell the disciples.

Mark tells us Mary Magdalene was there with Mary, mother of James, and Salome who was also called Mary. When they arrived the stone was rolled away and one man in white sat inside. He also said He was risen. More interaction...He appeared first to Mary Magdalene and clearly all were afraid and said nothing to anyone.

Luke says certain women, followers of Jesus, arrived with the anointing spices at the tomb. The stone was rolled away. There were two men in shining garments. They also said He was risen and reminded them of His words regarding His capture, crucifixion and resurrection. They were afraid. And they remembered. There were four women, the three Marys and Joanna.

How could there have been four versions? My simple definition, the astonishment or fear altered the stories; the ears hearing the accounts heard differently. If there is an accident and various witnesses, are all their stories the same? Imagine the moment. Jesus is dead, buried and now He's gone. The thoughts that would have gone through their minds, apart from the grief they'd been going through.

The stories might not be exactly the same, but the fact that Jesus was risen and once again met with the women and the disciples was the important point. Jesus was risen. He spoke to them. This message is for us too. He IS risen and He still speaks to us. They saw and believed. That belief has carried on for nearly 2,000 years. Their Teacher. Rabboni! He still speaks today through the many different testimonies of people who have met Him.

How do we know that we have NOT been in His presence, or the presence of angels, before? There are scriptures that tell us: ...for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in...  We might question, ‘Lord, when did we do these things for You?' Jesus might answer: Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me. (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭35,37,40‬)  We may have seen Him but also not known Him. Entertaining strangers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭13‬:‭2‬) And what about the good Samaritan?

So Mary...and others...heard His voice and finally recognized Him. I ask again, how many times might we have heard His voice but did not recognize Him? He calls us in various ways to come to Him. But do we respond like Mary? Even as believers He calls. I believe He can speak or call to us through strangers in various ways, through help or the message of the Gospel. We need to recognize that.

Jesus calls us to know Him, to allow Him to teach us the truth of His Word. These people had sat listening to His Words, wondering at the words He spoke about dying and rising from the dead. It was at this moment that Mary too saw and believed. Not because of what the disciples might have said. In this account it appears He came to her. Maybe it was an instant when she needed to see Him and the incident seemed just for her. He chose to show her all He had said was true. She now knew and believed. There have been times in services when it seemed the words spoken were just for me. Others heard what I did, but those words, at that moment, were just for me. Might this have been the same thing?

Who can say we haven't had our own experiences? What an amazing time to have lived. To have seen Jesus face to face. Yet, it still happens today. Any time is amazing with our Lord. Look and see. We are spiritually blind until we meet Him...and allow Him to be our Teacher. Rabboni!

Matthew‬ ‭13‬:‭15 - For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and
their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

He Saw and Believed

John 20:1-9

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 

Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in.

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.

Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 

The other disciple was John himself. Humble John. He spoke of Jesus, not himself. It was all about the Lord. It will always be all about Jesus.

Earlier in His ministry Jesus had said this: ...“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. (‭John‬ ‭2‬:‭19-21‬)

For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. They had heard Him say these words, but seeing is believing sometimes. The truth of these words were understood at this moment...John saw something and believed. I'm sure Peter did too. If not there had to have been some verbal exchange between them.

We are called to have faith in the things that are unseen. Yet we have all the words of this Bible to show us what we need to believe. Examples. A way to trust in those things we can't see. I've heard testimonies of individuals I personally know where a complete turnaround has taken place in someone's life after they gave their lives to Jesus. After they came to the end of themselves, recognized their sin, and gave it to God. Some change so drastically you'd find it hard to believe they were this old person. Hopefully my testimony has touched someone. When we have humbled ourselves to this extent He will change us. And He will allow our faith to grow. When our faith grows we know we can trust Him for all things.

Up to this point the disciples were still not certain what all these circumstances were all about...Jesus' words to them, His arrest, abuse, crucifixion, death. They'd heard Him speak but not until they saw would they believe. And here, John went in, saw the grave clothes and handkerchief still neatly wrapped...and he saw and believed. Amazing. ...He must rise again from the dead. What else could all this mean? Cloths lying neatly...not disheveled.

We can have that same experience when we come to Christ. We don't get it until the moment we receive Him. Then we see spiritually and believe. As our pastor explained a couple Sunday's ago, no one can understand what we say until it happens to them. It's one of those marvelous mysteries of God. His Holy Spirit power at work in us to give us understanding just by knowing. Have you this testimony? It happens when we give ourselves over to trusting in Him and not ourselves.

For You will light my lamp; the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. ...His way is perfect; the word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? (‭Psalms‬ ‭18‬:‭28,30-31‬)

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Hem of His Garment

Matthew ‬‭9‬:‭19-22‬ - So Jesus arose and followed him, and so did His disciples. And suddenly, a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years came from behind and touched the hem of His garment. For she said to herself, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Sometimes God will physically heal, sometimes not. Somehow it doesn't seem fair. I am with the crowd that does not believe those who say healing doesn't occur because one's faith isn't strong enough. We are told if we have faith the size of a mustard seed.... But where does that faith originate? There are mysteries about God and I choose to just believe we cannot know all there is to know about our God unless He reveals it to us. It's trusting in Him and whatever His plan is for whatever the situation is.

This writing is not exactly what I thought it would be!

This woman above had heard of Jesus, probably heard how others had been healed...and she thought that this might be her hope...reaching out to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. She'd been hemorrhaging for twelve years! And to touch the hem of Jesus' garment meant she was at ground level, crawling around the legs of the crowd. She was at her weakest, lowest time in life... I think it's a symbolic message.

Last week I took a friend whose mother, also a friend, is having neurological problems due to illnesses. I had the privilege of taking her daughter, since her car was not working, to be with her mom at a doctor's appointment. The appointment was for treatments to loosen up her arms which are curling tightly to her chest. I tell you this for a reason.

As I sat in the waiting room I recalled a picture at my sister in law's house the day before. It was of this woman who crawled through a crowd to touch the hem of Jesus' garment. She believed with all she had that she would be healed if she did just this. It may have been her last hope. Such faith, as Jesus told her. I suddenly stopped and prayed that these treatments would work...that this friend would be able to stretch her arms, as if symbolically, for her healing. I was also reminded that she IS healed spiritually, praise God.

I've said this often. It's part of the very foundation of life in Christ. There are times we go through difficulties or watch someone else struggle. We cannot control some situations. We have to let it go, as difficult as it can be, and just trust God. He calls us to trust Him always. Trust Him for our illness or others', for circumstances beyond our control, for unsaved friends and family...and be "okay" if we don't see results we long to see. But that in that trust, to know, even if it hurts in this world, when our eternal life is received all tears will be wiped away because there will be no more sorrow. I believe that trusting Him is a great part of faith, and this is what the Lord looks for. Will we continue to walk with Him no matter our circumstance?

With this friend's illness we have to trust God when we don't see answers or solutions. If we are trusting Him there is also some peace about it. Who knows but God what the lessons are to be learned? We always have lessons to be learned.

Reaching out for the hem of His garment might be something He calls us all to do. He called me to reach out to Him in my time of need. I was at a low point. I'd struggled for awhile. Little did I know when I reached out I would be healed spiritually and then came that understanding of who He is, what He can, or will not, do. But that spiritual healing came first.

I thank God my friend herself reached out for Jesus at some time in her life. I thank God her family has done the same. There's comfort in that in the midst of this trial. Again, not all healing is physical, although God is able...but do you still have faith in Him? That's what counts. Is there something where you cannot fathom the outcome? Are you at your wits' end? Do you know Jesus? If not, reach out. He is there. If you do know Him, reach out for His strength, peace and wisdom.mi think we would do well to reach out daily for that hem.

Hebrews 4:16 - Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Servants and Apostles

Titus 1:1-3 - Paul, a bond servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching...

Jam packed scripture. What we are called to be...according to our faith in Christ. Servants and apostles. Yes, a servant is a slave. But he is also one who, as Strong's Exhaustive Concordance says: gives himself up to another's will, those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men; devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests. A root definition is to be bound to. We can look at slavery as being bound negatively in the natural, but in the spiritual it is anything but. If we are bound to Christ, we are secure.

But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. (‭Romans‬ ‭7‬:‭6‬)  Some believe we must work our way to heaven by doing good or perhaps by attempting to do our best to follow rules. That is what is considered the law, legalism. Old Testament laws included having to offer up animal sacrifices to god to atone for sins. When Jesus came He became the sacrifice that man would no longer be under the law, which no one could perfectly keep. When we receive Christ we change. We serve and do works, not to be approved by Christ but because we are in Christ, in the Spirit, do for Him.

An apostle, on the other hand according to Strong's, is: a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders. While not all Christ followers are given the specific call to be an apostle, we are each admonished to be messengers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our faith in Him that allows us to do this. We are called to show people who He is, lead them, as it were, to Christ. This also is through the Spirit.

Who we are called to be... When we have come to the realization of who Jesus is, we become God's elect. We have acknowledged the truth which brings godliness and that hope of eternal life in and through Christ. Hallelujah. I think about the turmoil in this world today. Oh that people would know the Lord, know what His truth is. I can assure you things would not be like this. There would be less wrong thinking and more understanding.

Part of that truth is God cannot lie. What we hear Him say throughout the pages of His Word from beginning to end may not always resonate with some, but it still is His truth,  that promise, from the beginning of time. He never changes, but He changes us...changes a person's viewpoint and while some may think those views are narrow, that there is no tolerance, it's still the truth of God's Word.

Yes, I am a servant of God, I believe that He does not lie, He does not change so I must change and therefore my views are narrow too. But I know what is truth. I will proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the truth that it is. I cling to the hope in eternal life through Christ alone.

2Timothy 1:8-9 - Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began...

Monday, November 24, 2014

It Is Finished!

John 29:23-30

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece.

They said therefore among themselves, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be," that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says: "They divided My garments among them. And for My clothing cast lots." (Psalm 22:18) Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!" And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!"

Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

In this section of John it is shown that scripture was fulfilled. All scripture pertaining to Jesus, the Man, and His death was fulfilled. As it had been written all throughout the Old Testament. All the things the Jewish priests could not see...which was scripture being fulfilled. That His death could now occur. Just like events playing out today are more of scripture being fulfilled...that He might return!

Those soldiers cast lots for His clothing. Even that was to fulfill scripture. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. (‭Psalms‬ ‭22‬:‭18‬) And what about this seamless woven garment? Why the subtle emphasis here? I'd heard once or twice that seamless garments were worn only by the high priests (and perhaps those of royalty). It was not sewn in pieces but woven in one piece.

So why was Jesus wearing a seamless, woven garment? Someone who knew Him and believed made it for Him. He was the King of kings and Lord of lords. He was the King of the Jews! Yet His importance was not of the earthly kind. And this garment was not worn on top like many others would have been. His was underneath other garments. Worn in humility rather than for show. Oh, how we need to realize this. We come humbly to Him because this humble King died for us.

When we come to Christ, are born again in the Spirit, we become yet another part of the body of Christ, part of the great family of believers. When one part of the body suffers the whole body suffers. We uplift each other in our times of need, like John did for Jesus' mother, Mary. When we are part of that body we are taken care of, physically but more importantly spiritually. Jesus no longer needs to seek us that we might be saved.

Jesus saw that His mother was taken care of. He could say "It is finished!" Imagine how He feels when He knows yet another person has taken the step to be well taken care of by receiving Him. He might also say in that life, "It is finished!" His work on the cross was not for nothing. Little by little people realize what He has done and the meaning of those words. That this King of kings chose to die a horrific death for the life of anyone who will call on His name, become born again, that those words, "It is finished!" might be satisfied.

Like I alluded to before, scripture is still being fulfilled. The Gospel is being preached throughout the world. And when He returns He will judge all people, both believers and non-believers. We will have eternal life or eternal death. It will be finished.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Matthew 24:14, Acts 17:30-31)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Only One God Saves

Jeremiah 11:12 - Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they offer incense, but they will not save them at all in the time of their trouble.

I read an article about a change that is taking place in America. About how we have turned our back on God. I also happened to be reading in Jeremiah which touches on a similar issue. I love when God does this.

God was telling Jeremiah he must remind the people of the covenant He had with them. Listen to a few of His words from Jeremiah 11:
"...and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD God of Israel: “Cursed is the man who does not obey the words of this covenant..."
"‘Obey My voice, and do according to all that I command you; so shall you be My people, and I will be your God,’ that I may establish the oath which I have sworn to your fathers, to give them ‘a land flowing with milk and honey...'"

God reminded Jeremiah how He brought them out of bondage in Egypt (which is a type of the world). If God has done good to this nation because we once were a strong Christian nation, why would we want to give that up? Oh...because, like the article states, we would rather do things our own way.

"Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but everyone followed the dictates of his evil heart; therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but which they have not done.’”
They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers."

These are not my words. These are not my commands. These are words for all of us. But we have the choice to listen or do as these people did. History repeats itself. We were given instructions and examples so that we can know the truth.

I don't know why but I thought of the prophet Elijah, a prophet of God. There were hundreds of other so-called prophets...of Baal...that the people chose to listen to. Remember what he told the people: And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word. (‭1Kings‬ ‭18‬:‭21‬)

So to prove a point, he had these prophets build an altar, take a bull and call on their gods to burn it up without their setting it on fire. So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, “Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened." And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention. (‭1Kings‬ ‭18‬:‭26-27,29‬)

So it was Elijah's turn. He repaired the same altar, dug a trench around it, added wood, and had water poured over the animal sacrifice and the wood. He had this done three times, till the trench was even full of water. Elijah called out: "LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel..." He called out that He would hear and the people would again turn back to Him. Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. (‭1Kings‬ ‭18‬:‭38‬)

Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!” (‭1Kings‬ ‭18‬:‭39‬)

In today's day of calamity, the same is true. People will rely on their gods to get them out of trouble and it will not happen. Stuff can't buy gods, nor should it be our god. It cannot earn God's approval either. Trusting in the one true God, however, even at the point of death, will bring everlasting life. We can have something much greater than (gods of) silver, gold or treasure. We can have Jesus Christ who will supply all our needs. And the greatest need is a spiritual one with anything He desires to give us after that following. But first we need to know we need to rely on Him. First and foremost.

Which god/God? I am reminded that one day every knee shall bow and tongue confess Jesus Christ is the glory of God. Just as there was one God for Israel, there is one God for us today. Our gods are meaningless and do not save. There is only one God who saves. It's up to us to make the choice. He wants us to make the right choice.

Jeremiah 11:11 - Therefore thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will surely bring calamity on them [who have turned their back on a Him and served other gods] which they will not be able to escape; and though they cry out to Me, I will not listen to them."

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It Is What It Is

John 19:19-22

Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Therefore the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but, 'He said, "I am the King of the Jews."'"

Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written."

I guess I'm surprised there weren't additional words here stating, ...So this was done that it might be fulfilled which had been spoken... (Matthew 1:22, Luke 24:44, Romans 1:2)

The priests were in charge in the Old Testament; Israel wanted a king. So God gave them earthly kings. Yes, God's hand was in it. His hand is in everything even today. And some know what happens when mere man wants all the control, when God is removed from the picture. Look at today's news.

Pilate had no idea he was adding to the prophetic word of Christ, our Prince of Peace, our Righteousness, our all in all, name above all names. To him and the Jewish priests He was only a Man who dared call Himself the Son of God. And...He did not speak up for Himself, allowed Himself to die. Wouldn't that just add to the Jewish priests' argument?

The Jews knew they would someday have their Messiah. They looked for an earthly one to defeat their enemies. They still awaited Him. And there He stood before them. They didn't know He would save them from a spiritual enemy. They conspired to sentence Him to death and let a thief be set free. All throughout their religious writings they had, and still have, been told about this Messiah. Yet they could not see Him for the Man He claimed to be. How amazing is that? He came across to them as arrogant, blaspheming God at the pronouncement that He was the Son of God, even greater, I AM, God Himself. He came for His people and His people would not have Him. (He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭10-11‬)

We have all these stories behind us and sometimes we miss the mark too. We do not believe He is all He says He can be. Like the Jews, we look to a man to save us from our enemy. And our enemy is lurking as close as in our country, waiting to strike. Not only does our adversary use our own temptations, idols, sin, but evil people. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (1Peter 5:8,6-7)

The Jews wanted Pilate to change the wording. They were adamant they had never said He was THE King of the Jews. Another slap in their face...what people would think? But Pilate in essence said, it is what it is.

What was written was written. And it was the truth. People, the message is no different today. Jesus is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. He is the only way to eternal life. Without honest, strong acknowledgment of Him and trust in Him over a human means eternal death. Let Him be the King He is in your life. Do not be like these men and cast Him aside. Embrace Him. He died for all of us. These priests missed it. I pray you don't miss it either.  "...there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (‭Luke‬ ‭15‬:‭10‬) Jesus should know!

Romans‬ ‭16‬:‭25-27 - Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Matthew 10:29-31 - Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Powerful so powerful
Your glory fills the skies
Your mighty works displayed for all to see
The beauty of your majesty
Awakes my heart to see
How marvelous how wonderful you are.

We sang the song Beautiful One yesterday at church. I periodically dwell on the thought that God has created all things. Maybe I'm simplistic in my views of Him. And certainly this is not the first time, nor the last, that I bring this up. These words, though, spoke to my heart as I sang them. They pierced my soul. They go along with the verses above. There was an instant connection. The Lord was speaking to me at that very moment. He was showing me something, again nothing new. It's for all of us.

If we can grasp that all we see around us was created by our Father in heaven, we need to take it a step further. He he has created all these things to bring glory to Himself. He has every right to that glory because, despite some claims the earth was created in one fell swoop by some big bang theory, in actuality He has created all things. He brings glory to Himself because He wants us to see Him for all He is. He wants us to recognize what He has done for us and more importantly what He can do for those desire to be called His children. If we can grasp His glory, we might be willing to take it a step further and receive Him to ourselves for our salvation.

If we can grasp all we see around us why not take it one step further and allow ourselves to see what He can do in us. First of all, He has created each and every one of us. Everything He creates is important. Everything. We were formed in our mothers' Him, before He even created all the earth. It is by His miracle of conception, growth, birth, life. (And I will add that it grieves Him to have such life taken from the womb.)

If we can grasp all we see around us, the beauty of it, the magnificence of it, the awesomeness of its conception, growth, birth, life...and death to bring about the cycle of life again and again...we need to see what an amazing creation each of us is.

This is what He showed me, spoke to my spirit: If you can imagine how majestic My creation is, imagine, just imagine, how great you are to Me. You and I have been created by this God. And while last on the list of all His creation, we are the greatest of all. He gave us life, a body, mind and soul, that we might recognize His creation and most importantly, that we might...and might is the key word here...recognize Him for all He is and all He has done and give honor and glory to His name. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭1‬:‭28‬)

Oh, the importance of us all. Each one of us His creation...for His glory also. He so wanted me this day to recognize yet again my importance. And I'm not saying this is just for me. We all need to know we are more important than all the things we see around us, things that give us pleasure, God's eye candy if you will. Imagine all those important, innocent lives that have been lost before they could be recognized.

We are all so important to Him. This is no new concept. All we see around us is for our pleasure, but how much more important am I, we, than the beauty around us? 1Corinthians 8 shows us this: ...yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. (‭1Corinthians‬ ‭8‬:‭6‬) It does go on to say that not everyone recognizes this, though.

I don't know how to explain why He felt He needed to show this to me again. I suppose to reaffirm that if I call myself a child of God, am saved by the grace of His Son, Jesus, then I am special in His sight. And we who call ourselves children of God all can know this without a doubt. And, again, this is for all people who will put their trust in Him. He is here for everyone. He longs for a relationship with everyone, yet not all will respond.

1Corinthians 8:5 spoke of the idols we have in our lives. Those idols can be the very stumbling blocks that prevent us from knowing the one, true God. We cling to those idols or gods we have in our lives. They might include, and certainly are not limited to, certain beliefs, pride, strongholds to addictions of any kind, stubbornness... The biggest is pride which I believe is the root of all other idols. We cling tightly to our own beliefs, which may be wrong, our addictions, stubbornness...and anger, unforgiveness, hatred. We are encumbered by them when God wants us to be free from them.

Later we sang a song of thanks to our Lord. We can thank Him for all we are, what He has done in us, through us and all He has given us. We mean so much to Him. He wants for all of us to have Him mean so much to us. He wants the truth of His Word to be known and settled in our hearts and souls. I share with you what He has shown me. He is all we need.

Matthew 6:26 - Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bring it On!

Isaiah 40:31 - But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Thinking and meditating on how we are to handle the situations in our lives.

Even as Christians we can go through seasons of frustration, doubt, temptation, listlessness, confusion, pain, illness. I could take each one of those things and pick a time, maybe even in the last few months, where I have experienced one of these to some degree. And when I mention temptation, don't go thinking the worst...

I heard something this morning that I know that I know. But as with other things, we forget for some reason (I will rely on the "old age" thing) and we need to be guided back into what God says. What I heard was:
   Our natural tendency is to want to be delivered from the battle. "I’m not ready for this! God knows that." I believe He sometimes puts us right in the battle so we can experience the supernatural power to defeat our enemies.
   How do we learn to deal with temptation, with our sinful flesh, with tough relationships? You know how we learn? By having to do it, by getting thrown into it. God wants to use your trial, your battle, to train you. So don’t run from it. Don’t resent it. Don’t resist it. - Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Remember Jesus' words in the Garden of Gethsemane: Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. (Luke 22:24)  In Matthew it is shown He asked this three times. Still He underwent the worst thing anyone would have to do in a lifetime...give up His life for someone else. In Jesus' case, His life for all mankind. He did it for you and me and everyone else whether they accept Him or not.

If Jesus underwent trials why shouldn't we expect them? We have been told that we will not be given into any trial or temptation that Jesus has not already gone through. He is our perfect example. If we are rooted and grounded in Him we CAN get through anything life has placed...or even we have placed...before us...He will be by our side.

I seemed to have lost my memory on this! Thankfully, the Word of God, the words of others and Jesus' example has jogged my memory. For that I am thankful. We learn in times of adversity. We learn in the valleys of life. We learn in the frustrating, painful, seemingly hopeless times of life. But the greatest lessons we learn are when we seek God. If we seek in our own strength it will not be anywhere near the strength God will give us to go through the situation.

For me it seems to be a myriad of things. I could list a mess of them. But when I boil it all down, it ultimately is one thing I struggle with. That is my ability to speak what is in my heart at the right time in the right circumstance. Sometimes we are not to. And maybe, probably, God is doing something in the inside of me first to change a way of thinking, a pattern of speech, whatever it is, before He allows me to say something that might come across flat. But even this I'm not sure of. Maybe I'm resistant to Him. Maybe not.

At the same time there are situations in my life where there seems to be an urgency. I want to do or say and cannot. It has to be in God's time. It has to be in God's time. His perfect time. We can't second guess what God's plans are; we can surmise, surmise, surmise...but He knows and some day we will too. And it will be to His glory. He is an amazing God. If we are called His children He will do great things. Maybe not as great as I think, or as great as the next person...but great in what He has called me to do or be. That's all He requires.

I can say this: I have prayed that God give me a heart for others like He has. While I know my heart will never be just like His, even a speck of His heart for others would be good. Maybe this is part of the struggle I am going through. God's heart mourns for those who do not know Him.

Hebrews 11 is considered the faith chapter in the Bible. By faith all these people, not knowing what lay ahead, acted on behalf of God. That's what we are called to do. We wait before acting out, in God's timing. We don't know for how long and we might think we've lost the opportunity. For me, I struggle with wondering if I should have said something. Or I struggle with thinking I'm not doing for the Lord like others are. But I'm not this person or that.

In Hebrews 12 we find we are told to run our race (in Christ) with endurance. We hold to the idea that we cannot do it on our own. Look at what He had to endure for us so He could be with us as we endure. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. (vs. 3)  He struggled with people despising Him. That may not be our struggle. But we do struggle with those who do not know Him, who turn Him away. Like I did more than once. I know...

Maybe we need to go through a time of chastening. Maybe it's just not time...other circumstances in others' lives need to be in place. We don't know. Do not run, resent or resist! But neither should we become weary but ask for Him to strengthen us in this time and be open to receive whatever He has for us whether it be a rebuke or a sudden burst of wisdom or strength for a situation, or word to speak.

Bring it on, Lord.

Hebrews 12:1 - Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run the race that is set before us.

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Simplicity of it All

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

In prayer this morning I ventured into thoughts of if God can love me so much, He also loves those who do not acknowledge Him.

I think of the people that can irritate, anger, frustrate and disappoint. Thoughts of how God loves them come to mind. He created each one of them just like He created me. Psalm 139 speaks of this...and it is meant for all people..believers or not.

He can love but in the end He is also able to exact judgment upon those who simply will not call on the name of the Lord or acknowledge Him in their lives. His righteous anger is not like ours. He knows what He must do and He does it. "For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.” (‭Mark‬ ‭8‬:‭38‬)

We can all be in that place of righteousness if we humbly and sincerely go to Jesus repenting of our sin, asking for His forgiveness and acknowledging Him as Lord and Savior. And then living each day with His thoughts in mind. The pure and just things that He shows us in His Word. And heeding the warnings of the people who failed to follow Him. It's all that simple.

The world wants peace but so often they want something other than Christ as their peace. The Jews who cried out "Crucify Him!" wanted something other than Jesus to be their Messiah. They wanted, as the world wants, their own way. They believe that if government were thus and so things would be better. They fight for causes. Is any of this ultimately going to work?

Jesus is the only hope for everlasting peace. No one says it better than He Himself: Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (‭John‬ ‭16‬:‭32-33‬)

We have brought on our own trials and tribulation...because we have left Jesus. We have come to a place in life, in this world, where we desire peace in ways other than through God. Politicians say they will bring this or that if they become president...maybe even promise hope and change! The only hope and change we can trust in is through Jesus Christ. For some their hope is in man, not a Man. Looking to a political candidate (and they are rare) who holds to godly values somehow seems archaic. No more of this God stuff, people proclaim in their hearts.

There will be a judgment some day for everyone. However, I know where true peace comes from. The simplicity of the day when I gave my heart to Christ is as fresh in my mind as what I had for supper last night, probably better! There you will find true peace.

God loves the sinner. He came to save the sinner. There's no doubt about it. In our human minds we can't comprehend how He can...and that love I am truly trying to understand. I may judge unrighteously at times. I should not. All judgment is for God alone. It will happen. However, I may judge righteously, with love for the sinner. Not always so easy, I admit. I still need some work!

Do not be deceived by what the world has to offer. It will not last. Jesus, the same today as yesterday and tomorrow, has all the answers. They are true and just. He's well worth seeking.

2Corinthians 11:3-4 - But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


John 8:43-45 - Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 

I was deeply saddened this morning. To the point of weeping and crying out to God and screaming at the enemy for all the damnable lies he has thrust upon the people of this world all these years.

When I speak of "we" I speak in generalities. I was once part of the "we" group. This "we" group gets larger and larger as the days go on. As I write I'm torn between anger, frustration and grief over those I know who are victims of satan's lies.

Oh, people, understand that we have so walked opposed to God and we don't even know it. We believe the lies. We fall prey to the, wretched...lies that anything God says, anything He has commanded, is wrong and not to be paid attention to. It's passé. Ancient history. Times have changed. Well, times have changed but our God has not. He is still the same today as He was when He created this world and all that is in it...and wrote commandments that we should live by.

We do not like, nor do we listen to, what God has to say anymore. Or at least the majority of the people do not. There is a remnant adhering to the things of God, those narrow path walkers. The rest...sadly, and why I'm filled with remorse this morning, want nothing to do with Him. Some do not want to know they are wrong in some of their beliefs. Others just follow what others have said. They have not dug for answers themselves. They are blind to the truth that sets people free keeping them bound in the chains the enemy has wrapped around their hearts and minds.

Hear my heart: Without the truth these lives will be lost forever in the great day when Jesus Christ returns. If I have remorse I can't imagine what God must feel. He loves greater than I ever could.

Whatever we see happening in this world is all a byproduct of the enemy's lies. Pride, greed, lust, anger...just a very few of the sins that control this world. Pride in thinking we are so great when we are not, that we can do whatever we want because we are who WE say we are and no one will tell us otherwise. Lust and greed just naturally follow our pride. Anger that anyone would confront us with truth.

There is no man worthy of anything. Yes, we do good things, patriotic things, honorable things. Sometimes it is for very good reasons. But it is still not enough in God's eyes unless in anything we do we give God the glory. You see, it's always been all about God.

Why all this? Briefly, I was stirred when I saw a post on Facebook which is pro abortion that a friend "liked." I read the malicious comments. I knew deep in my heart these people are so unaware. I'm saddened by the belief that what is so wrong is so right to some. The devil has so blinded them. God specifically states that some things are wrong. Others don't see it... Have I missed the mark here and there? Oh, yes. And for that I am truly sorry. But when these deep-seated tears came this morning, I knew they are just the tip of the amount of remorse and sadness God Himself feels. He knows the life's end of unbelievers. He wants none to perish. Sadly, some will.

It all boils down to what we have seen creeping, now catapulting...the lack of God in lives. I assume some have had so many issues because of the fallen world we live in that they have shaken their fist at Him instead of embracing Him for His strength and guidance through the truth of His Word. They may not understand why He allows bad to happen to good people. Again...none of us are good. None. None... When sin entered this world, we were all deemed sinners. Some find Christ; some do not.

I also know it ain't gonna get better. It's only going to get worse. Lord, strengthen me...strengthen us. We who know You as Lord and Savior need your strength to withstand all that is going to come at us. The persecution for our "narrow" beliefs which are Your truth. Give us the right words to speak, in love. I thank You, Lord, for being on what You call the narrow path that leads to life. I pray for those who are on the wide path where lies abound. That path leads to destruction. There are many I know on that path. Open their eyes. Open my eyes even further also, even if it hurts all the more to see others drifting away while I draw closer. Draw me closer, Lord. Draw others. 

Jesus was falsely accused and crucified. He did it on His own for each of us. All we need to do is believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, to trust Him for our lives, to listen to His words of truth. To be set free from spiritual death. To see what truth actually is. There are people all over weeping as I wept today. I pray the Spirit of God would move.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight...who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent...for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭5‬:‭20-21,24‬)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Judgment Seat

John 19:12-13

From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. " 

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Okay. I swear I have never seen the words Pavement or Gabbatha before in these verses! Obviously never questioned their meaning. Slid right past them. Who knows?

The Pavement is described as of a place near the praetorium or palace of Jerusalem,  of places in the outer courts of a temple. So here, of Pilate coming down to the level of the apostate Jews...a Gentile idolater, dominated by Jews who rejected their Messiah!  Gabbatha is defined as an elevated platform.  In other words, here it means, as is noted, the judgment seat. 

Oh the thoughts going through my head. Who only has the right to judge? The Jews, the chief priests,  judged Jesus and they eventually coerced Pilate to do so. He had to position himself in a place of authority as His judge. I see what the Jews said as putting Pilate into a place where he had to make a decision. He was between the Rock and a hard place, if I may say so.

But...this was God's plan. Again, to prove that He came to save both His own people the Jews, and the Gentile. Both had to have their hand in Jesus' crucifixion. we are all sinners, as we are told. No one is righteous. And some day we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. (Romans 14:11-13)

I know Romans 14:13 will trip some up. So, we're not anyone of us to judge. So, why might I seem to judge? I'm not judging if I am presenting the truth of God's Word. Yes, I judge if I don't know for sure a person's true heart toward the things of God. But if their life shows no sign of dedication to God, we have a reason to speak the truth. There might be, of course, a very gray area where we have to let it alone and let God do what needs to be done.  If someone is blatantly going against His Word it is therefore, righteous judging, based on His Word, not my own. 

There will be a judgment some day. Jesus was falsely judged and convicted. When we face judgment before God, the ultimate Judge, we will be accused or vindicated depending on our  lives in Christ. All judgments will be true and just whether we like them or not. Like the Jews spoke to Pilate, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar."  If we make ourselves our own authority, make ourselves a king as it were, we are against God. You chose that this Man should not enter into your life or chose to let Him go, therefore you are not God's friend; you speak against Him.

In the days we live in it is my prayer that skeptics would begin to believe. That the religious would begin to see its not about their religion or denomination, but about the relationship He would like us to have with He who was crucified for our sins. It's not about a man but the Man, Jesus Christ. These following words are for us all.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle--I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying--a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1Timothy 2:1-7)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Greater Sin

John 19:1-11

So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him. And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. Then they said, "Hail King of the Jews!" and they struck Him with their hands.

Pilate went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him." then Jesus came out, wearing the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!" 

Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, the cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him." the Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."  therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?"  But Jesus gave him no answer. 

Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have the power to crucify You, and power to release You?" Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."

What Jesus had to endure. And He endured out of love. What we must endure also, out of love, in love and forgiveness.

My mind is focused on forgiveness. Jesus pleaded, as we will see later, with the Father that He forgive those who hated Him and those who were a part of His death. They did not know what they were doing. They did not know or believe that Jesus was Who He said He was as is evidenced here by the Jews.

The greater sin. Here the greater sin was a Jew handing over Jesus to the Roman authority because they failed to believe Him, thought Him blasphemous and wanted Him killed. But there was also a greater sin in Genesis in the Garden, which sin caused this incident to take place. It was part of God's plan of salvation after that Garden incident. Man sinned, has sinned ever since. Will continue to sin...and for that reason Jesus had to die. He had to die by the hands of both Jew and Gentile (anyone not Jewish) that the words all mankind would be fulfilled. (1Corinthians 5:15, Romans 5:8,18, 6:32)

Pilate was guilty because he did not find fault with Jesus yet punished Him. The Jews were guilty because they did not believe Jesus' claim to be their Messiah and they handed Him over for Roman crucifixion. My mind can't grasp the minute details of all this. I know He had to die for my sins and yours. I know that, as Jesus stated here to Pilate, it was the power of God that was bringing all this about and nothing would stop it. It's why Jesus had nothing to say. It had to be. No excuse. God's plan must take place.

When we are looked upon as different because we believe in the gift and power of salvation in Jesus Christ alone, when we remain strong in those beliefs, when we are looked upon as intolerant because we believe what the Word of God says is right and true and believe the sins He points out in His Word are not something we can ignore, we must endure also. We must ask the Lord's forgiveness for those against our beliefs...and for forgiveness when we struggle with their beliefs.

If we do not believe what God says is true, we are His enemies. It's why we need understand what is truth. It's a struggle to constantly remember they know not what they do in regard to those who do not know the truth. It's an area where I need help.

2Corinthians 5:11,13,15,21 - Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. ...He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


1Corinthians 15:56-58 - The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

We have seen victory in our political arena. Conservatives over liberals; Republicans over Democrats. And I am even prouder to be from a state where our second term governor, Scott Walker's, opening remarks from his acceptance speech were: First off I want to thank God. I want to thank God for His abundant grace and mercy. Win or lose, it is more sufficient for each and every one of us.

This is what I'd like to hear more out of the mouths of political candidates. While I'm glad of the outcome of these elections across the nation and in Washington, it doesn't necessarily mean a nation intending to bring God back into the center of things.

I still do not fully trust a man in leadership in government. I still trust in God first and foremost. This is where true victory is. This is where absolute truth is. This is Who knows exactly what each of us really needs. This is Who holds our eternal future in His hands.
Do not put your trust in princes, nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps truth forever, who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners. (‭Psalms‬ ‭146‬:‭3,5-7‬)  He who has the truth, who will execute judgment on the last day, who gives us the bread of life and freedom from sin and death.

Yes, we live in this world and it is important that we have a world that holds to right standards. Neither Republicans nor Democrats is 100% correct, or honest for that matter. But it helps to lean a little more to the "right" side of things. However, we who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as true Lord and Savior, God of all, know we are not to keep our focus on the things of the world but the things of heaven...and that can be evidenced in our voting. We are to keep focused on Jesus Christ and what He has done for us, how through Him we have victory over sin and death. Praise the Father, Praise the Son!

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves His children, too. For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God. (‭1John‬ ‭5‬:‭1,4-5‬)

Government can't save us. But Jesus Christ can. It's that simple. I'm thankful for those politicians who have some understanding of this. I'm thankful for those who thank God not just because they believe some will like hearing it but truly mean it, who live godly lives apart from their political ones. Too few and far between.

We can have true victory...through Jesus Christ. This is true victory:

May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;
May He send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion;
May He remember all your offerings, and accept your burnt sacrifice.  Selah [think on this]
May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose.
We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners! May the 
LORD fulfill all your petitions.
Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright. Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call. (‭Psalms‬ ‭20‬:‭1-9‬)

Monday, November 3, 2014

What's in A Name?

1Samuel 7:12 - Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”

Jesus sought me when a stranger
Wandering from the fold of God
He to rescue me from danger
Interposed His precious blood.

We sang a beautiful old hymn, Come Thou Font, Sunday at church. The pastor, Richard Parrish, preaching that morning pointed something out I'd never thought of before...the line in this hymn  which says, Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I come... A strange comment, raising an Ebenezer.

Samuel, a godly Jewish priest, was also a judge of Israel. On this particular occasion he was judging Israel for worshiping idols instead of God. He told them if they would repent and return to God, He would save them from the hands of their enemy, the Philistines. So they did. And God did as Samuel had told them. Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.” (‭1Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭3)

So the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtoreths, and served the LORD only. So the children of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the LORD our God for us, that He may save us from the hand of the Philistines.” Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel. (‭1Samuel‬ ‭7‬:‭4,8,10‬)

Then Israel set out and chased away the Philistines! Samuel set up memorial to commemorate that moment as the beginning verse stated. Ebenezer is a name that means stone of help. Samuel took a stone...the LORD has helped us.

All throughout the Bible people were named after an event at their birth or who they would become.
Jesus means Jehovah is salvation..."And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭1‬:‭21‬)
Moses means drawn (from the water)...So she called his name Moses, saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.” (‭Exodus‬ ‭2‬:‭10).
Abraham means the father of a multitude...No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. (‭Genesis‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬)
Peter means rock or stone...And he brought him [Simon Peter] to Jesus. Now when Jesus looked at him, He said, “You are Simon the son of Jonah. You shall be called Cephas” (which is translated, A Stone). (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭42)

So the writer of this hymn was stating that when Jesus seeks one, rescues them from their sin by His precious blood, one then has reason to set up a stone of help. Jesus has saved them, and they are now on the sure foundation, the solid rock of Jesus Christ. When we choose to stop worshiping our idols of fame, success, things and come to Christ we have an assurance of His salvation.

I've heard others speak on setting up memorials in our lives when we know that we know that God has met us, where His presence is so evident. My first memorial was April 17, 1999 when I was first touched by God, and the second was the next day when first met Jesus and received Him. Other moments have occurred since and make up a string of events where He has met me in incredible ways, not quite as great as that first and second time but remarkable remembrances just the same.

There is another scripture that comes to mind that says if we are in Christ when He returns, we will be given a new name on a white stone. I may be stretching the meaning of this, but I see a similarity here...“...To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. ” (‭Revelation‬ ‭2‬:‭17‬)

Jesus seeks us all while we are yet sinners, while we are wandering far from God. I mentioned yesterday that we are His enemy until we receive Him. He will continue to seek others until the day He returns. Seek Him while He can still be found. Let Him save you.

Romans 5:8-10 - But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the 
death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.