Friday, January 31, 2014


Matthew 5:2 - Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying: 

We pretty much know the Beatitudes. The meaning of the word is happiness, gladness, joy. They can sometimes be misunderstood. These words are for those who have come to realize that they are in need of a Savior, who have seen their sin, mourned it and have turned from it and now seek eternal rewards through doing God's will. I would guess most religions would suggest the Beatitudes are spiritual in nature, not in physical terms.

As I was in prayer, the words came to me: Let people know Your blessings...that they know they are blessed, but not in their own understanding of blessings, but Your form of blessing. I pray specifically for non-believers that they would come into relationship with God to have this understanding.

Poor in spirit...poor spiritually, not sad because they've not had an easy life but that they realize they are sinners and are humbled by it. They are blessed by knowing God's Kingdom is now theirs when they seek Him.
Those who mourn...mourn the sin they have realized they are in, and turn from it. They are blessed by God's comfort and nothing else.
The meek...those who relinquish their pride and humble themselves before the Lord. They are blessed knowing they will receive God's inheritance.
Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...those who have done all the above and have given their lives to Christ and seek to do God's will. They are blessed when they do and HE gives them all they require.
The merciful...once in God's will our hearts seek to help others. Blessings come when they receive God's mercy.
The pure in heart...again doing God's will, seeing through His eyes, allowing Him to purify hearts. He is well pleased and they recognize His presence is with them and are blessed.
The peacemakers...more on what we are to be as we seek and do God's will. They become His disciples, His heirs, share in His blessings.
The persecuted...those who are scoffed for doing all the above, for seeking God, doing His will; proselytizing as it were. Because they have gone against the flow, speaking words that fly in the face of today's culture, the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

After Jesus shared these Beatitudes He emphasized the blessings of being reviled and persecuted for His sake. These will happen to those who stand on the Word of God and share this Word, in truthfulness, with others.

He calls us the salt of the earth, the light of the world, and we are so called to be the salt and the light to a dying world. And our reward is heavenly! Who can understand the ways of God? Who can understand that God is so good and offers blessings for doing hard things, that we are called to do? In the world we strive for the good things of the world. Strive first for God and receive eternal riches and treasures, not the things we can hold in our hands. When we glorify God, He is well pleased.

Jesus goes on to explain some other things regarding sin. We have defined sin in ways that make it more palatable. A white lie isn't really a lie if it said so as not to hurt someone. Hating someone isn't really murder because we have not taken a physical life. Ogling a woman is not really adultery because she has not been physically touched. God's ways are not ours. His thoughts not ours but generally the opposite. Unbelievers need some way to justify what they do or how they think. (Matthew 5)

Only God brings true blessings.They are for the poor in spirit, those who mourn their sinful nature, those who become meek and hunger and thirst for righteousness, for the merciful, pure in heart and
peacemakers (not in their own strength but God's), and those who do not avoid persecution. The blessings come when one comes to Christ, turns from their sins and allows Him to work out the perfection His way. Then the blessings come.

Psalm 3:8 - Salvation belongs to the Lord. Your blessing is upon Your people. Selah 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Where Are You?

Matthew 13:11,16-17 - He answered and said to them, "Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."

This comes at the heel of my last blog.

Jesus had just shared the parable of the sower and how the type of soil in which the seed was sown allowed for growth. Along the side of a road...birds can snatch it up in an instant. In rocks where the dirt is shallow...the seed will grow for a short period of time then die. Among thorns...the thorns take over choking out any hope of seeds being rooted. On good soil in good conditions...growth is long lasting and abundant.

This represents the different types of people who hear the gospel: those who hear, do not understand (or do not want to) and reject it immediately; those who hear, receive it for a time but when trouble comes do not trust in God and revert to means other than the Word to find peace; those who hear but cannot leave their old lifestyles behind, thus choking out the words. Only in the good soil will the Word flourish and grow. Where are you?

The disciples questioned why He spoke like this, in parables. Because, Jesus said, they already knew the mysteries because they had first sought Him, learned from Him, listened to His words. They were like seeds in good soil. They would understand a parable where others would not.

We are shown that the mysteries are revealed to those who want to know. Jesus comes to seek and save the lost, to open spiritual eyes and hearts. But we need to come to Him first. When we show we are sincere in our giving of ourselves to Him, He will do just that. But we cannot expect Him to bring revelation without first that commitment to Him.

I've heard or read testimonies of people who had encounters with God. He allowed them to recognize Him in an instant. Because of the impact of that encounter they became believers. Oh, that He would do that more often. He certainly can and I'm sure it happens often. In these cases they heard and they knew, they paid attention and received, obeyed, followed.

We all can understand some of the Word as preached or read but there are still many deep, hidden revelations. This is what the Word being alive is all about. When you come to Christ your spiritual eyes are opened and more revelation becomes yours. Just as Jesus is alive today, so, then, His Word becomes alive because He is the Word.

Daniel 2:22 says He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. First God shows us our sin. We might think we are good by today's worldly standards, but God will show us how wrong we can be. When we come to grips with our sin, turn from it and seek Him, then He can show us things we would not have imagined.

It is not arrogance to believe or attain this knowledge. We will never know all things because we can never be God. But He will let us in on some of the mysteries. This is so amazing!

God wants us all to be saved, then to bring healing to our hearts and minds and bring His knowledge to us. That comes with submitting ourselves to Him, not what we deem important.

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.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Very Same Gospel Message

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.

Soooo, in Sunday school we finished up the Book of Romans. I've written lately about how it's our obligation, our privilege even, to share the truth of God's Word.

What makes me think I'm qualified, you might ask. Is that a bit arrogant? If we are believers in Christ, we ARE qualified.  We are, in fact, told to do so. If I have received something so great and it's not just for me, I need to share so others may receive it.

Before I received Christ, became born again in the Spirit, and was determined to be a follower of Christ, I did not have the revelation spoken of in Romans 16. It was a mystery and a secret to me. In fact, so much so, I had no clue there was such a thing as a gospel! Oh, I knew there were people who tried to lead others to Christ. I rejected. It was not for me. But as I have testified previously, all it took was one day!

Now I can join the ranks of those whose claim is I have been established according to someone's gospel and heard the words of Jesus Christ. Through the power of the Holy Spirit the mystery that had been kept secret has been revealed and has been made manifest. The same message that has been preached for thousands of years to thousands-plus people all across the world was preached to and received by me.

And all the glory goes not to anyone who might have prayed for me without my knowing or the person who urged me to go to church or the pastor who spoke just the right words, but God alone because all the others planted seeds of wisdom (that I rejected) and watered, but only God accomplishes the final act. His Spirit spoke to mine and caused a positive response.

I was right up there with the others who, as our guest preacher this Sunday, Nathan Middleton, said wouldn't go to church because I would see my sinful nature...and I sure didn't want to confront it. We don't recognize our sinfulness but the very fact that we reject the gospel message hints that we are.

We noticed in Sunday school how the Apostle Paul called the gospel message his. We discussed how it was not that he made up what he preached. But when we are in Christ that same gospel message that Jesus preached becomes ours. We share the very same gospel message. We share Christ. I in Him, He in me. I share His message, the same message He allowed to be revealed to me nearly 15 years ago. The same message He will reveal to anyone who will listen.

Imagine...the very message of Jesus Christ, that He preached 2,000 years ago, the secret from the beginning of time, is still available to our ears, hearts and minds today. He calls daily. He reveals daily who He is. He wishes none to perish. The same message of 2,000 years ago: Come to Me. Seek Me. Believe and trust only in Me. I am the only Way, Truth and Life. No one comes to the Father but by Me. I will wash away your sins if you turn from your evil ways and repent. Come into relationship with Me. When you do the kingdom of heaven is yours, you are joint heirs to the throne, part of the royal priesthood. You will be washed by the blood and made clean as snow or wool. But you must come humbly, letting go of your idea of how to be good...which is unattainable. His timely today as when He first spoke them. His disciples and more shared His words. These same words are shared today by many who have "been there, done that" and now see those revelations. I can't imagine someone not wanting those revelations.

As Nathan Middleton also said: man can't save himself from sin; we need Jesus. He shared the message of the woman who had been bent over for 18 years. She met Jesus in this very position. It's really how we should all come to Him. Bent over, in an attitude of humility, knowing our need of a Savior. And look what He did for her: ...He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. (Luke 13:13) Anyone who has come to Christ can truly glorify Him. Only then can we stand straight, after we have been made whole through Him. Some may cower in their knowledge of their sin. But when that sin is removed, heads can be held high.

We who are in Christ are free today to share the message (at least for now) in all the world. The message will be preached throughout the world and then the end shall come...Jesus will return. (Matthew 24:14)  He will take those who took hold of the Word and they will be made imperishable. Life in Christ.

2Corinthians 4:3-5 - But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A Different Kind of Peace

Matthew 10:39-40 - He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. “He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me."

For some reason I think I have more than one thought going through my head...

A few days ago I wrote that it was said those who persevere in sharing the Gospel would be blessed. Why? Because we are about His business. He is in the business of revealing Himself in many ways but might reveal Himself to a person in a way personalized for that person. Whatever, we who are Christ followers are called to be witnesses, as were the disciples...with the help of His Holy Spirit. Jesus told us: 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. (Matthew 24:14)  We plant the seeds or water them but only God is the One who will ultimately make those seeds grow. It will be preached.

We can share the Gospel in many ways: through our own testimony, through preaching or teaching, being servants in this world to win over by our good works given to us when we have received Christ, or even writing. But the Gospel must be preached and this Gospel ultimately brings a different kind of peace. 

Yet Jesus said He did not come into this world to bring peace, although He is called the Prince of Peace.  Huh?? It's what He said! He came knowing people would be divided over His words. He knew some would not be able to leave worldly things in order to follow Him. He knew this. However, there is the peace that passes all understanding when we choose to let go and follow Him. We have to make a very huge decision for that peace...and it  might bring division among family and friends. Jesus tells us: He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. (Matthew 10:40)  Therefore, if Christ is not received, we will be at odds with each other even though we might still be talking to each other! But we can know that WE at least have this peace. 

If the Word of God is living, it cannot only cause division, it can bring peace. It is water and bread to a thirsty and starving soul. It feeds us the manna that we surely will survive on. And when we are satiated with the truth of God's Word we have peace. Some opt not for that kind of peace.

So then, we are called to come as little children. I've said this many times before. Come without preconceived ideas. Hear the Word and believe it and you will get that peace. There are a couple of places in scripture where Jesus told us to do that. If He says it, it is truth. We cannot argue it if we believe that the Bi ble is the inerrant Word of God. Period. Jesus had this to say about it....“I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. (Matthew 11:25)  The words are hidden from the (worldly) wise and prudent. 
In Christ we have a different mind, a different type of thinking.

Hear His words as little children. Put off the world view, church doctrine, and listen to Jesus' words. Trust His words over man's. Little children listen and have an innocent understanding. When we mature, we gain way too much WORLDLY "wisdom" and "prudence." Come as little children to meet and see Christ.

I can't emphasize worldly enough. We think we understand based on what we learned in school, church, work, counseling or a book. Consider the sources, people. Man or God? Even some churches are allowing the world view into them. Jesus says it's a narrow road... Do we really need more than Him?

There's some controversy lately about a book called Jesus Calling. It is written by a woman who claims God used her to write these words to us. They are, as the title conveys, Jesus' words for us. My question is, what is wrong with the words He speaks to us through the original Word? I personally think God has already used those people He wanted to write His inspired Bible. Do we really need to add to that? I would think it would be enough since it is the truth...and our handbook for life.  We should get pricked by the Holy Spirit as we read this Book. What more do we need than the Word of God? 

Getting back on track...people can say they have peace but is it a real peace? When we have a trial in our life do we run to Him or do we run to someone or something else? Jesus tells us to come to Him when we are burdened. He will provide the rest He knows how to provide. He won't prescribe a pill, offer you a cigarette or tell you to have a drink to calm your nerves. When you trust in Him alone, He offers the peace and rest for a weary soul that passes all understanding, through Him. But first you have to trust and come to Him as a little child.

You know, and this may seem like an odd thing to end here with, in our church we do not separate the children...and the babes...from the adults. They are not farmed off to be brought up in another environment. They are with their parents and church family learning what church is all about at an early age. They watch and learn from their parents, even while they play or fuss in the pew. As we are hearing testimonies from members of our church, people asking for prayer or an anointed word through our pastor, He is speaking to the little ones also. Their little brains are listening and hearing. Parents will understand that by the darnedest things these kids will say! We are all His children if we come to Him. Why would we want to forbid them from coming to Him? Let them learn the truth at an early age. Let them receive Him at an early age. He tells us not to forbid them to come...

The truth is not always ooey gooey, sweet stuff. Jesus did not come to preach a word that would unite us all because it always sounds good to our ears. He came to pierce our souls. He came to divide the believers of His words and those who want nothing of them. Those who can endure the sound doctrine will endure to the end, those who aren't offended by His hard words, who don't shy away from them. Those are they who will have a different kind of peace...and secure heaven. Those who balk and are divided enough to not want to hear, that's another, not so good, story. 

Matthew 19:14 - But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Am I at Odds?

Matthew 10:21-22 - Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. 

The Bible teaches that if we follow Christ we will be at odds with those who do not understand the meaning of receiving Christ. Matthew 10 above explains what could happen.

One might wonder, if that is the case why would we choose Christ over others? How could that be a decision one would want to make? I keep coming back to where in the Word it says the road is narrow when we follow Christ. Believers are often considered narrow minded. We stick to the same story...Jesus saves. Do we believe Him and what He says or do we believe the world? There are few, in the grand scheme of things, who actually understand receiving Christ for our salvation and taking a firm stand to do so.

How much do we love someone? Do we love them if we don't want them to know the truth? They can still reject it; at least we have done our part. They can reject the scripture that says Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1John 2:15) That's up to them.

First we need to recall that God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (that includes all people: all tribes, tongues, religious beliefs and nations) believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) God so loved...Jesus so loved...By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1John 3:16) 

These scriptures are the truth of God's Word. They should be our foundation if we call ourselves Christ followers. Many can say they are Christians because they are of non-Jesus believing faiths...their faiths are in a rock or statue or oppression and power.

Second, remember, Jesus was not liked by all people He came into contact. The death that He went through is like (but nowheres near) the rejection we might, or do, go through. It happens. We must accept it. It's the end result that matters. We must endure to the end. We must not change our tune.

Look what sorta sums it up right there...we also ought to lay down our lives...not necessarily giving up our lives unto physical death but giving up our SELF and doing as God desires we do...preach the Gospel, in season and out...not being concerned what others will think...because it is the will of the Father. God gave, Jesus gave, we should give.

All this love and giving, while some will not receive it, brings eternal Christ. The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me. (Matthew 11:5-6)

Oh, that my lips would speak my thoughts!! As the scripture below states, so is our message to the world...or anyone who will listen. I can tell you stories.....wanna listen?

John 3:17 - For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


John 6:58 - This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.

Praise God. He provides. He has always provided, providing people respond!

In Exodus Israel had been freed from their captivity in Egypt. They knew God had delivered them. They saw the miracles. So off they went, saved from the enemy at the Red Sea. They praised God and worshiped Him for all He had done and they began their journey to the Promised Land. All went well for awhile, like three days! How soon we forget. Like any of us at times, the grumbling and complaining began. It sounded like this:
“What shall we drink?”
“Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”
“Give us water, that we may drink..."
“Why is it you have brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our livestock with thirst?”
"...but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”
(Exodus 15:24, Exodus 16:3, Exodus 17:2-3, Numbers 11:6)

There is nothing at all except this manna?!? If only they knew. If only people today knew. What more could one want? They had what God knew would sustain them. It doesn't really say but I'm certain God knew they were about to complain. He knew they needed water and He would have supplied, but they grumbled before He could. How often do we wonder just how long it will be before God will provide for us? Doesn't He know our needs already? Isn't His timing perfect?

There's more than just physical food (and water) provision here in this account. We are being shown a spiritual provision analogy also. Jesus is our Bread from heaven. He is the Manna from heaven that Israel ate in the desert. What more could we want? 

When we get to a place in our lives when we are not satisfied with what we have, and it grieves us, or we find ourselves in need, Jesus is there to supply us with Himself...all that we need. For He satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness. (Psalms 107:9) He is the Bread come down from Heaven.

Israel thought as men think. They wanted more. They wanted what they physically knew. They'd just gone through a life changing situation coming out of captivity, but they still wanted what was familiar to them. And so do we. We don't always want the faith in something unseen; we want what we are familiar with.  Every day God is working in someone's life hoping they will recognize Him and seek Him for the bread that will not leave them hungry.

Although they ate this bread for forty years, they didn't always acknowledge the hand feeding them. Jesus' hand is outstretched today wanting to be the Bread in people's lives. He might be offering you that Bread. He offered Himself 2000 years ago for you. He might get you to a place where that Bread, the Manna from heaven, will be just what keeps you alive. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3) He can do this!

He gave them bread from heaven to eat in the desert. What's your desert? Are you in one? He says, I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) Do you want eternal life? Humble yourself before He humbles you. Don't be counted as the stubborn and rebellious people of Israel who wandered 40 years in their disobedience...then died before entering their promised land. He wants you today. Don't miss what He has for you.

Psalm 78:24-25 - He...commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven, ...rained down manna on them to eat, and gave them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Denying Christ

Mark 14:30 - Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”

Sort of an odd scripture to start this blog. many times does one deny Christ? If Peter could do it, can't we? How is it done?

I blog because I write better than I speak. I started years ago to put my thoughts of what God was teaching me in writing. As a friend recently said, it's a way to help me learn. Didn't I learn a long time ago that if a person writes something down it sticks better in your memory. So....

My thoughts just run swiftly to my fingertips. My husband gets pretty upset because of how fast I can type. "It's not fair," he says! Sometimes my thoughts on paper are much clearer than my words, too. I get too easily backed into corners without ways out. I know I have the answers in my mind but it's like my mind shuts off when it's time to say them aloud. I can lose arguments easily. So I write. I get my thoughts down without interruption!

While I might be wrong at times in my understanding, I am standing on the Word of God. When we are followers of Christ we are called to be word and deed. I sometimes think I fail in the deed part of that command. And I suppose if I fail to speak the words, I may have failed there too. I don't want to say my writing is an excuse not to speak. I have on occasion been able to speak. It's few and far between, however. I can only say I believe this is a result of my being an only child in a dysfunctional home and finding it easier to hide in my room and not confront anyone or anything. I know should be over this, but there is something so very strongly linked to that I don't even want to go there.

I know we are filled with the Holy Spirit when we are saved. While I didn't know what was happening at the time because I was unfamiliar with God, I felt a sensation through my body, originating at my upraised hand the moment I received Christ. Who can dispute something like that if one hasn't heard about the Holy Spirit indwelling us at the moment we are saved? Later it was revealed what I experienced. I know that my writing would not be if it were not for the Holy Spirit's teaching, opening of my mind, heart and spirit, to God's words. But I sure would like this to be transported from my fingertips to the tip of my tongue!

What I'm getting at here is, for now, these written words need to be understood as my form of witness of Christ. Christ desires that none should perish. Without words in cyberspace through blogs or Facebook...or preaching, teaching, evangelism on the streets...people would not truly know Christ. It's just how one responds to what is written or heard. It's acceptance or denial.

I recently watched a YouTube video of a young man street preaching at a comic book convention where one knows there will be an onslaught of people coming and going. I was saddened for two reasons. One, it reminded me of my days before Christ when an old brown, beat up station wagon with scriptures painted in white from one end to the other and a speaker on top would drive up and down Wisconsin Avenue of downtown Milwaukee preaching "Repent, for the time has come to believe the Gospel." (Amazingly, I just recently saw this same old car...25+ years later parked at a fast food restaurant!) At the time, to me...and I'm sure many was just plain obnoxious. My heart was so hardened to it all. How many times in those days did I deny Christ?
Two, I noticed the hundreds of people in the video who walked past this man and less than five shook his hand or gave some sort of sign that they agreed with him (or we assume they agreed). They denied Christ. It reminded me of the narrow road to life with few on it.
Many will be offended by street preachers. I was one of them. Many will be offended by any form of discussion about Christ, even in what I write...if anyone happens to read my stuff! But I tell you, the words of Christ and God are true. If we do not come to Christ and decide we don't need to or believe that we are good enough (and I certainly don't believe I'm good enough, because we can never be good enough, because we are all sinners), we are what He calls us: lost...because of our sin.

...for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad. ...Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  ...The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel. ...unless you repent you will all likewise perish. (Luke 19:10, Romans 6:23, John 10:11, Matthew 12:30, John 3:3, Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3)
You cannot dispute what the Word of God says. It is the truth. 
All I want is to point people to Christ. It involves exposing our sins, which never feels good. But if a nerve is struck whether it be the first time or 100th time, repentance can take place and our hearts softened to receive Him as He desires us to...into a relationship with Him. Knowing Him in our hearts and spirits not just our minds. Some words may seem hard. They may be rejected as I described with the car and the street preacher. When things like these irritate, there is a denial of Christ.
The Apostle Paul was a man who basically denied Christ as Saul. He persecuted Him, was confronted by Jesus, converted and then preached the Gospel. The point is, he changed. Here's a list of sorts of those who might deny Christ. The time is today:

2Timothy 3:3-7 - But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 
So while I don't often speak these words audibly, and I should, they are in my heart. We are warned. In fact, I would say I am in the category of denying the power God has given me. There is a narrow road and a small gate (Matthew 7:14) that leads to life. And like all those in the video who passed by this preacher, many will not heed the warnings, believing it is too much to ask or that their lives are too precious as they are to give them up to Christ. He gave His precious life up for us. How can we be so selfish? I speak to myself here, also. Do not deny Christ.

Mark 13:31-32,35 - Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Thus Says the LORD God of Israel

Exodus 5:1 - Afterward Moses and Aaron went in and told Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let My people go, that they may hold a feast to Me in the wilderness.’"

I've mentioned before how I love how Sundays sometimes come together by the power of the Holy  Spirit when a word is spoken in Sunday school and a continuation of it occurs only by "coincidence" of God in church.

In Sunday school something was brought up about patience, waiting on God for "whatever." And how God's timing is always perfect. Just about that same time, in a flash through my spirit I heard: I'm not finished; I have more work to do. It's not yet time. I understood what it meant. And I wondered at first if I had thought those words or had they been given to me by God. Later in Sunday school more was said that drew a little tear to my eye. I knew the words were of God. So later we a marvelous song during worship that added to all I was feeling. Some of the words were:

Oh my God, you will not delay
My refuge and strength…always.
I will not fear, His promise is true.
His promise will come true...always. (Always, Kristian Stanfill)
Pastor preached on Exodus 5 and 6. A phrase stood out for him: The LORD God says...

His promises are all true, always! And I heard the words myself in Sunday school and let me tell you Bible study and pastor's messages are not coordinated.

As pastor preached my mind was going in another direction. Words stood out.
Then the LORD said to Moses, "Now you shall see what I will do...I am the LORD...I have remembered My covenant...I will bring...I will rescue...I will redeem...I will take...I will be...I am the LORD your God...I will bring...I will give...I am the LORD. (Exodus 6:1-8) I am the LORD was emphasized four times. Do you think God wanted Israel to take notice? Unfortunately, they did not heed Moses, because of anguish of spirit and cruel bondage. (Exodus 6:9) 

I'm sure I've written something like this before, maybe a year ago when I was in Exodus then! If you are a follower of Christ, He promises never to leave you or forsake you. His promises are true for you. But…sometimes you just have to be patient. If He has given you a specific promise and it has not yet occurred, it is because He's not finished; He has more work to do; it's not yet time. All things have to be in His order and His time  for whatever it is that will come about…in God's perfect timing. Some might even become angry with God.

Some don't understand that God has promises for us. We don't have because we don't ask. In some instances we lack the relationship with God to receive His promises. I write about experiences I've had or that have happened in the Bible that others might seek that relationship and understand.

Although the following scriptures are referencing Jesus' return, they really are how we should be living out any and all things in life: But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness...Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; (2Peter 3:8,9a,14)

There you have it. Be in an attitude of peace until those things for which you wait happen. Ask Him to receive what He has to offer. Trust in Him, trust in His timing. We want things now. As was brought up in Sunday school, we are an impatient people. If we feel time has been lost in waiting, it hasn't. God has it all under control. He will restore the time in a way that we cannot understand.

Habakkuk 2:3 - For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Back to the Beginning

Genesis 6:11-12 - The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth.

It's that time of year...back to the beginning in Genesis, reading about Noah. Every time I read it it feels more like today than the year before. My question is, when will others notice this? When will others begin to see the corruptness in this world? When will others take it seriously?

Noah was called by God to build an ark that he and his family, and anyone else who wanted to join them, would be saved from the flood He was going to send to cleanse the world of the sinfulness. And only Noah and his family were saved. The others didn't take Noah, or God, seriously. Today we have Jesus. He is the Door by which we must enter to be saved.

Noah and his family took building the ark seriously. They were eight in number. Eight out of how many thousands or more? And today we have thousands or more who believe we are going through what Noah did, not only a spiritual hardness but a worldly corruptness. Thousands of believers out of billions. That sounds like what Jesus says: Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matthew 7:14)  It's not difficult to find the way, but difficult to be determined to walk on that path.

I'm believing times will have to get even worse before the world understands. There are just too many distractions, too much success to achieve, too much "fun" to have to notice the decline in morality. I'm not saying we shouldn't be working to make ends meet, or enjoy time with family and friends. But is God a part of any of this? Is He thought of or discussed at all?

We must start getting our priorities in order. God is first. Noah trusted God when all others laughed at him. So when I say it looks like we are in the last days, am I being laughed at too?

I'm not going to belabor this issue. Just know biblical history repeats itself. The next disaster will not be a flood but fire (2Peter 3:7). Can you think of any ways that might be possible? As in the days of Noah...

Matthew 24:37-39 - But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.

Friday, January 3, 2014

No Nonsense Approach

1Corinthians 2:1-5 - And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Hallelujah. I get goosebumps reading that. We all are not called to be eloquent speakers...or even writers. We are called in accordance to what God has equipped us with. And the major point is...what He has equipped us with. He knows who each of us is. He created us. He has equipped us and when we come into relationship with His Son and if we are willing, He will develop those skills.

Because of some bad winter weather a friend and I had to cancel our lunch date yesterday. Of course the sun decided to come out shortly after the decision...and the snow stopped...but we had a delightful chat on the phone. I'm looking forward to more.

Not surprisingly we talked about church. She and her husband are somewhat new at the church I now attend. I think it's been three years for them and almost one for me. We have both come from the same Pentecostal denomination. She and I discussed how we never really felt misled by our other churches. What we believe is that there was a gradual change taking place in them. Little foxes creeping in. They can creep into a person's life but they are creeping into churches also to ruin the vineyards (Song of Solomon 2:13). We just happened to notice it...her husband enough to make mention of it and eventually was asked to leave because of the disagreement. He now leads adult Sunday school based on only the Word of God. I see very little "disagreeableness" in him! He stands on the truth.

I'm certain, no matter what happened, that the Lord had a hand in our, as well as others, leaving our churches. I had been in a place in my old church where I heard little things that caused me to wonder...and then some more obvious things occurred in the church that just didn't seem right to me although at the time I went along with. How much more would happen that didn't seem right? But for me I didn't have to make the decision to leave. God made it for me.

We talked again about how real our pastor is. He didn't set out to become a pastor. He ran his own construction company. He converted from Catholicism. He describes quite well how God transformed his life and eventually placed on him a desire and call to become a pastor.

We love his no nonsense preaching and his realness. There are no airs. He is one of us, yet I am amazed at how deep the understanding and logic is that God has given him. And he is approachable, as my friend said. I look at all the disciples and apostles of Christ's time. They were just ordinary men too. They learned from their Master. Paul even admitted he was no orator or wise man (above) but that God gave him all he needed. We are called to learn what God says. We are to sit at His feet and take in His truths. It is our pastor's desire is that he would train us up that we might be disciples and lead others to Christ. That's what a pastor should be doing, teaching to make disciples.

There were no airs in Jesus. Jesus was approachable too, I think. In fact, people were drawn to Him. Little by little people are being drawn to our little no-nonsense church which doesn't compromise the truth of God's Word. Surprisingly, it's a young church, with lots of children. These young people want only to hear the truth. What I see is one very large family, each parent caring for the others...sharing in the training.

Later that day I read this devotion by Pastor Terry. It's not about who we are, what station in life we are in, our race, status, denomination. It's about giving up what we hold so dear in the world and
grasp an understanding of something and Someone greater and much more interesting and satisfying than our worldly "whatevers" (idols). Jesus wants none to perish. He does not see a difference between wealthy and poor, black or white...we are all sinners, and He does see our sin. Sin is sin...there is no small sin and great sin. It's all the same, much to many's surprise.

Our God can make a change in the most hardened person. He can bring anyone to a level where He can make that change. All we need is the willingness to allow Him. Life will never be the same when you allow Christ's transformation to happen.

“Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:” Ge. 35:2
Man can change his clothes, man can somewhat change his image; but only God can change someone from the inside. Religion is just a change of clothes, a relationship with Christ changes the heart.

Religion or relationship? I may have switched churches with the difference being what the churches have decided in this day and age is necessary to bring into the church to entice or excite people. The message, for the most part, is still the same: relationship over religion. God over gods. Truth over lies. Everlasting life over everlasting death.

It's not about the quality of the words being preached, a polished effect, but the quality of the message. God's more interested in what the message is, plain and simple. So if anyone thinks that coming to Christ means being smart or making yourself a better person first, it's not true. Come as you are and let Him do the work. Let Him fill you with the Holy Spirit of truth and wisdom. He makes all things beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

1Corinthians 2:12-13 - Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.