Friday, October 31, 2014

That I Should Bear Witness

John 18:37-40

Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?"

Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all."

There is something so very powerful in the question Pilate had: What is truth? This was hard to write this morning. I felt discouragement because there are many who refuse the truth. I felt great sadness over what Jesus had to go through for us and yet because His thoughts and ways are greater than ours, He may not see as we do. He knew what He had to do and He did it willingly, without complaint.

All that  happened to Jesus was what He had come into the world for. For this cause... God sent His only Son from holy heaven to live among sinful man...that I should bear witness...of the truth. Jesus is the truth. When we know the truth (Jesus) we have life and we know what, and Who, the way is.

It so saddens me that there are many who don't know what truth is. Many are willing to believe lies; and worse yet, sometimes know something is a lie and that seems to be okay with them. We see it specifically in the political arena. No matter which side, the other "apparently" is dead wrong. There can only be one right. But even in politics it's not totally right. Jesus showed what was right. So when issues that are against God's commands crop up and are disagreed with, a lie is believed. "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."

Like I said, this was hard to write this morning. Toes stepped on.

I believed a passel of lies myself, though, before I knew Jesus. Then I found out He spoke truth. Then I found out just what awful things I had believed...things that so went against God's Word.

All throughout the Word are thoughts on doing good, not evil. Evil and good seems to depend on which side you're on. What to one might seem evil is good to someone else. Isaiah pointed out what we see in the world today: 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! (‭Isaiah‬ ‭5‬:20) 

Jesus came to bear witness of the truth. Just as people did not know what truth was even when He was standing right before them, people still snub our Lord and Savior. They choose to believe the lie. This may sound so critical, but it is the truth!

What did Jesus say again? "Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." If the things in the Bible do not sit well, His voice is not heard. Pilate asked what truth was. He couldn't understand...and it may very well have been God's plan for Pilate to not hear. Or he wasn't interested in getting involved as a politician being in the midst of a religious matter. After all, He did say to the Jews he found no fault with Him. All part of God's plan.

Many did not believe Jesus. It might be hard to conceive that what He said then is still absolute truth. He does not change. His words are the same. His Word will never fail, nor will it fade away...all biblical truths. (Numbers 23:19, Hebrews 13:8, Matthew 24:35).

I know I'm not perfect but I'm open to correction. I'm so thankful I know where truth lies. I know God is always at work perfecting His people but none will be perfect until He returns. It's sad that there still are many who don't even want to "go there."

Repeatedly Jesus had to question when He had been at any fault. Jesus and His Word are truth. If we cannot believe the truth, we do not believe in Him. I feel so critical saying this. But it is the truth. We cannot believe only in part what Jesus says or what the Bible tells us. Jesus died for the truth. He died that we might believe in Him, hear His voice and believe the truth. Many are even departing from this truth. This should cause a lot of people to do some heavy thinking about what they believe.

Jesus did not come to condemn people but that they might have life in Him, believe in Him, trust that what He said was true and just. It's the same today. It's also why there is a more persistent persecution of Christians heading our way.

He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. And what He has seen and heard, that He testifies; and no one receives His testimony. He who has received His testimony has certified that God is true. "But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (‭John 3:31-33, John 8:45-47)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Blessed Are They

Psalm 2:1-12

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying, 
"Let us break Their bonds in pieces and cast away Their cords from us."

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the LORD shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure:
"Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion."

"I will declare the decree: the LORD has said to Me, 'You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. 
You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.'"

Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindles but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Wow, if this isn't a word for us today. For rulers around the world. For anyone who does not actively put their trust in the Lord.

This is a stern warning. Our own country was founded on godly principles. We have strayed so far...
Today The rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His Anointed... His Anointed is Jesus.

We are promised a day of judgment. Yes, God is good but He will also judge. We must hear both sides of His nature from the pulpits not just what the people want to hear.  Those who seek their own way, whether it is an individual or "ruler" of a nation, will experience His wrath.

This psalm was written well before Jesus (979 BC) but it speaks of God's Son, whom He would give all the nations to as an inheritance. That has come about. He has become our Savior, the One who holds our future in His hand.

As nations or individuals, we either serve God or ourselves or man, rulers/kings. If we do not fear God His anger will be upon us and we will perish. "The Bible tells us so!"

Jesus Christ saves us from God's wrath. Those who serve Him are blessed...not with material wealth but with the knowledge that God is for us and our future is secure. Blessings come in the form of peace, joy, contentment, strength, protection, wisdom, and just knowing who to turn to in times of trouble. Just knowing who He is is not enough. A relationship with Him, allowing Him to change you, desiring to dig into and learn from His Word is what is required.

We cannot just assume we are good in God's eyes. We must know and devote time to knowing more...there is a great reward for doing so. It's a really good thing!

Psalm 34:22 - The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned.

Monday, October 27, 2014

My Kingdom is Not of This World

John 18:25-36

Now Simon Peter stood and warmed Himself. Therefore they said to him, "You are not also one of His disciples, are you?" He denies it and said, "I am not!" One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him whose ear Peter cut off, said, "Did I not see you in the garden with Him?" Peter then denied again; and immediately a rooster crowed.

Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the Praetorium, and it was early morning. But they themselves did not go into the Praetorium, lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover.

Pilate then went out to them and said, "What accusation do you bring against this Man?" They answered and said to him, "If He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you." Then Pilate said to them, "You take Him and judge Him according to your law." Therefore the Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death," that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die.

Then Pilate entered the Praetorium again, and called Jesus, and said to Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered Him, "Are you speaking for yourself about this, or did others tell you this concerning Me?" Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You to me. What have You done?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."

Oh how I could continue with this thought, to continue the fervent questioning. But more next time.

As I've said many times, God's Word is truth. We see the events taking place in these scriptures fulfilling prophecy after prophecy from the Old Testament. There is another world available to us. This is why the Bible was written. This is why it is important to read God's Word. That the saying(s) of Jesus (and others) might be understood. That we might see how they were fulfilled. To learn of this other world and through whom we might attain it.

The Jews would not kill Jesus; it was against their they sought out the Romans to carry it out. The Jews and the Gentiles. All people were guilty of His death. We...we...all put Him on that cross. We are all guilty because we are of this world. But...He voluntarily went. That scripture might be fulfilled.

I was just listening to two totally unrelated evangelists discussing very similar subjects. I never cease to be amazed when this happens. They were unrelated to even this, but I feel I want to address them. Briefly, they both discussed how it is the power of the Holy Spirit within the Church and in a person that brings life. And both said it was the death and more importantly Jesus' resurrection that made this Holy Spirit power possible. Jesus is not on the cross anymore (why the cross in our church and many others do not have Jesus on it). He is resurrected and alive in Spirit.

His kingdom is not of this world.

It is this Spirit that makes accounts like this one come alive. We see Peter denying Christ, though he knew Him. He needed that power to avoid the denial but, of course, it had not been received yet. It's why all this had to happen. Peter's denial is another testimony to how we can be without this power. Jesus' death had to occur, that His saying(s) might be fulfilled. He had been telling His disciples He had to leave them...for a good reason...that scripture might be fulfilled...that we might believe in Him...that the Holy Spirit power could be given out to all who receive Him and His death on the faith.

His kingdom is not of this world.

Jesus never did anything wrong. He was tempted as a man, yes, but He never fell prey to that temptation like we do daily. It is why only He can save us from this life of sin. Why do we deny Him and His power? Why would we rather live without Him in our own sinful bondage than to be set free? What is there in this world that so strongly holds us here instead of wanting to know of this other place Jesus tells us there is? What a mystery that is.

It's even more of a mystery that He can change our minds. That we might know His power in our lives, that we might know this kingdom, that we might see that what Jesus did for us was all part of a great Divine plan. That we might see that the eyes that were so blind in His day believed a lie, that He was not just an ordinary king, but the Lord of lords and King of kings.

His kingdom is not of this world.

He did nothing to deserve the accusations and death. But He did it that scripture would be fulfilled...and eternal life in another kingdom would be available...and His Word would become alive and we would become alive through the power of the Holy Spirit which would be available after His death. He did this for us. Did anyone else in this world ever die for our salvation? Receive Him, believe all this, and this same Power and eternal life can be the glory of God.

His kingdom is not of this world. We are of this world but we can become part of the other spiritual world when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior. Amen!

Daniel was given a vision of God/Jesus. His kingdom is not of this world. And it is ours for the asking.

Daniel 7:14 - Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Whom Are You Seeking?

John 18:7-14

Then He asked them again, "Whom are you seeking?" and they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus answered, "I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way," that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, ''Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none."

Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus. 

So Jesus said to Peter, "Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?" Then the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. 

For whatever reason even these officers of the chief priests had a hard time  believing Jesus was who He said He was! Who can understand this? Who did they think He was?  Did they see something different in Jesus? We're they astonished that as He spoke they were unable to stand in the previous verses? Why didn't Jesus have this same affect on everyone? Why doesn't He have an affect on people today, too?

The next sudden event was Peter cutting off the ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant. And why is this so important?  Malchus' name is never mentioned again! Just a flurry of activity. 

And Jesus continues to rebuke Peter for striking out and trying to prevent prophetic events to occur. And His command that the officers take Him and leave the others...that the order of historic, prophetic events would take place. All that He had come to do had to happen...and there was such a confusion among the people.

I'm afraid I have not much to say this time! Just a lot of questions. This is John 's account of all this and he does not refer to the fact that Jesus healed Malchus' ear! That alone would be yet another cause for even these men to wonder who this Man was...and maybe believe. Who knows, maybe when all was said and done, they did. I do know that this would have been Jesus' last healing...maybe it's why Malchus was named. And yet...Jesus still heals today! 

Whom are you seeking? That's a good question for us all. What miracle or healing would cause you to believe without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is Who He says He is? You have no clue what may already have transpired in your life that just may have been His hand upon you so that some day you might believe...and seek Him.  You have no idea what might transpire in the future that will cause you to give your life over to Him, the One who gave His life over for you.

He knows...He has plans for those who seek Him. He knows what holds you captive, even of you don't think you are being held captive. Do you hold unforgiveness, pride, willfulness, conceit, surety in self, self-centeredness; are you experiencing physical ailments and no possible healing; do you struggle with drugs, alcohol, depression, anxiety, hopelessness? He desires to set you free. 

Before I knew for a fact who Jesus was, not just the head knowledge, but the heart,  little by little things occurred that we're clearly leading up to the day I would meet Him and then seek more of Him. I was searching for spirituality in the wrong places and He prevented me from falling prey to the occult! It IS possible for Him to captivate you to Him and not the things in this life that do hold you captive.  He can free the hardest of criminal, or the hardest of hearts, the worst of the worst. And if you don't fit into that worst category, He can heal you too!

Jeremiah 29:11-14a - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD, and I will bring you back from your captivity...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What Will Heaven Be Like?

Revelation 21:1-2. - Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

I've been enjoying this fall though I'm not usually a fall person. I like spring the best with new life, new growth. Fall is a reminder of the long, sometimes hard winters we can have in Wisconsin. And our winters can be r-e-a-l-l-y long.

But the other morning I was thanking God for the beauty of the fall colors and for the changes of seasons.

When I dwell on the beauty of this earth both here and around the world with all it's variety...especially here in the United States...I often go to the thought that we are told heaven will be even better.

To be honest, I can't imagine it looking better! I'd be very happy with heaven looking like earth with seasons and all we have to view. Hopefully this does not sound disrespectful to God, but I can't imagine streets of gold and pearly gates. Gimme the great outdoors!

Before entering into heaven or the New Jerusalem, believers will rule and reign with Christ on earth for 1,000 years. The devil will be chained up during that time and we will have that peace on earth we so often hope to achieve by our own human efforts of kindness...which will not work. If God's not in it, it just won't happen. Then comes the final destination...heaven...(or hell).

Do we really know what heaven will be like? We know what the Apostle John was shown in a vision:
...“Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.  
Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. 
Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates, and its wall. The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs [1500 miles]. Its length, breadth, and height are equal. 
Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits [216 feet], according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 
The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 
The twelve gates were twelve pearls: each individual gate was of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. 
But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). (‭Revelation‬ ‭21‬:‭9-25‬)

I believe with all my heart that the way we look at things here on earth today will not be the way we view things then. What I mean is we will forget what things are like on earth because all that will matter is being in the presence of the Lord and the glory of God. All things, as the Bible states, will be new. Nothing will look greater than the glory of God. We are told there will no longer be sorrow, pain or tears. It will be all about the Lord, as it should be today.

I suspect there will be trees and rivers because there will be a tree of life and a river of life. And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (‭Revelation‬ ‭22‬:‭1-2‬)

Friday, October 17, 2014

I Am He

John 18:1-6

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.

Then Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, "Whom are you seeking?" They answered Him, "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them, "I am He." And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them.

Now when He said to them, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.

Back to the Book of John! 

We are about to experience Jesus' arrest. How some people back then hated Jesus. Enough to lie and scoff at all He had spoken and shown them. And all this He had done for them that they might believe He was the Son of God who came to take away the sin of the world...their sins included.

If Jesus stood before you and said "I am He," would you shrink back or scoff or worse yet, want Him arrested? Would He be offensive to you too? Would you reject His message or His forgiveness of your sins? We are all sinners...

Actually, we might not be able to stand in His presence at all.

I stopped at verse 6 for a reason. They drew back and fell to the ground at the three little words He spoke. This is the power of God. This was for them the very presence of God before them. They had no recourse but to fall before Him. Reminds me of what we are told will happen someday when Jesus returns and we all see Him. the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:10-11)

Back in Isaiah these words were also spoken.  If the Word of God is true...and just...this will happen. No one will be exempt. But the eternal outcome will be 
different. There will be no reluctance on anyone's part to do this. It will happen. For some it will be done with all reverence; for others it will hang heavy as they realize Whom they had rejected. They will see that "I am He."

Isaiah 45:23 - I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee 
shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

WHY Do We Need Jesus?

Sometimes the Word of God is better than anything man can say. The Word is powerful. It cuts to the heart. It is truth and life. Praise God for His Word, for Jesus, both written Word and Word made flesh. The living Word.

So, why do we need Jesus?

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? 
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, NO, NOT ONE.” 
...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...

[Jesus said] 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
For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved."
...that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

(Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:10-12, Romans 3:23, Matthew 13:15, Romans 10:13, Romans 10:9-10, Ephesians 2:1-3, John 14:6, Acts 4:12)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Early in the Morning

Psalm 63:1 - O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. 

I've been drinking a lot more water these days. And that means getting up several times in the night! The other night I watched the full moon for signs of the total eclipse. I didn't know what time it would be. By 5:11 I saw it in its process. It was then I decided I was up for the day.

I marveled as I kept checking the windows at how the eclipse was playing slowly out. To think that the earth, sun and moon had to be in perfect alignment, as if I'd never given it a thought before, gave me pause yet again to think on God's marvelous creation. Nothing is by chance but by His order. He set the stars in the skies, knows each by name and He holds them there till it's time for them to fall.

It caused me to praise Him early. It caused me to worship Him for all that He is. Our pastor sent out a devotion earlier this week that spoke of God speaking to us early in the morning. I thought of Eli whom God was calling for in the middle of the night. I believe He quietly spoke as I contemplated the eclipse...and then some. And it seemed like the middle of the night!

The day before I received Christ I was told by my sister-in-law that she heard God speak. It instantly brought tears to my eyes and I emphatically said, I want that! These were words coming from someone who was pushing as hard as she could against giving herself to a Man who I was certain I already my head, but not my heart. Oh, gotta love the power of God! NO ONE IS IMMUNE. He can break through the toughest hearts. Beware! Or Be aware.

There is something so wonderful about starting the day with Him. Days go more smoothly. They can be more peaceful...and purposeful. His Word is alive. And He lives in Me. He can live in anyone who calls on His name for the salvation of their soul. And don't think that ain't necessary, this salvation of the soul. He will speak to anyone who wants this.

Funny...I read this final scripture and shared it (the entire chapter, actually) with a woman I had and email discourse with yesterday. God is speaking. I have a sign in our dining room: God still speaks to those who take the time to listen. Take the time...

Isaiah 26:9 - With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Call to Repentance

Matthew 27:51 - Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split...

We know all the stories. And the stories remain the same. God never changes. He's the same today as He was yesterday and in the Old Testament and will be tomorrow. He calls us to repentance.

The Old Testament is chock full of accounts where His people, the Jews, Israelites, worshipped and relied on Him...then when things were going well they forgot Who provided for them and they did as they wanted, took Him for granted and lost sight of their LORD.

God would call them back and used judgment upon them to force them to their knees to seek His forgiveness and mercy again through repenting of their sins. God, being merciful, forgave them and they were blessed again. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2Peter 3:9) For awhile...until things were going well again and they again forgot Who provided for their needs. Again they did as they wanted and God's judgment would bring them to their knees.

So life goes on. So it is the same today. Sin still abounds, people still do as they please. Yet, like in the Old Testament, there was always a remnant of believers who keep their eyes on God, perhaps praying that the nation, the people would return to the God of the universe...Who has given us all things...something we so easily can lose sight of. And as I said, He never changes; He's the same today as yesterday; still merciful...if we repent and return to Him.

God calls us to a time of repentance as an individual, as a people, as a nation, as a church. No one is an exception. As in the Old Testament the people called on their God, today we adhere to the beliefs of the New Testament in which a Savior was introduced to us. This Savior was born to be the Mediator between God and man. In the Old Testament God wanted man to have direct access, communication and communion with Him, like He had with Adam. But the people were afraid of Him and asked that Moses be the mediator. So direct access to the Father there was not.

The Good News for today is the Gospel. The Gospel preaches Jesus Christ, our Mediator, our Great High Priest, who intercedes for those who call upon His name. We have direct access to God the Father through Jesus Christ and His work...His work...on the cross. This comes only through our own repentance of our sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ. No other way. He is the only way, truth and life.

The idea in this world is that we control our own destiny, heritage. That is a lie. That, in God's eyes, leads to death. Jesus died so we might have life. We must die also to have life. We die to selves. We give up the idea we can make it on our own.  Proverbs 16:25 shows this to us: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. God's words. How much plainer can it get?

We are seeing some rough days today. I suspect they will get worse. God said this to wise Solomon:
When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. (2Chronicles 7:13-15) 

If His people...His children...will seek His face. But why not enlarge that number? Become a child of God through Jesus Christ. It's the Gospel. Jesus is the only way to eternal life. He's the only way out of what lies ahead, even if we have to go through some difficult days because of the evil of others. He will be the only strength we have; without Him we do not have the strength.  Jesus Christ...the only way.

Acts 3:19 - Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The World Has Not Known You

John 17:24-26 

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.

Jesus finished His prayer to His Father for His disciples and for the world. He desires...that we see His glory.

I say it over and over. It's all about Jesus. It's all about God, the Father. Jesus shows it's all about His Father: they, whom You gave Me; My glory which You gave Me; the love You have for Me...the love which I have shown is Your love.

An email discussion I had with a woman recently showed me something. She wanted my opinion on an email she wanted to send out. She asked if she should drop it or send it. Clearly she was angry about a situation. I know that anger...I've had it myself. It comes from being hurt by someone. Thankfully that doesn't happen often, rarely, these days. But how we want to cling to unforgiveness sometimes. (I suggested she drop it! She did.)

Our pride can get hurt. Pride is the root, I believe, of all sin. If we know the Lord, it is our responsibility to love as Jesus loved. Wives are called to submit to their husbands, as to the Lord. Husbands are called to love their wives as Christ loved the church. (Ephesians 5)  We are to love our neighbor and our enemy. We do it without expecting anything in return. Jesus loved His Father no matter what...even knowing what death He would face. He loved His disciples, followers and the sinners. We can only love unconditionally through Christ. Yeah, it's still a struggle sometimes because we have this tarnished, blackened heart.

Why is there so much hatred in this world? Why is there even so much disunity politically? Because the love of Christ is not there. It's all about Jesus! If we all agreed with the Word of God, believed what it says, lived it out, this would be a better world. But it starts with knowing Jesus. A better world is a utopian idea. Utopia will only come to those in Christ after He returns to reign on earth with believers, His people...and then in heaven where all injustice will be gone: He will swallow up death forever. And the LORD GOD will wipe away tears from all faces; the rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; for the LORD has spoken. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 21:4) A promise from both Old and New Testaments.

Jesus' mission was to reveal Himself to us. He started with twelve average men and some countless others along the way. Eleven of those men and a few more revealed to others, who revealed to others, who revealed to others...who eventually revealed to me...and I hope I to you.

Are we made perfect on this earth? No. We still struggle with sin. But we are covered by the blood of Jesus and His love sustains us, if we submit to Him. As He does, so we are to do. A lesson to be learned!

But the world in general does not know Him. They do not know His peace. They do not know His love, nor His wisdom and power, nor they way He works. They will live in discord until they do. They will have burdens they cannot release without Him. There will be disunity. Jesus says: Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am... I pray that anyone who needs to be counted as a part of they whom You gave Me would submit to God. Submit to receive His love, see His glory in their lives and then turn around and do the same for others. 

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.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Spoiler Alert!

Genesis‬ ‭1‬:‭1-3 - 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, “..."

Movie reviews sometimes warn one that the ending might be given away. There is a Book that I want to report on. The Word of God. It is powerful. It gives us the real truth. It brings life.

"In the beginning..." was God. Was creation. Was the first man followed by the first woman. Followed by communing with this all powerful, all knowing, ever present God. Followed by temptation. Followed by sin.

And so the story goes. God continues His account, this handbook for life, for anything one needs, this sacred Book of commandments..and truth...of proverbs...of parables...of psalms...of judgments...of forgiveness. Many men of various degrees of intellect, personalities, frailties were used over the span of about 1600 years to complete it.

The point of this Book? That we might have wisdom. That we might be made aware what sin is, who has it (everyone), how there is nothing we can do to overcome our sin, how time after time man struggles with their devotion and worship of God, how God is merciful, and best of all how we can be forgiven. In beginning was pure, sinless man, who fell into sin. Near the end we can be made pure, forgiven of this sin.

But there is a time the Bible calls the last days.
This know also, that in the last days...2Timothy 3
Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days...2Peter 3
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord (last day)...1Thessalonians 5
...whereby we know that it is the last time. 1John 2
...and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:14
...[even] to the time of the end...Daniel 12:4

The great misconception is that life will go on. It will come to an end someday. If we complete some of the verses above we'll see what it will look like.
...perilous times shall come. 2Timothy 3
...scoffers, walking after their own lusts...2Peter 3 ye have heard that antichrist shall come...1John 2
...this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations...Matthew 24

In the last days things get pretty nasty. There are wars and rumors of wars, pestilence and disease, scoffers, self-centered living, evil, no desire anymore for God. And God will one day have had enough. He has been merciful for a very long time. His Word has been preached to the nations. We see wars, hear rumor of wars. We see diseases and disasters. And today we see wickedness and rampant sin as everyday, normal life. Evil is good, good is evil.

Spoiler alert! If you don't want to know the end of the Book, stop here. Read no further. But it is a
vital message.

In the end...the judgment...for the pure and impure. Jesus is coming quickly! There will be a time for His judgment. Those seeking Him as well as those who do not will bow before Him, will stand (if that's even possible) before Him to give account for each one's deeds. There will be a separation between believers and non-believers, and those whose names are written in the book of life, or not, and final resting places determined. It's all written about in this Book. It's there for the reading.

If anyone does not know Jesus, right now, today, it's time. Time's running out and this is where the scoffers come in. Oh, we've heard this all before. Men have predicted Jesus' return and it hasn't happened so why believe this? I am not saying the exact time He will return only that judging by the condition of the world today, it's getting close. Besides, if one were to die today, which side of Christ might they be on? Does the family know this God? Do they revere Him or scoff Him? Have they confessed their sins to this almighty God? Do they even know they can go directly to Him with a sincere and broken heart for this confession? Do they realize that it is not an embarrassing step to take but a life giving one?

He is waiting. He wants to change lives and futures. He wants to bring freedom, to open His words up, to give wisdom. He wants to change all beginnings into better last days. And time is running out. Pick up a copy of this Book some time. Test the scriptures.

Revelation 22:20-21 - He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

By the Truth

John 17:17-23

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

The red words of Jesus. Jesus is praying to His Father for His disciples. They have heard the truth, believed it and will be sent into the world to share it. Jesus again shows that He and the Father are one. When we come to Christ and believe as these men did we become one in Spirit. Christ's Spirit in us, and that means the Spirit of God resides in us also. It is our duty to share His words.

But not everyone has this Spirit. We do not have this Spirit until we receive Christ and believe the words of truth He (and His Father) spoke. Through Christ we become joined with Christ not only in His sufferings but in sharing the love of Christ with others.

Real life begins when we first hear the words of truth. By the truth we believe and are set free, now able to be sanctified along with others who have done the same. Again, we must receive (it's all about receiving)...the truth. Jesus is truth because He is the Word...made flesh. It's too marvelous!

Even as I read these few verses this morning I felt an excitement come over me. My heart was stirred. That's what the word of truth does. I spirit is quickened. I had to look up the meaning of that word. (Of course!)

Quicken, Strong's Concordance:
To give life, make alive.
By spiritual power to arouse and invigorate.
To restore to life.
Of the spirit, endured with new and greater powers of life

And that's what His Word does. It gives life. We think we have life on this earth but real life is in Christ. Scripture says the world and it's desires will pass away, but those who do God's will will live forever...and God's Word, both in word and flesh, will never--never--pass away. (1John 2:17, Matthew 24:35)

Though we see God and His Word being shunned, blasphemed and despised, thought of as offensive, it will not pass away because it is from Him. It is truth in a world that does not want to know the truth...which does not want to know Christ...who will not be made alive by the truth. But there are some of you who do not believe. (John 6:64) This is sad.

Lord God, it is never too late for anyone to change their mind about You. Quicken their spirits to receive more abundant life in You. You call people daily. Somehow they don't hear. Open their ears and hearts to receive the truth that is You.

John 6:63 - It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.