Monday, June 29, 2015

My Choice

John‬ ‭15‬:‭17-19 - These things I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

We are told that we will be blessed if we: have a poor spirit, are mournful, meek, hunger and thirst for righteousness, are merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness' sake. The kingdom of heaven, God's comfort, inheriting the earth, being filled with God's righteousness, receiving His mercy, seeing Him, and being called sons of God will all be ours in our steadfastness in Him. (Matthew 5:3-10)

I choose to remain steadfast in Him whatever may occur. We are not to let the cares of the world overcome us. We are to keep our focus on heavenly things and remain faithful to Jis a Word. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (‭I Timothy‬ ‭6‬:‭11-12)

We may be hated for our beliefs. But as He stated above, Jesus was too. It may sound arrogant to say we are not of the world. Anyone can have this, however, if they choose Jesus.

In all things we must follow the Lord. Nothing can come before Him, not family or friends. We might just lose them in our commitment to what is right. I remember when I asked God after He directed me to do something and I asked how I could leave all the friends I had made... He reminded me: ... “Who is My mother and who are My brothers?” And He stretched out His hand toward His disciples and said, “Here are My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother.” (‭Matthew‬ ‭12‬:‭48-50‬)  My true brothers and sisters are those who also follow Him. 

This is where I stand. It could be a very difficult road. I know I'm still in need of some work, some strength and purification. But I look to the end. I find it hard to look back to what I used to believe. I stand on the Word of God and it's truth. I stand with the God of my salvation. It's all about which path to take. Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life. 

Philippians 3:13-14 - Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Fear...of God or World?

Proverbs 1:7 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 

That scripture says it all. It's wise and a warning both. I don't claim to have all wisdom but I do believe I have a fear of the Lord. If we do not fear God...well, the Word tells us the truth. 

King Solomon was wise. He wrote Proverbs. He wrote Ecclesiastes which I have written occasionally all is vanity and a grasping for the wind...without God. He was not so wise later in life when he seemed to have let the things of God and all that wisdom go along the wayside. But he wizened up!

We are told to fear God. This is reverent fear, not fearful fear! If we can grasp how big our God is, the power, control and love He has, fearing Him is easier. If we do not fear Him the fear of life's circumstances will overcome.

I think we can still be anxious when circumstances first present themselves, although to be honest we are not to be anxious for anything either. But I t's then we go to God and trust in Him. He does have all things under control. He knows what we go through and will face. But if we remember He's in control, that He has our life in His hands, whatever the outcome, if we know Him and reverently fear Him, we have nothing to fear...even death. 

How many fear death? It's because they do not know what lies ahead. Even if they believe heaven is theirs, they will fear death. But not all go to heaven. Not even those supposed to be good...claimed by family, friends, even selves. We need a relationship, wisdom, knowledge and reverent fear of God for that to happen. Nothing we can do on our works, no thinking we're better than the next guy. We must take our focus off ourselves and put it squarely on God. 

Days are coming where some (in the world) may begin to fear. We don't know if/when the financial market might drop, jobs will be lost, illness comes, deaths occur, terrorism strikes or life's situations become too great. But we, as believers, are called not to fear. If we do not fear Him it might said of us: He [Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. (‭John‬ ‭1‬:‭10‬)  Here the word know means: to come to know, get a knowledge of; Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. It means intimate knowledge of Him (and I'm not speaking something kinky). Not head knowledge but of the heart. It must come from the heart. And just to make it very clear, this is knowing Jesus, receiving Him as Lord and Savior, confessing our sins to Him, trusting in Him and believing He will forgive...not one of those points but all. 

Our pastor was saying the other day that most of those who have come into this relationship, this knowledge, know it happened. The Holy Spirit of God caused a change to take place in hearts, minds, spirits. We can't explain it very well other than to say we know that we know that we know something occurred that changed us. Do you know that? 

If we do not have the fear of the Lord, we have fear of the world. There are plenty of scriptures that show us examples of this. Here are just two. Perfect love casts out fear (1John 4:18)...I used to think I needed that perfect love for God; it's not about me but about a God, Jesus, whose love is the only perfect love. If we know We are not to fear he (or what) who can kill the body because if we know Jesus he cannot kill our soul! (Matthew 10:28) It's all about knowing Jesus. If we have no fear of God, we are in sin. Ouch.

Solomon later in life once again understood the value of fearing and knowing God above all else. He wrote the difficult words of Ecclesiastes after having strayed from God and realizing his mistake. All the riches of the world, accomplishments, were nothing apart from God. Job was another man who understood this fear of the Lord and exercised it when he lost all he had and maintained trust in his God. They both had the same conclusion. Know the Lord, fear Him, know that He is to be our all in all. Wise words. 

“From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? It is hidden from the eyes of all living, and concealed from the birds of the air. God understands its way, and He knows its place. And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.’” (‭Job‬ ‭28‬:‭20-21,23,28‬)
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭12‬:‭13‬)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When All is Said and Done

Isaiah 2:17 - The loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day...

It's true. The Bible tells us what it will be like. It's true! [God] has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; (‭Hebrews‬ ‭1‬:‭2‬) When all is said and done, everyone will have known what God has spoken for thousands of years was true. His glory will be revealed. All people will have no recourse but to bow before Him. 

This world, if you haven't noticed, is in turmoil which many believe will not get better. It started by seeping in, then trickling, now flowing. Soon gushing. What will it take to open people's eyes to what God has shown us in His Word to be the last days? What He has spoken to us through His Son. 

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come...(‭2Timothy‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬)

What will it take? Loftiness of man will be bowed down when they no longer are able to devise schemes against the enemy. Without strong godly leadership in families, churches and government, they truly will be brought low. The strength of nations that once looked to God but have now looked the other way will diminish. The enemy will have a foothold. Perilous times will come. If we do not have a great trust in God over man we will be in trouble. 

Churches no longer choosing to preach the truth of the Gospel will crumble. When man's agenda is greater than God's, this loftiness will be bowed. 

Families without the solid foundation, centered in God, will failing. Do not be deceived. We cannot live without strong faith in God.

Through it all, God's plan will prevail. No matter what. God will be exalted in the end. His plan is removal of all evil so that He will rule and reign forever one day...with His saints...those who have bowed before Him, followed Him to the end, have set themselves apart, and have endured these difficult days, and run the race for and toward Him. 

Lord, I pray You will grow the number of followers quickly. I ask that You keep those who follow You strong in their desire to be victorious in the end. Open eyes, ears and especially hearts to receive what You have to offer over what the world has. Your kingdom is forever; this world will fail. Let us keep our trust in You alone.

Remember, when all is said and done, God will be exalted, glorified. He has warned us. As we are going over in Ecclesiates, all is vanity, a grasping for the wind...without God. Who is ready? Who will believe? Who will heed His words?

Luke‬ ‭21‬:‭25-28‬ - And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Matthew 23:9 - Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 

Happy Father's Day to all who are fathers! Jesus did not mean we should not call our fathers on earth our fathers...just not to put them above the Heavenly Father. I thank God for my church and the wisdom of the young fathers there, their devotion to God first, then the love they have for their wives and children. We prayed for them this morning and honored them. 

But all honor and power and glory are due one Father in particular. He is the Father of us all and the Father of this universe. By His Word He spoke all things into existence, including you and me. His name is the name above all names. No earthly father can compare. 

We sang this song this morning. Although I know this song well, it spoke much more deeply to my heart today. It is about a Father who created me, who will never leave me or forsake me, who knows my coming and going, knows my thoughts from afar...and loves me like no earthly father could. This is an amazing God. Do you know Him? Can you say you feel even a hint of the depth of His love for you? We will never know the absolute depth, but we can be assured when He says He loves us, He does. The immensity of all this brings tears to my eyes.

Indescribable (Chris Tomlin)

From the highest of heights to the depths of the sea
Creation's revealing Your majesty
From the colors of fall to the fragrance of spring
Every creature unique in the song that it sings
All exclaiming

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Who has told every lightning bolt where it should go
Or seen heavenly storehouses laden with snow
Who imagined the sun and gives source to it's light
Yet conceals it to bring us the coolness of night
None can fathom

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

You are amazing God

Indescribable, uncontainable,

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
Incomparable, unchangeable

You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name. All of them, from beginning and till the end of time; He knows our names. 
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same. With all our faults... 
Amazing love. Indescribable. After all these words, I am reminded of what Jesus tells us:

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. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

God's People Are Comforted

Exodus‬ ‭19‬:‭1, 3-6 - In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

There is promise in those words. They speak to us today as they were spoken then. God's people were Israel. They can be seen as an example of who we are. We will all go through times of trial. We are all in captivity. Who do we look to for our strength? Doctors who are no more human than we? The government which also fails? Our families who often are just as powerless? When trouble hits we can be comforted by any of them, but we must look to someone higher for our strength. 

As God delivered His people, so God alone is our deliverer. The land of Egypt, a type of world, is where we live before we know Him. We are held captive by the world and by the world's trials. But God will deliver us from its grasp if we so choose. He may not take us out of the trouble, but He always promises to be with those who seek Him. 

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. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (‭1John‬ ‭2‬:‭15-17‬) 

oh yes, we definitely see the world passing away. But where God leads is good, even though we may perceive all goodness abounds in what we see and have at our fingertips. When God steps in to deliver we can see where we've been, how He brought us through and to Him. It's amazing how He does that. If we allow this to happen, He is beside us always. 

As He told Israel, He tells those who yield to Him, "If you will obey My voice and keep My covenant, you will be a special treasure to Me." Few people accept this call. Few people realize the importance of who we can be in Christ. We become part of the holy nation, the Kingdom of God. We are to spread this news, despite the scoffing or rejecting. How amazing to be a special treasure by the God who created all things!

I know how difficult it is to really put knowing God in this special way into perspective. I was there once. I also know it is by God's Spirit that it must happen. And it's where trust and faith come in. Just because we cannot imagine this in our fleshly minds, it is true. It's getting beyond that human logic and believing as a little child. 

Sometimes it takes a trial, to bring us to that place. (Sometimes, though, those difficult times will work the opposite in a hardened heart.) We need to know that God only desires good for us but we must desire to put our trust and faith in Him alone. There may come a time when He's the only person to whom we can go. 

Who doesn't want to know that their final resting place is? We cannot assume we all go to heaven because that is not true. It is through trust and faith in the God who delivers. Let Him deliver you out of Egypt. See the great things He can do. We are to truly glorify God in our lives, recognize what He has done, how He has delivered us.

How long will it take for you to give your heart to the Lord? For His deliverance? To see how He works? Crossing the river from captivity to freedom? To be under His watchful, powerful wings as well as soar on top of them? You may not recognize this need. But He can surely make that change. Where He leads is good. I urge you to read all of Isaiah 40 to see who this God is. My Bible has it titled God's People Are Comforted. I pray that The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” (‭Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭5‬) My heart both wants to burst at these words and cry out to Him for others to recognize and know this! 

Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭1,31 - “Comfort, yes, comfort My people!” says your God. ...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.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Listen Up!

2Timothy‬ ‭3‬:‭1-5 - 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! 

Read this again. Do you see this in this world today? Wow, the first thing is lovers of selves, one of the biggest reasons one does not want to receive Christ. Lives seem most important as they are today. Six times in the New Testament Jesus said: He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. We must give up our lives to and for Christ, like He did for us, that we, being then in Christ, will live forever in and for Him. This is not just knowing who He is, but believing what the Word (which is also Jesus) says, not a church or denomination. It is giving your life for Him.

But look at the rest of this list. Can't you see all these in this world? If you look at the news, which we should have some interest in, can't you say each one of these things has risen up? I bring this up because of the latest news about the mass shooting in a South Carolina church last night. We don't know the motive yet; they haven't as of this writing found the shooter. But here we have a pastor, also in politics, killed, along with others in his congregation. I'm certain all this pastor wanted, and others who seem to be rejected for their beliefs, are things done honestly and in order, the way God requires it, not man. The foundation God based on Him. The foundation this country was founded on. The foundation some do not see a need for because they are "lovers of self."

It's a shame more people don't see this. It's their way or the highway; it's antagonism against, and sometimes hatred for, all things true and just. Sometimes it's just man wanting to do what man wants...lover of self, pride. This goes for both sides of the political aisle. This is also the way that will usher in the return of Christ, which I'm sure many will scoff at. The enemy is hard at work because he knows his time is short and he wants to take down as many as he can. Will you be along with him and apart from God when that happens?

In an interview with a congressman and congregant of this pastor's church, he spoke truth: We're entering a new phase in politics; the politics of hate. They've always been around but they're rearing their heads to new levels, new heights. There's always some people who will express some sort of hatred toward politicians, but there things that do unite us as a people and when people of goodwill come together our nation prospers. We need prayer, we need God, we need to return to our founding principles more today than any time in our nation's history. These are truths because he understands the things of God. If we do not understand we are in deep trouble, just where the enemy the devil wants us. I am reminded of this: ...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. (‭2Chronicles‬ ‭7‬:‭14‬)  Why can't we see this and understand? Because we need Christ to do so.

We must be in relationship and living for Christ.  When we are we are longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭19-22)  Neither our church, pastor, priest, rabbi, nor denomination, but Jesus alone, is to be our foundation. The Church was built on Jesus Christ. It's about one Man who died for our sins. One Man who was concealed in the pages of the Old Testament and revealed in the New. And we need to bow before Him. 

Heavenly Father, as we see these things occurring more frequently, I ask for Your strength and peace throughout it all. I have had occasionally an overwhelming discomfort in my spirit. Things are not as they have been, nor will they ever be the same again. I know You are at work bringing about Your return. As we hold our heads up and look to You, remind us of Your power, grace, mercy and love. Give us discernment. Bring the masses of unsaved to an understanding of who You are. Let more find that narrow road You talk about. Open ears and minds to receive the wonderful, saving knowledge of You and help us to boldly to reach others. 

1Corinthians 3:11 - For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Psalm 100:1-5 - Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.

It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. This stuck out this morning. 

My high school is having a 50th class reunion this year. I will not be attending. We were asked to write biographies about our years since high school. I was not fond of high school, was not a good student, insecure, unpopular, with just a few friends. I could dwell on what I think the reason(s) were but I won't. Most of my best friends were outside of school sharing in one common a marching and concert band comprised of kids from schools all around the area. 

So I wrote my biography. I wrote about what to me was an exciting life after high school. I thought I had accomplished more than I expected I would. I pushed myself to achieve, to "show" that I could do some things that would wow people. Maybe that happens more often than we know.

That was then; this is now. Old things pass away and new things occur. More than half way through life I had a greater reunion. I was reunited with the One who created me, the One who gave me my abilities. When the realization that He did this came, I was humbled. It's a humbling experience to know that we are not self-made people. It's not all about what we have accomplished but about praising the God who accomplished it in us...and who we are in Christ

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (‭Ephesians‬ ‭2‬:‭10‬)

My biography most certainly included that greatest achievement, the reunion with the God of all creation. How could I not? Yet it still was not I who accomplished this, but the God who wooed me, who accomplished His goal for me, and my stubborn heart which finally relented. I wrote that I know that I am secure in His hand and know He has a plan for me, even if I do t know what it is. It is He who has made me, not me myself. I'll say it yet again, it's all about God. This same God has made each one of us, not we ourselves. 

Everyone who is called by My name, whom I have created for My glory; I have formed him, yes, I have made him. (Isaiah‬ ‭43‬:‭7‬)

It's been interesting reading about people I sort of knew, who had the same insecurities as me, who I always believed had it "altogether." Some accomplished more than they could have anticipated--truly extraordinary things, in this world--some lived ordinary lives. A few had turbulent lives, and very sadly, one has yet to realize who she as an individual truly is. I have heard no one else, yet, say they have met their Redeemer. There are still some bios left unwritten. I'm hopeful. Yet it shows that the road is narrow and few are on it. 

We so long to pat ourselves on the back for our accomplishments when we should be thanking God for what He has done for us. But first that realization of who He is must occur. 

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

Thursday, June 11, 2015

They Ate and Were Filled

2Kings 4:44 - So he set it before them, and they ate, and had some left over, according to the word of the LORD. 

I was reading in 2Kings chapter 4 about various miracles Elisha the prophet did. There were five in this one chapter.

A woman knowing Elisha was a prophet was in debt and couldn't pay. He asked what she had in her house. Only a jar of oil. He told her to have her sons gather as many empty vessels as possible and bring them home. She was to fill those vessels with that one jar of oil...she then sold the oil and paid her debt. Sounds like turning water into wine.

Elisha occasionally visited the town of Shunem. A certain Shunammite woman lived there and offered him food when he came. She eventually suggested to her husband they prepare a room for him so he had a place to stay as well. Elisha wanted to repay her in some way. He found out she had no son and her husband was quite old. She did not offer this information and she did not ask for a son. He told her that in a year she would have a son. It happened as he had said. Reminds me of Mary. Or even her cousin Elizabeth. 

Years later her son died. Elisha was not in town. She laid the boy's body on Elisha's bed and went for him telling her husband it was well. She repeated this to Elisha's servant, that it was well. But Elisha knew something was wrong. She told him she had not asked for the son he gave her. He immediately went with her to her home where he prayed to the LORD and twice laid on him till his body became warm...he came alive. Reminds me of Lazarus. 

There was a famine yet he suggested others make a pot of stew out of vegetables in the field. They had some they did not recognize and the stew became poisoned. Elisha ordered flour be thrown in the pot; the stew became edible and the people were fed. (No remembrance here!)

A man then came bringing a certain amount of food. Elisha said to share it with the people but there were too many people and not enough food. He told his servant again to feed the people...and there would be food left over. Sounds like Jesus feeding the multitudes.

As I read the last part an incredible thought came to mind. There is nothing God can't do. He has done all these things and He does them even today. 

God can heal bodies. I've heard several stories of people returning to their doctors after getting a bad prognosis only to be found completely healed, as if nothing had happened. But there is another healing that is far greater than this. It can be looked at in a spiritual vein. 

Our debt has been paid through Christ's death on the cross. We may not have children, but when we come to Christ we have a multitude of them within the body of the church...and brothers and sisters...a family. While physical bodies may not be healed or raised from the dead, He supplies life through His Son Jesus. The truth of His Word does not put death in our pots. Even though there may be famines, we can be filled with the bread of life and living water that Jesus gives and be forever filled. There is always something left over for Him to give. A never ending supply of Christ, forgiveness, life. Receive what He has to offer. We serve an amazing God. Praise Him! 

Luke 9:17 - So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Your Word

Lord God, Your Word:

Is a lamp unto my feet. Psalm 119:105
A light to my path. Psalm 119:105
Was in the beginning. John 1:1
Tests us. Psalm 105:19
Is sown. Mark 4:14
Is remembered. Luke 24:8
Was (is) spoken by God. Exodus 20:1
Brings comfort. 1Thessalonians 4:18
Is to be praised. Psalm 56:10
Is life. John 8:51
Is pure. Psalm 119:140
Is truth. John 17:17
Is right. Psalm 33:4
Sanctifies. John 17:17
Is settled in heaven. Psalm 119:89
Pierces hearts and souls. Hebrews 4:12
Judges those who reject them. John 12:48
Can be near in mouth and heart. Romans 10:8
Endures forever. (Amen!) 1Peter 1:25
Was covenanted. 1Chronicles 16:15, Psalm 105:8
Instructs. Job 22:22
Is wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
Cleanses. Psalm 119:9
Revives, strengthens. Psalm 119:25,28
Brings life. Psalm 119:50
Brings hope. Psalm 119:81
Is sweet like honey. Psalm 119:103
Is righteous. Psalm 119:123
Is a great treasure. Psalm 119:162
Brings freedom. John 8:30
Brings faith. Romans 10:17
Sanctifies. Ephesians 5:26
Brings joy. Jeremiah 15:16
Brings prosperity (spiritual). Deuteronomy 29:9
Will not be altered. Psalm 89:34
Brings praise. Psalm 138:4
Is power. Psalm 147:18
Is a sword. Ephesians 6:17
Is proven. 2Samuel 22:31
Brings blessing. Luke 11:28
Became flesh. John 1:14
Is faithful. Titus 1:9

Is Gospel. 1Corinthians 1:18, Romans 1:16
Brings salvation. Ephesians 1:13
Will be preached throughout the world. Matthew 24:14

We praise You for Your Word, O God. All these attributes and more are the life of Your Word. May we seek them diligently. May we receive what we need from them. They have all we need. Thank You, Jesus, for becoming the flesh of Your Word that we might know You. In Your name, in Your Word, I pray. Amen. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Joint Heirs

Romans 8:16-18 - The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heir—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

To go along with yesterday's blog... This week this scripture was made painfully real.

A very dear friend was given the prognosis of cancer. I know we may never be fully prepared for this type of news. We just never know what the next day will hold. It not only affects her, her loving family, but friends who love her also. At the same time, we can know who holds us in His loving hands. We can be in prayer and supplication to God for her. He is a wonder working God. There are times, though, where words are hard to come by, but, man, tears are too easy. 

So you delve into His Word or the Holy Spirit brings to mind, like He so often will, scriptures of encouragement, comfort, peace...and sometimes hard facts. His truth is not always easy.

While we who have received Christ understand who we have become in Him, we don't usually dwell on the issues of hardships we will still encounter in this sinful world. We basically know it comes with the territory. We still live in this world. (I have to admit for just a second an anger rose up in me for the transgression way back in the garden, for which I swallowed hard and wondered if I needed to ask forgiveness...I did just in case.)

The scripture above tells the hard truth like it is...if Christ had to suffer, so will we. It might be persecution, rejection, sneering or scoffing for our beliefs...or a dreaded illness or personal trial, prison or heartache we endure. 

But look at His outcome! He is risen from the grave and glorified! If we are in Christ and holding to our faith and trusting in Him, we will also be raised up and glorified. Until then we believe He will stand by us. We trust in Him alone even if we do not sense His presence. He has told us He will never leave us or forsake us...if we are in Him.

We are told this life we live is only temporary. The average lifespan is about 80 years. Some more, some less. Some won't believe this: Where we go after we die is our choice. If we choose Christ we will live and reign with Him in glory. If we do not choose Him we suffer the rest of time in eternal destruction: ...those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power...(‭2Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭8-9‬)

Jesus Christ will receive anyone whose desire is for Him. He's not a tyrant and we are not His puppets. When we know Him we learn truth and that changes how we see Him and any errant thoughts we might have. We are not under some spell, rather free from the spell of lies of the world. Joint heirs of promise and temporary suffering. Thankful for His hand of mercy and grace.

John 10:29 - My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Longing and Belonging

Corinthians 3:23 - And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. 

Our God not only desires we belong to Him but He longs that we belong. 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)

Just as Christ is God's Son, when we receive Jesus we become adopted heirs in the inheritance, children of God. We are Christ's and because He is God's, so are we. It comes through Christ alone. His Son loved Him so much He gave His life for the forgiveness of our sins. When we come to repentance and receive Christ, we are forgiven. 

The story of Abraham has intrigued me for years since I realized the importance of his two sons. God covenanted with Abraham that his descendants would be too numerous to count, greater than the number of stars he could see. One problem, Sarah was beyond child bearing years. But God promised...!

They took the situation into their own hands, however, figuring they had missed something somewhere. They went ahead of God's timing and devised their own plan, that Sarah's handmaid would bear Abraham a son. But this son, Ishmael, was not to be the rightful heir in this proposed and covenanted line of descendants. Years later, after Sarah was over 100 years old, she conceived and bore Abraham another son, Isaac.

Isaac would be the rightful heir and in the line of the descendant of Christ, who would play such an important role in later history. Not Ishmael, although he was the descendant of another great nation. Sarah's hand maid was not of their heritage; she was Egyptian, a foreigner. There began a contention between the two brothers, perhaps more from Ishmael than Isaac. The descendants of Ishmael have held this contention toward Isaac's descendants ever we see in the news today between Islam and the Jews and Christians, nearly everyone. A description of Ishmael: He shall be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man’s hand against him...(‭Genesis‬ ‭16‬:‭12‬).

But we, Jew or Gentile, any race or color, who have received Jesus, who call themselves Christ followers, are part of that very covenant and promise of God to Abraham. We are grafted into the lineage through our faith in Jesus Christ. We receive Him, we are co-heirs. What a privilege. It still brings some contention with those who do not agree with our beliefs, but we can know and trust in God's covenant. And when we are Christ's, we are God's. That's good news. 

Galatians 3:27-29 - For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.