Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Have You Heard?

Colossians‬ ‭1:5-6 - ...because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel, which has come to you, as it has also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit, as it is also among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth...
Have you heard? The world is hearing. It has been hearing for 2,000 years. The same Gospel that Jesus shared about Himself continues to be shared. Somewhere along the way it has been twisted and distorted to mean other things, or disbelieved altogether for the hard truth it brings. Hard truth, but glorious truth. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. ‭‭(1Corinthians‬ ‭1:18‬ )

The true message of the Gospel has never changed. Perhaps the hard words of Jesus' message, although filled with hope for those who hear, caused some to soften the message, that they would not have to endure seared consciences.

The definition of Gospel is the glad tidings of salvation through Christ; the proclamation of the grace of God manifest and pledged in Christ. Glad tidings, grace of Jesus. See, it still has everything to do with Him. He did not mince His words. He told it like it is. Acknowledge sin, repent of those sins, trust in Christ to forgive those sins and follow Him that you may not fall back into the old life but have new life in and through Him. 

We cannot receive salvation through any other person or any other means. Any other way is a lie. It must be through Him. Without Him we are dead to our sins. He came to bring life. He brings the hope of heaven. He brings the absolute truth. All one needs to do is hear and listen and believe His Word. It's not about man's words but His. Read His Word. All we need to know is revealed within the pages. 

This truth of His Word, His Gospel, will continue till He returns. People will try to squelch it but He will not fail. This is a plan of the devil, to water down and dispute. But He will reach out till the last day in hopes that yet more would hear, believe and receive and not perish but have everlasting life. His grace extends to all people, all nations, all religions. He is the only way, truth and life. Do not believe there is any other way. 

John‬ ‭10:10‬ - The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Follow Me

Luke 9:23 - Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."

Again, from 2009! Thankful His Word never changes.

We each have changes that need to take place in our lives.  I need to rely on God more and less on myself, I was once reminded.  This is nothing new to me.  If we let go of our own strengths, God will pick up the slack in the times of our greatest weakness.  We have all He requires of us at any particular time. He has chosen each of us for a specific purpose and through our obedience He will work out that plan through us.

How is this done?  Part of it is through discipline, a word that can make us cringe.  Discipline can be negative when it means punishment, correction or restraint.  Yet it is also positive when it means to instruct or prepare.  The word "disciple" comes from the word discipline and I believe that to be positive--and we are called to be Jesus' disciples.

We have a good example to follow, that of Jesus Christ, who took up His cross daily and literally.  He took up His cross even before He physically took it upon the road to Golgotha.  He thought not of Himself but of all others first.  That's a disciple's discipline!  

Discipline starts inwardly through meditating or studying God's word, prayer and fasting.  Obedience is a discipline and that's all the Lord desires of us.  We should not doubt or question His will for us.  It means putting aside my desires and living the life that Jesus would want me to live.  When we allow Him to guide us, He will make those necessary changes and I believe we might not even recognize all of them right away.  Our lives should be one of instruction and preparation.  The discipline of punishment or correction will come if we choose to go our own direction.  Christ's discipline, however, is done out of love.

Remember Christ went before us in discipline.  He knows all about it.  When we received Him as our Savior, we were also crucified with Him on the cross.  We gave up our old, sinful nature so we could follow Him.  He will be there for us when we stumble, lift us up when we fall, comfort us when we are distressed and guide us when we lose our way.  Let us show our gratitude for His discipline through our own self-control.

Hebrews 12:11 - Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. 

Heavenly Father, let us be challenged today with discipline.  Let us develop good spiritual disciplines that lead to godliness and righteousness.  Turn us toward the road that leads to our own daily cross and give us the strength to pick it up as you picked up Yours.  Thank You, Lord, that You did not deny us the life that was intended for us.  Guide us in the ways that are right.  Speak to us that we might know what Your desires are for each of us and thank You they are not all the same.  Your ways are good and true and we cannot go wrong in following Your desires for our lives.  Lord, open our eyes to see where we need to change.  Take away the selfishness that can take over when we desire to do our own thing.  Convict us, Lord, when we have strayed.  In Jesus' name, Amen.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Let It Go

1John 2:5 - 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.

Hey, another post from nine years ago! God's Word is timeless.

Yesterday it was impressed upon me that there is nothing more important in this life than having a fear of the Lord. Nothing else in this world matters as much as that reverent fear. Our whole spiritual life and eternal life hinges on this fear. If we fear the Lord we will make a concerted effort to please God, obey his statutes and live according to His will.

A couple in our church gave a testimony on Sunday. Their house burned down Christmas Eve destroying everything. There was nothing left worth trying to restore. As devastating as that was they trusted the Lord. There were questions, of course.  Why? Why Christmas Eve? Despite the sorrow of having lost all their things they learned that it was just that--things. Their lives were not destroyed and God was still with them. What more could they need? Their house and their furnishings could be replaced and their lives would be restored. Their God had been alongside them. An amazing story and one which I cannot fathom.  Steve explained how he was awakened by the sound of tapping on their bedroom window--but no one was there. It was either sleet or God. Whichever, it allowed the entire family to escape destruction. They have been able to rebuild and restore--debt free. Anything they chose not to keep others would ask if they could buy. They gave the things away and the Lord provided for their needs.

So...I have fretted for about a day now at the loss of something that I have deemed important! And I'm sorry to say it's nothing like losing everything. I have misplaced or thrown out completely, a week's worth of slides from a bike trip I took in 1987. I can see some of the pictures in my mind. In the process of bemoaning the loss, I have come to have a sense of peace about it. I have kept telling myself they were just photos. I still have the memories--to the best of my recollection.  

I'm thankful the Lord works in us to teach us and show us what truly is important. When we get the idea, the reality, the fact that the Lord of all the earth is the most important object (for lack of better word) of our affection, the better off we are. We will have obtained the most precious bit of wisdom. He created us for His pleasure, not that we should put all our emphasis on the pleasure of the things of the world that have very little meaning. I'm not saying we shouldn't look back and be grateful for the experiences of life that He has given us. Oh no! They are part of our growth and makeup. But it's today that counts. The loss of those photos have not crippled me. What's more important is what I am doing for Him today.

I'm still in a process of learning. I will always be there. I praise God that little by little He is showing me what truly IS important. I'm thankful that as I continue to seek Him above all things, He will instill more and more godliness into my spirit, that the world's pleasures would matter very little.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  ...godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.  (Matthew 6:33, 1Timothy 4:8)

Father God, there is nothing in the world as great and as important as You. I praise you for the lessons of life I have learned and how You have steered me to where I am despite my wrong turns, doubts and wanderings. Lord, I ask that you take hold of my hand and my heart yet again today and in the days ahead and continue to show me what is important. My greatest desire now is to sit at Your feet and learn obedience and Your desires for my life. In Your name I pray.  Amen.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Dying to Self

Luke‬ ‭9:23‬ ‭ - Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
I visited a friend yesterday. I'd not seen her in months due to illness. I was so thrilled and blessed to see her and so thankful she's feeling better, knowing each day will bring more improvement.

As we shared what's been going on, she mentioned how she has had to go through a whole summer of dying to self as mentioned in the verse above. It's something we all need to experience. For some it comes on a daily basis, others not so much. I think as long as things go well in a person's life it can be harder to do this. That probably was an admission that I may not be doing such a good job of that myself. Sometimes a difficult trial will cause more self-denial. 

Dying to self is something we have to work at, and that is through obedience to God's will. We need His help and guidance. We cannot do it on our own. In fact, we need God all the time! This is a life-long process for sure. Let's face it, we are all so me-oriented. Get thrown into a situation, a life trial, where what we have always been able to do or be is suddenly squelched, we learn...humility, dependence (preferably on the Lord, although here on earth, also friends and family) and...ugh, denial of self. 

Jesus gave up His life; He so thoroughly denied all of Himself for us. He gave His life. That is what we are called to do. How well do we do this? Are we willing to give up some of our precious time for someone else? We have to search our heart's motive, however. Are we willing to give up that precious time when we would rather be doing something else? Or will we do it when it's convenient?  How selfish are we? How much are we willing to do for or give to someone else? Jesus gave it all. We are called to do the same. 

Sometimes dying to self, dying to our plans for a morning, a day, a week or a season, is how we learn more about our God and His sacrifice for us. It just don't come easy! A rebellious bunch we are. How God can love us still amazes me. 

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. (‭John‬ ‭12:24‬)  I like another version which says: ...but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Jesus also said this: Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John‬ ‭15:2‬)  What happens to those branches that are pruned? They are thrown into a fire to be burned (John 15:6). They are so not useful...

My friend will have a lot of fruit after all this. Difficulties definitely cause one to think...about what's important, what was all vanity, a grasping for the wind...and most importantly for someone in Christ, how to draw closer to Him, to rely on His strength, comfort and peace.

It goes hand in hand...this dying to self, pruning and bearing fruit. When we come to Christ, it is a requirement. The old man dies so the new man may live. Quite often the old man lingers and that's where the pruning comes in. Snip, goes more pride. Snip, snip...there goes self reliance. Snip, snip...that fear must go. Snip, snip...self, self, self and selfishness must cease. The more that's pruned the more like Christ we become. 

And that is what He wants. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son... (Romans‬ ‭8:29‬)  But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬)

He laid down His life for us so, as we die to self, we are to lay down that selfish life for others (1John 3:16). Part of that includes sharing this Gospel, even when some don't want to hear. It's desiring that others get this thing of relationship with Christ. Without it we are nothing, dead in our sins, lost, blind, without understanding, without truth, without hope, without certainty. We die to selves and take the offense by being outspoken for the Lord. 

He came for shepherds and kings, the poor and rich. We all need a Savior whether we believe it or not. We all have needs. The person who has little needs more of Christ. The person who has more, even much, may need much more of Christ. One who has little is 
grateful for a little more. One who has much has a lot more to lose. But Christ knows the needs and saves all if they respond.

I have a long way to go. Get out those pruning shears, Lord

Ephesians‬ ‭4:22,24‬ - ...that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts...and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Revelation of Jesus Christ

Revelation‬ ‭1:1-3‬ - The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
I am beginning a formal, 32-week study on the Book of Revelation. I'm sure I will share bits and pieces as we move along. You can bet 32 weeks will be detailed and in-depth...and fully Bible oriented; no extra-curricular books necessary! 

What was pointed out in this week's lecture and the lesson from last week, and I promise not to go through all our lessons, was how Bible prophecy has set the stage for this book. If you notice the scripture above, you'll see what the book shows itself to be. 

I have always said it's all about God. No church, no religion, no works can get us eternal life. Only God can do this. It was done 2,000 years ago through His Son Jesus Christ. No other man can do this for us. It is our decision to choose Christ. It is about our seeking God...directly. 1Timothy‬ ‭2:5 tells it like it is: For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus...  No one else. The entire Bible points us to Him. The prophecies point to His first...and second...coming. 

During the lecture portion of last week's and today's study we were told that the Book of Revelation has yet to happened. Through prophecies there is eventual evidence of what has happened. Those fulfilled prophecies give us assurance that what God has revealed to us through God-appointed prophets, have and will happen. So, we can trust that what Revelation says will also occur. We can be certain of it. Certain. It's all about the truth of God's Word from Genesis to Revelation. Amen! 

The word revelation means: something to be revealed, something coming or appearing; a disclosure of truth, concerning things before unknown, manifestation. The revelation of Jesus Christ mentioned above means it is His prophetic word given to the Apostle John about the things to come. It might also mean, based on the definitions, the revealing, the manifestation of Himself when He returns again...the truth that has been doubted by some. 

So, as we see an unsettled world, if we believe, know and trust Jesus and all He has told us, we need not fear the future. There will be some difficult times. But, again, if we know Jesus as Lord and Savior, we have the assurance He has our backs. He will provide the strength and all other things we need to get through. We do not need to have a timeline, we just need to have faith...and go forth and preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It's all about that bottom line...Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came to be the light in a very dark world, to seek and save the lost through His very own Gospel of repentance for sin, to show us what truth is, give us eternal life, and in the end to judge all people in total righteousness. He became that Mediator on that cross and opened the way to the only Father in heaven when the veil was torn in the temple at the time of His death. 

Revelation points to Christ too. He was in the beginning, is now and will be in the future. He has never changed and never lied while the world seems to be. If we can grasp the importance of knowing Him, we will be in very good hands.

Not to spoil the end of the book, but to be an encouragement:

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.

Seek God

Matthew 6:33 - But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

Another blog from 2009! 

Seek God.  These words came over and over not long ago when I first decided I needed to more actively seek God through more avidly reading His Word and listening to Him speak...sitting at His feet.  The words came through sermons, reading and a Bible study I was doing.  It was something our church was doing at the beginning of the year, seeking God for our lives, our families, our relationship with the Lord and for our nation.  It made so much sense when I'd put all the various thoughts together.  It was time.

In a Bible study we discussed something which is not new, that the whole reason God created us was to fellowship with us.  I got to thinking, somewhere along the way over hundreds of years we have forgotten this.  We've gone our own way and left the most important part of our life out.  I was reading a book last night before going to bed about how our nation has done the same thing.  We're slowly taking the most important Person out of the very life of this country.  Or should I say the very life of this country is being sucked out because we are attempting to remove all semblance of a Divine Creator?

In his book What in the World is Going On? David Jeremiah makes a reference to something George Washington had said:  "It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible."  There were other quotes by other presidents saying pretty much the same thing.  And then  David Jeremiah wrote:  "...when America turns from its position of being under God, we can no longer expect His blessings on this nation to continue."  

I wasn't planning on going in this direction!  But I just did.  It seems it fits both situations--personally and as a nation.  My original thoughts were that I cannot take for granted my salvation.  It is a gift from God.  He called me.  I did not search for Him.  I thought the knowledge I had of Him was all I needed.  He tugged until I responded.  He justified me in His eyes.  He blessed me with this gift of salvation.  But it's up to me to actively seek Him now.

How does this fit with our nation?  I believe God gave us this country.  It was His gift to us.  It provided us the freedom we desired (salvation) to worship Him, just like the Israelites and the exodus from captivity in Egypt.  So we should not be taking it for granted.  Now it seems like a melting pot of disasters.  As long as we seek Him for this nation, we will be blessed.  That blessing may be dwindling.  If as a nation we change our attitudes and return to seeking Him He will bless us accordingly.  However, we are living in troubling times.  Our nation faces an unknown future.  As Christians we are not to worry about anything, not about our lives and what we will eat, drink, our bodies, or clothing.  God takes care of all things and aren't we more important than all things?  We shouldn't worry about what may transpire.  If I seek God first...if we seek God first...He will provide all our needs.  I am worried about those who do not know the Lord and do not have that provision for their lives.

I thank God that He never gives up.  I thank Him that He gets into a season of our 
lives and relentlessly taps our shoulders to get our attention.  He speaks so we will listen and capture our hearts. Seek God for our own lives and for this nation.  He will provide the answers, the encouragement, the understanding and the wisdom.  

Matthew 6:30-32 - Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?' or "What shall we drink?' or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 

Lord God,  I sometimes think I sound like a broken record.  I still am thinking about and thanking You for never giving up on us.  I thank You that all You ask is that we seek You first...first in the morning, first in our time of need, grief or trouble.  And then when our needs are met it is important that we thank You.  You know our needs.  You know the desires of our hearts.  You know the beginning from the end of any situation and we just need to trust You with all things in our lives.  If we are not to worry about our needs for every day,  why should we even worry about those things we would like to see happen in the world, our nation, our families, and our lives.  As long as we seek You, You will provide.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

God Created

...God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 

The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. 
...He is not partial to princes, nor does He regard the rich more than the poor; for they are all the work of His hands. 
‭And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. 

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you..." 

...You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. 

Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity... 
Your hands have made me and fashioned me...
Did not He who made me in the womb make [others]? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb? Him we live and move and have our being...For we are also His offspring.

O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, but behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. 

Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!
... Bless the LORD, O my soul!
(Genesis‬ ‭1:27‬, Psalm ‭33:13-15‬, Job 34:19, Hebrews‬ ‭4:13, Jeremiah‬ ‭1:5, Psalm‬ ‭139:13-16‬, Job‬ ‭10:8, Psalm 119:73, Job‬ ‭31:15, Acts‬ ‭17:28, Psalm ‭139:1-4‬, Psalm 103:1,22)

Before the beginning of time. Before all things we know. God's heart was set on us. He knew all about us. He knew our names. He was an integral part of our creation...way.back.then. He thought of the day when His Word would be revealed to us. He knew what our choice would be. He knew our hearts, our souls, our thoughts. Sometimes He rejoiced. Sometimes He did not. He knew. He knows. Before the beginning of time. He made us in His image. How great is that? How great a salvation He has offered us? How can we not choose His offer? 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Mind of Christ

Psalm 19:14 - Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. 

I found this today. It was written six years ago. It so spoke to me today. In fact, glancing at some of the other drafted posts around that time, I need to look them over again...and share. There is a very real pattern emerging. Our God is a good God. He is gracious to those who seek Him. I did not change anything here...

The Lord every so often speaks to me about my thoughts. I guess I have always struggled with them.  I know we are always thinking.  I sometimes wonder, though, if we're even aware of some of the thoughts while we're thinking them?  You can't eliminate thinking; it's a part of our life.  Perhaps we all need to take a look at just what our thoughts consist of.  

Today we can fall into dismay at all that's happening in our country, even the world, if we allow ourselves.  Our thoughts can so easily shift to worry and anxiety.  It may be time to concentrate on those things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of good report (Philippians 4:8).  Our thoughts should be of what lies beyond the trials of life.  Wouldn't it be better for us to have delightful thoughts of the Lord in the midst of the everyday rumblings, annoyances and in the dailiness of life?

Our minds are battlefields.  The enemy wants to control them.  Those pure and wonderful thoughts can put a good wedge between us and this enemy if we would hold on to those words of delight instead of displeasure and/or criticism.  We are told that what we speak originates in our heart.  I would much rather have a good word for someone than an unkind one.  I'm certainly not saying I haven't had an unkind word...that's probably why God nudges me every day. Imagine how joyful one would be if thoughts were only of good things.  Wow!  We might have less frown lines!  Proverbs 16:24 says pleasant words are health to the bones.  Why is this so hard to understand?  There might even be less arthritis!

We need to keep the mind of Christ, which we have been given as believers.  What thoughts would He have?  We are to be of one mind, compassionate, loving and courteous (1Peter 3:8).  I don't score high in each of these areas, but I praise God that He's not finished with me.  I would desire the meditation of my heart and the words of my mouth be acceptable and upright.  What a challenge this is as imperfect, fleshly beings.  If we remain focused on Him--sit at His feet and learn--we will begin to see through His eyes and know, even think, His thoughts.

Philippians 3:12 - Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...

Lord, strengthen us each day.  Enable us to keep our eyes on You that our thoughts would remain pure. Help us to let go of the negative and think in the positive.  If our minds are stayed on You, imagine the possibilities!  Imagine the healing that would take place not only in ourselves but in those who surround us each day...spiritually and emotionally, maybe even physically.  Let us be reminded that we do have Your mind. Thank you, Lord, for loving us in the midst of our fleshliness.  Draw our thoughts nearer to You each day.  

Sitting at Your feet, I pray in Your name, Jesus.  Amen.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Yearning for God in the Midst of Distress

Psalm 43:5 - Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 42:5,11 - Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.

Three times the writer called out to the LORD. That truly is yearning for God. While it is not absolutely known who wrote these two psalms, it is supposed to be more of David's. The title in my Bible for Psalm 43 is Yearning for God in the Midst of Distress

I've noticed lately my blogs have taken on a heavier note. I had mentioned this to someone I hardly even knew the other day. Being a fellow believer she confirmed my innermost thought that, despite distress, we have this hope referred to in these three scriptures. 

I go through times of distress like anyone else and I believe I just came out of one of those times. It was a type of oppression in my spirit which I wonder manifested itself in physical ailments. It's at times like this that we are to look to God and rely on Him to get us through. He is so there for us. He stands constantly at the door of our hearts, knocking, wanting us to open the door for Him. I finally called out to Him and I believe He heard. All that is gone. 

I've mentioned this previously: There is an old picture of Jesus standing at a door and knocking. If you Google that description you will see images of Him standing at a door...without a door knob on His side! (I have seen some with knobs. I wonder if the artist might have missed the spiritual significance of the scripture.) He will not enter in unless we invite Him. But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 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. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭10:8-9)

The word is near us...the Word who is Jesus is near us always, waiting for the next person to call on His name for deliverance. I'm so glad I responded to His call. I rejected Him big time long ago. It's hard to believe I have changed my stance and how grateful I am. 

There are distressing days occurring. Many don't understand what's happening but they sense it. I'm believing it's during these times some will seek God. There will always be those who will not because they think what we see is just another hiccup in life. Time will tell.

King David knew of distress. He had sinned against God yet God still looked at him as a man after His own heart. If He will do that for him, He will do that for anyone else. When we call on the name of the Lord, He saves us. In the King James Version of these psalms it reads: ...for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Health is defined as: salvation, deliverance, victory.

We have victory in Jesus, as the old hymn goes. He can be our salvation forever. He has gone through the agony of seeking and buying us through His blood shed on the cross, all which He did voluntarily, without complaint, because he loves us with an everlasting love. He is our Deliverer. So I will praise His name forever. My hope is in Him.

If anyone's heart is distressed, for any reason, He is a better choice than alcohol, drugs, psychiatrists, even taking one's own life, to ease the pain. If a person's heart is truly desiring a change, Jesus is the answer.

Psalm 18:2, 19:14 - The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Daniel‬ ‭1:3-4 - Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.
The King of Babylon invaded the land of Judah. God allowed this. They had turned away from God. As you can see, this king only wanted unblemished, good looking, gifted, knowledgable people to learn of their ways.

Hmmmm, sounds familiar. Good figure, no handicaps or unusual features. Beauty is of utmost importance. Talented individuals are looked up to, idolized, like sports figures, musicians, artists. Those with higher IQs, having knowledge in science or philosophy are looked up to also. So gifted. And if we're not? Then what? Where does it place us?

What does God look for? 

But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1Samuel‬ ‭16:7)
"For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist," says the LORD. "But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word." ‭(Isaiah‬ ‭66:2‬)

Add to these those characteristics listed in the Beatitudes: poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, persecuted for righteousness' sake. I am reminded of the scripture which says that God uses the foolish things to confound the wise. 

David was a boy who slew a giant with no more than a sling and a stone. God pared down Gideon's large army to 300 to gain victory over an enemy's army of thousands. Many mocked Noah for building this huge ark for the rain they had never known before and his small family were all that was left of a corrupt world to repopulate. It's all to prove the power of this amazing God. Nothing is impossible with Him. Imperfect men and women became His disciples and followers. He ate with sinners. He changed their lives!

God doesn't need perfection. He needs a person willing to empty himself and learn the things of God. He will perfect us imperfect beings as much as we will allow. That perfection only comes through Jesus Christ. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Colossians‬ ‭1:28‬If we feel we need to do for God's approval, we are wrong. He wants submission. But this submission is not the way the world thinks of it; it lifts us up to a godly standard, not an earthly one.

We have an amazing God who so wants the best for us. But His ways and His blessings aren't always in ways we think they should. He knows best what each of us needs. Sometimes what we think we want might be the very thing that would hinder our knowing Him more deeply. Lean on His understanding. Trust Him. He's working to perfect us if we have received Him as Lord and Savior.

Hebrews 10:12,14 - But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God... For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

Monday, September 14, 2015


Jude 1:9 - Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 

There are some people who go about fighting battles with the devil. I admit I was guilty of this because I'd heard it done and assumed since it came from another Christian it was okay. I looked up to the people who did this. If Michael the Archangel didn't attempt it, what makes anyone think they can?

We are to put all our trust in the Lord to do our battle, not believe we are like God and can do it ourselves. Who says I have more influence? Trust in Him. I should not lean on my own understanding. Why would anyone want to fight the enemy alone anyway? We call on His authority. He'll get the job done in the proper way.

There are scriptures that tell us the battle is the LORD's. And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the LORD to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s." (2Chronicles 20:15)  We all fight battles, though not always physical ones, even as Christians. We are not to fear. He's got our backs, providing we do trust in Him.

And: ...he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! ...” (‭Zechariah‬ ‭3:1-2)

What battles do we have that seem undaunting? Instead of even hauling the enemy into the picture why not just call on the name of the Lord for the matter? Instead of shouting at the devil for "whatever," why not ask the Lord to provide what you need to get through or ask Him to do His will in the circumstance? 

Let's stop giving so much credit to the devil. We know Who will win in the end. Why acknowledge a loser!?

So rebuking the enemy, the devil...we earnestly call on Jesus to do it. Let the Lord rebuke him. For I will not trust in my bow, nor shall my sword save me. But You have saved us from our enemies, and have put to shame those who hated us.” ‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭44:6-7)

Get out of His way so He can do battle. As long as we stand in the way He cannot do it. We are called to trust in the Lord our God. We are to call on Him when we are in need. The battle is His if we are His children.

Psalms‬ ‭34:6-9 - This poor man cried out, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them. Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the LORD, you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Nothing New Under the Sun

Matthew 11:14-17 - And if you are willing to receive it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: "We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we mourned to you, and you did not lament."

As seen in the Book of Ecclesiastes (again!), nothing changes. What was done in the past plays out still today. Nothing new under the sun

Jesus spoke above of John the Baptist, the one who ushered Him into His ministry. The one who was the voice calling in the wilderness to all who would listen to repent and turn to Him. Jesus had been prophesied about in the religious leaders' Tanakh, our Old Testament, that they should have recognized but refused to. This Messiah, Jesus, did not look like what they had expected, He turned their beliefs upside down, so they chose not hear His words. 

Elijah was an Old Testament prophet who stood fast in his beliefs of God and performed miracles, much like Jesus did. It is said he will return again before Jesus returns as a witness to Him. Perhaps through him many people, Jews and Gentiles, will finally believe. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse. (Malachi‬ ‭4:5-6)

Jesus is pleading above for those who have ears, to hear. He is talking to the religious leaders of His day. That pleading continues through Jesus' followers to all people. Hear the words of Jesus. Listen and learn. Know what He has come for, for whom and the results of not receiving Him.

Interestingly, there are chapters and verses not read in daily readings in synagogues by the religious leaders because they are prophesied words of Jesus and if they read them they might have to confront them and admit they had been wrong about Who the verses speak about. Isaiah 53 does this (as do various other Old Testament scriptures). If you are interested, watch this video. I just saw it. It is a Jewish believer witnessing to Jewish people. Very powerful.  

Funny how Jesus even suggested that His generation was filled with people so not willing to hear. Things do not change. Nothing new under the sun! To many Jesus is a myth, as is God. To others Jesus was no more than a good man, a prophet and teacher but somehow they overlooked His miracles and believed His resurrection false. Oh, the things we can believe if we are so determined. That goes for believers and unbelievers! 

Jesus spoke, admonished, showed signs and some still did not respond. Some came up with reasons for not following, many of which were just misconceived ideas. The truth was not received, facts twisted. How many thousands of years later and nothing has changed. 

Lord, let those ears hear. Let all the words You have spoken for our benefit be understood and received. Let the people grasp Who You are and what You have done for all people and what happens if we reject You. You forgive us of our sins, bring us hope and eternal life. Who wouldn't want that, especially in these days? Open the ears and eyes of Jews, atheists, people who just don't care and even believers, that there would be a greater measure of understanding, a desire for a closer walk with You. 

There is nothing new under the sun. Some people believed, some rejected, some lost interest. Same today. But as I said in a previous blog, there is always something new under the Son. Newness of life, spiritual healing, understanding, joy, comfort, peace. Let us hear Him. He does have the words of life. 

John 6:66-69 - From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” And Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Matthew 11:4-6 - Jesus answered and said to them, "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 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." 

I was all of those things once. I can pretty much guess most are like this before encountering Christ.

I was once blind to the truth of God's Word. I couldn't see or understand it spiritually. I was lame because I could not walk in this same truth; I couldn't follow Jesus. Couldn't really should be wouldn't.

I was as diseased at the poor leper but have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. I was deaf, totally, to any words having to do with Christ. 
I walked like Lazarus in grave cloths because I was dead in my sin but today 
am alive in Christ. I had all I needed, so I thought then...yet I was poor in spirit till the Word became real to me.

 It is a blessing that Jesus is no longer an offense to me, as He once had been.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O God. (Psalm 19:14)

Psalm 51:15 - O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth Your praise.