Friday, October 30, 2015


Revelation‬ ‭3:7-8‬ - And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, These things says He who is holy, He who is true, He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens: "I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name."

Oh my. This study on Revelation weekly boosts my faith. In the beginning we were told not so much to focus on some of the details. There are differing opinions and some things we just don't need to know, or ever will in this lifetime. We were reminded to not fear and just stay focused on the Lord Jesus matter what. It's always about staying focused on Him and trusting Him. After 32 weeks of this sort of admonishment, we had all better get it! 

While we might say we have faith, it may not always seem that strong. However, Jesus says ...for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ‭‭(Matthew‬ ‭17:20‬) That is a little faith! And that fits right in with having little strength...of our own...why we need Jesus.

What struck me about this particular lesson and comes to mind now and then is the reward for our faithfulness to individuals and the Church. There are many people who cannot tolerate what believers stand for. It's becoming more evident and will not tone itself down. God is looking for people and churches who will not back down because of those who persecute. There is a name for them...the remnant. They are those who hold on no matter what. Those who will not compromise with society's views on any issue that God does not approve of. 

Those individuals and churches are deemed intolerant, not with the times. I'm just throwing this out there: the intolerance is not ours but theirs. They balk at knowing the truth, like I did for a very long time as I developed a feminist, no doubt even liberal, attitude. God can change any person. Even conservatives can have wrong beliefs...

This is what God says to those people and churches who stand wholly on His Word, His truth: I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it. Because we stand for Him and His Word, God honors our work. Nothing will get in the way as long as we take a stand. When we are sharing God, His Son Jesus, His Word, in any way, shape or form, and it is true, we are in His will and He will not close doors. 

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah‬ ‭55:11‬)  I love that. When we quote scripture, put it out in the atmosphere, on paper, on the web, God can miraculously use it. His words will not return void. Gill's Commentary on not returning void says this: it shall not return to me void; it is accompanied with a divine energy; it is the power of God to salvation: but it shall accomplish that which I please; in the conversion of sinners, and comfort of saints... In other words, what He says, will happen. When He opens a door, it cannot be shut. We don't need our own strength. We only need His, through His Word. 

One day unbelievers' words will convict them before a holy God if they do not change their attitude, turn from their beliefs and hear the words of truth. It's never too late. All He wants for us to do is be obedient to His Word. That means believing it, acting on it, sharing it, living it. If we compromise with the world we're toast! If we cling to His commands we will be called the good and faithful servants.

I know some think serving God is a sign of weakness. But Jesus says in our weakness He is 
made strong. As long as we hold on to our strength, He cannot accomplish those things He wants for us. I need to realize this in greater measure myself. 

Lord, I am so thankful Your words carry so much truth, strength, wisdom. I don't need to rely on my own! I pray You will, over the next few months, open my mind's eye to even richer truths and greater faith for the days ahead. Thank You for never giving up on those who earnestly seek You, even if we don't always get it! 

When we have opened the door of our hearts to receive Him, He opens and closes doors in our lives by His authority alone. And He has shown us that once we are situated as His, have become overcomers in this goofy world of upside down thinking, standing on His Word alone, not others', He allows yet another glorious door to be closed, like the door of the Ark which was closed on a rebellious world back in Noah's day. Think about it. Noah was scoffed for 100 years as he built the Ark. But who was saved from the flood that ensued?? 

The door He closes is to our eternal kingdom, safety, in and through Christ. Once we have been brought in through that door, which IS Jesus Christ, that door shuts and He won't let us out. Who cares what the world thinks when you can have the God of this universe at your side? He offers us so much more. 

Revelation‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭- He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I Am Rich

Revelation 3:17-19 - Because you say, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing"—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

This is a very hard word from Jesus. From Jesus! If we claim to know Him, love Him, obey Him, but believe what He first says above, we are not of God. 

When the things we have, the money we have accumulated, the things we endlessly want more than need, become prominent in our lives, we do not know what being truly rich is. If we are self-sufficient, I need of nothing else, we lie to ourselves.

Jesus doesn't talk about material wealth. His whole point is spiritual wealth, health and blessings (happiness that only comes from Him). We might be blessed with material things but are they as important to us than He is? He is the pure gold, He offers us the opportunity to be clothed in white robes...of righteousness!

Jesus says those who do not fully know HIM are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked...because they do not have Him. He is not First and Last in those lives. He gives so much more than what the world offers. What He gives does not rust or crumble or get burned in fire. What He gives is like refined gold. And He offers it for free just by knowing most intimately Himself. We do not have to work for it, like we do through a livelihood. It's a gift! All we have to do is receive that gift into our hearts and lives. Jesus opens blind eyes, causes deaf to hear and He heals us spiritually. We are able to taste and see that He is good. He is our all in all. And when we recognize this we become thankful for what He has given us. We also, through this recognition, become obedient to Him because our faith has become stronger that He will supply all our needs.

We can have more of the world's riches than we know what to do with but have absolutely nothing in God's kingdom. We may think we've succeeded, we have it all in our lives, have climbed that ladder, but without God we are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. We can give till we're blue in the face but without God first in our lives it means nothing eternally. 

It's true what they say about not being able to "take anything with you" when we die. We do come naked into this world and we will leave the same way. From cradle to grave, God is in control. If we meet Jesus along our life's journey and take Him as our Savior, we will feel rich even with nothing. If we recognize Him and go with His flow we are in good hands. If we choose our own direction we will have lost everything upon death. 

There's a hymn most people know, Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus. The refrain goes like this:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Jesus loves us. As a parent loves and disciplines a child, so does He. It may hurt, like sometimes the truth of His Word hurts, but the discipline is for our good. There was a time I paid no attention to the things of God. They weren't even the slightest thought. But when He began piercing my heart, soul and conscience, I couldn't just push Him aside. I fought Him 
at first. Sometimes that's what we do. But He is persistent. And one day He totally caught my attention and I couldn't walk away. 

Then, we must die in order to live. Jesus did. He is our example. We die to our own beliefs about life, societal matters, right and wrong. Am I perfect? No. He continues to discipline and it's for our own good. But He has been showing me more and more that it is not about all the things we have but who He is. I'm not done. And He's still at work. How I will praise Him for that! 

Philippians‬ ‭3:7-9 - But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which
 is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

One Ultimate Sacrifice

 Galatians‬ ‭4:4-5 - But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.
‭‭‬ ‭
I spent a wonderful few days with an even more wonderful bunch 'o ladies at The Church in Wisconsin annual retreat. Subject matter: Jesus...the betrothal, the bride and the Groom. Everything so wonderfully pointed and points to the love He has for us, His plan for each of us in the here and now, and His grand plan upon His return. 

But while everything started in Genesis and ends in Revelation, there was an event about 3/4 of the way through (at least Bible-pages-wise!) that is as important as every other page in the Word of God. 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ = One ultimate Sacrifice, not our works. 

In order to understand and be part of the betrothal, be a ready bride waiting for a very ready Groom, one has to know this Man, our Beloved, our one day Groom. That requires a longing for, seeking of and commitment to this Man who is wanting us desperately to be in relationship with Him. This is spiritually for men and women!

I don't know if this comes together properly but it seems to. Because it's all about our need for a Savior because of our sinfulness. He came to die for us for this reason. He will come again to receive those who have chosen to follow Him permanently. We have to know, though, that we are sinful creatures. We need to know Him. We need to know truth. We need to seek Him, receive Him and follow Him. So....

The law (Old Testament) was given that we might recognize our sinful natures and the impossibility to keep those laws exactly and permanently. All the sacrifices that needed to be repeatedly done never saved them because man could NOT keep the laws. No works could save them. 

Jesus came to fulfill that law (New Testament) in that only He perfectly kept every a Man, not as God...a hard thing to wrap our heads around. Through Him alone we can be set free from our sin. But we must put Him on, as a robe, and take Him in as the Living Water and Bread of Life. His perfect righteousness becomes ours. We put Him on, we put on that white robe of righteousness. We cannot wear our own robes; they must be His. We take Him in by seeking Him through His Word and in prayer, hearing His voice, fellowshipping with like-minded people.

Just like there was a fulfilled time then, that He would come to save us, there will come another fulfilled time when He returns again for those who have received Him, are now saved and have on that robe of righteousness. His children, His people, His bride! Clothed in white! Waiting for the Groom, and the marriage supper of the Lamb, to partake in the glorious feast at His second coming, at the fullness of another time. Hallelujah!

Our sermon this morning added another segment to this...perfection. Jesus was perfect. We receive Him and we are made perfect. It is not an arrogant statement my calling myself perfect because it is He, through my having submitted and receiving Him as Lord and Savior, has done the work. HE HAS DONE THE WORK. He was the ultimate Sacrifice. I did nothing but receive! No good works because I have nothing great to give Him. 

How I thank the Lord for His grace and mercy for all people who desire Him. He WILL NOT fail. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can wash our sins away. We can offer nothing. Who else would ever or could ever do that?

A day will soon come when another fullness of time will come. Jesus says He will return, quickly. Now, His timing is not like ours. What 2,000 years seems like to us may be as 2 days. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2Peter‬ ‭3:8)‬ ‭He has promised to return! Times are looking as prophesied. All the evil, wrong thinking and corrupt beliefs will be judged by an Almighty God. I think I will choose to be on His side and avoid the very final judgment. I think I will follow what His Word says about the wrongs taking place in today's lax society. I want to stand on His truth over man's interpretation.

I want to be absolutely ready for His return. I want my mind stayed on Him and not the inconsequential things in this world. I want to watch for His return till either He comes or He takes me away! I want to be the bride adorned in a pure white gown. I want to see that everlasting mansion in the sky. This earthly home is comfortable but won't compare to my heavenly home. All thanks, glory and honor be to my God.

Luke‬ ‭12:35-37,40‬ ‭- Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Only Requirement for Salvation

Galatians 3:5 - Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

I have been bombarded by this works thing. Scripture after scripture tells us we cannot work for our salvation. I heard that faith is mentioned about 200 times in just the New Testament as the only condition required for salvation. We cannot work or buy our way, or others', to heaven. Salvation comes in believing and having faith in Jesus Christ. It's an individual, personal choice. Only in Jesus, the only way, truth and life. And that comes first by hearing.

No amount of sacrificing, keeping the Commandments, being active in a church or baptized (as a baby), without first the faith after hearing the Gospel, will save us. We can never be good enough for God's holiness. That is why we need His perfect Son as our Savior. Listen to what Jesus said: This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent. (John‬ ‭6:29)

Also in this chapter of Galatians the Apostle Paul cites Abraham, who by faith ...obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country... (Hebrews 11:8-9)  There are many people of faith listed in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews...Abel, Noah, Sarah, Moses, David, Samson, just to name some of the more recognizable individuals. They trusted God. They weren't all perfect people, but they had faith that God would do, supply, encourage, save.

Look at salvation this way, God calls us to go out to a place He has chosen for us. 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 ‭‭(Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11). We know in part but not know fully where we will go. We do know the ultimate end is heaven if we heed His call but we can only trust God in our earthly journey. We do know this, that we will suffer, maybe persecution, rejection or death for our faith, but God also tells us that these trials produce perseverance (Romans 5:3) and if we endure to the end, the end will be glorious. Jesus died for us, after all. He knew suffering and He is able to strengthen us while we are in the midst of it.

So why faith and not works? Because it so totally glorifies God. If we could do anything for Him doesn't that put us right up there as trying to be like God?? Not good. He is glorified in how He changes us, not what we think we can accomplish which puts the glory on us. That's not good either. We must trust in Jesus' death to save us. We must give of ourselves to Him, admit our own, make that sins...and rely on what He did for us, trust Him. Have this faith in One we do not see but have heard about. It has nothing...nada, zero, do with anything we think we are capable of doing.

Works play an important part once we have received Christ. We are told faith without works is dead (James 2:17). But faith comes firstSo then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans‬ ‭10:17‬). Almost everyone has heard the Gospel. If anyone has read any of these blogs, they have heard the Gospel. If one has responded, they've done so in faith. If not...they may not have that faith or they may believe their works will save them, or they just don't care. We cannot do enough good in this world (because no one is good enough...not one person. Romans 3:10)

The opening scripture says that the Spirit of God is what gives us faith...which comes by hearing and this Spirit does the work in us to have faith. We must receive Christ without works but in pure trust and faith that what He says, what He represents and believing that He alone died for our salvation.

Everyone knows that good works are, well, good. If our works come before Christ, they do little to please God, but do a lot to please man, to give man credit. But faith in God followed by works, doing for the Lord after receiving Him, is pleasing in His sight. It glorifies Him. How? Because we have been saved by faith in Him, not by the works which are as filthy rags to God. Here we have a truth about our goodness and our attempt at good works...a two-for-one truth! But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags...(Isaiah‬ ‭64:6‬) Hey, this isn't me...this is God! 

People, to truly know God we must let go of our preconceived, worldly ideas of what God wants, what He looks for. He comes to us in our fallen state out of a pure love for the sick sinner. He wants to change us that we might be righteous through His Son. It's the only way. He's the only Way. We cannot attain righteousness on our own. We need a Savior and His name is Jesus. Call on Him and He will make you whole. He will clean up your act. He promises eternal life only if you choose Him, by faith, by hearing His word, acting on it and submitting (in a perfectly good way) to Him. 

Romans‬ ‭1:16-17‬ - For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith."

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Inheritance

1Peter‬ ‭1:3-5‬ ‭- Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Through Jesus Christ. The Beginning and the End! Through the entire Word of God we see Him. In and through Him we are

There is but one way to the Father and that is through Jesus Christ. No other god. Not Buddha. Not Allah. No other man. Nothing, no one. 

God sent His own Son. He became flesh and came down from heaven for us. He offers mercy to anyone who will receive it, that in the end we may have eternal life. Don't be fooled into thinking there is some other way. This may sound like a narrow view. It is! Walking with Jesus is a narrow road. Most people enjoy the wide road of living in the here and now without concern for the hereafter...but it leads to destruction. Do not also be deceived that all people go to heaven. Jesus would not have had to die if that were true. He came for all sinners, of which both you and I fit the category. 

Jesus offers an undefiled and incorruptible inheritance. The devil offers just the opposite. Faith in a living God is what we need. What He offers is so much greater. He doesn't offer material blessings alone here on earth, although He can do that also, but it's His eternal blessings of which we can have assurance when we know Christ, for those kept by the power of God.

Receive Christ, receive His power. His power, His Holy Spirit, gives us wisdom, discernment, greater understanding of His Word. He helps to know truth from lie, good from evil, life from death.

There will be troubles in our lives. We cannot escape them. But we can escape the fear if we know Jesus. We can know He will strengthen us when we look to Him in the midst of hardship. Trials gone through with Jesus by our side only build our confidence in Him. Our faith grows stronger when we see how we have endured! We are told to endure to the end (of our life or His return) to receive the greatest prize in life: eternal life in Christ.

I urge you to take this to heart. God is gracious and merciful. He will forgive the greatest of sin if one allows it. He is amazing. He is alive and will show Himself to anyone who wants to know Him. If you do, you have this promise:

1Peter‬ ‭1:6-9‬ ‭- In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Grace and Peace

2Thessalonians 1:2 - Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Oh my. I was listening to a song the other day called Grace and Peace by Fernando Ortega. It's based on the above scripture. Here's a link to the song if you care to listen. It's very nice.  

What prompted this post has to do with my study on Revelation. Of course it does! In the first chapter there are seven churches being addressed by the Apostle John, through Jesus Christ. His greeting is: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and is to come...and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 1:4-6)

Those words alone are powerful. He was, is and is to come. He is the ruler of all. It's all about Him and His grace and peace.

Time and again I will say, everything in this world and in our lives has to do with Christ, whether we want to believe it or not. He is the Beginning and the End. He created us and our lives are in His hands, whether we believe it or not. He loves us all, whether we believe it or not. His desire is for us, whether we believe it or not. His desire is that we know Him, receive His grace, peace...and mercy, whether we believe it or not.

Maybe I should have entitled this Believe it or Not! 

An excerpt from Bible Study Fellowship Lesson Three states: True peace always flows from the matchless grace of the Lord Jesus. Grace is God's love and kindness that reached down to us in Christ. God is gracious to the completely undeserving. No one could ever earn God's grace, even if we tried for all eternity...  He who was, is and is to come offers His grace and peace to anyone who wants and receives it through a relationship with Him that we might be found in Him. It is not extended to those who reject Him. 

If that sounds like a hateful God, it's not. He is offering it to all people. Some just do not choose to understand it or receive it, sometimes outright, rebelliously reject it. Whatever the case, He does not hate those who do not choose, but He must separate those who choose to follow from those who do not. He is, after all, a just God.

Someone reminded me this morning in a Facebook post about the parable of the talents. It's a perfect example of His grace. Three men came to work for someone. One came in the early hours of the day, one came at midday, the third late in the day. At the end of their work, all three were given the same wages. Of course two of the men were not thrilled with this. But the deal was, they would each be given X number of denari. Not X number of denari/hour. 

This is God's grace. And it's offered like this to us today, whether we have known Him all our lives, midway through our life or in the last days. Doesn't mean a person should wait till the last minute because we don't know when that last minute will be and we may not have an opportunity to call on Him. And why wouldn't we want His peace over our lives from now till that last be sure we have that peace, to know we have that peace. What a blessing that is! 

He alone sets us above the world. He offers us His kingdom. This world is not our home. Why settle for just this? Why not settle for more, for bigger and better things, in Christ? And, as a reminder, He IS coming soon.

Grace and peace. It only comes from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive them today, won't you? Ask Him to show you what they are and open the eyes of your understanding to more of His glorious truth...and life...through faith in Jesus Christ.

Revelation 1:5 - ...To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

He Is Mindful

Psalm ‭8:1,3-4,9 - O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth, who have set Your glory above the heavens! When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him? O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is Your name in all the earth!

As I feel the effects of yesterday's very early morning travel, time zones, last night's early bedtime and finally awaking at four in the morning, I stepped outside into the early morning darkness. Oh, what I saw! A bazillion stars. I thought of God's promise to Abraham to be the father of many nations and descendants, and how God ...brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” (Genesis‬ ‭15:5)

And then later in the morning my husband and I took a drive to view mountain after Arizona mountain. The amazing beauty of range after range heading off into the distance. Who can fathom the greatness of it all? 

Sometimes it's all I can do, this praising God for all He is, what He has created, what He has done and will do, to think on His authority and sovereignty. How excellent is His name!

As this psalm says, what is man that He is mindful of him, that He visits us? When we take the time to see just the early morning stars, I believe even if one does not consciously think of Him, He is visiting us. He is showing us His glory. He is longing for all to recognize Him and His creation and power and sovereignty. Oh, He doesn't need us...but He desires that we recognize our need for Him. 

He created all things...try to wrap your head around that. Really, try it. The stars hang in the sky because He has ordained it. The sun rises and sets, as does the moon, at His will. There is a purpose, as Ecclesiastes says, a time and a season for all things. And all things are under His will. Who can comprehend this? 

And yet, He is mindful of us. Of us! He created us for His pleasure...that He could bless us with so much of what truly counts...most importantly eternal life. So why shouldn't we recognize Him fully in our lives? It's what He desires. More than all these things, He wants us to know Him. Job asks, What is man, that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment? I think anyone who has known God has wondered this. And, yes, He does test us. He tests us to see if we will trust in Him, will continue to follow Him in our trials.

I can't wrap my head around all He has created or how. I come to Him in that childlike faith, acknowledging His greatness. How else can one come to Him with humility for who He is? But get this: not all these descendants God promised Abraham will become children of God. Galatians 3:29 tells us that. We must belong to Christ or we will not become part of that seed of promise. What a privilege to become one of those descendants from Genesis!

In the Book of Revelation study I am doing, in Chapter 1 it states that John, the disciple who wrote the book, per God's instruction, saw One like the Son of God...and fell on his face as if dead for the incredible vision of who He was. I seriously doubt that we will be able to do anything else but fall to our feet before Him some day. Scripture says every knee will bow...and every refers to those who have received Him and those who have not. Yet, here in Revelation, it also states that Jesus placed His hand on John and told him not to be afraid. While He is Alpha and Omega, First and Last, if we have humbly given our lives to Him and trusted Him, we need not fear because He is also our Beginning and End, the Almighty.

Jesus counts those who have received Him, who have been born again in the Spirit, as part of the numerous stars in the sky. We are part of the great inheritance. We are sinners yet we are His friends, bought by His blood. To think that in the beginning, even before then, when He created all things, He knew us, He knew who would follow and who would not. It's a mystery to be sure. 

How excellent is His name. Do you know this amazing God? This God who knows you...and is mindful of all His creation.

Psalm 111:2-5,9-10 - The works of the LORD are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them. His work is honorable and glorious, and His righteousness endures forever. He has made His wonderful works to be remembered; the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He has given food to those who fear Him; He will ever be mindful of His covenant. He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: holy and awesome is His name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Good or Better Choices?

Luke‬ ‭16:19-31‬ - There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. 
But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to  Abraham’s bosom. 
The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." 
But Abraham said, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things [hardships]; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us." 
Then he said, "I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment." 
Abraham said to him, "They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." 
And he said, "No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent." 
But he said to him, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead."

These verses show the difference between heaven and hell.They also prove the lie that ALL people go to heaven when they die. Again, if that were true then it was yet another lie that Jesus died on the cross for no reason at all, that by our "works" or our status, we could enter. He died for all mankind, but only those who receive Him will be forgiven. 

We choose in this lifetime whom we will follow. Have we heard about the commandments, heard the gospel that Jesus proclaimed, humbled ourselves before Him? Do we follow, obey and trust in Jesus Christ or man...or self? The time to choose is now. If someone would die within the next few minutes without Christ he/she could be in the same predicament as the rich man above. 

Interesting, the last sentence. If they did not listen to God through His Laws that had been given to them for life and to worship God, nor the prophets, they wouldn't even be persuaded if they saw one rise from the dead. Hmmm, sounds like a prediction to occur later, that Jesus would come once again to proclaim His message of life and His resurrection! Still many would not believe. And so on it goes...

What will it take anyone to believe that heaven and hell are real and not to be taken lightly. So it's exactly why Jesus calls us...that none would perish. 

Are the good things of life we can handle and delight in today more important than the better things of eternity? It's a choice we make. Think about it...

John 3:16-17 - For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever Believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved

Friday, October 2, 2015

Persevere--With Joy

Nehemiah 1:3 - ...The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.

Just happened to bring up this old 2009 blog. After last night's and Wednesday night's Minister's Conference, the first paragraph was a reminder! Again, His Word never fails.

Back in the day Israel would have been better off reminding themselves of the blessings God had given them rather than complaining about what they wished they could have had.  Had they turned their complaining into rejoicing, their hearts, minds and attitudes would have been pleasing to God. Their trip to the Promised Land would have not lasted 40 years.  Persevering, with joy, is important. 

Has something ever happened in your life which you really did not expect?  Did it feel like the walls around you crumbled and there was no longer any protection?  Did it seem like things were being torn apart and destroyed and did you sense you were in the midst of a circumstance where others might even have looked at you with reproach?  Often God will allow destruction in order to rebuild. That's what happened to the people of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.  They had been allowed to return from Babylonian captivity to find the walls of their city in ruins allowing attacks from the enemy.  It was on Nehemiah's tender heart to rebuild that the people might feel safe and secure and be above reproach again.

Our walls might fall because of turning the wrong direction, perhaps out of the will of God, and in order to get back into His will, ruin must first occur.  Seeing walls of protection crumble and being laid to waste for what seems an eternity can be a painful process.  But our God is faithful to help rebuild those walls if we will only turn to Him, repent for what might have caused this and ask for His help. We need to get to the very foundation first.  And that Foundation is our first love, Jesus Christ.

God would not have us run from the process of rebuilding but rather persevere.  Running does not take away the pain but only covers it up.  Until destruction is made into construction, there will always be those underlying feelings of hurt or bitterness.  Rather than flee, despite any opposition from the enemy, we must call on the Lord for strength and continue with the work--overcome.  I thank God everything is always part of His plan and His plans are good.  He loves us, His grace and mercy are great and He will do the demolition in order to allow a new formation to emerge.

Look not at the process as being destructive or impossible.  God's ways are not like ours.  Sometimes what seems bad is really God's way of bringing about good.  We should rejoice in knowing that He desires healing and strengthening and this can only happen when we are humbled and willing to let Him take over as our Architect.  The walls that seem to have crumbled will be rebuilt if we go back to the firm Foundation.  With God's help, in time, this difficulty will pass and there will be purification and victory.  Victory is good and the cleansing will remove the hurt and bitterness that might have been wrought.

James 5:11 - Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

Lord, pain can be hard and sadness great, but You will turn our mourning into dancing.  You will plunk us down once again at Your feet. You will allow us to become as little children and learn to trust again. You are God and You do not change.  You have always allowed trials to happen, from days of old to present.  You love us and want to raise up Your children like a strong army.  You provide strength to allow cleansing to take place.  We are not to lose hope.  You are faithful to provide to repentant hearts.  You allow the strong to come through and those who cannot tolerate the purifying fires will perish.  Let us stand firm and watch what You are able to do.  In that day we will glorify You.  "...this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."  (Nehemiah 8:10)