Thursday, December 29, 2016

In the Details

Luke‬ ‭12:6-7‬,23-24 - Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?
God is in control of all things, even the little things of each of our lives, if we take the time to acknowledge it and look for it. Some may say some things are coincidence, others it's just "luck." But then there's the word that comes out of the scripture above. The very hairs on our head are numbered. He's in the smallest of details. He puts things together, holds things together, raises up and takes down, sees to every facet of life in all places, all manners, all things. It takes faith to believe this. 

If He has a place in your life you will recognize these moments. It can be comforting. If you recognize God's voice, His Holy Spirit, you can be used by Him. That is an exciting thing. To speak into someone's life, to encourage, to bless by word or deed. Anyone can do this without knowing God. When God "issues the orders" it's even more special. 

There were a couple of situations this past week where He had to have been in the details because what could have been annoyances, even a bad experience, came to good ends. God gives wisdom when needed and just sets things in place. 

This was posted on Facebook and it's worth a view. This is a woman who knows the still small voice of God that comes to our spirits from His. If we do what He urges us, we do it in faith. We won't always know the outcome like this woman experienced, but sometimes God likes to reveal these things. Perfect example of faith. Let me add, things like this don't happen like this every day either, it there may be multiple small things that we don't even realize we do that He's in the midst of. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Yes, God's in the details. In all the details of life. Who says He can't  raise up kings (leaders) and depose them? He tells us He does. I'm not going to argue with Him! He's the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. I will put my trust and faith in Him over any man. Not any man, but The Man. But we must first believe that He is able. Able to do all and more than we could ever imagine. He is in the details.

1Peter 5:7 - Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

It Pleases God

Galatians 1:15-16 - But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately confer with flesh and blood...

Someone posted the underlined parts on Facebook. The revelation of who Jesus is in our lives is truly amazing...and a miracle. Everyone born of the Spirit is a miracle. This happened for me April 18, 1999. I've gone into detail previously. 

Just imagine, God being pleased to reveal Jesus to us. He knew us before we were ever born. He has known us since the beginning of time. These are difficult concepts for finite-minded people to understand. But God....

His love for us is never-ending. He is eternal and His love is eternal. He's the same today as He was yesterday and He will be the same tomorrow. What's also difficult is this: But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 When someone rejects or betrays us how do we react? You have to be honest and say it bothers you to some degree, at least for a time. Imagine the vast number of people who have rejected God. Yet this verse still stands true. An all-loving, yet judgmental, God loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) 

It pleased God to reveal Himself to me. I am grateful for this. His revealing is amazing. It's exciting and encouraging. It's hopeful, peace-giving. Nothing else can be quite like it. And it's available to everyone. No matter who one is, what someone has done, how long they've fought against God. His love never fails and He is patient. He will take those people in, no matter what. 

Proverbs 8:17 - I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

In the Beginning, A Merry Christmas

John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

In the beginning...there's always a beginning. There is an end too. Our lives have a beginning. They will also have an end.

Jesus had a beginning and it's for that reason Christmas is celebrated. Maybe it wasn't called Christmas then, but it was a merry time, a time for the shepherds to rejoice and the wise men to worship. For some reason this year, however, it has so struck me, more so than ever before, that Christmas isn't just about Jesus' birth. It's about His whole life. You'd think I never knew this by how my thoughts have been on this so much.

Genesis 1:1 states the same, In the beginning...God... In Revelation we have an explanation of the end of all things. God is in complete control of all things. He was there at the beginning and will be in the end. The Word of God describes it all. But the most amazing thing is it shows Jesus from the beginning of the book to the end. The Old Testament lays the groundwork for God's plan for humanity. The plan? To know and love Him first, with all our hearts, to repent of our sins, come away from the things of the world, remain focused on Him, trust in and worship Him. The New Testament gives us a better glimpse into how it is accomplished, through Whom it is done.

In order for us to do achieve what God desires, we must have a new beginning in our life. That beginning guides us into a relationship with God Himself through His Son Jesus...who was born, lived, died and was made alive again...just for us, that at the end of our lives we might have the same opportunity as He and to ensure in our final day have eternal life.

So Jesus was born. The celebration doesn't ever need to end there. Decorations will be put away, snow will melt, Easter will occur and spring will once again emerge, life will go on as usual, and so can our celebration of the Lord who made it possible, through His entire short-lived life on earth, for us to humbly come to Him, receive Him to ourselves and follow Him every day.

Jesus lives today. He is worshipped still by many. Despite the belief that Christianity is dying, God's Word tells us it never will. Those who have followed Him faithfully will come out as winners in that last day. As long as a person has breath (which He gave) there is always the opportunity to seek Him and call on His name for our life eternal.

Christmas is a name for His beginning. It can also be a good time for anyone who has not received the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ and His salvation to receive that gift. It's a good time as any to seek Him. Remember, there will be a final day in all our lives as well as a final day for all of life. If He is not in our lives when His final return is here, we no longer be given an opportunity to receive that free gift.

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.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Hearts Rent

Mark 1:10 - And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.

I read about Mark's Gospel, how it didn't begin with the birth of Jesus. No manger scene, no shepherds or wise men bearing gifts. Mark just chose to expound on a prophetic word of the Lord's arrival. He began with John the Baptist and his proclamation that there would be a voice crying in the wilderness to make straight the path of the Lord.

I've mentioned before that we all live in the wilderness that was spoken of. There are many voices like John's that cry out to us. A few people in my life were crying out, even if they didn't know it, even when it annoyed me. They were preparing the way of the LORD! They were saying:
*We are nothing without God. (John 15:5
*He is all we need. (Lamentations 3:24)
*In Him is where we should put our faith and trust. (Hebrews 12:2)
*In Him we can have hope.  (1Timothy 4:10)
*The world offers nothing. (1John 2:16)
*Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)

So Mark describes Jesus' baptism. Jesus requests it; John does it. And the scripture that stands out, according to the article I read, is Mark 1:10 above. The words, a statement. Pure and simple. Except for the meaning of one word...parting, or opened. (Depending on which Bible version) 

I had to research this because King James, New King James and other versions say opened or parting. There's no punch to those words...unless you look up the biblical meaning in this context. The New International Version and American Standard and no doubt others use the actual biblical definition: to rend, divide, to divide by rending, break, cleave, split, a violent separation ...He saw the heavens being rent forcefully. It was a powerful splitting of the heavens, not some soft and gentle opening. This was the power of the Holy Spirit being poured out on Jesus before His earthly ministry was birthed. 

I think of another time when the visual of rending or tearing was mentioned. It was when Jesus' life ended. When He breathed His last, God tore the veil, the curtain in the temple that separated the people from the presence of God. Only the High Priest could enter then. But...Jesus took care of that separation by bearing all our sins to the cross and nailing them there on His body. Jesus, our Great High Priest, the only way to the Father. We go through Him. Not by ourselves, not by any earthly man but by Him alone. 

I mentioned the other day that I cannot view Christmas completely separate from the rest of Jesus' life. He was born to die, for us. And today He is alive because of His resurrection. He was for a moment separated from His Father at His death, but reconciled. This can happen to us. If we receive Christ, call on His name, allow our old natures to die that we might be made alive in Christ, we will be reconciled with God the Father. Our sins keep us from God, heaven and eternal life. When Christ is allowed access to our lives that same power that tore open the heavens and rent that veil will come into our lives. I know this. Many others do also.

Jesus teaches in His Word all we need to know. His birth was for a sad but glorious end, just for us, for the multitudes of people before and after us, that we might have eternal life in Christ. In Christ. Not in anyone else, not in ourselves. In Christ alone. All our faith, hope and trust should be in Him. 

When we come to Christ our minds and hearts go through a rending also. They are torn open. It's as if all the lies we've learned through life have escaped and truth enters in and leads us in the way everlasting.

Joel 2:12-13 - “Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness; and He relents from doing harm.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Oh my! After the last blog, I came upon this in the mail. I believe it was written a few years ago but it's a message (a long one) that goes into more detail my feelings. I'm so glad I'm not the only one whose thoughts are like this!

So, straying from my normal blogs...I want to share someone else's words. Let's see if it touches on anything I wrote... I can say this: a world of darkness and unbelief is still here... But we still have the opportunity to see the great light...of Christ...if we so desire. Without Christ's birth and death and resurrection there would be no hope for eternal life, in Christ, if we so desire it. I pray hearts would turn to the love of the One who died that we might have life. But you must be willing to give of yourself. It doesn't just come to all. It must be received by humbled hearts.

David Wilkerson
December 5, 2016

We cannot separate Christmas from Christ’s resurrection. You may think of the resurrection as an Easter message, but the birth of the child in the manger can’t be separated from the man on the cross. God’s message to us through both events is one and the same.

As the shepherds gazed on the babe in the manger, they saw a Savior who would redeem all of humankind. When the wise men beheld him, they saw a King who would conquer death. When the prophets looked down to his time, they saw an Emancipator who would open prison doors, unlock chains and set captives free. They all had their vision of who Jesus was and why he came.

Christ was born into a world of darkness and unbelief, when God’s people lived under the terrifying grip of the Roman Empire. Israel’s religious leaders didn’t offer much hope. The Pharisees believed salvation was achievable through works; they convoluted God’s laws into a rigid system of impossible performance. The Sadducees didn’t even believe in resurrection. Very few people had any vision of an eternal existence. This was the darkness Jesus was born into.

When I look into the manger in Bethlehem, I see resurrection coming. I see King Jesus ushering in a flood tide of eternal life. Christ was fully human at birth—it was Mary’s blood that nourished him in the womb and her milk that fed him through infancy—but his birth was also a breaking forth of the eternal. The Bible says, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up” (Matthew 4:16, KJV).

This light was eternal life—the possibility of resurrection from death. Hosea prophesied of the coming Messiah, “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction” (Hosea 13:14). When Jesus came, he fulfilled this prophecy, saying, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die” (John 11:25-26).

Jesus himself connects his birth to the resurrection: “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:38-40, my emphasis).

Christ said, in essence, “Do you know why I’m here? Do you know why I was born into poverty, why the shepherds adored me, why the wise men brought gifts, why the angels sang that night? It is so you would have everlasting life.” Christ’s confession points directly to resurrection: graves opening, the dead restored to life, and the ultimate fulfillment of God’s everlasting covenant.

Resurrection is the emphasis throughout the New Testament.

The first church leaders accepted Christ’s incarnation as a reality. Yet their preaching centered not on that event but on the resurrection. As early as the Upper Room gathering at Pentecost, Peter said, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:23-24, my emphasis).

Everywhere Paul and the other apostles traveled, their preaching went beyond Christ’s incarnation and miracles to proceed to the resurrection:

“They came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: and Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ” (17:1-3).

At Mars Hill in Athens, Paul preached, “He hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (17:31).

Paul also preached on resurrection when he appeared before the Roman governor Felix and before King Agrippa. Indeed, without the resurrection, Paul says, all our preaching of Christ’s gospel is in vain. He explains why: “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Paul is telling us, in effect, “If this is not all about the resurrection, you can forget about the Christmas message. Why preach the birth of Christ? Why be holy? Why pursue spiritual matters at all? Without the resurrection, we remain dead in our sins. Everything we do is in vain.”

This isn’t just some abstract theological truth. Here is the point of all our resurrection preaching: JESUS CAME TO GET YOU AND ME. He was born to live and die and rise from the dead— and to raise us to eternal life with him. He came to bring us home to himself for all eternity!

This was the message of the New Testament church. “Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept” (15:20). In other words, just as surely as the Spirit raised Christ from the dead, he will raise us up too: “Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14).

As I look into the manger, I see a bridge. Christ is the bridge between earth and heaven, crossing over the abyss of death that separates temporal life and the eternal. One day we’re going to cross that bridge, and it will take place in the twinkling of an eye: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:52).

Many Christians wonder, “Who will I see first when I’m raised into eternity?”

I’m convinced that when this moment comes, we will all want to see Jesus first. He is Love incarnate—our Savior, Healer and King. Yet I once saw something that made me wonder about others. I walked into our living room to find my wife, Gwen, quietly weeping. She was watching the last home video of our granddaughter, Tiffany, who died of cancer at age 13. She was longing to see Tiffany again.

Make no mistake, Gwen and I will recognize Tiffany when we get to heaven. The Bible says there is no marriage in heaven, but there is love because he is love. All will be one in Christ’s body, and we’ll recognize each other with a spiritual intuition. Scripture says in that moment we will know even as we are known.

Maybe you didn’t grow up with a loving father or mother. Maybe no one in your home knew Jesus or ever showed you his precious love. You wonder, “Who’ll be there waiting for me?” I tell you, you have another family—the family of God. I’m convinced there is no one in Christ’s body who wasn’t prayed for by someone who came before them—an older man or woman, a pastor, a distant relative. You’ll be recognized and embraced with the family love that God has prepared for you in eternity.

I believe God has made worlds as yet unconquered.

We’re not going to sit idle when we’re resurrected. Astronomers have discovered galaxies beyond what we can imagine and planets profoundly larger than the earth. It’s nothing for the Creator of this vast universe to resurrect his creatures from death.

Paul Harvey tells the story of an atheist scientist who traveled to college campuses for decades to lecture on how God couldn’t possibly exist. Years later this man became a Christian. Whenever he was asked why he converted, he answered with one simple word: “DNA.”

Inside every human being is this amazing discovery called DNA. It’s a unique identifier so accurate that someone can be proven guilty of a crime if his DNA is found at the scene. DNA is complex, yet it can be taken from something as simple as a strand of hair. In it, scientists have discovered a “genetic code” with billions of bits of information that, linked together, are unique to that person.

Who created this incredible phenomenon that boggles the mind? Who has known the unique genetic code of every human being since Adam and Eve? Only God. He not only numbers every hair on our heads but has impressed our unique DNA into each strand. That’s what humbled the atheist scientist: the magnificence of a Creator and his ever-impressive creation.

God knows the DNA of every person who has ever lived—and he knows how to reconstruct it when he raises us up on the last day. This should put to rest all the strange doctrines that have arisen over the years about the resurrection. Some say there can’t be a bodily resurrection for people who’ve been cremated or died gory deaths; they can’t conceive of how God would do this. The truth is our imaginations simply can’t fathom the glory of God. Our brains are too finite.

We do know that the bodies God brings out of the grave will be changed bodies. Some think we’ll be spirits, but the Bible makes clear we will be resurrected bodily. Everything damaged, severed or obliterated will be restored in the twinkling of an eye. Hunched over people will walk straight. The blind will see. Those infirm from birth or killed in wars will be whole. Their DNA will be perfected by their Creator!

I think of the resurrection also when I see sad, lonely people at Christmas.

Whenever I’ve walked down the street in New York to buy milk or a newspaper, what I’ve seen breaks my heart. Alcoholic men in their 60’s and 70’s lay on the sidewalk nodding off. They’ve spent decades in a hell of their own making, not knowing where they are most days. I see desperate young drug addicts racing to their pusher as he appears. They’re sleepwalking through life with no hope, no future, just looking to make their next fix happen. On the corner, I see prostitutes no more than 18 years old, dabbing their eyes as they cry over what has become of their lives.

I want to tell them all: “There is a new world coming—a world without sin, poverty or disease. That’s why he came—to bring us to the new world he has created. It’s beyond anything we can comprehend. Your King is coming to get you!”

Meanwhile, resurrection life is already available to us—in this life. We have been promised, “As Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4).

This Christmas season, let us keep a resurrection frame of mind. As Paul exhorts, “I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him… Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14, 18).

I know on that day I’ll meet a half million converted drug addicts from around the whole earth…scores of addicts and prostitutes who called on Jesus to save and deliver them…and my own family members who have gone before. What a joy it will be. Resurrection—it is why he came!

“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?... Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57).

Sunday, December 11, 2016


1John 5:11 - And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

While many are decorating trees and shopping for gifts for Christmas, I have been contemplating something else, not that I don't frequently.

Christmas is about our Savior's birth. There are different views of the timing of His birth. Some say fall, some say spring. That's not all that important. It's important to  know the real reason for our celebrating. Jesus came to us from on high, was born in the flesh for the salvation of everyone who would believe in Him, was crucified and rose again!  I can't separate His birth from His death and all the time in between. He can be celebrated every day. 

When He was born He gave us the greatest gift of all. It's not about us but about Him. To me the most important part about His birth is the life He gives to us through this birth and a new birth within us when we give our hearts and lives to Him. 

We give gifts like the wise men did. They understood this baby boy was something special. It was His gift of His life for us that is special. His death. And in return we die to ourselves that we might have life. His whole life is an example for us: Being born again in the Spirit, dying to self and living as He lived to share His glorious mercy, grace and salvation. It's one of those fabulous mysteries of God. 

I need not go into the commercialism we see around Christmas. I want this to be about Jesus. He came for the most important reason and I seem to struggle trying to convey this. It's so simple yet sometimes so hard to understand. 

Christ came to this earth not that we lavish each other with gifts but that He would be our humble gift to us.  The shepherds, first to arrive, offered nothing but their humble worship. Perhaps they offered a lamb to the Child who would eventually be our ultimate sacrificial Lamb. 

Everything about the birth of Jesus was amazing. Conceived by the Holy Spirit. Born in a humble stable and sleeping in a feeding trough. A King with humble beginnings and an even humbler, yet tragic, end. That's what I want to think about at Christmas. It's so not about us. 

Is Jesus the central part of our Christmas celebration? Is His name brought up? Is the Christmas story shared? 

Christmas can be an everyday thing...should be. His death and resurrection are just as important. It's why I can't separate any part of His earthly life. All He did for us.... THIS is one amazing God. I pray He becomes a deeper meaning this year. 

John 3:16 - 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.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Consolation, Light and Glory, A Story of Simeon

Luke 2:25-32 - And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, a light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.”

I love this account of Simeon. If we have given our lives to Christ we can know what Simeon expressed...a peaceful departure because we have seen our salvation and Light of the world. This light is for Jew or Greek...for all mankind. 

Simeon, a Jew, had obviously known the prophecy of a Messiah who would come to redeem God's people. Many had been looking for a political leader who would defeat their enemies. Many today are still looking for this type of man, missing Who already has come. 

So Simeon went to the temple and the Spirit of God revealed to him the baby Jesus. Has the real Jesus been revealed to you?

We can be looking at times for someone or something to redeem us, to take us out of our problem, lifestyle or addiction. Then when we've had enough, we might look to psychiatrists, psychologists, AA, or friends, family or other groups. Does anyone ever consider God first? 

Simeon patiently waited until this particular day and then his waiting was over he was at peace in his spirit. 

We might be knowing something has to change...or not. We might realize we aren't totally satisfied...or maybe haven't yet. I went through this. It took years of "looking for myself" to realize it wasn't about me looking for me, but about Jesus who was looking for me. In an instant realization one morning, like Simeon, I had seen my salvation, the light of the world. He will work in me till my last breath. 

I hadn't noticed the word Consolation before. We know what it be consoled. Another definition is comforter. The Holy Spirit is our Comforter, the one who helps us get through our troubles, eases, comforts. This Holy Spirit also is received when we turn to Christ. We can call on Jesus and His Spirit for comfort, consolation. Simeon knew when he saw. I can imagine the comfort he felt as he spoke the words, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace. 

When we turn to Christ and know that He has redeemed us, we too can now depart this world in peace knowing we have seen the Light of our salvation. Are you at peace? Have you seen your Salvation? Are you convinced you will receive eternal life? 

2Peter 3:9 - ...beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Nothing is Impossible

Matthew 19:26 - But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."

A scripture often heard. A true scripture. God’s timing is impeccable. 

I have several favorite stories in the Bible. God is amazing. He does some powerful things and uses the people least likely to bring about His plan. They all, in some way, turn us to God or Jesus...and salvation. No way is it, nor nothing is impossible, for God to bring about His plan, whether it be accomplishing His will in the world or salvation to the masses. We can think we know what He’s up to, but we really can’t be sure. Oh, some day we will know for sure. When we see the signs the Book of Revelation shares with us. 

So these stores…many regarding salvation! There's Noah and his ark and the very strong symbolism of the ark, the open door, the only way into the ark's safety, and Jesus. Jesus tells us He is the way. He is the door. He is the shepherd who leads. 

Moses delivered Israel, God's chosen people out of slavery in Egypt, Egypt being a symbol of the world (even today's world). He saves us from the slavery to sin in this world…just like Jesus.

There's David, a boy small in stature, compared to all his tall, strong brothers. He, not those able-bodied brothers, was instrumental in felling Goliath, a so-sure-of-himself giant. He uses the foolish things to confound the wise. I love that! Remember, Jesus humbled Himself. He didn’t use big words or any power but the power of the Holy Spirit. Remember, He uttered not a word of defense to His innocence as He was led to the cross…for each one of us.

I was foolish most of my life, wrapped up in a worldly lifestyle unlike many others today. I was ensnared. If it made me happy, I went for it. I was proud in my accomplishments. I believed lie after damnable lie. No one could change MY mind about who Jesus was. That pride said if others could live without Christ, doing their own thing, then how in the world could God punish the majority?! He wouldn't do that. Not a question, a period. Another lie.

More about this God's plan. His plan goes way back to the Old Testament. Adam and Eve, for starters! Despite the sin these two committed, His plan was carried out, though they paid for it and today we do too. Abraham and Sarah, both in the midst of old age, a woman well beyond child bearing years. But God used them to perpetuate the blood line of Christ. And through the ages, as Matthew and Luke both point out in genealogies, all are involved. 

Think about it... He used a simple maiden named Mary to bring about the birth of our Savior. She had to suffer embarrassment, silently, (like Jesus) when everyone thought she was pregnant by Joseph. I heard some interesting facts:
*The blood of a child comes from his father alone, and the male sperm is the source of the blood
*The body of an embryo comes from his mother alone
*The blood of Adam came directly from God when God breathed into him the breath of life
*Sin is transmitted only through the blood 
*The Holy Spirit contributed the blood of Jesus and Mary contributed His body - (Mart DeHaan) 

Jesus, being born of the Holy Spirit, therefore, a we know, had no sin. This is amazing! Look at paternity testing to identify a father. Jesus was in the beginning when creation was made. He and the Father are one, therefore He is Creator. This should cause us to pause and contemplate His abilities. 

So, how amazing is our God? His thoughts are higher than ours. He is in control of all things. Yet...He cares enough but the smallest details of our lives and wants to see all of us saved. Yet some refuse this magnificent gesture.

Another New Testament story is about the persistence of a woman with a 12 year issue of blood. She so desired healing. She sought hard enough. Enough to crawl on her hands and knees in a crowd to only touch the hem of His garment. Jesus healed her. He can heal physically and spiritually. It's the spiritual healing that is most important. Even if our physical healing doesn’t happen, our souls are good to go. All this healing is taken care of when we humble ourselves and ask Christ to forgive us for our sins…and follow Him.

A woman from Samaria, an outcast in her village for having had many husbands and now was living with a man. She had to obtain her water at noon to avoid all the others who went early in the morning. One day she arrived at the well only to see a Man who asked her for water. Jews often steered clear of Samaritans. Not Jesus. He knew she would be there. He knew her state and the condition of her sinful heart. But His purpose was salvation. In their discussion He revealed Himself to her…and she ran back to the village to tell everyone she could she met a Man who knew everything about her…and to come and see Him. He forgave and healed a woman. She no longer needed to live a life of shame.

I think of the story of Saul who persecuted Christians. It’s one of my favorites. It can bring hope to many. He was on his way to Damascus to work on persecuting more. Out of the sky a light blinded him. He could do no more than fall to the ground. He instinctively knew who it was. The light blinded him for three days but later was restored. He had been forgiven and now Saul, who was called Paul, became one of the most vocal, powerful men of the Bible. All by the power of God. We all live blind to the truth of Christ until His light comes into our lives and opens our eyes. I once was blind but now I see! This is a truth.

All the stories of redemption in the Bible. All the shame that was relieved. All the sin forgiven. All the lives now changed. Redemption of God's people (which is still playing out in the world today), redemption of individuals. Jesus saves. He's at work in Asia, Europe, even in the Middle East, and Africa. Missionaries have shared the Gospel with remote villages. God has shown people who He is in visions and dreams. We are told this will increase as the days draw nearer to His return. Come, Lord Jesus.

Nothing is impossible with God. It's good to remember when you question why some won't receive, who don’t want to hear the Gospel’s good news. There's still always hope. And if after that nothing happens, you remain grateful that you believed. Some day in heaven, somehow, those people will not be mourned. No more tears, no more sorrow. Another amazing mystery.

Jeremiah 32:17 - Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Who's Drinking the Kool Aid?

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

What an amazing message in church yesterday morning. Delivered by a late 30-something "elder." He's not a preacher but a teacher. So he taught. On something that just so has my mind wrapped up on these days. Truth.

Please excuse me if I repeat one of the best scriptures on truth above. It's the whole message about truth.

Tyler started by explaining there can be more than one way to see something and both can be right, like two different views of a car accident. 

There is such a thing as absolute truth, according to God. It can be known. He shared what Pastor says often regarding the meaning of scripture: Two people can look at a verse and have two different interpretations. Either you are right and I am wrong or I am right and you are wrong. But we can't both be right. In order for anyone to know absolute truth we must know where this truth comes from. There is only one truth. Many others and myself are not drinking the Kool Aid! 

The only truth comes from the Lord Jesus Christ. I understand a person first needs to have a certain belief that He exists in order to agree with this statement. That means not suggesting that God's Word doesn't mean that for today. 

Belief is a difficult thing to explain. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24) The truth is, we must be taught and learn and live truth by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is where belief comes in. If we have not experienced a moment in our life when we know we were touched by the power of the Holy Spirit then absolute truth might become a problem.

There are times when we know what right and wrong, truth and lies, good or evil are. We just know. I have had discussions with friends on how wrong abortion is only to get the response it's a woman's choice or the situation has to be considered or think of the pain caused the woman. Absolute truth says it's wrong, and this will be argued unmercifully. God's Word says it's wrong, despite the fact some people twist what His Word says to suit themselves. 

God's Word is the truth. Period. If He says something is wrong, it's wrong, will always be wrong because He said so and He never changes His mind to make us happy. Some day the absolute truth will be made known. And a lot of people will be disappointed, angry, sorry they hadn't listened or believed. All people's lives are at stake when it comes to this Truth.

The truth is: I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (John 14:6)  Jesus is all truth. If we don't know Him, don't believe this with every ounce of understanding, we do not know the truth. There's a lot of unknowing going on in this world. Just what the devil ordered. Why would he want anyone to know the truth? How could he continue in his destructive habits if everyone knew the truth? He'd be toast, as he will be someday.

Jesus is the only way to this truth. The only way. The only way to life too. No truth, no life. Someday the truth will be made absolutely known. And as I said, anyone who has avoided this truth, rejected it, scoffed at it, said someone was drinking the Kool Aid, will be very surprised. 

In order to avoid the deceptions that are here today and will increase as the days go on, we must have this Holy Spirit power. We must have discernment. Not man's discernment but God's. I'm both terrified and dismayed that there are a lot of people I know without this understanding. But it is not by my power they change. They have to want to and they have to have Christ and His Spirit living within them. To the point where nothing else matters. All I can do is share truth.

Lord God, I pray that I would continue to grow in Your truth. I ask for Your strength, Your power to trust, learn and any cost. I might lose all my friends but if that's what has to happen to be counted Your child, then let it be. Give me the love and power to stand my ground for Your truth. Give me both a passion for Your truth and compassion for those who don't know it. I will forever praise You, my God and my King, You who holds the truth, who gives generously to those who want to receive. Open deaf ears, blind eyes and soften hearts to receive all You have to offer. Let perception be not of this world but of You. There is only one truth. Let it be known. 

John 14:16-17 - And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Traffic Numbers

John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Not everyone goes to heaven. Got your attention?! Don't stop reading!

I saw a meme on Facebook one day. It said: The fact that there is a highway to hell and a stairway to heaven says a lot about traffic numbers. 

Now while I don't believe the highway/stairway are fact, this statement otherwise is true. Painfully true.

There is only one way to heaven...through Jesus Christ. There are certain things that must be done to achieve this. We have to realize that God is seeking us. He does love us. So, we must believe in Him, repent of our sins, of which we are all guilty, turn from them, give our lives to Him, proclaim His name, preach the Gospel. No one on earth becomes a saint before receiving Christ. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Not everyone is going to heaven. We are not children of God until we receive Him. Until then we are His enemies. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10

What I say is quite often the same message written in different ways. That's because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is simple. His message has always been simple and will remain simple. It was truth when He spoke it; it will be truth forever. His Word never changes and neither does He. 

His love for mankind will never stop and I'm certain He is grieved in His own way when people reject His simple message: I am the way... Not by works, by self, by any other means. Only by and through Him. That means giving up of self, giving in to Him and trusting in Him. 

We wake up in the morning and know that He has given us another day. We didn't do it. We didn't do anything during the night to achieve it. Many don't think this way. 

Jesus tells us we must come to Him, believe with all our hearts in Him, turn from our day-to-day type of living, and begin to live according to how it has been pointed out in His Word. We can say we adhere to His basic Ten Commandments, but we are guilty of all of them. If we don't love God and put Him first in our life, daily, we've broken the first and most important one! No other gods before Him... Maybe later I will explain them all. 

Sadly, many are rebellious (including believers at times, speaking for self). They don't know His Word, are filled with the pride of life, of accomplishments achieved through their own means, without regarding God. 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 2:15-17Are we perfect? No. Will we fail at times? Yes. Can we get back in God's grace? Absolutely.

Let's face it, when was the last time you asked God to help you? Asked for His wisdom or strength instead of devising your own plan? Asked for His protection? Huh? Have I hit a nerve? I'm willing to admit I hit one for myself!

While the highways and stairways are not literal, they do represent what will happen to people who do not receive Christ as the only way to heaven and those who reject Him. But this receiving isn't by just knowing who Jesus is. It's a heart issue, one we know we have undergone if we one day are touched by His Spirit and a change occurs within us. A change that causes us to see God in a different light. I once was blind, but now I see moment. To know deep inside God has changed thoughts, desires, actions, words. To the point where He is on our minds often, daily. To the point where His Word is an important part of our day. To the point where we communicate to Him throughout the day. In other words, we seek Him! 

No, there is no literal highway or stairway. But the road to destruction is deadly and descending. The road to life goes up and few will be ascending to heaven and eternal life by that "Way."

Jesus is always ready to know and hear those who are willing to choose Him. If you really want to know Him, call out with a heart of repentance to Him. He will be elated to take you under His wing. He does love all mankind, just can't accept them all. It takes commitment. It will not be a smooth ride. But it will be worth it. Eternal life or eternal judgment. Which would you choose? 

Do you seek God? Do you read the Bible? Do you pray? Think about it. You may not know as much about God as you believe you do. The narrow gate includes the people who do; the wide gate is where those who do not are wandering. Don't be part of the "few" listed below. 

Matthew 7:13-14 - “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

To and Fro

Interesting group of scriptures below. One searches for those he can destroy while the Other searches for those who want life, whom He wants to deliver out of the other's grasp.

And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going TO AND FRO on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” (Job‬ ‭1:7‬)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil WALKS ABOUT like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1Peter‬ ‭5:8‬)

For the eyes of the LORD run TO AND FRO throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. ... (‭‭2Chronicles‬ ‭16:9‬)

For His EYES ARE ON the ways of man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness nor shadow of death where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. ‭‭(Job‬ ‭34:21-22‬)

It has been said that whatever God does satan imitates. He knows the Bible. He knows his eventual demise. Because he was thrown out of heaven for his pride in believing he could be as great as God, our adversary, the devil, has been on a rampage to destroy and taken down the people of the world. He is succeeding more than not. He walks to and fro looking for his prey.

Anyone who refuses to follow God, refuses to believe He is Creator, believe His Word is as true today as it was when it was first written, that it is a Book that brings life whose commands are for our good, is being taken down the slippery slope that satan has led them to. 

Take a look at our recent election. There's a bit of similarity there. One has sought people to believe the lies. While the other isn't totally pure as the driven snow, he may believe he can improve what has been broken. I hope so. Only time will tell. (I will trust in the Lord my God over any man.)

I've believed for a very long time that all of our sins come out of pride, which both candidates have plenty of. We want what we want, we do what we want to do, at others' expense. We do not want to compromise our beliefs, our desires for the sake of someone else. It's my way or the highway. These don't need to be as extreme as pure evil might desire it but I'm guessing it is called being self-absorbed, self-centered, selfish. Think about it. Can't you see this behavior in your own lives at times? If you don't, the Bible has a verse for that too! If we say we in no uncertain terms we are liars, we sin, so... If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1John‬ ‭1:8‬)

This is where the devil wants us. He did it to Eve in the garden and he keeps right on doing it today. The devil will continue till he's toast! If we don't want to be toast along with him we need to be seeking God. As the scriptures say above, God is looking for those who want to seek, know, obey, be loyal to, and worship Him. As much as God is looking to and fro for someone seeking Him (and often not finding one), the adversary has many more in his grip to take you down his paths of unholiness and deceit. He's got a much greater following. He makes things look so enticing. It's all part of his lure. Money, cars, sports, television, sex, name a few...are his ways of keeping our focus off God. 

This past election used two individuals who lured us into believing they were best. They may both be deceivers. Some know one definitely is. Just rewards some day for that person. The 

other...time will tell. Maybe just rewards for both. Just rewards for us too if we struggle with our relationship with God.

The only way to avoid what satan will receive as punishment is to allow God to find you looking for Him. There is darkness, deceit and death in following after the world view which is the devil's view. There is only light, truth and life in following Jesus. Jesus will forgive us, daily, of our sins if we confess Him and admit our sinful natures to Him. Really He will. The Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me and He loves you too. Really.

Don't let the devil's deceit prevent you from turning to Him. God already knows all about you, sees your every move, knows your every thought...and knows your sinfulness. But He wants to take that tarnished nature of yours away and shine you up, clothe you in His righteousness. He does not want you to be devoured by the adversary. He wants you to seek Him for His forgiveness. His Word teaches us what we do not know we do; it shows us the truth and exposes lies and deceit.

Luke‬ ‭23:34‬ ‭- Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” 

Monday, November 7, 2016

And A Light Shines in the Darkness

John‬ ‭1:1-5‬ ‭- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

God is in control. I'm thankful I can say I know that. Everyone can have that peace which only comes by humbling self and turning fully to the Lord. Knowing truth, trusting Him. Life without full knowledge of the Lord is no life at all. He brings life and light into our lives. He has given us His Word to teach us.

God sent His Son to be the Light in a dark world, and this world is dark. It will be until He returns. Until then there are to be many people like the Disciple, John, to proclaim this Light. Without this Light we do not know the Word. If we do not know His Word we sit in a very dark place.

We have an election in tomorrow. It's anybody's guess how it will turn out. I just know that God is in control. He already knows. How do I know this? His Word has shown me. He knows the beginning from the end in all things. This world continues in darkness. A newly elected president will not be a light in this world. No man can be The Light of the world. But we can share who this Light, this Man, Jesus, and His Word is.

Without this Light we might agonize over this election. All I have been able to pray is, "Lord, Your will be done." Do our part as voters then trust Him with the rest. I often think about how someday God will judge us all. He will judge our political candidates. Whatever either has done that should not have been done will be judged...hopefully before that day they might humble themselves before God and truly repent of their sins. Hey, that goes for all of us! 

I think about King David and his pleas to God for vengeance over his enemies. We know that some day God will avenge. The enemies will be struck down, but not necessarily when and how we would like. O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongs—O God, to whom vengeance belongs, shine forth! Rise up, O Judge of the earth; render punishment to the proud. LORD, how long will the wicked, how long will the wicked triumph? They utter speech, and speak insolent things; all the workers of iniquity boast in themselves. (Psalm 94:1-4)  Hmmmm, sounds familiar.

My hope and trust is in the Lord. His vengeance will come. He will come to bring it about. What we need to do today is to believe on Him. Scripture says vengeance is His. Would I like to see evil, even the evil in this election, now. Yes. It only seems fair. However, God may have plans to use that evil. Perhaps to draw more to Him, perhaps to bring about what we deserve as a nation allowing God to be forced out and evil to run rampant. A little leaven leavens it all. 

I see trouble ahead no matter who gets elected. Why? Because we are humans wanting to take vengeance into our own hands. Jesus says we are to respond without anger and evil or we will be judged in the same better than the evil. 

God is in control. Let Him do what He does best. His ways and thoughts are not like ours. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. (‭‭1Corinthians‬ ‭2:11‬)
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How 
unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! (Romans‬ ‭11:33‬)

A true believer should understand this. There might be a struggle inside but we know we are to submit to His authority. There should be a peace in our spirit knowing only good will come in time. Trouble may arise. The enemy may come with his own vengeance, through the evil in this world. But we are overcomers in Christ if we have become true believers. He calls us that He might teach us His ways, that peace would be settled in our hearts and spirits. Do you know Him? Have you that peace? Do you know the "rest of the story" as written in His Word? If not, ask Him to guide you to knowing Him.

John 16:33 - These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Whirlwind of the LORD

Jeremiah‬ ‭30:3‬ ‭- “For behold, the days are coming," says the LORD, "that I will bring back from captivity My people Israel and Judah," says the LORD. "And I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
I say this often: I'm so thankful I know the God of this universe who has a plan for the lives of those who know Him. His plans are not for evil but for peace, hope and a future. Praise God!

We His people may go through trials, but if we continue to look up, He will be beside us. He will walk through the storm and be our comfort. No man or woman can do this, i.e., government leader. Our future is secure if we know Him no matter what.

I like what the LORD God later tells Jeremiah the prophet. This is for believers. By the way, believers can be considered as Israel in the Old Testament days...His children, His people. But because of their repeated rebellion against God, He allowed them to be captured, as a means to draw them back to Him. Perhaps with the election we are facing, God may be wanting yet more to stop their rebelliousness against Him. And why couldn't He use our government to do the same? We could be heading into a captivity of our own. It's just so not about a man or woman, especially ones who do not look to God for guidance.

“For it shall come to pass in that day," says the LORD of hosts, "That I will break his yoke from your neck, and will burst your bonds; foreigners shall no more enslave them.
Therefore do not fear, O My servant Jacob," says the LORD, "Nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid.
"For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds," says the LORD, "Because they called you an outcast saying: 'This is Zion; no one seeks her.'
"You shall be My people, and I will be your God. Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind; it will fall violently on the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the LORD will not return until He has done it, and until He has performed the intents of His heart. In the latter days you will consider it.” (‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭30:8,10,17,22-24‬)

In the end God will judge. He will prove what was wrong and right in the world. His people will endure to the end. How do we know we really are not in the last days? Evil is rampant at all levels. The enemy is appearing to drag down as many as he can. This is why it is important to know Jesus, know the truth outlined in His Word. In the beginning God the end He will return to judge those who have taken Him and His Word lightly. 

The election that lies ahead will be what it will be. God knows. Either candidate could be the impetus for many to receive Christ. I am standing on the truth of God's Word that He can heal anyone not just of disease or illness but of the rebelliousness of sin and not believing in Him. Man's sometimes empty promises are not the promises from a God who desires all men come to Him and believe in Him. His promises are true...and just.

Lord, have mercy on this nation, on those who do not know You, that they might choose You. You can heal anyone, even enemies. If it be Your will... Thank You for Your grace and mercy to us who have chosen to follow You and who put their trust in You. Let us be lights and endure with the Gospel when darkness closes in. 

The Bible tells us that in the last days what we are seeing in the world TODAY will be rampant. Lovers of self, evil, all doing their own thing, immorality and things opposing what God says is good, right, true. We need to know the God who knows the beginning from the end. 

It's never too late to receive the God who has created all things, who loves more than we can wrap our heads around, even those who do evil. Yet in the end, only those who seek Him will receive the best end to this life. It will be a struggle but...God...

Psalm ‭107:19-21‬ ‭- ...they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!