Monday, May 30, 2016


Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭- Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.‭‭

What does freedom mean to you? 

This is Memorial Day weekend. Many men have fought and many have died that we would have freedom. Sometimes war is necessary to keep the enemy at bay. It's not always an agreeable topic but I don't think it can be denied. We are called to love our enemies but when our lives are at stake a just war is acceptable. 

Freedom is often not free. Someone has to pay the price. Those who benefit from the battle ensued have received momentary freedom.

There was one Man who died 2000 years ago that we might have our freedom. His name is Jesus Christ. Here, too, He paid the price with His death, but for we who choose to receive Him it is a free gift. Unlike the men who died in battle, however, Jesus rose again from the day that we may have life and that we may have it abundantly. This freedom is not momentary but eternal. 

This is not to say our life will be free from difficulty. We still suffer illness or hardship. We suffer persecution, whether at the hands of terrorists who hate Christians, or in lesser ways, believers being chided for their beliefs. Despite what we go through, believers still have freedom in Christ.

Someone from my church posted about all the verses to our National Anthem. We all know the first one but the other three are not generally sung. He said his favorite was verse four. I agree. 

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their lov'd homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

My freedom comes first from the Lord. This is freedom I can trust confidently. Man will fail in this world but Jesus will not. To know Him is the ultimate freedom. I am thankful for the men and women who have fought or will fight against our enemies, whether here or abroad. It is necessary. We see enemies arising. We need to protect our freedom whether in our neighborhood, city, country…or world. But even if, or when, we lose it, my strength and hope are in the Lord. 

In God I trust. We all can. The spiritual battle is all His if we call on Him, if we trust in Him. I'm thankful for the peace He brings. My life, though it will end someday, has an eternal consequence.  It happened as a result of a particular action. That action was receiving Christ. Trusting in Him for my life and freedom--through Him. It's not physical, it's spiritual. That's what I look forward to. 

John‬ ‭14:27‬ ‭- Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Temple

1Corinthians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭- Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

I'd like to show you a similarity between two things. It shows that the Old Testament is just as important as the New. Things that have taken place in the past relate to things of today. There are countless parallels, types, symbols and prophecies of the Old Testament that relate to the New.

Back in the Book of 1Kings I have been reading about King Solomon. You know, the one who asked God for wisdom over anything else, who wrote all the wisdom of Proverbs. Solomon was King David's son. He was given the privilege of building a temple, which was dedicated to God, a place where God's presence could reside, where the Ark of the Covenant was stored in the Most Holy Place. It is said it was a place where His name could reside. The Most Holy Place could only be accessed by the Jewish High Priest. This place was completely shut off by a very large, heavy curtain, or veil, from everyone else.

Something to keep in mind, God does not need a building in which to reside. God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. (‭‭Acts‬ ‭17:24) Like a church today, it was a place to worship God. If worship is done correctly God's presence will be there. God can be anywhere at any time. How? He is simply God. And even today, while we attend our church services, pay our worship to God on His holy day, we can worship Him any time. 

Here's an excerpt from 1Kings 9 where God speaks to Solomon after the temple is built..
And the LORD said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually." (1Kings‬ ‭9:3)

There was a catch, though. "Now if you walk before Me as your father David walked, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have commanded you, and if you keep My statutes and My judgments, then I will establish the throne of your kingdom over Israel forever... But if you ... at all turn from following Me, and do not keep My commandments and My statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will cut off Israel from the land which I have given them; and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight..." (1Kings 9:4-7)

This refers to Israel. But let me say this can refer to believers of Christ. There's one parallel, type. Before Christ, people followed and served God (sometimes). Today we follow Christ and serve Him (sometimes). 

What I'm getting at here is when we receive Christ as Lord and Savior, we become the temple where He resides. It is not built with human hands. It is built within a heart that has changed by Jesus Christ, simply by asking Him to reside there, change our hearts, give us wisdom to know Him in an intimate way. If we do not turn to Jesus and continue to worship our own lives as they are without Him, we will not be His. That's a pretty harsh statement. But God refers to it above. When the day of final judgment comes, we will be cast out of His sight. Matthew 7:18-28 will show this. 

Remember when Jesus died? Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split... (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭27:51) This meant that access to God was open to anyone providing those "anyones" went through Christ, bowed their hearts before Him, repented of their sins and asked for His forgiveness...then lived for Him, through Him, by the power of His Holy Spirit. Jesus became our Great High Priest. Do you see this? God does not dwell in temples made with hands; He lives in our heart. But we must ask Him in. He won't come in without our invitation. 

He died for, as my pastor says frequently, whosoever will call on the name of the Lord. He's thankful, as am I, to be counted as one of the whosoeversFor whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans‬ ‭10:13)

But we have the same catch as was explained to Solomon. ‭‭We must walk in integrity of heart and in uprightness. We must follow His commands, which means we must know them (through the Word). If we do these things, His throne will be established within our hearts, spiritually, forever. His presence is with us always. He is forever looking over us, protecting and providing for us. If we have chosen Christ, we are His people and are in the land that God has given us, just like the land that God had given Israel...His people.

Sound unimaginable? It's not. Call out to Him. Watch what He can do with your heart, soul and mind. He will dwell within your heart. You can become His temple, filled with His Spirit. He will give you wisdom. That veil has been torn for you. Access has been given to you. Go for it.

Ephesians‬ ‭2:19-22‬ ‭- Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


Psalm 116:15 - Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. 

Excuse me! I have rewritten a draft from 2009! It's still as pertinent today, as anything that comes from God and His Word.

A woman in from a church I once attended had passed away. I was friends with her sister, also from our church. Her death notice stated she "went to be with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." It was a beautiful service. How can I say that? Because most all the people in attendance knew that she was in the presence of the Lord. She wanted to people to celebrate. We could celebrate that she was precious in the sight of the Lord!

What came as a complete surprise was that her sister was not there. She lay in ICU after having suffered congestive heart failure. She came out of that well. Thanks to technology one of her family members was able to transmit the service and even some of the comments of friends and family to her sister in the hospital! She had a front row seat!

So often we read notices that say a loved one is with the Lord. Or they expound on all the person's accomplishments and good deeds. But how many can really say they are with Jesus when they die? Not all churches believe the same thing. Different denominations have different beliefs. Our pastor then even said there have been many who have told him they don't believe in hell because God is a good God and wouldn't send anyone there. He proceeded to explain that yes, He would. We all deserve it…until we receive Christ. Not one of us is righteous on our own. (Romans 3:10)

So, do you know exactly where you will go when you die? How many can say with absolute certainty they are going to heaven? These are the questions our pastor asked as he presided over the service.

What is it that makes a person believe they will go to heaven? Do they believe in God? Are they basically good people? Are they churchgoers? Do they read the Bible every day? Do they sing in the choir? Are they great philanthropists? Are they good employees or employers? These are only a few questions and not one of those things is good enough to get someone to heaven. And we all know someone who we believe is not as good as we are! But what does God think?

Here is what the Bible, not always the Church, tells us: 

Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father [which includes going to heaven] except through Me. (John 14:6)

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(Matthew 7:13-14)

Our pastor said the Bible tells us that God doesn't want anyone to go to hell--that none should perish (2Peter3:9).  It is not God who sends us there but it is our choice. He went on to say for many people it's taking that step of faith and believing in and trusting in Jesus that is so difficult. For some the mention of the name of Jesus brings conviction and He becomes what the Bible calls a stumbling block...and yet He becomes our chief cornerstone! He can become the Rock of our salvation. (2Samuel 22:47) It was prophesied in Isaiah 8:14 - He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense ... and as a trap and a snare ...  Psalm 118:22 also states The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. And again in 1Peter 2:16 - ...Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame. A person may reject Jesus and His teachings but He won't change. He is still the only way to heaven and life. Rejection is not just outright not believing in Him, but also not believing all He has taught us in His Word. 

It's all about Jesus! Period. I can't ever say it enough. If we stumble in our lives and get to a point where we don't know who we can turn to, Jesus will be there, if we can get past our own pride and selves. That Chief Cornerstone can be our solid Foundation, the Rock of our salvation. But we should not let Jesus be our stumbling block. He's not our weakness, He's our strength. It doesn't mean we have it any easier in life but He alone provides that hope so many talk about. 

With what confidence can we say we are going to heaven? Acts 16:31 says Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household. That means in your heart. That means being open to knowing that some of what you have believed may not always be what God has said is the truth. Those pesky, no deadly, lies only the enemy, satan, would want you to believe. Life after death is only attained through Jesus Christ. And…we can have life even before death, through Jesus. There are not many ways, as even some preachers suggest, but one way. Few find it, as Jesus Himself has stated. It's a narrow, offensive way. Not all churches will say this. 

If we can soften our hearts and believe, let go of stubbornness and pride, letting the Lord do as He needs, giving us His wisdom and understanding…and life...then when we die we can trust in this:

2Corinthians 5:8 - Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies [in death], for then we will be at home with the Lord

Sunday, May 22, 2016

If You Want

Philippians‬ ‭2:13‬ ‭- is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Remember Who has created us. 
Remember His miraculous act of earth's creation. 
Then remember His miraculous act of man's creation...then woman.
Look at how He merged man and woman to produce a life. 
Remember when it all started back in the garden. 
Look back on how many years life has continued.
See how many have transpired between the garden and today.
See how you fit, miraculously, into His plan.
Imagine you knowing this God in your life today. 
It's a miracle, this life we have, both on earth and in Christ.

Were the events of original creation too long ago? Too far back to make a difference in today's shifting culture? Times change, so shouldn't we?

But look back at Who created us. He never changes. I the LORD never change. (Malachi 3:6) He never lies. God is not human that He should lie...(Numbers 23:19) He is truth. I am the way, the truth, and the life. (John 14:6) He is not so distant that we cannot see or know Him. He is but a call away. Consider and hear me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death... (Psalm ‭13:3) His, me, all of life, all that exists...miracle after proof. 

And greater still, new life today, at any age. It's a new spiritual life...created by God. A miracle. It is He who works in you both to will and to do His good pleasure...if you want to, if you want Him to. If you want. 

It's each of our decisions to do His believe in this Creator God and all He has said, has shown, has revealed in 
His Word. Receive Christ in your heart and His Holy Spirit and His Word become miraculously alive and life-filling. Another miracle. When this life in Christ occurs all makes more sense...this thing about sharing Him, following, devotion to His Word, this hunger for more. If you want...Him, life, understanding. If you want. 

He wants to work in us both to will and do His good pleasure. It's always about Who He is, what He can do. If we want. 

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


Acts 17:28a - ...for in Him we live and move and have our being.

As I read this scripture I saw a note in the margin of my Bible: our boundary.

We all know about boundaries. We have them in everything we do in our lives. We have boundaries in relationships...some are close, some are not. There are boundaries with what we eat...I'll eat that but not that. There are boundaries about where we will live...I like the country but don't ask me to live in the city, Arizona but not Florida! There are boundaries about the music we listen to...the books we read...the type of people we want as friends. You understand. I believe some of the choices we make are boundaries.

Another word study...a simple one this time. A boundary, according to Webster, is "something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent." In the Old Testament the definition was that of territory coming from a root word meaning "to border or set bounds." I wondered why there was nothing in the New Testament other than the "border of the hem of their garments." Perhaps the boundary had been set in the OT in the laws, the commandments. When Jesus came He did not come to eliminate the law, but to fulfill it. He became the boundary.

It suddenly occurred to me, though, that as a Christian I have boundaries as well. My boundaries should be within Him. I should set my standards according to His. He is to be our boundary. I realized that all that He has written in the Bible is a boundary. It is our tool for right and wrong and what He expects.

In Psalm 16 I noted the boundaries:

  • In You I put my trust (vs 1)
  • My goodness is nothing apart from You (vs 2)
  • You are my portion (vs 5)
  • You give me counsel (vs 7)
  • You are at my right hand (vs 8)
  • You are my redemption (vs 10)
  • You are my path of life, fullness of joy, eternal pleasures (vs 11)
Any promise of God is set up within those boundaries. Without those boundaries we are not secure. It's all about that relationship we need to have with our Father, with Jesus. If we maintain those godly boundaries, we are secure in them. We have nothing to fear, we have someone who will hear us when we call, we have the assurance of eternal life in Christ. It's all about being "in Him," "in relationship." "In" denotes a boundary: on the inside, within. His boundaries are not to cause us discomfort but to feel freedom within.

Colossians 2:3, 10 - in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge...and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Only His Grace

Ephesians 2:1-2 - And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
I started listening to a sermon last week, which I didn't finish. My thoughts wandered too quickly! I jotted a few sermon notes and ended up writing. ACH!

From the jotted notes: Before knowing Christ we walk and submit to a master, the Prince of the power of the air. When we come to Christ we walk and submit to a new Master, Jesus Christ. 

Then I started writing. 

I once was held captive by the lies of this previous master until I was set free by receiving Jesus Christ as my Savior. Walking with this old master, as more of Ephesians 2 discusses, I enjoyed the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of flesh and mind. It was my old nature, what I wanted to do, I did. My focus was self. Church--no, didn't need it. I knew who Jesus was. I believed in Him. What more did I need? Devote time to reading the Bible? Nah. Didn't understand it so what was the point? All those "begats" early on got to me every time. 

But God...who is rich in mercy and loved me...(Ephesians 2:4) wouldn't let me be. He hounded me! He grated on my nerves...or should I say I took offense to any mention of God, Jesus, "religious" discussion. I didn't even realize it. He used others to keep His name, His person, reappearing in my life. (Thank You, Lord!)

As verse 5 says, I was truly dead in my trespasses. Yet He never gave up. His grace and mercy would come through one day when I least expected it. His grace. Only His grace. How He does it is amazing--and a miracle. (If you need a miracle in your life...) For one so sure I didn't need Him, He broke through the barrier and so touched a calloused heart. He can do this to anyone. 

So here I am now, raised up with others like me in heavenly places...only in and through Christ Jesus. Only Jesus can do this. Only He can touch the deepest recesses of our hearts because only He knows what resides there. That should cause one to reverently fear this God! One cannot escape His urgings, although many have chosen to ignore them. 

We are told to just look at nature. Through it we see God and all His creativity and power. How does all of nature work? How does a seed know when to drop to the ground? How does the weather change from season to season? How does life begin, live, die and reseed itself to begin again? These thoughts are just too great for me. To know that God is in control of it all is good enough for me. I come with childlike faith.

Verse 8 gives us the whole point: by grace we have been saved through faith in Christ Jesus. Again, only God's grace. None of us are worthy apart from God. Grace is unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification (Merriam Webster). Strong's Bible Concordance puts it this way: the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues. 

We do not find Christ; we do not seek Him. He knows and searches for us first. No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John‬ ‭6:44‬) ‭Then we (sometimes) respond. It's amazing how He has loved us first while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:8) Our salvation is a miracle only God can perform.

While we think we can do good works to make God notice and approve, it isn't true. The good works we do take on a different meaning after receiving Christ. Verse 10 tells us we are HIS workmanship, created IN Christ Jesus. That sorta tells me being self-made, independent individuals means nothing to Him. What strengths, abilities and wisdom we have He has first given to us. 

If we can humble ourselves and believe this, we are going in the right direction. He raises the humble but brings down the proud. If you are not sure you really know Him, humble yourself before Him. He came and preached of His peace through salvation through Him...while we were yet sinners. He came to raise us all. Only He can do that. You cannot do it yourself. 

Ephesians‬ ‭2:13-14,17‬ ‭- But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation... And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Blessed is the Man

Psalm 1:1-3 - Blessed is the man 
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, 
Nor stands in the path of sinners, 
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, 
And in His law he meditates day and night. 
He shall be like a tree 
Planted by the rivers of water, 
That brings forth its fruit in its season, 
Whose leaf also shall not wither; 
And whatever he does shall prosper.

After our last Bible Study Fellowship gathering Wednesday, we were asked what we would study during the summer months. I have decided the Psalms. 

The first Psalm says it all. It's short. Read it in its entirety. Blessed is anyone who reads the Word, knows the basics of the Word, meditates on it and obeys it. We won't understand everything, but the basics are pretty understandable!

I had lunch with a friend yesterday. We got to talking about the state of the world and how despite all we see happening we have a sense of peace. We know, from the Word, these things must take place before Jesus returns. (Matthew 24) Ten years ago, even less, could we have imagined some of what is now acceptable? Some say times change and we must change with it. But God never changes and neither does His Word.

While evil has replaced good and while we shake our heads at it all, that peace that passes understanding lies deep in many souls. Do we want to see these things happen? No. Will we ever get used to it? No. But we know it was prophesied in the Bible thousands of years ago and it can be believed. How can one live with this peace?

Blessed are those who delight in His Word. There is a scripture relating to the Jewish people as they began their crossing over into the land that God had promised them. Basically, know God, fear Him, trust and obey Him and He will prolong life.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. ‭‭(Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:6-9‬)

When we know His Word today it will come to us for any situation tomorrow. It may be a promise, a conviction, exhortation, command, or comfort. We will be blessed, even in conviction, because God is wanting to do something good in us. There is a wealth of knowledge in this Book. A wealth of examples and truths. The Jewish men would bind small boxes to their foreheads (frontlets or phylacteries). These boxes held text of the laws as a reminder to keep them. We have Bibles to do the same. Is yours readily available? Do words from His Book come to mind? Are they written on the doorposts of your heart? 

The greatest truth you will find and delight in in His Word is that God sent His Son Jesus...He came down from heaven to be among He could die that we might have life. Blessed are you if you know this and have received Christ because you have heard the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

He will prolong our lives...we will be like those trees planted by the rivers of water. Jesus is our Living Water. There is a tree of life awaiting those who will look to Jesus. The prosperity mentioned is not of this world but is in the Treasure of heaven, Jesus. The Treasure that has been offered to us to bring us life. Blessed are you if you know and understand this because it comes from the Word God has given us. 

If you recognize the unsettled lifestyle these days, seek God. You will learn why it is as it is, what to do. Instead of fear, we can have hope. We can have that peace that passes all understanding. From a well known hymn, It Is Well With My Soul:
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Deuteronomy‬ ‭6:1-2 ‭- Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the LORD your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, that you may fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Preach the Gospel

Mark 16:15-16 - And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." 

I'm finishing a study in the Book of Revelation and this is what we have been urged to do as the weeks progressed...preach the Gospel! Why? Because as scripture teaches, Jesus is returning quickly.

Revelation may seem daunting, frightening and filled with imagery we can't always understand but all throughout the lessons we were told the most important thing to do was keep our eyes on Jesus, our salvation, rest, comfort and so much more.

We see a world growing confused and dark with many questioning why it is. The short answer is sin. Society and culture (in other words man) have decided what is right and wrong. The things of God have been replaced with the things of man. Evil is now good and good evil in all areas of life.

It's why I keep my eyes focused on Him. If we profess to be believers we put our trust in Him. We believe what His Word says. We take interest in it and learn from it.

Revelation is the last book of the Bible. Just as Genesis explains God's perfect creation, the last book of Revelation shows, amid the unsettling visions of disaster, His victorious return to judge evil and those who follow it. And He IS going to return. Maybe sooner than we know.

If we know Him, these events that must take place are not so scary. What we go through and may have to go through is far less than what Jesus went through for each of us. We go through our own trials; He endured all sins for all people who have lived, are living and will live. Who can imagine the agony?

To endure to the end we need to know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We need to know His character and attributes so that we can believe and grow in faith. We need to know His promises to those who truly believe. Those promises build our faith. Our faith should only be in Him. Faith in self or another will not survive. Jesus' promises are yes and amen.

Messages like these are not always well received. But it's as Jesus told His disciples: Go into all the world and preach the Gospel... Those who hear, listen and respond will be blessed. There is only one the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in the Man, Jesus.

Romans 10:14-15,17 - How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Friday, May 6, 2016

It's True!

Hebrews 10:36-37 - For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: for yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry.

It's true. Just as was prophesied throughout the Old Testament that there would be a Messiah to come to save God's people, Israel, it was a foreshadowing of the Savior who appeared in the New Testament and did come to save all who would believe and receive Christ Jesus as their Redeemer and Savior. Better than all that, it's true, He will return...quickly.

God promised Israel a Savior but when Jesus came and preached and taught about Himself and performed miracles that they might believe, His own people, the Jews, rejected Him. The religious leaders rejected Him; their responsibility, their pride, in leading daily, weekly, monthly and yearly sacrifices would have been in jeopardy. The works of these constant sacrifices for the atonement of people's sins never stopped, never ended their sins...kept those priests in business! But when Christ came He died for the sins of all who would trust and believe in Him. And He ended it all by saying it was finished. No more sacrifices necessary. He was the last sacrifice. It's true.

He came to seek and save all who were lost. He was rejected by His own...but life was given to "whosoever" would believe in Him. (John 3:15) Still today there are those "whosoevers" who do believe and also those who reject. Some who tell of His wondrous acts in their lives are often rejected as Jesus was. Some are so miraculously saved their testimony draws others. 

All that to say, it's true, Jesus will return. If Christ's prophesied coming the first time was a real event, so will His second prophesied return. There are too many things within the Bible that were written and happened for it not to. And Christ's words about salvation are just as relevant. The Bible tells us we cannot, nor will not, know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:13) So believers wait, sometimes impatiently. What's important is believing, trusting what He has said, always looking up to the Lord and forward to that day...and submitting to the One who has created all things. This amazing God. This faithful and true God. 

We can trust that this written Word is faithful and true. Jesus is also called the Word, made flesh; therefore, what He has spoken and promised is faithful and true. He never changes; His Word never changes. He is God and cannot lie. His Word (written and in the flesh) is truth and can be relied upon.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)
For I am the LORD, I do not change... (Malachi 3:6) 
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17) 

God is not a man, that He should lie, ... Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good? (Numbers 23:19)
For all the promises of God in Him [Jesus] are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. (2Corinthians 1:20)

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. (Proverbs 30:5) 
Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. (John 17:17)
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever. (Isaiah 40:8) 
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

So Jesus will return. It doesn't matter if it's today, tomorrow or ten years or more from now. What's important is that He has gone to prepare a place for us. (John 14:3) Anyone following the Lord, having given their lives to Him, who believes His Word, and waits for His return, is guaranteed a place in heaven that He has prepared for them. But it means more than just saying we know who God is; it's about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It's admitting our sin, repenting of it and desiring to know more about this Jesus who came to be our Savior. what Jesus says:
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
(Revelation 1:8)
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Revelation 3:11)
“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”
(Revelation 16:15)
“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.” (Revelation 22:12)
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)

It's true. He is coming soon. Whether we see it or not, we must be ready because meeting our Maker is also a reality. Like Israel in the Old Testament, our works will not secure a place in heaven. Only Christ will. It's never too late to ask Him to become your Savior and take away your sins. He will hear your call if you are sincere. You can receive the promise of eternal life and heaven. This also is true! 

2Peter 3:9 - 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, May 4, 2016

Narrowing Down

Psalm‬ ‭19:7‬ ‭- The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple...

I am nearing completion of a very powerful study in the Book of Revelation. As I was reading the notes for Lesson 27 (Bible Study Fellowship) I read this: What is your source of light right now? In this modern age, we are bombarded with words, images, information and advice. Where do you go for insight, understanding and help? David wrote, "The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple." God's Word has direction for you right now. You can begin now to live in the light that Will surround you forever. How will you conform to your thinking and living to His Word?

The scripture pertaining to King David above is Psalm 119:130. It is also similar to Psalm 19:7 above. What struck me was the statement: it gives understanding to the simple. The Word of God is a wealth of understanding. [It] gives prudence to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion— ‭‭(Proverbs‬ ‭1:4‬)  I love the unfolding of your words...

The words are for anyone. Light helps us to see, right? If we allow God's Word into our lives, we will see Him more clearly. His words will unfold before us. And when that happens we have life. The Source of our life is Jesus Christ. He is the Word...come down from heaven to become bring us life in Christ, first through His free gift of salvation, then through the power of His Holy Spirit, wisdom and knowledge, of Him and His Words. 

I remember one time many years ago. I must have been praying or studying or something. A silly thought ran through my head. I looked at all my various authored books in my bookshelves and wondered: What books would I take if we had a fire! Who asks that kind of question? Much to my surprise I received an answer in my spirit: There is only one Book you need to take. I knew Who gave me that answer and I knew it was true.

In our study of Revelation we are asked every week, what help did you receive from the notes? Mine that week was that we really do not need any other book. We search the scriptures. God's Word can be understood. It can make the simple wise. It's easy enough for a fifth grader to read. 

I frustrated myself for a few minutes because there were some things I struggled to understand in a couple of the last lessons! I presented it to God. I don't need to concern myself over the things I don't understand or can't grasp right now. The whole point is to stay focused on the Lord. That's been the entire 30 or so lessons in this Bible study. What peace. It was mentioned today that God will show us when we need it. Until then we trust in Him.

If we know we are in Christ and struggle, we go to Him. If we have need of an answer, we go to Him. He will let us know or give us understand in His timing. If we repeatedly delve into His Word some things become non-issues after awhile. There are so many examples to learn from. Accounts are repeated at times because the people in the Bible made the same mistakes more than once! 

Sometimes we wait for an answer, hopefully growing in patience or deepening our trust in God. Our main thing is to know Him, to keep our eyes on Him, to trust Him, to love Him with all our heart. He will work things out. But first we must get to that place of trusting Him. We must give our lives over to Him. It's not a bad thing to lose control of ourselves in order for God to be in control. In fact, the Word says in order to have life we must first lose it...and that in our weakness He is made strong. So contrary to worldly beliefs. It's all about Him...and so not about us.

While I still have books on my shelves, I find myself more engrossed in the Word. There's plenty in there that keeps me satisfied and it still has an abundance of wisdom and knowledge to gain to last more than my lifetime. This Word is contagious! This trusted Word gives life and peace. It is nourishing. Oh, and Jesus is contagious too. 

Isaiah‬ ‭26:3-4‬ ‭- You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength.