Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Good News Is...

Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭- Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”
To prevent the things of the world from causing chaos in our lives, we must stay focused on the things of God. Without this understanding we will fall into one of two categories. Either we will see the problems we all face with little hope and much despair or we will bury our heads in the sand, turning to things that will distract us from thinking about what we see or are experiencing.

There's another alternative. What I have suggested, what God suggests...that we stay focused on Him. Stay focused on His promises. Stay focused on what we know He has told us will happen but what He will do if we endure with Him to the end. He is the good news we need to hear about. There is only one true gospel message we can put all our hope, faith and trust in. He is what it is all about. It's not about me or politicians or businessmen or rock stars or Hollywood or sports figures or anyone else.

As I have occasionally tuned in to the Republican National Convention, I am often reminded of this. I have to look to God. We might hear things that sound good but how do we know for sure? Remember, this is man's agenda. It is about what man wants. Some of the things might be what Jesus wants, but Jesus plays no role in any of this...unless the candidate is a believer and follows Christ. 

We live in a very messed up world where evil is perceived as good and good evil. Only God knows the real intent of anyone's heart. And no matter who gets elected as our next president, God already today knows this. He will use this person to exact His will, just as He did in the Old Testament. There were kings who did what was right in the eyes of God and those who did evil. The good ones brought blessings to the people. The others did not. God's sole purpose is redeeming souls! If He has to use our country's leaders, He will. God get our attention by allowing difficulties. Through them we might just turn back to Him. 

In the Old Testament His people, Israel, were released from Egyptian captivity by His hand. They recognized it...for awhile...then forgot and went back to their old ways. So God withdrew and allowed enemies to win battles with them. Israel again prayed for God to help them and He did. This happened repeatedly. 

Lord, let this Light of the world be evident in these days. If things do not improve in this world, perhaps people's hope would if they knew the God of all creation...if people would humble themselves, call out to You. Not everyone has to be troubled. You would prefer that none would perish. Let more meditate on the goodness of Your Word and its promises. 

We are at a time when God is needed more than ever in this world filled with hatred and violence. Even in this country with our own 
share of the same. If we want to make America great again we need to humble ourselves before our God and ask for His help. Man alone is nothing. Will we see either of these happen? Not so sure. 

I have seen all the protesting, flag burning and unrest. Most of the time these people don't really know what they want. Here's what God has to say about that: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9-10‬)  People sow what they reap. 

I love that the Lord has promises. They are promises that will not be broken. They are for everyone willing to humbly submit to Him and call Him Lord. He is the only hope. Through Him we are free. It may not seem like it now, but when all is said and done, it will all make extraordinary sense to those who have trusted Him. 

Exodus‬ ‭13:3 - And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. ...”

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Battle is the Lord's

Psalm 55:18 - He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me...

A message from 2009. I don't remember what the battle was but what I said is still true. A good reminder.

Ah, finally I have come to a point where I have happily, peacefully and gratefully allowed myself to let go of something that was burdening me, continually upsetting me and causing irritation. The peace comes from the Lord. I know that I have been fighting a battle that only God can win and I've been trying on my own to do His work. It's both awful and joyful when you finally realize you've been subconsciously arguing with God, or just plain ignoring the still small voice in your spirit.

This battle isn't against a physical enemy. It's a spiritual battle, one that the devil would just as soon see me continue to fight. Why do we do this to ourselves? We sometimes know all along we're fighting against Him and probably causing more harm to a situation than good. But you know what? I love the feeling of freedom and peace when you just let it go. It's a great "aha" moment. There was no struggle but a form of resignation that was not uncomfortable at all. Again, the peace comes from the Lord. I can say that once you've tasted that kind of peace and you know what happened, you hope it will happen more frequently in other areas of life!

When you know...when you sense that nagging feeling...and you are in the midst of a troubled spirit and a, or some, circumstance(s) is causing you grief...consider with the Lord what you should do. I think I can fairly say that when I let go I gave up control and that's just fine. It wasn't doing me much good anyway. 

The Bible talks about kicking against the goads. Boy, if this isn't a lesson in action. You just can't know how thrilled I am to have allowed the Lord to just plunk into my spirit this decision to let God do for me what I cannot. And I humbly and so ecstatically thank God for the lesson. I really do come from some stubborn material. Now He can get in there while I have gotten myself out of His way and let Him do His work in His time, not mine. Who knows, the results might come even faster if He handles a situation...ya think?

Who knows us better? Who knows the beginning from the end? Who's the One who puts all the pieces of the puzzle into place for results to take place? Job asked the question: "Can anyone teach God knowledge, since He judges those on high?" Another question in Romans 11:34 asks, "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has become His counselor?" What right do I have to think that I can outdo Him in anything? My only question to Him today is, "Why on earth did it take so long?!" And a request as well, Don't ever let me be so stubborn again.

I'm glad God has patience. He needs a lot of patience with me, I fear. I seem to be a slow learner in some respects. I'm just grateful that He hasn't given up on me and keeps pushing me to do better. And this comes at a time when I've been wondering if He's been doing anything at all in me. It's good to know that when we allow God to fight our battles, big or small, He will be victorious and so will we...without our help, surprisingly!!! Just remember, it doesn't have to be a physical battle, but mental or spiritual. Whatever kind of battle, the Lord is there for you if you allow Him.

I especially like this because it's so true:

Exodus 14:14 - The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Loving our Enemies

Matthew 24:12-14 - And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Ugh. As I read this scripture I contemplated the thought that has been repeatedly going through my head these days, Lord, I know we are to love as You do, but I can't do this without Your help. We are called to love our enemies but when they wreak havoc on innocent people, how do I do that? How do I speak Your word in love like You do? You used words of offense at times. You spoke directly, without sugar-coating Your words. You pointed out sin. And You spoke the truth. Everything You have said is truth. 

The part that bothered me in the verse above was the love of many will grow cold. I wondered if that applied to believers as well as unbelievers. I can see unbelievers growing angrier with enemies or governments or people who some would call idiots. We can so easily spout angry words.

Quickly, though, the thought came...what if this refers to believers? (It does not.) But, might it not be possible? If we do not maintain our focus on Him, couldn't this happen? It's why it's important to keep our minds planted in His Word. And then, aren't we also to love what God loves and hate what He hates? That's to be done with righteous judgment. How many of us truly have righteous ways of judging? Do I?? 

I spent the day with a friend this week and at lunch we talked about how we believe we are in some critical days. God is wanting to prepare His bride, His church, those who believe His return is imminent and possibly soon. He says He wants a bride without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5). He prunes us to remove unwanted, unnecessary faults or sins, that we might become spot and wrinkle-free, laundered, as it were, by His blood. If we reject the pruning, we basically reject Him. If we are not being pruned, well, maybe we aren't right with Him. 

So, this love thing has been cropping up a lot in my thoughts, along with criticism and judgment. They go hand in hand in hand! And yet, like I said before, Jesus spoke words that were difficult to hear. He spoke the truth in love. How did He do that? Was it His demeanor or a gentle voice? I can't help but think all a person had to do was look at Him to recognize a difference about Him. I think about if He were to enter my house how I would react. I think I could not stand but fall face down before Him.

This wasn't where I had planned to go with all this but it is linked...loving our enemies (and neighbors) and terrorism. Terrorism is defined as the use of violent acts to frighten people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal, or as a means of coercion. (Webster) There is no place in this world free from terror. We can be angry with the senseless loss of lives if that happens, but we must also realize that these people, our enemies, are as lost as we were at one time, without Christ. They need Him too.

The good thing about knowing Christ is we do not need to be fearful. We will be disgusted, but we will also be constantly reminded that what we see happening in this world is to be expected; it has been prophesied.  The Word has shown us what we need to know and understand. He has and will reveal what is true to those who want to know. He will reveal His promises to those who believe, trust and have faith in Him. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17)...and faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

And we who endure in these beliefs till the end will be saved...from not only the terror in the world but saved from our own destructive sin. There is a greater terror coming. It's one that happens when we are not secure in our belief about Jesus. I hate to imagine what that would be like. It's why knowing Jesus is so important. It's why I continue these blogs. In case someone "hears." The Word says there will be scoffers (2Peter 3:3). I don't mind. I know where my hope and peace comes from. I do what Jesus calls us to do.

There is a very real presence of evil in this world. We are all born into it, live it and sometimes die in it. If we know Jesus Christ, we can be secure in Him. Evil will always be around. So will Jesus! He is always available to someone who wants to know Him and trust Him.

John 14:1,27 - Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Take Out the Kinks in Thinking!

John 1:14 - And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

I've been having trouble with my neck for which I'm seeing a chiropractor and getting an occasional massage. Yesterday I had that appointment with the massage therapist. 

Let's back up a little. I was so exhausted the night before I thought for sure I'd sleep good. I did, sort of, until 3:00. By 4:30 I was making coffee. I had a full, active day and by 4:15 in the afternoon I was writing this blog. Wide awake, after my massage. 

I was energized, not exhausted. My whole attitude was different. There were so many things I wanted to accomplish. But most of all I wanted to read an article, a pamphlet on heaven (which I plan to scrutinize when I get to it) and a couple Christian newspapers.

The article I read was The Truth About Truth written by my pastor, Terry Fischer. And somewhere in the middle of it I realized how awake I was...rarin' to go. Like all the kinks were out of my thinking! 

So where did I stop? Right after Pastor Terry penned these words: ...the very thing we must understand about truth is that it is more than fact, it is a person by the name of Jesus Christ. ... If truth is rejected, Christ is rejected. If truth is exalted, Christ is exalted. Since Jesus is also the word of God (John 1:14) and the word of God is truth, you therefore cannot reject the truth of the word and still claim that you accept the Lord Jesus Christ.

This is my story and I stick with it...always. This is the very important one thing we all should learn and understand. And maybe the more I write about it, one day it might be just the words that will speak to someone. I know Jesus would want that. It's all about Him, after all.

Maybe more people need to get the kinks out of their thinking. Jesus would approve. He would love for more people to know Him and His truth. It makes a big difference in our kinky thinking! 

There's been a conglomeration of thoughts in my own head about current events and I'm so very thankful I know Jesus Christ and am in relationship with Him. I stopped reading the article and thanked Him for what I hope is a turnaround in my energy level...and hopefully, some better nights' sleeping. I do know I awoke with something bothering me. As the day wore on, I was reminded that when all else fails or disappoints, He is all that matters. (This had nothing to do with the current news.)

Anyway, what Pastor says is true, because it comes right out of the Word of God, spoken by the Word who is Jesus. If we claim to love God but deny the truth of His Word, we do, essentially, reject Jesus. 

There's another point. In order to know what the truth is, we first have to receive Christ into our lives that He might, through His Spirit, give us a more well-defined understanding of His Word. Then the Word will become truth. As Pastor also quoted, And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)

In this world we see a lot of things that make us uncomfortable. The news is replete with stories of violence, deceit or disgust, all evil. I can say without a doubt that it doesn't bother me like it used to (but I have to keep it in check!). I know that Jesus has told us these things, and many more, must happen...and then the end shall come. To me that is very freeing. The return of Christ. If not in my lifetime, I know that after my passing, there is freedom also. Freedom from hell.

I'm not afraid because I know the Truth who is Jesus. If He says He will return, I believe He will. I will not fear because He has said if we know Him, there is nothing to fear. His truth, His promises give me peace. 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. (John 14:27)

We can all know this truth. That's what's so amazing. Jesus loves us all. He doesn't give more to one than another. He plays no favorites. If one's heart is set on Him, His heart is set back on them. In fact, He loves us before we first love Him. Want to know absolute truth? Try Jesus. Be at peace. Know freedom. It can remove the kinks in your thinking.

Psalm 27:1 - The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?

Sunday, July 10, 2016

No Sin?

1John 1:8-10 - If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

There is always a way out. God gives us a way out of the sin nature we have. The Bible has shown in so many numerous ways all our faults. The Word of God reveals them. If we don't know what they are, how can we confess them?

Maybe we don't want to know, don't want to confess our sins. Some like them, as we see in general in the world. But what about me...or you? Do we recognize our sins? Do we take the time to confess them? Who do we confess them to? 

We need not go anywhere to confess. It's why Jesus Christ came down from heaven to live among sinful man, so that if we would believe, trust and confess Him...then confess our sins to Him...knowing He would forgive us of them, He would do just that.

So once we have confessed Christ, we can confess our sins regularly to Him. This can be done from our own home. It can be done immediately when we recognize our a car, at a baseball game, at work, on the golf course, when a word is spoken that should not have. You get the idea. God knows...

Jesus would like us all to come to Him, let Him save us before the unthinkable happens, death without Christ. Only He can cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Without Him we are in sin. Sin is a sin is a sin. This is His truth.

A decision for Christ is a choice. We are all sinners. We all need Jesus. If we confess Him as our Savior and confess to Him we are sinners and be mindful of confessing sin daily, we are...cleansed of all unrighteousness.   

Romans 3:10-12 - As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Light and Dark

1John‬ ‭1:5-7 - This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Have you heard the message? Has it been declared to you? Have you listened? 

I heard a few times but I didn't listen. I scoffed those whose messages were telling me, not directly but in general, that Jesus was the only way. Of course...I knew who Jesus was. What more did I need? I had been baptized as a baby. I went to church as a child, went to Sunday school and confirmation classes on Saturdays. What more did I need?

Didn't knowing and believing Jesus lived, died and rose again put me in the category of believer? 

Things change when the true light is revealed. When that light exposes the darkness (the presumptions and/or misunderstandings) we all live in until He pierces the so-called darkness we have and reveals the truth, the light, to us. 

The truth is, we do not know the truth until we come to a point in our lives where Jesus Himself, through His Holy Spirit, touches our heart, and changes our thinking process. (Oh, horrors...change?) The Light of Christ has exposed the darkness and revealed the truth. I have no idea how this happens. I was far from desiring God at the time He opened my eyes. Then little by little the truths were revealed. He revealed Himself.

Again, I don't know how this happens but in a moment's time I 
was exposed to the light of Christ and I've not been the same since. I allowed Him to step into my life and begin the transformation. 

Now there is a sweet fellowship with the Lord and others who believe as I do. This is no strange thing. It is legitimate. Jesus is the light of the world. He says so: Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." (‭‭John‬ ‭8:12‬)  How can anyone who believes Jesus argue that? 

How do I explain the change, the process? I was ripe for it. We may not even realize it. Then once, twice or several times later, we hear a message and instead of pushing it aside we receive it. We put aside all the things we've believed that may have been false. Religion. It's not about that. It's about Jesus. Period. No other person. Ever. 

Jesus revealed Himself to me. He has shown me what truth is. I do have this fellowship. He has cleansed me from sin. I just heard...and listened. Was it hard at first, thinking I'd been right for so long? Yes. But I listened...

John‬ ‭14:6,19b‬ ‭- Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. ...Because I live, you will live also.”

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Temporary or Eternal?

1John‬ ‭1:1-4‬ ‭- That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
I've been hanging out in 1John. There is a wealth of wisdom here, as in any book of the Bible.

Jesus' disciples had the privilege of seeing and knowing Him, even doubting, like Thomas. They spoke of what they saw and knew. By word of the mouths that saw Jesus, this was passed on down through the ages. And all was recorded in the written Word. 

Today we are to believe and have faith in only what we have heard or read about...what we do not see. It's called Jesus Christ. This faith is an incredible gift that God gives to those who want it. Faith is eternal. It is trusting God for everything. Faith in what we see is fleeting. It won't last. 

Oh, the disciples saw, touched, heard and then declared the 
scripture above:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life—the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us—that which we have seen anheard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.

But because of their dedication and testimony here is what we can declare:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3)

I put my faith and trust in He who cannot be seen but can be known through the testimony of His Word. It's why I read it. It's a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, comfort and admonition. Without Him, without His testimony and admonition, we are trying to do life on our own, in our own strength and wisdom. Are we smarter than our God? 

In this world today we need as ever before that faith in what was written for our understanding, that we may have peace, the peace that only our Savior can bring. The peace He wants all to have through relationship with Him, which means faith in the unseen...yet which is revealed in and through His Word. It is my joy. 

I've heard more people comment that they would not want to be living today without this relationship with Jesus. To live apart from the one who provides the strength needed for any circumstance is unfathomable to me. Without Him there is no hope. And it is impossible to please God without that faith. Something to think about.

2Corinthians‬ ‭4:16-18‬ ‭- Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Psalm 19:7-11 - The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them Your servant is warned, and in keeping them there is great reward. 

I was reviewing a blog from six years ago. I came across this paragraph:

All I know, and it's something that is generally understood by those in relationship with Christ, is we have to know where and who we are, what or Who we stand for and what we as believers in Christ are called to do. We need to be ready with the words to speak when others just don't get what's going on. We need to be strong and secure in our relationship with the Lord first and then help others to see where our strength lies. We have to be willing to share what we a light in the darkness of the world. Jesus was the Light that helped me to see and part of our responsibility is to shine that same light to others. 

This was six years ago. It seems to be a good starting point today! We are seeing uncomfortable and disturbing things occurring in this world. There are uprisings and a so-called need for tolerance for just about everything under the sun. We have a nightmare of a presidential election looming before us. Neither candidate, nor party, at this point, has what this country really needs. hope is in God. He raises up and brings down kings. Jesus is the King of kings. Life without that understanding will appear to be so out of control. God…is not the author of confusion. God…brings to light the things hidden in darkness. God…is our salvation. No man or government will settle all that’s going on in this world, in our nation, without first relying on God. Sorry, it’s true! So it ain't gonna happen unless the world completely changes their thinking and I don't think that will happen either.

I stand on the Word of God. I have some understanding of what it says. I know that we are all sinners. I know that government cannot save us, money cannot save us, giving in to and tolerating everyone’s whims will not save us. There is a vast amount of bad in this world, some of which is believed to be good. It appears there is no structure anymore. 
  • Life is about self, my wants and needs. 
  • If it feels good, do it. 
  • Cheat when you have to or if you feel like it. 
  • Anything goes. 
  • The majority is always right.

Boy, what a far cry from what God says. 

I see all that’s happening in the world through what God's Word has shown us. Every time we hear of another terrorist attack I think of  Matthew 24:3 where Jesus’ disciples ask when the sign of His coming will be. His answer is it all starts with wars and rumors of wars…nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom and a beginning of sorrows. 

Aren’t we seeing people rising against people? Sorrows in the form of anger and rebellion? What for? Religious rights, power, and sorry to say, for the right of anyone to do what they desire, be who they desire or say what they desire. Truth sayers are looked down upon while the others are elevated. It’s just a matter of time when truth will come forth. And it’s all part of the very plan of God. 

I sound angry and disgusted. Partly true, but partly I'm sad that many don't know or recognize or even want to know what God's Word says. I stand firm. Some day I believe some people’s eyes will be opened. They will wonder why this is all happening. Hopefully they will know where to turn for real answers. Those answers won’t always be what they want to hear, but maybe some will come around. 

The Bible has clearly shown us what will come. It’s why it was written. If we follow this Book, know this Book and believe it, none of what’s happening should be either frightening or a surprise. Those in Christ just keep plugging along hoping changes of heart and mind will occur.

The world is very dark. But there is a very real Light, one who exposes all darkness, who is real, tells the truth, strengthens, comforts, protects. His name is Jesus Christ. It’s where I put my trust. I see the world growing darker and more corrupt in so many ways. Jesus is the only Person left I cling to for hope, truth and the realization that someday, in Him, through Him, there is a better life for me and anyone else who proclaims His name. 

Some people consider the things of this world of much higher significance than the things of God. As the Bible says, Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)  I await the Lord.  I am content with the things I have but I know that much better awaits ahead. 

I’ve learned this through a relationship with Christ, through His Word, through His testimony, His commandments, statutes and laws. I know that without Him I would be nothing. I know that I am not where I should be. I also know that I trust Him. I trust Him with my life. I trust Him with my future. I trust that at the moment I need Him most, He will be there. I know that I could not fathom a life of trial without knowing Him. That day will come. His grace will be sufficient for each moment. 

Ask me and I will tell you what I know. Ask me how I found my hope. Ask me if I mean what I say. Ask me what the disciples asked Jesus about when He will return. My prayer is that the Lord would give me a voice other than a blog. I pray for the opportunities to share. 

May our hearts be much affected with the excellence of the word of God; and much affected with the evil of sin, and the danger we are in of it, and the danger we are in by it. - Matthew Henry

Psalm 18:30 - As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

It's Alive and Growing

Hebrews‬ ‭4:12‬ ‭- For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
...where believers are deeply committed to practicing their faith and passing it on to the next generation in a living way, there will be life and multiplication. As the saying goes, if it's alive, it grows. - Michael Brown

I read an article recently about the old fashioned way of Christianity and a progressive way that is taking shape. The quote above is in the article. People today want a Christianity that suits their lifestyle rather than the way God intended it to the biblical standards set up for us in the Bible. 

If we do things the way God intended we are not oppressed but made alive. Like the scripture says, the Word of God is alive. It is life to those who have been touched by God, filled with His Spirit and who are rooted and grounded in His Word. 

Again, God never changes; therefore, neither does His Word. What sort of God would He be if He changed to suit our needs? He is infallible; we are not. Times change, but He never will. It's why the road to destruction grows larger while the road to eternal life grows narrower. We want to do life our way, not the way God, commands.

But then we don't like being commanded. We are pride-filled, stubborn individuals until He opens our eyes. We want things our way and we want them now. I've been known to be impatient when the microwave isn't fast enough! 

God has only wanted to give us the best. Receiving the best starts with receiving Christ, the greatest treasure we can receive. He offers us the greatest gift possible, eternal life, in and only through Christ. If we are serious about Him and His Word, all His promises are, the Bible says, yes and amen. We are also taught that we live by faith, not by sight. (2Corinthians 5:7) And Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) It's important to have faith...not in self or a church or a pastor or our job or government or money, but God. People can say they have faith, but it must be in God or it is not faith at all. 

The promises of eternal life with Christ and in Christ far outweigh the alternative. We may not see in the here and now all the promises (that's the faith without sight), but some promises are for us today. These bring life; they keep us motivated in our faith and trust, even if we don't see what tomorrow brings. There is the peace that passes all understanding with no fear of the future. Contentment. Knowing that the trials we face today are small considering the glory that lies ahead for us in heaven. The book of Revelation tells us about this. It's that end result that keeps me going. The very big promise of eternal LIFE.

I just had to see if there was a count for the number of promises in the Bible. Bible Gateway came up with over 5400. It also stated this: The promises of God reveal his particular and eternal purposes to which he is unchangeably committed and upon which believers can totally depend. These promises are, however, conditional upon obedience on the part of believers.

There is always this condition. Hah, as I wrote that, it came to mind that it is our condition that causes us to need God! It is the very reason God sent His Son. Our sinful condition. But God...gave us a way out, through the unconditional love of Christ and His death on that cross. And here comes that word again...God gave us His Son in death...that we might have life. When we give in to that condition of God, that we receive Christ to secure eternal life, then those promises are for us. 

As I have said many times, it's not just about knowing who He is or what church we go to (or don't go to) or the amount of good we think we do. We must know that we have Him living in us through His Holy Spirit. And that can only happen if we truly desire Him and seek Him with our whole heart. 

How do we know we know Him? Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (‭‭1John‬ ‭2:3-4)  That's a pretty hard statement. It means believing the Bible is true, for today as much as it was yesterday. When God says something is wrong, it is wrong. Whatever He says, He means. We still can never be perfect but if we are in Christ we are covered by His blood, being perfected and will attain perfection when He returns. 

So back to the beginning...we cannot want a Christianity that suits our lifestyle rather than by the Bible, the very Word of God. This world is doing this and this nation is also. If we as individuals or a nation fail, and we all do, we seek God's forgiveness. So often in the Bible God has forgiven if forgiveness was asked for. Do you see the stubbornness, the rebelliousness being played out today?

...where believers are deeply committed to practicing their faith and passing it on to the next generation in a living way, there will be life and multiplication. As the saying goes, if it's alive, it grows. - Michael Brown  It's why I am committed.

For those who believe and have faith in God, whose Word is in them, both Jesus the Word of God and the written Word, it is alive and growing. Hallelujah. Is that Word in you? 

2Corinthians 1:20-22 - For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us. Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.