Habakkuk 2

Then the Lord replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay."

Friday, March 16, 2018


The Things Above
Colossians 3:1-4 ESV

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

In order for us to be raised with Christ to newness of life in him, we have to first of all die with him to sin and self. For, Jesus Christ died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness.

When we are born again of the Spirit of God, we are created in him to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. The old has passed, the new has come. Our new lives in Christ Jesus should not look like our old lives in the flesh. For, Jesus delivered us out of slavery to sin, and he freed us to now walk in his righteousness and holiness; to live godly lives, pleasing to him.

So, as new creatures in Christ Jesus, free from bondage to sin, our focus in this life should be on our Lord, on following him wherever he leads us, and on being his servants and witnesses in advancing the kingdom of heaven. Our focus should no longer be on pleasing ourselves, but our desire should be for our Lord, to please him in every way. For, he died on that cross that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. Therefore, we are to honor God in all that we do and say.

Put to Death
Colossians 3:5-11 ESV

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.

The whole purpose of Jesus’ death on a cross for our sins was to free us from our slavery (addiction) to sin, and to free us to walk with him in his righteousness and holiness. It was not just to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we leave this earth. He died to radically transform our lives and to conform us to his image. So, in faith, not only do we die with him to sin, but daily, by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh. Daily we take up our cross and follow our Lord in obedience.

So, how is this accomplished? How do we put to death sexual immorality, impurity, evil desire, idolatry, wrath, lies and slander, etc.? Well, first and foremost, we don’t do this in our flesh, in our own strength. We do it in the power and working of God’s Spirit now living within us, as we cooperate fully with his work of grace in our lives, i.e. as we yield to our Lord in following him in obedience and in denying the flesh. Then, in the power of God’s Spirit, we put these things of the flesh to death in our lives.

We also do this by not making any provision for the flesh. In other words, we cut out of our lives everything which is leading us into sin or which is hindering our walks of faith. We can’t be pure in mind and heart, in other words, if daily we are consuming and being entertained by the garbage of the world. We can’t play with temptation. We can’t leave doors open and then expect that we won’t walk through them, in other words. If we have repeatedly fallen into the same sin, then we have to take a hard look at what leads us there. And, then we need to throw those things off.

Also, you have probably heard the saying, “If you don’t make a plan to succeed, then you plan to fail.” There is a lot of truth in that. Many people repeat the same sins over and over again because they are still operating in the flesh, they are going by their feelings, they are not depending on the Lord, they are not willing to cut out of their lives what is leading them into sin, and they don’t have a plan in place for what to do when they are tempted. Thus, when tempted, they tend to cave rather than fight.

Let me remind you, though, that scripture is real clear on the fact that if we continue in these sinful practices, and we walk in them, in lifestyle, that we do not have the hope of heaven but a fearful expectation of judgment. Genuine faith in Jesus Christ results in death to sin and living to righteousness, not continuing in willful sin against God as our regular practice. While it is true that, in our flesh, we may not be able to conquer these sinful habits, it is also true that in the power of God’s Spirit at work within us, we are mighty conquerors through him who loves us.

Put on Love
Colossians 3:12-15 ESV

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

I once heard a riddle: When is a thief not a thief? When he stops stealing? No! For he is just a thief between jobs. He is no longer a thief when he stops stealing and then he works for his money and he gives generously to others.

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ, and we are born again of the Spirit of God, the transformation of heart and mind, of the Spirit of God, which takes place in our lives, is like metamorphosis, i.e. like a caterpillar being turned into a butterfly. The old has gone, the new has come. We were of the flesh. Now, we are of the Spirit. We once lived to please the flesh. Now we live to please the Spirit. This is not saying we will never sin again, but that sin should no longer be what rules our lives, but Jesus should be our Lord.

So, if we used to engage ourselves in impurity, now we live in purity. If we once were liars, now we make truth our practice. To every put off there is a put on, in other words. If we lived selfishly, now we practice being unselfish and giving of ourselves to others. The old us is replaced with the new us, not just positionally, but practically in our day-to-day lives. 

Every day I can choose to remain in bed and gratify my flesh, or when God prompts me to get up in the early hours of the morning, I can get up and obey him. I can choose to respond to my circumstances with fear, or with faith. And, I can choose to hold a grudge against someone, or I can choose to forgive, etc.

Mutual Encouragement
Colossians 3:16-17 ESV

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Now, this is essential to everything we do in this life. We have to be in the Word of God daily, drinking it into our lives, and then doing what it teaches us.

Now, we are not bound by all the requirements of the Old Covenant Relationship God had with his people, but we are to follow the teachings of the New Covenant, which can be found in the New Testament, many of which repeat what God taught his people under the Old Covenant. Basically, the central message of scripture, both in the Old and the New Testaments, is that we must surrender our lives to God, that we must forsake our sins and our idols, and that we must follow him in obedience to his will for our lives.

Then, as we are following our Lord in obedience, we can encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to do the same. For truly the way in which we are to encourage one another is not by lying to each other to make ourselves and themselves feel better about our flesh. To encourage means to inspire, to hearten, to reassure, to urge or incite, to support, to help, to persuade, to nurture, to motivate, and to influence, etc. It is not just an “Atta Boy.” It is meant to move us all to follow our Lord in obedience.

So, I encourage you today, if you are still giving way to the flesh, as a matter of course, that you surrender your life to Jesus Christ today, and that you submit to his will for your life. I encourage you to allow the Spirit of God to have his way in your life, and that, by the Spirit, you put to death those deeds of your flesh, and that you walk in holiness and purity from this day forward. For, it is not by our own human strength that we are able to conquer the flesh and resist Satan, but it is as we yield to God and we follow him in surrender that we are able to walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Broken and Contrite  
An Original Work / May 13, 2012

I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.

Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.

Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.

Friday, March 16, 2018, 1:50 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray, in Jesus’ name.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Boldness for Christ

Peter and John were apostles of Jesus Christ. One day they healed a man who had been lame from birth. The man whom they healed was now walking and leaping and praising God.

The people who witnessed this were filled with wonder and amazement at what had just happened to the man. So, Peter spoke to the people, and he gave glory to Jesus Christ as truly being the one who had healed this man.

But, Peter did not stop just at that, for he seized the opportunity to teach the people about who Jesus Christ was and is, too.

Nonetheless, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees were greatly disturbed over what the apostles were teaching the people about Jesus. So, they arrested the apostles, and they put them in jail until the next day.

“But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand” (Acts 4:4 NASB).

The next day the apostles were brought before the rulers, elders and scribes, who then questioned them regarding by what power, or in what name, they had healed that man. Again, Peter let it be known that it was by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom they had crucified, that the man stood there before them in good health.

No Other Name
Acts 4:11-12 NASB

“He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

I love how the apostles never shied away from talking about Jesus, and how they so often seized the opportunities presented to themselves to tell the people about him, about who he was and is, and about what he did for us. And, they did this knowing full well that they would probably be persecuted for their faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ, too.

There is salvation in none other than Jesus Christ. He, being God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered like we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. But, he was hated by the leaders in the temple of God, for they were jealous of him, and so they had him hung on a cross to die.

Yet, it was the will of God that he should suffer and die on a cross, and be resurrected, too, from the dead, on our behalf. For, through his death and resurrection he put sin to death for us so that we might be delivered out of slavery to sin, and so that we might walk with him in his righteousness and holiness, and have eternal life with God in heaven.

Having Been with Jesus
Acts 4:13-14 NASB

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply.

I have always loved this passage of scripture. I love how the leaders and rulers in the temple of God identified these men as having been with Jesus. That has always spoken to me about my life, about our lives, as followers of Jesus Christ. Would it be obvious to others that we have, that I have been with Jesus by the things that I, that we say, and by the things which we do?

The other aspect of this which I find so beautiful is that the leaders and rulers in the temple had observed that the apostles were uneducated and untrained men, and yet they spoke with such confidence, which amazed them. And, this was followed by the fact that they began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

What this says to me is that they recognized that these men, in and of themselves, were acting and speaking beyond their own natural abilities. So, it was obvious that something extraordinary had taken place here.

And, this is how it should be in our lives, too, that when we are following Jesus, and we are doing what he says to do, in his power within us, that we will be able to do and to speak beyond our natural abilities so that God can use us in miraculous ways in other people’s lives, but also so that He gets all the glory for it, and not ourselves, because we know this came from HIM.

To Not Spread Further
Acts 4:15-18 NASB

But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.” And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.

Yet, when we are following Jesus Christ, and we are doing what he has called us to do, and we are operating in his power and his strength within us, even if people do recognize that we have been with Jesus, or perhaps because of that acknowledgment, we will often be persecuted for our faith and testimonies for Jesus Christ, too. And, this is because we serve as a threat to Satan’s kingdom. Thus, he is the one behind the persecution.

So, there is a campaign going on in our world and in the church today to both dilute the gospel message, to take away its power to deliver from sin, and to blend it in with other religions under the guise of promoting love, peace and good will toward all humanity. For, Satan is still trying to destroy Jesus Christ, his gospel, and his servants.

We Cannot Stop Speaking
Acts 4:19-20 NASB

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Oh, how I love their response! Even though they faced possible beatings, imprisonment, or even death, for their testimonies for Jesus Christ, and for their boldness in speaking out publicly about him, they did not give in to intimidation. They courageously responded by telling their rulers that they could not comply with their order.

For, you see, although scripture does teach us that we are to obey our leaders and rulers, i.e. those in positions of authority over us, scripture also teaches that obedience to God is foremost. In other words, if human leaders command us to do something which would be in direct disobedience to God, then we must always obey God, and not human beings.

And, this goes, too, for if our church leaders guide and lead us in the wrong direction. If they counsel or teach us something which is in direct conflict with the teachings of Christ, and of the full gospel message of our salvation, then we must follow Christ and his Word and not follow human teachers.

We need to be very discerning about all of that these days for there is much deception going on within the church, and coming from the mouths of our leaders. Thus, we should be testing what we hear against the Word of Truth to make certain that what we are listening to is truly the Word of God and not the words of humans in their deceitful scheming.

And, then we need to stand on the Word of God, and not give way to intimidation or to persecution. But, we must speak boldly in Jesus’ name, in his power and strength within us. For, there are many liars and deceivers out there who profess Christ as Savior of their lives, but who are truly wolves in sheep’s clothing. They have snuck into our churches largely unnoticed, and they are leading many of God’s people astray.

So, this is a time in history, perhaps like no other, when it is essential that we are bathing our minds with the Word of Truth so that we will discern error and manipulations of humans, and so that we will not be among those who are being led astray. But, head knowledge alone will not help us in combatting Satan’s lies. We must not only be in the Word, but we must be listening to our Lord, and then we must be doing what he teaches us, too.

My Sheep / An Original Work  
June 24, 2012 / Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 2:03 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Lamp Shining

Precious Promises
2 Peter 1:1-4 NASB

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

Is there more than one kind of faith? Yes! There is human faith and there is false, disingenuous faith. There is strong faith and there is weak faith. Yet, with regard to our salvation, there is God-given faith, which is divinely persuaded of God as to our need of salvation from sin, and of his righteousness and holiness. Without this God-given faith we do not have salvation from sin. For, not one of us can come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to faith in him.

We can do nothing in and of ourselves to earn or to deserve our salvation from sin. This is of God, from beginning to end. The Father first draws us, then he persuades us, and then the Spirit transforms us. Via the Spirit of God, we are then crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are risen with Christ to newness of life in Him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

So, if this is genuine salvation, and we are truly born again of the Spirit of God, then the transformation which takes place in our hearts will also be of God, according to his will, his purposes and plan for our lives.

In other words, when we have the kind of faith as the apostles had, it will be genuine faith, and it will reveal itself as genuine because it will be evident that we have become partakers of the divine nature, and that we have escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. It doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but it does mean that sin is no longer our master, for Jesus Christ set us free from our slavery (addiction) to sin, so that we can now walk in his holiness and righteousness.

But, because this faith is of the Spirit of God, and it is genuine faith, it is also empowered of the Spirit of God to be able to forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, and to now walk in his holiness and righteousness, and to live godly lives, pleasing to him. In His power and strength within us, we can say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lust) and we can live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.

For this is the reason Jesus died for us, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just so we would be forgiven our sin and have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth.

Supply These
2 Peter 1:5-9 NASB

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

When we have the kind of faith as that of the apostles, which is God-inspired and God-granted faith, in which we die with Christ to sin, and live with Christ to righteousness, then we will also, of the Spirit of God, grow in that faith. We won’t claim forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die and yet remain steadfast in walking in sin.

By that faith we will, instead, mature in Christ, and by the Spirit we will be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we’ll be walking according to the Spirit of God, and no longer by our flesh.

So many people these days are being led to believe in Jesus either with a human faith or with a disingenuous faith which is inspired and led by human beings and not by the Spirit of God. Thus, they have the notion that they can just acknowledge Christ and believe in his forgiveness of their sins and claim heaven as their eternal destiny, and yet continue in their lifestyles of sin.

It appears many of them wear this belief like a badge, in which they claim that God requires nothing of them other than to “believe,” and thus they have the notion that they don’t have to leave their lives of sin behind them nor do they believe that they have to obey the Lord.

But, genuine faith in Christ should result in genuine change of heart, mind, attitude, behavior and character. Not only should we not want to sin anymore, but we should be growing in moral excellence, self-control, perseverance, kindness, love and godliness. These are what should be increasing in our lives, not the deeds of the flesh. And, as a result, we should be bearing the fruit of righteousness, not unrighteousness.

If our “faith” in Jesus Christ does not result in genuine change of heart, mind, character and behavior, then I would suggest that our “faith” is not of the kind that the apostles had, but that it is human faith only, and that it is a false faith based on a false gospel which requires no death to sin or living to righteousness. Therefore, it is still spiritually blind, for this false faith still leaves people dead in their sins, without God, and without hope.

Make Certain
2 Peter 1:10-11 NASB

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

So, we who claim to believe in Jesus Christ need to make certain that our faith is genuine faith which will result in true salvation from sin and eternal life with God in heaven.

If you have bought into the lie that God requires nothing from you other than some ambiguous faith in Jesus Christ, and that you can now keep walking in sin, but now without guilt, then please examine the scriptures, for they do not teach that.

The word of God is very clear on the fact that genuine faith in Jesus Christ, which is God-given and God-persuaded, results in death to sin and living to righteousness, or it is no faith at all, at least not the kind required for salvation.

For, if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (in sinful practices), then we are liars. If we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, in sinful practices, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God. If we do not leave our old lives of sin behind us, we do not have eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21).

Pay Attention
2 Peter 1:19 NASB

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.

So, we need to pay attention to what God’s Word teaches about our salvation. We need to hear God calling to us, and listen to what he says, instead of listening to human beings who may be trying to lead us astray.

If we sow to please the sinful nature, of that nature we will reap corruption. But, if by the Spirit, we sow to please God, we will reap eternal life.

Muted Trumpet
An Original Work / October 14, 2011

Softly He speaks gently to us,
Giving us His messages, and
He waits patiently for us to
Respond to His words.
Will you listen to Him speaking?
Will you waken from your sleeping?
He is calling; hear Him whisper
His truth unto you.

Jesus speaks His words unto us,
So that He might live out through us,
Giving light to all who need Him,
So they can obey.
He gave His life to die for us,
So that from sin He would free us
To walk humbly in obedience
Unto Him each day.

Hear the trumpet clearly calling.
He died to keep us from falling.
Won’t you listen; heed His call to
Turn to Him today?
Hasten to Him calling to you.
Turn from sin and follow Jesus.
He loves you so much He gave you
Life eternally.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 12:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your word. May we take its truths to heart. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Those Who Love God

In All Things
Romans 8:28-30 NIV

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Who are those who love God? They are those who believe in his Son Jesus Christ as their Lord and as their Savior. They are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and they live with Christ to his righteousness. They walk, in lifestyle, according to the Spirit of God, and not according to their sinful flesh. Their minds are set on what the Spirit of God desires, not on what the flesh desires.

So, by the Spirit of God, they are putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh. They who are being led by the Spirit of God, are the children of God. Thus, they share in Christ’s sufferings that they may also share in his glory (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17).

For those of us who love God, and who show we love God by the things we do, i.e. who follow him in his ways and in his truth, God is working all things for good in our lives, even the things which, on the surface, do not seem so good, or that even seem very bad. Even what Satan intends for evil in our lives, God intends for good, for what is in our best interest, for what we need, i.e. for what is beneficial for us spiritually.

What this means is that God is absolutely sovereign over our lives. Nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose, and that he will bring good out of it in some way. He allows suffering in our lives, for by it we are being purified, made holy and conformed to the likeness of Christ.

Through our suffering, we learn to rely on God and not on ourselves. We learn to turn to the Lord in our times of need rather than trust in our own resources. And, through our suffering we also gain compassion for the hurting, passion for the things of God, perseverance in walking this walk of faith, and we grow in love with God during these times, too.

If God is For Us
Romans 8:31-36 NASB

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long;We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

This is not saying that some people, or Satan and his hordes, won’t be against us, for they will. Jesus said we would be hated like he was hated, and that we will be persecuted, as he was persecuted. Some of us, too, will be betrayed, even as he was betrayed by one of his own disciples, and maybe, too, unto death.

Yet, what this is saying is that, in all these things, for those of us who are his followers, who love him, he is with us, and he will see us through it all. He will provide everything we need for us to fight against Satan, to be strong in battle, to persevere, and to not give way to fear. We do not have to fear our circumstances or any forces raised against us, for our God is able to see us through any and every situation which presents itself against us. And, he will make a way for us where there seems to be no way.

There is nothing in our lives too big for God! In fact, God had our lives all planned out for us even before the creation of the world. Nothing catches him by surprise. He knew, before he even made us, all that we would go through. And, he had a plan for how he was going to work it all out for his purposes and for his glory, and for our strengthening, and as a testimony for Him to the lives of others. We just have to trust him, rest in him, believe him, and surrender to his will and to his ways, and then cooperate with his will and purposes by doing what he leads us to do.

In all that we go through in this life, our God is with us, he will never leave us or forsake us. Nothing can separate us from his love. He works in ways we cannot see. We just need to cry it all out to him, and let his peace flow over into our hearts. And, believe that he truly will work it all out for our good, and for the advancement of his eternal kingdom.

More Than Conquerors
Romans 8:37-39 NIV

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No matter the difficulties we face in this life, or how tough things can get sometimes, and how overwhelming they may seem, at times, too, we can be victorious over them through our Lord, who loves us exceedingly above all that we could imagine.

Even on days when we do not feel the presence of God with us, he is still there. Even when we can’t hear his voice during times when Satan is fighting hard against us, God is still there. Even when the days are dark, and evil prevails, and so much seems so hopeless, at times, our God is still there. He is still on his throne, and he is still completely sovereign over all that he has made. And, he will carry us through it all. We just have to keep believing, and keep trusting, and keep persevering, and keep resting in HIM.

When I Am Afraid / An Original Work
October 17, 2016 / Based off Psalms 56-57

When I am afraid, Lord, I will trust in You.
Your Word, Lord, I praise. I yield my life to You.
Enemies pursue me, slandering Your Name.
Lord, have mercy. I trust in You. Hear my cry today.

Lord, I love Your Word. It comforts me today,
As I look to you, and bow my head and pray.
You are Christ, my Lord. You saved me from my sin,
That I may walk, Lord before You, purified within.

Steadfast is my heart, O God, I sing of You.
I will praise You, Lord. To You, I will be true.
Oh, how great Your love. Your faithfulness endue.
Be exalted, God of heaven. Glory be to You.

Monday, March 12, 2018, 11:21 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. Thank you that you never leave us, too. Amen!

Sunday, March 11, 2018

The Bragging Liar

Rock of Our Salvation
Psalm 95:1-2 NIV

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – is the Rock of our salvation. He is our foundation, our support, our mainstay, our tower of strength; the strong ground on which we stand; the basis of our hope. He is the one who established, by his death and resurrection, how we are saved and what we are saved from and to. His teachings and those of his apostles and prophets (of the Bible) also serve as the foundation of our faith and of the gospel truth, upon which our spiritual house is built.

When Jesus began his earthly ministry he preached repentance and belief in the gospel. He taught that we must repent or perish in our sins. He was not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He called sinners to repentance. And, he taught repentance for forgiveness of sins. His NT apostles taught the same. And, repentance means to have a change of mind about sin and about God, which involves turning away from the sin and turning to God to follow him in his truth and in his ways.

Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives of sin we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives for his sake, i.e. if we die with him to sin, then we will have the hope of eternal life with him. He said that unless we partake of the death that he died for our sin, we have no part of him, for he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (See: Luke 9:23-25; John 6:35-66; 1 Peter 2:24).

Jesus also said that his followers listen to him and that they follow (obey) him (See: John 10:27-30). And, they are the ones who cannot be snatched out of his hands and the Father’s hands. He said if we love him, we will keep (obey) his Word, and he and the Father will make their home with us. He said if we keep his Word, we will never see death. The NT apostles reiterated this message when they emphasized the connection between love for God and obedience to his Word. The two are inseparable. Repentance and obedience are required components of genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

Bow Down in Worship
Psalm 95:6-7 NIV

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

The Bible describes our worship of God in these words from Romans 12:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (vv. 1-2).

This message is all throughout the New Testament in the Bible. The whole object of our salvation is that we forsake our former lives of living for sin and self, that we live separate from the sinful ways of the world, and that we yield our lives (our whole being) to our God to live lives which are holy and pleasing to him.

When Jesus died on that cross he bought us back for God with his blood. This means our lives are no longer our own to be lived how we want, for we belong to Christ. Therefore, we are to honor him with our lives!

We aren’t supposed to have the same minds as we did before we believed in Jesus. We are supposed to have minds transformed of the Spirit of God away from sin and self and the flesh and now dedicated to God. We are to now have pure minds, and ones fixed on Jesus, and listening to him, and following him in obedience to his will. Jesus didn’t die just to give us a free pass from hell. He died to change our lives, to make us new creatures in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him in newness of life.

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin” (Rom. 6:6-7).

Jesus died to set us free from slavery (addiction) to sin, not just to forgive us our sins, and definitely not to give us a free pass to continue in willful sin against him. He and his NT apostles were emphatic on this issue! To worship him means to bow down to him, and to bow down to him is to submit to him and to do what he commands. If he is our Lord, then that means he is our owner-master and we are his possession.

He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good” (Titus 2:14).

Hear His Voice
Psalm 95:7-11 NIV

Today, if only you would hear his voice,
“Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah,
    as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness,
where your ancestors tested me;
    they tried me, though they had seen what I did.
For forty years I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”

Many hearts today are hardened to the truth of the gospel, and I am meaning within the walls of our churches, and even among the clergy. And, this is largely because another gospel and another Jesus are being taught within the church which are not founded in the Word of God, or are only partially based in the Word of Truth. This false gospel and its messengers are shallow, superficial, diluted, phony. They are “bragging liars” who boast of what is only half truth or is diluted or twisted truth, and to their advantage. This gospel of which they speak is shortened, manufactured of humans, and is being strengthened, as it is spreading like gangrene.

Basically, these “thieves and liars” have cheapened God’s grace and have reduced it to nothing more than forgiveness of sins and the hope of heaven when we die. They have made God’s grace common and collective of many thoughts and ideas of human origin. This lying gospel which boasts of much is a departure, a separating from the truth of God’s Word. Although there is truth contained within, it is only partial truth, often taken out of context. The faith required for salvation is thus generated of man, not God-given faith.

A steady diet of this “Bragging Liar” gospel has led many people astray, which has resulted in many hard hearts which are resistant to the truth of the gospel and the voice of the Holy Spirit. And, many people are craving this false gospel because it tells them what their ears WANT to hear rather than what they NEED to hear. But, there is no hope in this lying gospel, because it leaves its followers still dead in their sins, without hope, without God, and still bound for hell, and not for heaven.

The lie says that all you have to do is “believe” in Jesus and you have heaven guaranteed you no matter how you live your life from this moment forward. But “believe” is rarely even explained. It reduces faith often to some intellectual acknowledgment or to some emotional decision, but which does not lead the “believer” to die with Christ to sin or to live with Christ to righteousness. It does not put sin to death, but it pacifies it, instead. And, since so many Christians these days have been caught in this web of deception, they have hardened their hearts to the truth, and they are living a lie, thinking they are going to heaven, when they are not.

The Bible is perfectly clear on this subject. We reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from that flesh we will reap corruption (or destruction). If we sow to please the Spirit, we will reap eternal life. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (in sin), we are liars. If we walk according to the flesh, to gratify our sinful cravings, and if we make sin our practice, and if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will die in our sins. This is the truth! And, we need to take it seriously! For, not only does your relationship with God depend on it now, but your eternal life depends on you walking in the truth and not following after this “Bragging Liar” gospel.

Lord Have Mercy
Michel Coeuriot / Michel Jonasz

Jesus, I've forgotten the words that You have spoken
Promises that burned within my heart have now grown dim
With a doubting heart I follow the paths of earthly wisdom
Forgive me for my unbelief
Renew the fire again…
Lord have mercy on me

Sunday, March 11, 2018, 4:44 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Make No Treaty

“The old cross would have no truck with the world. For Adam's proud flesh it meant the end of the journey” (1) A. W. Tozer

Destroy Them Totally
Deuteronomy 7:1-6 NIV

When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations… and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons, for they will turn your children away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and will quickly destroy you. This is what you are to do to them: Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones, cut down their Asherah poles and burn their idols in the fire. For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

In Old Testament times, under the Old Covenant God had with his people Israel, most everything was of a physical nature. In other words, their temple was a physical structure, constructed by human hands. Their sanctuary was physical. Their circumcision was physical. Their sacrifices were physical. But everything physical had a spiritual counterpart.

And, most everything they did physically, by God’s instructions, also has a parallel to what we do now in the spiritual realm. For instance, we who believe in Jesus Christ are now the temple of God, and his sanctuary is our hearts. Our circumcision is also not physical, but is of the heart. Our enemies, although we have physical ones, too, are predominantly in the spiritual realm, and thus the weapons of warfare we use to fight them are also spiritual. And, the sacrifice God requires of us is our lives given over to him, holy and pleasing to God, which is our acceptable worship of God.

Thus, the land we are going into possess is heaven, our eternal home. The nations we are to drive out are not physical nations, but it is the world of sin, and it is to be driven out of our hearts. Worldliness is to be defeated in our lives, but not in our own strength, but in the strength of the Lord who lives within us. Jesus defeated and destroyed sin in his death and in his resurrection, and so in Christ we are to die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. Sin should no longer have dominion in our lives, nor should it be what we practice. By the grace of God, we die to sin daily.

We also are not to be partners with the world of sin. We should not marry someone who is not a believer in Jesus, and we should not enter into partnerships (binding agreements) with the ungodly, i.e. we should not unite with them in mind, heart, purpose, passion, and desire, etc. And, included in this is that the church should not unite with the government. They should not incorporate the church or turn the church into a place of business, either, for God forbids this, and he has called us to come out of Babylon.

Also, we are not to adopt the gods of this world into our lives, but we are to destroy them. These gods can be fame, fortune, possessions, pride, greed, entertainment, lust, sexual immorality, adultery, slander, gossip, and the like. We are to have no part with what is sinful, worldly, and of the flesh. For God has chosen us out of the world, and he has set us apart from the world and unto himself to be a holy people belonging to him, whose lives are given over to righteousness, purity, integrity, morality, and steadfastness of faith.

God Loves You
Deuteronomy 7:7-11 NIV

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. But those who hate him he will repay to their face by destruction;    he will not be slow to repay to their face those who hate him. Therefore, take care to follow the commands, decrees and laws I give you today.

Because God loves us so much, he sent his only begotten Son into the world to save the world. Jesus Christ, God the Son, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – left his throne in heaven, humbled himself, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer, and then died on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross so that we might die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness. By faith in him, we are thus redeemed from slavery to sin, and we are free to now become bond-servants of his righteousness.

God did not love us and send his Son to die for us because of our own goodness, though. For, all have sinned and have come up short of attaining God’s divine approval. There is nothing we can do in our flesh to earn or to deserve our own salvation. It is while we were yet sinners that Christ died for the ungodly. For, it is by the grace of God we are saved, through faith, and this not of ourselves, not of works of the flesh lest any of us should boast, for our salvation is the gift of God to us (See: Eph. 2:8-9).

Yet, our salvation is not absent of works, but they are the works of the Spirit, not of the flesh, which God prepared in advance for us to do. For, we are now his handiwork, and he created us in Christ Jesus to do good works (See: Eph. 2:10). But, we don’t do these works in our flesh or to earn our salvation, but they are the fruit, the byproduct, the outgrowth of our salvation which reveal whether or not our salvation or our faith in Christ is of the Spirit or if it is of the flesh; if it is genuine, or if it is a forgery.

As well, God’s grace to us delivers us out of bondage to sin. It does not just forgive us our sins, but it eradicates the practice of sin from our lives. And, this is where a lot of people get messed up because they think God’s grace just forgives sin and promises heaven when we die, but they don’t see that the gift of grace, or the gift of salvation is to deliver us out of our addictions to sin and to set us on the path of walking in Christ’s righteousness.

God’s grace, which brings salvation, in fact, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return. If we say we have fellowship with God, thus, but we continue to walk in sin, the Bible says we are liars who do not live by the truth. If we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, the Bible teaches, we will not have the hope of eternal life with God, but we will die in our sins. So, if we want the promise of heaven as our eternal destiny, we must walk according to the Spirt, and not live to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh.

If You Pay Attention
Deuteronomy 7:12-13a NIV

If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to your ancestors. He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers.

We are not saved by keeping the law. No one has ever been. For, not one of us can keep the law perfectly, for we are born with flesh natures, and we live in flesh bodies. Thus, Jesus Christ died on that cross for our sins, taking our sin upon him, so that by faith in him we might be saved. When we believe in him, his righteousness is, thus, credited to our account, and we are set free from the penalty of sin, i.e. from eternal damnation. And, we are also delivered from bondage (addiction) to sin.

Yet, this does not mean that our salvation is absent of obedience to God’s commandments. It is not. All throughout the New Testament it is abundantly clear that our faith, which is God-given, submits to God’s commandments. In fact, the word “faith” means “divine persuasion.” If we are persuaded of God, then, we will repent of (turn from) our lifestyles of sin, and we will turn to walk in obedience to our Lord. But, we don’t do any of this in the flesh. We can only do this in the Spirit, by the Spirit, and according to the Spirit.

But, what it does mean is that, if we are walking according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, we will be richly blessed of God, not necessarily materially, but spiritually. We will have peace, joy, love, purpose, direction, counsel, guidance, support, strength, and encouragement. He will empower us with his strength to fight off the enemy of our souls, to defeat sin in the flesh, and to walk in holiness and godliness. We will have no fear of death or fear of the consequences of sin, for by his grace we will be walking in freedom and in the peace of God and thus, our lives will be hidden in Him.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary's tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I'll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I'll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.

Sunday, March 11, 2018, 10:22 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your Word. Make it real to our hearts, I pray, in Jesus’ name. Amen!

(1)       Tozer, The Old Cross and The New, 1946: http://www.ldolphin.org/oldcross.html