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, September 21, 2018

Saved to Maturity

2 Corinthians 13:1-4 NASB

This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses. I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again I will not spare anyone, since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you. For indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed toward you.

He Lives in Power

There is much sin going on within the church, which goes on largely unchecked and unrepented. For, not only is it largely ignored by the church leadership, but the leadership themselves are engrossed in sinful addictions. And, not only are many of our leaders giving way to sinful practices on a consistent basis, in secret, but they are encouraging others to follow suit.

How so? You say. Because so much of our church leadership has gone the way of the world and of the flesh, they have diluted the gospel message and have adopted a false (cheap) grace gospel which they are then passing down to their listeners, which then gives them free license for lasciviousness. For either they teach, or else they imply by what they teach that God requires no repentance, no obedience and no submission to Christ and his cross.

So, there is no distinguishable difference between much of today’s church, at least here in America, and those who make no profession of faith in Jesus Christ at all. In fact, many who do not profess faith in Jesus live more righteously and morally than those who call themselves followers of Jesus. So, the church should be ashamed of their conduct, but many are not. Instead, they are proud of their worldliness.

And, so our Lord Jesus has been warning them of the consequences of their rebellion against him, and he has been reminding them of what his scriptures teach regarding what will happen to them if they continue down this path and do not repent (see Rev. 2-3). But, the vast majority appear to be not paying attention to these warnings, for they have an overdeveloped sense of superiority and/or of assurance that God will not judge them.

But, God is not weak. Jesus Christ is not weak. Because we serve a loving and compassionate God, who is not willing that any should perish, and that all should come to repentance, judgment has been delayed, for a time, but don’t hang your hat on the idea that it will never come. It will! And, don’t get your mind set that, although you largely ignore your Lord in this life, that heaven is guaranteed you. It isn’t!

2 Corinthians 13:5-10 NASB

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test? But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we may appear unapproved. For we can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth. For we rejoice when we ourselves are weak but you are strong; this we also pray for, that you be made complete. For this reason I am writing these things while absent, so that when present I need not use severity, in accordance with the authority which the Lord gave me for building up and not for tearing down.

Test Yourselves

So, we are encouraged here that we are to test ourselves to see whether or not we are in the faith. And, the measure of that is the Word of God, but the whole counsel of God, not just a few select verses taken out of context to appease the flesh. For, context is everything!

Romans 10 is written in the context of Romans 6 and 8, as is Romans 7. Paul did not excuse away sin, nor did he allow for it in his own life, for he died with Christ to sin so that he might live with him to righteousness.

The scriptures do not teach that all we have to do is make a verbal confession of faith in Christ and believe in his bodily resurrection with our minds, too, and that we have salvation. They do not teach that our salvation is merely forgiveness of sins or that forgiveness is given to all who merely make an intellectual assent to what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins.

They do not teach that our salvation is a one-time event which takes place in our lives, and then heaven is guaranteed us no matter how we live from that moment forward, and that nothing can take that away from us. For, Jesus’ sheep (his followers) listen to his voice and they follow (obey) him, and it is they who cannot be snatched out of Jesus’ and the Father’s hands.

Our salvation from sin is a process of sanctification in our lives. This process has a beginning, but it is ongoing until the day we die, or we do not have eternal life with God. It is also a process of daily dying to sin and self, of putting on the armor of God, and of walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.

For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we still walk (in lifestyle) in sin, we are liars who do not live by the truth. If we make sin our practice, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God but a fearful expectation of judgment. For, we will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction, but if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

So, test yourselves against those scriptures, and see if you are one who is living to please your flesh, and if you are living in sinful addiction, in willful and continued rebellion against your Lord. If you are, and you do not repent, scripture teaches that you don’t have eternal life with God, no matter what others tell you, or no matter what your profession of Christ may be.

2 Corinthians 13:11-14 NASB

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Be Made Complete

The whole purpose of our salvation, the reason for which Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross, is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. If you have to memorize one verse to share the gospel with people, let it be that one. For, that sums it all up.

We are not saved just to escape hell, and so we can go to heaven when we die. That is a BIG FAT LIE! Jesus did not die merely to forgive our sins, and our sins are NOT forgiven if we do not repent, and if we do not turn our hearts and lives over to Jesus Christ, making him LORD of our lives.

God’s grace is not free in the sense that it gives us the freedom to live however we want. It doesn’t. God’s grace frees us from our slavery to sin and it frees us to walk in Christ’s holiness and righteousness, in purity, honesty, morality and in integrity. For, it instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s soon return (See Tit. 2:11-14).

We are not “saved” and then we live our lives and then one day we go to heaven when we die. We are saved to walk in holiness, in righteousness and in purity of devotion to our Lord Jesus, truly making him Lord (owner-master) of our lives. While we walk this earth, we are to grow in our walks of faith and to mature in Christ and in his holiness, becoming like him in his death and in his resurrection.

The peace which he gives us is not absence of conflict, nor do we make compromises with the world of sin in order to make peace with other humans. The peace He gives us, that we are to live in, is peace with God, which is through repentance and dying to sin and living to his righteousness. You will never be at peace in this world if you are still living in sin.

As well, like-mindedness with one another only comes if we are first of all like-minded with Christ. For he is what (who) binds us all together as one. And, to be like-minded with Christ means to prefer what he prefers, which is evident not by our words, but by our lifestyles. And, he prefers what is holy, righteous, pure, moral, upright, honest, and trustworthy, etc.

Lastly, if we want to have fellowship with the Holy Spirit (with God), we have to be walking in obedience to His Word. For, if we regularly give way to the flesh, in rebellion against our Lord, it breaks our fellowship with him much the same way as adultery breaks the bonds of marriage.

I am not saying we must live in absolute sinless perfection, but that we should not be living in open rebellion against our Lord via continued sinful practices, which breaks those bonds of fellowship with our Lord.

So, if that is where you are today, still giving way to your fleshly appetites, I pray you will surrender your all to Jesus Christ today. He is the ONLY ONE who can heal your wounded soul and bring peace, forgiveness and restoration to your life. Truly let him be your Lord (owner-master) today.

No, Not One!

Hymn lyrics by Johnson Oatman, Jr., 1895
Music by George C. Hugg, 1895

There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!
None else could heal all our soul’s diseases,
No, not one! No, not one!

No friend like Him is so high and holy,
No, not one! No, not one!
And yet no friend is so meek and lowly,
No, not one! No, not one!

There’s not an hour that He is not near us,
No, not one! No, not one!
No night so dark but His love can cheer us,
No, not one! No, not one!

Jesus knows all about our struggles,
He will guide till the day is done;
There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus,
No, not one! No, not one!

*copyright status is Public Domain

Friday, September 21, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for all You’ve done!

Thursday, September 20, 2018


An Original Work / September 20, 2018

They’re Liars, deceivers
Who mimic believers,
Controlling the masses
Regardless of classes

Thievery, trickery,
They’re from the enemy
They’re always so charming
It is quite alarming

They’re not to be trusted
For they will get busted
Think they’re invincible
‘Twill be a crucible

Have always excuses
For all their abuses
Recycled behaviors
Pay to them no favors

Although God is gracious
Still they are tenacious
They show they’re not willing
God’s Spirit infilling

For flesh is what matters
And people they flatter
In hopes to deceive them
So they will believe them

Their sins they do cover
So none will discover
Exactly what woos them
And who then did choose them

For, if they are truthful
To them will be hurtful
In self-preservation
Remain in their station

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

We, The Body

Ephesians 4:11-16 NASB

And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

Gifts and Ministries

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we become members of his body, which is called the church. For, the church is the people who believe in Jesus. It is not a denomination or a building or a corporation or an organization. It is a living organism. And, the stones used to build this building are us, the people, not brick and mortar.

Within us our Lord God dwells. We are his temple. The Holy of Holies exists now within us. Within our lives dwells his sanctuary. We are the Holy City, the heavenly Jerusalem. We are the children of God, the children of promise. Physical Jerusalem is now of Hagar, the slave woman, for she is still in bondage to sin, for the Jewish nation, though not all Jews, rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and as their Messiah (See: Rom. 11; Gal. 3-4).

As the body of Christ, his church, the Lord has given all of us gifts and ministries (our body parts) for the building up of his body in the faith unto maturity in Jesus Christ, as each of us does our part. We all have different gifts, but the same Spirit who is the one who gives us the gifts as he determines. We all have different functions, but the same Lord who is the one who assigns us our roles within the universal body of Christ.

We all need each other. But, the only way in which we will have the unity of the faith that this speaks of is if we are all united with Jesus Christ in mind and in heart. And, to be united with Christ means to love what he loves and to hate what he hates, and to walk in obedience to his commands. It also means that we prefer what he prefers, which is what is holy, pure, upright, godly, moral, honest, righteous, just, fair, kind and loving (as he loves). And, if truly this is what we prefer, we will walk in this purity and holiness.

We all need each other because we need to encourage one another, because we all still live in flesh bodies and we are still subject to temptation and to being deceived. So, God uses each of us with our varied giftedness and our assignments (of God) within the universal (and local) body of Christ to help one another to walk in purity of devotion to Jesus Christ and to not be led astray by the trickery of humans in their deceitful scheming.

Ephesians 4:17-24 NASB

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness. But you did not learn Christ in this way, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Death and Life

Coming to faith in Jesus Christ means that we are crucified with him in death to sin and that we are resurrected with him to newness of life in him, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24 NIV). For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). Jesus did not die merely so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we leave this earth, as some would have you believe.

Yet, by the trickery of men (and women), by craftiness in deceitful scheming, many have been led astray and have bought into a false grace gospel which requires no death to sin, no living to righteousness, and no walk of surrender and obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. So, they think if they merely acknowledge Jesus Christ and what he did for us, and if they accept his forgiveness for their sins, that it secures them heaven no matter how they live from that moment forward.

But, Paul made it plain here that that is not the truth of the gospel. He let us know here that the truth, which is found in Christ Jesus, is that we should have been taught death to sin and living to righteousness as required for our eternal salvation.

In other words, when we come to genuine faith in Jesus Christ, which is a gift of God, and which is divine persuasion as to our need to submit to his Lordship, we die with him to sin that we might live with him to righteousness. We forsake our former way of living to sin and self, we are changed in the attitude of our minds with regard to sin and to God, and we put on our new lives in Christ Jesus which are becoming like Jesus.

For, if we do not, we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity. No confession of Christ or baptism or sinner’s prayer will ever guarantee us eternal life with God. We must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh. We must die daily to sin and self. We must no longer make the lusts of our flesh what we regularly practice. But, we must live holy lives, godly lives, which are pleasing to our Lord, but all in his power and strength now living within us (See Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Draw Me Close to You 
Donnie McClurkin

Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I'm Your friend

You are my desire
And no one else will do…

You're all I want
You're all I've ever needed…

Wednesday, September 19, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, that you died that we might die to sin, and that you live that we might live to you and to your righteousness. Thank you that you not only forgive us our sins, but that you free us from our slavery to sin, and that you empower us to walk according to your Spirit in godliness and holiness. Thank you, too, for loving us the way that you do in how you encourage us to walk with you day by day. And, thank you for the body of Christ and how you use us to minister your love and grace to one another for our mutual encouragement. Amen!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

You Are the Man!

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4 NASB

The Lord is having me to focus on just these two verses today, and he is taking the application of these verses today in a very specific direction, which then parallels over to the story of David and Bathsheba (read 2 Samuel 11-12).

David was God’s chosen king of Israel. And, he was a mighty warrior of God. But, he was also human, and at one period in his life, he sinned greatly against God and other people, too. For, while his servant soldiers were out fighting in battle against the enemy, he remained back home, and it was then that he was tempted. And, he gave into the temptation.

He lusted after a married woman, and then he exercised abuse of power to bring the woman to him so that he could sleep with her. She became pregnant, and in order to cover up his sin with her, he sent for her husband, who was one of his servants, to try to get him to lay with his wife, but he would not. For, he was a man of integrity and did not feel he should have the comforts of being with his wife while his fellow servants were still in battle.

So, then David got Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband) drunk, so that he would go sleep with his wife, but he still would not go. So, next David plotted Uriah’s death. And, Uriah was murdered by David’s command. Then, Bathsheba mourned the death of her husband, but when the time of mourning was over, David took her to be his wife and she bore him a son. “But the thing that David had done was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Sam. 11:27b).

In the Sight of The Lord

I am going to focus particularly on men today, but this is not to say that women don’t deal with the same issues, they do, just not in as great of numbers as men. But, also the Lord is having me address men in this because they are the leaders of households and the leaders of churches, and so I believe he has a specific message for them that he wants me to convey today.

Also, I believe I am the chosen messenger today to bring this message to them, because so many men today who claim to be Christians have emasculated themselves by making the lusts of their flesh their gods. And, thus, they are not doing the work of the Lord that they should be doing as leaders in the church and in the home, for they are busy following their lusts, instead.

Men, God has called you to be spiritual leaders, much like he called David to be king over his people at that time. He has given you the responsibility to lead your families and your church congregations in the way of the Lord, which is the way of holiness, honesty, integrity, purity, morality, and righteousness. He has called you to be his servants, to humble yourselves, and to lead those under your care by your example; by how you live your life, especially when no one else sees what you are doing.

But, many of you have chosen the way that David took. You have shirked your responsibilities and have left those under your care with the burden of having to do what you should be doing. I believe that is one of the reasons God is using me, a woman, in the way that he is, mainly because the men who should be doing this are not doing it, because they are busy looking at porn, or watching sexually charged movies, or they are busy with their games and their sports or with their careers while God and their spouses and their children and their congregations are neglected.

But, it is not just that you are neglecting your spouses and your children and your church congregations, but that you are treating them like David treated Uriah, his servant, most especially your wives. For many women are being betrayed by their husbands’ addictions to porn, movies, games, sports, and extra-marital affairs (romantic or sexual), and the like.

And, in God’s eyes, lust alone is adultery. And, doing so to your wives, especially over long periods of time, and then lying about it and covering up your sins, is hate, not love, and God says that hate is the same as murder. So, you are murdering your wives by your adulterous ways, and you are murdering your children and your church congregations, too, for not only are you engaging in what is evil in God’s sight, but you are influencing others to do the same.

Nathan and David

Nathan was a prophet of God, and it was his calling to be God’s messenger in taking God’s messages to whomever God wanted to speak. So, God sent Nathan to speak with David about his sin. But, instead of confronting him directly with his sin, he told him a story, which David thought to be something that was really happening, instead of a parable.

Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and [a]said,“There were two men in one city, the one rich and the other poor. “The rich man had a great many flocks and herds. “But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb Which he bought and nourished; And it grew up together with him and his children. It would eat of his [b]bread and drink of his cup and lie in his bosom, And was like a daughter to him. “Now a traveler came to the rich man, And he [c]was unwilling to take from his own flock or his own herd, To prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him; Rather he took the poor man’s ewe lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 2 Samuel 12:1-4 NASB

David was enraged when he heard this. He proclaimed that the man who did this deserved to die and that he “must make restitution for the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing and had no compassion” (v. 6). But, then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”

How many times have you gotten angry over things that others did and yet failed to see that you not only are doing the same things but that what you are doing is far worse? The Bible warns against such judging as this, which is hypocritical judging which looks at the speck in others’ eyes while it ignores the log in one’s own eye. We all need to be so careful that we don’t judge hypocritically by getting angry about what others do while we may be doing something much worse.

Nathan then spoke the words of God to David. He reminded him of all that he had done for David and all the many ways in which he had blessed him. And, so he asked him why he despised the Word of the Lord by doing evil in His sight. And, he enumerated all the ways in which David had sinned in secret against God and against other humans. And, then he told him that, though his sin had been done in secret, God was going to judge him before all Israel, out where everyone could see.

When David was confronted with the fact that he was the man in the parable, he was cut to the heart, and he confessed that he had sinned against God. And, Nathan then assured David that God had forgiven him, but still there were going to be natural consequences for his sin, one of which was that his child would die.

You Did in Secret

Sexual sin is usually done in secret. Men (and women, too) watch porn usually when they think no one else can see what they are doing. But, God always sees, and it matters to him what we do. It matters to your spouses what you do, too, although some of you may think it is “no big deal.” But, it is, because you are living in adultery against your spouses when you practice lust and view porn and watch movies with sex in them, et al.

But, again, it is not merely adultery, for it is hate, not love, and hate is the same as murder. For when you lust after others and you view porn or any other sexual material, or when you have private chats with someone of interest, or you are involved in sex-texting or you slander your spouse in order to cover your sin, or you manipulate, lie, deceive, bully, etc. in order to cover your sin, you are murdering your spouse in your heart, and you are putting your marriage to death.

And, if you think your spouse does not know, don’t be so sure of that. Anyone who loves his or her spouse, and who knows his or her spouse, and is tuned in, can tell when things are not right, and they should, if they are tuned in, know when you are lying, too. So, don’t think you are not hurting them if you keep your sins a secret. You are still hurting them and your marriage and your family whether you see the damage you are doing or not.

So, God wants you to see your sin through his eyes today for many of you are in the habit of excusing these sins away and justifying them and thus you lie to yourselves and you believe your own lies. So, the Lord wants to open your eyes today to the truth of what you are doing so that you will repent of your sin. But, know that you may have to face some natural consequences to your sin. Yet, God is calling you today to come forward and to be honest with your spouses about how you have been secretly sinning against them, for the truth will set you free.

But, to the wives of the men who are addicted to lust or who regularly practice sins of lust against their wives and their marriages, I want to encourage you.

Forgive your spouses (husbands or wives) of their sins against you, but not in a way that gives them permission to keep sinning against you. Set biblical boundaries for your marriage relationship, and let your spouses know that you love them, and that you care about them, and that you are there to help them to victory over their sin if they will let you inside and not shut you out. And, then trust God to work in their hearts and lives, and then speak the truth in love to them when God says to speak, for you may be the only voice of reason they will ever hear.

The Lord also wants to encourage you to make HIM your husband and your desire, and to let him satisfy the deep longings of your souls. He wants you to come to him with your suffering and to trust in his love and in his grace. Believe in his sovereignty over your life, and then let him heal your wounded hearts.

Draw Me Close to You  
Donnie McClurkin

Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I'm Your friend

You are my desire
And no one else will do…

You're all I want
You're all I've ever needed…

Tuesday, September 18, 2018 – Help us, Jesus, to obey you in all things.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Arise from The Dead

Ephesians 5:1-2 NASB

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Walk in Love

Whenever we see the word “therefore,” we have to look back to see what it is “there for.” So, I went back to the previous chapter to see the content there. And, I learned that it speaks there of how we must walk (in lifestyle) in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have all been called.

Thus, it says that we must no longer walk (live) in the way we did before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. For, we should have been taught that faith in Jesus Christ means we die to (put off) our old self, which is corrupted by its lustful desires, and we are renewed (changed) in mind, and that we put on our new self, “which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (see Eph. 4:17-24).

And, then it lists for us some of the types of things that we, who follow Jesus Christ, should put off and put on. Such as, we should put off lying and tell the truth, put off stealing and work, and then give to others, and we should not have unwholesome talk coming out of our mouths but only what is beneficial for building one another up in our walks of faith in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, because this is what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, we should be those who emulate our Lord and God. For, we were created in Christ Jesus to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So, we should live like we believe that. And, we should love others with the kind of love with which Jesus Christ loved us when he gave his life up for us so that we could be free from slavery to sin and walk in his righteousness.

This means that, in loving others, we do what is best for them, not what is selfish on our part. We are willing even to be hated and rejected by them in order to share Jesus Christ with them. We will speak the truth in love to them, as Jesus did, even if it means they turn against us in return. And, our love for them will be based in righteousness, purity, honesty, faithfulness, morality and integrity. For, we will not take advantage of them or willfully do anything to cause them real harm.

Ephesians 5:3-5 NASB

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Know with Certainty

Why is it that so many people today are teaching that it doesn’t matter how much we sin once we are “saved”? They say, or they imply that we can still live in the flesh and have eternal life with God still guaranteed. Yet, that is NOT what scripture teaches us. Over, and over again in the New Testament we read that if we, who say we believe in Jesus, live according to our flesh, and we make sin our practice, we don’t have an inheritance in the kingdom of God. Do they not believe the scriptures?

I believe it is because they have bought into the lies of Satan which give them a loophole out from under the authority of scripture. So, they take a handful of scriptures out of context and they build their entire doctrine of salvation around those few verses while they ignore the bulk of teaching in scripture on the subject of our salvation, and our eternal life with God.

How else could they possibly miss all the teachings in the NT that say we have to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to have the hope of eternal life with God in heaven?

This is not saying that we will never sin or that we lose our salvation every time we sin. This is also not works-based salvation. For, we are not saved merely to escape hell, and so we can go to heaven when we die. We are saved that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Jesus died to deliver us from our slavery to sin, not just to forgive us our sins. His grace to us is not carte blanche to continue in sinful lifestyles. His grace to us is the power of the cross in our lives to put sin to death in our lives so that we can live godly and holy lives pleasing to God.

Ephesians 5:6-14 NASB

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper,And arise from the dead,And Christ will shine on you.”

Don’t Be Deceived

So, don’t let anyone deceive you with words which sound good, but believe the scriptures, in context. Jesus died to transform us and to conform us to his likeness. Salvation is not a one-time event and then heaven is guaranteed no matter how you live from that moment on. God does not forgive us and then look away and not pay attention to our sins.

We are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns, and our salvation is complete. So, we have to continue in that faith until the very end. And, we have to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. Yet, don’t believe me. Believe God’s Word.

If you are trusting in some decision you made at one time to believe in Jesus but you are still living to the flesh, and Jesus is not really the Lord (owner-master) of your life, then think again. Wake up from your slumber. Don’t put your trust in humans, but in God and in His Word. Jesus died that we might be delivered out of darkness and brought into God’s wonderful Light, not so we could remain in the darkness without guilt and without remorse.

So, come out of that darkness and walk by faith in Jesus Christ in his holiness and righteousness and do what pleases your Lord, not what pleases your flesh, and Christ will shine on you. And, rather than participate in the fruitless deeds of darkness, be ones who expose those evil deeds for what they are and who call people to repentance and to obedience to Christ.

Be willing to lay your lives down for Jesus Christ and for others who need Jesus, and to die for the truth of the gospel rather than compromise with the world of sin. Then, when you die, you can be assured that heaven is your eternal destiny and that you are going to be with your Lord forever. Amen.

Make that decision to say “Yes” to Jesus today, to follow him in obedience, and to leave your lives of sin behind you. You will be so glad that you did!

I Have Decided to Follow Jesus

Song lyrics attr. to S. Sundar Singh
Music: Hindustani melody

I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
I have decided to follow Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
The world behind me, the cross before me;
No turning back, no turning back.

Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
Though none go with me, still I will follow;
No turning back, no turning back.

My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
My cross I’ll carry, till I see Jesus;
No turning back, no turning back.

Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
Will you decide now to follow Jesus?
No turning back, no turning back.

*copyright status is public domain

Monday, September 17, 2018, 12:30 a.m. – Lord Jesus, open blinded eyes to the truth of your gospel, and may many people turn their hearts over to you today and make you truly Lord of their lives.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Heart and Mouth

James 3:1-5a NASB

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.

Make No Provision

We who teach the Word of God need to be so careful to be walking in obedience to our Lord, and to not making any provision for the flesh. We need to take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ. Daily we must put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and daily we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the deeds of the flesh by saying “No” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts.

Then we must walk by the Spirit, following Jesus Christ with our lives, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Jesus’ return.

If we do not take our Lord and his Word seriously, and we, instead, play with sin by not putting on the armor of God, and by not forsaking our idols, and by not taking up our cross daily and following our Lord, we open ourselves up wide for a fall. And, we do a disservice to those who listen to the words that we speak. For, we can’t walk in the flesh and in the Spirit at the same time. We can’t serve God and the flesh at the same time, either.

Know this, also, that flesh gives birth to flesh. If we are not serious about our walks of faith, that we walk in all purity, holiness, and integrity, it will come out through the words which we speak, especially when we don’t have our guard up. If we are taking impurity into our eyes and minds as a regular part of our “diet,” or if we are those who are caught up in gossip, etc., those fleshly thoughts and attitudes will seep out through our words when we don’t want them to.

For, the scriptures teach that it is out of our hearts that our mouths speak. So, if we want control over what we say, then we need to make certain that we have clean hearts. We need to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ over our lives. And, then in his strength and power at work within us, we need to get rid of all bitterness, unforgiveness, envy, critical spirits, hatred, lust, lewdness, and all impurity, etc. For, if we don’t, and we play with fire, we are likely to get burned. And, then we could lose our testimony for Jesus Christ and for his gospel.

James 3:5b-12 NASB

See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell. For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.

From Our Hearts

Once we say it, we can’t take it back. It is out there. And, if we are not careful to guard our hearts and to walk in the Spirit, so that we don’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh, out of our hearts our mouths will speak, most certainly. And, what we say can be very hurtful to others.

Even if we walk closely with our Lord, and our minds are bathed in the Word of God, and we are putting on the armor of God daily, we still live in flesh bodies, and we can still be tempted to sin. And, even if we guard our minds and our hearts against the evils of the world around us, it doesn’t take much and we can get sucked back into wrong thinking and attitudes if we are not judicious about protecting ourselves against all negative outside influences.

For, truly, the poison first comes from what is within our hearts and minds and then it seeps out through our lips. So, we need to make certain that what we are allowing into our minds is wholesome and pure. For, as the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” So, we need to not make as our close friends those who are angry people, those who make a practice of gossip or who are immoral in their thinking and in their speech. For, bad company can corrupt good character.

Guns and knives are just instruments which evil people use to murder others. Tongues, as well, are just the instruments we use to injure others either because we are careless about what we are receiving into our own minds and hearts, or because of the evil which we keep within our hearts which we will not relent and thus we do not submit ourselves to God.

James 3:13-18 NASB

Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Godly Wisdom

What we are will be what we will produce. This does not mean that godly people never sin. They can and they do. This is also not to say that godly people are perfect in mind and heart. For, our salvation is a process of sanctification and of us being made holy and of us putting sin to death and putting on Christ and his armor. We are all in process until the day we die, or until Jesus comes to take us home to be with him for eternity.

But, “in process” is never to be used as an excuse for continued and willful sin against God. The godly person, when convicted, will most likely repent immediately of his or her wrong thinking or negative attitude, and will then make it his or her practice to guard against such continued wrong thinking. He or she will be cognitive of that erroneous attitude to put it to death every time it tries to reenter the thinking, and to put on what is pure and right.

And, the godly person will ask the Lord to search his or her heart to see if there is any unforgiveness, or bitterness of spirit that needs to be dealt with at the cross. And, he or she will be diligent to get rid of all that hinders his or her walk of faith so that he or she can walk in purity of devotion to Christ, and so that the overflow of the heart will be what is of God, not from what is of the flesh.

So, back to what I began to say here. What we are in our heart of hearts, i.e. in our characters, will be what we produce. So, we need to search our hearts, pray for God to reveal to us what is there, and then get rid of what is evil and cling to what is good. The closer we walk with our Lord in obedience to him, and that we make it our practice to die daily to sin and to put on the armor of God, the more that what comes out of our mouths will be what is beneficial for building others up in their faith, and not for bringing them harm.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Hymn lyrics by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o'er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

*copyright status is public domain

Sunday, September 16, 2018 – Lord Jesus, I pray you will help us all to take this to heart, and that we will search our own hearts in prayer, and that we will get rid of anything there which is displeasing to you so that we can walk with you in purity of devotion and bear fruit in keeping with repentance.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

How Do We Love?

1 John 4:1-6 NASB

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Test the Spirits

Not long ago I came to understand that testing the spirits is not just about testing to see if something is from the Holy Spirit or from evil spirits. For, we each have a spirit inside of us which is our soul, the essence of who we are. It is our inner self, the real us that is us even when no one else is looking. It is our general temperament and our character; our attitudes, thinking, and values, etc. And, it is our moral fiber, too; what we’re really made of.

I also learned that this “confession” is not just about what we say with our mouths, but it is what we say with our lives, by how we live day in and day out. For, many false teachers are those who profess the name of Jesus and yet deny him by their teaching and by their lifestyles. A good example of this was the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. For, the term “Pharisee” today is synonymous with “hypocrite,” for they did not practice what they preached.

The scriptures give us many ways in which we can test these spirits to see who is from God and who is not, yet we must be very careful that we don’t judge people falsely by human standards and traditions, or by ourselves, and that we don’t become people who just go around judging everyone, too.

For, the purpose of this is so that we do not fall into error and thus fall away from our pure devotion to Christ, because we believed what some false teachers said, thinking we were believing what was true. And, that is why scripture speaks often about our need to test what we hear against the Word of God, but in context. Context is everything! And, we need to test our own hearts, too, for we can be deceived if we are not careful.

1 John 4:7-14 NASB

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

Love One Another

When we read the Bible, we need to understand that it was originally written in another language, and that (if you speak English) our English translations don’t always capture the essence of the meaning of what was being said.

For example, the word “love” can have so many different meanings. And, in America, I think we often see that word as some sentimental feeling or affection, or some types of kind acts where we do nice things for people. Or, it can have to do with some romantic feelings towards another, too.

But, the love that is from God has to do with selflessness, with putting others’ legitimate needs above our own stuff. This love, too, is rooted in moral purity, in honesty, faithfulness and in integrity. It always considers what is in the best interest of others, too, i.e. what is for their benefit, for their well-being, and for their physical and spiritual health and wholeness.

So, if we are “good deed doers” and we go around doing nice things for people, which is great, it does not mean we are of God or that we are born of him or that we know him. If we go around lovin’ on people, hugging them and smiling and saying positive things to them, which make them feel good, it does not mean we know God or that we are born of God.

Again, context is everything. We need to read this in the context of the whole of the book of 1 John, for it says many things in there about who knows God and who has been born of God. It says that if we claim to have fellowship with God but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars who do not live by the truth. And, it says that to love God is to obey his commands, and if we do not walk in obedience to him, we don’t really know God nor have we ever been born of God.

Now, I know, too, that to be born of God does not mean we will live in sinless perfection, but it does mean that we will not walk any longer in darkness but we will walk in the Light as He is in the Light. But, I also know that it is possible for true believers in Jesus Christ to fall back, for a period of time, and be in need of revival (Rev. 2-3). Yet, I also know that scripture teaches that we will reap what we sow, and that if we walk according to the flesh, that we will die in our sins, not have the hope of heaven.

The whole point of what I am saying here is that not everyone who is kind or nice or generous or giving of themselves to others is born of God, for there are many nice people in the world who do wonderful things for others who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ (God).

We are born of God if we have turned from our sins, and we have turned to walk with our Lord Jesus in obedience to his will and to his ways. Thus, he is now living within us. And, since he is love, love is also living within us, and should thus be evidenced through our lives (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

But, this love prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, pure, moral, upright, and godly, and it cares more about others’ salvation from sin than it does about being liked by other people. This love, thus, gives up one’s own reputation in order to see others go free from their slavery to sin and walk in Christ’s righteousness.

1 John 4:15-21 NASB

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

Hate Vs. Love

Do you know that you can do all kinds of good deeds for others and you can do it with a smile, and say all kinds of nice things which make them feel good inside, and that can be hate, not love?

If we, given the opportunity to share Jesus with others – and I mean the whole counsel of God, not the “nicey-nice stuff” many are sharing in the name of Jesus – if we refuse, and we back down, and we console people in their sin rather than confront them and show them the way to true freedom in Christ, then that is not love, but selfishness, and it is hate.

Basically, we can “love” people all the way to hell because we are more concerned with them liking us than we are concerned about them being delivered from their bondage to sin and having the true promise of eternal life with God.

For, if we tell them a half-truth gospel and we tell them that they can just pray a prayer and that they are “in” and it doesn’t matter how much they sin from this point on, but they are still going to heaven, then I would not call that love. For, we are lying to them and we are cursing them to hell as their destiny because we were not willing to risk them rejecting us in order to tell them the truth.

So, hate takes many different forms, in other words. When we choose our own personal comfort and acceptance over and above others’ true deliverance out of bondage to sin, we are not acting in love.

We are not doing what was modeled for us in Jesus Christ who was willing to be hated, rejected, falsely accused, mocked, spit upon, beaten and killed for our freedom from our slavery to sin so that we can live with him to righteousness. For, we allow fear of what others will think of us to overcome us and thus we are not perfected in love.

So, we need to pray for the courage to speak out, and to speak the truth in love to others, and to walk in the fear of the Lord instead of in the fear of man. And, we need to be Jesus to the world around us.

Draw Me Close To You  
Donnie McClurkin

Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I'm Your friend

You are my desire
And no one else will do…

You're all I want. You’re all I ever needed.
You’re all I want. Help me know You are near…

Saturday, September 15, 2018 – Help us, Lord, to put aside our fears and to walk by faith and not by sight and to love others like you love us.