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."

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Hindsight


Isaiah 7:1-2 ESV

In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

Today the church is divided, just as the Israel of old was a divided kingdom. For, part of the church has joined forces with the nations, which are at war with God’s holy city (his heavenly Jerusalem, the temple of God, Christ’s body, his holy bride). The church united with the nations, thus, is opposed to the true gospel of our salvation and to its messengers, and is in an all-out war to try to defeat both the gospel and Christ’s servants and messengers.

The portion of the church which has unified itself with the nations is, thus, using their “hinds” to exercise insight, discernment and judgment, rather than using their head, Jesus Christ, to lead them into the right judgments, insights and decisions. For, their hinds are the fleshly parts of the body from which come evil thoughts, wickedness, immorality, filthy language, lying, hypocrisy, false righteousness, fakery, corruption, dishonesty and the like.

So, this fleshly and worldly part of the church, in unity with the nations, is indeed at war with the part of the church which is exercising divine and godly wisdom and discernment, and which is following Jesus Christ in his will and in his ways. Thus, the fleshly church, in unity with the nations, are in a crusade to try to discredit the gospel and its messengers and to try to convince people that they can continue to use their “hinds” instead of their “head” to make judgments about right and wrong for themselves.

This fleshly and worldly part of the church, too, is very self-focused, even to the exclusion of what is godly, holy and righteous. They are more focused on what brings them pleasure, rather than on pleasing God. They have more of an entitlement mindset, rather than having their minds and hearts set on our Lord and on his heavenly kingdom. And, they are opposed to anyone who would try to convince them that God is not ok with them living like that.

For, they are convinced that their salvation from sin gives them free license to continue in sin without guilt and without any need for remorse. They are convinced that Jesus’ death on that cross was only to take their punishment for sin and to promise them heaven as their eternal destiny. So, they are also convinced that they can live like the devil while they are still on this earth and yet still be guaranteed heaven as their eternal home. And, although some of them may not say that with words, by their lifestyles, which speak louder than words, they do indeed give off that message.

Isaiah 7:3-6 ESV

And the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out to meet Ahaz, you and Shear-jashub your son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Washer's Field. And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah. Because Syria, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has devised evil against you, saying, “Let us go up against Judah and terrify it, and let us conquer it for ourselves, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it.”

We, who have placed our faith in Jesus Christ (Immanuel, God with us), should not fear the opposition from this worldly (fleshly) church in concert with the nations (the New World Order). For, our God is with us, and he will carry us through any and every situation which presents itself against us. He will give us all the wisdom, counsel and strength we need to combat the lies of the enemy and to stand strong in our faith, too.

We are not to be afraid of this opposition, though, because our Lord is on our side, if we are truly following him with our lives in obedience to his will and to his ways. Our enemies, who are also God’s enemies, may be able to kill our bodies, but they cannot kill our souls. They may fiercely oppose us and take advantage of our kindness to them, and they may even pretend to be our friends while they stab us behind the back. But, our Lord will sustain us through it all, and he will carry us safely into his eternal kingdom.

We must know here, too, that our Lord said that these times would come. He said we would be hated by the nations and that even our own family members, and people from our own nations and even within our own faith would turn against us, just like they did him. And, he said we should not be surprised or be overtaken when we see these things take place.

We were also warned in scripture concerning this beast (New World Order, one-world totalitarian government) that would rise and that would conquer nations and peoples and even the saints of God (See: Rev. 13). But, this is a two-headed beast, for one part is the nations and the other part is this fleshly-worldly church which has compromised with the world, and is leading the way towards a one-world religion where we all join hands together and sing “Kumbaya.” But, God has allowed this to take place for his purposes, one of which is to bring his worldly wayward church back to him, I believe.

Isaiah 7:7-9 ESV

Thus says the Lord God: “‘It shall not stand,    and it shall not come to pass.For the head of Syria is Damascus,    and the head of Damascus is Rezin.And within sixty-five years    Ephraim will be shattered from being a people.And the head of Ephraim is Samaria,    and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.If you are not firm in faith,    you will not be firm at all.’”

For us, today, the message here is not that we won’t be persecuted for our faith in Jesus Christ. We will! It is not that our enemy will not be able to conquer us militarily. He will! It is not that those who devise evil against us will not be able to carry it out, either. They will! For, the Bible teaches that these things must take place before Jesus returns (See: Matt. 24).

But, the message is clear that we must not let these things unsettle us. We must not give in to fear and to intimidation. We must also not yield to the pressure to compromise our faith and convictions in order to “unify” with this worldly and ungodly church, in unity with the nations.

We must not let the enemy defeat us via manipulation of truth or of our minds, either. And, we must not let him convince us that God is ok with us doing evil against him and that repentance is not necessary for our salvation.

We must stand strong on the Word of God in the face of this opposition. We must expose the lies for what they are, and we must proclaim the truth. For, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Heaven is not guaranteed to those who still are walking (living) according to the flesh (according to their “hinds”). We must walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit in righteousness and purity if we want to have eternal life with God (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Eph. 4:17-24; Gal. 6:7-8).

So, this is the truth we must stand on, and we must not waver in opinion from it, for if we don’t stand strong in our faith, then we will not stand at all.

For, when persecution gets much worse than it is now, especially for the church in America, which has not yet had to face much severe persecution, if we are not standing on the truth, we won’t make it. We will crash and burn if our faith is not on the solid Rock of Jesus Christ and his word, but if our faith is based on the thinking and reasoning of this world, thus making judgments with our “hinds” instead of with our head, Jesus Christ.

So, instead of exercising “hind-sight,” we need to be exercising foresight, knowing what is coming, preparing for it in advance, listening to the Spirit’s voice, bathing our minds and our hearts in God’s Word, and daily putting on that armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. This foresight, thus, comes from God, and it prepares us for what is coming, and it gives us the wisdom and discernment necessary in order to not cave to the world but to live according to the Spirit, holy and pleasing to God.

For Our Nation  

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Abominable Practices


Deuteronomy 18:9-14 ESV

“When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations… And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.”

For the Jews, the Promised Land was their physical inheritance. For us, our inheritance is our salvation, our eternal life with God, our hope of Christ’s return, our salvation completed, and our eternity with God in glory.

So for us, coming into our Promised Land, ultimately, will be when Christ returns. But, actually we enter into that eternal life with God when we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. And, we continue in that salvation and in that eternal life with God through our daily walks of faith with our Lord in fellowship with him, in his word, in prayer, in repentance, and in obedience to his commands (See: Rom. 8:1-17).

So, for us who believe in Jesus, this is saying that now that we have entered into our “Promised Land,” i.e. into our inheritance, we are not to learn to follow the abominable practices of the nations (the world).

So, this begs the question, “What are some of the abominable practices of the nations, or of our own home country, that we are not to follow?”

Let me preface this by saying that scripture is clear that, for those of us who have trusted in Jesus Christ, we are to now live lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world around us. For, Jesus called us out from the world and out from their practices, attitudes, values, principles and behaviors. And, we are taught, too, that we are not to love (take pleasure in, long for, or make our preference) the things of this world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn. 2:15-16).

Abominable Practices

Sinful Practices (addictions) – We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are not to continue in sinful practices. It is not ok for us to remain addicted to sin once we have entered into our eternal inheritance. God is not blind to what we do every day, nor is he accepting of us making sin our practice.

He is not sitting up there in heaven looking down on us and smiling while we regularly and consistently engage in filth, lewdness, immorality, dishonesty, adultery, lust, gossip, slander, meanness, abuse, manipulations, false righteousness, hypocrisy, and making fun of people who are different from us, and using other people for our own advantage and our own selfishness.

The world, including the worldly church, is powerfully trying to persuade the people of the world, and even Christians (or professing Christians), that we are here to have fun, to entertain ourselves, to play games, watch TV, watch movies and videos, throw parties, make ourselves feel good, do what feels natural, pamper ourselves, feed our addictions and medicate ourselves, too.

They are trying to convince Christians (or prospective believers in Jesus), that Jesus just went around patting everyone on the back and making them feel good about themselves, that he didn’t judge anyone, and all he did was just “love on” people, and so everyone loved him back. They are trying to convince them that to be a follower of Jesus is to do the same, to not make waves, to stay in our “own lane,” and to not rock the boat.

Some church and world leaders are pushing hard the message that we can have salvation from sin and the hope of heaven when we die, but nothing is required of us at all – no submission to Christ, no repentance, no obedience, no humility, no fear of God – just some innocuous “faith” which does nothing but enjoy life and have fun and play games and entertain ourselves, and maybe give Jesus 5 minutes of our time for devotions each day.

They have no problem with you continuing in sin and believing in a false hope of salvation and never ever experiencing true freedom in Christ, because they are not of God, but of the devil, for they are false teachers and hypocritical liars and deceivers who are wolves in sheep’s clothing whose goal is to steal, kill and destroy the church.

So, they are like parasites, feeding on you for their own advantage, for their own selfish purposes. Thus, they make manipulation, the twisting of truth, lies, deception, abuse, mind-games, trickery, using people, charming the socks off of people, amusement, entertainment, pretending, and hypocrisy their practice in order to deceive you into following after them, instead.

And, they are out there everywhere, within the gatherings of the church, in leadership within the church, in our governments, on blogs, on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like), on television, on the radio, on the internet, on Christian discussion sites, and on political discussion sites. They are out there spreading their filth and their garbage and their false righteousness and their lies and pretenses in order to suck you in, and to get you hooked, so you believe their lies, and so you do what they do.

They want you in limbo. They want you filling your minds with garbage every day so that the Word of God can’t get into your minds, and so they convince you that God is ok with all that worldliness and that he uses it to bring people to Jesus. Hogwash! We need to cut through that baloney.

They are masterful actors, these liars and deceivers posing as men of God or as political leaders who have our best interest at heart. But, so many of them are just following scripts. They are all following the same play books, but not the Bible. They are busy building their earthly kingdoms, so they are not thinking about participating in the building of God’s heavenly kingdom.

So, don’t trust them! Don’t put your trust in the president or in congress or in pastors and elders and TV evangelists and preachers. Don’t put your trust in the news media, either. For, there is a New World Order (of the beast) in play right now, and we live in an age of great deception, and even the elect are being deceived by these masterful tricksters and manipulators.

Their goal is to break down everything that divides us as a people of this world. But, know this! The gospel of our salvation divides us, and so their goal is to destroy that, too, and that is where all of this is ultimately headed. They, including Donald Trump, want us to all come together as one voice, one mind, one heart and to forsake all that keeps us from being united together as one under the rule of the New World Order beast (Rev. 13).

Deuteronomy 18:15-19 ESV

“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.’”

Know this! Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on that cross about 2,000 years ago in order that we, who believe in him, might die to sin and live to righteousness. His goal for us is not that life should be one big party where we entertain ourselves incessantly. His goal for us is that we are crucified with him in death to sin so that we might live with him to his righteousness.

The cup he said we would drink from is not a cup of merriment and entertainment and self-pleasure, but it is a cup of suffering. He said we would suffer like he suffered, and that we would be hated as he was hated. So, know this. They do hate us, these who try to convince us that God is ok with our sins, and that is why they are trying to convince us of that.

But, also know this. The Bible says that if we walk in our sins, we will die in our sins. If we make sin our practice, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment. We will reap what we sow. If we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap decay (death). But, if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (See: Rom. 8:1-17; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).

So, don’t be fooled! Don’t believe everything you read or hear or see, especially on TV and on the internet, for there is so much disinformation and lies and trickery on there. Not everyone is who he or she appears to be. Anything can be faked! Just because it looks true doesn’t mean it is true. So, get your minds out of the world and into God’s Holy Word, and see what His Word has to say about what he requires of you, because if you follow after the abominations of the nations, God will require your life of you.

Broken Cord
An Original Work / August 29, 2018

Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And, your testimony is
Separate from Him.

Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.

Live what you testify
In truth always.

Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.

Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.

Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.

Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.

Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.

Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.


Monday, December 10, 2018

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Like Jesus


John 15:12-17 ESV

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”

Why do you think God has to command us to love one another? I believe it is because we, in our own human nature, are incapable of the kind of love he is talking about here, and because our flesh fights against such love, too.

By nature, we are selfish people, driven to fulfill the desires of our flesh. Yet, through Jesus’ death on a cross, he crucified sin, and he did so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. So, when we believe in Jesus, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected to new lives in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). And all this is the working of the Holy Spirit, as we yield to his control.

But, this “believing in him” is ongoing. And, daily we must, by the Spirit, put to death the fruitless deeds of darkness. Daily we must die to sin and self and put on the love of Christ. And, daily we must choose to resist Satan and flee temptation and say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions. And, daily we must choose to put on the armor of God, and to put on Christ’s love, and to yield to the control of the Spirit, and to walk in Christ’s holiness.

And, this is why we need to be commanded to love one other with God’s love, because it does not come natural to us. It is something we must choose to do each day in the power of God’s Spirit at work within us. And, sometimes it is moment by moment, especially if any of us live in situations where we are being abused or misused or persecuted for our faith in Jesus. We have to choose to love our enemies and pray for them and do good to them and say to them what will be beneficial to them and not harm them.

And, what is beneficial for them is not always going to be what will necessarily make them feel good, or what is going to get them to like us in return. Remember here that Jesus spoke the words of truth and of life to people, and many of them hated him in return, and they persecuted and killed him because of what he said to them for their good; for their benefit.

So, loving people as God loves us will require that we tell people the truth about their sin, and that we expose the fruitless deeds of darkness, and that we call people to repentance and to obedience to Christ, and that we warn them about deception and believing lies. And, that is not always going to endear us to people, or get us rave reviews, or make us popular.

John 15:18-21 ESV

“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.”

Does the world love you as its own? Or, does the world hate and reject you? As well, does the worldly (fleshly) church love you as its own? Or, does the worldly (fleshly) church hate, despise, reject and/or push you away?

If those who live according to the pattern of this world, who adopt its practices, who believe its philosophies, and who mimic its attitudes don’t, in some way or another, feel disassociated from you because of your beliefs and your lifestyle, and because of your testimony for Jesus, then something is wrong. For, if we are truly following Jesus Christ with our lives, and if we are truly loving people as Jesus did, including teaching what he taught, then those who live according to the ways of the world should not love us as their own, but they should keep a “safe distance” from us, at least.

For, Jesus called us out of the world. We are, thus, not to love the world. We are not to embrace the culture around us. We are not to participate in what is worldly and ungodly and unholy. We are supposed to be different from the world. We should stand out as weird. We should not blend in so that people will think we are “cool” or so we can connect with the people around us.

Thus, we should not be doing what we know is sinful, as a matter of course. This is not to say we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2) or that we will be perfect, and never need correction or discipline. But, we should no longer make sin our practice. It should not be what controls our lives. Our hearts, minds, passions and desires should not be given over to what is worldly, but they should be given over to what is of the kingdom of heaven.

So, if we are living for the Lord, and we are walking in obedience to him, and we are being Jesus to the world around us, and we are speaking the truth in love, because we are concerned about others’ eternal security, then just know that we are going to have enemies, even from within the gatherings of the church, and even from church leadership. For, the people who hated Jesus the most and who plotted and carried out his death were the leaders in the temple of God. So, don’t be surprised if you get more persecution within the church than you do out in the world.

John 15:22-25 ESV

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also. If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’”

We are told in scripture that if we hate other human beings, and hate is the opposite of love, i.e. it is doing harm to others willfully and knowingly, then we can’t love God, and we don’t really know God (See: 1 Jn. 2:9-11; 1 Jn. 3:15; 1 Jn. 4:20).

So, when we cheat on, lie to, deceive, gossip about it, slander, curse, disdain, steal from, and commit adultery against others (which includes lust), as a matter of practice, we are not loving them, but we are acting in hate towards them. And, we are acting in hate towards God, too. For, however we treat other people, especially those who are followers of Jesus, is how we are also treating Jesus, likewise (See: Matthew 25:31-46).

But, there is another message here, as well. And, that is that if anyone hates or rejects Jesus Christ as the Christ, the promised Messiah, then they cannot possibly believe in the One True God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, the Jews who reject Jesus Christ do not believe in the God of their ancestors who did believe in the One True God. And, that is Jesus’ message here.

And, believing in Jesus, again, is not a one-time event in our lives, nor is it a prayer that we pray once, or a decision we make once, or a public confession of faith or baptism or anything where we profess faith in Jesus Christ at some singular point in our lives, though it can begin there.

Believing in Jesus is ongoing, continuous, enduring, faithful, persistent, and persevering, and it endures to the end of our lives or until Jesus comes back.

Believing in Jesus also involves daily putting sin to death in our lives and daily submitting to God and walking (conducting our lives) according to his Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and all in the power of the Spirit of God now living and at work within us.

If we do sin against God, we repent of it, confess it where appropriate, and we move forward in following (obeying) Jesus Christ with our lives, one day and one moment at a time, in his power and in his strength within us. For, through faith in Jesus Christ, we are being conformed, by the Spirit, to the likeness of Christ, so that every day we should be becoming more and more like him in all that we do, are, think, believe and say, to the glory of God.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.


*copyright status is public domain

Sunday, December 9, 2018

In Him


John 15:1-2 ESV

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

Jesus Christ, God the Son, is metaphorically being spoken of here as the true grapevine, and God the Father as the vinedresser, i.e. “a person who cultivates and prunes grapevines” (M-W Dict.). And, we who believe in Jesus are metaphorically being spoken of here as the branches of the grape vine.

God the Father, as the vinedresser, nurtures, encourages, helps and develops us in our walks of faith. And, he prepares us for works of ministry that he might use us in the lives of others to spread his gospel of grace and his love to the people of the world, and to other believers in Jesus, too.

Nonetheless, we must bear fruit (results) which proves that we are truly his disciples. In other words, there must be evidence in our lives that we are walking by faith and that we are not still living to please our flesh. There must be outgrowth from our lives, a product of our faith, which shows (demonstrates) that we truly are followers of Jesus.

For example, if we say we believe in Jesus and in what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins, then we must believe what he taught us and what his NT apostles taught us with regard to the requirements for our salvation. For, the scriptures teach us that, if we want to have eternal life with God, that we must walk according to the Spirit of God and no longer according to the flesh, for if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins.

Yet, notice with me the wording here, for Jesus said, “Every branch IN ME which does not bear fruit he takes away.” The branches cannot be “in him” if they did not initially have genuine faith in Christ Jesus. I know many people want to say here that this is speaking of those who made a profession of faith in Jesus only, but the context does not bear that out. This is speaking of those who were once part of the vine, but who did not become fruit-bearing disciples (followers) of Jesus, and so they are cut off (See: Rom. 11:17-22; 1 Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; 2 Tim. 2:10-13; Hebrews 3:6, 14-15).

So, what this is saying, too, is that our salvation is not a one-time event and then we are good to go until we die, and then we get to go to heaven.

All throughout the New Testament we learn that we must continue in Christ, and we must remain faithful to him, and we must live according to the Spirit, and not according to our flesh, and that we will reap what we sow. Basically, our salvation is ongoing and will not be complete until our Lord returns. So, we may begin well with Christ, but if we don’t continue, then we can be cut off and thrown away and burned in the fire (see next section).

Thus, we should never take our salvation for granted, or take for granted our Lord’s grace to us, or think of his grace as permission to continue in sin.

And, the reason that God prunes those of us who are bearing fruit is to keep us from returning to our old fleshly ways, to humble us, and so we can share in his holiness (compare to Hebrews 12). And, the Lord pruning us is the same as him disciplining (chastising, reproving) us, and it is for our good. For, when we go through suffering and hard times, we will turn to him, and he will do his work of refining us and conforming us to the image of Christ.

John 15:3-6 ESV

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

Jesus is speaking here to those of us who are truly his by faith in him. We are clean because he made us clean. We can do nothing in ourselves to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Nonetheless, our salvation is conditional to us walking by faith, and not walking according to the flesh.

Where the confusion comes into play many times, with regard to our salvation, is that people have this mindset that God’s grace is merely him forgiving our sins and promising us heaven when we die. They forget that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24), and that we must walk according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, if we want to have eternal life with God (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8; Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Tit. 2:11-14).

Thus, we must know here that our salvation is a process, not a one-time event and then we are good to go to heaven no matter what. For, we are saved (past), we are being saved (present) and we will be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns for us, his bride, and he takes us to be with him forever. Some people refer to this as the process of sanctification.

Thus, if we understand our salvation as a process, then we will understand the words of Jesus here when he says that we must abide in him. We must live in him, in his truth, in his ways, according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh. We must develop a close intimate relationship with him via time spent with him, throughout our days and nights, in his word, in prayer, in fellowship with him, and via obedience to his commands.

We must regard our lives as no longer our own, for Jesus bought us back for God with his blood, thus we are to honor God with our lives. And, if Jesus is truly our Lord, that means he is master-owner of our lives, and he is the one who is now directing our steps and showing us the way in which we are to walk.

It is possible to appear as though we are bearing fruit for God’s eternal kingdom when we are not, for there are many “good deed doers” out there. Even atheists can do “good deeds.” So, this is not about just going around the world doing good things for other people, though that is certainly part of it. But, this is about giving our lives wholly to Jesus Christ, obeying him, doing what he requires of us, forsaking our idols and sins, living holy lives, pleasing to God, and no longer being conformed to the ways of this sinful world (See: Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24).

John 15:7-11 ESV

“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

If we are truly abiding in Christ, in the truest sense of what this means, then what we “wish” will be in line with God’s word and with his divine character and will for our lives. So, this, in no way, is suggesting that Jesus is a genie in a bottle there to grant our every desire just because we claim him as our Savior.

Also, we must prove ourselves to be his disciples. For, there are many who give lip service only. There are many who fake their Christianity for their own selfish purposes. And, there are many who just use Jesus to escape hell and to go to heaven when they die, but they truly do not revere him as their Lord God.

So, there is this phrase which says, “The proof is in the pudding.” It basically means that it must be tried and tested to prove how good it is. And, that is the same for us. We must be tried and tested to see whether or not our faith is genuine, and the genuiness of our faith will be proven by our fruit (outgrowth), which is in keeping with repentance.

One of the strong themes of the book of John and 1st, 2nd & 3rd John is that love for God equals obedience to his Word. If we love him, we will obey him. If we don’t love him, we won’t obey him. If we don’t obey him, thus we do not love him or know him. And, he does not know us.

So, don’t buy into the lies which tell you that being under grace means you don’t have to obey God. For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly (worldly) lusts (passions) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return.

Thus, we must hold on to the faith which we profess, and we must walk in it, not just talk it. And, we must take our Lord’s yoke upon us, i.e. we must be slaves to his righteousness, because he is the one who carries the burden of it for us. All we have to do is yield our lives to his control and let him work his grace and his power and strength in our lives, and we just have to cooperate with him in doing what he says. But, it is his power that does the work in us, and not us operating in our own flesh.

Unshakably

An Original Work / November 29, 2018
Based off various scriptures

Cast your cares upon your Lord.

Come to Him
All you who’re weary.
Know that He will
Give you rest.

Take His yoke upon you
And learn from Him
And you’ll find your rest.

For His yoke is easy
And His burden’s light.
It’s His to bear.

Find the peace of Christ in heart.

Let the peace of Christ
Rule in your hearts,
And be then
So thankful.

And, the peace of God
Which is beyond all
We can comprehend

Will guard your hearts
And your minds in Christ,
For He is Lord of all.

Hope in God will not betray.

Let us hold
Unshakably to
The hope that
We now profess.

For the One
Who promised hope
Is faithful to
His ev’ry word.

Therefore, with minds
That are sober,
Set your hope
On Christ’s return.


Sunday, December 9, 2018

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Troubled Hearts?


John 14:1-7 ESV

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

In this world we will have troubles and hardships and suffering, and there will be times when we may feel distraught, hopeless and without resources. Even people strong in their faith in Jesus Christ (in God) can have times when life’s circumstances get them down, and when they momentarily feel despair or hopelessness (examples: King David, Jeremiah, Job and Paul).

And, it is during those times that those of us who believe in Jesus will (or should) call upon God in our distress, and in our despair, and in our confusion, and we will (or should) seek God’s face for answers and for hope and for healing. And, when we do this, in all sincerity, he will answer us from heaven, and he will tell us to not let our hearts be troubled, but to believe in him; to believe that he has everything under his control, and to trust him.

But, it is important that we listen to him and to his counsel, and that we are walking in fellowship with him daily, and that we are following his counsel, too. For, so many times Christians will pray to God for help when things are bad, and they will look to God to rescue them from their troubles. But, then they may ignore him the rest of the time, in good times, and they may not consistently seek his counsel, and they may not be willing to do what the Lord says. So, if this is the case, then they should not expect help from him.

But, when we truly believe in Jesus, not just when it is convenient for us, but all the time, then biblically it means we are listening to him, and we are following him, and we are daily dying to sin and to self. Then, we will truly know Jesus Christ, the Son, and we will know the Father, also. And, then we will have this hope that one day all this pain, misery, and heartache, and all these temptations to sin and persecutions will finally be over. And, we will then have a home for us in heaven, where Jesus has gone ahead of us to prepare a place for us, that where he is, there we may be also.

John 14:8-14 ESV

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.

There are many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ who really do not know him in an intimate sense. They may truly be in relationship with him, or not, but they have not spent the time with him, in prayer and in his Word, in order to really get to know who he is and what he is really all about.  

Some of this may be due to the fact that they are listening to humans to tell them about Jesus, but they may be getting a distorted view of the Christ from other human beings. So, the only way we can really know Jesus is for us to spend lots of time with him, listening to him, reading his word, talking with him (praying), and then obeying him.

And, then we will come to realize Jesus’ relationship to the Father, that he is not just the Son of God, but he is also God (See: John 1), and that he was with God in the beginning, and not just when he was born as a baby. For Jesus always existed, just not always in human form. And, he not only existed always with God, and he is God, but he is also our creator God.

So, it was God who left his throne in heaven and humbled himself and took on human form and became obedient to death on a cross. God, who is holy and perfect and all-powerful, humbled himself to become like us, except he did not sin, because he loved us so much, and because he wanted us to be free from our slavery to sin and to walk in his righteousness and holiness.

John 14:15-21 ESV

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

So, how do we get to know Jesus and the Father? First of all, we must humble ourselves, and we must repent of our sins and submit to God’s will and purposes for our lives. We must leave our former lives of living for sin and self behind us, and we must now walk in Christ’s holiness and righteousness, all in his power and strength within us (See: Eph. 4:17-24).

For, if we love him, we will keep his commandments. But, this is ongoing. And, it is a process of daily, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh. Yet, this is not saying we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but it is saying that sin should no longer be our master. It should no longer be what controls our lives, for now we should be under the control of the Holy Spirit, who is the helper whom Jesus has given to us who are believing in him.

And, let me say this here, too. Many people believe that the Jews believe in the same God as we who are Christians do. They do not. For Jesus made it quite clear here, and in other passages of scripture, too, that if we don’t know Jesus, that we also do not know the Father, for they are ONE God. And, this goes for other religions, as well. For, Jesus is the only Way, Truth, and Life, and NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT THROUGH HIM.

If we don’t love Jesus, i.e. if we don’t make it our practice to obey him, then we do not know him, which means we also do not know God, which also means we do not have the hope of eternal life with God (See: Rom. 8:1-17).

And, know this also. Knowing Jesus, thus knowing God, is not a one-time event in our lives, we then live, and then one day we die and we go to heaven. Knowing and loving Jesus must be continuous, ongoing, and must remain in effect until the day he comes to take us home to be with him. And, knowing him and loving him involves daily fellowship with him all throughout the day and night, and walking daily in obedience to him, too.

So, if you want to be assured of God’s love and care and protection over your life, then you need to love Jesus by obeying him and by doing what he says. And, he says we are to put away our former lives of living for sin and self, and all those sins associated with the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21), and then we are to come and follow (obey) him (Lu. 9:23-25). And then, too, we can be assured that we have eternal life with God and heaven as our eternal home.

So, truly trust him with your life today, if you have not already.

A Believer’s Prayer
An Original Work / July 31, 2012

With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.

Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.

Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Friday, December 7, 2018

Christ's Dismissal


So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” ~ John 10:7-10 ESV

We are about to enter into the Christmas season, at least here in America. Christmas, as it has come to be known, is largely considered to be a Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, God the Son. But… there is another god that is celebrated on Christmas Day, and his name is Santa.

So, what does the word “Christmas” literally mean?

Well, the first part of the word is Christ, meaning the Anointed One, meaning Jesus Christ, the Son of God (See: Isaiah 61; Luke 4:18-19).

But, what about the word “mas”? What does that mean?

Well, it is generally held that the word “mas” means “dismissal.” Yet, whether you agree with that or not doesn’t really matter, for I believe we shall see here, by the evidence itself, that indeed that is what is intended.

Thieves and Robbers

The thieves and robbers Jesus Christ is talking about here are those who are false teachers or prophets who lead people to follow other gods and other religions, or another gospel. Or else they are the false gods themselves who, according to their prophets and teachers, promise people all sorts of things if they will only bow down and worship them, instead of the people worshiping the One and Only True God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

So, they are thieves and robbers because their goal is to steal the hearts of people away from the One and Only True God to follow after them and their false gods, instead. And, I believe that is the entire goal of the creation of the celebration of Christmas and of Santa Claus.

Satan and His Angels

From what I have been taught, and from what I understand, Satan used to be an angel in heaven, but he wanted to be God, and so he rebelled against God along with about a third of the angels, and so God cast them down to the earth (Is. 14:12-14; Lu. 10:18; Rev. 9:1; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 12:3-9).

“How you are fallen from heaven,O Lucifer, son of the morning!How you are cut down to the ground,You who weakened the nations!For you have said in your heart:‘I will ascend into heaven,I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;I will also sit on the mount of the congregationOn the farthest sides of the north;I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,I will be like the Most High.’” Is. 14:12-14

Now, let’s think about Santa Claus for a moment. Where does he live? The North Pole. How does he deliver gifts to children all over the world in a single night? He rides on a reindeer-driven sleigh up in the sky, on the heights, or above the heights of the clouds.

And, what attributes is this false god given? He is omnipresent, omniscient and omnipotent, meaning he is present in all places at all times, he is all-knowing, all-seeing (like the all-seeing eye of Horus on our national seal), and he is all-powerful. And, what this means is that he has been given the attributes of Almighty God, because he, Santa/Satan, wants to be God.

Don’t believe me? Well, Santa knows when every child across the world is sleeping and when they are awake. He knows when they have been good or bad, too. He is also able to be in multiple department stores all across the world, all at the same time, holding children on his lap, promising them presents they will most likely never receive. And, he is able to magically deliver gifts to every child on the globe – that is the ones who have been good, so he says, and in a single night, too. So, he must be able to see all, know all, and be everywhere all at the same time, and be all-powerful, too.

The Christmas Deception

Ok, so we in America, at least, traditionally celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December. [My husband and I stopped celebrating in 2012.] For many of us, we were taught to celebrate this day from the time we were small children, and many of us were taught that this was the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, thus it is considered a sacred holiday. But, is it really?

What is the central focus of the celebration of Christmas, in reality? Is it not the buying of gifts, many of which people do not need, and many of which those buying them cannot afford? And, so many people go into massive debt just to be able to buy Christmas presents, and for all the people they feel obligated to buy them for, as well. And, then when they are given, often times they are returned for something better, in the eyes of the receivers, who are the ones who return them to the stores, because they reject them.

And, is it not all about Christmas trees and decorations which many people also cannot afford, but they do so to keep up with everyone else who is doing it, too? And, then there is all the baking of cookies, and the shopping, and the Christmas cards, and the new clothes and shoes and hats, and all the parties and games and some raunchy Christmas movies, too, etc.

So, what does any of that have to do with Jesus? Well, they say that Jesus was given gifts when he was born and thus we give each other gifts when we celebrate his birthday. But, does that even make sense? Some will say Jesus was our gift and thus we give each other gifts, but that doesn’t make sense, either. For the gift of Jesus is the gift of salvation from sin, so the gift we should give each other is the message of how we can all be forgiven our sins and be delivered from our bondage, and now walk in Christ’s holiness.

And, when we celebrate each other’s birthdays, who gets the gifts? The person with the birthday, right? So, if we are truly celebrating Jesus Christ, then should he not be the one to receive our gifts? And, what gift does he want from us? He wants are all on the altar of sacrifice laid, living lives holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds away from what is sinful to walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, in his power and strength.

Also, when we celebrate each other’s birthdays, does everyone in the room, besides the one with the birthday, all congregate together and give each other gifts, and then pass around pictures of what we looked like when we were helpless babies, while the one having the birthday is ignored? But, that is what we do, isn’t it, when we picture Jesus as a helpless baby in a manger, and we put a manger scene somewhere in our houses, and then we all gather together and give each other presents and play games and eat lots of food and watch movies, too.

Ok, so let’s go back to Santa, for he plays a huge role in this deception, too. For, while Jesus Christ is pictured as a helpless baby in a manger doing nothing but just lying there, Santa comes on the scene in all his glory. And, he promises to bring gifts to children and to ride through the sky on a sleigh and to deliver gifts across the globe on a single night. And, he asks children across the world to write him letters (like prayers) requesting what they want from him. And, children, who have long awaited his return, are anxiously anticipating his soon arrival (like Jesus’ return one day).

So, who has the hearts of children on Christmas? Jesus Christ? Or, Santa? And, who wanted to be God? And, who masquerades himself as an angel of light? Satan/Santa. And, what has the hearts of adults during the Christmas holidays? Shopping, presents, parties, food, games, fun, movies, etc. etc.

Know the Truth

The whole point of Christmas is to dismiss Jesus Christ in favor of Santa, a false god, who is truly Satan, who wanted to be God. It is to dismiss Jesus Christ in favor of gifts, commercialism, greed, worldliness, and idolatry, etc. Jesus is pictured as a helpless baby on purpose, while Santa, a false god, is given the attributes of Almighty God, and steals the hearts of children away from God; away from Jesus Christ, and the hearts of many adults, too.

So, don’t listen to these thieves and robbers who want to pull us away and our children away from pure devotion to Jesus Christ. Don’t give your hearts away to false gods and idolatry and commercialism and to ignoring Jesus.

If truly you want to celebrate Jesus Christ, then do it the way Jesus says. He says to remember him by remembering his blood that was shed on the cross for our sins, and by remembering his body which was given for us in death so that we can die to sin and live to righteousness. And, this remembering of him is not a mere formality or a mere ritual we go through, either.

For, when we remember him and what he did for us, we examine our own hearts to make certain that we are worthy to partake in his blood and his body via confession of sin, in true repentance, and in committing our lives to our Lord and to his service. For, what he wants from us are not our festivals and our parties, which he largely hates, in reality, but what he wants, again, is our all on the altar of sacrifice laid, our hearts thus the Spirit controls.

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, December 6, 2018

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

What is Life?


An Original Work / December 5, 2018

What is life?
How or when does it have meaning?
Why are we here?
What purpose do we serve?

Are we here by happenstance?
Are we here solely for ourselves –
For our own survival –
To do what pleases us only?

When we wake up in the morning,
What gets us up and going?
What is our thinking or our reasoning
For even existing and breathing?

Why do we do what we do every day?
What drives us and motivates us?
Did someone somewhere instill within us
Some reason for why we were even born?

And, what if they didn’t?
I mean what if we were beaten down?
What if no one ever said a kind word to us?
What if no one encouraged us along the way?
Would we still have reason to exist?

What if all we ever heard was
“You’re no good!” “You will never amount to anything!”?
What if no one said, “I love you!”?
What if no one hugged you or told you that you were special?
Would you still want to get up in the morning?

For, not everyone has a good life.
Not everyone is loved or cared for
Or made to feel important or special,
At least not by other humans.

Not everyone has their tummies full
When they go to bed each night.
Not everyone has a nice warm home
With warm blankets to curl up under in bed.

But, whether we had it good or we had it bad,
What impact did that have on our lives?
How did that form our thinking or our reasoning
About why we are here and what purpose we have?

Is it possible that there is someone greater than us
Who formed us, who made us,
and who has a purpose for why we exist?

Is it reasonable to think that
we did not just appear one day,
but that there was a masterful design for us
that was in place even before the world began?

Is it probable that all that we have gone through;
All that we have experienced in this life,
Whether good or bad, was in preparation
For the life design that we were destined to live?

Is it realistic to think that just maybe
There was a purpose for it all?
That it was not all just for naught?
But there is some sense to made
Of all the craziness that we went through?

I believe there is. I believe in God,
Creator of the universe and creator of all that has
The breath of life which he breathed into them.

And, I believe our purpose is to give God
All the honor, the praise, and the thanksgiving
For giving us life, and for placing us here,
And for revealing himself to us through his creation.

I believe our purpose in existing is
To give God our worship and our very lives
Given over to him, yielded solely to him
For his purposes and for his glory and praise.

And, I believe that we are to give all honor
To the Son of God, Jesus Christ,
Who gave himself up for us on a cross
So that we could be delivered from our sin
And have eternal life with God.

And, I believe that through faith in Jesus Christ
We can have meaning and purpose for our lives.
And, we can begin to see God’s plan for our lives
From even before he created the world.

And, when we yield our hearts and our lives
To follow Jesus Christ, in his ways, according to his will,
He shows us the way that he has for us.

And, then life begins to make sense,
And all that we went through has meaning,
And it has purpose, and we can see God’s hands
On our lives all the way, through it all.

And, then we begin to realize that
It wasn’t all for naught, for there was a reason
For this season in our lives where we may not have
Felt God’s love and care, but still He was there.

And, so we bow before him,
And we acknowledge his sovereignty
Over our lives, and we say “Yes”
To his will, to follow him in his ways.

And, now we have a reason to live,
To get up in the morning,
And to do what he has for us to do
Each and every day.

And, that reason is not only for His glory, honor and praise,
But it is for our own salvation and our fellowship with God.
And, too, it is that we minister his love
And his grace in other people’s lives.

For, we do not live to ourselves,
But we live to please God,
And we live to love others
As God loves us.

And, one day our Lord is going to return
And he is going to gather all of his servants,
And he is going to take us to be with him forever,
And we will then forever live in peace, to the glory of God. Amen!