Sometimes it’s hard to understand why things happen the way
they happen. You work hard, you are kind to people and you’ve been trusting God,
but you can’t seem to get ahead. As you look around, you see others receiving
blessing that should be yours. You find yourself asking, “when will my blessing
Sometimes, I look around and it seems I’m stuck in a rut and
can’t get out of it. I try, and I try but I can’t pull myself out of the ditch.
As I ponder and pray about these things, I have come to the realization that I cannot
pull myself up, I rise when I surrender to the resurrection power of Jesus. Anytime
we find ourselves working in our own might, God can do nothing. In each and
everything we do, we must surrender our might to God’s will. Jesus wants to
show us great and mighty things, but it is impossible for him to work when we continue
to try and make things happen for ourselves. I also believe, what we consider a
blessing for another, can be a curse for us. Be careful what you strive for.
Jesus has a blessing that was created just for you.
Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be
afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold
on to you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10 CSB
A few years back someone had the idea to make bracelets that
had WWJD on them. (What would Jesus do) Borrowing from that idea, I wonder what
would Jesus say about some of the thing happening in the world today? Setting our
personal and political feelings aside, if we were to have the opportunity to
sit in a coffee shop and have a one on one conversation with Jesus, what would
He say about the many social issues that we struggle with?
I fully believe the bible is the true word of God and it
speaks to all that read it. Likewise, I believe that the Holy Spirit speaks the
hearts and minds of all those that listen. However, with the diversity among
Christians, the message has been twisted and people have become even more divided.
Many only believe what they’ve heard and those that read the bible stumble when
confronted with an excepted social behavior. Truth is subject to change based
solely on popular opinions. If we had the opportunity to sit and speak with
Jesus as the disciples did, what would He say?
What would Jesus say about racism? Would he take the side of
the established government? Would He condemn all those that are labeled different
to a life of servitude and discrimination? Or would he take the side of those
that are rising in protest? Would He say that toppling monuments, burning
buildings, and meeting any opposition with violence, is the answer to solving
our racial divisions? Maybe there is another aspect. Many cry for justice.
Justice being restitution for the wrongs of the past. Would Jesus cry for
justice? What would Jesus say about racism?
Perhaps He would say, “I have made man in my image and all
men are equal in my sight. In me, all men are made perfect. When you look at
your sisters and brothers, what do you see? Do you see me in them, or do you
see only darkness? As you cry for justice, do you remember that it was a
corrupt and sinful world that sent me to the cross. If it were not so, I would
not have died. I died so that justice would not be served against any of you. Death
and the grave called out for you, but I answered instead. I took the punishment
for your sins, as well as, the sins of your fellow man, to the cross. I bore
the pain of death and the loneliness of the grave, so that all of you do not
have to experience it. In me, all men are made righteous. You focus on the
darkness of men and what was, I see only light and the promises to come. The
thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy. Forgiveness and healing will only
come through Me. (Genesis 1:27, John 10:10, Romans 2:11, 6:23, 12:19, 2
Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to
you; and therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you. For the
Lord is a God of justice; Blessed are all those who wait for Him.Isaiah 30:18
I love to watch preachers on YouTube. I have a variety on my
watch list and I am always looking for another. The other day I stumbled along
a minister to which I will not name. At first, I really loved his teaching. He
had a fiery message and quoted scripture like no other. He often preached about
the sins of the world and the need for repentance. He was not afraid to tackle the
hard subjects and I felt he dealt with them in a respectful and reasonable manner.
After watching him for a time, I began to sense something was off. All through
the hours that I listened, he spoke of sin, the bible as the authority on right
and wrong, and the need for salvation, yet he never introduced anyone to the Savior,
I believe todays church is in trouble because we lack confidence
in the word of God. Our churches value attendance more than personal growth and
change. In the name of love, we choose to stay away from the controversial
issues. We are willing to sacrifice the absolute authority of scripture, in favor
of a more modern doctrine of inclusiveness. We need to hear people preach and
teach the bible as the word of God and that he is unchanged and unchangeable, but
in our teaching, there needs to be a balance.
Too much preaching the wages of sin, leads people to condemnation,
hopelessness and a life full of joyless imprisonment. To much preaching and
teaching on the benefits of God’s mercy and grace leads us to believe that God
is a push over and does not command our respect and worship. Balance is the
Key. Romans 6:23 says, “for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In one sentence, Paul gives us both
messages. In the first part, here’s what happens to sinners, but in the second
part, look what Jesus did about it.
In our present age, we are in a great need of a spiritual
awaking. Our awakening will come when we preach what the bible says about the consequences
of our carnal life style, and in the same breath, we proclaim the redemptive
power of the blood of Jesus. God needs
to be feared and respected as a fair and just God, but also, a loving Savior
that has paid the price for our sin and rebellion.
But now we have been released from the law,
since we have died to what held us, so that we may serve in the newness of the
Spirit and not in the old letter of the law. Romans 7:6 CSB
In John chapter 6, Jesus had just finished teaching on the
flesh and the blood. Because it was too hard, many turned away from him. Jesus
turned to the twelve and asking them, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?” Peter
answered him, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
Almost daily, we face hard decisions and temptations. Do we
succumb to the weakness of our flesh, or do we cling to the promises of God? It
can be as small as watching a movie that we know we shouldn’t, or as big as taking
something that doesn’t belong to us. Temptation is everywhere. To tell the
truth, it is hard to overcome our flesh and live a life for Christ. But like
Peter, we must answer the question “if not you Lord, to whom will we go?
It is important to note that Jesus understands our weaknesses.
Temptation is not a sin in and of itself. We do not have to face temptation in
our own strength. When our fleshly body cries out, we must turn to Jesus in
prayer, yielding our will to his. If we try to overcome temptation with our
fleshly power, we will lose every time. We must face temptation in the matchless
power of Jesus’ name. We do this by speaking his word to our situation. In the
wilderness, Jesus was tempted by Satan. Each time Jesus spoke the words of
scripture over his fleshly situation, to gain Spiritual power to defeat the
flaming arrows of temptation.
As we walk along our journey, we are not alone. Christ is
there with us. He wants desperately to love us and show his love for us. When
we fail, not if we fail, we cannot let Satan convince us that we are failures.
I’m convinced many of us believe that we are failures and unworthy of God’s
love. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) While we
were sinners, Jesus loved us; while we are sinners, Jesus loves us; when we sin
in the future, Jesus will still love us. We cannot escape his love. Through the
power of the blood, we are overcomers. We have the power to overcome temptation
by speaking God’s word, but when we mess up, we must have the confidence to
turn to Jesus and ask for his mercy. Where else would we have to go but to the
How much more then, since we have now been
declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath.Romans 5:9 CSB
I know how it feels to walk into a room full of people and feel alone; not having anyone speak to you.
I know how it feels to try and start a conversation with someone, and they turn and walk away.
I know how it feels to sit at the lunch table and be talked over, as if you are not sitting there.
I know how it feels to walk into the house and hear silence, never to hear the phone ring or hear a knock at your door.
I know how it feels to look at your cell phone and see no text, missed calls ─ nothing.
I know how it feels to sit in a restaurant and listen to people laugh and have fun, all the while you sit and stare at an empty seat across from you.
I know how it feels to be at a family gathering and have no one talk to you.
I know how it feels to hear family members plan things and never receive and invitation to join in their fun.
I know how it feels to walk up to a group to try and join in a conversation, only to have them suddenly need a drink and walk away.
I know how it feels to desperately need someone to fellowship with; to have a friend to do things with but only to live in loneliness and silence.
Cheer up my brother, the Lord is with you. He will be there when no one else will. He will lift you out of darkness and into his amazing love. He will be your friend and loves to listen to you talk and go places that you like to go. You can share anything with him. He cares for you more than anyone else.
Here these words: “You yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? One with many friends may be harmed, but here is a friend who stays closer than a brother. Be strong and courageous, don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For the Lord your God is the one who will go with you, he will not leave your or abandon you. Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand. Therefore, we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.” (Psalm 56:8, Proverbs 18:24, Deuteronomy 31:6, Isaiah 41:10, 2 Corinthians 4:16)
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.Psalm 55:22 CSB
One of my favorite gospel songs is, The Holy Hills of Heaven Call Me written by Dottie Rambo. The imagery in this song is inspiring. My favorite line in is “This house of flesh is but a prison, bars of bone hold my soul.” I can picture in my mind’s eye, the bars made of bones imprisoning my spirit, holding it captive and not letting me be free to be with the Lord. I get excited to imagine the day when my flesh gives up my spirit and I can see Jesus.
If I were not a Christian, I would be frightened at the thoughts of death. But with Jesus, all fear is gone and I’m free to imagine the beauty that will follow death. Some may think this to be morbid, but in all actuality, we should not fear death or shun the thoughts of it. Death is part of living. If we come to fear death, we must examine our hearts for the cause. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8) Death will bring about eternal life for a Christian. The apostle Paul writes that “to live is Christ and to die is gain. Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose. I am torn between the two. I long to depart and be with Christ ─ which is far better ─ but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.” (Philippians 1:21-24) He struggled with death but not out of fear, but about leaving his loved ones.
I believe most fear death because of the unknown. What is it actually going to feel like? Of course, we have no way of knowing because no one has returned to tell us. Death is simply a transference from our present state, to our spiritual state. With all His warmth and love, we will meet Jesus face to face. For me, the more evil I see in this world, the more I hear those holy hills calling my name.
David was considered by God to be “a man after his own heart.” (1 Samuel 13:14) Even though he managed to get himself into trouble, he always worshiped God with his whole heart. If you read through the Psalms, you will see David was not afraid to ask difficult questions. In Psalm 15:1, he asked God, “Who may dwell in your tent? Who can live on your holly mountain?” Continuing in Psalm 15, God answers these questions with what I consider to be Godly characteristics.
Psalm 15:2 “The one who lives blamelessly, practices righteousness, and acknowledges the truth in his heart...” Truth is something that is not as finite as it once was. “truth” changes depending upon who you are speaking with. Even when discussing scripture, meanings change depending on each person point of view. Instead of conforming our thoughts and behavior to scripture and considering scripture to be the absolute truth and final authority, we leave out parts or change it to conform to our life style.
Psalm 15:3 “who does not slander with his tongue, who does not harm his friend or discredit his neighbor...” If you say something nice about somebody it will not make it past the front door, but if you have a piece of gossip, in just a few minutes, it can travel a hundred miles. Everyone loves a tale if it’s not about them. With love, those who live in righteousness will take great pains to cover the wrong doings of others, not just for their friends, but also for their neighbors. When it comes to wrong doing, it’s easy not to judge or slander our friends, but we seem to take great pride in slandering our neighbors. Keep in mind the bible says, our neighbors are all those that we meet. (Luke 10:25-37)
Psalm 15:4 “who despises the one rejected by the Lord but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his word whatever the cost...” The righteous are those that honor the Lord, His work, and those that are doing His work. I have noticed that so-called “christians” are saying awful things about each other. Somehow, we feel it’s our duty to criticize and critique everyone and everything. The righteous will honor the Lord by not getting involved with things that are not of God. Following Jesus’ example, the righteous will speak against thing that are not of God. A Christian will keep his promise no matter what it cost him. He does not sway or try to fit into his surroundings. He is ever true to God ─ in his thoughts, his words, and in his deeds.
Psalm 15:5a “who does not lend his silver at interest or take a bribe against the innocent...” The righteous will help others and not expect monetary gain or praise for his good deeds. He is content in knowing that what God sees in secret, He will bless in the open. The righteous man will not take a bribe of money, promotion, or self-gain, to speak out against those that have done nothing wrong.
Psalm 15:5b “the one who does these things will never be shaken.” The one who possess these characteristics, will need not worry about his future. God will bless him here in the present and reward him in future. Amen.
I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly no carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Galatians 5:16-18 CSB
From the highest of politicians to the Hollywood elite, we are divided like never before. Some call for the president’s impeachment, while others believe he’s the savior. Listening to people’s comments, I am convinced we are at an impasse. We have come to an age where we are not even willing to sit in a room with one another and talk. Everyone perceives his agenda is the only “right” way to solve our nation’s problems. Each person has a dream of equality, yet no one is willing to listen to another person point of view. Each person has a desire to be free and to do as he will, yet he has no problem crushing others that desire something different. From every public forum, some preach money and capitalism are bad and big government is the way to achieve posterity for all. Still, others condemn big government and wish to segregate those that might be slightly different. For those that are somewhere in the middle, we see only destruction. Politicians proclaim they are listening, and they promise change if elected. When they fail to deliver on their promises, they blame other politicians, all the while depositing their paychecks in the bank. Hollywood decrees they speak on the poor man’s behalf, yet they live in the richest of homes and neighborhoods. They are out of touch with reality. Both the Hollywood elite and many politicians, accuse others of being un-American for having success, even though they have more than those whom they accuse. If anyone stand is opposition, they are destroyed by unfounded allegations and demoralized for daring to speak against them and their agenda. People have the right to speak only when they speak of that which we agree with, and free thinking, is considered and outrage against humanity. We only examine someone’s morals, integrity and character, when they stand in opposition to our message. Everyone cries for equality until it’s their turn to share in their bounty. Evil abounds, and most have bought into the lie that man and his intellect will solve our nation’s problems. The wolf is at the door, and we are to blind to see him.
If we look within ourselves, we are not capable of solving our problems. Nor do we possess the ability to love our neighbor. By nature, we are selfish creatures. Man’s deeds are full of darkness and until we recognize the sovereignty of Jesus Christ, we cannot begin to see the world as it is or what it could be. “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) We can only love with true equality and brotherly love, when we love through Jesus Christ. We fool ourselves into thinking our deeds are good, but it is only through Jesus Christ that we become righteous. Our righteousness come through full surrender to the authority of Jesus Christ.
It shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people who are left, from Assyria and Egypt, from Pathros and Cush, from Elam and Shinar, form Hamath and the island of the sea.Isaiah 11:11 NKJV
The world is suffering from a lack of faith. People have no faith in God, thereby leaving themselves to look at science for answers. Science gives them so called, evidence of creation, and the theory of the evolution of man, leaving them to put their hope and trust in their own intellect. As man evolves, he disguises his evilness and exchanges one form of power and oppression for another. He soon discovers that his soul is black and, because he has proclaimed there is no God, he has no hope of redemption.
When confronted with Christ, he loudly decrees that believing in God is stupid and has no factual basis. He boasts that “only scientific evidence and rational thinking can explain the existence of the world.” This further satisfies the notion that man is a superior being and his intellect will get us out of chaos. However, it only drives us deeper into the darkness.
Having faith in Christ releases us from the darkness and transform us into the light. We no longer bear the burden of our own intellect, we are free to see the world through the eyes of God.
In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil.Proverbs 16:6 NKJV
What is your image of God? For each of us the answer may vary. Each of us defines God’s human characteristics differently. Such as, is He clean shaven? What is the color of His skin, or the size of His hands? But what about His attributes? As we have progressed in our human enlightenment, has God evolved?
In the old testament, God was often seen as an angry and wrathful God. Most often, displaying His anger against the Israelites that did not follow His commands. He often displayed act to show His power and might. The Egyptians found out the hard way not to test God. The old testament God is a God of laws, and those that did not obey, were dealt with severally.
Moving into the new testament, we see Jesus. He displayed His love by going to the cross. He greats everyone with loving kindness, grace, and mercy. There are many instances where Jesus forgave those that had broken the law. Given the bible’s picture of Jesus, God is pictured as all loving, all forgiving, and never angry. It’s true, Jesus is all forgiving when asked, all loving we acknowledged and most merciful when we are repentant. However, God’s judgment still befalls those that do not accept the truth presented in scripture. “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (John 3:36) “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” (Romans 1:18)
God has never changed, nor has the truth that is contained in the Bible. When we find ourselves living in conflict with the word of God, most often we try and bend the truth to justify our actions or beliefs. Billy Graham wrote, “Man tries to remake God to conform to his own wishful thinking, so that he can make himself comfortable in his sins. This modern god has the attributes of love, mercy and forgiveness, but is without justice. Man doesn’t want to be judged and punished for sin. He “reconstructs” God along the lines of tolerance, all-embracing love and universal goodwill. However, this kind of god would make a preposterous world. It would be chaotic, irresponsible, self-destroying. It would be impossible to live with certainty in that kind of world. To have meaning, life must be based upon law and a lawgiver. (Billy Graham, Decision Magazine, April 2010)
Listen to what Jesus said in John 3:20-21. “Everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But He who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” We should not be afraid to expose our sinfulness to Christ. In so doing, He is able to baptize us with the Holy Spirit and wash away our sin. He will bring about healing and help us to be a committed follower of Christ. We need not be fearful of Jesus or feel as if we cannot approach Him. His love is unconditional. However, that is not a license to do whatever we want, it is the freedom to come and confess our sins and receive salvation through His mercy and grace. We are not to continue in our disobedience, but turn away from our transgressions. By faith, we must believe in Christ with our whole heart and accept His word as truth. Jesus takes us as we are, but He never bends the truth to make us righteous. Righteousness comes by being bathed in the precious blood of the one spotless lamb of God.
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:8-10 NKJV