Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Someone in Christ

I've lived most of my life being treated like "That guy". I've spent many public outings feeling invisible. Attempts to be friendly were treated as desperate and needy pleas for attention so thus were thoughtlessly dismissed as such. Perhaps that is why for a very long time I preferred to sit back and observe, rather than to socially engage. That constant discouraging thought in the back of my mind "no one cares about what you think, you don't matter to them. No one takes you seriously, so really there is no point in talking." This created a need to prove myself. To *make* people notice me. Maybe if I made a lot of money, or had a lot of stuff, maybe then people would take me seriously. Maybe then I would be worth something.

That was me, pre-salvation. Even for a while after, that need to "prove myself" was a demon I've battled for a long time. That springs up from an aspect of our sinful nature that God hates, pride. Of course now I have come to the understanding that the only person I need to please, the only person I need to "prove" myself to is God. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It doesn't matter what possessions I may or may not have. What matters is Christ. That, my friends, was extremely liberating for me when I came to that understanding. The world would see that as a loss of freedom, that we are imprisoned by standards, morals, the Bible. Of course, God tells us the things and wisdom of the Bible are foolish to the world. They cannot understand them. There is true freedom in Salvation. Not freedom TO sin, but freedom from it. Freedom from the cares and standards that the world imposes. Freedom to serve God joyfully with no fear of what is waiting in eternity. The confidence, hope, and peace knowing I am eternally secure gives me. That is freedom.

Worldly possessions and power are meaningless to a Christian, or, they should be. Everything here on Earth will burn. All of our accomplishments. Our "creations", our worldly achievements, they will all burn. The only thing that matters is what is eternal. What have we done for Christ in our time here on Earth. I have been liberated from that feeling of worthlessness, from that desire to please others and prove that I am somebody. When I meet with Christ in prayer, when I compare myself to him, I understand how truly and infinitely small I am compared to him. That I can never be *worth* anything outside of him, and that only because of him am I even worth anything at all.

Even now sometimes Satan will hurl those fiery darts at me and fill my mind with despairing thoughts of "nobody cares, you're worthless, you're a nobody to them." I resist him, the Holy spirit will bring verses to mind that I quote to myself to strengthen me and Satan flees. I can encourage myself knowing that I am a child of the King. I am something, someone in Christ and that is more than enough for me.

Do not be discouraged Christian. We are children of the King. Christ in us, the hope of glory.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Time to Reflect

     It's been a while since my last post. Do not worry, I have not given up or ceased in my studies. While this endeavor is certainly not a bad one, if the motivation for weekly updates replaces what my true and only motivation should be then it becomes wrong. Our sole motivation for anything we do should be to serve Christ out of love for him, out of a desire to walk more closely with him. Upon looking back, I found that my motivations for reading his word and studying were shifting from a desire to have a closer walk with Christ, to coming up with content for this blog.

     I won't stop writing for the blog, but, I must keep my focus on Christ. He needs to be my motivation. Instead of actively looking for things to write about, I will only actively seek to please Christ, and walk closer with him each day. If the Lord places something from my studies on my heart  specifically to share, I will share it. As always I covet your prayers. The Lord is working in my life, and the lives of my family right now. The trial we are enduring seems insurmountable, but I have faith that the Lord will bring us through, all for his glory and praise. We need prayer for guidance, peace and grace right now, very much so.

John 14:15-21

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Giving a Burden to God

     Burdens. We all have them, have had them and more will come into our lives. They are a source of anxiety, pain, sleeplessness and sometimes doubt. Whether you are burdened for a friend that has gone astray from the path of God, a brother that has turned his back on God and fallen in love with the world, or burdened with loneliness, perhaps you have concerns for your future. God can take care of them all. We all struggle, but Christ tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you"

I gave a burden to the Lord today, and trusted him to take care of it. I accept whatever his will is, and will by grace accept whatever the outcome is that he desires. I can tell you fellow Christian it brought me a great deal of relief. A weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I can pray properly, faithfully now for the Lord to take care of this burden. Although, I can say that it is no longer a burden in a sense of weighing me down and oppressing me. I still care, and I still would like to see God work, but I no longer fret. I no longer worry about what the future may hold, it is totally in the hands of God and that brings a peace that passes all understanding.

     If you are reading this and dealing with a heavy burden, I encourage you to give it to the Lord today. Trust him to take care of it, and it will bring great peace to you. You will have to stay in the word, put on the whole armor so that you can resist Satan when he tries to discourage you, stay faithful and God will be all the strength you need.

2 Samuel 22:2 And he said, The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

Psalm 92:15 To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

Psalm 94:22 But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

     This was a short post today, but I wanted to share what the Lord has done for me today to encourage any that may read that they too can have peace and grace in life in the midst of struggles.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Vengeance: An Attribute of God

     We hear it all the time "God is love" "He will just forgive everyone in the end, how could a God of love send people to hell?" God is indeed love, but he is also perfect, just, holy, righteous, sovereign, omnipotent (all powerful) omnipresent (everywhere), omniscient (all knowing), jealous, and vengeful. He is justified in all actions, holy above all and wrong in nothing. Also, God does not send anyone to hell, he is not willing for any to go there. 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

     Hell was not even created for mankind, but for Satan and his angels. Matthew 25:41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" No person will be able to point their finger at God and blame him for their not knowing, or accuse him of sending them to hell. Even the people in the middle of the African bush have heard the unspoken testimony of creation declaring the glory of God and ignore it. They have chosen to worship the creation and not the creator. God promises to be found by anyone that seeks after him with all their heart. 1 Chronicles 28:9 "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever." Deuteronomy 4:29 "But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul."

     God will not just allow everyone into heaven, he can't. It is impossible for sin to enter into his presence without being utterly consumed. As mentioned in last weeks post, God is a consuming fire. He can't tolerate sin because he is perfect, holy and righteous. The lost being cast into the lake of fire for eternity is tragic, and it is something that we as Christians can do something about it if we would be faithful witnesses for Christ, Lord help me. Those that belligerently defy God, and shake their fists at him, when they cry out in their time of calamity the Bible tells us that the LORD will hold them in derision. He will mock at their pleas for mercy. God will hold his enemies in derision while he pours out his fierce wrath and indignation upon them. There are a great number of passages of scripture that show us this, I will list a few.

Pslams 2: 1-5
"1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
Pslam 59:1-9 
"1 Deliver me from mine enemies, O my God: defend me from them that rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men.
3 For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O Lord.
4 They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold.
5 Thou therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.
6 They return at evening: they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city.
7 Behold, they belch out with their mouth: swords are in their lips: for who, say they, doth hear?
8 But thou, O Lord, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.
9 Because of his strength will I wait upon thee: for God is my defence."
Proverbs 1:22-31
"22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices."
Isaiah 34:1-2
"1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.
2 For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter."
Zephaniah 3:8

"8 Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy."

     The Lord is merciful, gracious and love. As we can clearly read though, he is also a God of war, judgment, justice and vengeance. Hebrews 10:31 "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." Pray for me, lets pray for one another that we would surrender to the call of the great commission. There will be no mercy for the lost of all the ages at the great white throne judgment. What a terrible day that will be.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Meeting Christ

     "Man, when I get to heaven I can't wait to walk up to Jesus and talk to him, high five him, I have so many questions."

     I hear that a lot, but I don't think that is going to be our first reaction when meeting Christ face to face. We will have all of eternity to get to know Christ more, and to ask him questions. That first meeting, even for many more, I think we will see more of the ground at his feet as we fall on our faces to worship him and thank him. I can't wait to see the face of my savior, Jesus Christ. I also almost fear it, because when you have seen him, you have seen the father. John 14:9 "Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?" 

     The glory of God is a fearful thing to behold. In the Bible when God reveals a mere portion of his glory to man they are overwhelmed and often fall prostrate on the ground as a dead man!
Matthew 17: 5-6

"5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid."

Deuteronomy 4:24 "For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."

Hebrews 12:28-29

"28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

29 For our God is a consuming fire."

     Even those closest to Christ were overwhelmed just by hearing the voice of God out of a bright cloud. When we meet with Christ in heaven, it will not be with crass nor boldness, but with fear and trembling. With worship, praise and thanksgiving. He will no doubt comfort us with the words "Arise and fear not" which will be followed by great joy. Heaven will be a wonderful place. A place with splendor, beauty and magnificence beyond our ability to even imagine. We will have our perfected, glorified bodies, (amen!) the corrupt frailty of our mortal bodies will forever be no more. I believe though there will be weeping as we wish we would have done more for Christ in our time here on Earth. Not only for that, but when we witness the great white throne judgement . . . it will be a heartbreaking, terrible thing to witness. I am thankful that Christ himself will wipe the tears from my eyes as we enter into the new Heaven and Earth for all eternity.

      Have you done all for Christ? Have I? This is challenging to me! Oh how I would dread disappointing Christ. We will not face an account of our sins as a Christian and some take that as a license to sin. Oh Christian, how sorrowful will it be to live for yourself to face Christ in the end and to have to give an account for it? I pray daily for the Grace of God and his power so that I may continue to walk the right path to please him. Let us pray for one another, encourage one another, lift each other up in support to run the race Christ has set before us and to finish well.



Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Harm of Unbelief

     The verse I want to talk about is in Matthew chapter 13. Verse 58 "And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief." To shed some light as far as context goes, we will have to read a few verses prior as well.

Matthew 13: 54-57
"54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?

55 Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?

57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house."

     Of all places, you would think the hometown of Christ would be the most receptive of his teaching. How revealing this is of the state of affairs in America today. To those of us with much light, and easy access to the word of God, Americans in general are some of the hardest people to witness to. Their eyes have been blinded by the prince of this world.

     On to verse 58, Christ was unable to work many miracles in his home town due to unbelief, which can also be said a lack of faith. How much this must have broken his heart! Not only in his home town, but for all that lack faith and reject him, I believe the heartbreak it causes God is a burden beyond our ability to comprehend. True faith is such a rare thing in the world that Christ tells his disciples later in Matthew that even with just a small amount of faith God can do great things.

Matthew 17: 17-20
"17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.

18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."

     How much have we fruitlessly petitioned God for in prayer that we didn't have the faith in his ability or willingness to answer? How much are the works and blessings of God hindered in our lives due to unbelief? How much more could God work mightily in our lives if we just cast aside the unbelief and had faith the size of a grain of mustard seed? Great and mighty things could be wrought through Gods power. Even just a little unbelief shows a lack of complete faith and trust in him. God tells us in Hebrews 11:6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Oh Christians may we pray for one another that our faith would be complete, and that we would strive each and every day to cast down our unbelief and to trust God completely in everything.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Trusting the LORD

     Those of us that are saved in the Lord Jesus Christ have all trusted him with our eternal souls. That is a big thing to trust someone with, I would say that is by a wide margin the greatest thing we could ever entrust to anyone. Indeed God's word tells us in Mark 8:36 "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Our souls are worth infinitely more than the world. We entrust the Lord with the keeping of our souls, which are more valuable than all the world, may I say, the entirety of creation. Why then can we not seem to trust him with our finances? With taking steps in faith in other areas of our lives? To provide for us in a time of need?

     As Christians we would all agree that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. The very spoken words written with human pen-men. Yet, when we get the verses that tell us that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and the wealth in every mine we put on the brakes and go, wait a second, but maybe _______. If there is anything Satan has a powerful grip on in every persons life it is their money. Money is important in the world in which we live. We need it for everything, unless you go "surviorman" it off the grid in the middle of the wilderness, but then with whom would we share the gospel? So, to live day to day life, we need money. I am not downplaying the importance of it, nor the need to work hard to provide for your family. Ultimately though, to whom does it all belong? Who gives you your ability, physically and mentally to go out and earn that paycheck? God does. The creator of our universe. The great and mighty God of all. He can provide our every need, and any increase we need to meet it. If we honor him, serve him and trust him he promises he will not leave his own begging bread. He wants us to be the head and not the tail: Deut 28:13 "13 And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:" In that context he was speaking to the Jewish people, but the Bible also tells us in 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 16 "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." We can apply that to our lives now. The Lord does not desire for his children to languish in despair, but to have our every need met. Some may need to redefine what they call needs/wants, but God will not leave his child begging bread, he even tells us so in his word. Psalm 37:25 "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread." 

Trust God with all things as you have trusted him with your eternal soul, and he will provide. Even in the midst of a storm of life, you can trust God knowing that through it all he seeks to make you stronger. To grow your faith and to bring your walk closer with his. The Lord has encouraged me with these verses, and thoughts. I pray that they may help to bless and encourage you in wherever you are today.

Prayerfully for my brothers and sisters in Christ,