On The Journey–SHIN!

Princes persecute me without a cause,
But my heart stands in awe of Your word.

I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure.

I hate and abhor lying,
But I love Your law.

Seven times a day I praise You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.

Great peace have those who love Your law,
And nothing causes them to stumble.

LORD, I hope for Your salvation,
And I do Your commandments.

My soul keeps Your testimonies,
And I love them exceedingly.

I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies,
For all my ways are before You. Psalm 119:161-168 NKJV

The 21st letter and stanza–acknowledgement, praise and hope in the midst of any trial.

How many times has someone who has authority over us–attempted to misuse their authority and persecute us, simply because we would not conform to doing things their way-in opposition to God’s Word? We were not the first to experience this ploy to get us to be deceitful and dishonest and we won’t be the last.

Whenever anyone expects us to lie or cheat in order to keep a job or to stay in their favor, we should have the same attitude the writer has. We should abhor lying and deceitfulness with a passion and openly denounce it.

Are we in awe of God’s Word enough to keep it–no matter what others do? The more I study and seek God for understanding, the more I realize just how much His Word is so much better than the dictates of man.

In God’s Word–there is Life and Liberty–freedom to live according to God’s Word, knowing we are pleasing God, whether others find fault with us or not.

In God’s Word–there is Justice and Mercy. God’s Word is just–not fair–for His righteousness is just and there is nothing in it we can debate–that will change His intent for our lives. This is why we are constantly reminded in His Word that the wicked shall have their judgment for all the world to see and we are regarded–His righteousness, for we have none of our own.

In God’s Word–there is Love and Grace–God is love and therefore everything He has done, is doing and will do is based upon His love for us. If we follow His commands–to love Him and one another–the world will be filled to overflowing with Love and we shall peace upon the land because of His favor shown towards us.

In God’s Word–there is Peace–His peace that surpasses all understanding. And because we belong to Him, we too can enjoy blessed peace in the midst of chaos and confusion when we live according to His Word.

In God’s Word–there is Light–that overcomes the darkness that hangs as clouds because of the wicked imaginations of those who oppose God. Wherever there is darkness, light dispels it and exposes the deeds of darkness. We cannot hide from God, no matter what we think we can do that He won’t see or know.

In God’s Word–there is healing–for our bodies and for nations under siege–due to differences of opinion and the ravages of war. By His stripes we are healed of illnesses, diseases and with His peace we are healed of frustration and depression over things we cannot control. If those of us who believe Him would simply pray–earnestly–believing He will answer– and repent of our waywardness, He will heal the land.

In God’s Word–there is Truth–for His Word is Truth and His Ways are the true way by which we should live. Whenever God’s Word is not revealed as Truth, peace is disrupted and chaos reigns.

How often we pray to God or communicate with Him on any level is not a matter of prescription or formula, but it should be a way of life for every Believer. I pray throughout the day–thanking God and praising Him for His goodness–and I have no idea how many times I do it; I just do it.

My soul loves Jesus and all my hope is in Him for there is no hope in any other! How about you?

Is It Time, Yet?

“Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. I said to myself, God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” (Ecclesiastes 3:15,17 NIV)

Most Believers who actually study The Word know the beginning of this chapter–a time for everything–and we often quote it in the midst of things we don’t understand, but know that God has a purpose in allowing everything we experience to happen. But when we become familiar with certain passages of scripture, do we keep reading and wondering what was on Solomon’s mind or for that matter, any of the others to whom God spoke?

God–who is without beginning or end–infinite in mercy and grace–who created all things knows that since the beginning of time–people would continue to do what has already been done–for there is truly nothing new–about the character of human beings–that God has not seen. We–who have only been around for a specified amount of time–have been allowed to see some things–some which amaze us and some which appall us, but we see them nonetheless.

We are amazed with the technological advances of men–whose minds have been ignited and imaginations fueled into creation of things not seen before by us, but where were we when God inspired those of ancient times to build irrigation systems and engineer buildings that are yet standing? The same God who inspired the ancients will inspire any and all who are willing to hear Him and for those who have never understood that inspiration–we will continue to be amazed.

We are appalled at the violence and societal decay that leaves such a stench that many of us can hardly breathe without inhaling the malodorous aura of a civilization rotting from the core of its being. This is nothing new! Civilizations have time after time–created havoc with God’s plan and He allowed it so they would see the devastation they wreaked upon themselves. We have but to look at history–and how men who seek power over others because of greed–always decimate the masses and themselves in their folly.

Many people were (and still are) up-in-arms about the decision of the Supreme Court Justices who apparently have no understanding of history repeating itself and certainly do not demonstrate having a relationship with God. None of what we experience is new to God–He’s seen it all before and in His timing–He has dealt with all of it. Most of those who choose to live in opposition to God’s Word do not like the reference to Sodom and Gomorrah, but the truth of the matter is–they were not the only cities destroyed because of sexual sin, or any other sins and neither will they be–the only cities/regions destroyed because of sin.

When we choose to sin and then blatantly flaunt sin–we set ourselves up for judgment here on earth--and then comes the determination of our eternity–at the throne of God. At any given time–we will see the consequences of our actions–before Jesus returns. And if we see with spiritual insight as He reveals it to us–we see it now.

So, in His timing–the world–people from all walks of life, who operate in various roles and practice numerous religions–all will see God’s wrath poured upon the earth and some–as in times past–will remain to share the experience with others for not all will perish–God must have a witness until it is time for His return to exact the final judgment upon the righteous and sinner alike. The question we must ask ourselves–is it time, yet?

Why Jesus said, “I Have The Authority to Judge.”

“And He has given Him authority to judge because He is the Son of man.” (John 5:27 NIV)

Who gave who authority to judge? God the Father, gave God the Son the authority to judge based upon the Father’s Word. Lots of Word today since I know most reading this blog won’t read the entire chapter for themselves, but I’ll try to make it as concise as I can, without distorting the intent.

John 5:19-26 (some paraphrased for brevity)

v.19 The Son can do nothing by himself; he can only what He sees his father doing, because whatever the Father does, the Son also does (or says).

v.20 The Father loves the Son and has shown Him all He does…

v.21  Just like the Father raises the dead as gives them life, the Son gives life to whom He pleases.

v.22 The Father judges no one, but trusts all judgement to the Son.

v.23 So all may honor the Son as much as they honor The Father. If they don’t honor the Son, they don’t honor the Father who sent Him.

v.24 Whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.

v.25 A time will come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live (for eternity).

v.26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself.

In a nutshell, Jesus was responding to the religious group once again, who were trying to kill Him because He dared to heal on the Sabbath. He told them that they shouldn’t be amazed at the things He did because He was only doing what The Father said do. If they believed God the Father, then they should believe The Son whom the Father had sent to give people a choice for eternal life.

Basically, what He was saying is that if you believe God, then believe me because I don’t do anything of my own accord, but have been given authority by the Father to say and do what must be done–even to the point of judging who receives eternal life and who is not.

He goes to talk about those who will be judged–those rising after death to live and those rising after death to be condemned.

v. 30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear (what the Father says), and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but Him to who sent me.

The most important lesson we can learn from Jesus is saying is that, if we believe God the Father, then we should believe God the Son and if we don’t believe the Son, we can’t believe the Father. Instead of doing all we can to please ourselves (and pacify people), we should be more concerned about pleasing God and in doing so, assuring our eternal resting place in heaven.

It’s not rocket science and we don’t need academic degrees to understand this. We simply need to have a right relationship with God and allow Him to speak to our hearts so we’ll understand–by faith–all He says in His Word. That requires having an experience with God so He can reveal Himself to us and convict us of sin, so our desire will be to please Him.

It is not having a religious affiliation with any group that will save us. We are saved from eternal condemnation by receiving Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives and understanding the work on the cross–His blood shed for us–the ultimate sacrifice and demonstration of love, by Love.

If we claim to know God without knowing and understanding His Word, we lie. If we claim to know what Jesus said and meant without knowing God, we lie. When we know Him–Father and Son–we understand how He wants us to live by understanding His Word, and we will not promote sin as right–nor will we live in sin, expecting not to be judged.

More about what Jesus said and why, next time!

Strengthened By Faithfulness In Our Obedience to God!

“He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. “It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the LORD will be broken. The Most High will thunder from heaven; the LORD will judge the ends of the earth. “He will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” (I Samuel 2:9,10 NIV)

Those who are faithful–obedient out of reverence for The Lord–have no need to fear judgment at the end--for The Lord will judge them according to their faithfulness to Him.

At the same time, those who have not acknowledged God and not obeyed Him, will be silenced in the midst of their wickedness and at the end, they shall appear before God, trembling and shaking and rightfully so.

When children are obedient to their parents, they have nothing to fear from their parents, but can look forward to receiving the just reward of their behavior. Obedient children quickly respond to questions parents may have and own up to any mistakes made, accepting responsibility for anything they did that caused a problem.

On the other hand, disobedient children will deliberately do whatever they “feel” like doing, allowing their emotions to rule over them and then they will lie or blame everyone else for the negative things that happen in their lives. When they are caught in a lie, they become defiant, arrogant and unruly. When punishment is meted out, they become resentful and instead of owning up to their behavior, they blame others for the predicament they find themselves in.

Good parents–parents who are observant and know their children–always know which child did what in their absence. They even know that older, more mature children, will often take the blame for younger, immature children to keep them from suffering a punishment. Parents know who did what when they have paid attention to their children and know their personalities–who’s mature and who’s not. They know, but sometimes they don’t say anything and judge according to the information presented to them.

Those older children who take the blame for the things the younger ones, only exacerbate the problem since the younger ones seldom learn to take responsibility for their actions. Then they go through life, never willing to own what they do, but always willing to blame others.

God knows His children–the good and the bad–and His judgment will be based on the works we do out of obedience and since those who are disobedient don’t accomplish much (based upon His plans), they will get their just reward from Him.

Don’t get weary doing what is right even though it appears that those who never do what’s right seem to get ahead of you in life. They haven’t gotten ahead and in the end, they’ll discover just how are far behind you they really are. Do good and know your reward is secure because of His love for us and He is faithful to those who are obedient to Him.

Is America The Modern Day Pergamum?

 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. ” (Revelation 2:12-15 NIV)

Though this message was for the early church in the Middle East, governed by Rome, it still  serves as a reminder to us today. When reading this, I began to wonder if America has become “Satan’s Seat” of  all that is wrong with society today.

The message to the church acknowledges that there are some who remain true to their faith and will not renounce the belief and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, even in the face of persecution and those will be rewarded. However, He goes onto to say what He will hold against those tho entice people to sin and to hold onto cultic teachings that worship idols and false gods. This is in reference to the Nicolaitans (those who brought in idolatry and encouragement to live in opposition to God’s Word). Doesn’t that sound just like what is occurring in the Christian Community today?

Whenever I hear someone attempt to justify a lifestyle that is opposition to God’s Word, I know they cannot know God and yet they quote scripture–out of context–that we who know to do right are not their judge. “God said don’t judge.” They quote it and have no idea what it means. Jesus said in Matthew 7:1,2 “Do not judge or you too will be judged, for in the same way you judge others (without The Word), you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” The judgment that He references is based upon man’s intellect, not God’s Word and it is a warning that when we exclude God’s Word as a guide for living, we set ourselves up to be judged by the same standards (man’s intellect). They who live according to their flesh have already been judged and condemned by The Word–not us. If they knew God and had read His Word, they would know how ridiculous their attempt to quote Him is to justify their behavior.

And then their claim to sexual orientation is not a choice is further evidence of a lack of understanding about “words.” An orientation is a process designed to encourage a practice. A preference is a process of selectively choosing what one wants or does. Both–orientation and preference–are choices, not civil rights or birth designs. This is how Satan deceives and unfortunately, there are many who buy into the deception.

But we can take heart in the knowledge that not all Believers are seduced by a lying devil and we will hold fast to God’s Word, no matter what and we will not entice others to participate in ritualistic sin. What we must remember–the messages in the Bible are for Believers–not the unbelieving, for they would not believe it any way. Judgment begins at the household of faith–for all who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ. For those who are not followers in the truest sense of the word, their only hope is repentance and restoration to living a life that is pleasing to God.

We can no longer teach a sugar-coated message of Salvation in an attempt to not offend. Yes, Jesus died for all, but all must come to acknowledge that He is God and nothing in His message when He walked the earth, changed God’s Word or intent for mankind. The only hope the worldly have is for those of us who know Truth, to teach God’s Truth, not our own. We must say what God says in the context in which He said it.

Nations Judged by a Risen Savior!

“Arise, LORD, do not let mortals triumph; let the nations be judged in your presence.” (Psalm 9:19 NIV)

“Arise, Arise, Arise Oh Lord, and let Your enemies be scattered.”

The words are included in a song of praise, acknowledging that when God reigns over a situation, men won’t triumph and all the nations will see the downfall of all those who are opposed to God. This was true when David wrote it and it is still true today.

Many times we attempt to fight a battle that is not even our battle to fight. The battle in deed is the Lord’s over much of what is occurring in recent events. Since the beginning of time when man made choices, God has not allowed any nation to remain a power to be reckoned with when they oppose God.

Such is the fate of our nation--we are doomed to be ruled by others–who don’t know God, because of our disobedience and apathy. We who know Him, not just about Him, have failed to promote a flawless Gospel because of a perfect Savior because who choose to allow flesh to rule and not His Spirit.

How many years passed between the last prophet who heard from God and the appearance of Jesus? We have determined a fate that is similar to those who were ruled by godlessness because we refused to speak up and promote righteousness in the face of God’s enemy–for it is Satan who has influenced the minds of all who promote living in opposition to God’s Word.

Take heart! God hears the prayers of the righteous–those who are determined to live for Him. Even the world will change, His love towards those who truly love Him, will never change and His mercy endures forever. Let everyone who knows the power of prayer and the provision of our Risen Savior arise and say so!

God’s not dead–He is yet alive and He is the same today as He was in yester-years and all those who mock Him will see Him and His majesty in the power given to all who will hear Him.

Those who didn’t know Him, mocked Him then and they are no longer, neither are there any descendants of those who promoted evil. What He has done before, He will do again and all the world will see–the enemy defeated and thrown into the lake of fire with all those who followed him.

Thank You, Lord for being a refuge for those who love and know You, determined to live life that is pleasing to You.

Exposed!

“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all. ‘So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.’ ” (Luke 8:17,18 NLT)

Words of wisdom for all who will hear,

Words of Judgment for all who fear,

The second coming–Him Returning for His church,

The body of Believers from all walks of life,

For those who sought peace, and tried to calm strife,

When He comes, all truth–and secrets exposed

Those concealed by cold hearts who refused to believe,

Will finally understand, why God created man,

In His image, to live as we ought, by His commands,

To Love Him and obey and love others as self,

With this stance we make known, by our love, we are His!

When we stand before Him, with all exposed,

No more secrets or lies, souls laid bare for His inspection,

Too late for us, to seek time for more introspection

About how we should have lived, before He returns.

Now, why it is day, all can see clearly,

Let us live life by His Word, and hold to it dearly,

Not willing to be left behind or thrown into the lake,

Of fire with hell and all liars because of our mistakes.

If what we do in darkness cannot stand the light of truth,

Why then, do we do it? All done in darkness will be exposed

By the Light, of Truth as He speaks to us all in the end,

I pray for myself as well as for you, that all we will hear,

Is welcome and well done, my friends!

Who Will Be Your Witness?

Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.” (I John 5:9,10 NLT)

If we had to stand trial today and provide evidence that we are who we say we are in Christ, what would be a judge’s final ruling?

Who would we call to be our witnesses to support our claim to being a follower of Jesus Christ?

Do we even have any witnesses who could testify on our behalf?

Would we have to find “false witnesses” or would our witnesses tell the truth?

We can lie to ourselves and act like we are “all that” when in fact, we haven’t reached a point in our lives where we truly believe we are who we say we are. If we did, the world would be a much better place for if we are truly His, we would know how to change the course of events without violence and hatred and bigotry and know how to encourage all to live according to God’s Word, not in opposition of it.

Who will be your witness and can you call them to testify with confidence or will you quake as they speak?

If we truly think about how others perceive us and are willing to look self–in the face–and dare to make whatever changes are necessary, we would have no need to fear what any witness would say about our relationship with Christ.

Something to think about. We can fool ourselves and others, but we cannot fool God! He knows–everything about us!

People of God!

“This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife,” says the LORD. “But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the LORD. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:32,33 NLT)

Before He came down from heaven and walked among us, He promised us a new covenant–a covenant that made the one null and void. Before anyone ever saw Him in the flesh, He decreed that He would write His instructions and establish them within in our hearts. Before the captivity of a people He loved, He promised to increase humanity and for those people, He would be their God and we would be His people.

People of God–those who have a relationship with Him, those who understand not only the written Word, but the importance of having a relationship with Him in honoring all He has said, it is time for us to rise up in the power He has given through Holy Spirit and proclaim the Year of The Lord–in all of His glory!

We have become too comfortable with sin–too comfortable with ignoring those who attempt to change who God is–too comfortable in watching our society slide back into captivity and the enemy is rejoicing over our laxity. The enemy wants us to be quiet and say nothing because the more silent we become, the greater the victory for him. For those who know–how the enemy functions–tearing the foundational beliefs, bit by bit–like that small fox eating away at the grapes on the lower vine until those at the top are also destroyed–it is time for ACTION, FROM GOD’s PEOPLE!

Stop winking at sin and covering your ears! Open your mouths and speak what God speaks–written in His Word and upon your hearts! Live a life that compels others to want to emulate you in serving our God in obedience. Do good for all you can and pray for those who either you cannot help or refuse to be helped. Rise up–People of God–every morning with a praise on your lips and worship in your heart–determined to share the Good News with everyone you meet. Get out of the buildings–the brick and mortar–and change what happens on every street corner to the glory of God. After all, YOU ARE THE CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD and your life should not be confined to serving Him in a building.

The time is now! Time to let the world know that God has people and those people have a God who they are not ashamed to serve–in the public as well as in private. Let’s truly make this year–The Year of The Lord–the year under-cover Christians threw off the covers and walked proudly among those who do not know Him. This is the Year and we may never get another chance, if we who know Him, don’t get up and out and proclaim sin–sin! If we don’t remind people of Judgment Day, we will not be able to stand before our God and expect to hear, “Well Done!”

People of God–Rise up and Do all that you can to prove to a dying world that God is real, His love is real, and you are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ–our Risen Savior!

It’s Time!

“And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight. And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him” (2 Peter 3:14,15 NLT).

Peter’s letter reminds us of all that will happen “in that day” and assures us that just because it has not happened, yet–it will happen. His admonition is about what we can expect–fiery endings, all things destroyed, and new heavens and a new earth–it’s still going to happen, but he also says, while we wait–we must use the time to make sure everyone is saved–this why God’s promise for Jesus’ return has been delayed–He’s waiting for us to promote a true Gospel in how we live and for others to accept His Son as Savior and Lord.

Now, I know there are some religious groups who believe that the “new earth” is simply this one replenished, but that is simply an error in understanding or deliberate misinterpretation because it is taken out of context. If we look at the entire letter, we see that Peter has predicted “all the elements destroyed by fire”. In other words, everything needed by mere mortals–earth, water, and wind. But for those who have a relationship with God–we understand that the new heavens are not like anything we know, neither is the new earth like the one we know, because we will no longer be mere mortals. The real problem with people trying to determine that “one segment of scripture” means anything by itself is that it is religious propaganda born of a need to control others.

In this letter, Peter also reminds us that when Jesus returns, He will come as a thief in the night–completely unannounced--except for the sound of the trumpet and we’re all out of here in the twinkling of an eye (Paul says). There is no need to pack a bag, save food or money for this event–we won’t have time to grab it and I for one, am glad that all of our needs have already been anticipated and provided as we rise to live and reign with Him. Hallelujah!

At any rate, the message here is clear from Peter’s letter–while we’re waiting–we should “live according to God’s Word” loving and enjoying peace, doing nothing in His sight for which we might be ashamed.  During our wait–we are developing patience and while patience is developing, we are (or should be) promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that none are left to experience the fiery ending that is promised.