Is our perspective “Scarcely Saved”, or “Entitled”

​For the time has  come  for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it  begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to  Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

I Peter 4:17‭-‬19 NKJV

Has someone or something convinced you that you will escape judgement – that you will never see the consequences of your wicked decisions and actions? 

Many inmates in jails and prisons today thought that they could do as they please and “get away with it”. Many people burdened with deeply rooted problems within their marriages and relationships thought that they could “get away with it”. Many people suffering in the clutches of addiction thought they could “get away with it”.
The short sighted perspective of “I’ll get away with it” leads many into destruction – and I’m not just talking about a “some day at judgement” kind of destruction,  but a destruction in the here and now of the life of abundance and joy and blessing that we could be.
I promise you that if you take the attitude of “I can get away with it” – if you take the attitude of “His grace is sufficient” to justify something that you are deciding to remain involved in that you know is wrong – you do have much to fear. 

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

Genesis 4:6‭-‬7 NKJV

I know the attitude of being “entitled to salvation” because someone sold me on the idea that a one time sinner’s prayer was enough to make my sinful life “invisible to God”. It’s sad to me that so many are veiled by this evil lie. It’s sad to me that so many are seeking a covering to protect them from the consequences of their continued lives of open rebellion against God’s way – instead of seeking an annointing of His presence in their lives to deliver them into a new kind of living. 

Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever.  Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.

John 8:34‭-‬36 NKJV

It isn’t sad because I’m standing on high looking down on them for being so foolish. It is sad because I have been there myself and when I was, I was missing out on the amazing life that the Lord had in store for me. And when I let myself slip back into that mindset,  even if only for a short while, it seems to result in missed opportunities or unwanted consequences. 
But isn’t that what an “entitled” mindset produces? When it is all about “what I deserve” or “what I can get away with” or “what X owes me” – doesn’t that just wreak of pride, selfishness, of a carnal mind?  Isn’t this the mark of Cain, the mark of the fallen, blind, lost man, who doesn’t know God or His ways at all? 
And isn’t this clear from his perspective when we talk about sin and righteousness and judgement? Doesn’t his countenance fall, and doesn’t he become angry because he knows that he is not accepted? Doesn’t he start to argue that the law is not fair or just – that it must be changed, updated,  to more closely reflect what is acceptable to man – instead of man seeking to be changed, renewed,  redeemed into what is acceptable to God.
Judgement is coming. Church, you will be first. 
But the grateful man, the penitent man,  the broken hearted and humble man accepts that He has nothing of true value to offer a Lord. He acknowledges that God’s way is right and just,  and that He will follow in faith. 
When you read the instruction and guidance of the Bible – do you seek ways to excuse your life still not lining up? Are do you want to see correction, change,  and growth where His way is your way? 
Do you believe a great price was paid for you at Calvary? Does that produce grattitude in your heart? Or have you grown cools and had your heart grown hard? Do you know the warm touch of the Saviors hand upon your head as you kneel humbly at His feet? Or do you long for a touch,  a word, a breath of new life into your weary soul? 

Some battles offer no chance of victory

There is no victory in battling with fools.

Those people who clearly prove themselves as either imbeciles or antagonists in your life, Christian, do not let them steal your joy. Forgive them. Do your best to help them if possible,  but if they engage you for battle,  lift your sheld of faith and not your sword to meet their advances,  and they will do you know harm. 

A whip for the horse, A bridle for the donkey, And a rod for the fool’s back. Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes. He who sends a message by the hand of a fool Cuts off his  own feet and drinks violence. Like the legs of the lame that hang limp Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. Like one who binds a stone in a sling Is he who gives honor to a fool. Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard Is a proverb in the mouth of fools. The great God who formed everything Gives the fool his hire and the transgressor his wages. As a dog returns to his own vomit, So a fool repeats his folly. Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There  is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 26:3‭-‬12 NKJV

Rest Here

​And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

Matthew 8:20 NKJV

Now Jacob went out from Beersheba and went toward Haran. So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep. Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.” 

Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. ” And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!” 

Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

Genesis 28:10‭-‬22 NKJV

Lay your head upon our house,  Lord. Come and abide with us,  and we will find joy in a life of close friendship and communion with the Lord. We are the little flock that you love,  favour,  and bless. We will honor you with our lives, trusting in your way,  following your precepts, demonstrating that we believe and have a grateful respect and awe in your love, mercy, honor, power, and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

Luke 24:28‭-‬29 NKJV

“Crappy” Morning = Blessings Realized

We are living without power right now. I ordered power back in April, requesting that it be in service by June 15 in preparation for us selling our house and moving to our farm land. Buthe it is now the end of July and we still have no power. We are living off of generator power during the hottest July that I can remember. 

So I’m used to the challenge of repeatedly refilling, restarting, and flipping tripped breakers that comes with an imperfect daily life of making due with weeks of living with this challenge. I’ve also made enough peaceful noise with Duke Energy so that hopefully they know me by name even though we still sit day after day with no power. I’m also very aware of the insanely high cost of running off of gasoline or propane and how quickly we are burning through our savings that were meant to help build the house. I’ve made my peace with those things and I’m trusting the Lord even in the storm. 

But this morning when I started the generator on propane,  it ran for about a minute and then it shut off. The big tank was low after a full weekend running without a refill since Friday, but it wasn’t empty.  “Hmm,  that’s interesting.”, I thought. But I filled the generator with gasoline, switched it over to gas powered,  and fired it up,  then headed back inside. 

Before my wife even had time to ask me, we heard the generator stop again. The concerned look on her face said it all,  and I tried my best to show confidence as I headed outside to troubleshoot . “Lord, help us this morning”, I prayed, because if the generator is having problems, I knew that we are in real trouble since Duke Energy just keeps pushing our install back week after week. 

Luckily, a few maintenance checks later – cleaning the filter,  adding some oil, confirming my battery connections – and it fired up and had been running like a champ so far. “Thank you,  Jesus. Prayer really works.”, I’ll tell my friends. 

Now to empty that black tank of toilet goodies into a cart so that I can haul it to the RV sewage dump station – and the attachment hose on the “poo cart” appears to be leaking now. Yes, a sewage hose LEAKING. “Thank you,  Jesus, another opportunity for prayer.”
Have a blessed day,  friends! 

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33 NLT

Trust overcomes Worry and frees Joy

​“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:34 NLT

Do you catch your mind racing over and over things and possibilities and risks and dangers that might lie ahead for you tomorrow? This can be paralyzing your joy and hindering your ability to enjoy the blessings of today. This can become a dam that is blocking the flow of Christ’s love through your life and a wall that is keeping you from living the abundant life that Christ has for you today. 
If you are going to think about things for tomorrow,  then limit the time spent on it to a short period of constructive planning. Write down your options on paper,  possibly with the pros and cons of each, pray about them. And instead of pickling one as your only acceptable solution – prioritize them in the order that you believe is preferred,  then pray again that God will allow you to remain flexible so that you can accept His will in leading you along the best path. 
Then, let it go. Don’t dwell over it. Don’t worry over it – especially if your worries are over something that you cannot control. Instead, trust the Lord.

God of blessing, what a mess I create when I wrestle the future out of your hand and take it upon myself. I pray for patient trust for today and good confidence for tomorrow,  knowing that nothing can separate me from your love,  because my curse fell on Jesus so your blessing can come to me. Amen. (HC 8)


Will you trust Him? Do you believe that He is faithful and true? Do you believe that He is for you and not against you? Can you accept that He has life abundant laid out for you to walk in joy today? Or will you be more content wrestling with the worry and doubt that seeks to wrap is chains around you? Those chains have no power or airport over your life, child of God. Seek first the Lord and trust in His plan and purpose for your life today. 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
John 10:10 NLT

Decide to enjoy.  En-joy. Walk IN JOY.

“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,  yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

Matthew 6:24‭-‬33 NLT

Enabling

​So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:23‭-‬24 NLT

Sometimes the best help we can offer someone is to let them fall.
Yes, our heart wants to help,  to lift up, to serve and meet the needs of those around us – but being an effective servant of the Lord requires discipline and discernment in addition to sacrifice. 
Many lessons are taught best in the fiery trials of life experience. Telling someone what is best just doesn’t seem to prove as effective of a teacher as letting someone encounter the consequences of their poor choices. 
We can’t be afraid of our children being mad at us over our making good patenting decisions that are in opposition to their “wants” but are in line with what they actually “need” – and we can do more harm to them if we protect them from the consequences before they have the opportunity to learn the correct lesson. 
God is not an enabler of sin. Jesus Christ didn’t come to forgive us so we could just keep on sinning with no consequences. No, the Bible teaches us that the church will be judged first,  and that teachers will be held to an even higher standard. Biblically speaking, Jesus is not the way to avoid facing judgement – He is the way to prepare us for the judgement that lies ahead. He is not our “get out of hell free card”, He is our “prepare us for righteous living” guide and comforter. 
His rod and His staff,  His correction,  is meant to comfort us and teach us those hard lessons that are quite contrary to our carnal, worldly, selfish nature. He doesn’t say come step into an easy, leisurely,  prosperous life – He bids us to come, bear our cross,  bear the burdens of others, lay down our lives, and follow Him. 
It sounds scary. It sounds painful. It sounds like foolish sacrifice. But its rewards are unexplainable and immeasurable – when we aren’t seeking the rewards with our eyes but we are willing to seek Him with our hearts and lives. He is actually revealing Himself to us through these fiery trials and challenges and temptations – and we choose either spirit or flesh truly is the desire of our heart by what we choose to cling to. 
Yes, He let us fall. So that He could raise us back up. So that we like Christ can be raised to life. Have you been raised to life? Is your faith being tried and tested so it can be proven trustworthy? Will your life today serve and honor God in grattitude for the new life you are given? Will your light shine brightly against the darkness? 
Or are you still outside the gate, feeling separated from the Lord? He hasn’t left you abandoned. Cry out to Him and listen for His quiet,  peaceful voice. Search Him out in the Word of God. Seek His face in prayer and He will reveal Himself to you,  friend. And be prepared for the lessons, the change, the trials that put you in opposition to the normal flow of the world.

My God is my Search and Rescue team.

​You brought me up from the grave, O  Lord . You kept me from falling into the pit of death. Sing to the Lord , all you godly ones! Praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalms 30:3‭-‬5 NLT

Joy in the Lord.

Peace in the storm. 

The Love of Christ. 

These can be had regardless of circumstances or season. They are the result of faith instead of doubt, obedience instead of rebellion, repentance instead of sinfulness,  Kingdom living instead of worldliness, sacrificial service to others instead of self worship, generosity towards others instead of selfishness.
Yes,  His ways are so much different than our own. 
If you are struggling today – whether it is struggling against temptation, struggling financially to make ends meet, struggling spiritually with doubt, struggling emotionally with depression – He will lift you out of the depths. Take your worries and concerns to Him in the brokenness of heartfelt prayer. He has not forsaken you, little flock. Turn back to Him. 
And if you are stuck,  trapped, and feel like you cannot make the journey back home to His house. If you feel lost and as if you don’t even know the way back, cry out to Him. He will leave the 99 and come for you.  He will rescue you, even from the depths of darkness. Cry out to Him from your heart. Your humble brokenness is the only sacrifice you need bring to the altar,  child. It is the only thing of any value we have to offer to the creator of the heavens and earth who will open His arms to us and shine down upon us His blessing and favor.

Enter into the Chuppah

​One thing I have desired of the Lord , That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord , And to inquire in His temple.

Psalms 27:4 NKJV

“The chuppah is a tapestry attached to the tops of four poles. The word chuppah means covering or protection, and is intended as a roof or covering for the bride and groom at their wedding.

The chuppah is not merely a charming folk custom, a ceremonial object carried over from a primitive past. It serves a definite, though complicated, legal purpose: It is the decisive act that formally permits the couple’s new status of marriage to be actualized, and it is the legal conclusion of the marriage process that began with betrothal.

Chuppah symbolizes the groom’s home, and the bride’s new domain. More specifically, the chuppah symbolizes the bridal chamber, where the marital act was consummated in ancient times.”

Yes, our baptism in Christ is our chuppah, it is our covering that allows us to enter into and dwell in the house of the Lord. It is this simple but beautiful transition from our old life to our new life that allows us to gaze upon the beauty of the Word of God, to get to seek Him, find Him, and know Him personally in prayer and in our daily lives. 

And is there any better place to dwell than in the shelter of His tabernacle set upon the solid foundation of Christ?

In our lives today,  let us dwell with the Lord and find comfort in His faithfulness,  His righteousness, His mercy,  His love. Lord, come live with us and walk with us today. Even as we plan our steps, let them be established and set firm upon the way by the Lord. Don’t let us turn aside to other distractions. Don’t let the enemy steal away the joy and purpose that the Lord has for us today. Let us dwell with the Lord continually,  without ceasing. Amen.

Enemies? My People?

Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You. You shall make them as a fiery oven in the time of Your anger; The Lord shall swallow them up in His wrath, And the fire shall devour them. Their offspring You shall destroy from the earth, And their descendants from among the sons of men. For they intended evil against You; They devised a plot which they are not able to  perform. Therefore You will make them turn their back; You will make ready Your  arrows on Your string toward their faces. Be exalted, O Lord , in Your own strength! We will sing and praise Your power.

Psalms 21:8‭-‬13 NKJV

Enemies of the Lord. Don’t we have to admit that we have walked amongst that camp? That we have stood in the darkness of rebellion against what we know is good and right? Haven’t our actions, words, and thoughts betrayed our love of self and this world over God’s way?

Betrayed God, forgive me for willingly rebelling against your commands of life. My sin has turned light to dark and twisted what is good;  all feels lost, and I am in deeper than I know. But I thank you that even in my sin and shame, you continue to call my name. Amen. (BC 14)


But aren’t we now walking in a different life? A blood bought life purchased at the cross with the most expensive and valuable of sacrifices poured out for our salvation, for our redemption,  for our reconciliation into a new life, a new calling, a new purpose for Christ to live in and through our lives? 
Yes,  haven’t we set our eyes upon His Kingdom because the veil is torn and the purposes of eternity prove more weighty than the worries, temptations, or desires of the moment. Lord, thank you for restoring our sight, for setting our feet upon the solid foundation of Christ the cornerstone, and for offering us the opportunity to build upon it,  through your love and righteousness to be manifest today in our lives. Remind us that our reasonable service is simply a grateful response to the love that You have extended to us, and that we are purpose built to deliver to those around us. Remind us,  that we are your people. Show the world that we are your people in action and love, not just in hypocritical words. 

And I have put My words in your mouth; I have covered you with the shadow of My hand, That I may plant the heavens, Lay the foundations of the earth, And say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’ ”

Isaiah 51:16 NKJV

His Mercy Endures Forever. My mercy?

​Oh, give thanks to the Lord , for He  is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalms 136:1 NKJV

His MERCY endures FOREVER.
If you ever forget this, read Psalm 136. Read the Parable of the Prodigal Son Luke 15:11-32. 
And we are meant to follow in His example. Extend mercy, friends. Forgive that unforgivable thing that was done to you. Be merciful towards those who do not deserve your mercy. Extend love to those who will not love you in return. Offer truth and salvation and wisdom to those who will even refuse it and mock and ridicule you. 


So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

James 2:12‭-‬13 NKJV