What is truly offensive?

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him. He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
John 1:6‭-‬13 NLT

Jesus gives light.

I saw a meme recently that was based on a quote from Roger Biden, who was apparently a professor at Oxford (from what I read about him in this article that Google provided about some pretty sad charges of oppression and racism): https://www.theguardian.com/education/2005/apr/08/highereducation.raceineducation I can’t be 100 percent sure that this is the accurate source of the quote, but that is who the Internet appears to attribute it to. So here it is:

Jesus. Mocked and rejected then, mocked and rejected now.

But what is worse than the lost and the unbelieving mocking something they cannot understand because it has not yet been revealed to them? Someone who knows the truth of the gospel and still denies Christ as the way to righteousness — by rejecting the command they were given to live a holy life.

And when people escape from the wickedness of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up and enslaved by sin again, they are worse off than before. It would be better if they had never known the way to righteousness than to know it and then reject the command they were given to live a holy life. They prove the truth of this proverb: “A dog returns to its vomit.” And another says, “A washed pig returns to the mud.”
2 Peter 2:20‭-‬22 NLT

So there are those who will be shocked and offended by this meme and quote put out by an atheist — who should instead be shocked and humbled before God because they have been rejecting God’s command to live a holy life.

And don’t think that I’m standing high claiming innocence myself. No, I’m convicted by this and I’m compelled to examine closely and honestly in this area as the Word says “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the Faith, test yourselves…”

And to this, I say thank you God for the good news of the gospel so that we might repent while there is time — from any foolish, prideful stance as if we know it all and could mock the justice and commands of God.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts. – 1 John 1:8‭-‬10 NLT

Let’s be aware of how we can recognize these false teachings and avoid them. If teaching allows for shameful immorality, we see in 2 Peter chapter 2 that these teachers are false and are slandering the truth. If they are making up clever lies to get a hold of your money, they are liars like their father the devil. If they follow their own twisted sexual desires, if they resist authority, if they are proud and arrogant, and indulge in evil pleasures in broad daylight, the Lord opposes them, in fact His curse is upon them. Read 2 Peter chapter 2 for yourself. These are not my words, but are the Word of God. Be careful little ones, stay close to the truth and do not veer off the path.

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’
Numbers 6:24‭-‬26 NLT

Filled or Fooled?

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. – Colossians 3:16 NLT

Time after time again in scripture, the anointing of the Holy Spirit is compared to anointing oil. Oil. This oil is not consumed, but it covers and spreads out, and clings to, and fills each little crack and crevice of what it touches. It transfers itself to everything it comes in contact with. It’s aroma was undeniable, and it even changed the way that things felt when they were touched. What was once rough and ragged now felt smooth and soft. Yes, this is how the presence of God in our lives, close and personal and present, changes us and our interactions with everything around us as well.

Oil. What happens if we further to put gasoline in our car and we run out and the car stops? We can walk to the store and buy some more gasoline and be back on pour way, right? But what if pour car runs out of oil and the engine stops because of no Oil? That’s a different problem altogether, and the car is probably headed tho the trash heap and we are probably looking for a new car altogether, right?

There are things we can go without and still survive, but this oil, this anointing presence of the Holy Spirit of God, without it filling our lives, we are headed to a 6 foot deep, worm invested scrap yard ourselves. But if we are filled, we habe much to tell about, much to teach about, much to sing and shout about, don’t we?

After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. “Rabbi,” he said, “we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” “What do you mean?” exclaimed Nicodemus. “How can an old man go back into his mother’s womb and be born again?” Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.” “How are these things possible?” Nicodemus asked. Jesus replied, “You are a respected Jewish teacher, and yet you don’t understand these things? I assure you, we tell you what we know and have seen, and yet you won’t believe our testimony. But if you don’t believe me when I tell you about earthly things, how can you possibly believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has ever gone to heaven and returned. But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants. ” – John 3:2‭-‬21 NLT

Maybe this doesn’t make much sense to you at the moment, but you’re curious because you’ve heard “religious people” talk about things like good, bad, law, rebellion, grace, godliness, etc. But all you’ve heard is talk, you just haven’t yet seen anyone actually walking out their lives in any real similarity to how they speak (or how you know the Bible says people should live if they indeed love God). Maybe you’ve wondered to yourself, “I love this Christ you speak of, but not this ‘twice the child of hell’ that some seem to testify to by their lives even as they call themselves by the name above all names.” Maybe you’ve seen the tares amongst the wheat wherever the religious gather. Maybe you’ve seen the synagogue of Satan intermingling amongst the children of God and you’ve longed for the true children of Abraham, the true church of God, the truly Holy Spirit filled and loved by God to “come our from her”, to be separated from the hypocritically and circumstantially and mockingly religious who are a stench in the nostrils of a holy and righteous God because they clearly never knew Him and He never knew them — He no more abided in them and supped with them than they ever loved and forgave and prayed for “their enemies”.

Yes, I understand. And I’m not calling you to join in with that sort, with that type, with those who seek the honor of men and who long to serve themselves and their own pride. No, let them have their religious ceremonies and dogma with God far away from their actual lives and safely boxed into a Sunday morning time slot, and let us have the Lord present and real and close and intimate in our moment to moment, because TODAY is the day of salvation, we are walking and living it.

Let us pray not just with our mouths, but from our thankful hearts, in spirit in truth. Yes, Lord, come fill us today to overflowing with that oil of yuppie presence that perseveres us to the end — by your power in us, which is greater than any enemy that dare oppose the army of the Lord. The victory is won, ordained before the creation of the heavens and earth, revealed in Jesus Christ, and testified to in the lives touched, healed, changed, redeemed, and restored by grace through Faith in Jesus Christ as both Savior and Sovereign Lord over our surrendered lives, as we die to self, sin and worldliness to live by the Holy Spirit, not by the flesh.

Some will say that we are foolish and “full of it” — and if we are fools, like Paul said, let us be “fools for Christ” — and if we are full of something, let us be “full of Christ”.

My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide. So don’t make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due. Dear brothers and sisters, I have used Apollos and myself to illustrate what I’ve been saying. If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another. For what gives you the right to make such a judgment? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift? You think you already have everything you need. You think you are already rich. You have begun to reign in God’s kingdom without us! I wish you really were reigning already, for then we would be reigning with you. Instead, I sometimes think God has put us apostles on display, like prisoners of war at the end of a victor’s parade, condemned to die. We have become a spectacle to the entire world—to people and angels alike. Our dedication to Christ makes us look like fools, but you claim to be so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are so powerful! You are honored, but we are ridiculed. Even now we go hungry and thirsty, and we don’t have enough clothes to keep warm. We are often beaten and have no home. We work wearily with our own hands to earn our living. We bless those who curse us. We are patient with those who abuse us. We appeal gently when evil things are said about us. Yet we are treated like the world’s garbage, like everybody’s trash—right up to the present moment. I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children. For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you. So I urge you to imitate me. That’s why I have sent Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord. He will remind you of how I follow Christ Jesus, just as I teach in all the churches wherever I go. Some of you have become arrogant, thinking I will not visit you again. But I will come—and soon—if the Lord lets me, and then I’ll find out whether these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power. For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power. Which do you choose? Should I come with a rod to punish you, or should I come with love and a gentle spirit?
1 Corinthians 4:4‭-‬21 NLT

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“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” – Matthew 6:21 NLT

“It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” – Matthew 6:19‭-‬21 MSG

We desire what we truly treasure. We desire what we truly believe is of value.

Is it that hard to understand why so many end up fashioning a personal concept of God in the image of what is comfortable and easy for them too accept without having to change anything in their lives? Doesn’t it speak to the value they place on their own opinions, feelings, thoughts, in comparison to the value they place on God, on His Word, on His commandments, and on His promises?

And we say this as if we are holding up any outstretched pointing finger to point at a far away “them” as if it hasn’t been us who have forgotten what is truly valuable, precious, and eternal. But no, we too have to admit that we have fallen short in this area, because if we truly believed the truth about heaven and hell, about the wicked and the lost facing damnation and eternal separation from God, about Faith coming by hearing the Word of God, and about Faith being the only way that we can please God, and about God coming to live in us and through us to carry this Good News to the end of the earth to see the captives set free — wouldn’t we be a quite peculiar and different type of person than the rest who are content with piling up treasures and pleasures from this world?

What an interesting study that would be, to examine how much focus and effort and attention is spent chasing after things of this world rather than things of an eternal, spiritual, godly nature! Could we gain some insight into what it is we truly treasure? And thereby gain some understanding about what it is that we truly BELIEVE is valuable — in essence, where we have placed our Faith.

What an insightful endeavor that might prove to be, to measure and examine our Faith in God not by our knowledge or understanding, not by our denominational membership, not by our participation in religious ceremonies, but by an examination to seek out the evidence of God where we say out is that He lives – IN US. At least, that is the claim that Christians must make of they say they are saved, right — “raised to new life in Christ” we PROCLAIM. “Born again as a new creation, alive in the Holy Spirit of God” as Jesus Christ told Nicodemus in John 3 that must be true for anyone to ever enter into heaven, into eternal life.

Yes, this has been the claim of many mouths throughout the ages, but lying tongues cannot hide what confessing hearts reveal, right?

Let’s look at where our money is invested – in the things of God or in the things of the world?

Let’s look at where our time is invested – in the things of God or in the things of the world?

Let’s look at the content we consume – books, movies, radio, television – Is it equipping and preparing us for the purpose and calling God has for each of us to glorify His name and reach the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Let’s look at what comes out of our own mouths — is it blessing, or is it cursing — is it praises, or is it grumbling?

What can we say we have truly treasured today with this day given to us freely to spend as we see fit? Can we say that we have spent wisely or foolishly based on what we PROFESS is truly valuable to us?

If a man says that He sees no value in God and He lives like hell, there is no reason to doubt his convictions — but what about a man who says the Lord is his prize and portion but who loves and chases and lays in His sin time and time again? We might say that a man like this had the hope of one day seeing the value of the Lord, but if his desire is continually for the things the Word of God says are not only worthless and fading, but are a dangerous and deadly distraction from what truly is valuable — what can be said about what such a man really believes is valuable in this very moment.

Oh, I pray that we rrepent while there is still time. And let’s don’t think that trying to change our outward behaviors to give stronger evidence to our verbal claims is the way. No, that might last for a moment as we strive in our weakness and fail time and time again — but we need that wisdom that comes from above, that gift of a measure of faith that overcomes our disbelief, that spirit and nature of God poured out upon His people, that new heart with new desires because the law of Christ is written on it, that life sealed by the healing and redeeming touch of Christ.

Yes, we need something supernaturally so far beyond theological study or debate that it dumbfounds the wise just like it dumbfounded the religious teacher, Nicodemus. Yes, we need a teacher and guide and priest way above the likes of mere men.

Do you know this teacher today?

Do you value Him?

Do you treasure Him?

Do you desire Him so deeply that all else seems as dust and ashes being burned away?

Ask truly, answer truly, examine truly.

Now, Grow

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.
Colossians 2:6‭-‬7 NLT

Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and as the master of your life, or does that seem burdensome since it might require “giving up” some things? I’m just asking real questions, because these are the questions that will reveal what kind of “belief” exists. And there has to be true, “saving Faith” for growth to continue. The seed of the Word of God needs to have not only been planted, but it must have burst through the shell in that good soil to grow up, and continue to rise above the weeds, and bear much fruit for the glory of God.

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?” He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand. This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend. For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes— so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to me and let me heal them.’ “But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, but they didn’t see it. And they longed to hear what you hear, but they didn’t hear it. “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds: The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word. The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
Matthew 13:1‭-‬23 NLT

The good news is that even if you have backslidden, even if you have never yet had Faith in your heart that empowered you to walk in a new way, even if you are just now for the first time realizing that you truly need God in control and leading you in the way of righteousness, salvation is available to you today. I don’t care what religious rituals you have been through in the past — because I don’t want you to set your Faith in some past religious ceremony or ritual. I want you to trust God, be restored to a right relationship with Him, follow Him, and grow in His way. He tells us to call on the name of the Lord and we will be saved. He tells us that today is the day of salvation and that we must die daily to ourselves so that we can walk with Him in spirit and in truth. He tells us that He will come and live in us and guide uggs in all things, convicting us against sin and growing us up in truth and in love. He tells us that He has a purpose and calling for our lives to send us out to a world in need of Hope, Faith, and Love.

Rise up, you who were once dead in your sin and know life abundant in Christ.

Rise up, you who had fallen asleep by the wayside, and receive the breath of life that fills you up and makes you whole.

Rise up, army of the Lord, children of God, to see the battle already won by Jesus Christ, the mighty warrior, the consuming fire, the one true and living God, God come in the flesh to live among His people, the only name by which salvation comes.

Transform Us

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
Romans 12:2 NLT

Today, let’s drop any concern for how the world might expect us to act, speak, think, or behave. Let’s leave out those old ways of pandering to each other to gain acceptance, or honor, or envy, or jealousy, or attention from our fellow men and women — and let’s fall headlong into a radical love for the one who loved us first. Let’s resist those temptations, and feelings, and opinions that we once held such a high regard for, and let’s walk in this new way by the power of Christ who lives in us!

You say, “But I have no power, how can I walk in victory?” And I say, “Come and drink from the well, the fountain is still overflowing, the river still runs with water that was bitter but is now oh so sweet. Have you taken up your tree to follow Christ and share in the sweet sufferings and persecution of a life walking against the natural flow of this carnal world? Have you seen how it turns what would seem foolish and burdensome into a pleasure and a you? Have you seen sadness, distress, anxiety, bitterness, depression, sickness, rebellion and all kinds of vain pursuits overcome by the Blood of the Lamb? By the touch of the Savior? By the spoken promises of the Word of God received and believed?”

I proclaim this day, “Come, call upon the name of the Lord and be saved! TODAY is the day of salvation! Thus says the Lord God, the one true God, the only way, the only truth, the only life, and the only hope for a lost world in need of Him, the only prize worth winning, the only gift worth receiving, the only one width of receiving all praise and glory and honor, forever and ever. Amen.”

I PROCLAIM THIS DAY, “Come and know your purpose and calling set ahead of you before the foundation of the heavens and the earth — to bring glory and honor to God. Step out of that dying man who needs to go under the cleansing flood and walk in spirit and truth! Rise up, army of Christ, for the Kingdom of God is close at hand, His face is close and His breath is upon you. Will you be consumed or refined by the presence and glory of our God?”

“Lord, help!”

“ Lord , help!” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He calmed the storm to a whisper and stilled the waves. What a blessing was that stillness as he brought them safely into harbor! Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them exalt him publicly before the congregation and before the leaders of the nation.
Psalms 107:28‭-‬32 NLT

Yes, He is faithful to save when we cry out to Him. I know this is true because I have seen evidence of it with my own eyes. But how much more blessed are those who haven’t seen the evidence yet, but who believe and trust in the Lord God Almighty to fulfill His every promise?

Whether we are high on the bright mountain top, or low in the shadowy valley, He is God and He is worthy of praise and honor and glory. Whether a man is a worm destined to dry up and die in the heat of the sun, or is a vessel of the glory of the Lord sent to shine forth into this world, He is God and He is worthy of praise and honor and glory.

But oh, how sweet it is when His mercy falls on us and He regards our sins no more — not so that we might soon more, but that we might know His love and choose willingly, gratefully, to walk in His ways. Oh, how sweet it is when His mercy and love paves the way for His very spirit and nature to come live amongst, and with, and in, and through his people.

Oh, how sweet it is when He pours Himself out on His people, when He not only washes away their sins in forgiveness, but when He renews their minds, prepares and equips them, and sends them our in victory and in life abundant to sing His praises and share this Good News that Christ livesthat Jesus has inaugurated both the tribulation and the Kingdom of God

— that victory ordained since the very beginning

— the very same victory persevering in a battle still evident this very moment between spirit and flesh in the lives of believers

— that very same victory already won for all eternity is close hand because the veil has been torn and we now see what was once hidden from our sight.

Yes, God is both just and merciful — and even the storm, even the trials, even the tribulation, even the temptations, even our own shortcomings have purpose and a testimony to serve.

Be Profitable

​DO NOT WASTE TIME, STAY TRUE

Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. This is why we work hard and continue to struggle, for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers. Teach these things and insist that everyone learn them. Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity. Until I get there, focus on reading the Scriptures to the church, encouraging the believers, and teaching them. Do not neglect the spiritual gift you received through the prophecy spoken over you when the elders of the church laid their hands on you. Give your complete attention to these matters. Throw yourself into your tasks so that everyone will see your progress. Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you. – 1 Timothy 4:7‭-‬16 NLT


SHARE THE FAITH OF THOSE WHO LISTEN TO GOD

God’s promise of entering his rest still stands, so we ought to tremble with fear that some of you might fail to experience it. For this good news—that God has prepared this rest—has been announced to us just as it was to them. But it did them no good because they didn’t share the faith of those who listened to God.  For only we who believe can enter his rest. As for the others, God said, “In my anger I took an oath: ‘They will never enter my place of rest,’” even though this rest has been ready since he made the world. We know it is ready because of the place in the Scriptures where it mentions the seventh day: “On the seventh day God rested from all his work.”  But in the other passage God said, “They will never enter my place of rest.” So God’s rest is there for people to enter, but those who first heard this good news failed to enter because they disobeyed God. So God set another time for entering his rest, and that time is today. God announced this through David much later in the words already quoted: “Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts.” Now if Joshua had succeeded in giving them this rest, God would not have spoken about another day of rest still to come. So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall. For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable. So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. – Hebrews 4:1‭-‬16 NLT


FAITH COMES BY HEARING THE WORD OF GOD, BELIEVE IT AND SPEAK IT

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”  Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “ Lord , who has believed our message?”  So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ. – Romans 10:9‭-‬17 NLT

YOU OUGHT TO BE TEACHING

There is much more we would like to say about this, but it is difficult to explain, especially since you are spiritually dull and don’t seem to listen. You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food. For someone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong. – Hebrews 5:11‭-‬14 NLT


WILL YOU GO? WILL YOU OBEY?

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18‭-‬20 NLT


Many will say (out of fear or complacency), “I am not equipped, I cannot go.” And if you are not born again in the Spirit, you are quite right — so repent, believe, confess and be saved! Receive the Holy Spirit, you vessel of Christ, you temple of the Holy Spirit,  you who commune and abide with Almighty God. Do not hinder by your doubt, the rest that He has prepared for you, and that He will testify to in the good and amazing work that He will do through you. 


Go, tell of the many blessings you have received, if you have indeed been blessed by the Lord! Or if you have no joys to sing about, if He doesn’t inhabit your life and lead you into life abundant, but your sin masters you and leads you in death – repent, believe, confess, and be saved!


The work is finished and complete on the cross for those who believe. The blessings and glories of God are revealed, they are made manifest in the new creation that comes when a dead body goes into water and is awaken to new life in Christ Jesus. 


Are you awake?


Wipe the sleep from your eyes and be profitable, be used, be effective for the Kingdom of God, beloved saint!


And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:8‭-‬9 NLT

Made Me Glad

A friend shared this with me today:

Charles Haddon Spurgeon :: Morning and Evening
August 14th — Morning Reading

“Thou, Lord, hast made me glad through Thy work.” — Psalm 92:4

Do you believe that your sins are forgiven, and that Christ has made a full atonement for them? Then what a joyful Christian you ought to be! How you should live above the common trials and troubles of the world! Since sin is forgiven, can it matter what happens to you now? Luther said, “Smite, Lord, smite, for my sin is forgiven; if Thou hast but forgiven me, smite as hard as Thou wilt”; and in a similar spirit you may say, “Send sickness, poverty, losses, crosses, persecution, what Thou wilt, Thou hast forgiven me,and my soul is glad.” Christian, if thou art thus saved, whilst thou art glad, be grateful and loving. Cling to that cross which took thy sin away; serve thou Him who served thee. “I beseech you therefore, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Let not your zeal evaporate in some little ebullition of song. Show your love in expressive tokens. Love the brethren of Him who loved you. If there be a Mephibosheth anywhere who is lame or halt, help him for Jonathan’s sake. If there be a poor tried believer, weep with him, and bear his cross for the sake of Him who wept for thee and carried thy sins. Since thou art thus forgiven freely for Christ’s sake, go and tell to others the joyful news of pardoning mercy. Be not contented with this unspeakable blessing for thyself alone, but publish abroad the story of the cross. Holy gladness and holy boldness will make you a good preacher, and all the world will be a pulpit for you to preach in. Cheerful holiness is the most forcible of sermons, but the Lord must give it you. Seek it this morning before you go into the world. When it is the Lord’s work in which we rejoice, we need not be afraid of being too glad.

Yes, this excerpt from the “Prince of Preachers” is in a style and beauty of language that seems so far away from my own current station in this world, but it has a voice and message that is timeless and that is in seemingly perfect unity with what my heart knows is true. 
He starts out at the heart of the matter, that all important question,  “Do you believe…” in sentence one. And as if that wasn’t bold enough, he hammers it home with “… what a joyful Christian you OUGHT TO BE!” In the continued opening of sentence two.
This approach might even be deemed as offensive or unwelcoming in many of today’s gathering places of those seeking enlightenment, self help, and betterment  (as long as it is only a tolerable sprinkling of God, of course). And some might even be offended at their main diet of religious and social gathering being seasoned with God, since He seems so unwavering and intent on His will being done. 
“Maybe just add Him as a garnish on the side so no one is offended”, they suggest,  “and then they don’t actually have to encounter Him in the midst of all this other pomp and circumstance and ceremony and entertainment.” Because the truth of God’s Word to them is still a harsh task master calling them to give up so many things they love more and greater — not a glorious and loving God who has the best for us in every promise, in every correction, in every discipline, in every trial, and in every victory over sin and death. 
Do you believe?
Or are you gauging your “own personal truth” by what you can see, hear, taste, touch, smell, feel and experience in your carnal flesh?
Is your belief hinged upon the flood of blessings to be expected in this life now for your investment in religious participation, swinging wildly back and forth between grumbling and praising based on the circumstance?
Or is it rooted firmly in that prize and portion  — that prize that is above and beyond all other worthless and perishing offerings that the enemy might offer?

The enemy is tempting you to take your eyes off of the Truth, the Way, the Life — the source of your joy. Have you turned away? Have you forgotten the sweet, sweet love the Lord has for you, Child of God?
Or do you remember?

Are you filled with joy abounding in every way? Peace that presses understanding? Love even for your enemies? Patience because you know He has a plan and a purpose that is beautiful and wonderful and you are a part of It?
Did you hear me right? You are A PART OF IT! I didn’t say you are apart from it, but that you are a part of It!

How much we have to be thankful for!

Oh, how glad we can bee when the Lord God Almighty is at work in us, and through us, and yes, even for us. Hallelujah! Because He is for us and not against us!

Free from Guilt and Shame?

Even the wicked wish to be free from guilt and shame. Even the enemies of God wish wicked men to be free from guilt and shame with their consciences seared  — so they are free to be twice the child of hell that they were before encountering that false prophet who says,  “Eat your fill of sinfulness, pride, and wickedness. It will not kill you.”
But the true Savior and Lord doesn’t just save from shame and guilt, but transforms lives through His mastery and lordship over the life laid down to follow in His footsteps. Salvation coupled with Redemption and Sanctification. Not a man striving to be good enough, but Christ demonstrating through a man that He has won the victory and that sin and death are overcome and have no place in the temple were the spirit of the Lord dwells. 
I say this,  because if all you are seeking is escape from shame and guilt, there are two very different masters you can run to for comfort on that issue, so be very careful. 
But if you are seeing to escape your own wickedness, and to live with God and walk in His way — draw close to the one whose salvation turns you away from death and leads you to life.  
Pray for the Lord to forgive you for your sins, to pour out His spirit and divine nature upon you, to give you a new heart that desires the things He desires, to guide you in wisdom and understanding, to heal your unbelief, and to guard the Word that He has planted in your heart FOR HIS NAME’S SAKE. Because you are trusting in His promises, your hope is growing up into faith, and your faith is producing love — all by the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ who lives in the heart of the believer. Rise up and walk in life. Death is overcome. Amen.