The smell of death lingers, but not for long… (yes, there’s a poop joke)

Lol. Check this out.
I come back in from my morning run,  my stomach telling me that it is time to shed some weight…

I walk into the master bathroom and hear the fan running in the water closet, so I ask my wife,  “Did you just use the bathroom?” To which she replies, “It’s not bad, just give it a…” — I didn’t hear the rest and went straight to the hall bathroom.


You know —

Eve said, “It’s not bad, just give it a…” too — and Adam died because he listened to her. 
Love you, but I’ll just use the hall bathroom. Death is lingering in that other bathroom, and I’ll wait until it has departed. Love you, honey!

Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to  be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, You are cursed more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And you shall eat dust All the days of your life. And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall  be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” – Genesis 3:1‭-‬19 NKJV

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still, everyone died—from the time of Adam to the time of Moses—even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous. God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Romans 5:12‭-‬21 NLT

Persevere


“Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world.” – Revelation 3:10 NLT


“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father. “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love.  I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other.” – John 15:4‭-‬17 NLT


“If the world hates you, remember that it hated me first.  The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.  Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you.  They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me.  They would not be guilty if I had not come and spoken to them. But now they have no excuse for their sin.” – John 15:18‭-‬22 NLT


From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. Stay there with him until your brother cools off. When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” – Genesis 27:41‭-‬45 NLT


“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.” – 1 Peter 5:6‭-‬10 NLT


But Moses told the people, “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” – Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 NLT


“So follow the steps of the good, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. But the wicked will be removed from the land, and the treacherous will be uprooted.” – Proverbs 2:20‭-‬22 NLT

Don’t Withhold

​When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” So they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: ‘Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.” But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. – Genesis 50:15‭-‬21 ESV
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment.  Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”  And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” – Luke 7:44‭-‬48 ESV
Pray then like this:  “Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be  your name.    Your kingdom come,  your will be done,   on earth as it is in heaven.   Give us  this day our daily bread,    and forgive us our debts,  as we also have forgiven our debtors.   And  lead us not into temptation,  but  deliver us from  evil.    For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,  but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. – Matthew 6:9‭-‬15 ESV

Ultra- High Lumen Tactical Lighting

Good, Reliable, Tactical Lighting that will consistently perform in live fire situations isn’t common, cheap, or widely available. In fact, you won’t find what Seal Team 7 uses at your neighborhood Dollar General store because it has a specific purpose and is meant for a select set of particular buyers. That “other stuff” at Dollar General or Walmart is good enough for “the rest of the world”, but they need purpose driven tools for their trade. 


Christian, you are not just part of “the rest of the world” — you are called — you are set apart —  you are Children of God — you are Sons of light — you walk a new way different from the world. Come, let’s walk together in His Word.

​And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. – Genesis 1:4 ESV

It isn’t surprising that light is good  –since it sprang up from the command of our Good Good Father speaking, “Let there be light.” 

And can we agree that even those of us who enjoy the light should probably be more grateful for it than we sometimes are — and we should  probably want to see even more of God in it and by it than we have so far.

So let’s dig in together. 

Lord, open our eyes to see, our ears to hear, and our hearts to receive what you have to reveal to us today through your Word. Amen.

Physical light is said by Solomon to be sweet:

Light is sweet, and it is pleasant for the eyes to see the sun. – Ecclesiastes 11:7 ESV

But gospel light is infinitely more precious and valuable, because it reveals eternal things unseen and it ministers to our immortal natures, our deceitful hearts, our very character and innermost desires.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.  But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:19‭-‬21 ESV

When the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual light and opens our eyes to witness the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, we recognize sin in its true colors, and ourselves in our real position;  

And He [the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, our Helper], when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment:  about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message];  about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see Me;  about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned. – JOHN 16:8‭-‬11 AMP

In this pure spiritual light we see the One True God, the Most Holy God, without blemish or spot. Almighty God who is never changing, who has no deceit in Him, in Whom there is no darkness at all, as He reveals Himself, 

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. – Romans 1:18‭-‬20 ESV

In the blinding clarity of this spiritual light shining in the darkness,  we see His plan of mercy – as He whispers it to us in His still quiet voice – for us to consider:

Now, the way to receive God’s approval has been made plain in a way other than the laws in the Scriptures. Moses’ Teachings and the Prophets tell us this. Everyone who believes has God’s approval through faith in Jesus Christ. There is no difference between people. Because all people have sinned, they have fallen short of God’s glory. They receive God’s approval freely by an act of his kindness through the price Christ Jesus paid to set us free ⌊from sin⌋. – Romans 3:21‭-‬24 GW

And this revealing spiritual light shows us the Truth of the “world to come” as this Word of God commands in the same way what is coming as it has what is finished:

There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. There is nothing kept secret that will not come to light. – Luke 8:17 GW

The day of the Lord will come like a thief. On that day heaven will pass away with a roaring sound. Everything that makes up the universe will burn and be destroyed. The earth and everything that people have done on it will be exposed. – 2 Peter 3:10 GW

Spiritual light has so many beams like eyes searching in every direction for a heart that is fully committed to Him so that He may shine His light upon them — for His glory and honor and mercy and power to be revealed in the midst of this dark world through the faith of His people working through godly love poured out upon an undeserving world. 

And all the varied colors and tones of the rainbow can be found in these rays of this spiritual light — whether they are knowledge, joy, holiness, or life — all are divinely good because they come from the divine. 

So if the light received is good, what must the essence and source of that light be, and how glorious is the place where it comes from, that place where He reveals Himself?

Oh, Lord, since your light is so good, give us more of it,  and more of yourself,  the true light. Amen.

Sons of light – you who have ears to hear – listen:

As soon as there is a good thing in the world, a division is necessary. There is no time for hesitation, no time for contemplation, no profit in delaying:


​And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. – Genesis 1:4 ESV

And God separated the light from the darkness.

Light and darkness have no communion;  God has divided them — let’s not confuse them or foolishly, selfishly and pridefully believe that any mere man could bind together what God has set apart. 

Sons of light must not have fellowship with the deeds and actions, doctrines and heresies, or deceits and trickeries of darkness. 

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,  and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14‭-‬18 ESV

The children of the day, those who walk in the light —  must be sober, honest, and bold in their Lord’s work — leaving the works of darkness to those who will dwell in it forever. 

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:13‭-‬16 ESV

Our churches, these bodies of true believers, should by discipline and discernment —

Yes, by self-discipline —

And by discerning what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:1‭-‬2 ESV

We the followers of the way, 

The sons of light, 

The children of God,

The true children of Abraham by Faith,

We train and equip ourselves to rightly divide the light from the darkness –

And if we have that inward, spiritually distinct separation of Spirit from Flesh that can’t be seen by the eyes of mere men, 

Our outwardly visible lives will manifest that same distinct separation from the way of the world — because we walk a different path, a narrow way that doesn’t lead to destruction. 

In our life’s testimony to what truly lies within –

In right judgement, 

in loving action, 

in patient hearing, 

in sound teaching, 

in brotherly association,  

we must discern between what is precious and what is vile,  

A believer strives to maintain that same great distinction that the Lord made on this world’s first day between light and dark  —

This same border, 

boundary, 

limit, 

and guardrail —

should be drawn in our own lives so that His light might shine brightly and distinctly against the darkness of this fallen world.  

Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.” – John 7:24 ESV

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:17‭-‬32 ESV

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.  If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:16‭-‬26 ESV

Oh, Lord Jesus,  be our light throughout the whole day, because your light is the light of men. Amen.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. – Proverbs 14:12 ESV

I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me.  How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. – Psalms 119:102‭-‬105 ESV

I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.  You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.  Depart from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commandments of my God.  Uphold me according to your promise, that I may live, and let me not be put to shame in my hope!  Hold me up, that I may be safe and have regard for your statutes continually!  You spurn all who go astray from your statutes, for their cunning is in vain.  All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross, therefore I love your testimonies.  My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments. – Psalms 119:113‭-‬120 ESV

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7 ESV

My son, do not despise the Lord ’s discipline or be weary of his reproof,  for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. – Proverbs 3:11‭-‬12 ESV

The Lord ’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. – Proverbs 3:33 ESV

And God Blessed Them

​So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” – Genesis 1:27‭-‬28 ESV


#InHis Image #Blessed
And God blessed them.

“Blessed” 

In Hebrew,  the word is:

בָּרַךְ

If we were to sound it out ourselves,  it would be spelled like barak (bä·rak). What is interesting about this word is its meaning and usage in Hebrew. It means to kneel – and interestingly enough it is translated as blessing 302 times in the old testament,  but it is also translated as curse or blaspheme 6 times. How odd for blessing and cursing to come from the same word. I just find that so interesting! 

And the reason is because the Word is about relationship and position with respect to God. You see,  we were created to kneel,  to submit,  to yield to God. And if we understand who God really is, we would be honored to worship Almighty God, Heavenly Father. But if we’ve made some imperfect image of God in our heads that is more like ourselves, there’s no reason some might ask,  “Why do I have to worship God, that just isn’t right.”

For example,  let’s say the person we’ve lobbied for and campaigned for the whole year to get elected into office wins, and we are offered the opportunity to formally present them at their inauguration – wouldn’t we be excited?  But what if that other person won and we are faced with the same opportunity? Isn’t is clear that how we see God affects whether we see kneeling to Him, worshiping Him, obeying Him as either a blessing or a curse? 

And how this word for “kneeling” has gotten twisted into the worldliness of having an abundance of things – that’s not blessing! That’s responsibility to be a good steward lest the stones and beams in our own houses cry out and testify against us about the poor and the hungry and the afflicted at judgement! 

I’m talking about real blessing – a life surrendered to Christ,  not just in a confessed sinner’s prayer,  but in a believing heart that bears the burdens of his fellow men and that shares this Good News to the ends of the earth. Yes, a life anointed and flowing in the Spirit,  bearing fruit, renewing their mind, bringing Hope into the dark places, encouraging others in faithfulness, and leading one another in the holiness that is loving one another.

That is blessed. Blessing is kneeling surrendered humbly at the foot of the cross, not rich and proud at the edge of the cliff of worldliness and sinfulness. 

May we all be blessed by the reading of, and the meditating upon, the Word of God today. Thanks be to God! Amen!

Little Children

Do you ever ponder over the things of God? Do you wonder about His ways? What about the little children? What is their fate? What is ours?

children-are-innocent-childrens-world-16382924-670-405

INNOCENCE

See, this alone I found, that God made man upright, but they have sought out many schemes. – Ecclesiastes 7:29 ESV

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14 ESV

And said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 18:3 ESV

But when David saw that his servants were whispering together, David understood that the child was dead. And David said to his servants, “Is the child dead?” They said, “He is dead.” Then David arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the Lord and worshiped. He then went to his own house. And when he asked, they set food before him, and he ate. Then his servants said to him, “What is this thing that you have done? You fasted and wept for the child while he was alive; but when the child died, you arose and ate food.” He said, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept, for I said, ‘Who knows whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?’ But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.” – 2 Samuel 12:23 ESV

Autosomal-recessive-inheritance

INHERITANCE

The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. – Ezekiel 18:20 ESV

For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. – 1 Corinthians 7:14 ESV

And as for your little ones, who you said would become a prey, and your children, who today have no knowledge of good or evil, they shall go in there. And to them I will give it, and they shall possess it. – Deuteronomy 1:39 ESV

Knowledge

KNOWLEDGE

For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. – Isaiah 7:16 ESV

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17 ESV

Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. – Proverbs 20:11 ESV

The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies. – Psalm 58:3 ESV

I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. – Romans 7:9-11 ESV

Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord’s offering. – Exodus 30:14 ESV

The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one. – Psalm 14:2-3 ESV

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. – John 3:6 ESV

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. – Romans 7:14 ESV

quote-David-Herbert-Lawrence-this-is-the-very-worst-wickedness-that-90120

SIN

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. – Genesis 6:5 ESV

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. – Ephesians 2:12 ESV

salvation

SALVATION

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV

What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, – Romans 4:1-25 ESV

And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the Lord said in his heart, “I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth. Neither will I ever again strike down every living creature as I have done. – Genesis 8:21 ESV

Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. – 1 Peter 1:18-19 ESV

Zech4_6

POWER

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. – 2 Timothy 1:7 ESV

That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being – Ephesians 3:16 ESV

For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. – 1 Corinthians 4:20 ESV

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, – Colossians 1:11 ESV

That your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:5 ESV

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. – Isaiah 40:29-31 ESV

repentance

REPENTANCE / RIGHTEOUS JUDGEMENT

Ezekiel 18:1-32
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.

“If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God.

“If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself.

“Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity.

“Yet you say, ‘Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.

“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.”

Full vent? Or self control?

Proverbs 29:11 ESV
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Self control.

Not letting our emotions and desires control our lives.

Not letting our own opinions and our own will lead us, but examining and understanding which voice we are listening to, which master we are serving.

Proverbs 1:7 ESV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Some who are heading towards destruction will say things like, “I’m not convicted against that” or “I think that we can…” and they will even claim the name of Jesus and talk about grace and forgiveness while they have no interest in loving Him, or following Him, or keeping His commandments, or serving others. They have no interest in learning or being changed. I know this, because that used to be me. I had no interest in a restored relationship with God, but I thought that I had bought my heaven ticket with a prayer and a little bit of religion “once upon a time”.

I was a fool.

I had no self control, I chased after whatever my flesh desired.

I had no interest in God’s will being done on earth through my life – I was only intrigued by the idea of escaping the consequences for my hellish actions.

I was a fool.

I had no fear of God, because I thought of Him as “buddy Jesus” who loved the sinners and hated the religious – which is true – but I had missed the why.

It wasn’t so they could remain where they were. He didn’t bring Good News so things would stay the same – He brings change, uncovering what is on the inside, shining light on the motives underneath that are hidden many times by the masks of outward appearance.

We can all recognize the lost sinners who are bearing only thorns and thistles in their lives, right? Can we agree they are not serving God of they don’t believe – if they have no interest in repentance?

But what about those who want to appear honorable but who have interest only in repentance as far as it is visible to others?

Thrre are those who want to appear religious in their words and who go to great lengths to be seen are the very ones who are working hard to hide their dark hearts. Those who want to be exalted and honored by other men as a “good man” or as someone worthy of honor are the very souls who are most lacking and in need of true integrity and honor. Yes, those areas of deficiency are the areas we try hardest to mask and to hide and to protect when we have no hope of healing.

But there is one who heals both of these ailments, and His name is Jesus Christ. He restores and makes us whole so that we have no need to hide those weaknesses anymore, nor do we have to remain fruitless. In fact, by removing the masks and admitting our weaknesses, He does an amazing thing – He changes us and what was once an embarrassment and a disgrace becomes an area of our lives c touched and changed by the annointing power of Jesus Christ.

My old ways when I had no interest in God’s will led me down some dark paths. Many lessons I had to learn the hard way,  because I didn’t yet believe our understand the value of the Word of God. I didn’t understand that God c truly has provided His divine instruction so that we might have the fullest and beat life by walking in His will and purpose,  protecting ourselves from the influence of the enemy and the inevitable consequences of being wrapped up in their traps.

But today,  those mistakes allow me to go into the jails and talk with others from a common perspective of understanding the struggles that they are going through,  because I have seen a similar path. Today,  those mistakes allow me to talk with someone dealing with addiction and not just be “some preacher with a perfect life that doesn’t know what he’s talking about”. Today those mistakes allow me to counsel someone who is wrapped up in sexual sin, pornography, adultery,  or going through a divorce and let them know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is strong enough to bring them through it and turn it to good – but only when we truly turn to Him.

And I share that turning to Him doesn’t guarantee freedom from the consequences. I see the consequences of my old actions and how it led others down rocky paths. I see how little eyes watched my old example and later followed in my footsteps into consequences of their own. I see that our life choices and our actions have more influence than our words or our Sunday church attendance records.

So I don’t want to be a fool any longer.

I don’t want you to be a fool any longer.

If you think that I’m talking about religion, look into the message within my words,  because my words alone are to weak to explain to your mind what my heart is trying to share with your heart. Don’t try to wrap your head around it. Let your heart chew on it.

Genesis 2:7 ESV
Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

John 3:16 ESV
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

When the crowds came to John for baptism, he said, “You brood of snakes! Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”
Luke 3:7-9 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.3.7-9.NLT

Revelation 2:17
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.

Isaiah 62:2
The nations shall see your righteousness, and all the kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will give.

A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. 
It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart. 
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by sadness of face the heart is made glad. 
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. 
It is better for a man to hear the rebuke of the wise than to hear the song of fools. 
For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fools; this also is vanity. 
Surely oppression drives the wise into madness, and a bribe corrupts the heart. 
Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. 
Be not quick in your spirit to become angry, for anger lodges in the heart of fools. 
Say not, “Why were the former days better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask this. 
Wisdom is good with an inheritance, an advantage to those who see the sun.  For the protection of wisdom is like the protection of money, and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of him who has it. 
Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?  In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.
Ecclesiastes 7:1-14 ESV
http://bible.com/59/ecc.7.1-14.ESV

October 30, 2015 – Dinner on Fridays

How do I know if I am being encouraging and helping someone with accountability or if I am being judgemental,  Grumbling, or gossiping?

Encouragement – building each other up
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3870&t=KJV

1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing

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Accountability – Equipping one another for spiritual warfare
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2008&t=KJV
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2675&t=KJV

Luke 17:3 ESV
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him,

James 5:16 ESV
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Galatians 6:1-3 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.6.1-3.ESV

Judgmental – Spiritual pride of measuring another’s imperfections
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G2919&t=KJV

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:12-13 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jas.2.12-13.ESV

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned;  forgive, and you will be forgiven;  give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” 
Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
Luke 6:37-38, 41-42 ESV
http://bible.com/59/luk.6.37-42.ESV

Grumbling – Complaining about the circumstance that God has you in
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4727&t=KJV
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1112&t=KJV

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
James 5:7-9 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jas.5.7-9.ESV

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.
Philippians 2:14-16 ESV
http://bible.com/59/php.2.14-16.ESV

Gossip – Corrupting talk about others
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G988&t=KJV
REF: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G4550&t=KJV

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:29-32 ESV
http://bible.com/59/eph.4.29-32.ESV

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,  a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil,  a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.
Proverbs 6:16-19 ESV
http://bible.com/59/pro.6.16-19.ESV

Here is the pearl – it matters which way we are looking. We are to be looking forward, not looking back. Focused on hope and commitment for now and the future, nor dwelling on the past.

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Philippians 3:12-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/php.3.12-14.NLT

He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
Luke 9:59-62 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.9.59-62.NLT

But Lot’s wife looked back as she was following behind him, and she turned into a pillar of salt.
Genesis 19:26 NLT
http://bible.com/116/gen.19.26.NLT

We have to stop looking back. Forgive for the past – and encourage and hold accountable going forward. If we slip up, we confess to our accountability partner(s) and pray together for forgiveness and that we will repent and build each other up in that area of weakness – that we will see His strength come to bear and overcome those chains.

If we are harping on something a person has done in the past – we need to forgive and make it right between ourselves and that brother or sister – looking for a fully restored relationship encouraging one another starting now. We are to be peacemakers.

If we are complaining about something,  we are allowing the Spirit of offense to build up bitterness in our hearts over the past,  instead of focusing on what can’t be changed,  we should focus on what we can do now and for the future to improve the situation.  We are to be overcomes – challenge minded,  not problem minded.

If we are talking about what someone did in the past, instead of about the hope we have for their future – we are both participating in gossip and we are not holding out hope and faith that the Lord will answer our prayers for them to be alive and growing in Christ.

Words have power,  and they are important.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad,  for the tree is known by its fruit.  You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:33-37 ESV
http://bible.com/59/mat.12.33-37.ESV

Faith. Crazy Faith.

image

How many times do we get urges about what we should or could be doing for the Lord, but we dismiss them as being too grand, beyond our capabilities, or just a dream?

How many times do we keep ourselves from stepping out in faith because we don’t yet know exactly where we are headed or we don’t have a solid plan for reaching our destination.

Genesis 12:1 NLT
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.

Continue reading “Faith. Crazy Faith.”