Father, Reveal…


Reveal who you are. 

You are setting the world right. 

Keep us alive with sustaining meals for both body and spirit. 

Keep us forgiven in you and forgiving others freely. 

Keep us safe from ourselves and from the enemy.


Philippians 2:13 “God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him, and the power to do what pleases Him.”

Romans 8:1 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him. “This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” – John 3:16‭-‬21 MSG

But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the Lord , have spoken! – Jeremiah 9:24 NLT

Abounding Love

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
Philippians 1:9‭-‬11 ESV


This word has been twisted by the enemy to be used when talking about things that are so much less than love. Sometimes the world uses the word love when they really mean lust. Sometimes they use it when they mean tolerance. There are all kinds of misuses of the word love these days.

For example, is love a woman’s willingness to be manipulated and abused by her abuser over and over again, whether battered by words or fists – because she has this “feeling” for the man that she just can’t get rid of no matter how many times he betrays her or cheats on her or demean her? No. This is not love.

Is love seeing someone doing wrong or who is planning to do wrong and overlooking it and allowing it to continue without dating or doing anything to correct the person or stop them from breaking the law, hurting someone else, cheating someone in business, etc.? No. This is not love.

Love is not blind, it abounds with knowledge and discernment about what is right and what is wrong. Love does not passively seek the easiest option for ourselves, but love actively sacrifices self for what is right.

Jesus demonstrated love. He did not leave sinners in the traps of their sin, but delivered them and said,  “Go and sin no more.” He did not leave the rich, powerful, and secure in their pride, but delivered them with a rebuke that either left them humbled or drive them to anger to the point that they wanted to kill Him. But it was love because it was the cure for the disease that ailed them.

Yes,  Jesus came for sinners – and He did it to bring them to repentance, not to join in the debauchery and fornication. Some of the newer Bible translations may leave that out of Matthew 9:13, Mark 2:17, and Luke 5:32 but where is the love in leaving out His purpose, in leaving out the Truth? Many “emerging churches” (that are really synagogues of Satan) may feel most comfortable leaving out repentance and righteousness from their messages and focusing on a feel good message of positive thinking and treating God like a worldly genie who gives us stuff, but where is the love in a message so much more about self and things of the world,  and empty, completely lacking, devoid of the basics of the gospel laid out in Acts 17:22-34 or Christ’s own preaching of repentance made clear in Matthew 4:17.

But today, instead of offering people the cure for what is killing them,  it is said to be more loving to give more drink to the drunk, more drugs to the addict, more pornography to the lustful, more sex to the immoral, more weapons to the murderers, more money to the wealthy, more poverty to the needy, more power to the oppressors, more persecution to the persecuted, until the stench of a nation burning wildly out of control either finally awakens our nostrils to the warnings of destruction or we remain asleep and unspecified until the Lord steps in Himself.

No, love is not adding fuel to the fire. It is not putting on a Sunday mask of religion and continuing to add fuel to the fire. It is not finding a gathering that makes you feel more comfortable with your participation in sin, death, and destruction. Love is about loving God and His ways and in turn loving others enough to want to see them delivered. Love is about living the light and yes, hating the darkness. Because the darkness comes to steal, kill,  and destroy.

Is God the love of your life that He should be today?

Is sin the enemy that it should be?

Do you know about the type of love that I’m talking about?

Will you live it today?

Will He demonstrate it through you today?

He can, and He will, if you surrender your life.

Do you just know about Him as Savior, and know how to cry out His name, but don’t yet know Him as Lord in your daily life?

Seek Him today. Lay down your old life and let Him walk with you today.

Today is the day of salvation. Today.

It’s Monday again.

It’s Monday. And it matters whether I see myself as “putting on my slave clothes” to go out and work for “the man”, or whether I get to go out and be a bearer of Christ’s spirit and nature even in my workplace.

When we slip into an attitude of not being grateful, we can begin to grumble and complain and not bear the light of the Lord in our workplace and in our lives. We can sometimes find ourselves compartmentalizing our joy – bring thankful for one area of our life but dissatisfied with another. This dissatisfaction is a signal that something needs to change.

Many times it is our own attitude that needs to change – not our circumstances or surroundings.

Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.
Colossians 3:22‭-‬25 NKJV

Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he  is a slave or free. And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.
Ephesians 6:5‭-‬9 NKJV

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as  a  drink  offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Philippians 2:12‭-‬18 NKJV

Lord, we thank you for the opportunities that we have to provide for our families and help others. We thank you that we can be one who rises early to prepare for the day and who can diligently work for you,  whether it is in the ministry of a cubicled office, a field of crops, building and repairing things for others, or service unto others that is more visibly recognized by others as self sacrifice. Help us to endure the trials,  to stand firm in our service to others – whether it is the business owner and authority, or whether it is the needy and helpless. Help us to serve faithfully and diligently in all circumstances, without grumbling and complaining – but gratefully bringing you honor and glory. Amen.

An eternity perspective

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I  do,  forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.
Philippians 3:12-15 NKJV

We are being prepared for our final destination today. We are either serving the one master who makes us more like  Christ, producing love through a grateful, faithful,  repentant life of service and self control. Or we are serving that great enemy of self that is driven by pride and vanity and jealousy and haughtiness and isolation because we are blind to and unbelieving about things eternal. Or we are serving evil, knowing that what we are doing is wrong, but still letting our lives be a stumbling block to others and an enticement to serve the purposes of ac rebellion against the way that is best and most abundant for all.

Yes, the problem isn’t always that we don’t realize the need to change, the need to be a good example for others, the need to offer help to others in need – the problem sometimes is that we just don’t care about anyone enough to make a change,  to entertain the concept of stepping out of our comfort and complacency and idleness into a place of personal sacrifice, self control, and trust in the Lord in the midst of a life of trials,  tribulation,  and suffering.

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33 NKJV

People will say, but God wants me to be happy and protected and safe and prosperous “right now”. And I tell you that God is more focused on your eternity than this short breath of a life that is like the blink of an eye. Yes, He lives you and will help you “right now” in the troubles you are facing,  but it will be from the eternal mindset and purpose that is His – not the immediate and urgent and anxious mindset that the world has taught us to trust in. The world tells us to only trust in what we can see and touch today,  right now. While God tells us to have Hope and Faith in things unseen that are not yet ours.

And when we start understanding and believing God for eternal purposes – when we start receiving revelations of the blessings eternal,  those things that nourish our soul,  those things that feed and heal and help those around us – those temptations,  and false idols in our lives,  and those things like earthly riches and wealth and comfort and security and trust in our own strengths and abilities are revealed as poisonous traps for the short sighted and blind.

Being blind to eternity is like the difference between getting a high interest loan for one night of wild partying that saddles you with debt you can never pay back and will leave behind for your family after you are gone – versus living reasonably within your means so that you can avoid unnecessary anxieties, so that you can help others around you while you are hear,  and so that you can leave an inheritance for your family to help them after you are gone. But we are not just talking about money and comfort on earth for ourselves and our families – we are talking about our eternal souls.

You see,  once we understand and believe in the Word of God, once we believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ in our hearts, and aren’t just flirting with the idea and concept of Jesus Christ in our minds – once we make Him Lord of our lives instead of just claiming His name as our Savior – or while perspective changes from this life to eternity.

And when our perspective changes, it changes our priorities as well. Loving and serving God with our WHOLE life becomes our WHOLE priority – not just one thing in a list of priorities. And having this priority places us into His Kingdom service now, because we are His body,  His church,  His hands and feet, His voice, sent to pour out His love and blessings into the lives of others so they might find and know Him and come to understand this new perspective and these new priorities.

We do not “invite Him into our lives” so that He can help us accomplish our own selfish “right now” desires. He comes when we seek Him and He abides in us and changes us to desire His will,  to be eternity focused,  to turn away from the trappings of this world, to be Kingdom minded,  faithful servants of a righteous,  holy,  perfect God who says “Go and sin no more” and who also says “if you do sin, you have an advocate”.

But if we know and love Him, “Go and sin no more” is our plan A and we have no intention of using testing that safety net,  even if we are glad that it is there. If falling into the safety net is our Plan A, we must ask ourselves if we are really focused on walking that thin, narrow path to its final destination, or do we just enjoy the experience of going up the ladder a bit so we can fall? I don’t want to see people going down into the pit,  but I know that He says few will find the narrow gate and walk the narrow path that leads to eternal life. Few will live in the perspective that they are paying on towards their eventual goal of eternity, of salvation. Few will live with their priority being God’s will and His Kingdom work playing out in their lives.

Many will be be satisfied with an empty and powerless concept of Jesus that offers them a “someday redeemable ticket to heaven redeemable after death” – they will deceive themselves with a combination of “once saved,  always saved” and “I’m just a sinner” and “only God can judge me” that is not the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is not following the way,  the truth, the life – but that is the broad way that leads to destruction.

Yes, we are meant to die to Christ and walk as His follower,  as His disciple,  as messengers, ambassadors, as a royal priesthood TODAY. And we do this because we are a new creation,  with new desires and perspective and priorities. And we do this so that He might use us for His work,  for His purposes TODAY, that can have eternal implications for the lives of those around us – that they might recognize Christ in us – that our testimony and our love and our service might be just what God uses to usher them back into the fold. Because at some point, a Christ minded person’s perspective has moved past self to a place of serving and loving Godc and others, willing to sacrifice “right now” knowing that eyebrows is so much more important.

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it? ” So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ” And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.  So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’  So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Luke 10:25-37 NKJV

Lose the Rubbish, Find the Treasure

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I  do,  forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:7-14 NKJV

Thank you, Lord, for teaching me the worthlessness of everything else in comparison to knowing you and your ways. Not just knowing about,  but knowing – finding a personal relationship with our loving Savior and Lord. In seeing our old desires and motives die to be replaced with a desire for things eternal and truly valuable – what a blessing. In finding the value of a life loving and serving others, bringing your love to life in our actions, we bring the hope,  faith,  and love into this world that can fill the void,  fill the hunger of our hearts. Thank you, Jesus, for coming to live with us,  in us,  and through us. Continue to have your way, guide us,  teach us, and change us to be more like you – preparing us for our eternal destination. Amen.

Will we choose peace?

We can have the peace that God wants us to find in His guidance and example, or we can participate in the evil rebellion that hurts us and others around us. He offers us delivery from the traps of our old ways, and the strength to overcome and be set free, it is our choice that remains and that will determine the fruit of our lives.

The old way of the flesh:

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,  thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”
Mark 7:21-23 NKJV

The promise of peace:

Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.
Psalms 119:165 NKJV

The strength offered:

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Philippians 4:13 NKJV

The fruit to be born in our lives:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-25 NKJV

Lord, we imagine how much brighter this world would be if filled with lives bearing your fruit abundantly. And even as we hope for a move of your Holy Spirit across our city, our state, our nation, our continent, our earth – even as we pray for and lay claim to your territory – we realize that we are the vessels carrying your Good News, your nourishing fruit, out to serve the world around us. Let our lives shine brightly reflecting your glory, Lord. Let us continue loving each small opportunity to show your love to others, not to just talk about you, but to live like you, too follow in your footsteps, sharing our life as a testimony, walking with you, and not loving our own lives even unto death. Rescue us, Lord, from that old man, that flesh, that enemy of your ways that wants to cling to us like burdensome chains of sin, death, guilt, shame, bitterness, unforgiveness, or unbelief. Free the captives, Lord, starting with us – equipping us, and guiding us, and using us for your glory and honor, forever and ever, Amen.

What is valuable?

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.
Philippians 3:7 NLT

When we first read this verse alone,  we might think that when Paul says “I once thought these things were valuable” that the “things” he is speaking about are the things of this world. That’s a valid leap of logic when we’ve gained a basic understanding of the types of things that the Bible teaches us. However,  if we look at the context of this passage –

Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
Philippians 3:2-11 NLT

We can see that Paul is talking about worthless “things” like the following are, a wrong perspective:
– “pure-blooded citizen of Israel”
– “member of the tribe of Benjamin”
– “human effort”
– “strictest obedience to the Jewish law”
– “zealous”
– “obeyed the law without fault”

And He counts these things as worthless because of what Christ has done. He makes it clear that knowing Christ and having a relationship with Him is really what matters. He points out to us that it isn’t about “measuring up to Christ”, that it isn’t that we must be highly religious to be saved.

He points out that this right perspective is about :

– knowing Christ Jesus as my Lord
– worshipping Him (by walking in) the Spirit of God.
– relying on what Christ has done for us
– putting no confidence in human effort
– becoming righteous through faith
– trusting God’s way of making us right with himself
– experiencing the mighty power (of the Holy Spirit) that raised Him from the dead
– suffering with Him
– sharing in His death

You see, this new perspective is not just human,  outward compliance to the letter of the law. It isn’t just striving to work hard enough for a master to earn something in return. It is a process by which our hope and belief in His promises leads us to an attitude of gratefulness and thankfulness for this amazing gift of grace – and it is in this humble place of receiving the undeserved,  unmerited gift of freedom that we have the opportunity to find love for God – to understand His love for us,  and to respond with a life loving Him in return, a life turned to Him in repentance and walking with Him faithfully because of the power of His Holy Spirit at work in us.

The results may look the same on the outside. Many people can act religious,  focusing on the outward obedience by striving on their own to imitate the walk of a born again Child of God. But if they don’t have His Holy Spirit inside powering their desires and motives,  their striving is worthless and useless because, I would have nothing.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NLT

And yes,  if we have this love we will obey His commandments,  not just continue a life in sin. We will repent of our sinful ways, so I’m not saying that this Grace is a license to sin. I’m saying that Jesus set the bar a lot higher than just outward compliance that looks to human eyes the same as true obedience of the heart. God weighs our heart, and we cannot fool Him with silly religious sacrifices when He desires mercy. He set the bar at love – true Godly, righteous love – the very in-dwelling of God’s spirit and nature in our lives that produces the fruit against which there is no law.

“If you love me, obey my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you.  He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.  No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.  Soon the world will no longer see me, but you will see me. Since I live, you also will live.  When I am raised to life again, you will know that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”
John 14:15-21 NLT

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law. Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. This false teaching is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to keep you from believing false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who has been confusing you. Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? If I were no longer preaching salvation through the cross of Christ, no one would be offended. I just wish that those troublemakers who want to mutilate you by circumcision would mutilate themselves. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
Galatians 5:1-15 NLT

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:16-26 NLT

Confidence, boldness, no fear

And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear.
Philippians 1:14 NLT

Paul was imprisoned for preaching the gospel. He wasn’t satisfied only telling those who wanted to hear about Jesus this Good News,  he was preaching it boldly and confidently and without fear to the people that hated hearing the truth, to the ones who would rather not have light shined on their sinful lives, to the ones who wanted to stone him,  kill him,  and imprison him.

That’s a powerful and strong testimony if we don’t care about the temporary consequences, if we are not so afraid that water down the truth so that it conforms to the type of message the world’s is comfortable receiving, if we are bold and confident and we have such fear and awe of God that it is more important to share truth, even when it will cause divisiveness and division and a reaction of repulsion from those who are in darkness.

So many of us today are more afraid of offending someone than we are of not warning them so that a seed of Truth might be planted and that they might find their way out of being a slave to their sin. So many will say things like “I’ve been hurt by the church” and “the reason people don’t want to go to church is because those people are judgemental” – when it really isn’t that anyone focused on them and made them feel unwelcome,  it’s that they didn’t like the light being shined on the truth that they are a sinner. The truth is that many of the lost would rather believe for themselves that they are a “pretty good person” and that knowing about Christ is enough to justify them continuing to be conformed to the ways of this world & living in sin.

You see, I’m interested in seeing the church grow. But the church is the body of true believers of Christ who pick up their cross and follow him. It isn’t some church membership list and it isn’t saying we are His with our mouths and proving we aren’t with our lives.

But there are so many false teachers and gathering places of false teachers today who are pandering to itchy ears, who have no interest in repentance,  who will deny the very power that can overcome sin in their lives, and who skillfully sidestep questions and make every bent argument in an attempt to avoid standing firm upon the foundation because they are more concerned about someone turning their backs on them and not accepting them than they are about the truth being shared boldly,  confidently, and without fear.

These are the same ones who will talk all day about Matthew 6:33 and mention a wonderful Kingdom and treasures and rewards and promises,  and they will mention that God is a provider and that He will add blessings to your life – but the very blessings they are interested in chasing and selling to these people they gather to dine upon are the things of this world.

And they sneak away from talking about righteousness,  or they diminish and blaspheme the Holy Spirit of God by acting as if it has no power to overcome sin in people’s lives and that it is simply “a coat that we put on to hide our true nature” and deny the transformation of repentance that is a necessary component of salvation. Doesn’t their very teaching uncover what it is that they are, and what it is that they are doing? Aren’t they wolves who “put on the skin of a sheep to hide their true nature” so that they can gobble up the sheep, living off of them and feeding of of the sheep instead of feeding them? Isn’t everything to them about an outward show, an appearance and a performance, a form of faked and imitated godliness that denies the very power that could make them holy? Aren’t these the very ones that Jude warns us have crept into the gathering places and have twisted the message of a costly, valuable grace, and of a single,  narrow gate, and of a faithful walk along the narrow path, and of trials, tribulations, and sufferings in this world, and of being a new creation not conformed to the world – and for the sake of prideful numbers of false conversions,  for the sake of prideful numbers of sinner’s prayers spoken,  for the sake of prideful numbers of the Baptism of John, for prideful numbers of attendance and membership in their country club gatherings – they have forsaken the Word of God – they have forsaken the baptism of the Holy Spirit – they have become teachers of lasciviousness – they have wormed their way into the church to receive glory and honor from mere men while robbing Christ of His glory.

I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment. In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.  But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion. When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you. They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness. Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want. But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them. But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,  and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives. Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.
Jude 1:4-24 NLT

So I say,  let us be bold and confident in sharing this truth. Let your light shine and share the Truth of this Good News with little concern about whether they will hate you or love you, just with the grattitude that you have the opportunity to follow in His footsteps – even if it sets the world at odds against you.

Are you certain? Why?

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6 NLT

We can be confident that if God has started a work in us, that it will be completed. We can be confident,  when we look and see lives that are being filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit,  with the change that comes from seed that has been planted and watered and has been budding and growing over time into a new and changed character in a person that there is something spiritual at work inside them. And when God starts a work in someone,  He intends to complete it,  so we can find confidence in His being faithful and true.

I look to the story of Balaam and his donkey. That very same donkey that he had ridden all of his life suddenly began acting quite different than usual. It resisted the way that Balaam wanted to go because it knew that if he went that way Balaam would be killed. But Balaam was concerned about how foolish he was looking to those around him by his not being able to follow in the same path where those men with him were going. He wasn’t concerned with the why, and he didn’t think about whether or not this path might be contrary to God’s will,  he intended to follow it. So he began beating his donkey.

“But I am the same donkey you have ridden all your life,” the donkey answered. “Have I ever done anything like this before?” “No,” Balaam admitted. Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the roadway with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam bowed his head and fell face down on the ground before him. “Why did you beat your donkey those three times?” the angel of the Lord demanded. “Look, I have come to block your way because you are stubbornly resisting me. Three times the donkey saw me and shied away; otherwise, I would certainly have killed you by now and spared the donkey.” Then Balaam confessed to the angel of the Lord , “I have sinned. I didn’t realize you were standing in the road to block my way. I will return home if you are against my going.” But the angel of the Lord told Balaam, “Go with these men, but say only what I tell you to say.” So Balaam went on with Balak’s officials.
Numbers 22:30-35 NLT

If we know someone, especially if we have known them long enough to know their character,  the baseline of their normal behavior, we can also recognize when there is difference in their behavior that is “out of character” for them. We can have reasonable expectations for how both their emotional feelings and rational mind are going to work together to respond to a situation our circumstance, because we’ve seen the evidence and know their patterns. But there are also spiritual influences that can alter this normal/baseline behavior.

We can recognize the spiritual influence of growth and change in ourselves if we have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and we are indeed born again Children of God, because our lives will be altered and we will bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. This is how those who are spiritual can make right judgements about whether or not someone is “in the faith”. In fact, this is how we can encourage others to have confidence that God will complete the work that He has begun.

And it is not because someone pretends that they are perfect and without sin, because those are blind, lying to themselves, without any real understanding of the ways of c Good,  but blinded by their own prose and religious attitudes. It is also not because of a strong but short lived interest in God because someone has come to the knowledge of their sin and have felt shame and guilt and reacted in emotion towards the Word of God for a short time and then turned back to the ways of the world.

Paul in this letter to the Philippians can have confidence in what the Lord is going to accomplish in their lives because he has seen the change to their character,  the change to their baseline attitudes,  the change to their desires and motivations that comes from a new heart and the teaching and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Paul can confidently trust in the Lord and encourage them that the Lord will complete His work in them, not just because He saw them say a prayer,  not just because he saw them dunked under water, but because he saw the evidence of true change in their lives. If we know the change of repentance, if we examine our lives and see true change and interest in following the will of God,  we can find confidence in that.

But if we are more interested in following in the ways of the world, and we are frustrated that we can’t go the way of the world, afraid that we are going to look foolish in the eyes of the world if we don’t walk that same path that they are walking – if we are more interested in our own way, we might need to examine ourselves for fruit and determine whose way and life is truth and which leads to destruction.

Just because you’ve ignored that other voice in your head because it sounds foolish and limiting and restrictive doesn’t mean that you are wise or right.

Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.
Proverbs 12:15 NLT

I wonder how often we beat and resist the very donkey in our lives that has c a message from God for us,  because we are more interested in listening to the world than God?

This is why it is important that we examine ourselves – not so that we can think that, we’ve arrived – no,  that is pride! But so that we can have confidence in the Lord that He is, at work in us and that our deceitful heart is not deceiving us.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord , search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.”
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you ; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith.
2 Corinthians 13:5 NLT

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses. When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.
Galatians 5:16-26 NLT

Can I trust in the Lord and have confidence that He will complete the work that He has started in you,  friend? The answer depends not on God,  but on you,  whether or not you have believed,  received and repented so that His work has yet begun in you. Because His promises are faithful and true.

I hope the answer is yes. Our I hope if the answer has been no up to this moment,  that it will be yes today and forevermore and eternity as you surrender your life to Him,  choosing to now walk in the one way,  the one truth,  the one life,  Jesus Christ.

Choose the narrow gate of our only Hope in Jesus Christ, and walk the narrow path of Faithfulness, and the Holy Spirit of Christ will come upon you and anoint you with the Love of God that pours out upon His Children.

There is no greater peon,  there is no greater prize, than to serve at the feet of the Lord and never leave His presence – and I’m not talking about one day after you are dead. I’m talking about today, now, while your service is of use in waking others to the truth.


Have you placed your order? What do you want?

Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy,
Philippians 1:4 NLT

If we are making our requests with joy when we pray,  doesn’t that mean that we are expecting God to answer our prayers?

And I’m not talking, about the “name it claim it” kind of false teachings where they tell you to believe something for yourself hard enough until it is real. I’m not talking about using some spirit that you pray to as a genie so that your own selfish wants will be fulfilled. Many people will trade out Almighty God and His offer of salvation to serve that other master who will gladly trade them the things and pleasures of this world in return for their souls.

If I’m praying for others, aren’t those things eternal – like salvation, a fruitful life, spiritual healing and growth, wisdom,  understanding,  hope,  faith, and love – the greatest blessings that we can pray for? And if He does not take pleasure in seeing the wicked be put to death,  aren’t those prayers in His will? Aren’t those prayers for permanent blessing and change on the inside of a person going to also result in strength to overcome or persevere through their temporary situations and circumstances?

So which is better to pray for – a change in their temporary circumstances, a change of those visible symptoms evident in their lives, that indicate an opportunity for the touch of God upon their lives that can be met by the physical things of this world – or a permanent solution to the root cause behind it, a miraculous change to demonstrate His power over the whole of His creation that cannot be manufactured and imitated by the prince and ruler of this world?

And if we are praying this kind of prayer for each other,  can’t we have great joy in knowing and trusting God to answer our prayer in His time and in His will? If we aren’t demanding that He do it our way and on our time frame, can’t we trust that He knows best and that even Satan is operating within the bounds of what authority and latitude the Lord has allowed because it is for His greater purposes.

Can’t we find peace in knowing that His ways are higher and better than our own and that it isn’t about our understanding it all,  but it’s about us being faithful,  available,  and teachable. It’s about us being willing to be changed and molded on the inside so that we can go out on mission and be used to do His work. It’s about us encountering the very trials and tribulation and persecution that He promised His true followers would encounter from this world, from these unseen powers.

If we remain controlled by our carnal nature, if we are still chasing the things and temptations and pleasures of this world that the enemy has to offer us as a poor substitute for the very power that can reconcile us to God and make us Holy- how can we say that we’ve tasted the living water of eternal blessings that satisfy or thirst forever? How can we say that we have eaten from the bread of life and taken up our cross to follow in the footsteps of Christ? How can we say that we have been washed by the blood of the Lamb AND filled by the Holy Spirit of Christ who lives in us? Do we not know that to enter into the Kingdom of God that we must be born again,  that we must not settle for the Baptism of John but cry out for the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, that we must be a new creation,  changed on the inside as only God can do?

So are we so concerned with the temporary things and circumstances and situations in this world that our eyes are still blind and our ears are still closed to the things of God? Are we not growing in God because we c aren’t seeking Him nearly as much as we are seeking the things the ruler of darkness has to offer us?

He doesn’t say, if you know my name,  I’ll let you in. He doesn’t say,  if you attended church,  I’ll let you in. He doesn’t say give me a part of your life,  I’ll let you in. He, says,  love me with your WHOLE heart,  your WHOLE soul, your WHOLE mind, and your WHOLE strength, and you’ll realize that I have come to live in you.

Stop trying to get yourself into heaven or out of hell for after your body is dead – and start praying that He will come into your life fully while you are still alive. There is work to be done now,  today. There are prayers that need to be lifted for others in joy. There are hurting and lost that need hope,  love,  and encouragement. There are spiritual captives that need to be set free. There are those that are spiritually blind, hungry, and thirsty that he wants you to heal and feed. There is a mission and purpose for your life that doesn’t require your human skill or talent, but that exercises the power of the Holy Spirit of Christ in you to bring the eternal change and the eternal blessings into the lives of those He touches through us.

That’s something to get excited about. That’s a real reason to have joy in prayer.

May we bless you with the only thing that we have to offer you, Lord – our lives,  which are worthless without you,  for we are nothing and our greatest  works are filthy rags – but we know that you can redeem and use us for your work that is eternal, not so that we could be proud or boast in ourselves,  but so that we might be humbled and overwhelmed by how much praise and honor, and glory and worship you deserve,  Lord. Amen.