Today is the day, Now is the time

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:2 NLT
http://bible.com/116/2co.6.2.NLT

The Word of God is focused on what some call “living for today”. And that idea,  that concept is that we should be awake and aware of our ability (even our responsibility) to make the most out of THIS moment, this “now”. And if that is our perspective and we are believing and following “now” in each step we take, as an awake and alive person being led by the Holy Spirit – it is then that we can know that we are tapped into the vine of life.

The point isn’t to think heavily upon the things of yesterday,  because those might lead us into either guilt and shame over our failures or into pride over our successes. Nor is the point to think too heavily about the future, because that might lead us into anxiety or stress. By remembering the price that Christ paid upon the cross for us and believing now, we will follow Him, He will be our way and our example and our teacher and our guide.

The point isn’t too ask ourselves if we “once upon a time” received Christ into our lives. Nor is the point to hold off for the future saying “as long as I ask forgiveness before my last breath”. No, those attitudes can be an example of someone who is acquainted with the words of religion but who has no relationship with the Word of God.

Don’t you know that Jesus Christ is the Word of God come in the flesh to die on the cross and be raised to life? Don’t you know that those He loves have the Word of God written on their hearts? Don’t you know that He sends the Holy Spirit,  that same power that raised Christ from the dead to live in you,  Christian? Don’t you know that Holy Spirit is our Helper,  guide,  teacher,  comforter,  and even our disciplinarian?

So for us who say we follow Christ, today is the time for salvation,  now is the opportunity to demonstrate “His Kingdom come, His will being done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. The “right time” for us to walk as Christians in His righteousness is NOW.

And isn’t that the choice of all choices?  Whether we will remain awake and conscious and alive and participate in God’s will for our “now”, or whether we would rather sleep in the arms of the enemy, letting our old nature that is focused on self and the pleasures and comforts and sinful things of this world rule or lives – it is our choice.

Do you want to be alive? Even if that requires the focus and attention, yes,  even the work and sacrifice of being a true follower of Christ today,  now?

I pray that you will not be satisfied slumbering now, awaiting destruction,  relying on either your past or your future to prove you a faithful servant of the Lord. I encourage you to instead set your eyes upon Christ now,  and see salvation played out in the fruitful life of a humble servant today,  now.

Let’s take a walk…

…will you stay with me to the end?

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SINNING = LAWLESSNESS = DEATH

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
1 John 3:4-10 ESV
http://bible.com/59/1jn.3.4-10.ESV

UNRIGHTEOUS = NO HEAVEN

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God

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DEFILED = POISON FROM EVIL HEART

Mark 7:20-23 ESV
And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.

SIN = WORKS OF THE FLESH

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.
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.19-21.ESV

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SLAVE TO FLESH/SIN = DEATH

Ephesians 5:5 ESV
For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

SLAVE TO SIN = NOT A SON = DEATH

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin.  The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 8:34-36 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.8.34-36.ESV

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WASHED = JOINED = SANCTIFIED
DOMINATED BY SIN = SEPARATED

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything. And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power. But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
1 Corinthians 6:11-12, 14, 17 ESV
http://bible.com/59/1co.6.11-17.ESV

WASHED = LIFE
DEFILED = DEATH

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
Revelation 22:14-15 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rev.22.14-15.ESV

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PASS THE TEST = LIFE
FAIL THE TEST = DEATH

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test.
2 Corinthians 13:5-6 ESV
http://bible.com/59/2co.13.5-6.ESV

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CONTROL & DISCIPLINE= PRIZE
LACK OF DISCIPLINE = DISQUALIFIED

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
http://bible.com/59/1co.9.24-27.ESV

LIVE BY FLESH = DEATH
LIVE BY SPIRIT = LIFE

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
Romans 8:13-17 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rom.8.13-17.ESV

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LAW = KNOWLEDGE OF SIN

as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;  no one understands; no one seeks for God.  All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 
“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.” 
“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;  in their paths are ruin and misery,  and the way of peace they have not known.” 
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.” 
Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.
Romans 3:10-20 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rom.3.10-20.ESV

THE LAW DOES NOT JUSTIFY
FAITH & LOVE = OBEDIENCE
GODLY LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW

You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.  You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Galatians 5:4-8, 13-15 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.4-15.ESV

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BELIEF RECEIVES GRACE
GRACE PRODUCES LIFE

“For  God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.3.16.ESV

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GRACE = FREE GIFT
GRACE = JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
FAITH UPHOLDS THE LAW

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. Then what becomes of our boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? By a law of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.
Romans 3:21-25, 27-28, 31 ESV
http://bible.com/59/rom.3.21-31.ESV

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BATTLE = FLESH DESIRES VS SPIRIT
HOLY SPIRIT LED = GRACE COVERED

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.
Galatians 5:16-18 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.4-18.ESV

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GRACE PRODUCES FRUIT
FRUIT = LOVE

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 5:22-26 ESV
http://bible.com/59/gal.5.4-26.ESV

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LOVE RESULTS IN OBEDIENCE

“If you love me, you will  keep my commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever,  even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.  Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”
John 14:15-17, 21 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.14.15-21.ESV

BELIEF = PEACE IN CHRIST
BELIEF = TRIAL IN THE WORLD

Jesus answered them, “Do you now believe?  Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:31-33 ESV
http://bible.com/59/jhn.16.31-33.ESV

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TRIAL SEPARATES TRUE FROM FALSE

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
2 Timothy 3:1-9 ESV
http://bible.com/59/2ti.3.1-9.ESV

Are you dressed for service?

Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning,  as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks.
Luke 12:35-36 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.12.35-36.NLT

So we should ask ourselves:

1) Am I clothed in His righteousness? Am I believing in Him at this very hour?

2) Am I eagerly awaiting His return?

3) Am I ready to open the door and let Him in?

If the answer in your heart cries out,  “Yes,  come,  Lord Jesus,  come!” then I urge you to continue pressing on to see this race to its finish.

But if your mind tells you the answer you are supposed to respond with,  but your heart is not quite yet in step – I urge you to go to the Lord in heartfelt and humble prayer,  asking Him to come into your life and overcome your doubt and unbelief. I encourage you to lay down any unforgiven essential or bitterness you have towards others and accept His forgiveness for your life. My hope is that you might know the hope and joy and gratitude that comes from a life saved by the grace of Jesus Christ.

And this change of direction is just the beginning. He has a life and purpose ahead for you who are willing to follow. He calls out to each of us to go forth, to follow in His footsteps – He calls us to be faithful servants.

And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them.  If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.  I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns.  But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk?  The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.
“And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished.  But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Luke 12:42-48 NLT
http://bible.com/116/luk.12.42-48.NLT

The Gospel

He is…

Walking dead?

And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.
Romans 6:8-9 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.6.8-9.NLT

Have you died with Christ?

Our baptism in water signifies this very event that is spiritual and eternal and invisible to others. It is an outward testimony that is physical and temporary and visible to others. The water baptism is important as an act of obedience. 

Acts 2:38 ESV
And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 22:16 ESV
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’

John 3:5 ESV
Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

1 Peter 3:21 ESV
Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Mark 16:16 ESV
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

So again,  I ask,  have you died with Christ?

Are you ready to live with Him?

Our lives and how we live each day,  even with each breath, are preparing us for our final destination. We are choosing to either do life with Christ,  learning to draw closer and closer to Him – learning and growing in our faith and our new areas of surrender and obedience and love in our lives – or we are practicing being without Him,  practicing being separated from God’s will and purpose for our lives, practicing for that final and eternal separation that some will know at judgement.

So I ask you again, are you ready to live with Him?

And if we are ready, and if we are already learning to live with Him,  if we are becoming more aware of His presence in our lives, day by day,  lesson by lesson,  prayer by prayer – aren’t we given an assurance by His faithfulness,  by the amazing way in which He orders our steps and brings us into such amazing places of inner peace – even amidst the fiery trials of this world. You see,  He is the solid foundation that we can stand on,  and watch those same winds and waves that used to control us and send us scattering this way or that – we can now watch those spiritual forces at play in the world around us and we can discern the ways of the enemy.

You see,  death has no power over Him,  and now that He is in us,  it has no power over us either.

Luke 10:19 ESV
Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.

He is our rock. He has given you a new name. He has blessed us. And this truth was not revealed by men of flesh and blood, but was revealed to you by God Himself. Know wroth confidence and assurance that if you are His vessel set aside for His special purpose that the gates of hell shall not prevail against you. Also remembering and testing yourself to prove yourselves not bound for destruction.

Matthew 16:15-19 ESV
He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

John 20:19-23 ESV
On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

John 6:67-71 ESV
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.”  In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.”
Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”  So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.
Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”
When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.
Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.” And, “Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God.’”
Romans 9:11-26 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.9.11-26.NLT

Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son.  When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come! “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’  But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business.  Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them. “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town.  And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor.  Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’  So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding.  ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply.  Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
Matthew 22:1-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/mat.22.1-14.NLT

Not Ashamed?

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.
Romans 1:16 NLT
http://bible.com/116/rom.1.16.NLT

What things do we do that demonstrate to the world and even to ourselves that we are not ashamed?

What things can we do to grow bolder and more confident in the Word of God, in the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Will we do them?

Continue reading “Not Ashamed?”

It’s not how much, it’s who…

And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.
John 17:3 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.17.3.NLT

Let us know you better,  Lord.

You are the only prize worth having,
The only breath worth breathing.

Who can come to the true knowledge, of who you are and not be in awe?
Who can taste of you grace and glory,
And not be change eternally?

Oh the humbling nature,
Of learning your glory,
Of seeing your light,
Beside our own darkness.

And let not your healing touch,
As we are reconciled to your likeness,
Be a distraction to our eyes –
Let us not think much of ourselves,
Comparing ourselves to the darkness,
But let us keep our eyes on you,
As our only portion and prize,
That we are pressing on to obtain,
To behold  more and more each day.

Set our eyes only upon you,
So that we might know you,  Lord.
Not just know of you,
Not just know about you,
Not just speak of you,
But know you,
Because you live with us,
And we live with you,
Because we follow you,
We walk in your statutes,
We live in the Spirit,
Your Holy Spirit,
Alive in us, 
Bearing the fruit of love,
Demonstrating your righteousness,
Proving your mercy,
And your power,
And your glory,
Forever and ever.

You are mine,
Let me stay in your arms.
I long to enjoy your embrace eternal,
Without distraction,
Without trial or task or toil,
That interrupts our sweet embrace.
But it is in those sweet sufferings,
Where you reveal yourself,
More and more.

So I long for that day,
When I stand in your presence,
Because I do not know yet,
How I might even react,
To knowing you in your full glory.
Will I fall humbly at your feet,
For they are such beautiful feet,
Those that bring forth the gospel,
Or will I long for the living embrace,
Of your outstretched arms,
Or will my heart be pierced,
By your loving hands,
That took the nails for me.
I dare not even imagine,
The awe of setting my eyes upon,
You lovely face,
Not knowing what to expect,
From your piercing eyes,
Or the sword of your mouth.

Oh,  Lord,
Have mercy upon my soul,
For even imagining myself,
Worthy of standing in your presence.
But I stand only to bring you this life,
Even as it is only ashes and dust,
Having been burned away,
By the fiery trials of this life,
To reveal your creation,
For your use,
Either set aside for your use,
Or for destruction.
Knowing that all of it,
My toil and my striving,
Counts for nothing,
If it is not you,
Living and working in me,
If it is not you that I love,
If my heart’s desires have chosen an other,
Maybe even myself?

Oh,  Lord,
Rescue me.
Let me see you,
Let me know you,
Even more today,
Than ever before.
Let me bring you glory and honor.
I have no right to make such a claim, Except for your own promises,
Except for the Word of God,
Who came to reconcile me back into your house,
Who came to deliver me from condemnation,
Into a promise of new Hope,
Into getting to know you through Faith,
Into getting to show you through Love.

I am yours,  Lord.
You are mine.

Your fragrance is so sweet,
It is upon me like nothing else compares.
Let me always be reminded
that you are near,
By that sweet smell of your love.
And let it be so powerful,
Surrounding me always,
Rubbing off on your saints,
Drawing them near to your presence,
And repulsion those enemies of yours,
Who cannot bear to be in the light,
So that they might run away into the darkness,
Until their time has come,
To be a demonstration of your power and glory.

And as these enemies,
Are cast into the pit of eternal flames,
Let it be clear and evident,
That it is by their own hand,
That it is their own choice,
That they loved and cling to,
The scent of death and disease,
Instead of the sweet aroma of life,
And as you spread your sweet fragrance upon all of creation,
We will either find that we have embraced your love and your righteousness,
Or that we have embraced sin which leads to death,
That we will either way,  receive what our hearts desire.

Teach us to know you,  Lord,
So that we might love you even more abundantly,  Lord.
And so that we might love one another more clearly and undeniably as a testimony of your love for us.

The truth is freeing

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
John 8:32 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.8.32.NLT

The beginning of the book of John explains that Jesus Christ is the living Word of God, that He came in the flesh as both man and God to free us from the consequences of our sin and to teach us to live a life that brings glory and honor to God.

Continue reading “The truth is freeing”

How much time do we have?

this message came to me from the Lord :
“Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests? Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the Lord , will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves. I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.’
“Therefore, tell the people of Israel, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins. I, the Lord , will answer all those, both Israelites and foreigners, who reject me and set up idols in their hearts and so fall into sin, and who then come to a prophet asking for my advice. I will turn against such people and make a terrible example of them, eliminating them from among my people. Then you will know that I am the Lord .
Ezekiel 14:2-8 NLT
http://bible.com/116/ezk.14.2-8.NLT

Continue reading “How much time do we have?”

What is grace, and why do I need it?

What is grace, and why do I need it?

Search your heart and ask yourself if there are selfish, prideful things that you have done that benefitted yourself in the short term, but that have negative consequences – either unconsidered costs that you came to realize later, or costs to others that were not a concern to you at the time, or even the bad example that your life choices served for those little eyes around you watching to later replicate your actions.

Does your heart not cry out to you and press you to examine your life and to see a change? And have you not found that your imperfections, your flaws, your addictions – these unseen enemies within you that drag you along in chains into consequences that you would rather avoid – that they are strong and overcome you when you battle them alone?

You are not meant to make war on your own against these unseen enemies,  man of flesh. You are not meant to accept defeat or to be content participating in war against your fellow brothers and sisters. You can know victory.

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.
John 1:12-13 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.1.12-13.NLT

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.  God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
John 3:16-17 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.3.16-17.NLT

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again.  But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
John 4:13-14 NLT
http://bible.com/116/jhn.4.13-14.NLT

The battle is not yours to win alone,  but you can choose to be on the winning side. You can choose to bring positive impact and love and change to the world around you. You can live a life guided by the strength that overcomes. You can be alive to a renewed life in Christ, and freed from the slavery of your old life of sin.

I’m not selling you a religion, friend. I’m not convincing you to buy into a once a week religious practice. I’m not manipulating you to put part of your money into an offering plate,  friend. I’m telling you that religion will send many to hell.

What I am telling you is that Christ can take hold of your whole life. He can live in you and through you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year – and even more importantly,  breath by breath,  thought by thought, loving action by loving action. You can realize that everything that you have is a blessing rained down upon your life by the creator. You can realize what you deserve by your life’s works is nothing c short of hell,  but that by His grace, He offers you nothing short of heaven, of being a born again Child of God.

We are not just men and women of flesh and blood,  friends. Know your true self,  know your true value in eternity as a Child of God. Cling to your right to become a Child of God. Seek first the Kingdom of God and those things eternal. See past the veil of this world’s lies and substitutions that have no glow at all beside the light of His grace and glory.

Know victory.
Know His grace.
Celebrate His Glory.