Friday, November 17, 2017

Be Steadfast and You Will Grow in Endurance!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. And, do not waver, Be sure that your faith is in God alone. You cannot be divided between God and the world for you will be unstable in everything you do ~ James 1: 2-8.

If you follow the way of the world with its: technology, social media, labels, brands, distinguished groups, glamour and glitter, you will descend deeper and deeper into a very dark abyss. Sadly, as you struggle to find a way out, there will be those who appear to have Christian voices saying, "You must do this/that or you won't be saved." No, there is no work that you can do to be saved. 

All you need to do is believe in the one who sent Him; and, be at peace in that knowledge found in the Word of God. In His Word, you will find the truth which is that God so loved the world He gave His only Son Jesus Christ who died for your sins, there is no condemnation in Him. In this radical freedom, you will be at peace and free indeed in the One who came to give you life eternal - Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

God's Love and His Dicipline for us in Love!

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as his son.” ~ Hebrews 12:5-6.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined and everyone undergoes discipline then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness ~ Hebrews 12:7-10.

In Hebrews God's Love is clear in His role as Father. His discipline is love in that we are His children and in His discipline we re given strength to overcome this world, this flesh, and thus we are to endure hardship as His discipline in order to live a different way and not to live in the flesh as we think and want to be loved in it as it is - fallen. "God made this way and He loves me this way" i.e. Today, however, too many Christians think like this... and sadly they are deceiving themselves. In His love, His discipline, we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” ~ Hebrews 12:28-29.

In hearing this, many cry out - "What about God's love for us... doesn't He love the sinner?" Yes, He does without a doubt but the sinner must realize his/her fallen condition and see that in him/herself as we are yet still in sin but rejoice because of God's Love and His Mercy and Grace toward the sinner. In this way, we are no longer seen in our sin - though it is still there on the 'surface'. For some, this is not easy to comprehend. We want to think that God loves us as we are for the sinners we are in this fallen world its ok to be sinners and in that kind of love our sin just goes away. If that were true, why did God send His only Son to redeem us from sin so that when God looks at us, He does not see our sin but His Son Jesus Christ?

God does not want us to be sinners nor to see our sin or us in our sin. He wants to see us redeemed. When He looks upon us He wants to see us redeemed 'resurrected from sin and death; and does when we receive Christ His Son; and we in humility of such Great Love, His Love, His Great Almighty Love, Mercy and Grace we are made new and thus able to pursue a holiness we could not have pursued before. 

There is no condemnation put upon us accepting His Love, and in that love His discipline for us in our fallen condition. God's love is boundless, because we are His creation even though in a fallen condition. Because of His boundless love (it has to be) we are unbound in Jesus Christ to live as a new creation in Christ in this fallen state. In accepting such love for our sin, our fallen condition, we are by obedience through discipline bound to Jesus Christ - God sent His only Son because God so loved the world - His creation and God wants to save the world. 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms. For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will ~ Ephesians 1:3-5.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Sovereignty of God ~ His Will Be Done on earth as it is in heaven...

When we pray the Lord's Prayer, we pray confidently that His Will Be Done and His Kingdom Come on earth as it is in heaven! Accepting God's sovereignty is critical in praying confidently! Today, we tend to think that we should identify with a right worldly kingdom. Ironically, those who say that really don't want a right kingdom which is God's Kingdom with His rules. Rather, by identifying with a right worldly kingdom they want an individualism to apply to them in a worldly kingdom that they say God has willed. They do not want to accept God sovereignty and that His Word is Sovereign and they definitely don't imagine having to stand individually before the Creator. 

No, they tend to stand on the premise that every individual is God's unique little individual to be worshiped just for being an individual with special beliefs and looks/behavior/preferences/tendencies and that His Will for them is to be a special individual based on their individuality. And Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons ~ Acts 10:34. He made no distinction between them and us, because of their faith-cleansed hearts ~ Acts: 15: 9. 

Yes, every member of the Body of Christ is necessarily an individual but that does not mean God's Will is different for each one. His Will applies to every member in the same way. How? God's Will is sovereign in the same way for everyone! How do we know that? We read it in His Word. The body is a unit, though it is comprised of many parts. And although its parts are many, they all form one body. So,it is with Christ ~ 1 COR12:11.  And, we observe its rejection in the idea of free will theism which thinks it can deal with sin and suffering individually based on the individual will God has for every individual.

In saying the Lord's prayer, we accept God's sovereignty, His Will for all of us and we know that in His Sovereignty, God takes sole total responsibility for His Will. He has ordained that all things exist, including sin and evil so that He may show His Sovereignty. When we pray His Will be Done, His Kingdom Come, we pray confidently because in the Lord's prayer is our hope, future and purpose here and now. We pray in confidence that God has already announced His Victory as He is in control of all things. So, we don't have to wonder or hunt for His Will for us. And, certainly, we don't have to wait for the last chapter in order to know that He through His Will (not ours) will accomplish all that He set out to do.  How do we know this? Though we are different parts of the same body, we are collective in His Will and His Will Be Done. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body and each member belongs to one another ~ Romans 12:5.

Again, the individual is recognized in the body as a necessary part of its being. But, that does not mean that the leg's function is more important than the hand or should be treated 'individually' as we think of 'individual' treatment. Why would there be a need to have individual recognition if the goal is His Will? So...Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself, who is the head. From Him the whole body is fitted and held together by every supporting ligament. And, as each individual part does its work, the body grows and builds up itself up in love. So, I tell you this, and testify to it in the Lord: You must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking... Ephesians 4:15-17.

God's Will is revealed in His Prayer - the Lord's Prayer. We pray with confidence for what is true in God's heaven to be manifest on earth. In respect of the individual parts members of one body, we can ask - where is the one place that This is clearly demonstrated here and now... where is the visible evidence of the rule and reign of God right now? It is in the Christian Family! 

We should see a little embassy of the Kingdom of Christ, a husband wife and children in the right ordering. They are showing how the Kingdom is to work. We declare against the powers and principalities of this fallen world when saying the Lord's prayer, that we are overcomers, we are obedient to His Will and we demonstrate His Will and His presence right here and now in our family, in us! ~ A Summary of Albert Mohler's sermon on the Lord's Prayer.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

When Bad Things Happen ... Pray His Kingdom Come!

Why do bad things happen? They happen because this is a fallen 'corrupt' world; we do not belong to this corrupt version; we are in the world but not of it ~ John 1:10, John 15:19,James 4:4. That is why, on our own, we cannot escape it just yet. There has to be reached a saturation level before the reboot. What we know is that Christ came to be our overcomer here and now, He is the patch! He entered in to give us hope that through Him/His sacrifice we will return to our original unfallen state.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they lost their true 'real' covering; they attempted to 'recover' themselves. But God made them a 'covering' enabling them/us to function in this fallen (corrupt version) world. But, this skin covering as we see is more akin to the beasts of this fallen world than to God.
"For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world" ~ 1 John 2:16.
It was through sin we became a kind of lesser being. Isn't it obvious that these beastly skins are the reason that fallen humans behave like beasts. We think and act in beastly ways. The lie that we evolved from beasts only reinforces this idea and we see today that this notion leads to all sorts of impurity, sexual and otherwise. When Christ returns and restores us to our original design, exactly like Him, we will see how beastly this skin 'covering' really was. And, in His Kingdom, we will be like Him! For now our means to cope with bad things is to pray His Kingdom Come!

"Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts/sins, as we also have forgiven our debtors/sins. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one." Matthew 6:9-13.

 This is the most powerful prayer we can pray ~ given us by Jesus Christ.  Why? Because, in the last days, there will be those who think that His Kingdom is coming by mans' hand. It is not. Yes, some think that by increments God's Kingdom is coming here on earth in the form of progress and technology. As if it is slowing uploading. The problem with that is this - Our God is Almighty and Powerful and why would He slowing upload His Kingdom here? This is a fallen world and it will come to pass. How do we know? Look at what Augustine said about the City of God vs the city of man. The City of God is coming and the city of man is going 'passing away'. 

Yet, in our sin, we mistake going for coming. What confirms this mistake? The second command that Jesus gave us (First being love the Lord thy God) love your neighbor as yourself. In the city of man the self is served. The city of man is build upon the foundation of self love and because of that premise men fear their fellow man and they necessarily reduce freedoms as they feel threatened by other men's sense of freedom since every man becomes the center of the universe - self loving and preserving. Jesus asks us to love our neighbor as our self and in this we know that God's Kingdom is yet Coming because in His Kingdom the self as we know it here and now does not and cannot exist.
Take a look at Hebrews 8: 7-13. In a commentary by Matthew Henry we learn from this Scripture that God once wrote his laws TO his people, now he will write his laws in them; he will give them understanding to know and to believe his laws; he will give them memories to retain them; he will give them hearts to love them, courage to profess them, and power to put them in practice. This is the foundation of the covenant; and when this is laid, duty will be done wisely, sincerely, readily, easily, resolutely, constantly, and with comfort. A plentiful outpouring of the Spirit of God will make the ministration of the gospel so effectual, that there shall be a mighty increase and spreading of Christian knowledge in persons of all sorts. 

Oh that this promise might be fulfilled in our days, that the hand of God may be with his ministers so that great numbers may believe, and be turned to the Lord! The pardon of sin will always be found to accompany the true knowledge of God. Notice the freeness of this pardon; its fulness; its fixedness. This pardoning mercy is connected with all other spiritual mercies: unpardoned sin hinders mercy, and pulls down judgments; but the pardon of sin prevents judgment, and opens a wide door to all spiritual blessings. Let us search whether we are taught by the Holy Spirit to know Christ, so as uprightly to love, fear, trust, and obey him. All worldly vanities, outward privileges, or mere notions of religion, will soon vanish away, and leave those who trust in them miserable forever. Now, some reading the above commentary in context of God's Kingdom Come, will yet conclude that it illustrates the slow upload of God's Kingdom. But it cannot. 

The key is in the last sentence. All worldly vanities, outward privileges, or mere notions of religion, will soon vanish away, and leave those who trust in them miserable forever. Again, some will still argue that the slow upload is not contrary to arriving at a new reality. But it is. How? It is because there are those left behind. If it were a slow uploading, everyone would be changed but not everyone will be. This is a glimpse of the rapture. God's Kingdom will Come and all of what we know now will be gone suggesting a clean cut, not a slow transition wherein old information could still creep in.What is clear is that a brand new reality will exist; so we pray His Kingdom Come!

Monday, October 30, 2017

No Condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!

Self condemnation keeps us from growing in our walk with the Lord God our Father in Heaven. Such self condemnation arises because though we don't want to sin, we struggle with sin. Often it is that struggle that brings about self condemnation which can feel like an unbearable weight. Why? Well, we are being rightly convicted of repeated sin in the flesh by the Holy Spirit ... that's the weight we feel and it is by the same Holy Spirit that we are unburdened and set free through confession and repentance. Yes, set free and free indeed in Jesus Christ. Without Jesus, we are but filthy rags bound by the law of sin and death.

Of course, our life cannot be one spent or filled only with confession and repentance every minute of the day as we may sin at any moment though not wanting to. What shall we say then?

In Romans 7:7-25 NIV, we read ~ Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! Nevertheless, in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it used what is good to bring about my death, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.c For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

When the Holy Spirit rebukes us (we feel a weight on our heart); it is as when a parent scolds their  child for their own good. So when the Holy Spirit does that for our own good, we in humility and with a sincere desire to be free of that weight we turn to/come before God, declaring our sin 'that weight' and repent (cast it off by the same Holy Spirit), knowing that God's love for us and intention for us is to be free from the law of sin and death... through His Son Jesus Christ so that all Mercy and Grace are ours for all time.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Study in the Word ~ Zephaniah 1: 7-9

The Day of the Lord ...

Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests. "Then it will come about on the day of the LORD'S sacrifice That I will punish the princes, the king's sons And all who clothe themselves with foreign garments. "And I will punish on that day all who leap on the temple threshold, Who fill the house of their lord with violence and deceit..."

What are foreign garments? All such as are clothed with strange apparel—the princes or courtiers who attired themselves in costly garments, imported from abroad; partly for the sake of luxury, and partly to ingratiate themselves with foreign great nations whose costume as well as their idolatries they imitated; as in other respects, God would have them to be separate from the nations. And it can be too the "strange apparel" to garments forbidden by God, for example, men's garments worn by women, and vice versa, a heathen usage in the worship of Mars and Venus (De 22:5) ~Commentary by A. R. Faussett

"A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this" ~ De 22:5.

 Are we judging those who cross dress? Or do we do as Jesus did - enlighten? Jesus reminded us, "You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. But even if I do judge, My judgment is true, because I am not alone when I judge; I am with the Father, who sent Me" ~ John 8: 15-16. Or, "stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly." ~ John 7:24. Jesus (recognized in Isaiah 49) said, (John 8:16) "yet if I judge, my judgment is true". 

Though judgment was not the object of His mission, it was, as He had taught in John 3:19 the result of the manifestation of the Light. But, in the cases in which the result followed, the judgment was not according to the flesh, but was in accord with the essential truth - God is the Creator of all things, and we are created in His image - male and female. This promise is in part fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. Men perish in darkness. But Christ enlightens men, and so makes them holy and happy. Jesus is the Son of God and acts accordingly; hence His judgment is true because it is in accord with the essential truth of the Father who sent Him.

Many use the argument that God created them male and female as if they are both at the same time. If that were the case, he would never have made a distinction the first place. Some argue still that this means God had to make two distinctions in one being - male and female so that they have two different attributes but are essentially the same thing in one. Well, again that argument does not hold water because if you reason that God had to make two different attributes then they are just that - two different attributes to be recognized as such. By putting on deceiving garments, we cannot recognize those two different attributes any longer... they blur and hide the created being of man in the image of God. So, we must recognize the differences in order to understand our Creator and our purpose as His created being. 

Well, "didn't you just write in the previous post that if a man goes into a ladies room dressed as a lady we wont judge him... because we will see him as a lady?"

Yes, we will not judge him because we cannot in that moment. He is a lady and as far as we know at that moment not a man nor ever was one as far as we know. The Lord will judge his heart. But, if this man insists on publicly proclaiming himself a man dressing as a woman and has a right to do so, then he/we have a problem and right to rebuke him for his/our own good/enlightenment. And, this would apply in the same way to a woman dressing like a man who makes it a public right to be a woman dressing and acting as a man. Both fail to embrace their differences God's 'diversity' created in us ...either male or female in God's hierarchy. In fact, they reject His authority and all His creation by making an open public declaration of their will over His. 

Final comment ~ Again, if God created one being having two attributes: male and female, then why make a fuss over either? If it is to say that there are two distinctions in Man: male and female, then we must recognize these differences in ourselves and within our extended self - society; in order to understand who we are as God's creation. By cross dressing, we cover up, we hide from those differences, and we end up blurring our God given identity and His purpose for us.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Salt and Light ~ Pointing out Sin and Darkness ...

What did God Jesus Christ do for me/you? He covered my/your sin with His blood. Should I/we or would I/we want to continue in my/our sin? No! Interesting is that a lot of people today never heard of sin or think that they don't sin; including many Christians you run into. Wow! What Christ are they worshiping? In the end times, there will be false Christs ~ Mark 13:6. Now the Spirit expressly states that in later times some will abandon the faith to follow deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons ~1 Timothy 4:1.

Sadly, some churches are already engaging in that worship. How do you know? If your church thinks that certain behavior is OK and their response is, "who am I to judge" then they are mistaken. We, those born again in Jesus Christ, are required to show as in point out to our brothers/sisters what sin and darkness is in their life using the Word of God - Scripture! One has to know the sin condition in this fallen world in order to get out of it - this fallen world.

Our job as fellow believers in Christ is to point out sin/darkness using the Word to show people the way out - Jesus Christ! That is what is meant by sharing the Good News! How could it be good news if all we do is say, "Hey, this is a nice guy to read about and hang out with, he was nice back then and just told people around him to be nice too!" 

Hey, FYI - Jesus Christ died for our/your sin. Uh, like that is a really big deal, right? Because of that awesome sacrifice, we too can witness 'give our testimony' of this great sacrifice and miracle that was - Jesus Christ; which in fact, does require us by the power of the Holy Spirit in us to overcome the sin and darkness in our lives so that we may share in His promise of eternal life. There is no other way to the Father except by Him- Jesus Christ ~ John 14:6.

Yes, judge each other with love in the meaning discern good from evil, to point out right from wrong, not to condemn. The final judgement belongs to God. Our job is to preach the Good News with the intention to lift up our fellow believers, those called by God, from the darkness of sin and death into the everlasting light. We are to be salt and light... when encountered, both can be painful to those living in sin and in the darkness. But necessary they are in order to stand out - taste and see that the Lord is Good! Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him ~ Psalm 34:8.

We in the body of Christ are to be our brother's keeper. How do we know that? Well... If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels?  If we cannot say what is good and what is evil and seek to deliver our fellow man/woman, then what are we doing?

Do you not know that wrongdoers will NOT inherit the kingdom of God? Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. 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 ~ 1 COR 6:1-11.

No one wants to be judged (have their sin pointed out) but if I had a brick [sin] on my head while standing in quick sand [darkness], I would sure want someone to point it out, take it off and pull me out! The Lord Jesus Christ did that for us and does that over and over for us - Hallelujah; but does that mean we are to keep the brick on our heads and stay in the quick sand? No! You are Not judging someone when you point out the brick on their head, you are pointing out their problem!

Didn't Jesus discern what was sin when he encountered sin? Yes, of course He did. He turned over the tables in the temple and when he stood for the adulterous woman, He told her - "Go and sin No More". In this very dark world, we must be salt and light. Why? Because, we must know what is wrong in our lives, we must know the difference between good and evil in order to know what is the truth. In this way, we are prepared and equipped to do His work and even more. Why? Because, our future job is to rule and reign with Christ here on the earth in the millennial and we will have to be able to judge angels!

We have to know from what we are being saved and by whom!  Answer - Sin and by Jesus Christ!