February 28, 2016

Delight in God

Do you have unanswered prayers?

In your waiting are you tempted to be discouraged?

Temptation comes to the redeemed, so fret not over that fact.

More importantly, fret not over anything (Psalm 37:1).

And more importantly, take delight only in God, and that means loving him with all that is in you.

Answered prayers, which will cause rejoicing, are not the source of great joy.

In knowing God is great joy.

In him, one knows great delight, and rest, and peace.

In God alone.

Scripture tells us that those who delight in him will be given their desires (Psalm 37:4).

Do you believe that to be true?

If so, then you will not be down-in-the-dumps when prayers seemingly go unanswered.

Yes, you will be tempted to doubt, but the truly redeemed believe; they have faith.

Are you delighting solely in God?

If so, then your soul rejoices come what may.

Or like so many, do you delight in his goodies, and cry for more goodies, and fret when you don't get what you are requesting?

If that is the case, then it is doubtful that you know him.

God is love.

God is joy.

God is peace.

In knowing him, one has love, and joy, and peace because his Spirit lives in the souls of the saved.

Repent, and believe, and delight only in God, and God alone.

He will have your soul no other way.

February 23, 2016

Mercy and Grace

Mercy - a kindly forbearance shown toward an offender.

Grace - clemency, pardon, immunity.

The two words have different meanings.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy," (Matthew 5:7).

An example of mercy is when that wayward child of yours, or one that belongs to another, does something that appears irresponsible to you, and maybe he/she has been less than forthright with you, and then they ask for a favor, and you do it, not because its deserved, or their behavior is perfect.

Every man, woman, and child experience God's mercies every day that they live.

Rain falls on the just and the unjust, and the sun does not rise only on the redeemed (Matthew 5:45).

When it comes to grace, God showers it on the repentant (Romans 5:5).

Grace, through faith, saves a soul from sin (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Grace is known after repentance.

Mercy is shown before (and after) repentance.

Everyone knows of mercy whether they acknowledge it or not.

The redeemed know God's grace, and acknowledge it, and are eternally thankful for it.

In turn, they show mercy, and in their obedience, they are happy.

How will you know the difference between grace and mercy in your life?

Do you extend unconditional forbearance to all, including the slow, or con artist, or liar?

Are you generous with your possessions, time, and energy to those who others deem unworthy?

When someone rubs you the wrong way, do you turn the other cheek?

If so, then you know God's grace.

February 22, 2016

Your vote does not count

When it comes to assuring someone of their salvation, don't do it.

That is the job of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:16).

At the judgment seat you, and I, will not be the ones telling anyone to enter heaven.

Jesus does that (Matthew 7:23).

Imagine convincing someone that they are saved, and then watching them stand before Jesus, only to hear him say to them, "Depart from me, for I never knew you."

The horrible tradition of membership in churches lends itself to telling people, "You're saved!" and giving them the false belief that all is well, when maybe, and most likely, all is not well.

In most churches, a vote is taken to affirm that all agree that the aisle walker is indeed a Christian.

(Have you ever seen anyone voted down?)

And after the vote, existing members file by extending the "right hand of fellowship" to the new member welcoming them to the church, affirming to the newbie that they are indeed saved.

The "right hand of fellowship" concept is found in Galatians 2:8-10.

Peter, James, and John extended it to Paul after they saw his work for the kingdom, and after they heard him expound on the gospel message, and after they knew that he was generous to the poor.

We are told that the church leaders "recognized" that grace had been given to Paul.

Recognizing grace in someone takes time.

It involves observing zeal for the gospel message in that saved soul.

It takes knowing of their endless good deeds, and unconditional love for all.

Those things are not observed in a walk down an aisle.

Recognizing grace does not mean that someone has taken a new member's class.

It is not known when someone can give pat answers to easy questions.

A three-year-old can spout memorized answers to posed questions.

A great deception has occurred, and is occurring.

Churches, for the expediency of gaining new members, and for the sake of the budget, are leading people to believe that being saved is easy, and that joining the church is similar to joining a club.

How many would "join" the (club) church if told, "Come and die."

That's not exactly a feel-good message is it?

Sadly, many who claim to be saved want the feel-good message, and many live like the world seeking ease at every turn, and desiring entertainment, and always more, while shunning God's ways.

Christianity is about dying to self, and persecution, and hating the things of the world.

It's about turning the other cheek, and patience, and submission.

It's about walking the narrow road, and not the wide highway ever again.

In I Corinthians 5:9-13, we see that elders are to watch the behavior of those who claim to be saved.

In contrast to convincing people that they are saved, elders are to identify fakers.

These individuals are to be confronted, and asked to repent.

If they won't, or don't, then they are to be put out of the church until they truly repent, and are saved.

Many are deceived.

Don't assure anyone of their salvation.

Why would you need to do that anyway?

Those who know God, know that they know him.

One does not meet the Creator,
       and have all their sins washed from their soul,
             and have a flood of grace applied to their heart,
                     and have all things become new, 
                         and not know it!

One meets God in repentance, not by walking an aisle, or because they say certain words.

No one votes anyone into the body of Christ.

When it comes to salvation, let's get real, and be honest.

Your vote does not count.

February 18, 2016

What's the difference?


The greatest assurance one can have in life is not whether there is enough insurance to cover every emergency, and accident, and situation imaginable.

To have enough insurance for whatever comes along may bring peace of mind, but only in a temporary fashion, for even the very wealthy have a hard time sleeping, and take pills for depression.

Rest.

That is the craving of the wandering soul, which is the condition of everyone, until repentance.

Rest remains elusive until repentance.

A peaceful soul is not found in abundance of material possessions, or great insurance.

The great delusion is that money produces peace.

Or money and independence.

Or money and— fill-in-the-blank.

It can't; it won't, it doesn't.

Only in repentance, and then obedience, does one find rest, and life, and joy, and peace always.

Do you want to stop wasting time? Do you want to love people? Do you want to be generous?

Do you want to stop gossiping, and insulting people, and complaining?

Do you think that it takes trying, and you help yourself by putting up Bible verses all over your house, and you wear bracelets to remind you to be kind, and you pinch yourself every time you fuss?

The prodigal would have still been miserable, and lost, even if he had put up a hundred sticky notes.

In his pigsty, he would still have, at times, been happy, and then sad, peaceful, and then fretting.

Only after his change of mind about his sin did he then have fellowship with the Father.

He was finally at rest, and joyful, and his soul was peaceful.

And do you really think that for one moment he left the Father's house to go visit the pigsty?

Obedience does not take a strong will, it takes repentance. It does not take working hard at it, and then more work, work, work, for that defines a "works" salvation. It doesn't work that way.

The repentant are GIVEN a new nature, and the mind of Christ, and his love.

They do not work for it.

They also are still tempted to be disobedient, but God does not allow the temptation to be too strong.

See I Corinthians 10:13.

The difference between the supposedly saved, and the truly saved is steadfast obedience.

See I John 5:3.

The truly saved read the Word, and hear instruction, and are obedient to it— always.

The supposedly saved read the Word, and hear instruction, and they try, and fail, and try, and fail.

Continuing in sin is the reason for the failures.

Sin is the barrier between the unrepentant and God, and the perfect obedience his Spirit produces.

See I John 3:9.

Sin keeps one from God.

You cannot know him and continue to sin.

Do you want to know God, but do you want to stop sinning as well?

You cannot have it both ways.

Repentance allows grace to flow like a river into a starved soul.

You will know of mercy before salvation, but not grace.

Everyone knows of God's mercies, whether they admit it, or not.

You wake up breathing, and enjoy the sunshine, and rain?

Mercies.

But grace is for the saved. The saved are saved from sin. Sin is removed from the saved.

You want to stop sinning, and know God?

Repent.

A new nature takes the place of the sinful one.

Both do not exist inside a person.

One or the other, not both.

See Luke 6:43.

You either have the new nature, and don't sin, or you still have the old nature, and sin.

See Mark 2:22.

That's the difference.

You are deceived if you think you must try to be a better person after you supposedly were saved.

No where is that found in Scripture.

It is by grace one is saved, not by works.

See Ephesians 2:8.

Sin is what we need saved from, and repentance brings salvation to a soul, and grace is then applied.

See Romans 5:5.

Sin is gone in the saved soul.

See Psalm 103:12.

Metanoia.

Agree with God about the sin that you do.

Then you'll know the difference between mercy and grace, freedom and works, and love and hate.

For you will have a new nature.

See II Peter 1:4.

Repent and believe.

See Mark 1:15.

Study to be approved by God (II Timothy 2:15).

Are you studying?

Can you state specifically the difference between saved and lost?

If you believe that you are saved, then what difference does in make in your life?










 


February 15, 2016

Kindnesses in marriage, and otherwise

Do you greet your husband with a "hello, Love," always, or never, or only when he is good?

The redeemed married woman is kind.

To her husband, the love of God is not a "sometimes" thing.

Love never is.

The new heart of the married woman greets her man with a warm smile, and kindness always.

He gets kissed.

She leans in for hugs.

She is gentle with him.

Is your heart hard towards your man?

A new heart, one made soft, does not demand its way.

The heart that knows God does not hop on and off the Vine, first giving, and then selfish, and mean.

In one moment, kind to a husband, and then the next, because he forgot to do what he "ought," then he is shunned, and treated with disrespect, and is simply tolerated.

That does not happen with the woman who knows God.

For that behavior is sin.

To be rid of sin, and to have the ear of God, and sweet fellowship with him, repent.

Oh how sweet is the marriage where, if even if it is just the woman who knows God, there is kindness, and a gentle love which never falters because of a lack in the mate.

When a man, who knows God, loves a woman, who doesn't, he reveals God to her.

What a gift that is to the lost spouse.

In marriages, the factor, not factors, that suck the life from it is contempt, or in another word, hate.

Kindness and contempt are polar extremes.

What do you show your spouse?

If you know God, then your kindnesses are never-ending, and never conditional toward your spouse.

There is proof that one knows God.

The proof is love.

It is always love, and love is always kind, and obedient.

Are you?


February 10, 2016

I do know about tomorrow

Matthew 12:36 tells us that we will be held accountable for every careless word we speak.

That goes for the words we sing too.

And just because songs are in a hymnbook we must not assume that they are sound in doctrine.

Many hymns, and choruses are not Biblically sound.

In Scripture, we are told many times to not be deceived. Many of those times, it is referring to what is being preached, for many preachers are wolves, and are deceptive. Jesus said so (Matt. 7:15).

We are admonished to be careful about what we hear (I John 4:1, Luke 8:18, and I Timothy 4:1).

Are you?

We are told to study to be approved by God (II Timothy 2:15).

Do you?

To study, we must parse the words that we hear in sermons, and read in books, and sing in songs.

To 'parse' is to give attention to something by looking closely at the parts of the whole.

The redeemed are not lazy; they are zealous, for they think like Christ (I Corinthians 2:16).

Do you?

When you read Scripture is it to accomplish a goal, and mark off a to-do list?

Or do you read it for the love of it, and to study it to find instruction to obey?

Examine your heart. Listen to the words that you say. You will be judged for them.

Below is an old song that you may, or may not know, and I have parsed it.

My thoughts are in parenthesis.

Whether you agree with my thoughts or not, be aware of what you sing, and hear, and read.

Don't swallow all that you hear preached, nor sing all that you are asked to sing at church.

As Jesus said, "People will be held accountable for every careless word."

Do you belive him?

If so, then you will be examing carefully what you hear, and you will be slow to speak.

Otherwise, you do not belive in Jesus.

For to believe in Jesus is to accept all that he says as truth, and do it.

Now, what about this song?

Look carefully, and ponder about whether you agree with what I see.

Parse what I say!

I Don't Know About Tomorrow

I don't know about tomorrow; (The redeemed do know about it, and it is not guaranteed.)
I just live from day to day. (The redeemed live moment to moment.)
I don't borrow from it's sunshine (The redeemed don't borrow anything.)
For it's skies may turn to grey. (The redeemed only know joy, rain or shine.)

I don't worry o'er the future, (Heaven is in the future for the redeemed, so of course, no worries!)
For I know what Jesus said. (What did he say? Look to the sparrow, plus so much more!)
And today I'll walk beside Him, (The redeemed follow, and one can only follow from behind Him.)
For He knows what is ahead. (The redeemed know as well, and it is life now, and forevermore!)

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand (There are no wishy-washy thoughts in the redeemed for they know God.)
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand. (God holds his child, not just the hand; they do not tremble there.)

Every step is getting brighter (One is either in the light, or in darkness.)
As the golden stairs I climb; (No clue what that means.)
Every burden's getting lighter, (The yoke IS easy, and the burden IS light, or it isn't.)
Every cloud is silver-lined. (Worldly cliche. The redeemed know God. Trials are welcome, and easy.)

There the sun is always shining,
There no tear will dim the eye; (A reference to heaven, but heaven is not at the end of rainbows.)
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky. (No idea what this means, but it's smooth, and rhymes nicely.)

I don't know about tomorrow; (What exactly is it we must know about tomorrow anyway?)
It may bring me poverty. (Proverbs tells us sloth brings poverty, not simply a new day.)
But the one who feeds the sparrow, (We are told Jesus sees the sparrow fall, not that he feeds it.)
Is the one who stands by me. (Where in Scripture are we told Jesus stands beside anyone?)

And the path that is my portion (The path the redeemed share with others is narrow, always narrow.)
May be through the flame or flood; (The path, not may, but will lead to some form of persecution.)
But His presence goes before me (By God's Spirit, he dwells inside the soul of the redeemed.)
And I'm covered with His blood. (What does that mean? Is that phrase in Scripture? Check it out.)





February 4, 2016

Led to death

In every way, Jesus was led to death.

Death to friendships that were honest, and true.

Death to a desire unfulfilled on this earth.

Death to glory.

How about you?

Is your life characterized by death?

When you expect one thing, and get another, what do you do?

Are demands forthcoming?

Love makes no demands— ever.

When you do good, and are reviled, then what?

Is meekness in your nature?

The truly redeemed have a new nature.

It replaces the old one.

The old is gone, and the new is evident, and good fruit grows, and bad fruit doesn't anymore.

Is the newness of life found in your nature?

Is it growing, or does sin still weave in and out bringing death in your wake?

If so, repent.

Everyone is commanded to change their mind about the sin that they do.

Jesus, and God, have commanded it (Matthew 4:17, and Acts 17:30).

It is something that can be done while still in sin.

We have that capacity, or it would not have been commanded.

You will never believe the sin that you do is as bad as it is until you change your mind about it.

In sin, we are wooed by the Spirit of God to agree with God about our filth.

Have you done that yet?

If you think that the way of salvation is to simply believe in Jesus, then please think again.

The demons believe Jesus was who he said that he was, and they tremble.

To truly believe is to accept the truth of what is said by someone.

In salvation, one must accept the truth of what is said by Jesus.

Do you know what he said?

Do you die to self at every turn, or do you look out for yourself at the expense of others?

Your way is always at the expense of choosing to love others as yourself, and God completely.

That is the command.

How did Jesus define sin?

What did he say about those who do sin?

What did he come to do for mankind?

Do you relish the idea of dying every moment of the day, and living to serve, somehow, some way?

That is the life of the saved.

They cannot but die as they proclaim what is in their heart.

Silently, or otherwise, as the Lord points the way, they follow.

Do you?


February 1, 2016

It's a given

Is there anything that is for sure in this life?

For the redeemed, blessings are automatic.

There is nothing that they can do to alter the flow of approval from God.

Blessings, from him, follow them.

Goodness and mercy flow to the adopted child of God.

They are happy.

The repentant, who are on the narrow road, are given contentment. 

No human can do that for another human.

That attribute is given to the soul who obediently repents, and believes.

Jesus says that the redeemed are happy.

It is their state of mind, not worry, or anger, or bitterness, or sadness, or depression.

The poor in spirit are happy for they know something; the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

The redeemed mourn, and are happy, for in their grief, they are always comforted.

The meek, who may appear to have nothing, are happy, for they have an inheritance not of this world.

Those who only hunger for goodness stay happy, for their souls are deeply satisfied.

The ones who show mercy are happy, and in return they are shown mercy.

The souls who are spotless are happy, and they understand God's ways, and will see him one day.

The people who practice only peace, and refuse to fight, are happy, and they are God's children.

The woman who is persecuted for her goodness to others is happy, and she will go to heaven.

It is a fact that the truly saved will be spoken of with contempt, and insults, but they are happy.

The very prophets of God were persecuted as well, and the truly saved are in good company.

They rejoice, and are exceedingly glad, and that is automatic, and even when sadness confronts them, it does not change the fact that deep down they are happy for they walk by faith, not feelings.

They know this world is temporary, and that makes them very happy.

The truly happy are those who know that they are passing through, and this earth is not all there is to life, and that even though they are spoken of in an evil way on account of their testimony, they smile, for their joy is not based on man's approval, but it rests in the Rock of Ages, and they are not moved.

They are not tossed about by the winds of this world.

Their anchor holds steady, and they bless others, and curse not.

Their blessings are automatic, and no one needs to bless them here on earth, for God has done it.