July 30, 2017

Proof of love

We love proof of someone's love, don't we?

He says that he loves me, so why don't I know it? we think, perhaps.

If he loved me, then he would do this or that, or the other thing, we think, perhaps.

Do you know that there is a verse that tells us exactly when we will know that we love God?

You can say that you love God, just like your husband, or friend, or family member, can tell you that they love you, and then you doubt it, but have you ever wondered if God doubts your love for him?

I John 2:3.

Easy to remember that verse.

Look at it.

Remember it.

It goes like this: "We know that we have come to love him, if we keep his commands."

Now, you can have people tell you, "Don't you worry about it. Don't think twice. You love God!"

And you will rarely hear this: "Have you come to love God?"

Sounds like it's a process, and not a "say this prayer, and you're good to go," type scenario, right?

Right.

Look at your actions. Check your heart. See if you can determine if you have love one for another.

Towards all.

That does not mean that you sweet talk everyone, and never get angry, and never have temptations.

Of course you will be tempted to spit in someone's face, and hold a grudge, and lose your temper.

Tempted, and tried we all will be, but the transformed heart, the born new soul, the repentant?

What is different about that person?

They know of all the temptations, and yet obey.

They have been made brand new, and are not the same as they were prior— in their heart (soul).

They have come to love God.

In repenting of hate, they have been made new, given a heart of love, and have been crucified with Christ, and they don't just perform easy lip-service, oh no, they love, they really do.

How often do they love?

To not love is to not obey.

To not submit to a husband is to not obey.

To not honor a parent is to not obey.

To not live with outstretched arms ready, and eager to give, is to not obey.

But to those who have come to love God, they obey him.

Period.

I John 2:3 tells us this is so.

John didn't end that verse with "sometimes," or "when you can," or "most always."

He ended that sentence with a period.

He means that one who has come to love God, always obeys.

What else would a made new heart, that is now completely different because the same power that raised Jesus from the dead lives in it, do?

Try to be good?

Do you believe that you can be good of your own effort— at all?

Do you have any light in you before being made new?

If not, then how can darkness "help" the light?

Either you can boast, cause you "helped" God with that obedience thing, or it is all him.

See, that is the crux of salvation— believing the Word— all of it— and then doing it.

Repenting while still in sin. First. Finding oneself changed. Second. Loving and obedient. Third.

I John 2:3.

There is proof of love for God.

Do you really love him?

July 26, 2017

I am going to your house today

Imagine meeting someone, and then saying to them, "I am going to your house today."

Our granddaughter frequently, and sweetly says to us on FaceTime, "You can come to my house."

It's a given with her. She says it so sincerely as only a three-year-old can do. She means it!

Her house is open to me and her papa— anytime, and always, and what a joy that is for us to know!

She loves us. She wants to be near us. She wants to play, and commune as only a child can do!

Is your house (heart) open?

How long must you know someone before you say to them, "Come over. Anytime. The door is always open to you. You don't even need to knock."

What is it you fear?

For your life?

For your stuff?

Why would you not invite anyone, who would, to come to sit at your table, express their heart, share a coffee, a pastry, a chicken leg, and just talk?

Do you not care for their soul?

Do you not have time for their grief?

Do you not have time for their needs?

What is it you have time to do?

Your......nails? Hair? Shopping for one more whatever?

Where is your heart?

Do you really love God with all that is in you, and your neighbor as yourself?

If so, then what?

What does that life resemble?

Would it look strange, like someone who is set apart, and behaves not as the world would at all?

Would you say to a virtual stranger, "Come and dine. Feast with me. Let's talk!"

How open is your heart (home) to others?

It will be as open to others as it truly is to God.

When his love is in you, then your heart is open, and so is your door.

Is it open?

Is anyone coming to your house today?

If someone wants to come over, or made the statement that they were coming, then what do you do?

Do you panic, fret, or wish, or maybe even pretend, to be sick?

What do you have to hide?

How would you have responded to the statement Jesus made to Zaccheus?

"I am going to your house today."

Some versions indicate that Jesus said "staying" instead of  "going" which indicates maybe more than just coffee, or tea, was on the mind of Jesus. Maybe he needed a place to rest for a few days, a week, or more. Another version uses the words, "I must abide at your house."

Does it really matter how long someone stays at your home if they have need?

Sweetly, we read that Zaccheus made haste to get to Jesus, and received him joyfully, and immediately began to show signs of repentance.

Zaccheus gave, and made restitution, and cared not what the masses were saying about him.

Zaccheus had repented, and the masses were saying that he was a sinner!

But he only had eyes for the Lord!

Do you show signs of repentance?

Do you agree with what the Lord is saying to you?

He abides in you, and you in him, or not at all.

We do not jump on and off the Vine as it is convenient for us.

All or nothing.

You will be saying continually, "My house is yours, Lord," or you own it, and he is still knocking.

Or He owns you, and your house (heart) is his house.

You have been crucified with Christ, and your life stays on the altar, and you are a vessel, or you have yet to repent, and your life is still closed to others, and their needs, and his love does not flow in you.

Where does he reside? Who comes to your house? When do you extend the invitations?

What message is on your lips? How do others know what is in you? Is it of the Lord you speak?

Do his words flow through you?

If so, not very many will want to come to your house, but the door will always be open.

Your life will be one of sacrifice, joyful, and continual, or not.

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.






July 21, 2017

I believe I can fly

You've heard that song, right?

Silly one that it is, but it points out a very important lesson.

We can go ahead and believe we can fly, and get on top of a big building, and jump.

If we have nothing but our two arms to make us fly, we will die.

A good friend will follow you all the way to the edge of that building, and try to talk you out of jumping, and will, if they are a really good friend, say, "Let me prove this for you," and jump in your place, so that you can have one more moment to come to your senses, and repent of your beliefs.

For whom will you take the fall?

Do you take the fall for anyone now?

If not, then you won't ever, until you are ready to truly die.

If heaven is not running in your veins now, then you are not going to be taking the risks of speaking the gospel message, for those who do will have few friends (as did Jesus), and they will be betrayed (as was Jesus), and they will be reviled (as was Jesus), but all the while they will be true followers of Jesus, for those who are have already been crucified.

They do not live according to how they feel, but according to EVERY word that is in the Word.

They do not pick and choose, and just really like some verses, and ignore the ones about hell, and loving God with all the heart, and how it is a fact that if you continue in sin, then there is no sacrifice for you, and that is found in Hebrews 10:26, and that God does not hear the prayers of those who sin, and if you think that you overcome evil with "positive" thoughts, and you tell others to stop talking "negative" then you know not the Word. Tell me where we are told about positive, and negative?

Those who know the Word, speak it, and those who know the Word, love it, and they do not use the common vernacular of the world in speaking of it. The world and the Word do not mix. Not at all.

People do not "just stop it" when it comes to sin.

People, while in sin, repent of it, and are made new.

The great lie is that you are the same as you were prior to believing in Jesus, and while scores will say that they are not the same, they are if they still sin.

What's so new about a person still sinning after Jesus, as they did before Jesus?

Do not be deceived.

If you live the gospel, you will be hated.

But who cares about the world?

Only those who love it.

You cannot love both, for Jesus says that you will love one, and hate the other.

When you hate the world, then you do not pursue what the world offers, and the world will hate you for it, and by "the world" I also am including the "church" people who think that they are saved but are not, and Jesus defines them in Matthew 7:21-23. Can you find what he calls them?

Are you ready to die?

Those who have already been crucified with Christ are, and they long for heaven, but they will not be jumping off a tall building to prove it, unless it is to lay down their flesh for another.

They get a new body in heaven anyway!

Not a new soul! Nope. Jesus makes that clear in Matthew 7:21-23 as well, for these deceived people are not made new at heaven's gate, even though they think that they ought to be made new, because they are the ones who still sin, and they say that they will get a new soul in heaven. Nope.

If so, then why did Jesus not give them one in that passage in Matthew? 

I will fly one day.

And it will be soon.

Life is short.

Are you ready for the day you die?

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:17).

July 19, 2017

Do you vigorously defend what you love?

What is it that you could sell if you had to sell something in order to eat?

I could sell La-z-boys, Tempurpedic mattresses, and soft sheets.

Do you see a theme there?

I could not sell running shoes, a vegan lifestyle, or juicing.

Again, do you see a theme there?

What is the theme of your life?

What I am asking, to narrow this down a bit, is what do you love?

What you love, you know.

Not everything that we know do we love however.

For instance, I do not love diabetes, and cancer, and sin, but I know a bit about a couple of those things, and I know a lot about sin.

If you know God, then you know love.

You know how you came to know his love, and you love everyone, and you want everyone to know of his love, and you want that none would perish in their sin, and you speak as often as you are allowed about the way to know God, and you CAN, and WILL defend your faith vigorously.

Or you know it not.

Do you simply drink in everything you hear from those who say that they know the Word and teach, or preach it? Do you question them? Do you ask them to define words for you?

Do you study to be approved by God?

We are commanded to study, and we are commanded to defend the faith we say we love.

Do you?

Would you allow your child to continue to be under the tutelage of an Algebra teacher who would not take endless questions from your child about that subject?

Some of us maybe cannot "get" Algebra, but the gospel message?

Everyone, who is ordained to get it, can get it, and since we do not know who can/cannot get it, then we speak it gladly, and often, and until we draw our last breath, because we love it, never saying that some are too stupid to get it. Course not. We are not the gate-keepers, and we know no one's heart.

Only God knows a person's heart.

The redeemed are simply vessels, never judges.

They know their place in the scheme of things, and they love the order under which they live.

It has brought them peace that passes understanding, and joy that cannot be properly expressed.

They are free.

Can you defend that which you call precious?

If not, please do not tell anyone to just "do it" or say the words that you think will get them saved.

Saying that I am a Christian does not make me one.

So, can you tell me what makes me one?

Do you know the words that Jesus said that would prove it?

And the words of the apostle Paul, and do you speak those truths, or do you make up words?

Study, my friend.

Or perish in your sin.

Defend what you say you believe, or you believe it not.

Paul defended his faith always, and then some until he was decapitated.

Do you love anything that much?

Will you speak the gospel message with a sword hanging over your head?

The gospel message separates sheep from goats, sons from fathers, mothers from daughters, and a mother-in-law from a daughter-in-law, and believe it or not, that is why Jesus came (Matt. 10:35).

It may separate your head from your body.

The redeemed love not their body to the death (Rev. 12:11).

That's been settled.

They have already been crucified, yet they live, and they live by the power that raised Jesus from the dead. The redeemed have heaven in their hearts, and they long for it. They love not this world.

Not one whit.

They fear nothing that man can do to them; their soul is saved.

You will speak the gospel message no matter what— if you love it.

It has the power to free one from sin.

Paul urges that we imitate him (I Cor. 4:16).

Can you?

Do you?

If not, consider that you know not the gospel message, for those who know it, proclaim it.

No threat stops the mouth of the one who loves God with all that is in them.

In season, and out, and it flows from them, not of their doing, or as a result of a pep rally.

The gospel is your life, or it is not.

For those who sell the vegan lifestyle, can you ever make them hush?

What if they think that it is a matter of life or death?

The gospel is a message of life or death. 

Light or darkness.

Love or hate.

Obedience or sin.

The narrow road or the wide highway.

Dead to self, and alive to Christ, or alive to the world, and lost in sin.

Non-respecter of people, or prejudiced.

Serving, or looking to be served. 

Salty or no flavor.

One or the other, and never both.

And you choose.

Wisdom or folly.

God's way or yours. 

Repent, or perish in sin. 







July 18, 2017

Do you brag about your many blessings?

I know your hear it, and maybe you say it.

"I am (or we are) so blessed, because of ..." and just fill in the blank.

What are you thinking?

Rain, sunshine, a bonus, a promotion, or money of any type, earned, inherited, or found under a rock?

A new house, a new church building, a safe trip, a good parking space, a productive garden?

Most always it will be for something material (it will rust/decay), and/or physical (it will perish).

With no doubt, we are to rejoice, and here is the "when" that we find in James 1:2.

We are told to count "it" (or life) to be all joy when we encounter various trials or temptations, like when someone lies to/about you, or when you find that your "best" friends aren't even "sort of" friends any longer, and when life looks "hard" in the eyes of others who see with old eyes.

And Jesus tells us that we are blessed when we are full of mercy, and mercy is only given to those who need it, like those who will not, and cannot reward us for caring for them, and those who betray us, and those who revile us.

And he goes on to say that we are blessed when we are peacemakers, and a peacemaker never will gossip, or hate, or hold a grudge, or look to get even, or betray anyone.

And so do you think that you are blessed?

Are you using that word "blessed" correctly?

You see, even the heathen are blessed if you are going to talk about the rain, and the beautiful rainbow, and a promotion, and more money, because they will get all those things.

Hitler had money, and power, and sunrises, and flowers, and friends.

But Hitler had the wrath of God on him, as do all sinners.

John 3:36 tells us that God's anger is on the ones who disobey.

Do you disobey?

If so, then you are still experiencing God's mercies even while his wrath is on you.

All sinners enjoy mercies like bountiful harvests, beautiful homes, and good food, health, and wealth.

Do you give thanks for all of that in your life, and is that why you would say that you are blessed?

God does not hear the prayer of thanks from those who regard iniquity in their hearts (Psalm 66:18).

You can go ahead and pray, and give thanks, and make your requests known to God, but he will not be hearing you if you have sin in your life, and anyone who sins has sin in their life.

Mormons pray. Every cult I know of has members who pray. Do you think God hears them?

He does not.

Jesus tells us in John 3:19 that sin is done for the love of it.

And then there is this: If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me (Psalm 66:18).

To sin (iniquity) is to love sin.

That is what "regard" means.

When you tell a family member, who has come to visit, and they are headed home to see grandma, who you have not seen for some time, "Tell grandma I send my regards!" then are you saying that you want them to tell her that you have a warm spot in your heart for her?  YES.

If you still sin, then that is what you have in your heart for it— a warm spot.

You will have a divided heart, and that type heart does not stand.

James 1:8 tells us that type of heart is unstable in everything.

Repent of hate, and be washed clean, and be set apart, and know of grace, and be filled with love.

All sin boils down to hatred for God, and/or others.

You will be holding something against God, like he has not "blessed" you like you think you deserve, or something like that, and you will be holding a little something against someone/everyone.

While still in sin, repent of it, or agree with God that you hate, and that hate is murder.

If you choose not to repent, then your soul will perish in sin, and you will be one of those who stand at heaven's door, and argue with Jesus, like those we read about in Matthew 7;21-23, and you will be saying, "But I prayed! I gave great testimonies about all my blessings! I said your name, and I made demons leave people, and I held Bible studies, and did good things for you!"

And Jesus tells "certain" people, who say those things, but don't go to heaven, that he does not know them, and they must depart from him.

Specifically, what does Jesus call them?

Do you know?

Check it out.

Study.

See if there is any wicked way in you.

Argue with God about your sin, and your love for it now for it will be too late later.

Know what sin is, and why it is that you do it, and figure out if you have really been born new.

Know what a blessing really is, and answer honestly if you rejoice when people revile you.

Know also that you will be reviled IF you are truly born new, for when you speak truth, and when people around you hear it, and they don't want to give up their sin, then they will hate you.

Know that regardless, you will continue to speak truth, and you will rejoice.

You will not be looking for blessings (more stuff, "good" parking places, or any temporal things).

You will know that great is your reward in HEAVEN.

You will long for it with all your heart if you truly have eternal life in you now.

To be blessed is to be a peacemaker.

To hunger and thirst after righteousness (God) is to love him with all the heart.

That is his command.

Are you blessed?

If so, then you will not be bragging about it, but you will be boasting of your weakness, and of the power of the Holy Spirit in you, and rejoicing only that you know God.

And you will weep over the lost, and while people revile you, you will rejoice and pray for them to be blessed, and you will know that you are on the right path, and that God hears you when you pray.

Now that's blessed.




July 11, 2017

Going "special" places?

It's that time of year.

People go on vacation, to beaches, mountains, anywhere but home, lots of people go just to get away.

When you pray, where do you go?

Is it someplace special?

Is it a prayer closet?

A room where only prayer happens?

Whey you pray, Jesus says to go where no one can see you.

Someone could see you in your special prayer closet.

Or in a special room, or "throne" or such as.

The only place no one can see you pray is inside of you.

In your heart.

It is no more special than to be looking at someone while they talk, and be praying for them.

And they not know it.

Who does the "work" of salvation in those for whom you pray?

Is it not God alone?

Must anyone see you in agony?

Jesus went off by himself, and his friends were elsewhere (sleeping) when he prayed.

Paul and Silas could not go someplace "special" when they were in jail.

Yet they prayed.

Don't set up a shrine, and think yourself holy when you go there to pray.

That is religion.

It makes a "rule" that says, "When I am here, don't bother me. I'm being holy. Be quiet."

In the cacophony of life, the one who knows God will be praying to him.

They will do so earnestly, and fervently, and the God who sees them in private, will reward them.

The ones who cannot be bothered are as the "religious ones" who passed by on the other side of the road from the man in the ditch who was naked, and bleeding to death.

The one who had mercy on him was moved with compassion, and when one is moved with compassion, then the feet will take them, not to "holy" places to pray, but to a hotel to tend someone, known, or unknown, all night perhaps, or all day, or all week, or for years.

Mercy knows no bounds in the redeemed.

They are full of it.

And they will obtain it.

Not because they holed themselves up at certain times of the day to do "religious" work, but because they have been made new, and they no longer live to make a show of their lives, but to serve.

Go.

Into all the world, go.

That's the special place God has commanded those who love him to go, and they do, and they love.

Do you?