I KNOW WHO HOLDS TOMORROW…


This is a song written by Ira Stanphill in the 1950s during a time of depression and struggle with things going on in his life.  His wife battled addiction and left him for other men but he forgave her, tried to reconcile, and remained true to his vows.  You can imagine the gossip, a preacher’s wife in a life of sin.  The rumors and stories that must have been told and how difficult it must have been for him. 

In the book “Turn Your Radio On”, Ace Collins relates the struggle of Stanphill and told how in the depths of his sadness he began to hum a tune, and the next thing he knew he was singing a song.  He sang about not knowing what was in the future but knowing that God was with him every step of the way.  He rushed to the piano when he arrived at his office and jotted down the words.  What a testimony and truth that God dropped in the preacher’s heart and words that should comfort each of us. 

C.S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”  That is exactly what Jesus was telling us in John 14:1-3 – “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you….” 

One day and that day may be soon, we will enter that eternal realm and be forever with our Lord but until that time it is good to KNOW WHO HOLDS TOMORROW and WHO HOLDS OUR HAND!  I thank God for my wonderful wife (now in heaven), my family, friends, and those who touch my life that I have never met and they mean so much to me yet None can provide what GOD PROVIDES!  Therefore, I say “Don’t worry about tomorrow, just live today in the light of His love.”  May God be with you as you read the words of the song listed below:

I don’t know about tomorrow; 
I just live from day to day. 
I don’t borrow from its sunshine 
For its skies may turn to grey. 
I don’t worry o’er the future, 
For I know what Jesus said. 
And today I’ll walk beside Him, 
For He knows what is ahead. 

Many things about tomorrow 
I don’t seem to understand 
But I know who holds tomorrow 
And I know who holds my hand. 

I don’t know about tomorrow; 
It may bring me poverty. 
But the one who feeds the sparrow, 
Is the one who stands by me. 
And the path that is my portion 
May be through the flame or flood; 
But His presence goes before me 
And I’m covered with His blood. 

Many things about tomorrow 
I don’t seem to understand 
But I know who holds tomorrow 
And I know who holds my hand…

May God help you to rise up in faith and confidence and place your hand in the hands of the Lord!  Blessings on your journey and if we never meet again or meet this side of Heaven I look forward to seeing you over there!

WHAT IS YOUR WEAPON OF CHOICE?


1 Samuel 17:41-47 – “Then the Philistine came on and approached David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him; for he was but a youth, and ruddy, with a handsome appearance. 43 The Philistine said to David, ” Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. 44 The Philistine also said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.” 45 Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. 46 “This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD’S and He will give you into our hands.”  NASB

 
This has long been one of my favorite stories in the Bible because there are so many applicable spiritual truths in it that one could spend a year preaching and teaching from this story and still not exhaust it.  That being said, I won’t attempt to do that here or over the next year, but I do want to highlight one question that comes to mind when I read it: “What Is Your Weapon of Choice in Conflict?” 
 
This was a physical, natural battle but was also a spiritual one.  The spiritual ramifications are brilliantly obvious and powerful.  But let’s go back to the story and consider David’s preparation to lead the Nation.  This is just another part of his training and preparation.  God was testing his heart, commitment, confidence, and courage.  Did he truly believe that God would deliver the undefeatable enemy into his hands?  Did he truly believe that God would use the tools or weapons that he was familiar with to do the job?  Did he truly believe that God would honor His word to Israel and therefore the victory was won before he even fought the battle?  YES!  Yes, to each question.  Yes, David was developing his heart which God would later declare was one “after His own.”
 
Too many times we try to fight battles using weapons we do not know how to use or are not suited for the job.  David resisted that temptation and used what he was skilled with.  What weapons are we skilled at using?  Is it swords and spears or The Word of God?  Are we adept at using words of oratory or the power of prayer?  Are we skilled at trusting the arm of flesh or the power of God?  In which arena are we most comfortable the flesh or the Spirit?  All of those questions are vital in determining whether we are successful or not in our spiritual battle.
 
We have the many promises of the Lord regarding overcoming and the abundant life and yet too often we revert to relying on the flesh and the natural to accomplish the spiritual and supernatural.  That is like taking a trying to go to the moon with a cardboard box with wings propelled with rubber bands. IMPOSSIBLE!  But with God, All Things Are Possible!  Therefore, depending on Him is the only logical and sensible place to turn.  He can take His infinite power and wisdom and enable natural forces to produce supernatural results.  That’s why “knowing Him” and engaging in the Study of His Word and Prayer is so vital to our Spiritual Walk and Warfare.
 
So, as you go through this day and face the giants in your life my prayer is that you Go In The Name of the Lord!  May the blessings of God be upon you richly as you enjoy this beautiful day the Lord has made!

WHAT ARE THE PARAMETERS OF OUR COMMANDMENT TO GIVE A WARNING?


Ezekiel 3:16-21 – “At the end of seven days the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 17 “Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. 18 “When I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 “Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. 20 “Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. 21 “However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself.”  NASB

Ezekiel 33:7-20 – “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me. 8 “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand. 9 “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life. 10 “Now as for you, son of man, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus you have spoken, saying, “Surely our transgressions and our sins are upon us, and we are rotting away in them; how then can we survive?”‘ 11 “Say to them, ‘ As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’ 12 “And you, son of man, say to your fellow citizens, ‘The righteousness of a righteous man will not deliver him in the day of his transgression, and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stumble because of it in the day when he turns from his wickedness; whereas a righteous man will not be able to live by his righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’ 13 “When I say to the righteous he will surely live, and he so trusts in his righteousness that he commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered; but in that same iniquity of his which he has committed he will die. 14 “But when I say to the wicked, ‘You will surely die,’ and he turns from his sin and practices justice and righteousness, 15 if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die. 16 ” None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. He has practiced justice and righteousness; he shall surely live. 17 “Yet your fellow citizens say, ‘The way of the Lord is not right,’ when it is their own way that is not right. 18 “When the righteous turns from his righteousness and commits iniquity, then he shall die in it. 19 “But when the wicked turns from his wickedness and practices justice and righteousness, he will live by them. 20 “Yet you say, ‘ The way of the Lord is not right.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways.”  NASB

I fully realize that I have used a very long passage as my text today but did so purposefully.  I realize that this was spoken to the prophet in Ancient Israel but believe that the heart of the message is applicable for today on every level of life.  I believe that this applies to individuals, churches, governmental entities, schools, and other organizations that have the opportunity to be privy to information as well as having the opportunity to sound this needed alarm.

It applies to what we would classically call “sin”, but does it not equally apply to every facet of life?  If we see something that is morally, ethically, socially, politically, spiritually, relationally, domestically, economically, or historically wrong are we not obligated by our Christian values to sound the alarm?  But what if the Government warns us to be silent?  Would that not place us in the same predicament as the disciples of our Lord when they were warned to speak no more in the name of Jesus?  Peter’s response should be our response, “Whom shall we obey, God or man?”

Therefore, it is my conviction that if I, as a Christian see people heading down a path to moral destruction it is my Christian obligation to warn them.  If I, as a Christian, entity, church, organization, or political party see a path being taken that is destroying people’s freedom to worship freely and live rightly dare I remain silent? 

If I see the murder of innocent unborn babies and remain silent what does God think of my silence? Read the above passages and I believe you will get the idea of how He feels.  If I see the inalienable rights of individuals trampled upon, political manipulation that separates and divides peoples and nations dare I sit back and say, “Separation of Church and State as my excuse for silence?”  Does the threat of the I.R.S. pulling my 501-C-3 status justify my silence or do I have a larger mandate regarding right?

If I saw someone about to, unknowingly, ingest poison would I be morally and spiritually okay to be silent?  If I saw a crime being committed and had the ability to call the police or give warning and ailed to do so, would my silence be justified, or would I be guilty of the innocent blood being shed through my silence when speaking out would have prevented it or minimized it?

We must proclaim the Good News of the Gospel to whomever, whenever, and wherever.  We must also warn of impending perils as we see them coming upon individuals, nations, and peoples no matter the cost to us personally.  To do less is an affront to the Grace of God.  So, I call upon individual believers, pastors, churches, politicians, and other leaders to Become Watchmen on the Walls in these perilous times.  Christianity is more than just passively living in our little circles disturbing no one and flying under the radar.  It may mean putting your head on the line for right and that may be costly.

My question is, “How much is your faith worth to you?”  “How much does God expect of us as we become aware of wickedness or wicked actions or policies?”  Today, it is time that the Body of Christ rise up and stand as the prophets of old and get in the faces of kings when necessary and declare, “You are the one from whence the trouble is originating.”  God will protect us or take us home but either way we will have stood for right!

May God bless you as you go through this day in Him!

CAN LOVE BE POISON?


1 Corinthians 13 – “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.” NASB

Let’s pull all this together if we can as we consider AGAPE!  One of the most prolific pictures of what we are talking about can be seen in the story of The Last Supper in John 13.  Follow the narrative with me:

It was a very bad night!  The disciples knew something was up, so it had become a very tense night.  They were bickering among themselves about what their position in the coming Kingdom would be.  “Who Is The Greatest?”  In truth, it was a religious-political campaign everyone was jockeying for position.

The table was fine.  The place settings were okay, but near the door, there was a little table with a towel and a jar of water.  It filled each mind because they all knew that somebody was supposed to kneel at the door and wash the feet of the others.  It was custom, like a handshake in our western society.  But the lowest slave or person in the house was to do it and at this point, nobody wanted to assume that position.  They were all too important, in their own eyes.  They reclined at the table which meant that their dirty feet were under the nose of the person beside them.  It is Obvious!

Remember, this is The Last Supper, although they didn’t grasp that at the moment.  What a sight!  I have to wonder what Jesus might have been thinking.  He has obviously observed their unhappy faces.  So, what motivated Him?  He could have assumed the role of a martyr and thought, “Somebody has to wash the feet.  I guess it’s up to me again, this bunch never helps!”  He could have thought, “If I don’t do it, they’re going to be disappointed after all good old Jesus, He always comes through.”  He could have thought, “They never listen.  Even after three years, they are still arguing.  Maybe if I wash their feet, I can shame them into putting an end to the fighting.”  NO!  He did none of that, it was AGAPE!

Look at verses 3-4 – – This is incredible!  He Knew Who He Was.  Out of the fullest inner knowledge of Who, He Was and because He Love them, he acted.  It was for their benefit that He rose and washed their feet!  Do you understand AGAPE?  He never sought their “happiness” that would have been cruel.  That is not Love!  He is and always seeks their and our highest and best.

At the meal, the Revelation of what Peter was going to do is disclosed by the Master.  Peter is going to do it again.  Of all nights, the night Jesus needs him the most he is going to fail.  But if Jesus had been operating out of Eros, he would not have been able to reveal this to Peter because after all Peter would be upset and might lose it.  In that mode, He might have said, “Peter, instead of coming with us tonight why don’t you stay home and rest.”  That would have been the Eros approach to protecting him, that’s how we operate.  We are not seeking their highest good we are seeking peace and usually status quo.

Instead, Jesus said, “Simon, Simon, Satan has desired you to sift you as wheat.”  Now, that hurts!  Imagine Peter’s thoughts, “Jesus, you always get so personal, and you say this in public.  This is supposed to be a night of celebration and you embarrass me like this.”  Peter’s inquiry must have been, “Ok Jesus, what are you, going to do about it?”  Jesus said, “I’ve prayed for you.”  Is That It? 

Then the Lord says, “Before the rooster crows….” Jesus leaves no question as to where Peter is headed.   He left Peter with no choices.  Remember, never once did Jesus “despise” or “reject” Peter.  Even after the entire ordeal, Jesus never brought it up.  He Agaped Him!  But He never protected him from his failures in the name of Love.  AGAPE submits to God’s plan not the plan of man.  We cannot change anyone’s life.  We cannot truly rescue anyone!  Only AGAPE can!

Psalms 49-7-9 – – “No man can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him.  For the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever.  That he should live eternally and not go down to the pit.”

Therefore, stop trying to “save” or “protect” them!  Stop trying to do something to make God save them.  Stop trying to twist God’s arm or manipulate them.  Leave it in the hands of the Lord.  When you manipulate, lie for, cover for, deny the truth, you come away feeling you didn’t do enough.  Truth – You Didn’t because You are not God! 

Trust that Love – AGAPE!  It is unconditional.  It is eternal.  It is free.  It is God’s choice.  It is not what we do or don’t do it is Who God Is!  It is vital that each of us “receive” AGAPE!  That we come to “know” that we are loved unconditionally.  At that point, we can minister AGAPE to others but not until then. 

You cannot give what you do not possess.  Otherwise, you will continue to try to find someone or something to fill that “hole inside.”  You will continue to try to be their savior.  You are not God!  So, resign and let God be God.  This will set you free if you will receive it.  You will be free to love.  You will be free from the need to perform.  You will truly be Free – Free At Last!

It is my genuine prayer that this has been beneficial in at least some small way and has opened the door for you to take another look at LOVE.  May the Lord lead you into AGAPE and enable you to minister out of AGAPE to others. 

May the blessings of the Lord be yours in all things!

DISCIPLINE vs. PUNISHMENT FROM THE LORD…


Proverbs 3:11-12 – “My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.” NASB

Isaiah 13:11 “Thus I will punish the world for its evil And the wicked for their iniquity; I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud And abase the haughtiness of the ruthless.” NASB

It is my opinion that far too many people in every aspect of life misunderstand the difference between discipline and punishment.  Too many people administer punishment where discipline is called for not realizing that discipline is designed to bring to repentance.  They fail to understand that punishment is the ultimate result of an offense of the rebellious that refuses to modify behavior, repent, and return to the correct path. 

Punishment is punitive whereas discipline is administered with reconciliation as the primary focus.  Hell is punishment!  Chastisement is discipline!  When my children were young my objective in what some called punishment and God called discipline was to shape their attitudes and behavior to bring them to the right path. 

The objective was to teach them the error of their ways and help them understand not only the consequences but the proper way.  It was to bring them to an understanding that their actions not only affected them, their parents but frequently other people as well.  It was to enable them to develop a solid foundation and moral base upon which to build their lives.

For the most part, our penal institutions are designed for punishment rather than discipline.  Most of our churches administer neither for fear of losing a member and not fully understanding either the authority of the church or the responsibility of the church in this area.  Too often, when the Lord disciplines us, we accuse Him of punishing us and develop a mentality of God as this Giant Ogre who is waiting for us to slip up just a little so He can whack us over the head. 

I remember as a child hearing the phrase when we were acting up, “God’s watching and He’s going to get you for that.”  God’s objective is not to get us for that but to reconcile us to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ the Righteous.  God is more interested in reconciliation than condemnation.  He is more interested in restoration than retribution.  God wants us to be Free and live in the “Peace that passes all understanding” not live in “Fear that is torment and paralyzes.”

Therefore, when the Lord disciplines you do not despise it, reject it, resist it, but embrace it, learn from it, and allow it to move you ever closer to His presence, person, and character.  You do not want to experience punishment those standing at the Great White Throne will know that.  Satan knows that.  The Angels that fell know that.  The demons know that. 

Know that God’s discipline is based on love with the desire to bring you to Him in a greater measure and a deeper relationship.  It is to teach you His character, His heart, His love, and His way.  Love is the basis of discipline.  You will experience it and it is important that you understand the difference between discipline and punishment.  It never means that God is through with you, it means He sees enough in you to continue to invest His time, energy, and effort to bring you into total conformity to His image.  It is a sign of His love!  Rejoice in it and be thankful.

May God richly bless you as you move past whatever obstacle is in your way and move toward the prize of the High Calling!

THE “IF” – “THEN” OF JESUS…


John 8:31-32 – “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.  32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” NKJV The NASU lists it as “… if you continue in My word….”  NIV – “…If you hold to My teachings…”  NLT – “…if you keep obeying my teachings….”

It is surprising how many times we fail to notice simple little phrases in what the Bible teaches and either ignore them to fit our doctrine or miss them because we are reading with a preconceived notion of what it should say or should mean.  Here is a most powerful statement by our Lord that contains an “if” or a Conditional Phrase. 

Jesus said to His followers regarding their relationship with Him that IF you Abide, “continue”, “obey”, or “continue obeying” my word, my doctrine, my teachings, my truth You are or Shall Be “My Disciples Indeed”.  Then He adds an addendum that is absolute without price in its value – – “You shall “know” the truth, and the truth shall “make you free”. 

Spiritual freedom comes through relationship and relationship comes through obedience to Him and His word.  That is inescapable!  The idea presented here is continued obedience, not one-time acceptance.  It is a maintained relationship not signing a membership card and paying regular dues like a club membership.  It is a personal relationship that is maintained through communication, communion, and commitment.  In too many ways and too many situations, we seem to have lost that and it’s time for the church and God’s people to return to their “First Love” and restore that relationship and commitment to the Lord of Lord and King of Kings!

May God bless you as you continue your brand-new week of opportunity in His service and Kingdom!  Blessings!

KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE GOAL…


Philippians 3:12-16 – “Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; 16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” NASB

 
There are two ways that one can go through life.  You can go through life looking forward, fixed on the prize, goal, or destination or you can constantly be looking back playing the “what if” game and wondering second-guessing, and questioning.  One way leads to an assured victory the other way has a great propensity for failure. 
 
Recently I sat with some old friends from my early days, and they began reminiscing about some of the antics that we pulled during our youth and for a brief moment, we all began to live those times again.  The laughter was there, the memories vivid, and even some of the feelings of those things came back when suddenly the Holy Spirit stopped me and reminded me of a passage that caused me to change the topic. 
 
He said, Luke 9:62 – “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” NASB Then He also spoke to my spirit, 2 Peter 2:22 – “…A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” NASB He asked me, “Do you want to reminisce on sinful things and possibly create a longing to go back, or do you want to keep your eye on the ultimate prize in Me?”
 
The answer was obvious!  The things we were reminiscing about involved drinking and mischief.  They were times of our youth when we were young, wild, and free (so to speak).  We were invincible and 10 feet tall and bulletproof!  We danced to our own drummer and resisted and rebelled against the status quo and were constantly stepping outside the acceptable into those things that would cause raised eyebrows among the older generation. 
 
Most just called that period “sowing wild oats” but it was not a spiritually positive time of my life and not something that I wanted to get back into my mind or spirit.  So as gently and inoffensive as I could I moved the subject to some of the times when we were more in step with what was considered normal and acceptable and began to tell how my life changed after Vietnam and I came to know the Lord. 
 
The reminiscing about times when we were heading down paths that were not spiritually productive became a time of deep introspection and reflection on how our lives had changed and mostly for the better over the years as we had grown and matured.  Each of us confessed that we would be very disturbed had our children done the same things we did.
 
It is important to keep your eye on the goal.  If you don’t know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?  If you don’t know your objective how will you know when you have achieved it?  If you don’t know what is required how will you know what to do to be prepared? 
 
Focus, in everything, is important but in spiritual things it is critical.  We Must keep our “Eyes on Jesus” lest we turn aside and become sidetracked and lose our way.  He will walk beside us, provide the Holy Spirit to be our very efficient and capable guide through this maze called life and lead us to that Higher Calling and enable us to Attain the Prize of the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus!  So my dear friend, don’t let the little issues sidetrack you.
 
May God bless you as you go through your day in Him!  Blessings!

THE LORD IS…


Psalms 23:1-6 – “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” NKJV

Some time back I was troubled in my spirit most of the night, some of it was from physical pain but most of it was in my spirit, and could not sleep.  I arose and spent some time in prayer and meditating before beginning my day.  As I mused on the Lord, He began to speak to me about Psalm 23 and this is what I heard in my spirit:

  1. THE LORD IS…   Not has “is”.  Not does “is’.  Not might be “is”.  The Lord IS “my” shepherd.  He is the one watching over my soul and caring for me.  No other person, power, or entity – THE LORD!  I’ve heard people say for all my life, “Well you’ve got to look out for old number one, meaning themselves.”  My take, since becoming a Christian is that “old number one” is THE LORD and He is to be sought above and before everything else including self, family, church, job, relationship, etc.  HE IS!
  • BECAUSE HE IS…  I shall not be in Lack!  He is my provider and as David declared in Psalms 37:25-26 – “I have been young, and now am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. 26 He is ever merciful and lends, and his descendants are blessed.” NKJV

Paul echoed that sentiment in Philippians 4:19-20 – “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.” NKJV Jesus confirmed this in Matthew 7:7-9 – “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” NKJV Therefore, if He Is then among the things He Is, is “my supply.”

  • THE PROCESS OF HIS CARE AND KEEPING…
  • Causes me to rest in Green (plenteous) Pastures.
  • Directs me to Still (refreshing) waters for nourishment to quench my thirst, spiritually, physically, and emotionally.
  • Guides me in Righteous Paths.
  • Guards Me against all enemies (Foreign and Domestic or External and Internal).
  • Even in the Face of Death, He gives a Calm Assurance.
  • He provides not only Grace but the Anointing to accomplish His purposes.
  • I walk the Abundant Life filled with His Goodness & His Mercy.
  • I spend my entire days with my Permanent Residence in His Presence.

That is the picture of what it is like to serve The God Who Is!  It is the picture of the Normal Christian Life!  Most think it is the abnormal and unusual Christian Life that I have described but according to the Bible, it is the Norman Christian Life serving The God Who Is!  Therefore, I urge you to allow the Holy Spirit to immerse you into that life today and learn to live in His Abundant Life and Presence daily.

Blessings as you enter your day on the rest of your journey! 

THE OLD RUGGED CROSS MADE THE DIFFERENCE…


Galatians 2:20-21 – “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly.” NASB
 
I can go through my memory banks and recall a number of things that dramatically impacted my life, my thinking, my attitude, and my way of living but I can think of none that have impacted me more than THE CROSS! 
 
The Cross is more than a symbol to me it is the beginning point of my “spiritual walk” with Christ.  It is the beginning point of life for me.  When Jesus hung on the cross and cried “It is finished” in John 19:30 that signified that He had done all that was, required to satisfy Divine Justice and had reclaimed the birthright of humanity from the devil. 
 
He had paid the Full Penalty for Sin and now through His shed blood on the Cross would open the door for “whosoever will” to come from darkness into the light, from sin to salvation, from bondage to freedom.  He paid a debt He did not owe so that I could go free, pardoned of my sin!  The Cross is a treasure!  Paul identified its value in 1 Corinthians 1:18 when he declared: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”  NKJV
 
The writer of Hebrews tells us:  Hebrews 9:22 – “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” NKJV. At the Cross, the debt was paid in full by the precious blood of the Lamb of God.  At the altar, we gain access to the pardon that was purchased there.  As we allow Christ to live in our hearts and live His life through us, we walk in liberty and freedom that the world cannot comprehend nor imagine.  No wonder Hebrews declares: “A how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”  Hebrews 2:3 NASB
 
It is the cry of my heart to walk in the fullness of Him who loved me and learn to live as Paul described:  Philippians 3:10-11 – “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 so that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” NASB Nothing less will suffice.  Nothing less will satisfy.  Nothing less will enable us to see this world transformed by His Grace!  Truly, the Old Rugged Cross made a difference in my life and for it, I am eternally grateful.
 
May God bless you richly as you conclude your week and get ready to enjoy a long weekend!  Blessings abundantly, be safe!

WHAT IS PERFECT PEACE?


Isaiah 26:3-4 – “The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, Because he trusts in You. 4 ” Trust in the LORD forever, For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” NASB

In considering this passage I find it interesting to look at the Hebrew “in perfect peace” [Shaalowm] = “peace, peace” i.e. – {peace upon peace -all kinds of prosperity-happiness in this world and the world to come.”  It depicts the ultimate of peace, calmness of the mind, body, soul, and spirit.  It is an absolute steadfast assurance.  It is a rock-solid ability to stand in the face of anything and everything. 

It is more than being steadfast it is being concreted in with a sure foundation.  It is something that will weather all the storms of life.  Perfect Peace!  How many have known this type of peace for more than brief moments in their lives?

Of course, there is a key to having this peace:

  1. You must have a Steadfast Mind.  Your mind cannot be fixed on the Lord, seeking Him first at one moment and in fret-land and worry city the next.  You must be consistent, constant, continual, committed, and consecrated.  You must become like Jesus when His face was set like a flint determined that He would move on to the next point of mission and ministry.  There must be a fixation of the heart and mind upon the Lord.  “Seek first the Kingdom…. Seek second the Kingdom… Seek third the Kingdom…. But seek the Kingdom of God.”
  2. You must Trust Him.  Not a mental assent and a verbal assertion that you trust Him but a demonstrated life that says, “God is my source, my strength, my sustenance, my life, my foundation, my core.”  Without Him, I can do nothing, but through Him, I can do all things.  If He says it, I believe it and it is forever settled in my heart, mind, spirit, and soul.  He does not, cannot, and will not lie, therefore Case Closed! 
  3. Remember that our God is an Everlasting Rock.  Nothing can move Him, overcome Him, defeat Him, change Him, or usurp His authority or power.  He Is GOD!  He is “I AM, THAT I AM!”

In considering this passage last night and this morning as I prayed my heart began to cry out and say, “Lord, I’ve known that place and I want to make my “permanent dwelling in that place in you.”  I don’t know what it will take but it is the passion of my heart.  I want to be a living epistle, known and read among men demonstrating you!  Therefore, I set my heart to attaining Perfect Peace all the time!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  May the Lord bless you as you see your week wind down and the weekend looming on the horizon!  May the richest and best of the blessings of the Lord overflow into your lives on this and every day!