DON’T LET YOUR LIST OF RULES SEPARATE YOU FROM CHRIST…


Galatians 5:4 – “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”  NASB

Contrary to the opinion of some, you cannot earn your salvation.  I appreciate the desire to live holy, it is my desire as well.  The Bible makes it clear that holiness is God’s desire too. Well, it is more than a desire it is His requirement. (1 Peter 1:16; Leviticus 11:45, etc.).  In Hebrews 12:14 we read, “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the LORD.”            

Purity is a big deal to God because He is Pure and has made the provision to enable us to live lives of consecration to Him.  Jesus made a statement in Matthew 5 that always causes me to meditate upon and examine my own heart and life.  He said in Matthew 5:20, “For I say to you that unless your righteousness far surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

I am concerned that sometimes, we believers, gravitate to legalism, and as did the Pharisees and develop our list of rules to demonstrate our holiness, righteousness, and purity through what we do.  If we trust our rules, our lists, and our prescribed way of living avoiding all the listed taboos and doing all the prescribed things we will move outside of God’s Grace to our own strength.  That will prove to be a colossal failure and incredible disappointment.

I was once a Pharisee of Pharisees!  I was not that way when I first became a Christian, but after a few years of ministry and the influence of some sectarian legalists, I became one.  I was miserable and made people around me miserable.  I judged everyone by their outward appearance and actions more than I sought to know their hearts.  I hung out the clothesline and took in the wash in many of my sermons.  I became quite adept at identifying all the wrongs and failed to mention all the right.  I saw few saved and had one church member tell me, “Pastor, nobody here today was lost but you made us all feel like the vilest of sinners.”

I am not shy about calling sin what it is, but many years ago, the Lord took me to the spiritual woodshed and changed my way of thinking about many things.  No, I did not abandon my core convictions and foundational beliefs.  Let me give you one example of my legalism and hypocrisy that the LORD spanked me good over.  I preached that it was a sin to work on Sunday.  Imagine that!  Yet, I would go out to lunch after service.  The Holy Spirit challenged me and asked, “If you believe it is a sin to work on Sunday, why do you create a need for someone to engage in what you are calling a sin?”  He then called me a hypocrite and I realized that I was.

I had a list of things that a Christian could not do.  I had a non-churchgoing man in my community invite me to do several things that were on my list and I told him no because it would violate my faith.  After he attempted to include me about a dozen times and I refused each time, he said, “What can you do other than eat and sleep?”  I had attempted to witness to him, and he visited the church on a couple of occasions.  After one service he asked, “Preacher, I have been here a couple of times and I know what you don’t believe, what do you believe?”  That was all the Holy Spirit needed to get my attention.

I believe, as the declaration of 2 Corinthians 6:17 states, we are to come out from among them and be separate.  However, I believe that does not mean isolation from the world it means to become insulated by the peace of God and live in such a manner that God’s love is demonstrated.  Jesus said that we are to be the light of the world.  He said that we are to be salt and light.  I am convinced that God intends for believers to influence their surroundings and world rather than to be influenced by the world.  We are to be agents of change and advocates for the Kingdom of God.

For years, my focus has been on the Love, Grace, Mercy, and Peace of God.  I am a strong advocate of Covenant Relationships and believe that God is a Covenant making and Covenant keeping God.  I have ceased trying to clean the fish before I catch them.  I have learned that God can change behavior to His liking in a moment whereas I may coerce the desired behavior, but the heart has not been changed. 

Holiness and Righteousness are not a list of rules kept but a condition of the heart.  The Pharisees kept the rules, but their hearts were far from God.  God’s desire is for us to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  If our hearts are right our behavior will become right and we will not need a list of rules.

Someone asked what can you do?   I usually say, “Anything I want, but there are some things I don’t want to do because I know they would not reflect properly on God and would disappoint Him.”  I want the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart to be pleasing and acceptable to the Father.  I want to be light that draws to Him!

God bless you as you walk in His peace and allow Him to be Who He is through you!

DO WE REALLY BELIEVE THE BIBLE???


Psalm 55:22 – “Cast your burden on the LORD, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”  NKJV

David said in Psalm 37:25 – “I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread.”  In verse 24 In speaking of the righteous he said, “Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”  I do not believe there is any conflict in the three passages cited here or in the remainder of the biblical message. 

Is this a guarantee that we will not have problems or that we could not as Paul described in 1 Corinthians 9:27 become a ‘castaway’ or ‘disqualified‘?  Is this a guarantee that we will not or cannot as described in Hebrews 10:35 – “…cast away our confidence…”?  Is it a compilation of the promise in Romans 8:28 that “all things” are working together for our good?  I believe, strongly, that God has promised to keep us against that day, and nothing can separate us from His love. 

I am very aware that circumstances, conditions, events, and assaults on our lives can bring us to the brink of despair that God has promised to never leave us nor forsake us.  I also believe that this is descriptive that IF we ‘cast our burden on the LORD’ He will sustain us.  Do you see one small caveat or possible problem here?

The instruction is to cast our burden(s) on the LORD and that is a requirement for the remainder of the promise.  If we refuse to gather under the shelter of his wings as Psalm 91 describes and we trust the Arm of flesh rather than coming to him, taking His yoke upon us and allowing Him to be supreme in our lives we place ourselves outside the scope of the promise of the second portion of the verse.  But if we do Cast our burdens on Him then we are assured that He will not permit us to be moved!  That is a powerful promise!

Therefore, If we believe the Bible then would that not be an encouragement for each of us to be obedient in casting our burdens on the LORD?  In my humble opinion, If one believes that by turning to the LORD, rolling our cares on Him, and allowing Him to engineer the course of our lives according to His plan would afford security, safety, and victory what sense would it make to not do so?  The only reason we would not is that we do not truly believe the Bible, nor do we truly trust God’s promise.  I know that is a bit harsh and strongly stated but examine it before rejecting it.

When I consider the life of David, I can readily understand how he would have developed a mentality of trust toward the LORD.  God repeatedly demonstrated His faithfulness to David and David either trusted or repented for failure and ran to the LORD.  Most of us, if not all of us, have experienced God’s faithfulness.  I know that in the times I have truly cast my burden(s) on Him He has proved His Promises!  It did not always transpire as I thought it should or even in the time frame, I had in mind, but God Never Failed and He Never Will!

May God be with you as you go through this day!

TWO KINDS OF SORROW…


2 Corinthians 7:10 – “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”  NASB

The idea of sorrow is anathema to the world.  Most people seek to avoid sorrow like it was the Black Plague.  Many seek to drown sorrow with stimulants such as alcohol, drugs, busyness, work, music, revelry, therapists, and even medication.  Sorrow is considered counterproductive to life and happiness therefore it is deemed a condition to be avoided at all costs.

Yet, Paul speaks of sorrow that is according to the will of God.  He speaks of a type of sorrow that produces repentance without regret leading to salvation.  Contrastingly he identifies a sorrow that should be avoided, worldly sorrow which leads to death.  It may be the death of hope or dreams.  It could result in physical death but assuredly produces spiritual death.  The mantra of much of the world and many in the church is, “If it makes me sad, it must be bad!”

Can there be a benefit in sorrow?  It is clear from the text we have chosen the answer is, Yes!  Paul wrote a letter to the Corinthian church identifying issues and problems in the body and it initially caused them sorrow, yet he declared he did not regret it. Why?  Why would make other people unhappy and sorrowful not produce a sense of guilt or regret in the one causing that pain?  Simply, it brought them to repentance and that was the purpose of God.  He could rejoice in their temporary sorrow because it led them to the light and freedom.

What is repentance?  One of the most common definitions is a change of mind.  That is a literal, etymological definition of the Greed word for repentance: meta (change) and neo (to think).  But it is far more than an intellectual activity or simply a condition of the mind.  It involves a change of the heart.  The mind that is to be changed is the inner consciousness of the whole person.  Frequently the Bible uses the heart and the mind interchangeably.

Repentance begins with a recognition of the sin and in that it involves the intellect.  The truly repentant person is moved by their sin and broken hearted.  It is more than having the mindset, “Oh, I broke the law of God again.  Sorry, God.  So glad you are gracious!”  No, no, ten thousand times no!  If one is truly repentant, they are broken hearted because they have missed the mark and failed God in that matter.  They are broken hearted that they disappointed the Creator.  They are sorrowful that they have not lived up to the purposes of God.  That leads them to repentance and reception of God’s Grace and the rejoicing of being forgiven.  They then set their goal and heart to not sin again.

Worldly sorrow, on the other hand, is not usually beneficial.  Those who genuinely repent will have sorrow over their sin.  Some equate sorrow and tears with repentance.  Sadly, there are times when the tears and sorrow or from the shame or embarrassment of being exposed and the fear of punishment not because they failed God.  Worldly sorrow is fundamentally self-centered.  It is rooted in the pain that their sin causes to themselves rather than the offense and the dishonor it brings to God.

Some who have worldly sorrow are frequently defensive about their sin.  They attempt to excuse it or justify it or lessen it.  Godly sorrow will always cause a person to own their sin and offer no excuses.  One example in the Bible of worldly sorrow is Judas.  He felt remorse for betraying Jesus, returned the thirty pieces of silver, and confessed, “I have sinned betraying innocent blood.” 

At that juncture, the actions of Judas are virtually indistinguishable from genuine repentance.  He confessed his sin, felt remorse over it, and changed his course.  But his next acts reveal that he was following worldly not godly sorrow.  He went to the chief priests and elders and they refused to take back the money.  He threw the money into the temple and left. Then, he did something that revealed his sorrow did not lead to genuine repentance and salvation.  He went and hanged himself.

If Judas had been mourning over the offenses he had committed against the Son of God and his grief was God-centered his response would have been much different.  He had walked with Jesus for three years.  He knew that he could find forgiveness and restoration in Christ.  He knew that Jesus had come to die for liars and traitors just like him.  He knew that forgiveness was available to whosoever would abandon their sin and place their faith and trust in Jesus.

That does not appear to be his concern.  His grief looks as though it was fundamentally self-centered.  He could not bear his shame, the humiliation, and embarrassment for having betrayed Jesus.  Rather than swallowing his pride and going to Jesus for forgiveness, he sought to atone for his sin through his suicide.  Worldly sorrow produced death.

If you have sinned, we all have, then allow the Holy Spirit to bring conviction to your heart, own your sin and repent.  If you do, God has promised to forgive you and promised He would reject no person that came in genuine repentance.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Jesus!

YOU CAN’T UNLIVE LIFE…..


Ecclesiastes 11:3b – “…and whether a tree falls toward the south or toward the north, wherever the tree falls, there it lies.” NASB

I do not like to take portions of verses to build a truth upon but make an exception here because I want to utilize the imagery and idea rather than the overall context.  If you remember what Pilate said regarding the inscription over Jesus on the Cross – “What I have written I have written.”  He spoke of the finality of his words and in reality, we cannot Unlive Life any more than we can recall words that we have spoken.  The life that we are now living is unchangeable in the sense that we cannot undo it so that it never happened.  We can, however, have our past wiped clean by the Blood of Jesus and the Grace of God and be transformed from darkness into light.

A tree, as the write of Ecclesiastes said, cannot alter where it falls. Once a deed is done, a word spoken, or a life lived it cannot be changed.  It is only while we are living that we can alter the eternal destiny and destination of our souls.  We are told in Scripture that each of us has a date with death and after that, we will be judged by the Almighty God for our lives here on planet earth.  It is not just important but imperative that we take care of the eternal business of our souls today for we do not have any promise of a tomorrow.  All of us are aware of someone who was here one minute and then gone in an instant without warning.  Life is like a vapor that appears for a time then is gone so no wonder the Bible declares that ‘Today is the Day of Salvation!’

Some who are living their lives as if someday and somehow they will be able to unlive those lives.  They live as though they are invincible.  They take little care in how they speak to or treat others and focus their energies upon whatever moves them at the moment.  It is all about me or them and some have even told me that “before I die, I will get it all straight.”  My normal response is, “I hope so!” 

That being said, my heart says, “I doubt it.”  I told my sons, ‘The type of girls you date will be the type of girl you marry and the kind of boy you are is the kind of husband you will be.’  I tried to teach them that it is a two-way street and that you are more likely to become like those you associate with than changing them into something else so carefully choose your friends and dating partners. 

We all make mistakes and most of us learn quickly that once the gate is open and the cows are out it is far more difficult to put them back in than to have kept them in, to begin with.  So, while we are living life, we should live it with a view of eternity and in so doing we will live in such a manner as to have no regrets and not have things we would like to unlive.

Today is the day of Salvation, now is the accepted time!  I urge you to evaluate your life and take any areas of deficiency to the Lord and allow Him to transform’ you

May God be with you as you go through your day!

AS GOOD AS THE NEXT FELLOW…


Proverbs 20:6 – “Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?”  NKJV

Through the years I have met people who, when asked about their relationship with Christ, declared I am a good person.  They usually tell me what they do not do, some tell me about their acts of benevolence, civic contributions, or something of the kind.  Others will tell me that they go to church regularly and others relatively regularly. 

I have found this passage to be incredibly reflective of how many people view themselves. Basically good or as good as the next fellow.  I recall one occasion when the person who said this, was a regular in church but had a propensity to hit the nightspots and cavort with the ladies while his wife and children remained at home.  He made little secret of his lifestyle but because he considered himself “as good as the next fellow” he felt little reason to change. 

In the many conversations with this individual, he would point out the flaws in other people in the community, the church, and especially those in leadership.  He mostly compared apples with turnips but nonetheless, it was his justification for allowing his conscience to become calloused guarding against conviction.  I understood his argument for I too held those views at one time. 

The rural church I grew up in had flawed people (as do all churches) and I wrongly determined that if some of those people were going to heaven God could not send me to hell for I was “as good as the next fellow”.  I went to Vietnam with that mindset.  It was terribly wrong, but it was the view I adopted because it allowed me to not deal with the pricks of the Holy Spirit.

I had occasions to talk to this individual and in the course of one conversation the account in Mark 10 came up. I read to him the words of Jesus when He was called “Good teacher or Good master” and Jesus stopped the individual and said, “Why are you calling me good?  No one is good except God alone.”  The man was shocked and I continued the account of how this rich individual had proclaimed his personal goodness when Jesus told Him to keep the commandments.  Jesus then informed the rich young man that he still came up short and this individual was a captive audience at that point.  I read to him the words of Jesus, “One thing you lack, go, sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. THEN come, follow me.”  The ruler was heartbroken and turned away because his possessions held his heart and his personal goodness was insufficient to save him. 

While many, if not most of us, would like to compare ourselves with others and declare that we are “as good as the next fellow” if we are honest, we know that is a flawed view. Salvation is never earned. It is by Grace through Faith.  God does not measure my life against your life, but His standard is Himself, the Lord Jesus, and His Holy Word.  In that light, everyone knows we have been weighed in the balance and found wanting.  If we understand the standard, we know all have sinned and come short of God’s glory.  If we understand the standard, we know that the invitation of Jesus to “Come unto Me” is our only Hope of Salvation!

May God be with you as you go through this day!

THE AWESOMENESS OF GOD…


Genesis 15:1 – “After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great.”  NASB

I thought about calling this The Bible’s Three Step Program but decided to leave it as the “Awesomeness of God” because He is, and the elements listed here reveal that awesomeness powerfully. 

Let’s take this one step at a time or one element at a time and see if we find comfort and encouragement in this passage.  Since I believe the Bible in Galatians that the Blessings of Abraham belong to the believer, I can take this passage and make it personal and mine.  If you are in step with me, I believe it will be powerful for you.

THE DIRECTIVE – – “Do not Fear.”

God came to Abram in a vision and the first thing that He said was, “Do not Fear!”  I have discovered in my walk with God that anytime He says, I am about to encounter something that could, should, and would make me very afraid.  The potential for disaster and danger is always present.  It may be an encounter with the forces of darkness or with man but there is something that would lend to being fearful. 

God’s directive was “Don’t Do It, don’t be afraid!”

THE PROVISION – – “I am a Shield to You.”

That doubles my concern about what is about to transpire, because if I need a shield to protect me from that which I am not to face and that shield is God Himself, it must be incredibly daunting.  But it is also incredibly comforting for God to say, “I (Jehovah God) am a Shield to You!” 

The Bible tells us in Romans 8:31 that if God is for us, who can be against us?  I like to rephrase it and say, “If God is for me, what difference does it make who is against me.”  God is a majority no matter how many are in the hordes that seek my destruction or hurt.  Someone said, “God and me, make a majority.”  I say, “Nope!  God is a majority with or without me, but He allows me to tag along and watch His stuff.”

I immediately think of the promise and provision found in Psalm 91 and take heart that I have nothing now to fear because God is a wall of fire about me.  I do not have to be afraid of the terror by day or night.  I do not have to be afraid of the multitudes who seek my destruction.  I know that I have the angelic hosts of God assigned to keep me safe.  I can rest in the comfort that I am in Him and in Him I am safe.  He is my shelter in the time of storm.  He is my shield therefore for anything to touch me it has to go through Him.  Fear then is laid to rest.

THE PROMISE – – “Your Reward will be Very Great.” 

Not just Great but Very Great!  The reward of not allow fear to shipwreck my obedience will be very great.  The reward for having God as my Shield will be very great.  I immediately think of the words of our Lord in Luke 12:32 – “Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s GOOD PLEASURE to give you the kingdom.”  (Emphasis mine). 

When I consider the vastness and comprehensiveness of the Blessings of Abraham I am elated.  I think back to the declaration of Galatians 3:29 – “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.”   We are heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus, and the Blessings of Abraham are ours through faith.

Jesus totally defeated the devil at the Cross and in the Resurrection and He is in us, with us, and we are in Him.  We are more than conquerors through Jesus and the Power of the Holy Spirit.

CONCLUSION:       

We have no reason to fear because God’s word never fails.  We have no reason to fear because the devil is defeated.  We have no reason to fear because His angels are encamped round about us.  We have no reason to fear because God is our Shield, our Defense, our Protection, and our Provision.  We are invited and encouraged to live every day in the Awesomeness of God!           

I pray that this day and every day will be a day of blessing and victory for you!      

WE MAJOR ON MINORS and MINOR ON MAJORS…


Acts 1:7-8 – “He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; 8 but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”  NASB

Let me say, at the beginning, I am not talking about the Minor Prophets in the Bible.  I am intrigued by many eschatological theories advanced in Christians circles.  However, if I understand this and other related passages of the Bible it is possible and even counterproductive to focus on Eschatology to the neglect of the Power of the Holy Spirit and the present work of God in the earth. 

Our mission is not to understand the times or epochs, getting all the prophetic ducks in a row, and know what is going to happen or when.  Our mission is to take the gospel of the Kingdom to the world and reap the harvest.  If that makes me sound like an Evangelist, I can live with that.  I love to teach and preach the word of God. I love seeing people developed and grow in the Grace of God, discover their gifts and calling, and mature in the faith.  I also love to see a person born into the kingdom and rejoice as do the angels when that transpires.

I have friends and acquaintances who spend all their time studying the Books of Revelation, Daniel, Ezekiel and Jeremiah and are so consumed with knowing who the ‘Man of Sin’ or the Anti-Christ is they neglect the manifestation of the Spirit of God.  They are focused on the “Man of Sin” and forget about the “Sin of Man.”  It is tragic when we make knowledge our focus rather than the demonstration of the Power of God that transforms souls and delivers from the darkness.

Let me give you the Roy paraphrase of what Jesus said.  I did not say translation but paraphrase.  Let me put it in my East Texas vernacular and way of stating it.  He said, “Fellows, knowing what is going to happen and when it is going to happen is not your assignment.  That belongs to the Father and He has it all worked out perfectly and does not require your help.  What you need to focus on is receiving the power of the Holy Spirit that I am going to send back when I get to heaven.  Once you receive that anointing you will have the ability to be my witness here at home, in the surrounding regions, and to the ends of the earth.” 

Jesus said in Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a witness to all the nations, and then the end shall come.”  Paul declared to the Church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 2:4 that his message was not simply with persuasive words of man’s wisdom, not oratorical ability but in demonstration of the Holy Spirit and Power. 

Some contend that the miracles were needed to establish the church and those signs, wonders and gifts have ceased.  I suggest that if the Power of the Spirit of God once attracted the attention of people, drew them to Christ, and confirmed the gospel it still does.  We need the energy, strength, and power of the Holy Spirit to live daily and to witness effectively for Christ.  When God demonstrates His power and authority over the forces of darkness it gets people’s attention far more than oratorical discourse.

It may be captivating for the human mind and curiosity to present theories as to who the Man of Sin is when he is going to show up, and what is next on God’s Prophetic Calendar, but it does not transform the soul.  I am not opposed to studying Eschatology, in fact, I encourage it!  But I am far more interested in the result of the prayer Jesus directed in Matthew 6:9-13.  The prayer we call The Lord’s Prayer.  If the Kingdom or the Rule and Reign of God is manifest, and His will is done on this earth that will result in an incredible harvest of souls.  I’ve been praying for the LORD to enable me to win a million souls to Him in my life. 

God bless you as you receive His Power and fulfill His Purpose for your life.

SEX CHANGES – Transgender and God…


Psalm 139:13-16“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.  15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.  And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.”  NKJV

I am troubled with the hoopla over people like Bruce Jenner and others.  He decided he was truly a woman and went through the extensive effort to become a woman.  Truthfully, no man can become a woman and no woman can become a man.  The chromosomes remain the same before and after any operations.  I heard a psychologist say that people who engage in this behavior have a mental health issue and I would not argue that.  This whole “transgender” fervor and the overt and covert declarations that God blew it in creating people troubles me deeply.

The question I have, and until now have given almost zero thought to is:  “What will people like Bruce or Caitlynn Jenner say to God when they stand before Him?”  Will they tell God He blew it?  Obviously, they believe He did so how do we square this type of behavior with the Bible?

David declared in Psalm 139 that man is “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that God knew our members, parts, gender, etc. before we were even conceived.  If we believe that God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent how do we reconcile the suggestion that He screwed up in creating us?   Bill Gothard said years ago that those particular physical characteristics in each of us were marks of ownership and a recognition that God did not make mistakes. 

I guess if we pressed this to the limit, we would have to question other cosmetic attempts to fix what God created in our human bodies.  Honestly, I do not know how to answer those questions, although I have an opinion, I have not thought, researched, and prayed it through to the place of having a core conviction regarding it.  I know in my own heart that I am a Creation of God and God is Perfect!   I have to believe that He knew what he was doing in creating me.  He made me a male, gave me the particular physical traits that I have, and since He knows the end from the beginning, I would be inclined to believe that He did it for a reason. 

I was not created 6’5″ with six-pack abs and each of us have likely, from time to time, questioned why some part of our bodies were created as they were.  Personally, in my one life and body, I understand some of them and others I simply accept.  Why are some members of the same family able to dip into the gene pool and have a full head of hair and others given to male pattern baldness?  There are so many physical traits that we could delve into but if we accept what God has created and focus on Him, not some perceived deficiency in us we will be ahead in the game of life. 

I am convinced that if I lament the abundance or lack in a particular aspect of my physical frame, I will open the door to the devil to create an unhealthy condition in my heart.  I will become prone to question God in all things, not just those particular things.  I will miss the reality and truth that I am ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ and my frame is His design as is my gender.

I would not have the audacity or courage to stand before God and say, “Sorry Father, but you blew it when you created me.”  We are told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit and if we do not like the temple can that spill over into not liking the architect of the temple?

I find myself looking at this matter and although I probably won’t give it a lot of time. I sense that we are going to be dealing with people in church and life who have questions that we need to have answers for. I would ask that you examine your heart, God’s Word, and prepare to give answers to those who challenge and honestly inquire.  We are to be ready to give an answer to every man for the reason of the hope that is in us.  Know what you believe and why?

God bless you!

THE GREATEST RIGHT OF ALL RIGHTS…


John 1:12-13 – “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”  NASB

I have often read this passage and wondered at the wording.  In the KJV it is rendered ‘power’ but in the margin, it is reflected as ‘right or privilege’ to become the sons of God.  The word translated power, privilege, or right is the Greek word (exosuia).  In a very real sense, it is ability.  It reflects the privilege of becoming.  It reveals the capacity to become.  It describes potential, authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, and strength.

Therefore, receiving Jesus and believing on and in Him opens the door to the Greatest Right or Privilege man could ever experience, becoming children of God.  In today’s world, people talk about their rights.  I even hear preachers and Christians talking about their rights in God and speak as if God is obligated to do whatever they tell Him if they say it in faith. 

I am not trying to negate faith or even positive declaration of God’s Promises.  I am simply focusing on the Greatest Right of all Rights and that is being born again or becoming Children of God. 

Let me address salvation from the perspective of rights.  What does it mean to become a Child of God, born again, a member of the family of God, and an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus?  When we are members of the family of God, we have the right to live without fear.  We have the right to anticipate eternity in heaven.  We have a right to expect God’s angelic hosts to back up us when we encounter evil.  We have the right to come boldly into the presence of God because He invited us and extended that right to us.

We have the right to be called the Children of God!  Most of us have encountered situations in life where who a person is (family lineage), affords them privileges that others do not have.  In the military, we had the saying, “Rank has its privilege.”  As believers, we are afforded the Right to use the Name above all Names, Jesus.  We are extended the right, authority, power, and privilege to use His Name against the powers of darkness.

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus said, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”  How much authority?  ALL AUTHORITY!  How much does ALL cover?  It covers everything!  Therefore, if Jesus has ALL Authority in heaven and on earth then his next words are powerfully important in connection with our Right, Privilege, Authority, and Power to become Children of God.  As Children of God, we are the target of His words in Matthew 28:19-20, based on His Authority He instructed us, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Our Right in believing extends to the exercise and use of His Authority that is ALL Authority.  In Ephesians 2 we discover that as Children of God, Born Again Believers verse 6 reveals something incredible and powerful.  It says that He has, “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places…”  Wow!  In 1 John 4:17, we are informed that “…as He is (not will be but is), so are we in this world.”  That is the here and now not when we get to heaven in the sweet by and by.  We are, because of who we are and who He is, more than conquerors through Jesus!

The only Right that matters or the greatest Right any human can have is the Right, Privilege, Authority, or Power to become Children of God.  That relationship, position, and condition affords us privileges and authority beyond what most believers believe.  Whatever Jesus was, He is.  Therefore, if we are like Him and seated with Him now, then what He was, is, and will be, we are through Him.  Let’s start acting like God is telling the truth. It is all conditioned upon repentance, faith, and obedience.

God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Jesus!

WHERE IS YOUR FAITH?


Luke 8:22-25 – “Now it came about on one of those days, that He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” And they launched out. 23 But as they were sailing along, He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. 24 And they came to Him and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. 25 And He said to them, “Where is your faith?” And they were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, “Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”  NASB

Jesus’ question in verse 25 is important and interesting.  He asked, “Where is your faith?”  This was not a question of existence of faith as much as it was the location of faith .  It was a matter of trust. Jesus had said, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.”  That alone should have been sufficient as it revealed the desire of the Master.  Their faith was challenged when the the elements, natural elements, impeded their progress. 

The disciples woke Jesus up and said, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  Jesus awakened and took immediate action calming the storm.  Then He turned to them and said, “Where is your faith?”  His question was both location and existence.  His inference was that their faith was in what they could see more than what He had said. It was also a question of the existence of faith. 

Where is it was His question. He spoke in light of the fact that had it been with Him and had faith been present in them, they could and should have spoken to the winds and waves and not been fearful of dying?  Where, in the sense of what they were focused on. His question caused them to look in the mirror of their hearts and ask, “What do we trust the most, what we can see or what He has said?” 

 We all encounter situations in life where the question could and should be asked, “Where is your faith?”  Where in the sense of location and where in the sense of existence.  I am reminded of the words of the wise man in Ecclesiastes 11:4, “He that watches the wind will not sow and he who looks at the clouds will not reap.”  If we allow what we see and hear become a more powerful determiner in our lives than what God says, we will be as the disciples, fearful of life and filled with doubt.  We will need the Savior to rescue us.

Rescue is not the demonstration of the Kingdom of God nor what Jesus has commissioned and authorized for us.  He has authority over all the power of the enemy and has given us His authority.  His finished work on the Cross totally defeated the devil and triumphed over him.  We are seated with Jesus in the heavenly places.  We have been given the Power of the Holy Spirit to pull down strongholds, bind the strongman, and loose the dynamics of the Kingdom in this world.  Therefore, the appropriate question for each of us to ask is, “Where is Our Faith?”

Jesus came and operated as man empowered by the Holy Spirit.  If He did all He did as God, then I am impressed but do not feel the compulsion or commission to emulate Him.  If He did what He did as man anointed with the Holy Spirit and our example, then what He did I am to do.  We dare not forget the words of our LORD in John 14:12-18 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father. 13 “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. 16 “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” NASB

Therefore, I ask, “Where Is Your Faith?”  I also urge me and you to commit ourselves to seek Him first and foremost.  I ask, “If Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever and if the Word of God always accomplishes that which He sends it to do, Why Not Now? Why Not Us?”

Lord, help us to place our faith in You and Your Words not what we see, feel, think, or experience in the natural if those things are contradictory to what You have said.  Let our Faith by in You and Your Promises.

God bless you as you enjoy this day in Him!