HAVE YOU CONSIDERED HOW GOD USED AN EVIL RULER TO FULFILL PROPHECY?


Luke 2:1-3 –“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.” NKJV

The prophets of old had declared that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and had not Augustus, an evil tyrant, made his decree, Mary & Joseph would not have been there where Jesus would be born in fulfillment of the prophetic word. 

Isn’t it amazing how God will use the base things of this life to achieve His purposes?  While I never applaud evil governments or tyrants, I applaud this event in that it helped facilitate the purposes of God, and we would have a day that we would come to celebrate as Christmas in honor of the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ the Savior!

I do not know what was going on in the hearts of Mary and Joseph that night as the time of delivery neared.  I know the Bible tells us that Mary pondered things in her heart regarding this child and the words of the Angel from God. 

So, as we stand on the Eve of the day that we have set aside to celebrate the birth of our Messiah, let us allow the anticipation and excitement that heaven must have had to flood our hearts and, on the morrow, when we gather around the tree or whatever your custom is considered the “Reason for the Season.” 

I have had people tell me, “Christmas is for kids.”  But I beg to differ; it is for mankind. It is for Redemption, Restoration, and LIFE!  It is for Remembrance of what the birth of Jesus meant then and now.  Without that event, we would still be in darkness, bound by the powers of darkness and slaves to the devil.  But because of a cold, dark, meager stable as a place, we have Hope because, in those surroundings, the King of kings and Lord of lords came into this world for the express purpose of Redeeming that which was lost – You and Me!

So, on this Christmas Eve, allow your mind to entertain the real reason for this holiday, and I believe that it will transform your heart and mind and even your relationship with others.  It will most assuredly make this day and tomorrow even more special to you!

With that, I say MERRY CHRISTMAS to all.  May the richest and best blessings of the Lord be yours this Christmas, and may Jesus become the focal point of all you do as you reflect on God’s incredible love! 

God Bless, and have a Happy and Safe Christmas!

WHAT IS TRUE, AND WHAT IS TRUTH?


John 17:17 – “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” NASB

Psalm 119:160 – “The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.”  NASB

Several years ago, I had a dear child of God declare to me, “Jesus said it, I believe it, and that makes it so.”  I did not challenge the individual then, but I have thought about that statement many times through the years.  Is something true because Jesus said it, and we believe it? 

I would contend that a word is not true because God says it but that God says it because it is True!  I also maintain that because we believe something has little to do with its veracity.  Many people have and do believe things that are entirely wrong, so that statement of this person may give us comfort. Still, it is erroneous in its beginning and, therefore, would end up in an erroneous destination.

The Bible informs us to be people capable of giving the reason for the Hope within us and to be able to do so with calmness, reason and grounded in truth.  Jesus’ declaration to the Father that Your Word is Truth.  That is the basis and foundation for our beliefs.  Paul instructed Timothy to “rightly handle the Word of Truth” in his ministry and life.  When we conclude that God’s Word is Truth, we have an unshakable foundation upon which to build our lives and faith.  It is not just because something is in the Bible that we depend on, but we rely on the truth that it is in the Bible because it is Truth that we anchor our hope and faith upon.

I have complete confidence in God and His Word.  I believe that God only speaks what is True!  Some will say that I am splitting hairs here, and maybe so.  However, in dealing with unbelievers, atheists, and agnostics, my approach has had more impact on them than the declaration I was told years ago. 

When I approach it from the point of fact that God only speaks what is Right and True, there has been a greater openness to my argument than when I simply declare It Is In The Bible.  Suppose a person does not believe the Bible to begin with. In that case, that declaration has little value, but when you begin to present your argument using factual, scientific reason that what God has said is True and then rise to the point that God only speaks what Is True, there is more ground to reason with them.

When I came to this way of thinking, my faith grew more robust, and my confidence in God became more pronounced.  I had found that it had helped in some incredibly challenging times and times when everything around me was designed and directed at shipwrecking my confidence in God.  The foundational conviction that God Only Speaks What is True provided me with a foundational rock that life’s events could not shake.

This may help you, and if it does, fantastic. Please consider this point of view as you face the many events of life and reach out to those who do not believe. 

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

I HAVE A NEW REVELATION…


2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  NKJV

Most of the time, I understand what someone is saying when they say, “I have a new revelation from God.”  Rarely are they declaring they have received or uncovered something extra-biblical or even something not heretofore revealed?  After all, the writer of Ecclesiastes declared that there is nothing new under the sun.  (1:9). There is no additional Bible beyond what we have; God has not and will not change

However, if we understand revelation in the biblical sense as “God’s disclosure of Himself and His will to His creatures and His communication of truth to the human heart.”  Then it becomes much more commonplace or should.  I sometimes see something I have never before seen or heard discussed, which is a new revelation.  It is not new in the sense that it was not always in the word and open for others or even that no one else has seen it, but it is new to me.

Psalms 19:1 reveals, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”  Romans 1:18-25 declares that God reveals Himself through nature; therefore, all are without excuse.  That does not mean that God will not or does not open our understanding to something entirely new for us and enable us to teach and bring others to that knowledge that is revelatory.  God is still speaking today, but caution is to be exercised.

Relying on a New Revelation that is extra-biblical is what produced many of the false religions and sects practiced today with tenets that are contradictory to the written Word of God, the Bible. 

We are told in Deuteronomy 4:2, “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it….”  In 23:32, we read, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.”  Psalm 30:6, “Do not add to His words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”  Then the clincher in Revelation 22:18-19, “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Therefore, I believe that God is still speaking to human hearts revealing Himself more fully and teaching us His ways more clearly. However, whatever New Revelation we receive will be consistent with the teachings of the Bible and verifiable in the Bible.  It is disturbing that some are running here and there seeking a New Revelation rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to plant them where they can grow, develop, and produce fruit. 

If I see something I have never seen before, it is New to Me, and I become excited and want to share it with everyone.  Some have declared at my presentation of this New Revelation that it was indeed a New Revelation, and people would flock to hear it.  

I have witnessed situations in today’s church world where people become bored unless the minister declares that they have a New Revelation.  They then look elsewhere for someone who could claim a New revelation.  In that sense, the terminology has harmed the Body of Christ.  However, the fact that we go decades in too many churches without seeing something new or beyond what we had seen before also speaks of death, not life.  We should strive to be open to the Holy Spirit so that He can guide us into ALL TRUTH and never be satisfied or become complacent where we are. 

God bless you as you go through this day!

A REMINDER – WE SEE CALVARY FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION…


Genesis 3:21 – “Also for Adam and his wife the LORD God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”  NKJV

This is the first recorded sacrifice in the Bible, and it comes After man has sinned in the Garden.  It is a type and picture of what is to come to cover sinful man.  God supplied the animal and shed its blood using the skin to make coverings for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness.  In one short sentence, we get a glimpse of what is to come through the sacrificial death of the LORD Jesus on the Cross for the nakedness (sin) of mankind.

Biblical Hermeneutics has what is called “The Law of First Mention” and affords us a powerful basis for developing a doctrine or defining a principle in God’s Word.  In this case, it gives us a valuable key to the meaning of sacrifice in the Bible and points to the Cross.  The Law of First Mention can be understood as “the first use of a word, phrase or incident in and gives a key to the exact meaning everywhere else in the Bible.”  If we apply it to this verse, we discover three basic things:

  • Salvation Must Be Of The Lord.
  • It Must Be by the Death of an Innocent Substitute.
  • It Must Be by Blood.

Every acceptable sacrifice must meet those conditions and cannot be man’s work but God’s.  It cannot be the fig leaves of man’s own righteousness but the bloody skins of God’s providing.  Abel’s sacrifice met the condition of Genesis 3:21, but Cain’s did not.

Noah took one of the clean animals God had commanded him to take seven.  Abraham was prepared to slay his son when God showed him a ram in the thicket, so God provided the sacrifice.  It Must be God’s gift, as we see in John 3:16. It Must be by the death of an innocent sacrifice, as was Jesus, as detailed in 1 Peter 2:22-24.  It Mut be by blood, as Peter declares in, I Peter 1:18-20

The Blood is indispensable for salvation!  Since God is perfectly and completely holy, sin can never be passed over without the satisfaction of Divine Justice.  Sin is, at its root, a rebellion against God.  That is why Jesus had to go to the Cross; he was and is our substitute and payment for sin.  His innocent blood liberates from the legal claim of the devil, and through the Blood of Jesus, man is repurchased, and entry into the family of God is made possible but only by the Blood.

Remember when the Children of Israel made the Golden Calf and worshipped it?  Moses took the image, melted it, ground it to powder, put it in water, and made Israel drink it.  In Deuteronomy 9, there is a more elaborate detail of what transpired.  Moses took the gold, melted it, stamped it, ground it a second time, put it in a brook, and made Israel drink.  He then took some of the water out of the brook and offered it to God for the Blood Atonement of the sins of Israel.  

Gold is insoluble in water as it is nineteen times heavier with a specific gravity of 19.5.  In fine powder form, it assumes a colloidal condition and water results in a coloration.  As the particles are made finer and finer, it acquires an “apparent” specific gravity permitting their suspension in water and takes on a “rose-colored” appearance.  All that Moses did to the gold would have resulted in a blood-red solution and possessed purifying qualities.  It was a type of Christ and His shed blood.

One more thing must be said.  Moses made atonement, and God accepted it, but Only those who, by faith, appropriated it were saved.  The others died.  That is strongly suggested in Exodus 32:26-28.  Jesus died for every man, woman, boy, and girl in the world who has lived, is living, and will live, but Only those who, by faith, appropriate it receive Salvation.

The Cross is found in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and the Blood of Jesus is an indispensable element in the message of Salvation or The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  My question is simple but vital, “Are you washed in the Blood of the Lamb?”  If not, I urge you to turn to Him today, for “now is the accepted time, and today is the day of salvation.”

God bless you as you go through this wonderful day!

WHOLENESS IS BEING AT PEACE WITHIN…


Proverbs 17:1 – “Better is a dry morsel with quietness, Than a house full of feasting with strife.” NKJV

Some people are so driven to attain what the world views as success that they will endure almost anything to achieve that lofty perch.  Having possessions does not necessarily equate to happiness, contentment, or success.  If your pursuit of things creates an environment that produces strife, true success is a million miles away!  As this passage states, it would be better to have a meager existence with Peace than to have everything that money could buy and live in Turmoil. 

If you live in strife, you will never know the Peace of God that passes all human understanding.  If you live in strife, you will never grow spiritually the way God wants you to.  You will find that you spend more time, thought, and energy on resolving problems, harboring resentments, or fighting feelings of despondency and depression than you do basking in the light of God’s love, mercy, and grace. 

Please do not take this as a treatise on living in poverty and not having things. It is not!  Instead of allowing things to control you and drive you, let the Spirit of God have your full attention.  That is why Jesus said in Matthew 6:33-34 – “… seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” NKJV

You cannot buy peace with money or any other earthly commodity. It comes from God through the channel of a surrendered heart.  It is the result of allowing God to take the lead in your life and determining to live according to His direction and under His guidance.  Peace is one of the most valuable things that any human could gain.  When we have Peace within, we grow spiritually and are most effective in life in every facet.

So, instead of focusing on what you have or do not have in life with regard to earthly possessions, focus on what you have in and through God!  That shift in focus will radically transform your life and touch everyone around you.  Try it, and you will find that what I am saying is truth!

May the Lord bless you as you go through your day, my prayer!

THIS IS SOUND LIFE ADVICE – THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS…


Philippians 4:8-9 – “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”  NKJV

I have often said, “You are not what you think you are, but you are a product of what you think.”  We are a product of our thinking because our thought lives will produce attitudes, and attitudes will produce actions, and actions will shape our character.  Therefore, we are a product of our thoughts!  What we dwell on will determine our attitude, altitude, and aptitude.

The apostle Paul gives us some specific things to fill our minds with:

  • Truth.

Jesus answered the question about “What is truth?” telling us that Thy Word Is Truth in speaking to the Father.  Truth is a liberator and something that we should seek and fill our minds with.

  • Noble Things.

Honorable things, moral things, things worthy of a life that professes to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

  • Pure Things.

The pure in heart will see God.

  • Lovely Things.

Not just things pleasing to the eyes but things pleasing to the heart of God.

  • Good Reports.

There is so much negativity in the world today. With today’s political, economic, and world situation, it is difficult not to be negative, but we should seek to hear and give “Good Reports.”  They uplift the heart and spirit.

  • Things of Virtue.

In an amoral and immoral world, oh, how we need “virtue.”

  • Things that are Praiseworthy.

Take time to give not only Praise to God but to your fellow man.  You will be amazed at how much it affects your attitude and relationships.

He tells us to Meditate or Think on or about these things and the things that were learned from him and seen in his life, and the result will be that the God of Peace will be with us.  If we need anything today, it is GOD!  We need the Peace of God to flood our hearts and minds amidst the chaos in our present world.

So, if you are struggling, why not take this prescription and “Think on these things!”  I believe that you will be more than pleasantly surprised at the outcome. 

May God bless you as you go through your day!

IS THIS TRUTH OR FICTION?


Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” NKJV

Like many in the Bible, this is a short passage that we often quote but generally do not fully believe.  I know that is a bit harsh, but my statement is true.  This passage is either “truth” or “fiction.”  If it is Truth, we must begin “walking it out in reality” in our lives.  If it is Fiction, we can toss it aside along with the rest of the New Testament and forget this thing called Christianity.  I believe it to be the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth!

Now the larger question is not what I believe about this passage but whether I am “walking it out in reality?”  The answer is probably not often enough, and I confess that to my shame.  I genuinely do believe that there is Noting Impossible with God.  I believe that All Things Are Possible to those who believe! 

Tragically, too often, we allow our feelings, emotions, physical restraints, financial confinements, or something else to hinder us from grabbing that truth and running with it boldly in the Power of God.  That ought not to be so!  If God has declared it as a Promise for us and a word of encouragement, then we should honor His Promise by Living it in this present world.

It is not saying that we can do it in and of ourselves.  It says that we can do it Through and only Through Christ and His strength.”  That is dramatically different and cannot be overlooked.  His strength is made perfect in my weakness or puts another way – when I realize that I cannot do it in my own power, I am open to His demonstration of power.  I am more willing to trust His strength, knowledge, wisdom, and power!  I stop relying on the “arm of flesh” and lean to the “arm of God.”  Therein is the key to victory in ALL THINGS!

Even if your faith originated with God, it is not the product of your hard work, great piousness, or somehow earning it.  Faith is a heavenly commodity extended to earth as God speaks, and as we Hear what God says, we receive that infusion of faith. Then as we Respond to what we have heard, faith is released and manifested in this present world and our present situations.  It beings with God and ends with God; you and I are simply vehicles through which His Faith is carried in this world.

Therefore, as you face obstacles and opposition in life, Do Not turn to your own understanding, strength, wisdom, or power. Run to Him!  In Him, we live and move and have our being.  In Him, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  In Him, we can do all things!

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

THIS GRACE IS AMAZING GRACE!


Ephesians 2:8-10 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  NKJV

All of my Christian experience, I have declared that it is not Justice that I desire but Mercy and Grace!  I know what justice would bring me.  Therefore, I seek pardon and redemption.  I know that I could never earn the Grace of God.  I could never earn God’s pardon for sin. 

I am a flawed vessel and fall too short of the mark.  I have been a “mark misser” – A Sinner needing a Savior.  Through His Grace, I have been Redeemed and transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Light!  I have become a New Creation and am no longer under the dominion of the devil but a Child of the Most High God through the Blood of Jesus Christ and His marvelous Amazing Grace!

I never go through a Christmas season without thinking about the Greatest Gift that has ever been given – The Gift of Grace through Jesus Christ!  When I came under conviction and knew I was Lost, I felt utterly hopeless.  I was a Sinner and knew it, but I became convinced that I had sinned away my day of grace, which is utter despair. 

Finally, through God’s great Love, Mercy, and Grace and the persistent prayers and demonstrations of love from a few incredible people in Westside Assembly of God in Palestine, Texas, God opened my heart and my eyes so that I could see that all was not hopeless and that He would forgive me.  That was the most incredible experience I have ever had, and I felt a weight lift from my shoulders as I wept at the kitchen table shortly after midnight back in the late 60s, reading Proverbs 3:5-6.

My transformation was more than a little dramatic.  I smoked, cussed, drank, caroused around, and was downright mean at times.  I woke up the next morning and went to work as usual.  About mid-morning that I realized I had not lit a cigarette since getting up.  I reached into my pocket, pulled one out, lit up, and it made me sick. 

I did not ask to be free of that habit, but God did it for me anyway, and I am still thankful for that.  He cleaned up my language, and at the end of the day, I realized, as did my co-workers, that I had not used one word of profanity.  Several of them came to me and asked me what was wrong.  Imagine that! 

Because I was not using profanity, they thought something was wrong instead of thinking something was right!  I stopped being promiscuous and developed an intense hunger for God, His Word, and the opportunity to talk to anyone about the things of God and hear about God and his plan for man. 

Over the next thirty days, I would stay up until 2-3 in the morning reading the Bible and read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  In that time frame while getting up for work at 6 A.M. without feeling the least bit tired.  I was happy for the first time in years and had a peace that Vietnam had destroyed.  My nightmares stopped, and the flashbacks no longer haunted me.  Oh, I had them from time to time through the years, but when they came, I would immediately turn to the Lord, and He would intervene, bringing me His Perfect Peace again.

Grace – God’s Amazing Grace- transformed my life, and I am so thankful for that Grace!  Always know that God’s Grace is Free to “whosoever will call.”  If you do not know Him today, I urge you to call upon the Name of the Lord, and I believe He will respond to your plea.

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

WE ARE ALL FULL OF SOMETHING – But What?


Ephesians 5:17-21 – “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.  18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another in the fear of God.” NKJV

I have been told more times than I would care to recall, “Roy, you are full of it.”  It was not always codified, but I understood what they meant.  Truthfully, we are all “full of something,” so why not make that something the Holy Spirit of God?

Some are full of drink that destroys life.  Some are full of themselves, which destroys relationships.  Some are full of ambitions that drive them to attain a particular pinnacle in life, even at the expense of others.  Then some are full of the Spirit of God and exhibit a life that is exemplary and draws people to the Living God like honey attracts flies.

As we are “filled” with the Spirit of God, we maintain that fullness, as verse 19 describes, by “speaking to one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”  We can then walk in a lifestyle and a condition of thankfulness and submit to one another without fear of being used and abused because we are a people saturated with the Spirit of God.  There is peace and comfort in that environment, knowing that God is “in control.”  That is not utopia but the normal reality in the Spirit-led world of God’s Kingdom.  That should be our target objective, not fame or even fortune.

My daily prayer is that the Lord will “fill” me with His Spirit to the point that I am overflowing with Him.  I want to manifest Jesus as well as represent Him to the world.  That can only occur as my life, like a sponge soaked with water, is saturated with the Spirit of God and the Word of God.

So, as you go through this day, I recommend that you ask the Lord to saturate your life with the presence, person, and power of the Spirit of God, who knows the deep things of God and can bring us into a deeper relationship with the Lord than would otherwise be possible.  In so doing, we will have a far more significant impact on our world.

God be with you as you go through your day

BEING A NEW CREATION MAKES US CHRISTLIKE…


Colossians 3:12-17 – “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  NKJV

When the Bible tells us to “put on something,” it gives us a directive that we should undertake in practice, not just theory.  It will never be something that the empowerment of the Spirit of God is not available for, nor something for which the Grace of God is not provided. 

When Paul tells the Colossians to “Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another….” he is not suggesting something optional but a direct commandment from the Lord and possibly in our human lives.

Paul takes it further and says, “Put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”  He also says, “Let the peace of God rule our hearts.”  None of those are possible without full surrender of our lives, hearts, minds, and wills to God.  We must become His completely, or this will never be possible to walk out in reality.  Our carnal desires, attitudes, and egos will subvert those character traits, and selfishness and self-centeredness will overrule every time. 

How do we accomplish this?  Look at what he tells them and us in verses 16-17, and you see the key.

  • The Word of God dwells in us richly and enables our fellow believers and us to teach and admonish one another spiritually with the full intent of restoration and forgiveness.
  • Whatever we do, we are to do it “in the name of the Lord Jesus” with a thankful heart.  This is not just uttering the name of the Lord but doing it as if we were Him or as his representatives and manifestations of His nature and character so that all can see. 

That means everything, including our jobs, homes, and business relationships – EVERYTHING and EVERYWHERE!  Is that easy? Heaven’s no!  Is it possible?  Yes, we can attain this condition and position only by following the prescribed attitudes and actions in the preceding verses.  Therefore, it should be our ambition to be Christ-like in all that we do!

May the Lord be with you as you go through the day, and may your life and mine be a positive testimony of His love, grace, and goodness!  Blessings