LOVE LIFTED ME…


John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  NKJV

After surviving a year in Vietnam and returning to civilian life I wandered somewhat aimlessly for over a year deeply disturbed inside and searching for something but had no idea what.  There was more than one occasion when I called to make plans to reenlist and return to Vietnam because I was having such difficulty adjusting to life at home. 

During that time virtually no one knew what was going on inside, I hid it well.  A couple of people discerned that something was wrong and one of those was a fellow veteran and the other a very astute young lady who cared for me in ways I could not return to her because of the condition of my heart.

I found myself in Palestine, Texas living with my sister and her husband working for Coca-Cola / Dr. Pepper as a route driver and became acquainted with some of their friends from Westside Assembly of God who began to show me love and offered prayers heavenward for my soul.  I insulted them, treated them rudely and none of that shook them off my trail or prevented them from loving me and showing me God’s love and mercy.

I finally consented to go to church and thought they were a bunch of nuts but for whatever reason, I went back again and again and fell under deep conviction for my spiritual condition.  I acknowledged that I was lost and going to hell but thought that I had done too much to be forgiven and that put me in a more miserable place than I was before. 

I was doomed with no hope.  I was in deep turmoil now, knowing I had sinned, was lost, and believed that my eternal destination would be in hell. It was at that point in my life, that the love of God reached down through the fog and lifted me to safety as I read Proverbs 3:5-6 at about midnight on a Saturday night and that love came flooding through the barriers I had placed and I in repentance received Jesus into my heart and Love Lifted Me!

So, I give you the song written by John Rowe – “Love Lifted Me.”

  1. I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore, Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more, But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
    From the waters lifted me, now safe am
  2. Refrain:
    Love lifted me!
    Love lifted me!
    When nothing else could help,
    Love lifted me!
  3. All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling, In His blessed presence, live, ever His praises sing, Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
    Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.
  4. Souls in danger look above, Jesus completely saves, He will lift you by His love, out of the angry waves. He’s the Master of the sea, billows His will obey,
    He your Savior wants to be, be saved today.

James Rowe – 1865-1933

Born: Jan­u­a­ry 1, 1865, Hor­ra­bridge, De­von­shire, Eng­land. Died: No­vem­ber 10, 1933, Wells, Ver­mont.

Son of John Rowe, a cop­per min­er, James worked for the Ir­ish gov­ern­ment for four years and then immigrated to Amer­i­ca at age 24. He set­tled in Al­ba­ny, New York, and worked in rail­roads in New York for 10 years. He then be­came an in­spect­or for the Hud­son Riv­er Hu­mane So­ci­e­ty. He then worked for mu­sic pub­lish­ers in Tex­as and Ten­nes­see, and in his lat­er years, moved to Vermont and worked with his daugh­ter, an artist, writ­ing vers­es for greet­ing cards.

May God’s love lift you from whatever fog and battle you are now facing and place you on the solid rock.  Blessings and love!

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO GO THERE???


Luke 6:37-38 – “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.  38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”  NKJV

Please don’t misinterpret my title or caption. I believe the declaration in the text verses but am troubled. I felt compelled to address this passage again and will likely do so in the future.  I have encountered something among fellow believers that troubles me and if you will give me a few minutes I will highlight some of my concerns and questions.

Having engaged in conversation with some believers who have been hurt and wounded or are simply troubled by what they perceive as non-biblical words, deeds, or attitudes in other believers some troubling matters were broached.  I have heard preachers and non-preachers rail against the perceived absence of unconditional Love in other believers.  I readily acknowledge that love is difficult and unconditional love virtually impossible outside of our Lord Jesus and the inner working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. 

My problem is not with calling attention to the failure of fellow believers to extend Unconditional Love it is making it personal and all about me.  I have been in difficult times, endured false accusations, and needed people to love me without reservation and question. In those times some did and others, whom I thought would, did not and I was hurt.  If I focus on their failure but make it all about me, I have weakened the message. 

It is far too easy for the heart to have seeds of bitterness in it and if a root of bitterness springs up it defiles.  The problem is that few recognize the root within themselves and our lashing out and castigating others for their failures to Do the Biblical Thing somehow becomes a false balm for us.

The Bible tells us many things about life and living it, but I want to call attention to two specific things:

  • The Principle of Reciprocity.

Here in Luke 6, Jesus identifies a particularly germane truth that Giving is the key to receiving.  Carefully read the words of our Lord in verse 38:  “Give and IT will be given to you…”   IT is as essential in understanding as GIVE for it is WHAT WE GIVE that we receive.  What we give will come back “good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over…”

Therefore, if we are not receiving what we need it might serve us well to look beyond the failure of others and examine our own hearts, lives, and actions and be sure that we have been giving, what we are now needing.  I am not saying that if some fail you it is your fault only suggesting that before we allow bitterness, hurt, and/or anger to well up inside we might want to examine our planting in the past, present, and future.

  • The Law of Sowing and Reaping.

In Galatians 6 we read the directive of the apostle Paul where he advised the Galatian believers and all who would read in successive generations the truth about “Reaping and Sowing”.  It is a farming principle that refuses to fail.  In the principle of sowing and reaping, we find we Reap WHAT we sow, MORE than we sow, and LATER than we sow. 

I too am troubled when I see professing Christians coming up short in the demonstration of godly character, but as I look at my own heart, I frequently find that I have fallen short in one of the two principles listed above. 

I would never suggest that you will never experience the pain of others’ failure if you follow these guidelines, but I do insist that if you follow them from the heart you will prevent a root of bitterness and reject any tendency toward self-pity.  The pain will still come as others fail you, but you will walk in a peace that is beyond human comprehension.

God bless you as you go through your day!

WHEN DID DISCIPLINE BECOME TABOO???


Proverbs 22:6 – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  NKJV

Proverbs 29:15 – “The rod and rebuke give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”  NKJV

Growing up I was disciplined with the belt or paddle and I spanked my children.  Today my parents and I would be in danger of having our children taken from us and possibly charged with child abuse for following a biblical guideline.  In Proverbs 13 and 23 we read the directive to use the ‘rod’ in discipline and correction as a demonstration of love not hate or abuse.  In fact, in Proverbs 22:15 we find, “Folly is bound up in the heart of the child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.”

Let me say that I never want to see an adult beating a child or even disciplining them when out of control in anger.  Yet, I also do not want to hear or see children being disrespectful, talking back, and being out of control with no discipline.  Early in a child’s life, there is a need to shape that child’s will, so they become disciplined and productive members of society. 

The apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:4 warned fathers not to provoke their children to anger, but to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.  It is one thing to have a child become angry overcorrection and another to antagonize needlessly and provokingly.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:6, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”  If God disciplines us out of love how could we view failure to discipline our children as demonstrations of love?  Every child and person are different and respond to different stimuli requiring the parent to be careful to observe the nature and personality of that child.  A good parent or leader becomes a student of those they are responsible for seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit to apply the ‘rod of discipline’ appropriately and in the right measure. 

You may not believe in spanking your children and that is your decision but if you fail to discipline the child you are doing him/her no favor.  I would ten thousand times rather be disciplined if it staves off ultimate destruction than the alternative.  I’ve been told by parents that they could not discipline their children because if they did the child would not like them.  Parents while it is wonderful to have your child like you, but you have a responsibility to ‘train’ that child to live in a society that demands discipline and restraint.  If you fail to prepare the child for that the child liking you is of little consequence.

God disciplines His children and instructs us to discipline those we are responsible for.  By the time society becomes involved in the process it becomes punishment, not discipline.  Discipline has at its heart the objective of salvation and preservation.  Punishment does not always have that goal in view it is payment or penalty enacted with possibly no other objective.

We should all be merciful, loving, kind, and gentle but we should also know how to mete out what can only be called ‘tough love’ and take the difficult road of administering discipline for in doing so we mold, and shape lives positively equipping them for societal interaction.

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

LAZINESS IS NOT A QUALITY CHARACTER TRAIT…


Proverbs 18:9 – “He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.” NKJV

Proverbs 18:9 – “A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things.”  NLT

The Bible has much to say about Laziness and frankly, I have not heard anyone mention it from the pulpit in decades.  In 2 Thessalonians 3:10 the apostle Paul made a declaration that would have certainly drawn the ire of today’s modernist and politically correct crowd saying:  “…if anyone is will not work, neither shall he eat.”  That would not go over very well in a society that wants to please, tolerate and excuse bad behavior.  Churches that seek to please people would run from that as though it were the plague, but it is biblical.

There are numerous passages in scripture that refer to laziness and how God views that character trait.  Let me list a few of them:

Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of a lazy man desires and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.”

Colossians 3:23 – “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord and not to me…”

Proverbs 10:4 – “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.”

1 Timothy 5:8 – “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially those of his household, he had denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Proverbs 20:13 – “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes and you will have plenty of bread.”

Proverbs 12:24 – “The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor.”

2 Thessalonians 3:11-12 – “For we hear that some among in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.  Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly.”

Proverbs 14:23 – “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.”

James 4:17 – “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Colossians 3:17 – “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father through Him.”

This is not an exhaustive list of verses regarding work and laziness but enough to demonstrate that Idleness and Laziness are not quality character traits and should Never be rewarded, justified, or excused. 

We live in a world that has poverty and lack and when we can help those less fortunate than ourselves, we should do so.  However, there is one caveat if they are Lazy then we Should Not Help Them!  You may think me calloused and uncaring, but I care very deeply and know that if we allow a person to continue on a destructive path without intervention, we are harming them and become complicit in their destruction.  We should seek to rescue the perishing not help them perish.

It is no wonder that the Bible tells in Proverbs 22:6 to “train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”  If we fail to discipline and refuse to tolerate laziness in our children, they will become non-productive members of society.  Every person should be expected to Work where possible and when possible and if a person demonstrates Laziness, we should allow them to experience the pain of laziness.  That, to me, is a greater demonstration of love than enabling them to continue in that destructiveness.

God bless you as you go through this day!

TIME TO GET OUT OF THE BOAT…


Matthew 14:22-33 – “Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there. 24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 Now in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went to them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out for fear.  27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” 28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!”  31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”  32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”  NKJV

Most Christians believe that God has a plan for their lives, and some spend their entire lives sitting in the boat of life waiting for a spectacular revelation of that plan.  They have seen storms come and go and were terrified at the prospect of not having the safety net and security of sitting in the boat. 

We look at Peter in this account and focus on His sinking and the Lord’s rescue.  However, Peter would never have been in a position to be rescued had he stayed in the safety of the boat.  I don’t know what your boat is.  Maybe it is your job or your local church but if you are sitting waiting on a detailed revelation of God’s plan for your life the boat will be your casket, not your catalyst spiritually. 

Peter, the impetuous one, had a question and a desire.  He wanted to be sure that what he was witnessing was truly the Lord Himself and an overpowering desire to break free from the paralyzing power of the boat.  He dared to dare to believe God in the uncertainty of the moment.

“Lord, if it is You…”   If what I am seeing or think I am seeing, and hearing is You then extend the invitation for me to join you in the suspension of the natural and move into the supernatural.  Jesus’ response was simple and immediate saying, “Come!” 

Peter fixed His eyes on Jesus and probably eased over the side of the boat, possibly at the dismay of the others, and planted his feet on a substance that was not naturally capable of supporting him – water.  He began in faith, but his attention was diverted from the object of his victory to that which could mean his destruction and his faith shifted from Jesus to the conditions whereas he began to sink.  Fear gripped his heart and in that moment of fear and despair he cried out and Jesus rescued him. 

Peter learned a valuable lesson that would be demonstrated later in his life where he trusted God in the face of hostile authorities and impending death.  He knew that as he got out of the boat, he would begin taking steps toward the fulfillment of his destiny. 

Sitting in the boat will never bring us into that realm where we walk on the waters of life with Jesus.  It is important to remember that it was not Peter alone on the water, but he was walking WITH Jesus.  That place outside the boat is not you alone but WITH Jesus.

It is time to Get Out of the Boat and begin Walking on the Water of Life!   

 God bless you as you venture out of your boat!  Blessings!

THE GOSPEL IS CONFRONTATIONAL…


2 Timothy 4:1-6 – I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”  NKJV

I had someone tell me that the Gospel should not be confrontational.  That was a criticism of my opposition to the casual lasses-faire attitude of some of today’s church world.  In their view, the prime objective of the church is to be ‘seeker friendly’ meaning that we should not ‘confront’ anyone, any lifestyle, attitude, or actions just ‘live and let live’.  In their view, the church was akin to a country club where people came together for networking, social relationships, and various interpersonal interactions.  It was not, in their view, to Confront, for that would make people uncomfortable.

If I believe the Bible as the Word of God and have any confidence in its inerrancy, then I find that view completely foreign to the Bible.  Jesus ‘confronted’ sin and at times virtually baited the Pharisees into confrontations in order to illustrate the message of the Gospel clearly and distinctly.  The disciples in Acts were arrested for being ‘confrontational’ and declared to the religious hierarchy, “Whom shall we obey, God or man?”  Paul here in this text instructed Timothy to, “Preach the word!”  He was to be ready at all times and his message and ministry was to ‘convince, rebuke and exhort’.  It was to be done with longsuffering and love, but the clear directive is to ‘confront sin’. 

I have had people tell me that ‘confrontational’ preaching not only made people uncomfortable it scared people.  I would say as a very senior minister once said, “If I could keep people out of hell by scaring them, I’d scare the hell out of them.”  He wasn’t trying to cuss just stating the incredible importance of ‘confronting’ sin and helping people understand its dangers and destruction. 

Jesus never promised us ‘life free of confrontation!”.  I have found that the ‘conviction’ of the Holy Spirit renders one quite uncomfortable.  It challenges a mindset or lifestyle and exposes it.  Jesus said in John 16:8 that when the Holy Spirit came, He would Convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.  We are told the wages of sin is death.  It seems that too much of today’s world of Christendom strives to be ‘non-confrontational’ and rather than changing lives it facilitates lifestyles foreign to the central message of the Gospel.

The Gospel in its very nature is ‘confrontational’ for it exposes sin and when sin is exposed the flesh is made uneasy, often angered, and challenged.  I am not saying we have to be caustic, but we must be consistent in opposition to a lifestyle of sin.  If we condone sin, we become facilitators in the continuation of it and how could one suggest Jesus condoned sin?  Immediately, someone suggests the woman taken in adultery and suggested that Jesus condoned her sin.  Really?  He followed the prescription of the Law and when no witnesses remained, he refused to condemn but said, “Go and SIN NO MORE!” 

If we preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ it will be confrontational, but that confrontation will lead to reconciliation and redemption.  The church is not a social club it is a hospital and rehab center.  It is a university of life.  It is a training facility.  It is a refuge.  It covers lives with love, but it can never be understood to be a place where sin can remain with no discomfort. 

God bless you as you go through your day!

THAT WHICH DISTINGUISHES A PERSON…


Daniel 6:1-5 – “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2 and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”  NKJV

That which set Daniel apart from his contemporaries is found in the words “because an excellent spirit was in him…”   Without attempting to be a Hebrew scholar the word translated excellent means:  what hangs over, which is abundant or more than enough.  It comes from a root that means to make plenteous.  What was in Daniel stood out, was abundant, and more than enough it was plenteous.  It was not an anomaly of character but normal in his life for it proceeded from his spirit.  It was who he was!

Those who wanted to destroy Daniel acknowledged this in saying, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel UNLESS we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”  [Emphasis mine].  Daniel’s character was such they readily acknowledged his faithfulness and integrity would not offer them place to accuse him.  He not only talked the talk he walked the walk, so they had to find another way to bring him down. 

Daniel’s integrity would be used against him for they knew that if they could make something within his faith illegal his integrity and commitment to God would ensnare him.  They were right.  Daniel’s excellent spirit endeared him to the king but once duped into making a decree he could not save face and not condemn Daniel for violation of it. 

That reminds me of the disciples with the Jewish leaders when commanded not to speak anymore in the name of Jesus declared, “Whom shall we obey?  You or God?”  The Jewish leaders thought they could prevent the disciples from going forward whereas Daniel’s counterparts hoped for the opposite.  They wanted his devotion to God to cause him to disregard the decree of the king and thereby bring him to destruction physically.  They were right and they were wrong for we know the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den!

Would to God that we had more today who demonstrated an ‘excellent spirit’ where no fault could be found in our attitude or actions.  If we want to see revival, renewal, and restoration in the land we must become more like Daniel having an ‘excellent spirit’ within enabling us to manifest Christ in our lives and interactions with others.  That which distinguishes a person or sets them apart is that which emanates from our core being.  No wonder David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right spirit.”  He understood that ‘excellence of spirit’ was that which would have the greatest impact on the world in which he lived.

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

DO NOT FOCUS ON THE WRONG THING…


Daniel 11:40-45 – “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.” – NKJV

Daniel 11 is speaking of The Man of Sin, The Antichrist, and clearly reveals what is going to happen to him and his followers.  “He shall come to his end…”   He will have Zero help because God will deal with him directly.  That is the conclusion and I have cautioned believers for years to refuse to focus on the wrong thing.  Stop worrying about the Antichrist and focus on Christ!

While working for a company that includes a very large bank we went through training and one of those sessions dealt with counterfeiting.  The lead instructor asked, “What is the best way to identify counterfeit bills?”  There were some responses and he then said, “It is by becoming so familiar with the original and real that it is second nature to notice subtle variations.”  I have thought about that with regard to the devil and his deceptions that if we know the Truth, the Real, Christ and hold the reality that God will not be defeated by the devil we can lay fear to rest.

Please understand, I am not saying there will not be chaos and destruction at the hands of the Antichrist but even if he were to kill us, he has only accomplished the silencing of our singular voice.  He has not hindered the plan or purposes of God.  Throughout my lifetime I have heard so many theories of who the Man of Sin is and most of those are now dead.  Some of the modern ones are living and none of them meet my understanding of the Bible prophecies for who he is or his land of origin.  I won’t get into that debate here for that is not my purpose.  My objective is to urge everyone to shift the focus from Wickedness to Holiness!

Remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:33 where He cautioned against fretting over what is or might happen in this world but to make the foundational focus of our hearts, the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.  There are so many things in biblical eschatology that I cannot answer I seldom get into debates over them. 

I love to discuss biblical prophecy and end time events in a session where we are brainstorming and civilly sharing ideas and even theories but when the discussion becomes overly consuming, I move on.  I am concerned about where we are as a nation, a world, and a race of people.  However, I know biblically that the best way to know the ‘false’ is to know the ‘truth’ and that is Jesus and God’s Word!

My understanding of Scripture and even Daniel 11 suggests that the Antichrist will not dominate the entire world for we are told some escape out of his hands and the news of opposition infuriates him.  He will impact the world, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is our rock.  I have found that which dominates your thoughts controls your life and I refuse to allow the devil to dominate my thoughts.  I desire and strive to bring every thought ‘captive’ to the obedience of Christ. 

There is a place to ‘warn the wicked’ of impending danger and destruction but at the end of the day, Jesus must be our focus.  In warning others, we may prevent their destruction but just warning is insufficient Unless we have something for them to ‘run to’ when they ‘run from’ something.   That something is the Cross, the Gospel, and the Grace of God.

God bless you as you go through this day and refuse to allow fear to overcome you!  God is God and He always will be God!  Blessings!

GOD IS NEVER CAUGHT BY SURPRISE…


Acts 15:18 – “Known to God from eternity are all His works.”  NKJV

I have heard preachers preach, people pray, songs sung, and testimonies that make it sound like God is sometimes caught off guard by what transpires or what people do.  When I hear that I am reminded of this and other passages and the fact that God is OMNISCIENT.  If He is God, and He is then He sees everything from the beginning to the end.  He knows our thoughts “afar off” and although He knows He allows us to make the choices we make.

In Psalm 139 the Psalmist spoke of this truth of the All-Knowing God.  He declared that God knows EVERYTHING!  Look at the list of things the Psalmist declares of God’s knowledge:

  • He has searched and known us.
  • He knows our sitting down and rising up.
  • He understands our thoughts afar off.
  • He comprehends our path and laying down.
  • He is acquainted with all our ways.
  • He knows every word that proceeds from our lips that He is not aware of.
  • He has hedged up about.
  • His Spirit cannot be escaped or hidden from.
  • We can find no place to hide.
  • If we ascend to heaven or descend to hell HE IS THERE.
  • He formed us and knows us.

With that knowledge, the Psalmist prays in verses 23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”  That prayer is prayed in light of the things I listed above meaning the Psalmist asked knowing that is exactly what God would do and knowing that if God fully examined his heart he would be totally exposed.

Therefore, when something catches you by surprise you can be confident that it did not surprise God.  We have made choices in life (good and bad) that brought us to the moment.  Others may have made choices that brought the situation to bear and placed us in danger, not because of our wrong choices but theirs, and God is not caught by surprise.  Therefore, it is not only permissible but desirable that we pray for His guidance and protection at all times and in all things.  Thus, the last part of the prayer, “…lead me in the way everlasting.” 

I love the comforting words of Jeremiah when God speaks prophetically through him in Jeremiah 29 declaring, “…for I know the thoughts (plans) that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Thank you, LORD.  I am not only awed by your knowledge but inspired by the fact you know giving me comfort to live life without fear.

Yes, we are often caught by surprise but God, never.   So, as you go through this day know that God knows giving you even more reason to call upon Him and trust Him.  

Blessings abundantly is my prayer!

THE COVERING OF LOVE…


John 17:20-23 – “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.”  NKJV

In 1 Corinthians 13, commonly identified as the Love Chapter of the Bible, we find the characteristics of love.  This chapter provides a powerful look into our own hearts and a pattern by which we should strive to live.  The expressed desire and prayer of our LORD Jesus as revealed in the text above was for love to prevail in the Body of Christ and that we All Be One! 

The Body of Christ is not divided, yet we see division, dissension, and discord among professing followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.  God’s Plan is Unity of the Faith.  Jesus came to give us life and that life was to be Abundant, and He is our common ground.  I believe that the greatest hindrance to the work of the Kingdom and personal spiritual development today is Disunity.   Likewise, there is nothing the devil would like better than to destroy the local church, especially those who seek the Unity of the Spirit. 

I ask that you consider a few specifics that I believe will prove to be beneficial in our Christian walk and warfare.

  • Born-again People Constitute the Body of Christ.

Every truly born-again person is a member of the Body of Christ.  I am speaking specifically about the biblical experience of the “new birth” in Jesus Christ.  It begins with repentance – “Confess and Forsake”.

2 Corinthians 5:17 – “Therefore, if any man (person) is in Christ, he is a new creature (creation); the old things have passed away, behold, new things have come.”

We read in John 3:16 about God’s love and plan.  In Romans 10:9-10 we find confession of sin and in verse 13the revelation that “if” we call upon His name we will be saved.  In 1 John 1:9, we read, “For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Repentance is the full realization of one’s sin and a change of attitude, heart, and direction.  Biblical repentance involves conviction of sin, with a sense of condemnation, godly sorrow, and the forsaking of sin.  It is a 180-degree turn.

  • God Extends Fellowship To All Believers.

Not just those who practice your particular brand of doctrine or preference.  Clearly, God extends His fellowship to people of varying opinions about various doctrines.  He accepts them but too often we exclude them because they are not like us.  We are too often major on minors straining at gnats and swallowing camels.  The hand is not the ear and the ear is not the eye.  We are different and in life, we have different preferences but require the same air to breathe. 

  • The Basis of Fellowship Is Life Not Opinion.

It would serve us well to acknowledge and remember that all truly born-again believers have the same Spiritual Father.  That truth is the only hope we have of achieving that for which Jesus prayed, “That they all be one…”

Biblical Unity is not possible aside from Agape Love, which is our source of Hope and Unity.  That means our love for the Family of God will have to exceed our devotion to personal opinions and non-essentials to salvation.  Remember Love Covers!  Love Covers!

I am going to tread on thin ice with some by saying, “Fellowship” is more important than believing you have the absolutely correct theology.  Do not understand that to be a call to compromise your convictions but a call to realize that you might not be 100% correct in all things.  Also, it is my conviction, the greatest sin and hindrance in the Church is Disunity.

The problem of building walls and barriers and infighting among various elements of Christianity does far more harm and alienates more than virtually anything else.  God hates the sowing of discord among brothers. Having the right spirit is as important, if not more important than making accurate decisions.

In fact, the Bible is so strong on Disunity and Discord that it says, “MARK THEM which cause divisions.” (Romans 16:17) The devil will never defeat the local church from the outside.  I conclude with this:  Romans 16:17 says mark one group of people and Philippians 3:17 says mark another group.  The first group is those who cause division, and the second group is those who set the right example.  Mark them both but avoid the first and flock to the second.   You can choose your attitude.

God bless you as you go through this day!