WARNING WITH EMPHASIS…


Jude 14-15 – “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”  NKJV

I have discovered that when a word is repeated it is usually for emphasis and if it is repeated four times in on short passage the emphasis cannot be missed.  It is interesting that Jude would identify this Enoch as the 7th from Adam in contrast to the son of Cain who was Adam’s Grandson.  Although that is important it is not the most important, the message is.

Enoch prophesied about the condition of man.  The declaration, “Behold the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints, to execute judgment…” should cause us to take note.  He is speaking of a condition of man’s heart that has progressively grown darker through the ages and of a time when God’s patience will be exhausted.  Judgment is coming!  I realize that some do not like to hear about judgment and I’ve even been told that judgment is such a negative it should be left to individuals in the privacy of their own thoughts, not for public consumption. 

Notice Enoch prophesied about judgment and that judgment is the direct result of something worthy of note.  He says that God is coming to convict all who are Ungodly for their Ungodly deeds, committed in an Ungodly manner, and for the things the Ungodly have railed against God.  It would go without saying that their attitude, words, and deeds are also directed toward those who follow God.  I believe it is descriptive of a condition that becomes so prevalent in society nationally and internationally that God says Enough!

In the next verses, he identifies them as grumblers and complainers who walk according to their own lusts.  They are sensual and cause division and discord.  He then urges those listening to build themselves up in their most holy faith praying in the Holy Spirit and keep their hearts in the love of God always looking to Jesus.  He also identified the warning of our LORD that in the Last Time there would be mockers who would walk after their own ungodly lusts.  Is that not a picture of our day?

From the political podium to the classroom to the pulpit we have people either promoting this attitude, excusing it, or ignoring it.  Ungodliness cannot stand in the presence of God.  When ungodliness is allowed to occupy the house God will move out.  He will move back in if we will turn from ungodliness, but righteousness cannot cohabit with ungodliness.  When we allow good to be called evil and evil good, we place ourselves in direct opposition to God and invite judgment. 

If I read a passage and four times the Holy Spirit emphasizes the word Ungodly, I am arrested, and my spiritual antenna rises to examine what the message is.  It is time that we, the Body of Christ, diligently and earnestly seek the face of God and turn from all ungodliness.  It is time that we consciously resist the devil and shun the very appearance of evil in our lives.  It is time that we seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness.  It is time that we return unto Him and He will return unto us. 

God be with you as you go through this day!

WHEN THE RESTRAINTS ARE LIFTED… Do You Really Want To Be Here?


2 Thessalonians 2:1-13 – “Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”  NKJV

While these verses are sufficient in themselves to identify a need to be concerned, aware and vigilant in our present world I want to advance a couple of simple thoughts.  Paul spoke of the “mystery of lawlessness” that was already at work in his day and how can anyone deny has taken giant steps in ours?  We focus on that verse and talk about the Holy Spirit or the Church being removed so the devil will have no further restraint and then total chaos ensues on planet earth. 

In this passage, the apostle warns of a time of incredible apostasy and warns that the Day of Christ would not come unless there is a massive falling away and the man of sin is revealed.  He spoke of a time in which Great Deception would be prevalent in the world and even in the church or especially in the church.  He spoke of a time in which God would send or allow a strong delusion to permeate the religious world.  In his counsel and warning to Timothy, Paul spoke of “perilous times” coming in which evil men would grow worse and worse.  Does that not remind you of this day?

Without getting into the debates about the Coming of the Lord, Pre, Mid, or Post Tribulation or Millennialism let me ask this question, “When God lifts the restraints in this world do you really want to be around to witness it?”  We live in a world where there have been over 1.75 Billion Abortions during the past 40 years.  We live in a world where Islamic jihadists are brutally slaughtering Christians and anyone who will not convert to Islam at an alarming rate.  We live in a world where “lives do not matter” or so it would seem to a growing number of people. 

We are seeing the ever-increasing boldness of evil and watching as society has begun calling evil good and good evil.  We live in a world where some in Church leadership have adopted a ‘coexistence’ policy to the point they no longer declare the Only Pathway to salvation is Jesus Christ.  It is becoming a very dangerous world and in many parts of this planet if you are a professing Christian it is doubly dangerous.

What would it be like if there were no spiritual or moral restraints in this world?  What would the world be like if people followed the evilness in their hearts and did or took whatever they wanted whenever they wanted?  There is coming a time exactly like that and although I refuse to adopt a mentality of Escapism, I am praying that God will spare us from that horrific world.  Knowing that world is coming is yet another reason to address the condition of our hearts.  The restraints will, and we may be witnessing the lifting of them now, so I urge you to rekindle the flame of your first love with God. We must work ’til Jesus comes and work while it is yet day for the night is coming when no one can work. We have a harvest to reap and souls to bring into the Kingdom. Let’s be busy about the Master’s business rather than worrying about the dark days that are going to come! We are more than conquerors through Jesus!

God bless you as you go through this day!

WE WANT POWER BUT NOT THE FELLOWSHIP AND CONFORMITY…


Philippians 3:10-11 – “…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  NKJV

There are two great truths presented in this passage and I will focus on the second.  However, we cannot have the second without first knowing Him.  Many Christians want the Power of God in their lives, but few actually pray for the fellowship of His sufferings or to be conformed to His death.  I know there were protests that came forth immediately. But do we really seek to enter the fellowship of His sufferings or the conformity to His death?  I have visited and spoken in many churches that are crying out for the Power of God but almost none that are praying to enter into that relationship that is the foundation for that power.

The word ‘Fellowship’ in the Greek is the word ‘koinonia’ and means partnership, participation, and literally becoming one with.  Many churches call themselves ‘The Fellowship‘ but are often anything but a fellowship in the sense of sharing, partnership, participation, and becoming one with the other members of that body. 

If we are The Body of Christ then each member is connected to the other members in some way but if we are to become an effective local body we must develop ‘koinonia’ rather than being a group of people who identify with a particular brand, gather for a time of celebration and then go our separate ways.  There must become a joining and sharing if we are to present Christ to our communities with the effectiveness God desires.

But ‘koinonia’ of His sufferings, do we really seek that?  Do we even understand that?  I would never suggest nor does the Bible that we are to engage in some type of self-flagellation spiritually or physically.  Suffering comes but it should always come as a result of righteousness, not some misguided view that the more we can cause ourselves to suffer the more spiritual we are.  Our objective should be to know and manifest Christ. When we do we will be hated by the world for the world hates and hated Him.  If we seek to know Him to the level and degree that we can identify with and through righteousness participate in His sufferings, we will see the Power of God come dynamically. 

Yes, Jesus did suffer physically on the Cross but we must also remember as the Bible declares in Hebrews 4:15, Jesus was tempted in all points as we but without sin. We know that He died to the world and that I believe is the heart of this prayer of Paul.  When we receive Christ as our Savior the Bible identifies that as the New Birth and clearly indicates that we become New Creations.  We have a New Self and in a real sense, our Spiritual DNA changes. In that experience, Old Things die, and Newness of Life comes into our person. 

If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to identify the baggage we are bringing over from the old we will not ‘die to self’ or ‘die to the flesh’ and will find it raising its ugly head time and again.  If we are to be conformed to His death, we must allow God to do the spiritual work that is involved in bringing us into ‘koinonia’ with His sufferings and His death to sin. 

Every time I talk to God about Power, He always talks to me about Purity.  Preparation always precedes blessing for if God were to give us His Power while our hearts were less than pure it would destroy us and do great damage in the Body of Christ. 

We have seen people receive Power but fail to keep their hearts Pure and watched the destruction that followed.  It is no wonder that Paul spoke of a thorn in the flesh and the Bible continually instructs us to Guard our Hearts.  The disciples came back to Jesus raving about the Power that had been demonstrated in their ministries and He said, “Do not rejoice in this but that your names are in the Book of Life.”  The Heart is by far the most important part of your Christian walk, work, or warfare.

We want the Power but let us also desire the Purity that comes with learning the fellowship of His sufferings and allow the Holy Spirit to bring us in conformity with His death.

God bless you as you go through this day!

IT IS TIME TO SOUND THE ALARM…


Joel 2:1-2 – “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain!  Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble; for the day of the LORD is coming, for it is at hand:  2 A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations.”  NKJV

This chorus sung in church or used to be sung in the churches developed from this passage has always troubled me. That is because the song seems to advance the idea that this army was a good army when in fact it is an army of judgment.  Joel began his prophetic warning with SOUND THE ALARM and “… let the inhabitants of the land TREMBLE…”   That sounds like a bad day, not a good day but that depends on your view.

The described events were terrible, and the army described vicious and powerful and NOTHING escaped them.  Before them, people writhe in pain.  They are fierce and provide an almost invincible force to be reckoned with.  They are disciplined and the weapons coming against them are woefully ineffective.  They overcome the cities and ravish the houses like thieves.  In fact, they are so many and powerful the whole earth trembles at their presence.  They darken the sun and moon with their number and the stars grow dim as a result of their presence. 

Are they the Army of the Lord?  Yes, the Army of God’s Judgment.  This speaks of a terrible Day of the Lord in which God brings judgment to a people.  I have many Christian friends who live with a mentality of escapism.  They live with the hope and belief that they will face nothing bad and Jesus will rescue them as the western cavalry arriving in the nick of time to save the day.  I believe God’s word but ask, “What if God does not take us out before some judgment occurs?”  The greatest problem I have with escapism is it provides a platform for the devil to present a similar argument as he did to Adam and Eve in the Garden, “Has God said?” 

In this warning by Joel, the word of the Lord also gives a call to repentance.  There is the call to blow the trumpet in Zion and call a fast and a prayer gathering.  It is a call to brokenness and weeping before the LORD that He spare us.  It provides a hope that if we realize our condition as a people and rend our hearts before Him there is hope.  The terribleness of God’s judgment is beyond human comprehension.  No wonder Hebrews 10:31 tells us that it is a ‘terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.”

Jesus is coming back for us, He said He would.  Will we face perilous times?  The Bible warns us that the Last Days are just that.  I have had people tell me they are willing to run up financial obligations because Jesus is coming, and they are only taking from the devil in creating obligations they cannot and will not pay.  There is so much wrong with that view it time won’t permit me to address it but suffice it to say we must live soberly and righteously at all times.  If we are translated and allowed to avoid the judgments coming that is wonderful.  If we become martyrs and die at the hands of those who hate God and the things of God that is honorable.  If we endure to the end, we will be saved.

I believe that we are living at the beginning of the Last Days, and if Jesus tarries His coming, we will face persecution beyond anything we have imagined here in America.  Some of us will be martyred for Christ and some will have their hope severely tested.  Therefore, it is imperative that we hear and heed the Alarm being sounded and make 2 Chronicles 7:14 a cornerstone.  If we have run with the footmen and they have wearied us what will we do when horses come?

God bless you as you go through this day!

AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN???


Colossians 2:20-23 – “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations —  21 “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” 22 which all concern things which perish with the using — according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”  NKJV

Through the years I have heard Christians express their utter shock that someone professing to be a Christian would do certain things.  I heard a story of a man in a church who was dying.  He had received Jesus only a short time before his untimely sickness and as several of the church members gathered to his bedside to pray.  The sick man asked one of the ladies of the church to light a cigarette for him.  She gasped and angrily said to him, “You are going to hell if you do that!”  The pastor was there, and he reached down took the cigarette lit it, and placed it on the lips of the dying man. 

Some in the church wanted to run the Pastor out of town for committing such a horrendous sin.  He explained, “This man was dying.  He had accepted Christ a few weeks earlier and while he (the pastor) did not smoke he felt that it was demonstrating more of the heart of Christ to honor the man’s request than place him in greater trauma by refusing and heaping guilt on him that had not come as conviction from the Holy Spirit but from man.”  He cited passage in Colossians and then quoted Mark 7 reminding them of what Jesus said.

Our Lord spoke to the Pharisees and Scribes the words of Isaiah the prophet and called them hypocrites.  Honoring God with the lips but their failure to have what was coming from the lips to be manifested in the heart was not pleasing to God.  He addressed the tradition of men and compared it to washing eating and drinking utensils on the outside. 

Jesus then addressed that it is not what goes in the mouth of man that defiles but what comes out of the heart.  The dying man had come to a loving knowledge of Christ and although he was placing something that could be harmful to his physical body out of his heart proceeded genuine love for God.  Some in the congregation were rendering judgment based on their personal preference and interpretation of Scripture.  The danger is that in judging by our standards we miss God’s standards and rather than manifesting the heart of Christ we can manifest the heart of a Pharisee.

Out of the heart comes evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.  Out of the thoughts which plant seeds in the heart and ultimately become words and possibly deeds are where the real problem lies not what one takes into the body by the mouth.  He attempted to address the problem of becoming so rigid in our ‘touch not, taste not, handle not’ that we lose our tender-heartedness and fail to manifest the genuine love of Christ. 

Hear me!  I am not endorsing taking things into the body that are harmful. I am saying that the greater issue is our hearts.  If we are IN CHRIST, why are we bound by the traditions of men?  I never want to become a Pharisee and have a holiness that is only outward.  I want any holiness I have to be from within and when it is from within it will ultimately become manifest in the flesh as well as the spirit. 

I am confident that God is capable of bringing conviction to any heart.  He directs me to teach His word and present His truth and in so doing the Holy Spirit speaks to hearts but ultimately it is God that brings conviction and if someone has a habit I do not condone it does not mean they are not a follower of Christ.  No, it means we are not at the same place in our walk and level of understanding. 

I’ve had the Lord bring conviction to my heart and direct me that I could not do some things. He would then tell me that whether others did or did not, was none of my business.  He had a reason and has not always informed me as to why.  My response is that if the Holy Spirit says No, it is No for me.  If He says Yes, it is Yes for me.  Some things are just for me not to be imposed on everyone else. 

Why I would Never! No, you wouldn’t but that does not mean God has directed everyone else the same.  Some that look down their noses on people who have a habit they consider vile are guilty of seriously overeating.  Both are usually expressions of a lack of discipline. Before you condemn everyone not following your pathway to holiness remember that the splinter in their eye may be minor compared to the log in your own.  I have been there!

God bless you as you go through your day!

IS PERCEPTION REALITY?


Mark 4:35-38 – “On the same day, when evening had come, He said to them, “Let us cross over to the other side.”  36 Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was. And other little boats were also with Him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 38 But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” NKJV

We have all heard the cliché, “Perception is Reality” and for many, it is or becomes their reality.  The facts are inconsequential it the focus is their perception.  Perception is that upon which their beliefs and actions are based therefore perception to them is Reality! Albeit often a False Reality! In American politics, we had a very real example of that in 1960 when the first-ever televised debate between two political candidates for president was presented.  John F. Kennedy appeared relaxed, at ease, and in control, whereas Richard M. Nixon came across as nervous and uncertain.  The perception and spin that resulted were that JFK was a much stronger and capable leader and therefore the choice of millions for President based on perception, not fact.  That element entered and altered American politics to this day and much of our political climate is Perception and that becomes reality to many.

In our text, we find the disciples in the midst of a storm.  Jesus was sleeping in the boat.  They were terrified and presumed they were going to sink and die, and Jesus was sleeping!  Their perception can be heard in their question when they awakened Him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  It was not LORD help us!  It was LORD, since you are sleeping through this storm it appears that you do not care what happens to us.  You are not doing what we expect, in the manner we expect and in the time frame or with the urgency we expect therefore You must not care!   Perception was becoming their reality.

Thankfully Jesus did not let the story end there but arose, calmed the storm, and then addressed the problem.  They were fearful because they did not trust Him or the Father.  They trusted what they could see and what they could see presented them with the choice to succumb to fear or rise up in faith and they opted for the easy way out and let fear grip their hearts and shape their perception.  That led them to accuse Jesus of being unconcerned about their welfare.

When we allow Perception to become our Reality, we dismiss Faith and embrace circumstances, conditions, appearances, and even fear.   That reveals another reason we must get all the facts before rendering a judgment.  We will not be able to prevent the formation of an opinion but hopefully, we will keep that opinion pliable and allow it to be shaped by Reality, not Perception! 

When God does not meet our timetables or our preconceived idea of how He should handle the situation we allow the devil to advance His lie that God Does Not Care or that God Has Forsaken Us.  We then forget the promises of Scripture that He will never leave us or forsake us and the words of the apostle Peter in 1 Peter 5:7 that we are to cast ALL our care upon Him, for He Cares For Us!  He cares!  That is reality!  Perception says, He has not responded yet or in the manner or timeframe I expected or desired therefore He does not care.  Reality says, He is God and operates in His timing and according to His purposes.  Delay is not denial it is delay and even that may only be our perception not reality for, in reality, His timing is perfect.

Therefore, we must resist the devil and his attempts to coerce us into the trap of Perception and making it our reality.  We must learn to Believe and Trust God, not circumstances. 

May God be with you and allow you to walk in Truth and True Reality as you embrace this new day in the Lord!

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 life, and some spend their entire life 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. 

Let’s consider 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 issue 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. I have no doubt that it was at the dismay of the others. He 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!

GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS…


Before I offer my scripture, text let me ask, “Is this a biblical truth or a myth?”  Is there a chapter and verse for this saying that all of us have heard and many have probably used?  God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform.  Is this a declaration of scripture or is it like, “Every tub is going to sit on its own bottom” or “Cleanliness is next to godliness”? 

Someone said that if you search this on Google you will find that there are 52,000,000 results.  I will not wait for you to research each of those but suggest that it would be an interesting pursuit to ask Google and see what happens.  I have a friend who recently said, “I’m trying to figure God out!”  He then made the title declaration with a sigh of exasperation in his voice.  I immediately thought of the passage I will use as my text:

Isaiah 55:8-9 –“’ For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” 

I believe that as we read passages such as this, we quickly realize that the way God does things, or even the way that God directs us to do things is not always how we would have done them.  There are several references we can and should consider.  The matter of Salvation is a beautiful revelation of how different God thinks and acts than we would have. 

For salvation to become available for man, God Himself took on human flesh and had to die.  Wow!  I’m not sure that any of us would have done it that way.  I am a father and have sons.  I would never sacrifice their lives so someone else could live.  That goes against everything that is embedded in the parental DNA, right?

That is one of a myriad of examples.  How about when someone persecutes or abuses you.  Would you tell someone to love the one that is hurting you or pray for the one persecuting you?  Don’t get religious on me and admit it, you would not.  Imagine telling someone to go wash seven times in a dirty river in order to be cleansed and healed. We would never have considered blood as the element that would remove the dirtiest stains on a life.  Nothing about those things is logical to the human mind because those ways are not our ways, but they are God’s.  His ways are different from ours. 

Not only are God’s ways different from ours but they are on a higher plane.  Simply, God thinks at a level far superior to our thinking.  We see the beginning from the end, but God sees the end from the beginning.  He knows the outcome before we do anything.  I am not saying, He forces us to do His will, but He knows the choices we will make.  Have you ever watched a movie that you knew how it would end or watched a ball game that you already knew the final score of?  You viewed the game differently than you would have, had you known that information, right?  That is the advantage God has over us, He KNOWS!

Now, let’s get to the question at hand, “Does that mean that God really does work in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform?”  Let me rephrase that and ask, “Is God’s way of doing things, His working in mystery, a biblical truth or a myth?”  We know that His ways are different, and He operates on a much higher plane than we, but does that make His ways mysterious?  I don’t mean to leave you dangling but I will for a moment.

Let’s take the word ‘mysterious’ as we proceed.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it as ‘difficult or impossible to understand, explain, or identify.’  I suspect that all of us have had God do something in our lives that we could not understand, explain, or identify.  Therefore, based on the scripture we used in Isaiah 58 and that definition we could readily conclude that God works in mysterious ways is a biblical truth, not a myth.

Another issue is that we cannot and should not trust our own ways.  I hear people say, “I’m my own man or woman.”  I have some say, “Give me time and I’ll figure it out.”  Sounds good, right?  However, it is an idea built on shifting and sinking sand.  It is also a bit arrogant and puffed up too.  We cannot trust our way of thinking.

I call your attention to Proverbs 14:12, “There is a way that seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but its end is the way of death.”  The ways and even the acts of God are so far beyond our pay grade that they seem mysterious and sometimes seem too good to be true, but they are.

The question for our quest is, “How Should We Respond to God’s Ways?”  We should ask Him to, “Show me your ways, LORD teach me your paths.” (Psalm 25:4).  We should seek to walk in His ways, “Who is wise? Let them realize these things.  Who is discerning?  Let them understand.  The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them.” (Hosea 14:9).  We should Trust Him, “Trust in the LORD will all your heart and lean not to your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We should Live in and through Him, “For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but the world.  The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:16-17).

Therefore, to answer the title question, yes, God does work in mysterious ways.  Although there is not a specific verse for that quote, I believe the teaching of the Bible reveals that God does work in mysterious ways.  Mysterious to man but normal to Him.  He will often work in a way that is mysterious and even confusing to us, but His purposes are always redemptive.

I conclude with Jeremiah 29:11, “’ For I know the plans  have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future.”

May you enjoy the rich blessing of the Father as you seek Him and His Kingdom!  Have a Great Day!

A MAN AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART…


Psalm 19:14 – “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”  NKJV

This prayer of David is another reason I can accept God’s declaration that David was a man after His own heart.  Too many times we focus on David’s flaws and failures and wonder how it could be possible that God would so speak of Israel’s great king.  But if we allow the Holy Spirit to open the prayers of David we will being to understand what God was speaking of.  We must always remember that God does not look on the exterior but the interior (heart).  1 Samuel 16:7

This prayer in Psalms 19 is one of many that reflect the ‘heart’ of David.  Imagine a man whose greatest concern was that his ‘words’ and ‘thoughts’ be acceptable and pleasing to God.  He is a man rising in power or ascended to the highest position of power in the land and yet his ‘heart’ cries out to Please God! In my studies of the life of David and other characters in the Bible, I find that one of the central parts of the equation for greatness was having a ‘tender heart’ before God.  They were strong men and some were men of war but when it came to their heart’s desire it was to Please God!

God is always looking for hearts that are open, receptive, and have a willingness to obey His purposes.  He chose Abram who became Abraham and one of the central characteristics of Abraham’s life was his ‘heart’.  We are told in Genesis and Romans that Abraham ‘believed’ God and it was accounted to Him for righteousness.  Likewise, we are instructed that ‘without faith’ it is Impossible to please God.  These men, such as David, were men who trusted, received, and exhibited a willingness to obey the Word and Spirit of God. 

David repeatedly revealed his humanness and in many churches of today would have been disqualified as a result of his failings as would most of the other Biblical Patriarchs.  Yet, God chose to use these men to establish a nation that would usher in the lineage from which Christ would come.  He continually confounds the wise, the religiously self-righteous, and questioners using things and people we would not have chosen, and their hearts crying out to Him brought about glorious results for the Kingdom of God.

If you only review the exterior or actions of another you will likely miss what God is doing are working in their lives and through them.  You will reject the messenger and thereby miss the message.  No wonder Jesus said to those who brought the adulterous woman before Him, “Let him that is without sin cast the first stone.”  No wonder we are told, “Get the log out of your own eye before you try to remove a splinter or speck from the eyes of another.”  I have experienced the Holy Spirit opening my eyes to a spiritual truth through people and in places, I would not have anticipated that happening.  He has taught me to not look at the packaging but the product.  It is not the marketing but the message that is important.

My heart cries out that the ‘words’ of my mouth and the ‘thoughts’ in my heart be acceptable and pleasing to My Lord.  I ask and continue to ask, Lord, set a guard over my mouth.  Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips guarding my heart from evil.  That is a daily prayer and the desire of my heart.  I want to be a man after God’s own heart.  I want to be a vessel usable for His purposes.

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

DO WE UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE MIND???


Matthew 22:37 – “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’”  NKJV

Over the years I have become convinced that many believers have little or no concept of the importance of the mind in our Christian walk.  This passage describes three areas with which we are to love the LORD:  All our hearts, all our soul, and all our mind.  There are a number of words used in the New Testament for ‘the mind’ and the one used in this passage speaks of the ‘entire thought process.’  The idea is that as all our ‘thoughts’ are passing through our ‘minds’ we are to turn them over and reflect upon them.  It is a process of looking at our life and we call that ‘thinking’.

It is a process of turning thoughts over and over in our minds.  I have become firmly convinced that we do not really live the Christian life fully UNTIL we love God with all our minds.  I have encountered some in the Christian faith who seem to believe that the ‘less you think’ the better Christian you are.  We even sing songs that suggest that.  Remember when your first accept Jesus?  You were filled with doubts, fears, problems, and questions and many of us were told:  “It’s not important for you to understand.  Just take it by faith.”  That is true to a degree but also presents a problem.

Romans 12, declares that we are to be TRANSFORMED in our lives by the ‘renewing’ of our minds not the ‘removal’ of our minds.  It is in the renewal of my mind that my transformation is developed.  We begin to think about what God would have us be after which we talk and live it.  It is a process.  Unfortunately, some have tried to ‘live it’ outwardly and failed miserably then come back to try again not understanding that the problem is not in our words or deeds but our minds!  I am not suggesting ‘mind over matter’ or any such thing but stressing the importance of our thoughts.

We ‘are’ today, the result of what we ‘thought’ yesterday and before.  In a great sense, we are our thoughts in action.  Our lives are the concreting of our thoughts.  The outside of the cup is not nearly as important as the inside.  Unless my walking out the Christian life begins in my ‘thought processes’ I will realize little but frustration and failure.  We want to do one thing but we are thinking another and the two never seem to come together so we become trapped in a cycle that never seems to end.

If we are going to walk in what the New Testament calls the WAY, TRUTH, and LIFE we must bring our minds into subjection to the Lordship of Christ.  It is not possible to fully understand the end until you understand the beginning.  We have a body, which is a phenomenal machine.  Inside that machine lives ME and that ME is made in the Image of God.  That was the plan that God would be seen in man but the Fall presented a colossal problem.  To determine who or what I should be I have to look at God.  It is in seeing God that I can comprehend what man was supposed to be. 

In the Garden, Adam and Eve choose to be ruled by their feelings rejecting God’s thoughts and superimposing their own thoughts over His.  It was the choice, not the fruit that was the problem.  Their choice was the result of their thoughts for when they rejected God’s thoughts for their own, they fell.  If you remember the Genesis account, the process moved from what Eve ‘saw’ to her ‘feelings’ to her ‘desire’ to be wise, and then the devil’s suggestion came questioning God and she thought about it.  Their thoughts were governed by ‘what they thought’ rather than ‘what God said.’ 

No wonder Paul says in 2 Corinthians 10 that we are to bring ‘every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.’  If our minds are to be renewed and we are to be transformed by that renewal our thoughts MUST become totally submissive to Christ.  You are not what you think you are but you are what you think.

May the Lord be with you as you go through this day!