Do You Have Eyes to See and Ears to Hear?

The great theologian CH Spurgeon once said, “Prayers are heard in heaven very much in proportion to your faith.  Little faith  will get very great mercies, but great faith greater mercies still.”

Having faith in God is more than just reciting words, doing good deeds, and attending church every Sunday.  To really achieve a warrior’s faith that will bring blessings beyond what we can imagine  we must experience a total and complete transformation of our very existence so that we can yearn for Him, strive to be like Him in our words and deeds, and spread the good news to others through our testimony as an instrument of His will and a testament to His glory. We need eyes to see and ears to hear.

To often we believe that those with wealth, power, influence and public adulation have the type of life we should emulate.  In fact Christ is no respecter of persons, and no amount of material possessions, earthly appointment, star power, or human authority will bring a person closer to God than true faith from a transformed heart.

Those with money, wealth and fame certainly have greater resources to put to good use in the ministries of the Lord, but few do and when they do they gain no greater favor with the Lord for doing so.  It is those with the most powerful FAITH who reach God’s ears first.

In John 18, Christ is brought before Pontius Pilate, Roman Governor of Judea, the most powerful, influential and revered figure in his domain.  Pilate had the earthly authority to decide the fate of Christ and in his position questioned the Son of God expecting a fearful, subservient response.

“Pilate said unto him, “Art thou a king then?  Jesus answered, Thou sayest I am a king.  To this end I was born, and for this cause came I unto this world, that I should bear witness unto the truth.  Everyone that is of the truth hears my voice.”  To which Pilate responded, “What is truth?”  Our Lord answered him with silence. John 18

Pilate was powerful enough in his earthly domain but he could not hear the eternal truth because he was a pagan and a  non-believer.  He was not humbled in the knowledge and acceptance of Christ  as the Son of God.

The Bible reminds us that, the exalted shall be humbled and the humble exalted.  Isaiah 2:12.  As we go through this life, our emphasis must be on developing more faith, not more wealth, achieving more humility not more authority over men, finding more time for God and less time for earthly distractions.

May God bless you as you strive for the type of faith that comes with true understanding of Christ and his message for us as believers!

God Judges, We Must Focus on Our Own Sins

“For with whatever judgment you judge, you yourself shall be judged: and with what measure you treat others, it shall be measured to you again.   Why behold the stick that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?” Matthew 7:1-3

The recent media firestorm over a “celebrity’s” comments about homosexuality raise the too often forgotten biblical guidance that only God shall judge.  We are all sinners, we all engage in immorality.  Whether it is lying, blasphemy, adultery, homosexuality, lust, greed, stealing, cursing God, neglecting parents, abusing children and spouses verbally and even physically, who among us is free from judgment?  Is there any of these greater or worse than another?  Some may say blasphemy but ultimately it is God before whom we must one day stand to give an account of our lives and He alone will mete out our judgment.  Yet we are too often caught up in directing attention away from our own failings to others.  Why? because who wants to look in the mirror and see the truth about our own sins?

I have very definite views on the subject of homosexuality based upon my reading of scripture, however as with any life that deviates from God’s word, my reaction is love, compassion, and prayer for  deliverance. How can I turn away from or against anyone who I feel may be a sinner when I myself sin daily?  Who am I to judge any man when I struggle daily to cleanse myself from all other means of unfaithful living?

When we stand up and point fingers, we must be prepared to have them pointed back at us.  And when we as Christians take it upon ourselves to determine right from wrong, we must be prepared for the examination of our own lifestyle and appointment which gives us the supposed right to judge.  We are not God, and when we try to stand in His place we will never convince others of our authority to judge….only the Creator has that right. We can and must preach the Word.  We can and must direct sinners to Christ and let the Lord bring inspiration, instruction, correction, healing and restoration to those who have strayed from the Word.

The more we make it about US and the less about HIM, the more we cheapen the Word, and the message becomes diluted with finger-pointing and comparing whose sins are worse. We can never win the fight over sin alone…however God can win by bringing sinners to salvation through repentance and rebirth.

I pray for ALL sinners, including myself.  I ask forgiveness for my sins, and for mercy and grace for those around me who need correction.  I love all of my neighbors, including those who mock or hate me.  I stand ready to support anyone who truly seeks to have a relationship with God that will help them discern light from darkness so that they can experience true spiritual healing and peace.

Have a blessed day!

All that Glitters is Not Gold

Sin is like a mirage.  It’s a tin coin painted gold.  It is week old tuna dressed as caviar.

Sin looks, smells and tastes good from a distance, but once we grab hold of it the true nature of the delusion is made clear. The consequences can be catastrophic or at least embarrassing and shameful.

How do we tell fool’s gold from the real thing?  God has given us a holy spirit within.  Some call it a conscience, others a moral compass.  All of us have that tug, or pang, or nudge that precedes our latest sin, warning us not to go on. Yet often we do because the temptation is too great.

As followers of Christ we need to heed the warning signs to cleanse our lives.  Being in touch with our holy spirit will also allow us to follow the true roadmap to our intended destiny with minimum pain and suffering.

Easy to say, not so easy to do.  This is a struggle I face each and every day, as do most of you.  Fortunately we have the Word and the Lord and Prayer.

Let’s proclaim together that we will heed our spirit today, make good choices, and reject Satan’s temporal illusions the are nothing more than a distracting mirage wrapped up in a lie.

“I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the (false) gods I will praise thee.  I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy loving kindness and for the truth: for thou has magnified thy word above all others.” Psalm 138

Godliness flows from Righteousness

There is a modern saying that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” and to the extent that being “clean” is evidence of a new life, then perhaps that is a phrase to live by.  However to walk in this age as Christ walked is a difficult task indeed.  In a world of sin, wearing flesh that cannot resist temptation, we simply cannot ever expect to become that “perfect” “sinless” being like the Son who walked the Earth more than 2000 years ago to serve as the spotless sacrificial lamb for our salvation.

We can however strive to live new lives, focused in the Word and on Christ.  While we will waver the more we make the Word a part of our daily routine, the more strength, resistance, and ammunition we will have to avoid sin and live more holy lives.

“No man puts new wine into old wineskins, else the new wine burst the skins and the wine is spilled….new wine must be placed into new wineskins.”  See Matthew 2:22, Luke 5:37

Once we commit to a new life in Christ, our walk is made easier when we shed the old self and embrace the new one.  It can be scary.  We can lose friends and alienate family. We may have to give up old habits. However the committed walk will bring a fruitful end and a glorious eternal life of unending joy and peace.  What a thing to strive for!

Get clean.  Be righteous.  Find your inner godliness.  It will be a wonderful new you!

Have a blessed day!

Chasing After Windmills

The wisdom of this world is but foolishness to God 1 Corinthians 3:19

Like fools so many today chase after windmills, worldly illusions, while turning their backs on the Truth of Christ. Ever since the lie in the Garden (“You will not surely die,” the serpent tells Eve, “you will be like God, knowing good and evil”) man has been cursed with the false notion that he is the equivalent of God and master of his own destiny.  Why not?  We can fly to the moon and back,  We can transplant hearts and limbs, and now even faces.  We can grow life from a test tube.  We can accumulate great wealth and power, start massive and destructive wars using mind-blowing technology.

Why not think we are gods?  We are lords of our surroundings.  We create I-pads and smart phones and drones….there is nothing we cannot do!

We fawn our ourselves, spending billions of dollars to look “good”-even paying for cosmetic surgeries to enhance our appearances and reverse (or hide) signs of aging.  We wear revealing clothing to show  the world our “personal assets.”  We enjoy debating, fighting and crying over what we should eat, how we should eat it (paper or plastic, small or big gulp size).  We travel miles for “organic foods” to feed our “temple.”  We spend all our waking life worshiping ourselves and not God who created us!

What foolishness we pursue daily in our self-love, god-man delusions!  How distracted we are from the simple truths of the real power in the universe: the ever present, omnipotent Creator!

Christ warned us that we must reject what the world offers, and die in our current lives, to live again.  Death means rearranging our priorities, becoming humble and obedient, and staying focused on the one true message of hope, salvation, and peace, the Word of God as proclaimed in the Bible.  A book featuring 16 different prophets writing over thousands of years yet interweaving the same thread of Truth despite geographic, cultural and ethnic differences.  One message of life in a world that sells death.

There is no way to avoid the self-love promoted by this world without a radical devotion to Christ and the Bible.  It may not win you friends, may cause you to separate from family, but it will ensure you an eternity in the presence of Christ in a world that far surpasses the greatest pleasures man has ever crafted here on earth.

Love the  Lord your God  with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  Deuteronomy 6:5

I know my choice…do you know what yours will be?

We Were Made to Pass the Tests of Life!

” Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything…Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown  of life that God has promised to those who love him.”” (James 1:2-4, 12)

Perseverance is to endure hardship in spite of difficulties and discouragement.  Jude encourages us to watch out for the scoffers who live amongst us and follow their natural desires yet, do not live in the Spirit.  We are to not allow them to discourage us and to stay in God’s love. (Jude 1:17-21)

The Bible references various protagonists for their suffering.  We are to be grateful for Christ’s perseverance in His earthly mission.  Can you imagine how hard it would be for one of us to voluntarily leave heaven, live as a human on Earth while you have the foreknowledge that you will die a painful death?  How about suffering harm when you have the power to end it simply by your word but you persevere and choose to suffer instead because you love us?

We ought to rejoice in suffering, for God will reward those who suffer and punish those who have made us suffer.  Paul considers himself successful when it comes to perseverance.  He talks about being “poured out like a drink offering” and “fighting the good fight.”  At this point in time, his life is over;  He feels he has “finished the race” (of life) and earned the “crown of righteousness.” (2Timothy 4:6-8)  “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 3:14)   It would be wise of us to follow his example.

Like a City Who’s Walls Are Broken Down is a Man Who Lacks Self-Control (Proverbs 25:28)

“There will be terrible times in the last days.  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-having a form of godliness but denying its power.  Have nothing to do with them.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Sounds familiar?  I can recognize each of these behaviors as being acceptable within our society.  Many of us can easily act on these behaviors without any worldly repercussions since they are considered normal by those around us.  Even those of us who are close to righteousness need to guard our selves against slipping into one of these actions.  “What causes fights and quarrels among you?  Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” (James 4:1)  We need to be vigilant about preventing our selfishness to create a problem.

God says we are to be in this world but not of this world.  We need to use self-control and patience to prevent ourselves from acting out our natural impulses.  “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16-17)  Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit.  It enables us to overlook an offense, to put others before ourselves and, therefore, to be closer to God which is the ultimate goal.

Wisdom and Knowledge are Found in God

“Who has understood the mind of Lord or instructed him as counselor? …Who was it that taught Him (God) knowledge or showed Him the path of understanding?” (Isaiah 40:13-14)

God told King Solomon to “Ask for whatever you want me (God) to give you.” (2Chronicles 1:7)  Solomon asks for wisdom and knowledge to enable him to lead God’s people.  He lives on to impart his knowledge to all of us in Proverbs.  He writes “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (Proverbs 1:7)  Knowledge comes from God; When you recognize God’s awesomeness, you have the utmost respect for God and you fear God which, according to Isaiah, “…is the key to this (knowledge) treasure.” (Isaiah 33:6)  Solomon, the smartest man who ever lived, urges us to choose knowledge over gold and rubies because nothing is better (Proverbs 8:10-11).

A person of knowledge has discretion, prudence, loves discipline, has restraint,   A fool is undisciplined, talks too much, is without knowledge  “With his mouth, the godless destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous escape.” (Proverbs 11:9)  “It is not good tom have zeal with out knowledge nor to be hasty and miss the way.” (Proverb 19:2)  “Stop listening to instruction…and you will stray from the words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 19:27)  Knowledge supplies the tools for living.  (Proverbs 24:3-5)

After intense struggles and losses, Job’s friends mock him by saying he does not have knowledge and he should not wait on God to deliver him from his troubles.   Elihu rebukes Job’s friends and asks “How great is God-beyond our understanding.” (Job 37:26).  God ends the book questioning Job’s knowledge about how the earth functions.  His point is if Job does not know these answers, how can he presume to know God’s ways.  We must recognize Gods superiority and trust His guidance humbly.

As we contemplate the wisdom of God and acknowledge our own limitations, it is useful to remember: “Oh the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable His judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?…For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.  To Him be the glory forever!  Amen.” (Romans 11:33-36)

Faith Leads to Goodness

The Old Testament talks of God’s goodness.  In 2 Chronicles 6:41, King Solomon prays for God’s “…saints to rejoice in your (God’s) goodness.”  The Psalms are peppered with declarations of God’s goodness.  David looks forward to seeing “…the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27:13)  He prays for God to “Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,” (Psalm 86:17)  and “But you, O sovereign Lord … out of the goodness of your love, deliver me.” (Psalm 109:21)

“How can I repay the Lord for all of his goodness to me?” asks the Psalmist in (116:12).   If our goal is to become more godly, it is important that we emulate His ways.  We need to offer goodness to God and His creation.  Paul names goodness as a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22) while he praises various churches for their goodness (Romans 15:14 and Thessalonians 1:11)   He praises and teaches the Ephesians “For once your were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.” (5:8-10)

James spells it out clearly: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?  Can such faith save him?  …faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.  But someone will say, ‘you have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.  You believe there is one God.  Good!  Even the demons believe that-and shudder.” (2:14-19) Wow!  James is comparing those with faith and no deeds to a demon.

It is important to God that we treat each other with goodness.  Jesus taught “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only those who do the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21)  “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:11-12)

True Faith leads to transformation….and a transformed life will result in the kind of fruits that keep us connected to Christ.  These fruits include a goodness of spirit, words, and deeds that signal to ourselves and to others that we truly are followers of Christ and not just “fans.”

Today, reflect on who you are as a Christian.  Do your walk and talk show your goodness of spirit?  When you falter, turn to the Word and be encouraged.  The road to salvation is a long one, and the road is never straight.  We are praying for you as you journey!

Faith is More Than A Word, It Begins With Trust

The first step to righteousness is having faith.  The writer of Hebrews defines faith as “…being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1)  He expands on this definition by referencing specific various Old Testament incidents and showing how the Jews accepted their validity through faith, and briefly pointing out many New Testament events, thereby linking the Old Testament to the New Testament into one huge continuous story.

Jesus spoke of faith in Matthew’s gospel when He commanded Peter to step out of his fishing boat to walk on the Sea of Galilee.  Peter stepped out of the boat onto the water and headed toward Jesus.  Suddenly, there came a wind and fear crept into his being so he sank.  Jesus saved him and replied “You of little faith…why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)  He also taught about faith in Matthew 17:20 “…if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Nothing will be impossible for you.  Right from Jesus’ lips.

The first step to becoming a Christian is to have faith.  You are asked to believe in God, accept Jesus as your savior and allow The Holy Spirit to enter into your life.  You are encouraged to accept The Bible as God’s word.  “…through faith (you) are shielded by God’s power…” (1Peter 1:5)   and you will receive “…the salvation of your souls.”  (1 Peter 1:9)  Without faith, you have sin, meaning you have death.

Our faith will be tested “…because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:3)    Peter tells us that our faith will be tested and that we will suffer many trials.  “These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7)  There are people living now who are being jailed, murdered, beaten for proclaiming themselves to be Christians.  If a gun was put to your head and you were being coerced to deny Jesus as your Lord and Savior, would you have the courage to stand firm in Christ and die?