The Imperative Of Faith

Tough Decisions Ahead Road Signim·per·a·tive n.(m-pr-tv)
1 A command; an order.An obligation; a duty:
Do You Believe in God?

Do you TRULY Believe in God?How Do you know you believe in God?

How do I know? Because He is my Father. He has given me all things pertaining to life and godliness (2nd Peter 1:3) And I trust in Him.

Oh…you trust Him?

Yes.

Trust is a corresponding action to the presence of Faith. If you believe in God…then something, somewhere in your life is going to show it.

This is the Imperative of Faith. Belief. Faith plus action equals belief

Belief. Greek Word Pistis
conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it
If you believed you were standing under a 300 ton Boulder that was going to fall, in the exact spot where you stood. Would you remain there? No. The corresponding action to your belief that that monolith is going to wreck your millennium is to boot scoot and boogie out of the way.

If you believed that a 700 ton rampaging mastodon was heading on a bee line for your living room, hurling snot and police cars in it’s wake. Would you sit blithely on your sofa munching your Pringles, or would you high tail it to the nearest safe place.

The corresponding actions to these beliefs are obvious. Why then is it so difficult for us, sometimes, to muster up corresponding action to the faith we have in God? He is the CREATOR OF THE UNIVERSE! Nothing exists apart from Him and yet so often our response to Him is as lackadaisical as Adam on the Sistine chapel, only missing the touch of God because he refuses to extend his finger. (Oh, I could get so mad at Adam for what he did, but I’d have to get off my couch)

We will answer this question in a second.

There is an imperative to Faith. Faith DEMANDS Action. Let’s look at some Scripture.

James 2:

Faith Without Works Is Dead
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! 20But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?21Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

I was tempted not to use the scripture because so much misunderstanding abounds in some areas of the church regarding this. But I used it at the Lord’s leading, because the scripture is not at fault, only our perception and understanding of it is.

So lets sweep aside some misunderstandings first.

First. Works do not save a man. Never have, never will.

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

We are not saved BY faith, but we are saved TO them

The key to understanding the scripture is to know that FAITH…real faith…alive Faith, works. And something that substitutes for faith….counterfeit (dead) faith, doesn’t. Also notice the word “says” that James Uses.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?

We are not talking about real faith here….but reported faith. This reported faith….it if does not evidence works, is dead. That kind of counterfeit faith is ….destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative

But now that we’ve dealt with what this scripture ISN’T saying…..what IS it saying.

What it is saying is the Imperative of Faith

Real living faith must have some works grow out it. The key verse is this:

22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?

Faith is perfected by works. Does this mean you HAVE to do works or your faith is dead….. yes and no. What it is saying, is that real faith HAS works. Faith is like a seed in our life. If you plant any seed in the ground it will grow, if unimpeded. So to will the Kingdom of Heaven grow in the heart of the believer, if unimpeded. Jesus likened this process to a mustard seed.

The Parable of the Mustard Seed
Matthew 13: 31 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, 32which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.”

So this passage of James is not devoted to telling us we have to work, not at all. It is telling us that if we have living faith…we WILL work, we can’t but avoid to have that seed grow in our life. Works happen, and there is nothing we can do to stop them, if we have a true and living faith.

So then, we come back to our earlier question?
“Why then is it so difficult for us, sometimes, to muster up corresponding action to the faith we have in God? ” The answer is simple….because sometimes we impede the seed. Things get in the way. Things that we dread…like worry doubt or fear. Or things that we seek after, like desires, lusts and appetites.

Back to Matthew 13

Parables About the Kingdom of Heaven
1 On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. 2And great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that He got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.
3Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: “Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”

The Parable of the Sower Explained
(18 “Therefore hear the parable of the sower: 19When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. 20But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. 22Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. 23But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Reading the parable we see that the groups of people can be divided up into two. People who never receive the seed, the unsaved. And those who do receive the seed. The saved. Everyone who received the seed, the word of God…Jesus in their heart is saved. Even if their production capability is off. Salvation is never in question. Remember Ephesians 2-8:9 saved by grace, not of works. In this situation we are talking about LIFE. because once you are saved, it is expected that you in turn will sow life and be a producing Christian. So what stops a person from producing?

Three kind of people received the seed, one type produces, two don’t.

The first type is this:

20But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.

This is the person who, after their saved, does invest the time and effort into the devotion of God necessary to create a deep, substantial root of support in times of trouble. A deep abiding faith, where in our first and only reliance is on a loving father and His provision for us. You Know, 2nd Peter 1 3as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue When our reliance is on Him and His provision we can stand against the tribulations of life, both from the enemy camp, and simply from our families. This person’s faith withers in the face of adversity and they can no longer produce or even thrive, they simply wilt. Raise your hand If this has happened to you? (I would but I can’t type one handed ;o) )To keep from falling victim to this “Seed Impeder” we need to dig our roots deep into the things of God.

The second type is this:

22Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.

This is the person who after coming to God turns back into the things of the world. Not leaving God, but not completely leaving the world. They Like God , they want to be Christian, but they can think of any number of excuses why God wouldn’t mind this guilty little pleasure, or that little tiny sin, or this desire or this lust, and soon they become so entangled with the weeds of their own desires that their roots to God are crushed in the avalanche of compromise and suddenly, they just don’t “feel” God anymore. And they may even go to church, but they don’t produce….and they slowly wither under the weight of compromise and fall to the ground. When a person comes to Jesus, they must cut their ties to the world, turn their backs on their old lives and move into the new life God has for them. Does this mean abandoning their friends and family, no not necessarily but it does mean that you make your friends and family know that your life is now different and you won’t go with them to the bar, or anything else God would disapprove of. And then we tighten our sails and sail a steady course, straight for Holiness. And expressing the Holiness in our hearts….into our lives.

So what do you do if your a withered stalk? Do you give up? Do you kick in your chips and wait to die, so that you can FINALLY “feel” Jesus again?

Certainly not. While your faith is not dead, it most certainly is comatose and you need to wake it up. Tend your soil, remove the rocks and the weeds from your heart, resettle your roots and start growing again. To be come a producer of 30 60 or 100 fold. Plant the seed and watch your faith become awake again. Get help if you need it, Pastor and I are hear for just that purpose. We all have failures, we all have set backs….we all wither from time to time. But it is OUR JOB as Christians to always re-root and dig deep. It is OUR DUTY as sons and daughters of an Almighty God to come alive again in our faith and produce that thirty sixty and one hundred fold.

It is the Imperative of Our Faith.

I pray that you I and the whole family of God will find ways to strengthen our roots, and clear the weeds of the word out of our lives, so that we can survive and succeed into producing Christians sowing our seed into the lost world to produce yet more in the family of God.

Walk In The Wilderness

 

Find The Light In The Wilderness

When Jesus found times to be exceedingly difficult, he found time to get away from the crowds and get alone with God. to reconnect and refresh. And whether your wilderness is a walk by a mountain stream, or ten minutes alone at the table with a cup of coffee, there comes a time when all of us are called to the wilderness. A time when we have to get away from distractions , voices and anything else that might take our attention away from what the Lord is trying to say to us. So take time today , to get in your quiet place and seek the Lord.

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!

Philippians 4: 8
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Ephesians 5:18-20
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 10:19-22
19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

John 4:23-24
23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Take moment or a week and get alone with the Lord, for He is talking to us if we will only listen. This wilderness represents not a place of desolation, but a place of commitment, a place of determination, a place of hope. As Jesus walked into the wilderness after his baptism, we walked into it knowing there would be trials, but he also knew that there would be successes in the face of those trials.

James 2

2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
God does not want us to suffer, He wants us to THRIVE, but to do so we have to face a small amount of adversity to gain the Christian maturity. But when the trials are over, will you know what God has wanted to impart?

Romans 8
27 Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose

So let us come unto Him and find His purpose, for us…we do have one you know, and we have to get quiet and hear Him.

Welcome To The Battle

marine-310x190Life was empty when I was a sinner. Life was dry, life was ugly, and life was bereft of all the joy peace and fulfillment that I have in Jesus Christ. Life was also easier.

When I was a sinner, I didn’t have to think about anyone else, I set the rules, I made my own choices and if I was going to have a god…then He would be of my own creation. Sin didn’t mean anything to me.

Now I had a sense of right and wrong, and of proper and improper, and even moral and immoral; but those where like items on buffet, I could add them to my plate of ethics as I passed by, or I could leave them. I was in control. I was the big boss…..I was a mess.

Then one day I met Jesus, and the dryness of the desert was made into a garden. On the day I met Jesus, my life in Him became beautiful. And on the day that I met Jesus, my life became challenging. I was like a fish that had changed directions in a stream, and instead of slip streaming along in the world I was fighting against the current of it. I was in a battle. The good news was that I was not in the battle alone. I had the almighty God, the Creator of everything on my side and he was helping me, and helping me in a way that made me grow. He carried 95% of the battle and he let me carry 5%. This is his plan to help us grow.

The Fact of the Battle

The first and foremost thing we have to accept is that there is a battle raging within us. A battle of wanting to good, and wanting bad, of wanting to be holy, and wanting to sin, and of serving Christ and serving ourselves. Paul spoke of this battle many times in his writings to the churches

1 Timothy 6: 11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Paul encouraged us to take the battle head on because it indeed was warfare.

2 Corinthians 10: 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

While the weapons of our warfare are not physical (carnal) they are mighty, and the war we are fighting is against a mighty enemy, but please don’t forget that we are only shouldering a small portion of the battle, we are carrying the flag…..the army is the Lord’s

The Battle Ground

So we are in a battle, but what kind of battle is it and where is the battle ground?
The battle is in you…in your soul, specifically your mind, will and emotions. Your soul is where you play out your daily lives, where you make the choices of what you will do in life and how you will react to it. It is the place where you have victory…or defeat, depending on what you do.

Man is a three part being, He is above all else a spirit, who has a soul and lives in a body. The body will always be corrupt. It is of this world, it wants things of this world and it usually wants it in excess. The spirit of a Christian is born of God, and will always be of God. It will want Godly things. Both of these parts of you have a voice. Each call to you to be served, the body for fleshly things and the body for spiritual things and the battle ground between the too, is your mind will and emotions. If you are to live a Christian life then your response is to be to say no to the flesh and yes to the Spirit. Paul puts it this way:

Romans 12: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

There is no good to come from the body, the best you can do is put it on the altar and sacrifice it.

2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The mind however takes a little more effort, and here once again is the battle ground, we must wrestle the mind away from the control of the flesh (which once had complete control of the mind) and turn it to the Spirit’s influence. You might notice that I seem to vary between capitalizing the word Spirit. I do this because the spirit of a Christian is intertwined with the Spirit of God, He indwells every Christian and it is through His power that we can even hope to overcome the flesh.
Paul restates this same idea in Ephesians:

Ephesians 4: 17
20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness

The Purpose Of The Battle

So why do we have to face this battle? I mean if God can completely renew my spirit, couldn’t he throw in a soul cleaning for free? While to our minds this might seem to be the best way God has His purpose. James gives a glimpse into the purpose of the battle.

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

James and Paul echo each other here, the purpose of the battle is to make us perfect complete and lacking nothing. There is an old saying that if you give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day. If you teach the same man how to fish, he will never be hungry. God, through the battle, allows us to overcome the tests and trials of the flesh that we might become mature Christians. God doesn’t will that any of us remain incapable, falling back to the starting line, each and every time. God wants us to face the battle so that if we take two steps forward, and through the testing we fall back one step, we have gained one step, and it is all ours. We have chiseled that truth, that success in faith, into the stone of our foundation and no one can ever take it away from us again. Gaining confidence in our ability to stand in faith for the Spirit and against the flesh is the purpose of the battle. It is why we are not stuck on a cloud somewhere insulated from everything. And please remember:

1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
God has not sent you into battle alone; He carries all that you cannot.

Victory in the Battle

So then the ultimate victory in the battle is that we add, one at a time, these stones of truth to our foundation that we may become a servant of God, fit for His use, no longer struggling through life…but turning around what we have received and reaching out to others imparting words of life to them that they too may have what Peter calls “all things that pertain to life and godliness”.

2nd Peter 1:3 His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue

So how do we gain this victory? By choosing do to what is right instead of wrong; by choosing to keep a peaceful heart instead and venting our frustrations; and finally by choosing to keep our mind on Christ, instead of the things. And by doing so, we transform our mind will and emotions. Becoming perfect, complete and lacking nothing is the victory that we are all seeking in Christ and simply taking control of our lives brings that to us.

Yes, it’s hard, it’s not called a battle and a fight for nothing, but it is not TOO hard. It is not beyond our capability to overcome, because Jesus is carrying the majority of the weight. It’s just something we need to do. And the final award, well that’s the best of all:

2nd Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

It is up to decide, if the death Jesus gave us on the Cross, is worth the effort to run the race. I think we would all agree it is.

Next Week we take the battle to the Enemy

 

Sin Is An Anchor

anchor-underwater

Do Not Let Sin Be The Anchor that holds you down

We all make mistakes. We all stumble. We all sin. Anyone who tells you they do not sin, is not in fellowship with God (b)

But for the rest of us we sin. Why do we sin, well because we are not yet completely Holy yet. You see we are a three part being, we are a spirit (created in God’s image), we have a soul and we live in a body.

When we are saved our spirit is miraculously and instantly transformed from death to life, and we are in fellowship with God. Our soul, which is our mind will and emotions is still thinking in old ways. And our flesh…..that is our body, will always be of the world, base and desirous of base and sinful things.

Romans 12:1-2 tells us that we must bring the soul into God’s way of thinking, and that we must bring our body into submission to the will of God.

1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2nd do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The Body is never going to be redeemed. It is going to rot into the earth from when it came.

The Soul is the battle ground. when we sin it is because some element of the soul, The mind, the will or the emotion, or all three, have heeded the call of the body or our base nature the flesh and has chosen to walk in that path.

Romans 12 tells us we must not be conformed to this world, which is evil, but we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. It is almost a wrestling match to manhandle the mind away from the world and force it walk in the way of light. It takes effort, it takes determination and even with all the determination in the world, we all some times fail.

So how do we deal with Sin?

First we train the mind to walk in God’s light by reading the word….fill ourselves with his truth. Like changing oil in the car, you have to drain the old decrepit oil and fill the engine block with new oil. So too do we need to fill our block heads (or maybe this is just me) of the New Life, the word of God, and drain it of the old insensible sensibilities.

We are at war and the battle field is the soul….who will win? God or the flesh? If we follow the directions of 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5, then God will win our souls.

4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Bringing into captivity every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God….YOUR knowledge of God. So how do you win the battle? Educated yourself, fill yourself with the word of God and you will succeed. Let us not be destroyed in sin by our lack of knowledge, but let us stock the armory of our mind with the word of God that we may pull down the strong hold that bind us to sin.

What’s second…..well even the Holiest of mortal men (not speaking of myself here…no sir) will fall. We will, as Christians, against our own sense and in utter disbelief find ourselves committing sins, perhaps the same sin over and over again. What do you do then? Beat yourself up about it, throw in the towel and admit defeat? Never! Do we deny the power of sin in our lives and pretend all is well? again, never! Here is what you do:

1st John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

We RUN to God and ask forgiveness, we pick ourselves up and get clean again. Then we march forward intent on never doing that again. What is the difference between a saint and a sinner, the saint gets up when they fall and run to Jesus for forgiveness.

 

The Body is never going to be redeemed. It is going to rot into the earth from when it came.

The Soul is the battle ground. when we sin it is because some element of the soul, The mind, the will or the emotion, or all three, have heeded the call of the body or our base nature the flesh and has chosen to walk in that path.

Romans 12 tells us we must not be conformed to this world, which is evil, but we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. It is almost a wrestling match to manhandle the mind away from the world and force it walk in the way of light. It takes effort, it takes determination and even with all the determination in the world, we all some times fail.

So how do we deal with Sin?

First we train the mind to walk in God’s light by reading the word….fill ourselves with his truth. Like changing oil in the car, you have to drain the old decrepit oil and fill the engine block with new oil. So too do we need to fill our block heads (or maybe this is just me) of the New Life, the word of God, and drain it of the old insensible sensibilities.

We are at war and the battle field is the soul….who will win? God or the flesh? If we follow the directions of 2nd Corinthians 10:4-5, then God will win our souls.

4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Bringing into captivity every thought that exalts itself against the knowledge of God….YOUR knowledge of God. So how do you win the battle? Educated yourself, fill yourself with the word of God and you will succeed. Let us not be destroyed in sin by our lack of knowledge, but let us stock the armory of our mind with the word of God that we may pull down the strong hold that bind us to sin.

What’s second…..well even the Holiest of mortal men (not speaking of myself here…no sir) will fall. We will, as Christians, against our own sense and in utter disbelief find ourselves committing sins, perhaps the same sin over and over again. What do you do then? Beat yourself up about it, throw in the towel and admit defeat? Never! Do we deny the power of sin in our lives and pretend all is well? again, never! Here is what you do:

1st John 1:8If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness

We RUN to God and ask forgiveness, we pick ourselves up and get clean again. Then we march forward intent on never doing that again. What is the difference between a saint and a sinner, the saint gets up when they fall and run to Jesus for forgiveness.

God Bless you this day

 

Right And Wrong And Right

fork-310x190What is Wrong and What is Right?

Its all relative right? I mean I am a good person and I care. Isn’t that enough?
I save the whales and protect the rain forest from those stupid people who want to cut it down.

I have great tolerance for all people and I can’t stand those who are intolerant.

There are a lot of valid choices out there anyway, aren’t there? Its most important to be yourself.

I help animals who are endangered, I protect a woman’s right to choose, I’m a good person.

Right?

Here in lies the greatest danger today. One of Satan’s greatest successes. The substitution of morals for ethics.

What’s the difference between ethics and morals? The difference is God.

Lets take this poor lost soul who is proud of her protection of animals and her protection of a woman’s right to her body. To her eyes this is a good thing for her to be doing. Her ethics say it is a noble thing. But is it moral?

Something is moral if it lines up with the word of God. If it is of God then it is a moral thing. Because the only source of good is God.

However moral’s are very inconvenient. Morals cause us to act accordingly to God’s will and sometimes we don’t want that. So the world (thanks to the god of this world and liar extraordinaire, Satan) has found a way to do away with the “judgmental and hateful” morals. By substituting ethics.

Ethics are user friendly guidelines which are malleable and derived from the human himself. What HE thinks is right. After some consideration they find an easy excuse in ethics to excuse their favorite sin.

Morals are rigid, immutable truths that require strict adherence or they are broken. They are formed in the mind of God and they comprise His will. And they are tough to follow if one’s life is not committed to Jesus. But the burden is oh so light when we walk in the path of God.

But morals are under attack like never before by the enemy, the old devil Satan. Morals now are no longer a choice. They are an anathema to those who are in the world. Anyone who follows God and His will are judgmental, hateful bashers, hypocrites, spouting love but, not accepting my favorite sin. How dare we. Now more than ever we have to be vocal about what is right and what is wrong because the voice of the enemy is deafening, and the voice is drowning out the word of God in some churches.

Tolerance is the keystone word of these ethics, “We must be tolerant of all people and there choices because that is love” the voice of tolerance rings. The voice of God’s people are relegated to the river Jordan with outcry of injustice.

But deep within the voice of the world , there is no tolerance for good only evil. Homosexuality, abortion, hate against what is good and every aberration this is the call of the world. And it always has been since the serpent sought to tempt Eve. It’s wrapped up in a pretty bow, and by the virtue of being yelled loud enough and long enough the lie has become acceptable to the world, to the point that anyone who stands against it is hated. A dichotomy unrecognized in the fog of sin.

Take the example of the person who protects animals and yet sanctions the deaths of millions of unborn humans. Who but someone who hates humans would sanction that? And who hates humans? The usurper in chief, Satan.

The children of God must not be deceived by the good intentions of “ethics’ for they are death. Neither can the children of God be silent as church after church is swallowed by the ethical thinking of the enemy. Jesus promised us persecution if we stood for Him. The time is at hand brothers and sisters, when we will be persecuted for standing up and saying what is right and moral. Because behind the mask of ethics, hate resides. But stand we must.

What is right? God.

What is wrong? Everything else.

My brothers and sisters I pray for the grace of God to come upon you and the Spirit of boldness to live within you, to proclaim the goodness of God, no matter the scorn ridicule and derision the enemy will throw against you, because you will be stacking up riches in heavenly places, and you might shine the light to help someone out of the abyss. I Pray this in Jesus Name, Amen

 

Right Where You Are

We often don’t like where we are, the grass is always greener on the other side so they say. But God has planted you in a place that is perfect for you. Some of us may be one tree in a forest, others might be one tree in a square mile. But each of us is exactly where we are supposed to be.

Golden-Valor6

When I was a young Christian and in bible college thought I was going to be a pulpit banging preacher speaking the irresistible word of God to the masses. But God had other plans. And it took a while for me to understand what they were. He used a lot of people to get that message across to me…because I had rudder pointed in another direction. But in the 28 years since I graduated bible college I have spent very little time in the pulpit. But I have been doing the thing God has asked me to do, what I was best suited and equipped to do, and I think I have been doing His will.

Trying to be something you are not is very unrewarding, and being what God calls you to do, no matter how diametrically opposed to what you think the direction was, is the very best you can do.

Here some very different examples of two men being in the right place at the right time in the Bible and Making an impact on the kingdom.

 

Acts 8:

Christ Is Preached to an Ethiopian

26 Now an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, “Arise and go toward the south along the road which goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is desert. 27 So he arose and went. And behold, a man of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace the queen of the Ethiopians, who had charge of all her treasury, and had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 was returning. And sitting in his chariot, he was reading Isaiah the prophet. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go near and overtake this chariot.”

30 So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this:

“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
33 In His humiliation His justice was taken away,
And who will declare His generation?
For His life is taken from the earth.”[b]

34 So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”

37 Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.”

And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”[c]

38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.

Philip was in the right place at the right time because God actually took him there. And who knows how many people were reached through that one wealthy Ethiopian

 

1st Samuel 17 tells the story of David and Goliath, when a young man who knew the ways of God came to bring his brothers some lunch and when he heard the giant taunting the army of Israel stated”

26 Then David spoke to the men who stood by him, saying, “What shall be done for the man who kills this Philistine and takes away the reproach from Israel? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?

 

David was the man of God who knew His nature and against all odds face the giant, because He knew God had a plan for him, right there and right then

 

And finally the story of a young Hebrew girl, who was taken to Babylon to be a princess. You know she didn’t want to be the consort of an old foreign man. And when her chance came to save all her people…..defying a death order for coming to king unannounced she outed Haman and saved her people.

13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

15 Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!”

We don’t always know why we are in the situations we inhabit, and we can’t always see the wisdom of God. But we must believe that wisdom is there, and we must act on it for how shall we know :

whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

 

If you are following God, He has planted you where you are for a purpose, and we must be satisfied with our place, so that we can perform what is the best will of God.

Light A Candle

Candle2-300x200-300x200Matthew 5: 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

It is more important now brothers and sisters as the world goes down into the abyss of multi colored darkness that we keep cool heads. Some of us are very upset at what has occurred over the last week in the US, but we do not have the luxury of venting our emotions, striking back our tormentors, or condemning those who have lost there way. Now more than ever we have to remember why we live in such a wretched place as this. They need us, as we needed the others who went before us and shined the light for us.

We have to be the light., pure, without reproach other than what the light itself gives. The flame is the truth of God and any heart with life, any heart with hope, if there is the chance or glimmer that we can sparkle some light into souls then we must make sure it is the brightest, clearest and purest light that we can shine.

We cannot now afford to dim the light with our emotions, with our anger, for these are, as they say, the times that try men’s souls, and if we can, by getting ourselves out of the way and walking in the tenderness and fullness of forgiveness and the love of God, we may yet pull some from the pit….attracted by the light of Jesus that we shine.

Its time to gird your loins, put away your hurts and feelings….and light a candle y’all.

let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

And if you need prayer of comforting seek out your brothers and sisters in Christ…..we will see this day through , and we will see heaven come.

Counting the Cost

fatherson-310x190“Dad”

” Yes Son?”

“I want a bike.”

“A Bike?”

“Yeah Dad Tommy Johnson got a bike and its so cool dad, I want a bike”

“Okay”

“Huh?”

“I said Okay.”

“Cool!”

“Son?”

“Yeah dad?”

“How Much do you want the bike?”

” Oh Man I want it so bad I can taste it!”

“Do You want it enough to make your bed every morning?”

” Huh? Oh yeah sure I can do that…”

“And clean up your room?”

” Uh Yeah Sure I guess”

“And empty the Trash every day for your mom?”

” well…..I ….okay.”

” and help pick up after the baby?”

” Um….dad?”

“Yes Son?”

” Could I have a puppy?”

Counting the cost, never an easy thing to do. We agree that holiness is what we should have. And that to get that Holiness we need to reject the world to get it….right ?

” Oh yeah I really want Holiness God…..my friend Tom Johnson got Holiness and it is so cool!”

” Okay …I sent My Son to die for you, so that you could have Holiness”

“Huh?”

” I Said Okay”

” Cool!”

“Son?”

“Yeah Heavenly Father??”

“How Much do you want Holiness?”

” Oh Man I want it so bad I can taste it!”

“Do You want it enough to commit yourself to Me?”

” Huh? Oh yeah sure I can do that…”

“And to study to show yourself approved?”

” Uh yeah sure I guess”

“And to think more of others and their needs and less of yourself?”

” well…..I ….okay.”

” and to separate yourself world and its every entrance into your heart like worldly music and television?”

” Um….heavenly Father?”

“Yes Son?”

*******

What do I say now?

There are no puppy equivalent in the kingdom of heaven.

Counting the cost.

2 Samuel 24:24
Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

Luke 14
27And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it–29lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,

Coming To God, being in Him and Him in you, is not a trivial thing. It is a lifetime commitment . Many people will be saved. Many people will have their sins forgiven and be in the kingdom of heaven. But if you want to be Holy, if you want to be in Him and Him in you….its time to start counting the cost. Its time to decide just how much you really want that bike…..I mean Holiness.

(thank you for your indulgence as I wrote this letter to myself. Oh, and no that is not my picture up there…I just thought it fit.)

May God bless you and keep you in His peace grace and joy as you walk on His path. Amen

 

Can We Be Perfect?

perfect1-310x190Romans 12: 1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

The bible hints that there is a perfection that exists, and it is pointed to be our goal, and yet is it really obtainable? I have been a Christian from 30+ years now and I would like to think I am a better Christian than I was in those early years when I was a firebrand full of fervency, but not much wisdom. But i will be the first to tell you that I am far from perfect. I have been back to square one so many times in my life that I have squatting rights. So what is this perfection and can we attain it?

James tells us that perfection is made in us as our faith is tried. This speaks of maturity in Christ

James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.

Here perfection is a completeness.

 

Matthew 5 tells us that perfection is found in love for others..

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[g] and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[h] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[i] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[j] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

 

If we could love as purely as God does, then we would be perfect. But that too seems like an unobtainable goal. I know that such a perfect love for everyone is very difficult for me.

 

In Matthew 19 we find that we may become perfect by giving up what we hold most dear

Matthew 19: 16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good[e] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good?[f] No one is good but One,that is, God.[g] But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and yourmother,’[h] and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”[i]

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.[j]What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

And here we learn two lessons, the first being that the less there is of us, the more there is of God and the more perfect that we become. Second you will note that the rich man wanted to know what HE COULD DO to earn eternal life. And this is where our hope lies.

We of ourselves cannot become perfect, we cannot hope to attain to a perfection as long as we live in this body of sin and death. We will deal with imperfection in every breath. But the less there is of us in the equation and the more there is of Him, the closer to perfect we can become.

So if we are called to be perfect and yet perfection cannot be attained, then how do we in fact obtain the unobtainable? Through the Grace Of God

2 Corinthians 12: 7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Where we are weak, He makes us strong. We cannot earn perfection, we cannot obtain it, and be can not be it. But we do know perfection and His name is Jesus. And where we fail, he fills the gaps, he covers the sin. he takes us the rest of the way.

Do not make the mistake in thinking that since Jesus fills the gap we can lie back and forget about trying to obtain this perfection. We must do what we can, as much as we can if we intend to be mature, producing Christians

As Paul exhorts us in Philippians 3

Philippians 3: 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 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.

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do,forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Not that I have already attained or am perfect but I press on that I may lay a hold of that which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Perfection. The perfection we seek is in the hands of Jesus, and He is keeping a hold of it until such time as we can attain it.

And when is that time?

Resurrection Day

Revelation 22: 1 And he showed me a pure[a] river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2 In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him.4 They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. 5 There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.

Until that day we hold on to the hope, in Jesus Christ that we will see that day and that time when perfection is ours.

Colossians 1: 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which[d] is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Until the day when we all meet in perfection, Press on my brothers and sisters, Press On

 

The Authority of the Believer

cowboy-310x190Let’s imagine a scenario. You are hurrying home from work, and you are a little late, so your foot is riding a little heavy on the gas pedal. At a stop light a guy dressed in a suit comes up and taps on your window….
“Excuse me did you know you were speeding back there?”
“Yeah,” you say a bit perturbed, ” I have to get home”
“I am afraid I am going to have to give you a ticket” He says
You look the guy over and see that he’s nothing different than any other guy and you wonder what gives him the right to be busting your chops. You instantly say:
” I don’t have time to mess around, leave me alone!”
…and then the guy reaches into his pocket and pulls out a badge, and suddenly you have that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, you have been busted.
What was it about this guy that changed your attitude so quickly? Was it his demeanor, his dress, his attitude? No it was the authority that badge relayed that changed your mind. This guy was not acting in his own authority, he was acting under the authority AND power of the law. So if he was arresting you in the name of Joe Schmoe, you could ignore him, but if he said ” I arrest you in the name of law” that’s trouble.
Well we, as believers possess a certain authority too. It is also a name, the name of Jesus. It works like this:
Man first walked on this earth, with authority, but he became a slave to sin. And lost his dominion. Jesus Christ came and died for our sin, and suffered punishment as an innocent man and because of this bought back for man, righteousness, and in His name, Authority.
Let us first look at what is the Name of Jesus and how it came to Him.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
So by his obedience and humility, unto death, Jesus acquired a name ABOVE ALL NAMES. A name that requires all to bow to Him and confess Him Lord. While there is a future tense to this verse, that being, sooner or later everyone will bow down to Jesus, there is also a present tense. Demons and Satan himself, this very day, are required to bow down…to submit to the name of Jesus , when used by a believer, who knows what it is.
Mark 16:17 And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[b] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
“In my name , they will cast out demons”. It is very important to realize that it is HIS authority we are talking about. His righteousness, His Obedience His Humility and ultimately His Blood bought that authority, we are simply operating in it, much as a police officer operates in the Name (authority) of the Law. If we start thinking ourselves to be anything important or powerful, or we misunderstand the working of the authority of the name of Jesus we can quickly walk into trouble and find ourselves facing a demon without the protection of Christ to disastrous results. As we read in the following passage.
Acts 19: 11 Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them. 13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists took it upon themselves to call the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “We exorcise you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” 14 Also there were seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did so.
15 And the evil spirit answered and said, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?”
16 Then the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17 This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
These poor Jewish boys saw that Paul was working miracles of God by the name of Jesus and figured they would get into the act. The only problem they had was they did not understand the authority of Christ and they faced a demon in their own power. “We exorcise you by the Jesus that Paul preaches” Is this not the same name Paul used, and we can use….yes it is. But the authority, that lays behind the name was not there because these fellows did not belong to the kingdom of God.
So what is the Authority, it is the ability to speak with the knowledge that the power of God, in Jesus Christ will back you up….it is an operation of Faith. Whether you are casting out demons or….
John 14:12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
….praying to the Father. We have access to the Father and authority over demons simply and only because we are covered in the blood of Jesus, bought at a price and set into His Kingdom. If you believe you are standing in the authority of Christ, and through prayer you understand it’s implications you can, in His name Cast out demons and lay hands on the sick and watch them be healed, and all the promises of God……IF.
If, you believe, If you understand, and IF you respect and are submitted to the authority you are invoking.
How do you get all that? Prayer, getting on your knees and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to you. Until you possess the foundation stone for this, that is the revelation, be very careful venturing out into it. Ask, and you will receive.