Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Words vs Actions

While words are a powerful tool, words by themselves won't accomplish much.
Action taken is where the power becomes a truly formidable force.

In Matthew 21: 28-30 Jesus demonstrates this truth with a parable.

A father with two sons goes to each and makes a request of them.  One speaks negative words, declaring he will not obey, but then thinks better of it, and goes and does.  

The second speaks positive words, declaring he will obey the father straight-away, but then he fails to follow up his words with action, and does not do what was requested.

Jesus asked the crowd this same question I ask you now; which of these sons was obedient?

The one who DID the required action?
Or the one who SAID he would do the required action but didn't?

God initiates, we respond.

All action verbs requiring more than just mere words.

Well did the Apostle James tell us "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?  But 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."

To call oneself a Christian takes no more than mere words uttered.  

To be a Christian requires your actions reflect that state of being. We certainly have none of us arrived, but there should be clear evidence that shows we are on the journey!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Word of Encouragement

 I've spent a lot of time in churches of  a variety of denominations.  One thing I've heard consistently in each one is the idea that a believer can be "tormented" or "influenced" or "oppressed" by the devil at the will of the devil.

There's this prevailing belief that because I Peter 5:8 declares he is a lion, prowling about, seeking who he may devour, that we, believers, better watch out or he'll get us!

Let's start here if we could please:  HE MAY NOT DEVOUR A BELIEVER.  Not if you don't render yourself vulnerable to him.

He can only TRY to deceive you into believing he can torture you, torment you or oppress you.  He can try to bully you into believing he can do these things, but if you are a blood bought child of the Living King, he really can't do these things to you.

He does prowl about.  He is seeking for those he MAY devour, but you are not one of those.

Colossians 1:13 He (Jesus) has DELIVERED US from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of is love.

That's where we stand.  Delivered from.

One simple principle is the hinge upon which that truth WORKS for you. James 4:7

Submit to God.
Resist the devil.
and he will flee!!

No wiggle room, no negotiations, no exceptions.
Knowing what God says makes all the difference - and what you need to know most He put in a book for you.  Your very own MANUAL ON LIFE.

Thanks God - we needed that!!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Is it the "End of Days"? Should we be concerned?

The short answer to both of those questions is Yes and YES!

But probably not for the reasons you might imagine.

Is it the End of Days?

Short answer : yes, but with a disclaimer.  The fact of the matter is that NO ONE knows the exact year, month, week or day that Jesus the Christ, the Son of God and our Savior will return to gather His saints in what we commonly call "The Rapture".


Matthew 24:36  "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only."

All of the predictions and guesses and estimations about the exact day and hour actually DISHONOR God.  When we start attempting to predict the very thing God told us no one knows except He Himself, we are essentially saying God is a liar and not Sovereign. That though He declared the knowledge is His alone, we can somehow feret out that which He has declared He is keeping to Himself, as if we're smarter and more resourceful than He gives us credit for.

In fact, it shows that we are determined, like Lucifer himself was when he tried to usurp the throne of God, to prove that God isn't God and we can somehow seat ourselves on His throne of All Knowing Power.

We can't.  We aren't.  And we shouldn't try to be.  BUT - we should be awake, alert, aware and able to read the signs, just like Jesus said we should.

Stop, meditate, think about what Jesus said in Matthew 24:36.

He said that His word will stand, what He has said will NEVER pass away even though heaven and earth may pass away.  His word is more solid than the heavens and earth!  His word will happen just exactly as He says it will.  BY NO MEANS, will His word fail.  NOTHING can cause His words to fail.

We can trust and count on and have complete faith in the words Jesus speaks!

And He tells us clearly that no one, not He Himself nor the angels know when the end will come and He will return to earth.  God alone has that information.

If GOD, creator and master of the universe is holding that information classified, why do people think they can figure it out on their own?


Again the short answer is yes!  The signs and seasons are there to be read and understood and it is up to each of us individually to be ready for when Christ returns!  If we are completely ignorant then we won't be the least bit prepared.  And we are expected to be prepared.  We are to be ready in an instant, for His return could happen at any instant!

Jesus tells to read the signs in Matthew 16: 2-3 "When it is evening you say 'it will be fair weather' for the sky is red; and in the morning 'it will be foul weather today for the sky is red and threatening'.  Hypocrites!  You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times".

Jesus often taught by sharing parables, or stories, so people could relate to and understand what He was trying to teach.  Stories of fleshly action give us wisdom concerning spiritual matters.  He did this eloquently when He taught using the story of the 10 Virgins awaiting the Bridegroom.

Matthew 25: 1-13 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who
took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,  but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.  But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’  Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.  And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.
 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming."

He reveals as much as has been chosen to be revealed to us; as much as we need to know in order that we are not caught completely unawares.  In fact, His instruction to us is to always be ready, always be expecting, always draw close to Him that we won't be left behind.

In John 10:10 Jesus tells us exactly what is happening.

The thief comes not but to steal, kill and destroy.  I am come that they might have LIFE and have it MORE ABUNDANTLY.

Only in Christ is our hope, our salvation, our blessed life now and our ETERNAL LIFE.

End of Days?  Yes, it most certainly is indicative that the time draws near.

Concerned? Yes, but not worried; not when you are a blood bought child of the Living King!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

A Question of Eternity

The great debate; it gets heated, argumentative, passionate, emotional and sometimes utterly out of control and beyond all reason.

Having once accepted Christ as Savior, can salvation be "lost"?  Is this the blaspheme against the Holy Spirit Jesus spoke of in Luke 12:10?

Christians too often see this answer as opposite ends of the same question.

Before I offer up anything on this subject, allow me to make these assertions:
  1. I know that mere words here will not profoundly change someone's theology; only the conviction of the Holy Spirit can do that
  2. Any argument made will be dismissed as "my own viewpoint"; therefore I offer no argument, no points, no opinion.  
I offer no words of my own other than the prayers I am praying even now for those who are reading this post.  Let the Word of God speak for itself.  

If you read a different "version" of the Bible, that is alright.  Look up each verse, and may the God of all peace, Jesus our Savior, enlighten your eyes, pour wisdom into your heart and bring satisfaction to your soul according to His loving kindness and the blessing of knowledge through Him, in Jesus Name, amen.

What if instead of the answer being "either or" it is one concept, bound by the bands of the Holy Spirit, not so easily unraveled as simply committing a sin, and failing to repent and ask forgiveness?  Perhaps it is so entwined and integral a part of each heart and spirit that the separating of the two, while possible, would need to be of catastrophic proportions to occur?

To have once lived with Christ in you, the Hope of Glory, would take an act of such wicked evil, that having put your hand to the plow and turning back you are no longer fit for the Kingdom of God?

Scripture speaks to each side of this debate clearly, but to BOTH sides there is a murky area where the thoughts and intents of God Almighty are greater than ours and we dare not supersede His Authority by claiming we know absolutely that which He chose to leave in a mist.

Hebrews 6:4-6 appears clear enough on its own:
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.

And yet James 5: 19-20 declares:
Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 1:6-10
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

I Thessalonians 5:23  
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
While these words were written in direct relation to marriage between believers and unbelievers, they can and should be applied to all situations according to the PRINCIPLE they reveal.

II Corinthians 6:14  
For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?  And what communion has light with darkness?

Hebrews 6:19
For men indeed swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmation is for them an end of all dispute.  (This is where we mere mortals end it, but God...)
Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Comparing Apples and Oranges is used to dismiss a debate, as it intimates that the two sides have nothing in common and can never be compared.  This is completely untrue, since Apples and Oranges can be compared on many levels, from the simple level of both being fruit, to comparing their taste, texture, color, size, shape, skin formation etc.

So it is with this salvation debate.  More in common than we perceive.  Less differences than we want to admit.

The greater question isn't "once we are saved are we always saved no matter what".  This indicates we are looking for options, in case we change our minds.

The greater question is and has always been, once you have received Christ as Savior, will you yield to the Sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit?  The yielding, the total surrender in humble heart is the surest way of certainty in this misty field of debate that by abiding in Him, He will in constancy and consistency abide in you! (John 15:4)

May the peace of God reign in your hearts and the love of God be shown forth in your actions.  May His great favor rest upon you as you, in faith, rest in Him.

Grace to you, in Jesus precious name!