Friday, June 9, 2017

The Cost of Grace; The Freedom of Repentance


Oh how marvelous the grace of God the Father, the Almighty Creator of Heaven and Earth!  How awesome the power of the Holy spirit that transforms our lives when we choose to believe His word and obey it's commands!

How deep and wide is Gods mercy towards us when we repent of sin and ask forgiveness; how freely He gives the forgiveness and cleanses us of all unrighteousness by the blood of Christ the Savior!

How comforting that He causes the devil and all evil to flee from us when first we submit to Him and resist the lies and deceits directed toward us!

How free is the Grace He bestows upon us - BUT CHEAP?  Never cheap my friends!

Mistakenly making it appear that grace and holiness is so easy to obtain and repentance and submission optional rather than mandatory only confirms that we have lost sight of the cost, what it cost GOD to make that grace and mercy so freely available to us!

It cost the putting aside of divinity to come to this earth as a human baby to experience in fleshly form all that His creation experiences, so we might better understand His empathy for us.

It cost Him giving up His ETERNAL life to take on fleshly DEATH in order to pay the price required to redeem us from our sin.

How great is grace, how freely given.  How valuable it is, ETERNALLY valuable.  How precious a gift, freely given and freely received.

Unlike every earthly gift which is temporary only, this gift is eternal life, eternal peace, eternal salvation, eternal mercy from our ETERNAL GOD!

WORSHIP HIS HOLY NAME!  PRAISE THE LORD FOR HE IS GREAT AND WORTHY OF ALL PRAISE!




Monday, April 24, 2017

When not engaged directly in ministry related activities, I function in the business world as a business owner. In that capacity I am exposed to many stories of entrepreneurs who have experienced quick and impressive success - particularly financially. Every once in a while, I find myself dealing with a twinge of what I can only call jealousy.

I hesitate to call it that, because I'm not really jealous, certainly not enough to even consider changing my focus to increase my own business activity in order to generate greater wealth.  I have no interest in changing my focus.  But a twinge usually assails me, a sense of what might be possible financially if I did change my focus.  Instead of focusing the bulk of my time, talent and efforts to being the best Christian witness for Christ that I can be.

One thing I remind myself of, is that I"m not in my 20's anymore, and my need for a higher income just isn't there.  My needs are met, I have a home, comfortable furnishings, my bills are paid on time and there's some left over for being generous toward the need of others I come in contact with.

Then again this morning I read an account of another young entrepreneur who went from huge student debt to multi-millionaire in less than a year.  "Clever soul" was my first thought, and what a pleasant surprise for me that instead of the usual twinge of jealousy, I thought "I wonder if they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior?"

Two thoughts piggy-backed that thought, and a third leaped into action as well.

  1. Proof I'm still growing in Christian maturity, jealousy replaced by joy
  2. How wonderful to be content with what God has blessed me with
  3.  I should pray the gospel is preached to that person, because that's what they need most if they don't already know Him.  (Which is in itself proof of Christian maturity, so I'm thankful for that, too!)
 The Apostle Paul tells us that godliness with contentment is great gain.  1Timothy 6:6

I'm really seeing the full extent of truth in that statement.  What a sense of peace is mine when I am content with what I have and not coveting what someone else has.  What joy to experience maturity in Christ in action in my life; it inspires me to continue to grow, to renew my mind to the word of God and to yield myself to the work of the Holy Spirit in me.  What a wonderful gain to my own life and heart and the people around me, since they are affected by my actions, words and heart attitudes.

Wherever you may be in your walk with Christ; just beginning, experiencing a period of great growth or struggling to move forward allow me to encourage you to KEEP GOING!

There is so much to gain and nothing worth keeping to lose when you yield, obey and grow in the grace of God.  

Please be sure to fill out the prayer request form in the upper left of the home page and we will pray for you!  If you' aren't participating in a bible study group that is digging deep into the principle's of the bible and how to apply them to your everyday life, we encourage you to seek out such a group or get one started yourself!  Need help to get started?  Contact us: turnthetideministry@gmail.com

Sunday, April 2, 2017

AS IN THE DAYS OF NOAH, PAUL & TIMOTHY, SO ARE WE


The times are, at best, PERILOUS!  The command is PRECISE - Go and make disciples of all men!
The message was, is and remains simple but PROFOUND:  Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand!

There are many places throughout scripture where warning of the signs of "The End Time" appear, clear as a clarion call or cloaked in mystery.  Genesis, Daniel, Joel, Isaiah, Matthew and Revelation to name just a few.


Looking at one of the letters Paul wrote, we consider II Timothy chapter 3  where we discover Paul laying out an extremely serious warning to his young protege.

The references are to the very days in which Timothy finds himself attempting to preach the gospel and also a stern warning to each of us in our generations. 

Our problems aren’t simply the sin around us in the world or persecution from the world; that is all to be expected and Jesus Himself clearly told us we would be hated (John 15) because He was hated.

No, our problems begin with what is within!  Matters that twist and darken our own hearts, however much we might choose to blind ourselves to our own faults. We are in need of being separated from sin and our "old man" carnal nature just as gold and silver needs to be separated from the impurities that attach themselves to the precious metals! We as believers need to purified from the sin and corruption within the Body of Christ that defile us as Gods children!

The message found in this letter to Timothy can certainly be considered a warning to the present church and each believer individually as we experience circumstances and people of the same characteristics as those Paul described to Timothy.

For your study and understanding, we present a starting point as you continue to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord!

 We are by no means attempting to present a comprehensive study, but instead, as we each must study to show ourselves approved to God (II Timothy 2:15) as workman rightly dividing the Word of Truth, we share some insight to help you and guide you in your own study. 

May the Lord enlighten your eyes and quicken your heart as He leads you to His truth for your life!  We are ever praying for His saints!  Always, if you have questions, prayer requests or comments you are welcome to share!

II Timothy 3:1-5

Perilous times:  wickedness of the world in abundance; wickedness of religion that sets itself above God, which will make it difficult indeed for anyone to attempt to live a godly, righteous or holy life!  False teaching will have led so many astray that deceit will lead us to believe we are on a path of righteousness simply because the “majority” is found there!  God does not act by majority rule, but is wholly sovereign in all ways.
Lovers of themselves:  No love for God, no love for neighbor, carnally minded – more concerned with fleshly pursuits than holiness, no regard for the well-being of their families, only regard for SELF
Lovers of money: the root of all evil is the love of money; well Jesus declared "You cannot love God and mammon"
Boasters: of themselves, no glory to God, only thing of importance is SELF (self-esteem, self-awareness, self-sufficiency, personal truth)
Proud: thinking highly of themselves without fear (awe, respect) of God
Blasphemers: reviling God and man alike
Disobedient to parents: and all authority
Unthankful: no sense of loyalty to anything but self
Unholy: professing devotion to God but without action portraying that devotion
Unloving: “without natural affection” – lack of familial or brotherly love
Unforgiving: irreconcilable to God, refusal to accept the means to be reconciled - rejecting salvation
Slanderers: does not acknowledge God sovereignty
Without Self-Control:  whatever feels good, do it, without regard for how it affects others or what the consequences may be
Brutal: fierce (matt 8:28) malicious, cruel
Despisers of Good: seeking everything BUT the truth ( understand that TRUTH is not a concept but a the person of Jesus)
Traitors: No loyalty to any but self! No boundaries, no rules, no inhibitions to consider
Headstrong: answering only to self
Haughty: thinking only of self
Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (refer back to first, lovers of self)
HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS (Worship!) but denying its power; FALSE WORSHIP – actions that look like, appear to be, but are not!  IDOL WORSHIP – anything but the true God – the music, your emotions, the church you belong to, the band playing the music, the person delivering teachings...
FROM SUCH TURN AWAY! 

Can the church turn its back on the false teaching and worldly culture and be restored? YES!  All who call on the name of Jesus shall be saved!  
REPENT, and turn from wickedness!
Galatians 3:26-29  
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Recognize the signs of times, Brothers and Sisters, and examine your own hearts according to the truth found in scripture.  Then share that message of salvation, repentance and forgiveness of sin with others in the Love of Christ.  This is our reasonable service (Romans 12: 1-4) of obedience to our Lord.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Getting over ourselves




Why did they show such disdain, even hatred, so unreasonably?  So unrighteously? We may never know or understand.

Each day we snap on the leashes (which takes a while with two jumping, overjoyed dogs) and follow our fence line down to a utility easement and from there out onto the quiet roads of the neighborhood where we live.   

We share this easement area with another neighbor.  Each time we head out on our walks, our dogs greet the lovely brown dog behind their fence, and the three play a little for the moment it takes us to get past the yards and down to the street.

Harmless interaction, or so we thought.  

Until the morning we awoke to the sound of hammering, looked out the window and discovered a new fence being installed along the easement, precisely at the property line and adorned with menacing looking NO TRESSPASSING signs.

New to the neighborhood, we attempted a friendly overture to the neighbor, to discover what offense may have prompted such a response, who rebuffed us rather gruffly and with language we won’t repeat here.

We still don’t know and may never know what sparked such a drastic reaction from this neighbor, but we discovered an awful lot we didn’t know about ourselves!

For instance, as Christians and ministers, we maintained an attitude of loving everyone.  We thought we even loved the unlovable.  

Until we found ourselves struggling to love this neighbor.  Struggling to pray for them.  Struggling to the resist the urge to bang on the door and demand to know what offense we had committed to find ourselves facing an army of large, angry NO TRESPASSING signs every time (twice a day!) we took our dogs for a walk.  Forgiving them was easy, loving them?  Not so much!

Have you ever been suddenly confronted with hatred that had no explanation or reasoning you could fathom behind it?

Did you know Jesus told us to expect to be hated?  He did, in John 15:18.

The “world”, those who have not, who will not receive His loving gift of salvation, hated Him and they will hate us, too.

What should our response be?  First, don’t be alarmed if you find yourself, like us, struggling with the “right” attitude.  We are human, and God knows the weakness of our flesh. But that is NOT an excuse to disobey the Word of the Lord or mistreat anyone else.

We are to LOVE our enemies, do good to those who spitefully use us and pray for them.
Matthew 5:43-48

It isn’t easy but it is righteous.  We may not be able to accomplish this in our flesh at least not without a struggle, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, we can.

I admit, the first couple of times I prayed for these neighbors, I’m not 100% certain my heart was in it.  After a few prayers, I found my heart changed.  I love them and genuinely desire to see them saved and experiencing the love of Christ for themselves.  Now when I read each of the 4 signs on my way to the road to walk the dogs, I ask God 4 times to break down the walls of their hearts and flood them with His everlasting love and light and new life in Christ.

Following the path Jesus asks us to walk isn’t easy and isn’t always filled with joy.  But it is always possible and always filled with victory through Him who loves us unconditionally.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

In Public or In Private; Speaking the Truth



We are not responsible for the behavior of others or their response to the truth in love we speak.

When we know we have done our part, in love, no matter how uncomfortable the situation may become, having done all, we are to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 and forward)

A recent public encounter:

I had been overcharged for product and would like to be refunded the excess amount. Speaking the truth in love, I was kind, polite and requested the error be corrected.  I was not rude or degrading to the cashier.  I also turned to the two people in line behind me and apologized for the delay.
Each response was different:

The cashier was flustered; she required further instruction to move forward with my request.  I had to remind her to please find a manager to handle the request if she were unable.

The first person in line behind me received my apology with grace.  She then waited patiently after affirming she would do the same if it were her who had been overcharged; she came into agreement with me and experienced the peace of God that passes all understanding.

The second person in line chose to be rude, bullying and overbearing.  Focused only on his own selfish need and want, he had no time for anyone else and wanted only that everyone else get out of his way.  He experienced frustration and anger.  It didn’t shorten his wait time or get him any sympathy from anyone.

The manager who finally responded to the cashiers request for assistance was either new or incompetent.  In any case it was obvious she didn’t know how to execute a refund for an overcharge.  Although I quietly suggested she void the initial transaction and simply re-ring my purchase correctly, she chose to ignore the suggestion.   

Instead of sharing her solution with us, thereby easing nerves and tension, she contributed to increased tension by fumbling about, failing to explain what she was doing, taking too long to do it and behaving with indecision.  Then she simply appeared to give up and without a word to any of us, she walked away without explanation.

Oh this is such a picture of the chaos and turmoil the Body of Christ suffers too often in this overly “politically correct” culture we find ourselves attempting to function in!

1 Thessalonians 2:1 -12
In Apostle Paul’s day it was no different.  He had to deal with many responses to his delivery of the word of God.  Some received it with gladness and were blessed, like the woman in line directly behind me.

Others had stone hearts and suffered because of that, while blaming Apostle Paul, so they lashed out at him in anger.

Still others, who were leaders in their communities, were stumped as to how to react to the truth of God being shared.  After trying to wrangle the truth to make it fit into their theology, they just gave up and walked away.  They refused to accept the truth or allow change into their hearts.

We who call ourselves Christian continue to have the same mandate as the first century believers. 

  • To be witnesses to Christ (Acts 1:8)
  • to preach the gospel, instant in season and out of season (2Timothy 4:2)
  • to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) as mature Christians so the light of Christ is shining for all to see; and hopefully to respond positively to!

Whether we are sharing the message of Hope, sharing a gospel truth or simply speaking truth in a given situation during the course of living our everyday lives such as the one I've described above, we should treat them all the same.  Speaking the truth in love.  Being in public, private or in a church setting should not change our behavior.
 
In this current cultural climate, we desperately need to be encouraged and reminded as Joshua was reminded and encouraged (Joshua 1:9)

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you WHEREVER you go!"