Hypocrisy in Religion

Thursday, April 30, 2015, 3:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Lord, Move Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 2 (selected vv. ESV).

Judging Others

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. ~ Ro. 2:1-8

Is this an indictment against all judging? I don’t believe so. In context, it is clear this is speaking to those who judge condemningly, hypocritically and arrogantly. These who judge in this way think they are better than those they think are less than them. In context, it appears Paul is speaking to the Jews who looked down on the Gentiles. God, through Paul, was letting them know that they were no better, for they did the same things the Gentiles did. All of us, whether Jew or Gentile by birth, were born into sin. None of us is righteous in our own merit or through our own good works. Only through faith in Jesus Christ can anyone be saved from their sins and be considered righteous in God’s eyes, so not one of us has the right to think we are better than others, especially if we are condemning of them when we do the same things. “There but for the grace of God go I” (unknown author).

This is obviously also addressed to those with hard and unrepentant hearts. Yet, Paul was speaking to “religious” people – the people who had been the children of God, but had rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Messiah. Many “religious” (self-righteous) people today look down on those who they think are less than them, because those they deem “less” commit certain sins. But, the self-righteous are really no better, because they, too, have not repented of their sins, and have not believed in Jesus for their salvation. So, although they may dress up on Sunday mornings, and carry a Bible (or not), and go to a “church service,” that does not make them any better than those who do not, and yet they act as though they are better and they snub those they deem as less valuable. So, this is an indictment against them – against hypocritical, condemning and arrogant judging, and against empty religion absent of true repentance and obedience to Jesus Christ.

Not Hearers Only But Doers

For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. ~ Ro. 2:12-16

Again, the Jews thought they were better than the Gentiles because they had been given the Law of Moses. Many religious people today think they are better than the non-religious merely because they were brought up in the church and they were privileged to have received a copy of God’s Word, the Bible, perhaps from infanthood through adulthood. They also might think they are better because of all the training they have received in the Word or in religion. Knowledge often puffs up. They think they are better, too, because they go to a “church service” on Sunday mornings and they sing songs of praise to God, and because they go through certain religious rituals and practices, and because they don’t smoke, drink alcohol (though some do), or whatever they might believe are “bad” things for religious people to do. Yet many of these “religious” people are just as guilty of sinning as those who are non-religious, and many “religious” people are actually involved in sinful acts just as bad or worse (by human standards) than those who are among the non-religious.

The point of what Paul says here is that we are no better off just because of some religious heritage we have received, which was passed down to us from generation to generation, or because of some privilege we have received because we were blessed to have been brought up in the church and under the teaching of The Word. If we don’t accompany what we know with obedience to the Word, then we are no different from those who were not brought up under the Word at all. In fact, many who were not privileged to be brought up in the church and under the teaching of the Word have more readily obeyed Christ’s commandments (his teachings and instructions) than those who knew the scriptures from infanthood.

James said something similar to this when he said, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25 NIV84). The “perfect law that gives freedom” is based in Jesus Christ and what he did for us in dying on the cross for our sins. Essentially, it is the gospel of our salvation. Because of what Jesus did in providing for us the way to be saved from our sins, our faith in what Jesus did for us, which includes repentance and obedience, results in freedom from slavery to sin, freedom to walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and the hope of eternal life with God in glory.

Teach Yourself

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth— you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. ~ Ro. 2:17-29

If we have been saved from our sins, and we truly are in relationship with God, because of his grace to us in saving us, and through faith in Jesus Christ, or if we are under the impression we are saved, although we have never repented of our sins and have not turned to God to walk in obedience to him, we may be guilty of teaching others what we do not practice ourselves. There is much hypocrisy which goes on in the life of the church. Not one of us is perfect, and not one of us will live completely sinless lives, though we should never use our lack of perfection as an excuse for continued willful sin against God. So, this isn’t saying that we have to be perfect, but it is saying that we should not be hypocritical. Especially for those of us who are teachers of the Word, though in some sense we should all be teachers, we should not teach others to not do what we knowingly are doing ourselves. We should not put on a false face pretending to be something we are not and then turn around and sin in the ways in which we are teaching others to not sin.

Lastly, God is not impressed or interested in our “religious” performances or rituals. We can look clean on the outside, and we may even go through all the right motions, and do all the right religious things to do, but if we are not cleansed on the inside by the grace of God in saving us from our sins, through genuine repentant and obedient faith in Jesus Christ, then all our religion accounts to nothing. It is useless. It has no value. It is just a bunch of noise. We need to have hearts that have been transformed of the Spirit of God in delivering us from slavery to (the control of) sin over our lives, and in setting us free to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. This is the working of the Spirit of God in regeneration in our lives, yet we must cooperate fully with his work of grace in our lives. This is what it means to have faith. We must die with Christ to our old lives of sin, and we must be reborn of the Spirit in now walking according to the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh.

Lord, Move Me / An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.

Examine Everything

Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 4:39 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Refresh My Spirit, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 1 (selected NASB).

Not Ashamed

Paul was a servant of Jesus Christ, set apart for the gospel of God – “the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son… Jesus Christ our Lord” (vv. 1-4). The apostles received grace and apostleship through Jesus Christ to call people to “the obedience that comes from faith” (v. 5). Paul wrote this letter to “all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints;” to those “called to belong to Jesus Christ” (v. 6-7). First he thanked God for all of them, because their faith in Jesus Christ was being reported all over the world. Paul prayed for them continually. He prayed, by God’s will, that a door may be opened for him to go see them, that he might bring them some encouragement and strengthen them in their faith. He desired to have a spiritual harvest among them, and he was eager to preach the gospel there in Rome (See: vv. 8-15).

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” ~ Ro. 1:16-17

So, what was this gospel of which he was not ashamed? It is actually quite simple. Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human form, and suffered and was tempted in like manner as we suffer and are tempted, yet without sin. He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered from demonic possession, comforted the sorrowful, and spoke messages of hope and healing to all who would listen. Jesus also confronted sin in sinful human beings, calling for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Many loved and followed him, yet many more hated and persecuted and rejected him. His strongest opponents were the self-righteous and hypocritical religious leaders of the Jewish people. They hounded him all throughout his ministry on this earth, criticizing, rebuking, and falsely accusing him of actions and motivations not belonging to him.

The religious leaders of the Jewish people, and in the temple, hated him so much that eventually they had him crucified on a cross, as though he was a common criminal. Yet, this was all in God’s plan for our redemption. When Jesus died, our sins died with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over hell, Satan, sin and death. He did all this for you and for me so that we could be saved (delivered) from the ultimate penalty of sin (eternal damnation), so we could be free from the control of sin over our lives day-to-day, so we can now walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and so we could have eternal life with God in his heavenly kingdom. By God’s grace to us, in sending his Son to die on a cross for our sins, and through faith in Jesus Christ, we are saved.

Although a free gift from God, meaning we can do nothing of ourselves to earn or to deserve such a great salvation, we still must receive this gift by faith. So, what does this faith look like? Jesus said it well, and his apostles taught the same message. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, die daily to sin and self, and follow him in obedience. He said if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity, but if we willingly die with Christ to sin, we will gain eternal life (See: Lu. 9:23-25). He also said his sheep listen to him and they follow (obey) him (See: Jn. 10).

Paul reiterated the same message when he said the way we come to know Christ is by putting off our old self, “which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your mind; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; cf. Ro. 6-8; Ac. 26:16-18; 1 Pet. 2:24-25). Jesus Christ died, not just so we could escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died to deliver us from slavery to sin, and to free us to live holy, upright and pleasing lives to God while we walk the face of this earth (See: Ro. 12:1-2; 2 Co. 5:15). God’s grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God, claiming that God’s grace covers it all. No, his grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, godly and upright lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14). If we are not delivered out of slavery to sin, then it is not grace!

Who Suppress the Truth

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. ~ Ro. 1:18-32

The spiritual condition of human beings, as described in these verses, not only applies to those who have outright rejected Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives, but it also applies, to some degree, to those who have made a profession of Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives. There are probably just about as many in the modern church of today, at least here in America, who suppress the truth of God’s Word, as there are out in the world those who suppress the truth of God and of His Word. How do I know? I have seen it first-hand in multiple church congregations, I have experienced similar moral failure in my own life (past) while still a believer in Christ, and I have read numerous books and articles by Christian authors who have expressed similar concerns for today’s modern church and its moral and spiritual condition, so I know this is widespread, and is not just of local concern. As well, the Spirit of God has made me aware of much of this going on within the church, and has impressed on my heart that this is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and rectified (cf. Rev. 2-3).

Some of the ways in which truth is being suppressed in both the church and out in the world today is through cover-ups, denial of known truth, ignoring what we know is true, putting a false front over wicked hearts, as did the Pharisees, and putting “Band-Aids” over serious sin wounds via diluting the gospel of Jesus Christ to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world, so that the “gospel” does not make people uncomfortable or feel judged. Suppression of the truth is also accomplished through exchanging the truth for a lie, i.e. through convincing ourselves that it is “really not so bad.” We compromise with the world in order to win the world, but to what? – Just a Christianized version of what the world is offering.

As well, many of our national governments are part of the “beast” global government that is consuming the nations of this world, and is creating terrorism, false flag operations, uprisings, and unnatural disasters, etc., so that they can come in and take over these nations, with the goal to then bring them under the rule of the “beast,” i.e. the New World Order. See: http://originalworks.info/a-familiar-narrative/

Much of the mainstream media is already government controlled and is used as an arm of deception for this global rule in order to suppress the truth so that we, they hope, will believe the lie and will be deceived and will play into their hands. The purpose of some of this deception is to try to turn us one against the other – black and white, gay and non-gay, Muslim and Christian, right and left, conservative and liberal, and followers of the false gospel (diluted) and those who hold to the testimony of Jesus and obey his commands. So, we need to be wise and discerning, we need to be in the Word and in prayer, and we need to ask the Spirit of God to make us aware of these suppressions of truth and these lies being passed off as truth so we are not easily deceived, too (cf. Rev. 12-14).

“But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thess. 5:21-22).

Refresh My Spirit, Lord / An Original Work / August 8, 2011

Based off of Psalm 51 & Matthew 11:28-30

Refresh my spirit, Lord.
Revive my heart today.
Move me to serve You,
Lord in all I do and say.
Be my heart’s one desire;
my spirit set on fire
In pure devotion, Lord,
to love you and obey.

Create within me, Lord,
a pure heart, this I pray,
So I can worship You
and yield to You always.
May all Your love and pow’r
be lived in me, I pray,
So I might love as You;
be Your witness today.

Jesus says, “Come to me
all you with heavy hearts,
And find in me your peace,
and give to me your all.
My yoke is light to bear,
‘cause I paid for your sin,
So you might be set free,
and purified within.”

Awestruck Grief

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” ~ Galatians 2:20

The awe, respect, and submission to Almighty God that he so deserves seems so lost these days. As well, grief and mourning over our sins seems to have all but vanished. God wants us to fear (respect and surrender to and to be in awe of) him, and to come to him in humility and repentance (turning from our sin and turning to God). When we come to him in faith and obedience to his commands, and we bow before him humbly with this kind of awestruck grief, in realizing who God is, and in acknowledging that we are sinners in need of a Savior, then he forgives us of our sins and he cleanses us within, because of what Jesus Christ did for us in dying for our sins and in setting us free.

Awestruck Grief / An Original Work / April 21, 2011

When in awestruck grief
o’er my sins, Lord, I bow,
Will You hear me, Lord,
and forgive me just now?
I am so amazed that
You could love me so.
Yet, Your love and kindness
ever fill my soul.

Lord, You are amazing,
and gracious and kind
To have offered Yourself
for us when we’re blind.
You were crucified
on that hill, Calvary,
When they hung Your body
to die on a tree.

Now that You’ve redeemed us
and, thus, set us free,
I pray, Lord, for all
on this earth to believe
In Your sacrifice, Lord,
cleansing all our sin,
So that we can live for You,
and die within.

The Only Hope

Monday, April 27, 2015, 5:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Open Your Hearts.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 27-28 (selected vv. NASB).

For the Hope of Israel

When we entered Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who was guarding him.

After three days Paul called together those who were the leading men of the Jews, and when they came together, he began saying to them, “Brethren, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. And when they had examined me, they were willing to release me because there was no ground for putting me to death. But when the Jews objected, I was forced to appeal to Caesar, not that I had any accusation against my nation. For this reason, therefore, I requested to see you and to speak with you, for I am wearing this chain for the sake of the hope of Israel.” They said to him, “We have neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren come here and reported or spoken anything bad about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are; for concerning this sect, it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere.” ~ Ac. 28:16-22

The hope of Israel was/is their Messiah, promised through the prophets of old, and fulfilled in Jesus Christ, God the Son. Yet, many of the Jews rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, and thus they persecuted and killed his servants and messengers, just as they had done to Jesus. Just as Jesus and his message of hope had served as a threat to many of the Jewish leaders’ own positions of power, rule and control (or influence) over the people, so did his followers and their message of hope – the same message as Jesus taught – serve as a threat to the Jewish leaders and to the sovereignty of their nation, so the Jews went to great lengths to remove that threat in hopes that things could return to “normal,” and that life could go on as usual. So, not only did Paul’s life “hang in the balance,” but so did the message of the hope of our salvation, for truly it was the message that was on trial.

So, what is the message that was on trial? First of all it was that Jesus Christ, God the Son, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, and suffered and was tempted in like manner as we suffer and are tempted, yet without sin. During his time of ministry on the earth, he went about healing the sick and the afflicted, comforting the sorrowful, lifting up the fallen, forgiving sins, delivering from demons, and preaching repentance for the forgiveness of sins and obedience to his commands (his instructions). He said his sheep listen to him and they follow (obey) him. He said if we want to come after him, we must deny self and die daily to sin and self and follow (obey) him. He said that if we want to live, we must die to sin. He said that if we want to have eternal life with God that we must participate with him in death to sin, for that is why he died. He died that we would no longer live to please our sinful flesh but that we would live to please God.

Jesus Christ, even though he was God incarnate (in bodily form), who lived and walked the face of this earth, and who brought the message of hope to us all, became the sacrificial Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. The Jews killed the “author of life” and hung him on a cross to die as though he was a common criminal. In his death he put our sins to death. When he was resurrected from the grave, he rose victorious over sin, death, hell and Satan. Through his death and resurrection we have been given the hope of eternal life with God in glory, the forgiveness of sins, freedom from slavery to sin, and the freedom to walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Amen!

All we have to do is to accept God’s invitation to his great salvation by faith. This faith, Biblically speaking, involves turning from our lives of sin, being transformed of the Spirit of God, and turning to God/Jesus to walk in his ways in the power and working of the Spirit within us. This is true hope! This is true grace, because it frees us, not only from the ultimate penalty of sin, but it frees us from the control of sin over our lives day-to-day and it gives us the power and strength to now walk in the Spirit and to live godly, upright and holy lives pleasing to God. Amen! [See: Luke 9:23-25; John 10:27-30; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1-5.]

Dull of Heart

When they had set a day for Paul, they came to him at his lodging in large numbers; and he was explaining to them by solemnly testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to persuade them concerning Jesus, from both the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, from morning until evening. Some were being persuaded by the things spoken, but others would not believe. And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word, “The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying,

‘Go to this people and say,
“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
And you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
And with their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes;
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
And hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.”’” ~ Ac. 28:23-27

Many people will receive the message of hope with great joy and will truly believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of their lives. They will leave their lives of sin behind them, and they will follow their Lord Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for their lives, not in absolute and sinless perfection, but in the power and working of the Spirit within them, daily putting off the misdeeds of the flesh and daily walking in the Spirit. They will not use their lack of perfection, though, as an excuse for willful and continued sin, while claiming that God’s grace covers it all, but they will consistently confess their sins to God, and they will choose to daily walk in fellowship with their Lord. Yet, this is not to say that genuine believers in Jesus Christ will always live like this or that they will never falter in their walks of faith and obedience to their Lord. They can, and many will, so they will need to be revived in heart and mind, renewed in the Spirit, and strengthened anew in their faith.

There will be many, as well, who will reject this message of hope, and who will have nothing to do with Jesus Christ or with his gospel of salvation. Included, though, among those who reject Jesus Christ are those who make pretense of having a relationship with Christ, but who do not know him. Their faith is in form only or in lip service, but their hearts are far from God. As well, there are many who will accept what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins, but they will not have genuine saving faith for they have bought into a lie which tells them that nothing is required of them at all – no repentance and no obedience. So they claim to know Christ but they are still walking according to the flesh and are living to please themselves and their own sinful desires. God’s word teaches that if they claim to know God, to love him, or to be in fellowship with him, yet they are still living sinful lifestyles and are not walking at all in obedience to him, they are liars and they don’t truly know God at all.

So, this passage may apply to those who are wandering from the faith; to those who make a pretense of faith only but whose hearts are far from God; to those who have bought into the lie that says no repentance or obedience is required of them by God; or to those who outright reject Jesus Christ as Savior and as Lord, but who have heard the message of salvation taught to them. All of these groups of people are ones who, in one way or another, are hearing the word of God with their physical ears, but they are not really listening, and they are not applying the truths they are hearing to their lives via genuine faith (continuous and consistent). Many who profess the name of Jesus have closed their eyes and their ears to the truth of the gospel as taught by Jesus and by the apostles because they want to follow a gospel that satisfies them with what their flesh desires, or else they want to ignore what they know is the truth so that they can do what their flesh tempts them to do.

Yet, if they would open their eyes and their ears to hear the gospel message, as taught by Jesus and by his apostles, and they would make it their own through genuine faith in Jesus Christ, i.e. through turning from sin to walking in fellowship with their Lord, then he would heal them of their sin-sickness, he would deliver them out of bondage to (the control of) sin, and he would empower them to walk daily in obedience to their Lord, walking in his holiness and righteousness, living godly and upright lives pleasing to him. This is our reasonable service of worship to our Lord to walk in His ways and no longer according to the sinful desires of our flesh nor according to the ways of this sinful world (See: Ro. 12:1-2).

Open Your Hearts / An Original Work / September 11, 2011

Open your hearts to Me.
Will you not receive me?
I’m your Lord and Savior, Jesus,
I am King of kings.
Listen to Me speaking to you.
Invite Me within.

Hasten to Me calling.
I’ll keep you from falling.
I am with you, and I will
Abide with you always.
Repent of your sins and
Worship Jesus Christ today.

Come and follow your Lord.
Obey all His teachings.
Witness to your neighbors,
And tell them of Jesus Christ.
Let them know that He provided
Their sin’s sacrifice.

He is your deliv’rer;
Rock of your salvation;
Cornerstone, rejected by men,
Mighty God is He.
He will give the only hope
Of life eternally.

Give God the Glory

From the very beginning of creation God has put within mankind the knowledge of God. God made himself known through his created works. When we look at the sun, the moon, the stars, the heavens above us, the trees, flowers, birds of the air, the sea, and man, we can see God, not that God exists within all of his creation, but rather that his creation reveals his divine character, being understood through what he has made. We see all his beauty, his love and his power, etc., so that mankind is without excuse, even though he may claim he did not know there was a God who created all this. It is not that mankind does not know, but rather that he chooses to suppress what he does know about God, exchanging the glory of God for an image in the form of corruptible man, etc. (See Romans 1:18-23 NASB)

So, the heavens above proclaim to mankind that we must give God the glory, and we must honor his name as holy. He has given man a free will to choose him or to not choose him. If we choose to live in the image of corruptible man, in which we were born into sin, we will die. But, if we choose, by God’s grace, through faith, to exchange the corruptible man for the glory of God, i.e. to accept God’s invitation to his great salvation, then we will live. He will light our lives with his righteousness, give us his wisdom, refresh our souls, and give joy to our hearts through his pure and enduring word, which is more precious than gold. When we keep his word, we receive great spiritual rewards. So, we should pray that we would continue in Christ, in keeping his word, and that we would not allow sin to rule our hearts ever again, so that we may walk in all of his ways from this day on and forever more.

Give God the Glory / An Original Work
Based off Psalm 19 / March 10, 2014

All of creation now proclaims:
“Give God the glory; honor His name!”
Each day the stars in heav’n above
Show forth His wisdom; tell of His love.

They do not speak. They have no voice.
Yet, they declare we have a choice:
“Worship the God of heav’n above;
Believe in Jesus; trust in His love.”

God’s word is perfect, just and good,
Refreshing souls who trust in the Lord;
Makes wise the simple; radiant –
Lighting our lives with God’s righteousness.

Joy to the heart His words now speak;
Pure and enduring, now we seek.
They are more precious than our gold;
Sweeter than honey; never grow old.

Keeping the word brings great reward.
By the word Jesus speaks and He warns,
Convicting hearts of all their sin;
Forgiving all who call upon Him.

Praying You keep me, Lord, from sins.
May they not rule my life again.
Then will I walk in all Your ways,
Following Jesus all of my days.

So Many Times

Oh, how I love the Word of the Lord! His word speaks to me all the time. Yet, there are those special times when I hear his voice speaking to my heart so powerfully through his word that my heart is greatly stirred. It is in those times that I feel especially close to him, as though he is physically right there with me. I love to sit at his feet and to hear him speak words of encouragement, hope, healing, comfort, instruction, warning, correction, and conviction to my heart.

Oh, how I long for revival of the church here in America. So many people, who profess Christ as Savior, live as though they are still walking in darkness. Though they claim Jesus is their Savior, he is truly not their Lord. The only way he can be Lord of our lives is if we submit to him and to his will and purposes for our lives, forsaking our former lives of sin, being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and by walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us.

Jesus speaking:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” ~ John 15:5-8

So Many Times / An Original Work / April 19, 2011

So many times
when I hear Your word
Your Spirit speaks
and my heart is stirred.
Send a revival my Lord,
I pray.
Won’t You be Lord in our hearts
now and always.

Humbly and gently
I bow the knee.
Yours to be only is
now my plea.
I come to Jesus at Calvary.
His blood provided
the way we could be free.

Gracious Redeemer,
my Lord and friend,
I know You’ll be with me
to the end.
A crown awaits me
in victory.
Jesus, enthroned above
all humanity.

Open Their Eyes

Sunday, April 26, 2015, 3:00 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Teach Them.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 23-26 (Selected vv. NASB).

Trials and Tribulations

Paul was arrested in Jerusalem and was placed in the barracks for protection from the angry mobs (Chap. 22). The next day he appeared before the Sanhedrin. That meeting ended in a violent dispute between the Pharisees and the Sadducees over the subject of the resurrection of the dead. Jesus then made an appearance to Paul the next night and told him to take courage, because just as he had testified about Jesus in Jerusalem, he would do also in Rome. The next morning some Jews formed a conspiracy and plotted how they might ambush and kill Paul. Paul’s nephew overheard the plot, so he told Paul, who then told one of the centurions, who then told the commander. So, the commander arranged for Paul to be taken in the night to Caesarea where he would appear before Governor Felix (Chap. 23).

Five days later, Paul appeared before Felix on false charges, which were presented by Ananias, the high priest, and some of the Jewish elders and a lawyer. Paul was charged with being a troublemaker who stirred up riots and who desecrated the temple. Paul defended himself against these charges, asserting that his accusers could not support the charges they made against him. Felix adjourned the proceedings after he heard Paul’s defense. Paul was then kept under guard but was allowed some freedom and visitors. Felix sent for Paul frequently, hoping Paul would offer him a bribe, but Paul, I believe, continued to speak to him about faith in Jesus Christ and about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. This went on for two years and then Felix was succeeded by Festus (Chap. 24).

Now the charges against Paul were brought before Festus in Jerusalem. The Jewish leaders requested to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem because, once again, they were preparing an ambush to kill him. Nearly two weeks went by. Festus was now back in Caesarea where he called Paul before him. The Jews once again brought charges against Paul which they could not prove. Paul defended himself once again against these false accusations. Then Festus asked Paul if he would be willing to go to Jerusalem and stand trial. Paul certainly must have known what that would mean for him, so he refused, and then he appealed to Caesar. So Festus declared he would go to Caesar (Chap. 25).

Perhaps you can identify with Paul, at least to some degree. Jesus said that, as his followers, we would face the same kind of treatment as he had faced. He said we would be hated and persecuted, and that some of us would be put to death for our faith in Jesus, and for our testimonies for him. The scriptures warn us of prisons, hardships, persecutions, beatings, false accusations, mistreatment, rejection, and abandonment, etc. – all because we follow Jesus Christ with our lives and we give testimony to what he did for us in dying for our sins, and because we hold to the teachings of Christ and of the apostles and we teach that we must die with Christ to sin and that we must be reborn of the Spirit of God. Jesus told his brothers that the world hated him because he told them the truth about their wickedness. And, when we speak the truth, even in love, we, too, will be hated.

Get Up and Stand

A few days later King Agrippa and his wife Bernice arrived in Caesarea to pay their respects to Festus. Festus discussed Paul’s case with the king. The king said he would like to hear Paul himself. So, the next day Paul appeared before King Agrippa, Festus and others. Festus told the king that he had found that Paul had done nothing deserving of death, but since Paul had appealed to Caesar, Festus had decided to send Paul to Rome. So, now Festus was looking for the king’s input on Paul’s case, hoping he would give him some insight into what he should write to the Emperor concerning Paul (Chap. 25).

King Agrippa then gave Paul permission to speak for himself. So, he began his defense. Once again Paul shared his testimony concerning his past life as a Pharisee and as a persecutor of Christians, but how he met Jesus on the road to Damascus, which is where he had intended to arrest and persecute even more followers of Jesus Christ (Chap. 26).

“While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

“So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” ~ Ac. 26:12-23

The assignment that Paul was given to do by the Lord is really not that much different than what we have all been assigned to do, for Jesus’ instruction to Paul was essentially that he preach (share/teach) the gospel message of salvation. Because of what Jesus Christ did in dying on the cross for our sins, and in putting our sin to death, and in being raised from the dead triumphant over sin and death, we are able to receive this great gift of salvation by faith, which is also a gift from God. This faith involves us dying with Christ to our old lives of living for sin and self, us being transformed (reborn) of the Spirit of God, and us now living and walking in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, not in our own strength, but in the power and the working of the Spirit within us as we cooperate fully with God’s work of grace in our lives.

When Jesus was about to leave this earth he instructed his followers to go and to make disciples (of Christ) of all peoples, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all things that Christ had commanded them. He also told them that when the Holy Spirit came upon them that they would be his witnesses throughout the earth. When Jesus walked the face of this earth he also told his followers that they were the light and salt of the earth, and that they were not to hide their lights, but were to let them shine before mankind. We now receive the Holy Spirit when we receive God’s gift of salvation into our lives by faith in Jesus Christ and in what he did for us in dying for our sins. So, we, as followers of Christ, are also called to share the gospel of salvation and to make disciples (of Christ) of people throughout the earth by teaching them to obey Christ’s commands (instructions) to us.

When we share the gospel and when we teach believers the instructions of Christ, which include the teachings of Christ’s apostles, we are opening blinded eyes to the truth, and we are, if we are teaching the true gospel message, turning them from darkness (sin) to light (God’s righteousness and holiness). And, we are turning them away from the power of Satan over their lives, where he had held them in bondage to sin, and we are leading them to God/Christ in pointing the way to salvation (freedom) and to living and walking in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. We do so in order that they might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (purified) by faith in Jesus Christ. If we are not leading anyone to turn from sin, and if we are not leading them to walk in obedience to Christ, in his righteousness and holiness, in the power of the Spirit, then we are not leading them to being forgiven of their sin and to being purified by true faith in Christ Jesus.

In response to Jesus’ call on Paul’s life, he preached that Jew and Gentile alike must repent of (turn from) sin and turn to God, to follow him in truth and in obedience to his teachings (instructions), and to prove their repentance by their deeds. It is not enough to just pray a prayer to receive Christ if it is not accompanied by genuine repentance and by following Jesus in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. Genuine faith in Jesus Christ is shown by what we do. If we believe Jesus died to free us from slavery to sin, and yet we continue in willful sin against God, then how is that faith? If we say we love God, or if we say we know God and that we are in fellowship with him, but we continue in sinful lifestyles and we do not follow him in obedience, then we are liars. The grace of God that brings salvation teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled and upright lives while we wait for Christ’s return. This is what we must teach.

(See: Lu. 9:23-25; Jn. 10:27-30; Ac. 26:16-18; Ro. 6-8; 2 Co. 5:15; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 2:8-10; 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 2:24-25; & 1 Jn. 1-5).

Teach Them / An Original Work / May 24, 2012

Based off various scriptures

Open up the blinded eyes of
Those who walk in sin’s darkness.
Turn them to the light of Christ
And to His righteousness.
Turn them from the pow’r of Satan.
Turn them to the peace of Christ,
So they may receive forgiveness
And eternal life.

Teach them to put off their old selves
And their former way of life,
And to put on their new self,
Reborn to be like Christ;
To not copy worldly customs;
Be transformed in life and mind;
Obey freely His word in them,
Pleasing unto God.

Teach them how to love their neighbors
Truly as they love themselves;
Be a witness; share the gospel;
Satan’s lies dispel;
Comfort all who mourn in sadness;
Share Christ’s love and joy today.
Do this through your life and witness
For your Lord always.