For the Will of God

Friday, July 31, 2015, 12:50 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Living Water.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 4:1-11 (NASB).

Arm Yourselves

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you; but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

What was the purpose of Jesus’ suffering? – That HE might die for the sins of the entire world and be resurrected back to life, victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death. Why? – So we can die with Christ to sins and live with him to righteousness (See 1 Pet. 2:24). In other words, Jesus did not die just so we could escape hell and have the hope of heaven when we die. He said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self (his self-life), take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) Jesus. He said that 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 (give up our lives), we will gain eternal life (See Lu. 9:23-25). He said his sheep know his voice, they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him, and these are the ones who can’t be snatched out of God’s hands (See John 10).

The whole purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection was to free us from slavery to sin, and to free us to walk daily in Christ’s righteousness and holiness (See Ro. 6-8; Eph. 4:17-24). He died so that we might be turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (purified, made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (See Ac. 26:16-18). He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (See 2 Co. 5:15). He also died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but who conduct our lives according to (in agreement with) the Spirit (See Ro. 8:1-14), all in the power and working of the Spirit within us.

So, if someone is telling you that all you have to do is pray a prayer to receive Christ, but that God requires nothing of you in the way of repentance (turning from sin to faith in Christ), obedience to his instructions, or submission and surrender to his will, then they are telling you a BIG FAT LIE! God’s grace is not a free license to continue living sinful lifestyles free from guilt and remorse. God’s grace which brings salvation teaches us to say “NO” to ungodliness and worldly passions and desires, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See Tit. 2:11-14). We are called to be holy. Holy means set apart from (different, unlike) the world, because we are becoming like Christ.

So, it is not ok to continue in sin after we have received Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. God doesn’t look the other way. He is not pleased with us when we are disobeying him, and when we are willfully going against his instructions and his will for our lives. We are supposed to no longer live for human lusts, but for the will of God. That is what is meant by being born again (from above, of the Spirit). It is like metamorphosis, like being changed from a caterpillar to a butterfly, so to speak. Out with the old, in with the new. We are new creations in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See Eph. 4:24). This is how we are supposed to live, by the Spirit of God.

So, why is it that so many who call themselves Christians today are living much like they did before they were saved? Why is it that the church is barely distinguishable from the world anymore? Whatever happened to teachings about being separate from the world of sin? Why is so much of the church today embracing the world’s culture, adopting its ways, and ignoring or twisting scriptures they don’t like in order to make them more appealing to the people of this sinful world? And, why is it a crime to follow the Word of God in all seriousness and to live like we believe what it teaches? Why is it that so much persecution directed against those who adhere to Jesus’ and the NT apostles’ teachings is coming from within the church, not from out in the world? Why is it that, in today’s church, if you are living in sin and you are worldly, you are accepted, but if you are serious about following Jesus and dying to sin daily, you are an “extremist,” or “crazy,” and you are ostracized? This should not be! We must be crucified with Christ to sin, so we can live to righteousness.

Above All

The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

One day life on this earth is going to end, and we will all have to give an account to God for what we did with Jesus Christ and with his salvation he secured for us on the cross. Life is not just one big party. We are not here to entertain and to be entertained. Why is it so many Christians can gather together and can talk so easily about movies, sports and the like, but are uncomfortable talking about Jesus and their walks of faith with him? We are not going to win the world to Jesus Christ by entertaining them, and by talking with them about what is worldly. We may be the life of the party here on earth, and everyone may like us because we are funny and we make everyone laugh, but what impact are we having on people’s lives for eternity? We need to be serious about our Lord, about his gospel, and about following him in obedience, and we need to be spiritually healthy in our judgments (decisions, wisdom, and discernment) which we make about how we live our daily lives.

True love does not placate or entertain sin, nor is it entertained by the sins of others. It also does not lie to people via false flattery. It does not try to make people feel good about sinning against God, nor does it excuse away or ignore sin. True love does not compromise the truths of scripture or dilute the gospel in order to make it less offensive to this sinful world. Also, it is never kind to tell people lies. True love tells the truth, but it does so in love. Yet, so much of today’s church has adopted the world’s idea of love, which is to not make waves, to not offend people with the gospel, to not make anyone uncomfortable, and to make everyone feel good about themselves, even if they are steeped in sin.

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes (present tense) in him might have eternal life. This is true love, to give of ourselves to meet the legitimate needs of others. It is self-sacrificing, and it puts the true needs of others above oneself. Foremost, everyone needs to be delivered out of slavery to sin and to walk in Christ’s holiness. Let us love more like Jesus and not like the world.

Yet, there are many ways in which we can love people. We can offer hospitality to others, serve others, and administer God’s grace to others in its various forms. Jesus Christ, when he walked the face of this earth, set the perfect example for us in how to serve others. The Lord Jesus used this passage yesterday to encourage my heart. My husband and I have four adult children who are all married, and we have 12 grandchildren. My in-laws arrived on Tuesday afternoon for a three week visit. So, we have had our kids and grandkids over for meals and for hanging out with the grandparents during the day. So, I was praying about how I was going to have time to write and to take care of my family, too, and the Lord encouraged me to love my family, to offer hospitality, to use whatever gifts he has given to me to serve them, and to administer God’s grace to them in its various forms, i.e. God has gifted me in many ways, and he has given me many areas of responsibility and care, and right now I am to care for my family, and write when he allots me the time to write.

In summary, we are to arm ourselves with the same attitude of Christ, whether it is in being a servant in caring for people’s physical or emotional needs, or whether it is ministering to the spiritual needs of others, and that is that we must be done with sin (selfishness) so that we no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, but we walk (conduct our lives) in agreement with the Spirit, and we live for the will of God, to please our Lord in all that we do. This is God’s will for our lives, and it is why Jesus Christ came to earth and died and was resurrected from the dead that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his stripes we are healed. Amen! So, give your all to him today, if you have not already done so.

Living Water / An Original Work / November 21, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

My people have forsaken Me,
Their Savior, who died on a tree;
Made idols, and they worshipped them;
So empty, they will ne’er fulfill.

Lord, You are the hope of Your chosen ones.
Those who turn away from You will be shamed;
The Spring of Living Water left behind.

Living Water satisfies.

The thirsty, let them come and drink;
Believe in Jesus as their King;
The gift of Jesus given them,
So they will never thirst again.

Indeed, the Living Water flows within.
It springs up like a fountain cleansing sin.
Eternal life in heaven promised them.

Living Water glorifies.

Oh people, won’t you come to Him?
Obey Him and repent of sin.
Let Jesus come and live within.
Surrender all your life to Him.

My people, won’t you turn your hearts to Me?
Forsake your idols and then you’ll be free.
Won’t you come now to Me on bended knee?

Living Water sanctifies.

Praise the “I AM”

2/24/12: I have been reading in Revelation about the power and majesty of God, and of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Jesus, the Lamb of God, was the only one worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because he was slain, and with his blood he purchased men for God. He made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and we will reign with Christ on the earth. The Lamb, who was slain, is worthy “to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” This song, “Praise the ‘I AM’,” is also a song of praise to Jesus Christ, my Savior, who is my gracious Redeemer, who, by his grace, pardoned me, forgave my sin and he set me free! Now, I am His servant and witness.

Praise the “I AM!” / An Original Work / February 24, 2012

Jesus, my Savior, full of compassion,
Glorious in power, mighty in strength;
Gracious Redeemer, mighty deliv’rer,
My heart adores Him. Praise to His name!
Perfect salvation my Lord provided
When He died for my sins on a tree;
Crucified my sins; conquered in vict’ry,
When He arose, so I could be free!

I am so thankful for His forgiveness;
Grateful that He chose to pardon me,
Giving me new life full in His Spirit,
So I can serve Him; His servant be!
Walking in daily fellowship with Him,
Obeying Him whate’er He commands;
Forsaking my sins, living in freedom,
I will endure with Him to the end!

He gives me peace and calm reassurance
In times of sorrow, or in distress.
His grace is sure, and oh, how sufficient
To meet me in my need for sweet rest.
Oh, how I love You, Jesus, my Savior.
My heart longs for You where’er I am.
Your word is precious; speaks to my spirit;
Brings comfort, healing. Praise the “I AM!”

I’m Not Ashamed

This song is based off Matt. 28:19-20, often called “The Great Commission,” and was spoken by Jesus to his disciples. It is also based off Acts 1:8, which were Jesus’ words to his disciples concerning the sending of His Holy Spirit to them after he left the earth and ascended back to heaven. It is also based off Rom. 1:16-17, which Paul taught concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ and its power for the salvation of people’s lives for eternity. Jesus has commissioned each and every one of us who are his disciples and followers to go and to make disciples, and to teach them to obey Christ’s commands.

Yet, we do not do this in our own power or strength. We are Christ’s witnesses when the Holy Spirit comes upon us, which is when we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts and lives to be our Lord and Savior. He will give us the words to say, so we don’t ever have to be afraid. We should never be ashamed of our Lord or of his gospel, worrying about what to say or how to say it, and worried about what others will think about us. Instead, we must realize that the gospel has the power for salvation in people’s lives.

I’m Not Ashamed / An Original Work / February 15, 2012

Based off Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:16-17

Go into all the world,
And tell them the Good News,
Making disciples of all the nations,
Baptizing them in the name of the Father
And of the Holy Spirit,
And of the Son,
Teaching them to obey
Ev’rything I have commanded you,
And surely I am with you,
E’en to the end of the age.

You will receive power
When the Holy Spirit
Comes on you;
My witnesses you will be
In Samaria, Judea, and Jerusalem,
And to the ends of the earth, amen!
You will receive power
When the Holy Spirit comes on you,
My witnesses you will be
Unto the ends of the earth.

I’m not ashamed of the
Gospel of my Jesus.
For salvation, it’s the power of God.
For in the gospel a righteousness
From God is made known,
A righteousness that is by faith.
I’m not ashamed of the
Gospel of my Jesus.
For salvation, it’s the power of God.
The righteous will live by faith.

Straying Like Sheep

Monday, July 27, 2015, 8:07 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Touched My Mouth.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 2 (Selected vv. NASB).

Out of Darkness (vv. 9-10)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Before we came to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord, and as Savior of our lives, we were under the control of sin’s deceitfulness, without hope and without God, and headed to hell. Yet God, who is rich in mercy, saved us by the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for our sins. He called us out of the darkness of sin into the light of his truth, holiness and righteousness, i.e. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, death and Satan. When we come to believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and as Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). Jesus did not die just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died to give us completely new lives, free from slavery to sin, and free to walk (conduct our lives) in agreement with the Spirit of God; to walk in his righteousness.

Those who are presently under the control of sin’s deceitfulness and headed to hell, though, are not just those who make no profession of Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives. This includes all those who have made false professions of faith, and who have just played (acted) as though they were followers of Christ, but who are not truly saved, perhaps because they were self-deceived into believing they were saved, or were possibly intending to be deceptive. Some of these professors of faith mouth empty words of praise to God, but they are just vain repetitions, insincere and shallow declarations of faith and adoration of God, which are self-focused and not God-focused. Many people today have bought into Satan’s lies which tell them that if they just pray a prayer to receive Christ that they have their ticket into heaven guaranteed, and no one can take that away from them, no matter how badly they sin after that. The lie says that God requires nothing of us at all in the way of turning from sin, following Christ in obedience, and surrendering our wills to the will of God. Yet, if they would just read the Bible, it is real clear all throughout the New Testament that we are called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. This is true salvation!

God called us to be holy, which means to be set apart (separate, unlike, different) from this sinful world, because we are becoming like Christ. Yet, so many professing Christians today are not living remarkably different from the world, but they are blending in with today’s culture, and, thus, they are a mixed bag of worldly and godly, with a diverse assortment of philosophies, values, and beliefs. They have strayed away from their pure devotion to Jesus Christ, and have allowed worldly influences to creep back into their lives. Though I know this is not a new concept, as the people of God of old did the same, I do believe that television, movies, the internet, social media, private internet access, and the like, have largely contributed to influencing this downward spiral in the spiritual lives of so many Christians today. The meetings of the church largely reflect this mixture of holy and worldly, but they are moving further and further away from holy and are becoming increasingly worldly, and are blending together humanistic philosophy with God’s Word, which stands in contradiction to human-based teachings, philosophies and human-based religion.

As followers of Jesus Christ, though, we are not to immerse ourselves in our culture, but we are chosen of God to be the Light of the world and the Salt of the earth in shining the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ to this sinful world so that many can be saved. As a royal priesthood, we are the children of the King of kings, and Lord of lords. As priests we not only have the privilege of being able to enter into God’s holy presence, by faith in Jesus Christ, but we are called to be living sacrifices to God, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable service of worship to him, no longer conformed to the pattern of this sinful world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds so we can discern and obey God’s good, pleasing and perfect will (See: Ro. 12:1-2). We are also to be ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in praying for people, and in sharing the love and grace of Jesus Christ with them, proclaiming to them the holiness and righteousness of God, and how Jesus came to save us from slavery to sin and to free us to walk in his righteousness and holiness. Through spiritual discernment, because we have had our minds renewed, we can see the wrong turn God’s church (or the institutional church) is taking, and thus we should be calling out to those who are straying, and we should be calling them to repentance.

Abstain from Fleshly Lusts (vv. 11-12)

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

What does it mean to be an alien or a stranger? It means that we are not citizens of this world, but our home is in heaven with God. So, we should not live our lives any longer as though we are part of (participants in) this sinful world. God has called us to come out from this world of sin and to be separate, yet it seems today that not many who call themselves followers of Christ are truly separate, and those who are, are often called “extremists,” or “hyper-religious” or “out of touch” with reality or “strange.” So many professing Christians today are daily allowing themselves to be entertained by the sinful acts of others via TV, movies, the internet, or by worldly music, and thus they are feeding their minds with sin. We have heard the saying, “Garbage in, garbage out.” What we daily feed into our minds is bound to come out in our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors. So many who call themselves followers of Christ, thus, speak and act just like the world, rather than speak and act just like those who have been called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. Thus, they are not shining as lights for the gospel to this sinful world, because they don’t live as aliens.

Live to Righteousness (vv. 21-25)

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Jesus Christ died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is the essence of the gospel of our salvation. If we are not daily dying to sin and living to righteousness, all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within us, who has given us new lives in Christ Jesus, our Lord, then something is terribly wrong. We have strayed from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ to following after our flesh, humanistic teachings, and sinful pleasures.

There is a serious problem going on within the church today, and that is that the church has largely moved away from teaching walking in the fear of the Lord and walking in Christ’s holiness, and living to please God, to teaching salvation by faith in Jesus Christ absent of the cross of Christ in our lives. So many Christians want the resurrection without the cross. They want freedom, but not freedom from slavery to sin, but a free license to continue in sin free from guilt and remorse. But, that is not what God is offering us. That is not why Christ died. He didn’t die so we could continue in sin, and so we could dabble in all kinds of teachings contrary to his Word. That goes against his divine nature and godly character.

The church has also largely turned away from the reality that the church, the body of Christ, is the collective body of believers in Jesus Christ, with Christ as her only head, to following the belief and practice that the church is an organization of human origin, run and marketed just like any other human-based business, with the government and humans as her head. The meetings of “the church” are not comprised solely of the body of believers, either, for the mutual encouragement and edification of the body of Christ, but they are designed to attract the people of this sinful world through worldly and sometimes sinful means and methods. The gospel of Jesus Christ is, thus, diluted in order to make it more agreeable, comfortable and appealing to the people of this world. The public meetings of the church may include the body of Christ within those meetings, but they are no longer, for the most part, true fellowships of the body of believers in Christ, but are open to the public, and are largely focused around the “big show” in order to entertain the world, rather than to confront the world with sin, and to call for repentance and obedience to God’s Word.

Yet, now, a large portion of what calls itself “church” has turned from a straight course and has deviated to following a course of action leading it to a one-world religion, incorporating all religions together into one. So, they have had to dilute the gospel even more, in order to conform the gospel to this deviation of direction (course), i.e. in order for us to cooperate with this emerging (evolving) church movement. President Obama, the Pope and Rick Warren, among many others, are powerful voices promoting this deviation in today’s church (or institutional church). Basically, what this movement is teaching is that we need to put aside what divides us, and we need to come together as one people (all people from all religions and even atheists) and work together to make this world a better place. The focus is on all of us just getting along, accepting others who are different from us, and choosing to not try to convince others to believe as we do. This, in reality, is no longer a dilution of the gospel, but it is an eradicating of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We need to stand strong against this, and we need to warn God’s people to not forget their Lord or the gospel of salvation, but to return to the Shepherd and Guardian of their souls. So, so many are wandering off like sheep going astray. We need to call them to return. We need to be discerning about the direction the church is headed, so we can warn others, but also so we do not get caught in the web of deception ourselves. The Lord’s sheep know his voice, they listen to him, and they follow (obey) him, and no one can snatch them out of the Lord’s hands. They do not recognize the voice of strangers, so they will not follow them (See: John 10).

Make sure today you are a true sheep who is listening to and is following (obeying) the Lord Jesus, and that you are not following after false gods, a false (deviated) religion, and a false gospel which does not teach death to sin and living to righteousness, because God called us out of darkness (sin) into his marvelous light (truth, righteousness and holiness). Thus, we need to no longer walk according to (in agreement with) our sinful flesh, but we must conduct our lives in agreement with, and under the direction, supervision and empowerment of the Holy Spirit within us, living holy lives, pleasing to God (See: Ro. 8:1-14).

He Touched My Mouth / An Original Work / June 13, 2012

Based off Isaiah 6:1-8; Jeremiah 1:4-9

Oh, I saw the Lord
Seated on His throne,
High and lifted up;
Holy is the Lord!
The earth is full
of His glory.
“Woe to me,” I cried,
“I’m of unclean lips.”

My Lord touched my mouth
With His cleansing pow’r;
Removed all my guilt,
Paid for by His blood.
He asked, “Whom shall I send;
Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here am I.
Send me!”

Before I was born,
God set me apart;
He appointed me
To His servant be.
I said, “I don’t know
How to speak.
I am but a child.”
Then, the Lord replied:

“Do not say to me,
‘I am but a child.’
You must go to all,
And do what I say.
Do not fear them,
For I’m with you.”
My Lord touched my mouth;
Gave me words to say.

A Pure Heart

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “In Faithfulness He Leads Me.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 2:4-8 (NASB).

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For this is contained in Scripture:

“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,

“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,”
and,

“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”;
for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed.

Coming to Christ

This coming to Christ being spoken of here is not a one-time event in our lives. It is present tense, and it is ongoing. This speaks of our walks of faith in Jesus Christ on a day-to-day basis, which began at that moment that we initially believed in Jesus, when the Holy Spirit gave us new birth in Christ Jesus, and when he came into our lives. This coming to Christ is ongoing for all who believe (present tense) in Jesus Christ, who have been saved (and are being saved and will be saved) by his blood. Coming to Christ means to draw near to him, to approach him, but also to connect ourselves to him, to agree with him, and to participate with him in his death and resurrection via death to sin and living to righteousness. It is fellowship with him, and worship of him, and submission and obedience to him. It is praying to him and studying his word, and witnessing for him and for his gospel. It is walking in the light as He is in the light, and it is conducting our lives according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. It is living to please him, growing to maturity, being conformed to the image of Christ and being made holy. And, it is loving others with Christ’s love.

Although there were many who believed in Jesus Christ, many more rejected him. They rejected him because he didn’t do what they thought he ought to do. He didn’t follow their man-made religious system, and this irritated the religious leaders of his day. He also did things they thought he ought NOT to do, such as healing people on the Sabbath. This infuriated them. As well, he publicly chided them for their hypocrisy and their wickedness, and they hated him for that. They were also jealous of his popularity and feared him, thinking his favor with the people would serve as a threat to their own positions of power, rule and influence over the people. And, they also hated him because he told them the truth about who he is, that he is God, and so they hung him on a cross to die, although he had done no wrong.

Yet, it was God’s will that he should die for the sins of the world. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him, and when he was resurrected, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. By his stripes we are healed!

Living Stones

Jesus Christ is described here as a “living stone.” He is the Rock (the foundation, the basis) on which the church (and our individual lives) is built. And he is living, not dead, because the Father resurrected him from the dead. Jesus taught denial of self, death to sin and living to righteousness. He taught repentance (turning from sin) for forgiveness of sins and for eternal life. He also taught obedience and holy living. Coming to Christ means we are crucified with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected to new lives in Christ, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24). We no longer conduct our lives according to our sinful flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit (Ro. 8:1-14). For those of us who believe in him, he is precious (valued, loved, and treasured). This means we honor him, respect, revere and obey him. Yet, for those who don’t believe in him, they stumble over him, because they disobey the message of the gospel (his Word).

We, who are in Christ Jesus by faith, are also like living stones, as each one of us is part of God’s building, his true church. This church, though, is not a building built by human hands nor is it an institution, corporation or organization of human origin and design. We, the people of God, are his church. We are his body, his temple, for he dwells within us. And, he is the head over his church. He is building us into a spiritual house. He does this through teaching us, counseling us and leading and guiding us in the direction we should go. He is building us to be a holy priesthood. Holy means to be set apart from (different, unlike) the world, because we are being transformed into the image of Christ. A priest is one who, before Jesus died for our sins, would serve as an intermediary between man and God, and would offer sacrifices to God on our behalf because of our sins. They were the only ones who could enter into God’s holy presence. When Jesus died, the veil which stood between us and the presence of God was torn in two, symbolizing that Jesus Christ now made the way for us to have direct access to God, so now we, like priests, no longer need human intermediaries, for we can approach the throne of grace with confidence because of Jesus.

Spiritual Sacrifices

We are also being built up to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. So, what is a spiritual sacrifice acceptable to God? This word “sacrifice” means “an official sacrifice prescribed by God; hence an offering the Lord accepts because offered on His terms” (biblehub.com). This is critical that we understand this. God is not interested in what we want to do or what we are willing to do for him of our own choosing. He wants us dead to sin, living to righteousness, walking in his holiness, living our lives in agreement with the Spirit of God, obedient to his teachings, and no longer conducting our lives according to our sinful flesh. Yet, much of the church is not teaching this anymore. More and more the church is teaching a gospel which conforms to our human will and ways, which is pleasing to us, which is patterned after our sinful flesh and worldly desires, and which does not put our flesh to death, but which entertains it and placates (pacifies, appeases) it. And, they excuse all that away by calling it “love” and “grace.”

I believe Romans 12:1-2 says it well. We are to offer our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, NOT pleasing to our flesh. This is our spiritual act of worship of him. This is true worship. So many people get this idea that worship of God is merely singing songs of praise to him at a church service, but true worship of God is total surrender of our lives to him, to be lived out according to his will and his purposes for our lives. We are to not conform our lives any longer according to the pattern (ways) of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. This means we have to be different from (unlike) the world, not blend in with the world as many do. We can’t be consuming daily what is adulterous, lying, cheating, stealing, and deceptive, and expect to be living holy lives pleasing to God. We need to rid our minds of all that is ungodly and unholy and instead fill our minds with what is righteous, pure, and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). Then we will be able to discern and know God’s will, and will be able to do the will of God – his good, pleasing and perfect will. Then, we can follow him wherever he leads us.

In Faithfulness He Leads Me / An Original Work / March 20, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
(Ps. 26:3; 86:11; 91:4-5; 111:7-8; 119:73-76;
Is. 25:1,4&9; 42:6-7; Hos. 2:16-20)

Teach me Your ways, Lord, and I’ll walk in them.
Give me a pure heart. I’ll fear Your name.
Your love is always, ever before me.
Continually I’ll walk in Your truth.
You will cover me with feathers.
Under Your wings I’ll find refuge.
My Lord’s faithfulness will be my
Comfort and my shield.
The works of His hands are faithful and just.
Trustworthy are all of His precepts.

Your hands have made me, and they have formed me.
Give understanding of Your commands.
I have put my hope, O Lord, in Your word.
Your teachings, O Lord, are righteousness.
Lord, in faithfulness You have
Afflicted me so I may learn of
Your unfailing love and comfort
And Your truthfulness.
You are my husband; You have betrothed me
In love, compassion and faithfulness.

O Lord, You are my God, I’ll exalt You.
In faithfulness You’ve done wondrous things.
You’ve been a refuge for those who’re needy;
A shelter in storms; shade from the heat.
This is the Lord, we trusted in Him,
Let us be glad and rejoice
In His salvation which He
Provided through the Lamb.
Open the blind eyes; free all the captives.
Tell them of Jesus: “Be born again!”

You are Loving and Forgiving

Written on 2/19/2012: We have been battling sickness in our house for over a week now. It appears we keep recycling the same germs to one another. And, then I walked into our bedroom yesterday and turned on a light when my husband was sleeping. I didn’t think about it. The light was like a sharp stab to his eyes, though. And, then I felt really bad about it. This cold has been getting me really down, too. So, all this was going on when I sat down to hear from the Lord, to see if he had words to go with the tune I believe he had given me to write.

So, when he began with the words, “You are loving and forgiving, Jesus, Savior,” I felt such comfort and reassurance from him at this time. Then, he led me to read Psalm 86, and to translate the psalm into New Testament terminology. So, this song is based off that Psalm, with Jesus Christ as the one to whom we are offering our prayer of praise, adoration, thanksgiving and supplication.

You are Loving and Forgiving / An Original Work / February 19, 2012

Based off Psalm 86

You are loving and forgiving,
Jesus, Savior, King of kings.
You provided our redemption.
By Your blood You set us free.
You are gracious; full of mercy.
No deeds can compare with Yours.
Great are You; there is none like You.
Glory be to Your name.

Teach me Your way, and I’ll walk in it.
O Lord, I will walk in Your truth.
May I not have a heart divided,
That Your name I give honor to.
I will praise You, O Lord, my Savior,
For great is Your love toward me.
You have delivered me from my sins.
Your grace has pardoned me.

You, O Lord, are full of compassion,
Slow to anger, bounteous in love;
Faithful to fulfill all You promise;
Glory be to Your name above.
Hear, O Lord, and answer Your servant.
You are my God. I trust in You.
Turn to me and grant Your strength to me.
You are my comforter.

Where are Our Minds?

Saturday, July 25, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Sing of His Mercy.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 1:13-25 (NASB).

Prepare Your Minds (vv. 13a)

Therefore, prepare your minds for action…

Because Jesus Christ died on the cross to save us from slavery to sin, and to free us to walk daily in his righteousness, we should prepare our minds for action. How do we do that? For one, we examine all the things we are taking into our minds daily against the Word of God, and we ask the Lord to show us where what we are taking into our minds is contrary to his Word, his will and his ways. Why must we do this? – Because we can’t prepare our minds for action if we are filling them with nonsense, junk and that which is opposed to God and his Word. In other words, if we are spending our evenings or weekends watching TV, movies, playing video games, surfing the internet aimlessly, reading novels, watching news shows, hanging out on social media sites, or if we are just in general filling our minds with clutter, and what is useless, and what has no eternal value, or what is truly sinful, then our minds are too occupied with all this junk, so there is no time or room left for God.

Do you know that one of Satan’s greatest weapons against us is distraction? Look at our society here in America. Most homes have a TV. Many of them have wide-screen TVs which have become the prominent fixture in many living rooms, around which everything else in the room is focused. After TVs, came around-the-clock TV, cable and satellite TV, and Netflix, which provided all sorts of movies and shows to watch 24/7. Also then came personal (portable) computers which give us private internet access in our homes. And, then came tablets and smart phones, which gave us private internet access in our pockets or in the privacy of our cars and bedrooms, with no accountability and such ease of access.

Through all of these mediums we are continually connected with the world, or we most certainly can be. If we are not careful, all these things of the world can begin to rule our lives and to crowd out God entirely. Some of these things may not be sinful in themselves, but they have the potential of becoming our idols, i.e. that to which we give most of our free time, affection and attention. Or, they can certainly be easy access to a whole world of evil at our fingertips, and in the privacy of our own homes, and may present us with much temptation to sin against God. As well, most of what is on TV these days, even the commercials, is filled with sensuality, sexual situations, idolatry, adultery, and that which glorifies what is sinful, i.e. such as murder, lying, cheating, stealing, etc. A sad reality is that many Christians are allowing themselves to be daily entertained by this filth, too.

So, if we are going to prepare our minds for action, we need to remove from our lives all hindrances to our walks of faith and all that contradicts what the Bible teaches us to set our minds on and to do. We have to get radical about God, about sin and about obedience. We can’t have one foot in the world and the other in our relationships with Jesus Christ.

Be Holy (vv. 13b-16)

…keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Instead of filling our minds with junk, worldly distractions and/or what is clearly sinful, i.e. all these many intoxicating influences via all these various worldly mediums, we need to be sober-minded. We need to fix our hope and thoughts on Jesus and our eternal salvation. We need to be sensible, rational, spiritually alert, and self-controlled. We have to be students of the Word of God, spending time daily in prayer, listening to God speak his words to our heart, and we have to be obedient to what his word teaches us. Then we will be able to discern what is not of God, what pure junk is, and what is deception and manipulation of truth. One of the reasons many Christians are not discerning is because they are filling their minds with so much which is worldly, and they are investing little time in their relationships with Jesus Christ and their walks of faith, holiness and purity.

We are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, yet this worldly church of today is telling their adherents to immerse themselves in today’s culture, and they are promoting this through the use of worldly and even sinful means and methods in order to attract the world to the “church.” How can we reach this sinful world for Jesus Christ if we are no different from the world? Being holy means set apart from (unlike) the world because we are becoming like Christ. We are not supposed to be one with the world in order to win the world. We are supposed to come out from the world and be separate, not that we remove ourselves from the people of this world, but that we cease to participate in what is trash and what is sinful, and we choose to walk in the ways of the Lord instead.

Conduct Yourselves in Fear (vv. 17-21)

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

What does it mean to conduct our lives in fear? This fear is not anxiety or worry, but it is showing respect, honor, and value for God/Jesus, and for what our Lord did for us in giving his life up for us to deliver us out of slavery to sin. To me, when people teach that salvation is nothing more than an escape from hell and a free ticket into heaven, and that God requires nothing of them – no repentance, no obedience, and no surrender to God’s will – then that is not conducting our lives in the fear of the Lord. To me it is a slap in God’s face to believe that God would save us and not require holy living out of us. The mere fact that they insist that repentance, obedience and surrender to God are not required of them speaks volumes about how they view God and his grace to us. Yet, his grace is not a free license to continue in sin. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us. When we live the life Jesus died for, daily forsaking sin and walking in his righteousness, then we are conducting our lives in the fear (honor and respect) of our Lord God.

Love One Another (vv. 22-25)

Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“All flesh is like grass,
And all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
And the flower falls off,
But the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word which was preached to you.

When we come to faith in Jesus Christ, and we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to new lives in him, we are indwelt with the Holy Spirit, so that the presence of God now dwells within us. We are Christ’s body, his church, and our mission is to continue the work he began when he walked the face of this earth, i.e. to be Jesus to the world, and to be his hands and feet in loving people with God’s love. God’s love, though, is not the same as human love. His love does what is best for people, not necessarily what they want or desire. His love is pure, honest, and sincere, and cares about people’s legitimate needs. God is not interested in making people feel good about their fleshly lives. He does not tell lies or try to deceive or manipulate just so we will like him and think he is a swell guy. Although he certainly heals, delivers and gives us his grace, he does so because he wants us free of bondage to sin, and free to walk in his holiness. So, he will tell us the truth about sin, deception, and false teaching, etc., and he will call us to repentance and obedience, because he died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. He died to set us free!

We are all going to die one day. Our flesh bodies will be put to death, but our spirits will live on, either in eternal torment in hell fire, or in heaven with God. Because Jesus Christ has given us new birth (new lives) via his death and resurrection, and God now lives within us, if we truly love others with God’s love, we will want to see people truly saved so that they would have the same hope as what we have received. It is not loving to tell them lies, though. If we tell them that God requires nothing of them in the way of turning from sin and turning to walk in obedience to Christ, then we have doomed them to hell. It might make them feel good, because we didn’t offend them with the gospel, but one day they will have to stand before God, as we all will, and if they did not repent and follow our Lord in obedience, then they don’t have the hope of eternal life, and we will have facilitated them in following a false gospel and a false Christ all the way to hell. So, God’s love cares enough about people to tell them the truth, and to give them the only true hope there is of a life free from slavery to sin, so that we can be free to walk in Christ’s righteousness. And, that is how we need to love others, too.

I Sing of His Mercy / An Original Work
Based off Psalm 32 / April 10, 2014

Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven
By the blood of Jesus Christ.
Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does
Not count against them; freedom found.
When, in silence, I did not confess
My sin to You; had no strength.
Then I owned up to my sin and
You forgave and cleansed me within.

Therefore let the godly pray to You;
Draw near to You; grace they’ll find.
They will not be o’ertaken by afflictions,
But in Christ peace abounds.
Lord, You are my hiding place.
I find my refuge in You secure.
You protect me from all evil.
You give songs of vict’ry in You.

Lord, You teach me to walk in Your ways;
Counsel me in love, I know.
Help me to not be stubborn and
Unwilling to follow in Your truth.
Thank You for Your love and mercy.
I put my trust in You always.
I rejoice in my Lord and
I sing of Him throughout all my days.