Feed On Him

Sunday, April 30, 2017, 9:05 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read John 6 (select vv. NIV).

Seeking Blessings (vv. 26-27)

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

Many people will believe in Jesus Christ with human faith just because of what they perceive will be the benefits of such a faith, such as forgiveness of sins, relief from punishment in hell, and the hope of heaven when they die. Although it is true that these are some of the benefits of faith in Jesus Christ, it is apparent that these people want their resurrection without the cross, i.e. that they want the benefits of salvation from sin without death to sin, submission to Christ and his cross, and obedience to his word. So, it isn’t Jesus they seek, but what they can get out of him. So, they end up worshipping the gifts rather than the creator who gave the gifts.

If we look only to the end game, and what rewards we think we will receive, then we are missing the boat. Jesus didn’t die for our sins just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He 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 his life up for us. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. He commands all people everywhere to repent, i.e. to turn from their lifestyles of sin, to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and to receive new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Acts 17:30; 26:16-18).

Bread of Life (vv. 35-40)

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

So many people today, especially here in America, are seeking and are following after what will never satisfy the deep longings of their souls. Yet, is God against us having houses, lands, automobiles and possessions? I don’t believe so. I do believe, though, that he is against us having excess (more than we need) while we see those in need and we refuse to help. I believe he is also against us making these things our gods, i.e. to where we worship them rather than the creator; to where we give our hearts, passion, time and energies over to what is going to perish, while we neglect what is eternal.

Many people, including many Christians, are also seeking after self-pleasure and entertainment, idols of men, politicians, preachers, and the like to satisfy them, to give them a sense of security or fulfillment, or to be their saviors. But, they will always come up empty, and always wanting more, and they will often be disappointed, let down, and betrayed by what gives a false sense of hope for joy and peace, because the things of this world and humans can never fill the God-void in our lives, which only HE can fill. They will all wear out like a garment, but the Word of God stands forever!

Jesus Christ is our sustenance and our supply for everything we need. In him we find complete satisfaction, fulfillment, peace and joy. If we come to him, and we find in him all that we need for this life, our hearts will be fully satisfied. Yet, he says that if any would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. 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 lose our lives (die to sin and self), we will gain eternal life, i.e. we will find our lives in him (Lu. 9:23-25; cf. Rom. 8:1-14).

Flesh and Blood (vv. 48-58)

I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

Jesus is the bread from heaven; the bread of life. The things of this life to which we look to satisfy us, or to bring us happiness, are temporal. They have no power to impart life. Jesus is the giver of life in creation, and he is the giver of eternal life for all who eat of (partake in) him. Yet, in order to receive this life (eternal) we must eat of his flesh and drink of his blood. So, what does that mean?

Jesus gave his body for us in death to sin on a cross. He also shed his blood for us that we might be reconciled to God. So, to eat of his flesh and to drink of his blood means we partake with him in death to sin so that we might live with him to righteousness, and so we might be reunited in fellowship with God. There can be no resurrection without the cross. There can be no life in the Spirit without death to sin, and not just Jesus’ death to sin, but us being crucified with Christ in death to sin (Rom. 6:1-23; Gal. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:24).

In other words, faith in Jesus Christ is so much more than just an escape from hell and the hope of heaven. It is a life, and it is a lifestyle, and it is in Christ, and to be lived in his power and strength, and guided by the Holy Spirit. It is a radical life transformation away from living under the yoke of slavery to sin, to now walking in freedom from the control of sin over our lives, in the Spirit, and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. It is trusting in Jesus to meet our every need and not looking to the flesh of man or to the things of this world for our provision, hope, healing, or for our deliverance.

This is not to say, obviously, that we don’t have jobs or earn our living or provide for our families or that we just sit around waiting for manna to drop from heaven while we do nothing. But, it is to say that we should trust in Jesus Christ for all things, and that we should not operate in the flesh, but in the Spirit, and that we should look to him for our fulfillment, for our deliverance from evil, and for meaning, purpose and direction for our lives. He is the one who should get our vows of allegiance, our passion, desire, loyalty, devotion, fidelity, worship and praise. He alone should be our God. And, we should feed on him daily via prayer, the study of the Word, and through following him in obedience to whatever he tells us to do and to be.

Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah
William Williams / John Hughes

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land.
I am weak, but Thou art mighty;
Hold me with Thy powerful hand.
Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven,
Feed me till I want no more;
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain,
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through.
Strong Deliverer, strong Deliverer,
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield;
Be Thou still my Strength and Shield.

Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold.
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer
Sin and Satan and the grave,
Sin and Satan and the grave.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises,
I will ever give to Thee;
I will ever give to Thee. Amen.

False Security

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 7:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Softly and Tenderly.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ezekiel 24 (quoting vv. 1-16a ESV).

In the ninth year, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, write down the name of this day, this very day. The king of Babylon has laid siege to Jerusalem this very day. And utter a parable to the rebellious house and say to them, Thus says the Lord God:

“Set on the pot, set it on;
pour in water also;
put in it the pieces of meat,
all the good pieces, the thigh and the shoulder;
fill it with choice bones.
Take the choicest one of the flock;
pile the logs under it;
boil it well;
seethe also its bones in it.

“Therefore thus says the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose corrosion is in it, and whose corrosion has not gone out of it! Take out of it piece after piece, without making any choice. For the blood she has shed is in her midst; she put it on the bare rock; she did not pour it out on the ground to cover it with dust. To rouse my wrath, to take vengeance, I have set on the bare rock the blood she has shed, that it may not be covered. Therefore thus says the Lord God: Woe to the bloody city! I also will make the pile great. Heap on the logs, kindle the fire, boil the meat well, mix in the spices, and let the bones be burned up. Then set it empty upon the coals, that it may become hot, and its copper may burn, that its uncleanness may be melted in it, its corrosion consumed. She has wearied herself with toil; its abundant corrosion does not go out of it. Into the fire with its corrosion!

“On account of your unclean lewdness, because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed from your uncleanness, you shall not be cleansed anymore till I have satisfied my fury upon you. I am the Lord. I have spoken; it shall come to pass; I will do it. I will not go back; I will not spare; I will not relent; according to your ways and your deeds you will be judged, declares the Lord God.”

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, behold, I am about to take the delight of your eyes away from you at a stroke…”

I believe the Lord Jesus has a message to give from this passage of scripture to God’s rebellious church today, in particular here in America. A judgment of God has come or is coming upon her via the New World Order Beast, i.e. via the shadow government of the Elite of the world who are truly the ones running this nation, and who have been busily conquering the nations of the world via the US government and their military forces and allies. He has given or is soon to give his rebellious church in America over to this New World Order beast to lay siege to her, i.e. to conquer her (See: Rev. 13).

Probably the most central message that the Lord is giving to me here is that, because of our affluence, and because of a vast array of deception and manipulation of minds via the institutional church, wolves in sheep’s clothing, politicians, TV, the internet, movies, and various other forms of entertainment, to which many Americans are addicted, many Americans have put their trust and dependence in many of the wrong places.

They have put their trust in their money, but the American dollar has no value to it whatsoever. It is just an IOU, i.e. it is debt, so we are not wealthy, after all, because all we have is debt and no security behind our money at all. So, if those who are holding the debt call the debt, our nation will be bankrupt. They have also put their trust in the U.S. government, and its leaders, and in our constitution, but these are on the fast track to go away, and Trump (our government) is party to seeing that our form of government is being removed and replaced with the New World Order Beast.

Much of the church here in America has partnered with the US government via incorporating the church under the headship of the US government, even though scripture forbids us from unequally yoking together with unbelievers (with the ungodly). So, God has been calling his church to come out from underneath the influence of this unholy union with the government (to come out from Babylon), but for the most part she has been unwilling.

Another main area where the church (or the false church) has put her security is in a false grace gospel. Many who profess the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior of their lives have not truly believed in Jesus Christ with God-given faith which persuades (convinces) them as to God’s divine will for their lives. They are not born again of the Spirit of God. Yet, if the faith is God-given, and not flesh-generated, it will bow to Jesus, die with him to sin and be resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. They who believe with God-given faith will be convicted of their sin, and will recognize their need of the Savior, and of deliverance out of slavery (addiction) to sin, so they will, in the power of the Spirit, turn from their sin and turn to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his will for our lives. They will now walk according to the Spirit and no longer conduct their lives (in lifestyle) according to their sinful flesh.

Yet, many have put their security (dependence) in a lie which tells them that if they just pray some words after someone, or if they will just confess aloud that Jesus is Lord and believe that he was raised from the dead that they will be saved. Then heaven (eternal life) will be guaranteed, and nothing will be required of them other than just that. Yet, we can’t pull Romans 10:9-10 out of the context of the whole of Romans or the whole of the New Testament and build our entire doctrine of salvation around just those two verses. Jesus said that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them for eternity. Paul reiterated Jesus’ words when he said that if we walk in the flesh we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity). And, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars (Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:6).

Many Americans also put their confidence and security in the US military, thinking they are going into these other nations to protect us and to keep us safe from harm, but our nation, or at least our capitol city is this bloody city, which has shed innocent blood across the globe in nation after nation which they have conquered, destroyed, pillaged, and raped, all in the name of freedom and democracy. Americans also put confidence in the media which is telling them lie after lie, i.e. what they want the American people to believe about what our country is doing in all these other countries of the world. And, they put their security in a belief that we will all be raptured before things get really bad, so they don’t think they will have to suffer persecution, martyrdom, disaster, war (on our soil), and the takeover of our nation and the church by this beast, etc. But, that is a false security.

I believe that the events of 9/11/01 were a judgment of God on this nation, and the purpose was to cleanse us of our impurities, i.e. to revive the church and to turn people’s hearts to God, but once the crisis was over, it was business as usual, only we have only grown much, much worse. Much of today’s modern church here in America has totally rejected the gospel as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles and they have embraced a grace which gives free license to continue sinning without guilt and without remorse. They have gone the way of the world, and it is barely distinguishable between the church and the world anymore. So, God is going to judge this nation and the rebellious church in this nation until her spiritual emptiness is filled by him, i.e. his intention is to revive, renew and restore her to himself.

The “delight of our eyes” he is about to take away from us is anything which we have put our confidence and trust in instead of him; anything on which we depend instead of depending on him, such as our bank accounts, our government, our possessions, our institutional churches, our leaders, and/or our false religions or false security. I believe President Trump, the White House, and other factions within our government, under the headship of a shadow government of the Elite, which is the de facto government of the USA, is not here to serve us, but is here to take down our nation in order to bring us under the rule of this beast, and that this will mean financial decline, hardship, trials and tribulation for our nation.

So, the Lord is calling out to the church in this nation to repent of her sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery, and to return to him as her ONLY Lord. He wants to free her from all that is distracting her from following him with purity of heart and mind, so that her focus will truly be on him, and so her dependency will also be on him, and on him alone to satisfy the void of himself which she is presently trying to fill with so much of this world.

Softly and Tenderly / Will Thompson

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
Calling for you and for me;
See, on the portals He’s waiting and watching,
Watching for you and for me.

Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
Pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not His mercies,
Mercies for you and for me?

Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
Passing from you and from me;
Shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
Coming for you and for me.

Oh, for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.

Come home, come home,
You who are weary, come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling, O sinner, come home!

No Attractiveness

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 4:17 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “He Lifted Our Burdens.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 53 (Select vv. ESV).

He Was Despised (vv. 1-3)

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

This is a good question for today: Who has believed what he has heard from us? That is to say, who has believed the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ? Who has understood that Jesus Christ wasn’t this do-gooder who everyone loved and admired, but that people despised and rejected him? They did not esteem him, but they hid their faces from him. He is not the model for today’s modern church movement here in America at all. He wasn’t attractive to the world so that the world should desire him. In fact, the world hated him, because he told them that what they did was evil. Even his own people of his own faith rejected him, and the religious leaders in the temple of his Father were the ones who had him put to death on a cross.

Yet, did he do good? Certainly! He healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, comforted the sorrowful, encouraged the timid, delivered people from demons, and fed the hungry, etc. But, along with this he also preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God. He confronted people in their sins, and he didn’t mince words. He always told the truth, and never did he tell people just what they wanted to hear, or what would make them feel good about themselves, living in their sins.

He told them, instead, that if they wanted to come after him they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow him. He told them that if they do not “eat his flesh and drink his blood” that they have no life in themselves, i.e. if they would not partake with him in death to sin, and in laying down their lives and in being willing to suffer for the sake of his name, and for the sake of the gospel, they had no part of him. If they put their hand to the plow, he said, but then looked back, meaning if they chose to follow him, but then they were not willing to let go of their former lives of living for sin and self, they were not fit for service in the kingdom of God (See: Lu. 9:23-25, 62; Jn. 6:35-66). This teaching does not jive with modern Christianity, at all. Jesus is rejected, even within the church today.

He Bore Our Griefs (vv. 4-6)

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God (and God) left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. Because he took on our humanity, he is able to sympathize with us in our weaknesses. He became our compassionate and merciful high priest to whom we can go at any time with our griefs and sorrows, who will comfort us with his love and mercy, but who will also tell us the truth, and who will counsel us in the right way.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. When he died, our sins died with him and were buried with him, but when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. When he died on that cross, he took upon himself not only our sins, but all our sicknesses, pain, sorrow and weaknesses so that by his stripes we are healed, not only spiritually, but emotionally, mentally and physically, according to his will, and in his own way, for healing comes in many ways.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He did not die merely so that he would take the punishment of our sin, and so that we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He gave his life up for us that we might no longer live according to the flesh, but that we might walk in the Spirit, for if we live according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with him for eternity. When we believe in him with God-given faith, which persuades us as to his will for our lives. We, thus, are crucified with him in death to sin so that we might live to him to his righteousness. The old has gone. The new has come.

The Will of God (vv. 10-12)

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

It was God’s plan all along that Jesus Christ should suffer and die for our sins, because this was his plan to save us out of slavery to sin and to bring us into his eternal kingdom. Jesus, although he was fully God and fully man, learned obedience through the things which he suffered. And, it is God’s will that we should suffer, too, in order that we might learn obedience, humility, patience, endurance and perseverance, and in order to make us holy and to conform us to the image of Christ.

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, with God-given faith, Jesus’ righteousness is now credited to our account. Our sins are forgiven, and we are set free from the control of sin over our lives. Although Jesus Christ was never married and never had children of his own in the natural sense, all of us who put our faith and trust in him are his offspring. We belong to him and him to us. He is our Savior, Lord, friend, and brother.

Not only are we saved from our old lives (of living for sin and self), but we are given new lives in him, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” We are given joy, peace, love, compassion, assurance, strength and power to live godly and holy lives while we wait for Christ’s return. He blesses our lives with so many spiritual blessings that it is beyond measure. We can go to him in prayer any time of day, he listens, and he cares. As well, we listen to him, and we follow him wherever he leads us, and we practice doing what his word says, because we are in him and him in us, and because we love, worship, honor and adore him.

He Lifted Our Burdens / An Original Work / February 15, 2014

Based off Isaiah 9:2-7

People walk in darkness.
They abide in their sin.
It has power o’er them.
True belief escapes them.

Jesus Christ came to save them.
He gave His life up for them;
Crucified; died for our sin,
So we might be forgiven,
And have life up in heaven.

Many come to know Him.
God’s love now o’erflows them.
They rejoice in vict’ry.
Their sin is but hist’ry.

We were once bound in slav’ry.
Jesus lifted our burdens;
Set us now free from Satan,
So we now walk in freedom.
Sin has no more dominion.

Praise be to our Savior!
He showed us His favor.
He took all our burdens;
Cast them all upon Him.

He is our mediator;
The Light which shines in darkness.
Counselor in our troubles;
He gives peace now in our hearts;
Joy which is everlasting.

A Tree Shaking

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 1:06 a.m. – I woke up from sleep with the phrase in mind “Shake someone’s tree and see what falls out.” The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Why Are You Afraid?” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 6:43-49 and Hebrews 12:25-29 (NIV).

I looked up the phrase “to shake someone’s tree,” and it means “to arouse to action or reaction, disturb” (dictionary.com). A tree can symbolize human character, nations, kingdoms and/or institutions. As well, “shaking” means agitating, stirring, unsettling, and/or distressing.

By Its Fruit (Luke 6:43-49)

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

Here a tree symbolizes an individual person, and the tree’s fruit represents the person’s moral fiber, his character, his temperament and what is stored in his heart. The fruit can be that of the Spirit, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23). Or, it can be, that, out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander (Matt. 15:19). When we are put through trials and difficult circumstances in this life, they have a tendency to bring out the true us, i.e. what is hidden in our hearts.

Yet, I am not certain that it is all as black and white as this may appear. What I mean by this is that a Christian, although cleansed by the blood of Jesus, is still flesh and blood, and thus still has the propensity to sin, to feel pain, and to react to that pain in ways which might indicate bad fruit if the individual does not immediately respond in the Spirit, but rather in the flesh.

So, this may not indicate that his whole tree is bad or that all his fruit is bad, but that he still has some things in his life which need to be brought to the cross of Christ. For instance, Jesus said that daily we are to take up our cross and follow him, and Paul said that if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, that we will live. We are being made into the image of Christ. So, what I believe this comes down to is lifestyle, i.e. our daily walks; what we are made out of on a consistent and continuous basis. “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of,” i.e. what fills his life.

Basically, this has to do with what we practice as the normal course of our lives. Obedience to Christ does not necessitate absolute sinless perfection, but it does indicate that obedience is what we practice on a day-to-day basis. It is what is our customary way of acting and reacting, our habits, routines and normal procedures. Paul said that if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit, we will live with Christ for eternity, but if we walk (in lifestyle) according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. So, if we do sin, we confess it, turn from it, and keep following our Lord in obedience, and do not keep repeating the same sins over and over and over again.

If we call Jesus “Lord,” this means he is our owner-master, and that we are his servants (slaves). He is the one in charge of our lives, not us. So, if he is Lord, then the normal practice of our daily lives should be to listen to what he says and to obey it (do what he says). If we do not do what he says, this means we do not practice obedience, but our practice (habit, routine), instead, is to ignore his words to us and to do what we want, instead.

We may be able to perform well, for a time, but when we are put to the fire, and our world is shaken, what lies underneath will be brought to the surface, i.e. when a tree is shaken, we see what falls out. Then, the truth comes out. Our foundation, and I don’t merely mean our initial decision to believe in Jesus, but rather the basis for our lives (for our lifestyles) by which we build our lives in Christ, if shaken, should not destroy us, because our lives are built on Christ and on his Word and on obedience to his Word. But, if we do not put into practice what God teaches us through his Word, then when we go through trials, which shake our very foundation, then our lives will come crashing down, because they were not truly built on Jesus Christ.

What May Remain (Heb. 12:25-29)

See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Again, if we walk (in practice) according to our flesh (bad fruit), we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh (the bad fruit), we will live with Christ for eternity (See: Ro. 8:1-14). Yet, if we refuse to obey the Lord as the normal practice of our lives by ignoring what he teaches us so as to live to please our sinful flesh, instead, we should not expect that when we die that we have the promise of eternity with God.

God is going to shake this earth, and the people of the earth, and when this tree is shaken, we will see what falls out. What falls out (i.e. what is removed from the tree) may be human lives, either in the loss of positions of power, or in death, and loss of life for eternity, or it may be the removal of literal trees, animals, or plant life which we need for food and survival. But, this will be so that what is eternal (righteous, holy) will remain. What this may indicate here, as is discussed earlier in this chapter in Hebrews, is that God will discipline us (shake us) in order to remove from our lives what is of this earth so that what is eternal (righteous, holy) is what remains.

This is a call to obedience to Christ, to surrender to his will, and for us to walk in the fear (honor, respect and awe) of our Lord. Too many people take God too causally, and they think he doesn’t notice their sins or that he will do nothing to them, and so they think they can keep on sinning and God’s grace will cover it all. But, scripture does not teach that. It says that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, we are liars. We cannot walk according to our flesh and have the hope of heaven when we die. We need to know that God will judge those who call him “Lord” but who do not make a practice of doing what he says. Yet, obedience is done all in the power and working of God’s Holy Spirit, living within individual followers of Christ. True obedience cannot be done in our own flesh or willpower.

And, lastly, we have to know that this “shaking” is going to bring about troubled times, and persecution of Christians, and enemies attacking us, yet we are not to be afraid, but we are to put our trust solely in the Lord Jesus and trust him with our lives. And, we are to keep on sharing Jesus Christ with others, because many need to believe on him before Christ returns.

Why Are You Afraid? / An Original Work / December 5, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

Do not be afraid.
Your Lord is always by your side.
Serve the Lord in righteousness
Before Him all your days.

Those who hate the light
Will not come to the Lord.
They fear their deeds
Might be noticed.
So, they hate the light,
And they embrace the night.

Do not be afraid,
Although your enemy attacks.
Dare to share your testimony
Of God’s saving grace.

Do not fear their threats,
But honor Christ, your Lord.
Be prepared to give an answer
For the hope you have,
With gentleness; respect.

Why are you afraid?
For all that’s hidden will be shown.
What I tell you, speak in daylight.
Let the truth be known.

Do not be afraid
Of those who’ll take your life.
Fear the Lord with understanding.
Trust Him with your life,
And give not up to strife.

Do not be afraid.
Take courage, it is I, your Lord.
Bow before Me; now adore Me.
Oh, why do you doubt?

Listen to the Lord.
Get up, and bear His name!
Run and tell the world He loves them.
Jesus came to save.
Give Him your all today.

Of Such a Kind

Wednesday, April 26, 2017, 5:24 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Your Grace is Enough.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 5 (ESV).

Sexual Immorality (vv. 1-2)

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

This would be a gross understatement for much of today’s church, especially here in America. With the onset of the availability of private internet access for adults and children alike in the home, and on their person, at all times, the numbers are staggering as to how many adults and children, including a large percentage of pastors (over 50%, according to statistics), regularly view pornographic images and videos, and not just what might be considered “normal” sexual behavior, but sadistic, degrading, and depraved sexual behavior, too, including child pornography and beastiality.

And, it goes far beyond this, too, as many children, teenagers, and even adults are involved in sexting, and some of this between adults and children, too, which opens the door wide for child predators to prey on young minds. And yet, so many parents blindly hand their children these devices without any thought to what their children might discover. And, that just kills me.

And, then, of course, there is a TV in just about every American home, and many of them now large screen TVs which take up a large space in their living rooms, and which most of the living room seems to be focused around. And, the stuff that is available, and which is promoted on TV and on Netflix today, includes pornography, sexual immorality, nudity, crude and degrading humor, homosexuality, and the like. And, Christians are regularly viewing this stuff for the sake of being entertained. Pastors, as well, share movie clips from some of these sexually immoral movies as sermon illustrations, while the movies themselves speak against God’s Word and his morals.

America has become like Sodom and Gomorrah, and inside the church, too, and the church is proud. And, if you speak out on these issues, many will think you are a fuddy-duddy or a prude, and they won’t pay you any attention, even pastors won’t, because they are steeped in it themselves, in many cases. But, as followers of Christ, these things ought to make us weep! If the sexually immoral persons had to be removed from today’s church, how many do you think would be left to carry on the ministry?

So He May Be Saved (vv. 3-5)

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

So many people today are preaching a “grace” which just gives the sinner free license to continue in his or her sin without guilt or remorse. They teach God’s gift of salvation as though it is merely an escape from hell and a promise of heaven when we die, with nothing much in between, because, they say, nothing is required of us by God. And, this is one of the main reasons, I believe, why the church in America is in the spiritually deprived and morally depraved condition in which she finds herself. In fact, they teach that we don’t have to repent (turn from our sins to God), that we don’t have to obey Christ and his commandments, that we don’t have to submit to Christ and surrender to his will for our lives, and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do, because his grace covers it all.

But, they forget that the Bible teaches the church that if we walk in the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity, i.e. we don’t have the promise of heaven when we die. If we don’t make it our practice to obey Christ’s commandments, i.e. his instructions to us, we don’t really know him, and we don’t have eternal life with him. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we don’t live by the truth, i.e. we are liars, i.e. we are self-deceived. But, if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, his blood cleanses us from all sin. If by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. And, if we lose our lives for the sake of Christ and his gospel, i.e. if we are crucified with him in death to sin, we will live with him for eternity.

They also forget that God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). As well, they don’t realize that God’s grace to us is not merely to forgive us our sins, but it is to deliver us out of bondage (addiction) to sin, and to free us to now walk in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not merely so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He cares when we sin against him, and he will discipline (scourge) us in order to make us holy (Heb. 12).

A New Unleavened Batch (vv. 6-8 NIV)

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I don’t think, back when this was written, that the people were actually proud of the person’s immorality, but rather that they ignored it and were proud (arrogant) concerning how good or how righteous they thought they were. And, this is true of much of today’s church in America. They are shoving this problem with sexual sin addiction within the church under the rug, in most cases, because even the pastors are given over to sexual immorality. And, so they dilute the gospel, instead, in order to ease their own consciences and in order to attract the world to their gatherings.

And, yet, isn’t it arrogant to think that you can continue in willful sin against God and think he will do nothing, but that he will still reward you with his heaven? And, don’t Christians brag about the TV shows and the movies that they watch, even if they include sexual immorality and sexually seductive material? And, they will use the excuse that it was “only a little bit bad,” like having just a little bit of poop in your brownies. How gross is that?

When we allow just a little bit of “poop in our brownies,” though, it tends to grow, does it not? We desensitize ourselves to what is evil by what we allow in our lives, and then we allow more and more and more until it snow balls (“to increase, accumulate, expand, or multiply at a rapidly accelerating rate” M-W). And, this is what it means about the yeast in the bread multiplying (growing). Evil works its way into our lives and throughout the church in this way when nothing is done to stop it from growing and expanding. So, the counsel here is that we need to get rid of this old yeast (sin, evil) from our lives and from our church fellowships, so that it doesn’t continue to develop and to ruin all the lives which it touches. And, instead, we are to walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God’s Spirit living within us.

Do Not Associate (vv. 9-13)

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

Now, here is the really hard part, even harder than the previous, I believe, and that is that, not only are we to rid our lives and the church of unrepentant sexual immorality (the yeast that works its way through the whole batch of dough), but we are to not even associate with anyone who calls himself a follower of Christ but who we know is living in sexual immorality. And, this means anyone who is regularly and consistently involved in pornography, extra-marital affairs (romantic or sexual), engaging in sex with people with whom they are not married, sexting, and the regular viewing of and being entertained by sexually explicit TV shows or movies, for the Bible speaks not only of doing the acts, but of approving of those who do them, which is what we do when we are entertained by these sinful acts.

So much of today’s church is big on not judging anyone, not even by biblical standards and according to the teachings of scripture. They don’t want to offend anyone, and so they tell us to “stay in your own lane.” And, this is partly because they know they are involved in sinful behaviors and because they want to attract the world to their gatherings. But, the Bible teaches that we are to judge those inside the church, but for the purposes to bring the sinners to repentance, and for the spiritual health of the church as a whole. So, we are to purge all this evil from among us, meaning first from our own lives, and then, as a church body, from the church as a whole.

If we do not do this, God will do it for us, but it won’t be pleasant. And, yet, this will be his grace, too, for his grace frees us from slavery to sin, and it frees us to walk with Christ in his holiness and righteousness. So, if the American church is not repentant, and she does not change her sinful course, she can expect God’s divine discipline (correction, judgment) in order to bring her to a place of repentance so that God can heal, revive and restore her to a correct and pure (unadulterated) relationship with her Lord.

Your Grace Is Enough / Chris Tomlin

Great is Your faithfulness, oh God
You wrestle with the sinner’s heart
You lead us by still waters and to mercy
And nothing can keep us apart

So remember Your people
Remember Your children
Remember Your promise, oh God
Your grace is enough for me

Proven Faithful

Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 7:45 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Amazing Grace.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 4 (Select vv. NIV).

Servants of Christ (vv. 1-2)

This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.

So, what does it look like to be a servant of Christ, as one who has been entrusted with the gospel of salvation, and as one who proves faithful to that trust? It means, first of all, that we have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives. We have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Eph. 4:24).

Then, it means that we walk in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, we have singleness of devotion to our Lord, and we are living lives separate (different, distinct) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. We are strong in the Lord and firm in our commitments to his calling on our lives. We are steadfast in faith, and unadulterated of heart. We listen to him speak his words to our hearts, and then we follow him wherever he leads us, to do whatever it is he has called us to do and to be. This is not saying we are perfect, but that this describes our walk with our Lord, i.e. it is what we practice in the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

Followers of Men (vv. 6-7)

Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not be puffed up in being a follower of one of us over against the other. For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?

In the beginning of this letter to the Corinthian Christians, Paul addressed to them a matter of concern that they were followers of men (humans), and that this was causing divisions in the church, for different groups claimed to follow a different person. Today, this might be like saying “I’m a Baptist,” or “I’m a Presbyterian,” or “I’m a Methodist.” And, yet, there is a much greater division which concerns our Lord, and that is that the church is divided by those who purely follow Christ and those who are followers of men, of human wisdom (teaching), a man-made gospel, and the institutional church, which is a corporation of men under the headship of the government.

So, the appeal that Paul was making to the church was that they not be divided, but that they be of one mind and heart, which is the mind and heart of Christ, not that of institutions of men. He said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel – not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Co. 1:17). Amen!

Yet, a large percentage of the church here in America has left her first love, Jesus Christ, to follow after men and their institutions. Instead of pure and single-minded devotion to Jesus Christ, they are buying into the philosophies and values of human beings. They have partnered the church with an unholy government, which is forbidden in scripture (2 Co. 6:14-18). And, they have made the government, by way of the 501c3, head of the church. Thus, they are living in spiritual adultery against their Lord. Not, only that, but they have incorporated the body of Christ. What? Yes! They have turned the church, the body of Christ, into a human-based business, and are marketing it just like any other business with gimmicks, seductions and entertainment.

So, God has been calling his bride, his church, which is a living organism, with him as her ONLY head, to come out from among this “Babylon,” so that she does not share in her sins and in her punishment, for her sins are piled high to heaven (Rev. 18:4-8). But, the church in America has been slow in responding to his calls. She needs to repent of her sins of spiritual adultery and idolatry, and follow her Lord in obedience, but she is dragging her feet, i.e. she doesn’t want to leave the institutional church, because she is comfortable there. Yet, the influences of the world are strong within these institutions of men, and humanistic teaching, and a false (diluted) gospel, are rampant, let alone the fact that the church is not a business or a building or an institution of men under the government’s authority, but it is Christ’s body, his bride, the heavenly Jerusalem, under the headship of Christ.

Scum of the Earth (vv. 8-13)

Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! You have begun to reign—and that without us! How I wish that you really had begun to reign so that we also might reign with you! For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment.

This is a fair description of the divided church in America today. There are those, as mentioned earlier, who are following their Lord in faithful obedience, who are making him their ONLY Lord. They are not perfect, but they are persistent, steadfast, and unadulterated (pure) in their walks of faith and in sharing Christ and his gospel so that others can come to know him, too. They do not compromise the truth of the gospel in order to appease the flesh of man, but they stand strong in their faith and in their commitments to Christ and to his calling on their lives. And, they are being persecuted, mocked, ridiculed, falsely accused and targeted for extinction throughout the world, including inside the United States of America.

Then, there are those who are riding the fence, who are followers of men, who are addicted to entertainment and to satisfying their fleshly desires, who know that what they are doing is wrong, and yet they are dragging their feet about turning from their sins and becoming fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. They are holding on to the world, and they don’t want to let go. They are allowing the world of sin and these institutions of men to seduce (persuade) them to disobey and to be disloyal to their Lord Jesus. And, many of these types of Christians (or professing Christians) can be found within these institutional churches, though there are certainly dedicated Christians inside these institutions, too, I would imagine.

To Warn You (vv. 14-21)

I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children. Even if you had ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me. For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, my son whom I love, who is faithful in the Lord. He will remind you of my way of life in Christ Jesus, which agrees with what I teach everywhere in every church.

Some of you have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. But I will come to you very soon, if the Lord is willing, and then I will find out not only how these arrogant people are talking, but what power they have. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?

As followers of Christ, we are to be imitators of Christ, not in a mocking way, but in sincerity, we are to model our lives after Christ and the life he lived when he was on the earth – all in the power and working of the Holy Spirit inside us. And, we are to follow the teachings of scripture which tell us how we are to live as believers in Jesus Christ. We are to walk in the fear of the Lord, meaning we honor, value, respect, worship, and adore him as part of our everyday lives. In fact, our worship of our Lord is in giving our lives over to him as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds. And, we are to live as though we truly are his servants by not compromising with the world, but by standing for what is right and is of God and is holy.

Yet, so many Christians (or professing Christians) in America are indistinguishable from the people of the world, because they think, act, and speak like the world does. But, they think God won’t do anything about it, because they are convinced that he will never punish them (discipline, judge) and that heaven is guaranteed them, so they have no worries.

But, the Bible says that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, we are liars. If we don’t keep Christ’s commandments, i.e. if it is not our practice to walk in obedience to our Lord, we don’t have the hope of heaven and eternal life with God. Words are cheap! True faith in Jesus Christ is a faith which lives what they say they believe. God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6; 1 Jn. 2:3-6).

Amazing Grace / John Newton

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see.

‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear,
And Grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come.
‘Tis Grace hath brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home.

And when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess within the veil
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun.

What a Change!

Monday, April 24, 2017, 9:47 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 9:1-20 (NIV).

Murderous Threats (vv. 1-2)

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.

Saul, later called Paul, was a religious man. He was a Pharisee, so he knew the scriptures (the Old Testament). He was devout in following what he believed was right. But, he was misdirected. Sometimes people can be very sincere in what they believe, yet be sincerely wrong. He thought he was following God by persecuting and murdering Christians, because he thought that the teachings of Jesus were against God, and against his Word. But, again, he was wrong.

The Jews, by and large, did not accept Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah of Israel, and they rejected Jesus’ claims that he was God, their Lord. They didn’t like it that he healed people on the Sabbath, that he didn’t follow the traditions of the elders, and that he confronted them with their sins. So, they hung him on a cross to die, thinking they had put an end to him. But, then he was resurrected from the dead, appeared alive to his followers over a period of 40 days, and invigorated his disciples to follow him in ministry after he left this earth. So, they also rejected his followers, as well as they rejected the gospel of our salvation, for they believed it was wrong.

A Light from Heaven (vv. 3-6)

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

When Paul (Saul) gave his testimony of his conversion to King Agrippa, he told him how Jesus had spoken to him while he was on his way to Damascus, which is where he was headed to persecute more Christians. Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting him (Jesus), for truly by persecuting Christ’s followers, Christ’s body, it was the same as though he was persecuting Jesus Christ himself. Saul’s response was to ask who was speaking to him, to which Jesus responded by telling him that it was him, and that it was him who Saul was persecuting. And, then the Lord said:

Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

So, even though Saul (Paul) was a persecutor of Christians, who hunted them down in order to bring charges against them, and even though he approved of their murders, and even though he thought he was serving God in all of this, and that he was doing what was right, Jesus Christ had other plans for him, to turn him around, and to use him for his glory. This is called “grace.” Jesus Christ turned a persecutor and a murderer of Christians into an apostle of Christ and a minister of the gospel of our salvation from sin. And, Paul penned the words of God in about half of our New Testament books, too.

And, this grace is the Good News of the gospel of Christ. In other words, believing in Jesus Christ is not just about escaping hell and going to heaven when we die. It is about being turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that we can receive forgiveness of our sins. It is about leaving our old lives of sin behind us, being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and being born anew of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to his righteousness. This grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt, but it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

A Chosen Instrument (vv. 7-16)

The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered.

The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”

“Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.”

But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”

Not one person is beyond the saving grace of Jesus Christ. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. No matter what someone has done, or even for how long they have lived the way they have, there is always hope. We should never write another human being off, and, thus, consider the person doomed, for we never know what God has planned for people’s lives. He doesn’t choose like humans do. He chooses on the basis of his love and on the basis of his marvelous grace, not on the basis of human performance.

We should also not be afraid if God leads us to talk with someone we feel is against God, or is even a persecutor of Christians. If he wants us to speak to kings, we should be willing to go, and to say whatever he has given us to say. We should never shrink back from saying whatever our Lord wants us to say to any individual, either out of fear of what that person might do to us, or out of a personal belief that someone is beyond the grace of God, because, at one time, we all were separated from God and destined to perish in our sins, and if it had not been for God’s grace, we would not be where we are, either.

Yet, following our Lord in obedience, and in surrender to his will for our lives, in being his witnesses, may mean that we will also be hated and among the persecuted, and we may be called upon to die for our faith in Jesus Christ, too. Yet, we must be willing to go through whatever our Lord requires of us, knowing that he will be with us, and that he will see us through everything which he has planned for our lives. So, we need to trust him fully.

He Could See! (vv. 17-20)

Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.

Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

Ananias walked by faith and not by sight. He believed God, even though everything in the natural had told him that this was not a good idea. And, he went to Saul (Paul) believing God to do a miracle in his life. And, that miracle did happen. We all should have such faith as this and believe God for miracles of his grace in people’s lives, and be obedient in sharing Christ with whomever the Lord puts in our paths.

The result was that Saul was translated from death to life. He was born anew of the Spirit of God, and not only were his physical eyes cured of his blindness, but his spiritual eyes were, too. His eyes were now open to hear and to receive whatever the Lord Jesus had for him to be and to do. And, at once he began to preach that Jesus is the Son of God. This is grace! This is love, i.e. it is God’s love for us in saving us from our sins and in giving us new lives to be lived for him and for his purposes and for his glory! And, it is our love for him, in return, in desiring to follow him in obedience, too.

My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.