A Missionary Call

Thursday, July 13, 2017, 11:11 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “It All Depends.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read several scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of the call of God on our lives.

Send Me (Isaiah 6:8-9a)

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go, and say to this people…”

A Christian missionary is called of God, a disciple (follower) of Christ, and a messenger of God in sharing the gospel of our salvation and in teaching the Word of Truth (the Word of God) to the people of the world. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are all called to be missionaries in that we have all been called to be Christ’s witnesses and to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, and we are all to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Also we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to let our light – the light of Christ and of his gospel – shine before all people. The light is not to be hidden or kept only to ourselves (Acts 1:8; Matt. 28:18-20; 1 Pet. 2:9; Matt. 5:13-16).

When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, and his Holy Spirit comes to live within us, we are gifted of the Spirit of God with spiritual gifts and we are given assignments by God within the body of Christ, his church, which we are to fulfill (See: Ro. 12; 1 Co. 12; Eph. 4). We have all been called to belong to Christ, to be holy, to be his saints, according to God’s purpose, by the will of God, into fellowship with Christ, by his grace, to freedom in Christ, to eternal life, and to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings and for the sake of the gospel (various scriptures). Yet, we are each given specific assignments, as well, which God will reveal to us if we are listening to him (See: Psalm 139:16). So, when God speaks, we should listen, and we should respond, “Here I am, send me.”

God Appointed (Jeremiah 1:4-9a)

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me,

“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of them,
for I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
Then the Lord put out his hand and touched my mouth.

Before the creation of the world, we were chosen by God to be conformed to the image of Christ. We were called to a holy calling in Christ Jesus. And, we were chosen in Christ to be holy and blameless before him. All the days ordained for us by God were written in his book before one of them came into being (Ro. 8:29; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; Eph. 1:3-4; Ps. 139). God placed us in the wombs of our mothers, which means he placed us in the homes we were brought up in, even knowing the good and the bad that would happen to us. God is completely sovereign over all that he has made. He had a plan and a purpose for our lives even before he created the world. He knew us and he chose us and he called us to something very uniquely designed by God for us to do and to be.

God did not place us here on this earth so we could live life however we want, and so we can entertain ourselves and be entertained continuously by others. He has a mission for each one of us to fulfill. He has a specific assignment for us. He has somewhere he wants us to live and to go, and messages he wants us to give and people to whom he would have us minister the love, grace, and mercy of Christ, and with whom he would have us share the full gospel message of salvation. And, we don’t have to worry about whether or not we can do this, because if God is in it, and if he has called us, he will equip us, and he will give us all we need to do what he has called us to do. He will supply all we need, and he will go before us and prepare the way and guide our steps, and give us the words to speak.

A Servant and Witness (Acts 26:15-18)

“And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles—to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’”

Perhaps you have been resisting his call on your life, because you want to live your life how you want, make all your own decisions, live where you want, and go about your day according to your own plans and purposes. Or, perhaps you only serve God on your own terms, and will only follow him if he doesn’t ask you to do anything that would involve much personal sacrifice. Yet, he may ask you to leave friends and loved ones behind to go to the regions beyond. Still, you may be among those who fear that if they listen to the Lord, and if they seek his will for their lives, that God may ask them to do something they don’t want to do, something that would take them into the unknown, or something that may get them majorly rejected, persecuted or even killed for their testimony for Christ and for his gospel.

So, he is calling us to take a stand for him, to not waver back and forth in our commitments, but to be faithful to him in service in being who he has called us to be, going where he wants us to go, and doing what he says. He is calling us to accept his call on our lives and to say “Here I am. Send me.” And, he promises to provide all we need to do the work of the ministry to which he has called us.

Yet, God has not called us to just be nice people and to make people feel good about themselves while they are still dead in their sins. He has called us to open blinded eyes, to turn them from darkness (sin, wickedness) to light (truth, Christ, righteousness) and from the power Satan has over their lives to God to walk in his ways. Then they will receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified (purified) by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we need to tell them the truth, for their eternity depends on it. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars. True faith in Jesus Christ results in being crucified with Christ in death to sin that we might live with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

It All Depends
Jerry Nelson / Don Marsh

Would I leave the place
Where I have lived and settled down?
It all depends.
Break with my attachments,
Sentimental though they be?
It all depends.
Would I find myself uprooting
All the stakes I’ve driven down,
Leaving friends and loved ones far behind,
Captive to the call of some far off distant land?
I can only answer, that depends.

It all depends on where He needs me,
For where he leads me my feet must go.
It may be down an unfamiliar pathway
Or cross the mountains so bleak with snow.
His faithful hand will always guide me.
He’ll walk beside me, let come what may.
Why should I dread the night?
My faith has found its sight.
I’ll do his will through the rest of my life.

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Lift Up a Standard

Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 3:43 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Do Not Seal My Lips.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 62 (NASB).

For Zion’s Sake (vv. 1-5)

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning.
The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the Lord will designate.
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married”;
For the Lord delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.

Today Zion, or Jerusalem, in reference to representing God’s holy people, must be regarded as the church, the bride of Christ, his temple. The church is not in one physical location, but is spread throughout the earth. The church is also not a building, or an institution of human-making, but it is a living organism, the body of Christ, comprised of all who have put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives.

The church (Christ’s body) is presently under much oppression and persecution throughout much of the world, but it is also under much deception and captivity, of a different kind, in other parts of the world, particularly here in America. While in some nations Christians are being hunted down and killed for their faith in Jesus Christ, here in America the church, for the most part, is under a veil of deception, and both groups are suffering at the hands of the same enemy, which is Satan, but it is also the US government (and military or privatized forces) and their allies.

God has allowed, and he will allow evil to reign for a period of time, but there is a time coming when he will judge those evil doers. He will bring them to trial, and he will exact their punishment due them. Until then, we must be patient and wait on the Lord. We must not fear what evil men (or women) might do to us. And, we must pray for their salvation, in hopes that they will be turned from their evil ways to follow after our Lord Jesus Christ.

While evil is still allowed to reign on the earth, God is also working in human hearts to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ or to revive the hearts of his wandering saints. He is not slow in keeping his promises, but he is patient, not willing that any should perish (die in their sins), but that all should come to repentance. And, repentance involves forsaking sin and turning of heart and mind away from darkness, and coming into God’s wonderful light, i.e. to his truth and to his righteousness, via the working of the Holy Spirit.

When we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, he becomes our husband and we become his bride, but it is more in the sense of the Old Testament Jewish marriages. When the agreement was made between the groom and the bride, with the bride’s parents, that they should be married, they were considered married, even though the marriage was not consummated until much later. First the groom had to go prepare a home for them, like Jesus has gone to heaven to prepare a place for us. When the groom had the house ready, then the wedding took place. When Jesus returns for us, his bride, one day, then the wedding banquet will take place.

Yet, there is another aspect to this, which has to do with what was mentioned earlier with regard to all the evil that is now allowed to exist, and all the persecution and deception of Christians that is allowed to presently exist, and that is that, when God exacts punishment on our perpetrators, while we might feel as though we are forsaken now, and we are by some human beings, we will no longer be forsaken. He will rescue us from our oppression and he will take us home to be with him forever. Yet, we can be rescued now, though not physically, but spiritually, as we trust in our Lord and we don’t allow what humans do to us to get the best of us.

Appointed Watchmen (vv. 6-9)

On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;
All day and all night they will never keep silent.
You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;
And give Him no rest until He establishes
And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
The Lord has sworn by His right hand and by His strong arm,
“I will never again give your grain as food for your enemies;
Nor will foreigners drink your new wine for which you have labored.”
But those who garner it will eat it and praise the Lord;
And those who gather it will drink it in the courts of My sanctuary.

While evil still reigns on this earth, and until the Lord Jesus takes us home to be with him forever, the gospel must go forth, but the church must also be warned, encouraged, comforted and confronted with her sins. So, God has appointed certain men (and women) to be his watchmen (and women). Their responsibility is primarily to confront sin in sinful humans, in particular among his wandering saints, to warn of the dangers of sin, rebellion and deception, to caution against false teaching, to forewarn of divine discipline (correction) or judgment, to call for repentance, and to promise hope and healing for the repentant. The goal of all of this is the salvation of human lives and the revival of the spiritually adulterous and idolatrous church.

Right now, here in America, although this may take place in other countries, too, the church has mostly chosen to partner with the US government as 501c3 not-for-profit corporations. This brings the church under the headship of the US government, so the church is in an adulterous relationship with the government, and God is not pleased.

Since they have turned the church into businesses of human-making (institutional churches), they have also adopted many of the patterns of the world in trying to attract the world to the “church.” So, they market the “church” just like the world does any other business. So, “worship services” often turn into large stage productions to entertain the world, and pastors turn into actors and clowns to entertain, as well, and the “bible” becomes the teachings of mere humans, and the gospel is being diluted to where it no longer calls the sinner to repentance, but it entertains him, instead.

I believe God wants to revive his adulterous church, and that he is calling her to come out of “Babylon” so that she does not share in her sins or in her punishment. Basically, he is calling his church (the living organism) to come out from under the influence and headship of the institutional church, which is married to the US government. He is also calling her to come out from underneath worldly influences, marketing schemes, a diluted gospel, etc., and to return to HIM as her only love and husband. And, he will revive, renew and restore her to a right (correct) relationship with HIM.

Remove the Stones (vv. 10-12)

Go through, go through the gates,
Clear the way for the people;
Build up, build up the highway,
Remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.
Behold, the Lord has proclaimed to the end of the earth,
Say to the daughter of Zion, “Lo, your salvation comes;
Behold His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him.”
And they will call them, “The holy people,
The redeemed of the Lord”;
And you will be called, “Sought out, a city not forsaken.”

So, part of the responsibility of his watchmen (and women) is to clear the way for the people of God to return to the Lord or for the people of this world to come to faith in Jesus Christ. This involves pointing out to the people the many ways in which they are presently being deceived and the many ways they have fallen under the trap of the devil once more, so that their eyes might be opened, that they would see, that they would turn from their sins back to God, so God would then heal and restore them.

Yet, not only must the negative be pointed out, but the positive, as well. Not only must sins be addressed, and the people of God be told what must be put out of their lives, but they must be taught what must be put on in their lives in place of what was removed. Even though we are now under grace, God still has a standard that he requires we must follow. His 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). Jesus died, not just so we could escape eternal punishment, and not just so we could go to heaven when we leave this earth, but so we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

God’s grace, in other words, is not free license to continue sinning against God without guilt and without remorse. In fact, his Word teaches us that if we continue in sin (make a practice of sinning), there is no sacrifice for sins, we don’t know God, we don’t love God, and we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God. If we want to have eternal life with God, we must forsake our lives of sin and we must be born again of the Spirit of God and we must put on his righteousness – all in the power and working of the Spirit of God at work in our lives in turning us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:16-18).

I Do Not Seal My Lips / An Original Work / January 13, 2014

Based off Psalms 37, 40

Do not fear when evil man
Has success in all their plans,
For like grass they’ll wither soon.
They’ll be cut off from the land.

Trust in the Lord and He’ll give you peace.
Find your delight in Him through all stress.
All of your ways commit unto Him.
All your desires from Him He’ll fulfill.

Wait for the Lord; keep His way.
Delight in His Word always.
He’ll be with you to the end;
Life eternal found in Him.

I waited patiently for my Lord.
He turned to me, and He heard my cry.
He set my feet on the Solid Rock.
He gave to me a firm place to stand.

Blessed are we, who trust the Lord,
Who do not turn to false gods.
Our desire’s to do God’s will.
His word is within our hearts.

I will proclaim salvation to man.
You put a new song now in my mouth.
I’ll not withhold your love and your grace.
I’ll speak forevermore of your truth.

Write These Things

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 9:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “When I Am Afraid.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 1:9-20 (NASB).

A Fellow Partaker (vv. 9-11)

I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

I, Sue J Love, your sister and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus Christ, to those who are followers of Jesus Christ, and who are also suffering persecution for the sake of His Name, and for the gospel of Christ. I empathize with you in your suffering.

It was in a time of great suffering and persecution that God called me to this ministry. He used the passage in Habakkuk 2:2 in 2004 to call me to write what he teaches me from his Word, and to post it on the internet.

Then the LORD replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it.” (NIV)

The “revelation” for me was whatever he taught me from his Word each day. To make it plain was to write it in such a way that it was practical and understandable and applicable to our daily lives, and to the church of today, and to the world in which we now live. I believe the Holy Spirit guides me in what to say. My “tablet” is a laptop computer, and the “herald” is the internet, which runs with it. And, thus, the name of my blog is “Run With It.”

I Turned to See (vv. 12-16)

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

In the years since God called me to this ministry, he has revealed so much of himself to me through His Word and through the witness of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as well as through my own life experiences and tribulations.

I don’t see him in such a physical way as did John, though, but I have grown to know his character, his heart, his passion and his compassion. As he has allowed me to go through much suffering, I have learned to feel what he feels and to share many of his passions (zeal) for truth, righteousness, holiness, godliness and faithfulness. I have also known his comfort, encouragement, counsel, love, mercy, and faithfulness to me, his servant, especially during times when I was (or am) hurting deeply.

My God is a God of love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness, but he is also a God of justice and righteousness, and one who keeps his Word. He is completely faithful in all that he does. He has a purpose for everything he does in this life and in this world, too. And, he will accomplish his purposes in human hearts in His Way and according to His Will and His Timing. He demands obedience and repentance. They are not optional. He commands honor, respect, reverence and regard for Him and for His Word, too, and he does not take our sins lightly or smile at us when we rebel against him. Yet, he gives us all we need in order to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him.

Do Not Fear! (vv. 17-20)

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

I read a secular book a few years back titled, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” The title says it all! It is not a sin to feel fear. That is a natural human emotional response to troubling situations. Hey, I even jump out of my skin (not literally) when I hear a sudden loud noise, or when I am deep in concentration and someone sneaks up on me and all of a sudden I notice someone is there. I feel fear, but I then have a choice as to what to do with the fear. I can allow it to overtake me, or I can overtake it in the power of God’s Spirit living within me. I can even feel it, but then go against it.

I can recall numerous (too numerous to mention all) situations in my life where I felt fear but I went against the fear and did what was right and necessary anyway, and the feeling of fear then dissipated when I obeyed God and I didn’t let fear get the best of me. Sometimes we may obey God while “shaking in our boots,” you know. Fear has a way of humbling us and making us realize our absolute dependence on God, and not on ourselves, when in weakness we rely on his strength in order to do what he says.

Writing or speaking or teaching things that many people don’t WANT to hear, but that they NEED to hear, and that will get you rejected, hated, ostracized and persecuted (ill-treated) takes much courage and determination to obey God and to love people enough to share with them what they NEED and not necessarily what they WANT, i.e. what is best for them instead of what necessarily makes them feel good all the time.

The main antidote to fear, though, is to trust in God, even if the feeling of fear is still persisting, for a time. We must recall that our Lord Jesus is absolutely sovereign and in control over all things and all powers, including he has the keys of death and Hades, so we should never fear death or what humans may do to us, because God has it all under his control. We must continue to obey him, submitting our lives to his will, and to do what he has called us to do, which for me is to write what he teaches me, even if what he has me write is not popular and if only a few read it. Still, I trust Him!

When I Am Afraid / An Original Work
October 17, 2016 / Based off Psalms 56-57

When I am afraid, Lord, I will trust in You.
Your Word, Lord, I praise. I yield my life to You.
Enemies pursue me, slandering Your Name.
Lord, have mercy. I trust in You. Hear my cry today.

Lord, I love Your Word. It comforts me today,
As I look to you, and bow my head and pray.
You are Christ, my Lord. You saved me from my sin,
That I may walk, Lord before You, purified within.

Steadfast is my heart, O God, I sing of You.
I will praise You, Lord. To You, I will be true.
Oh, how great Your love. Your faithfulness endue.
Be exalted, God of heaven. Glory be to You.

The Same Kind

Thursday, February 23, 2017, 4:17 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Give Ear to Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Peter 1:1-11 (NASB).

His Divine Power (vv. 1-4)

Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

So, if we receive the “same kind” of faith as Jesus’ New Testament apostles did, what kind of faith would that be? Can there be more than one kind? Well, let me answer that second question first. Yes, there can be more than one kind of faith. There can be genuine God-given faith (Eph. 2:8-10), and there can be faith which originates in human beings, which is really not the kind of faith which saves us. And, there can be faith (human in origin) in other deities (false gods and false religions) or in other things besides faith in the One and Only True God who created the world and everything in it.

So, what kind of faith is the “same kind” as that received by the apostles? As was already stated, it is God-given faith, i.e. it is God’s divine persuasion (convincing) of us as to his perfect will for our lives. We can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to him. And, the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift of God, not something we muster up on our own out of our own flesh. But, it is something we must appropriate (seize, adopt) into our lives via submission to God/Jesus. In other words, God does not just zap some of us and therefore we have faith. We have to accept this faith.

In addition to this, the kind of faith which is God-given is of the Spirit of God, not of the will of man, and thus it prefers what God prefers and it does not make up its own set of rules to suit human flesh. So, what does that mean? It means that if we have God-given faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin but made alive to God in Christ Jesus. Our old self was crucified with Jesus “so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7). So, Jesus didn’t die for our sins just so we could escape condemnation and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Thus, if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6).

So, what else can we learn about this “same kind” of faith? For one, this is not a one-time experience, then we live our lives, and then we go to heaven when we die. This faith is continuous throughout our lives until the end of time. It submits to God’s will, and walks in his love, and it lives life according to God’s Word (according to the Spirit) and no longer according to the flesh. It is empowered by God and not by the flesh, so its works are not fleshly but are generated by the Spirit of God. Even repentance has been granted to us by God, and the ability to walk in holiness and godliness, as well. But, again, we must appropriate what God has given/granted to our individual lives.

So many people today are teaching that we don’t have to repent of (turn from) our sins, and we don’t have to obey God/Christ, and that God is pleased with us no matter what we do. That is human faith, and it is not the kind that saves us or the same kind as that of the apostles, i.e. it is false. They try to convince us that repentance and obedience to Christ are fleshly works and thus we must discard them, but that is a lie of Satan. God has granted us everything we need for life and godliness, and repentance and obedience are part of that God-given faith, i.e. the kind which persuades us as to God’s perfect will for our lives. True faith dies with Christ to sin and it lives with Christ to righteousness, because it is of God, and not of the flesh.

If These Qualities (vv. 5-9)

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.

Again, our faith in Jesus Christ is not a one-time experience. It is lived out in our lives every day, moment by moment. True faith in Jesus Christ does not stagnate at the moment we believe in Jesus, but it keeps growing and maturing, and our lives keep changing as daily we die to sin and the flesh, and as daily we put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. Every day we should be growing in love, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, mercy, integrity, purity, forgiveness, obedience, godliness, holiness, heart knowledge, self-control, and perseverance, etc. If we are still the same people we were 10 years ago, then something is wrong. We should always be learning and changing for the good.

If these qualities, and others like them, are not increasing in measure in our lives, then we can become stagnated, and usually we end up declining (going backwards) in our faith. Then we are not much use for God’s kingdom work, and so we end up being unfruitful in our spiritual walks and in our witness for Christ and for his gospel. Usually this happens because we have let sin back into our lives and thus we are being hindered in our walks of faith.

In other words, we can’t increase in godliness if we are willfully continuing to do what we know is against God and contrary to his Word. We can’t increase in kindness and love if we are practicing hate, cheating, lying, deceit, stealing, and adultery, etc. We can’t increase in purity, either, if we are taking in regular doses into our minds of what is impure. We can’t increase in faithfulness, if we are regularly in the practice of being unfaithful. We are opposing the very things we say we stand for when we do this. And, when we do this, i.e. the opposite of godliness, holiness and the like, it is because we have forgotten (willfully) that Jesus died to put sin to death in our lives.

Make Certain (vv. 10-11)

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.

So, we need to be diligent to make certain of our calling and choosing. In other words, we need daily reminders, not just of who we are in Christ by faith in him, but of who God has chosen and called us to be. For, many people today are still walking in sin and yet are being encouraged, even in the midst of willful sin against God, to claim who they are in Christ, some of which is made up of man, and not of God, and not from his Word. And, this is all backwards. God does not approve of our sin, so we should not put his stamp of approval on our lives if we are willfully continuing to live in sin. Yet, many do this because they want to continue in their sin without guilt, i.e. they have bought into a false grace gospel which tells them they can live however they want and still have the hope of heaven when they die.

If we do claim who we are in Christ, first of all we need to make sure we really are in Christ by genuine (God-given) faith in him, which is convinced of his perfect will for our lives and thus submits to his will and purpose. Then, we should make sure what we are claiming is truly biblical, and that we are doing so to encourage ourselves to walk in holiness and purity, not as a cover-up for doing what we know is wrong. But, then we need to be reminded, not just of what Jesus did for us, but of what he requires of us in the way of holy living. We need to be reminded that he called us and he chose us to be his holy people, set apart from the world of sin because we are being conformed into the image of Christ. He has called us to repentance and obedience, and to walk in his Spirit and not according to the flesh, too. So, in the power and working of the Spirit within us, we should walk in his holiness and righteousness, and not live to please our sinful flesh.

Give Ear to Jesus / An Original Work
Based off Isaiah 55 / February 16, 2016

Call on your Savior.
Seek the Lord while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way;
Turn to the Lord.
God will have mercy.
He’ll forgive you of your sin.
He will freely pardon you
And give peace within.
Turn from your sin, follow Jesus,
Be cleansed from sin.

Give ear to Jesus.
Come to Him. Your soul will live.
Listen to Him speaking to you:
“Eat what is good.”
If you are thirsty,
Come to Jesus, drink from Him.
Drink His Spirit given to you.
Be born again.
Listen to Him. Do what He says.
Rejoice in Him.

God’s Word, eternal,
Will achieve what He desires.
He is willing none should perish,
Saved by His blood.
Share now the gospel.
Jesus died so we’d go free.
Walk in vict’ry,
Free from your sin, eternally.
Die to sin, and live to Jesus.
In Him believe.

Gray Hairs

What Inspires Me to Do What I Do?

February 18, 2016

I am a woman, age 66, with some gray hairs now. I have been married to the same man for nearly 44 years. We have four adult children, all married, all with children of their own. We just had our thirteenth grandchild three weeks ago. We love being grandparents!

When I went to college the first time around, I thought I wanted to become a music teacher. I loved music, so it seemed fitting that I would make that my college major. Our school was on the quarter system. By the third quarter I, all of a sudden, received a bill from the cashier’s office charging me for my private music lessons for three quarters.

Let me back up a minute here. The reason I attended this university in the first place is because my father was employed there, so my tuition was free. I thought that included my music lessons, too, but it did not. We were a poor family. I had no money to pay for the lessons, so the school offered me a job as a student assistant in the loan department. I soon learned that I really loved working in an office, doing what administrative assistants do. And that, temporarily, became my career path instead of music.

I acquired a job as a clerk typist at our county welfare department, which was back when we used real typewriters. Then I became an ADC case worker. At around the same time I married my best friend, Rick. I worked for maybe a couple of years prior to me giving birth to our first child. Then, I became a full-time mom and homemaker and volunteer worker. Most of my volunteer work was in the church, teaching the Bible, singing, directing music, and doing administrative work. I also volunteered in my kids’ schools, in scouts and in the community. Once my kids were out of school, I went back to working for pay, working as an administrative assistant again, but only temporarily, for maybe five years.

In 1999, my husband and I felt God was leading us to begin a Bible study in our home for college-age adults. We had three children of our own in college at the time. So, we began the Bible study with them and their friends. We did this weekly for 7.5 years, mostly out of our home, but sometimes in connection with local church fellowships. We fed them dinner every week, and also helped begin two Christian coffee houses for college students.

When I was a child…

Let me backtrack just a little again. When I was a child, my parents took me and my four siblings to church at least three times a week. I was taught about God and Jesus. When I was around the age of seven, while at summer camp, I accepted God’s invitation to believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. I knew then that I wanted to follow him with my life. I did not instantly become perfect, mind you, but my life began to change from that moment on. The more I learned of him, the more I wanted to follow him and to do what he wanted me to do. But, there were issues at home. Let’s suffice it to say that I suffered much abuse and emotional neglect. I didn’t feel loved, but I knew God loved me. So, I turned to him for my comfort, healing and for my purpose and meaning for my life.

Although I followed the Lord with my life for many years, life was not smooth sailing for me. I faced much rejection along the way, including some from pastors of churches, who didn’t get me. They didn’t know what motivated me, and sometimes they judged me falsely. In one such case it finally turned out for the good, but I still recall the pastor’s words to me. He said, “You speak with too much authority for such a young person. Wait until you get some gray hairs on your head. Then, people will listen to you.” He didn’t realize how prophetic his words were to me at that time, for it is in my gray haired years that God has given me a writing ministry where people do listen to me, i.e. they listen to me sharing what Jesus teaches me each day from his Word, but that has not always been the case, and I still face a lot of rejection and false judgment.

A time of revival…

Somewhere along the line in my years of following Jesus with my life, though, I allowed the world of sin to creep back into my life. My past was affecting my present. I began to believe the devil’s lies against me, and I responded accordingly. I went through a period of time which some people might call a “wilderness experience.” I wasn’t living in continuous open rebellion against my Lord, but I struggled with certain sins, and occasionally I yielded to my flesh over the Spirit. I pulled out of that, by the grace of God, for a long while, and then I had a temporary relapse the year that my parents both died.

Then, in 2002, I went through a time of revival where I settled things with God. I had been reading a book on spiritual warfare. One of the things that really grabbed my attention in that book was learning that I sometimes was living like Jesus didn’t already defeat Satan. I sometimes lived like I thought Satan still had power over me, and as though God didn’t have the power to do anything other than to comfort me with his love and to help me through it all, which included helping me to defeat Satan’s temptations in my life. I then came to understand what really took place on that cross when Jesus died for our sins, and that I just had to claim and to exercise what he has already accomplished for me. For those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, we have been set free from slavery to sin and the power of Satan over our lives, and we have been given spiritual armor to use against Satan’s evil schemes against us, and given the power of the Spirit within us to say “NO” to sin. Amen!

The Lord taught me another very valuable lesson, too. I was praying and asking him if there was anyone in my life whom I had not forgiven. The name he gave me was “Jesus.” I suddenly realized that I had been holding unforgiveness against my Lord all these years because he didn’t protect me from the abuse I faced at home, and other abuses in my life which occurred after I left home and after I was married. I didn’t know that unforgiveness was there. What I also realized, and this went along with that, is that I had not accepted God’s sovereignty over my life. He is the one who formed me in the womb of my mother. All the days ordained for me were written in his book before one of them came into being. He didn’t cause the abuse, but he put me in that home knowing I would be abused. He allowed all the rejection I have faced in my life and all the misunderstandings and false judgments. He did this to make me who I am today so that he could use me now, in my gray haired years, in the way that he had purposed for me from before the creation of the world. So, I accepted his sovereignty over my life, and I forgave Jesus, although he had done no wrong.

That a herald may run with it…

The year was now 2004. My husband and I had been working with a church denomination, training to be church planters. He was studying for his ordination, and I was studying for my consecration, I think they called it. They didn’t ordain women. I also acquired my grandmother’s journals during this time. She died when I was two, so I never got to know her. As I read her journals, I began to cry. She sounded like me! She had the same heart for God, and the same desires for his Word and for following him in obedience. She even shared many of the same verses which had been special to me over the years. She kept repeating something, but I didn’t know what it was, so I looked it up. It was from Habakkuk 2:2-3. God told Habakkuk to write the vision down, and to make it plain, so that he who reads it could run. This passage then started to show up through other sources, as well.

My husband and I, as official workers in our church denomination, at that time, were invited to a prayer conference for a weekend in September of 2004. My husband injured his back so was not able to attend, but I went. At that conference the Lord spoke to me very clearly through those who spoke at that conference, and through his Word. He then gave me a calling that has radically transformed my life. Again, I was given the Habakkuk passage. I knew God was calling me to write down what he teaches me and to place it on the internet, so that the one who reads could run, or so that a herald could run with it, i.e. so that the internet could run with it and that it would go out wherever God wanted to send it, though I don’t think I fully understood what that meant at that moment.

One of my assignments for my consecration was to read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, so that is what I did. As I was in the process of reading through the Old Testament, God began to speak to me in ways I had never imagined before. He began to give me glimpses of how his word was being realized in our day and time. And, I began to write what he taught me, and I placed it on the internet, as best as I understood it.

Then, in the summer of 2006, the Lord led me to write out what he teaches me through his word, which I was learning through my times of personal worship of him, and to do this nearly daily. So, I did, and I have continued to do that. He has me read the Psalms, the Prophets and all the New Testament and to write out the lessons he gives me from these passages of scripture. All that I have gone through in my life is incorporated in what I am able to share from his word. Much of my passion, as well, comes from the hard things I have experienced, and from the times I failed miserably, and from the healing God has done in my own heart and life in lifting me out of that time of failure, and in giving me a new start. But, it is the Holy Spirit within me who inspires me to write, and what to write. He gives me the messages he wants me to share, and he imparts his words of wisdom through me. So, all the glory for what good he does through me belongs to God, and to God alone.

Then, in 2011, the Lord gave me a new gift – the gift of writing songs. I had only ever written a melody to one of my poems many years ago, but now the Holy Spirit was putting the tunes in my head, and he was giving me the words to go with the tunes. I just record what he gives me. So, the composer is God. These are his Original Works.

A Believer’s Prayer: https://vimeo.com/114796263