Destroyers of True Intimacy

Monday, August 7, 2017, 5:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 33 (Select vv. ESV).

A Destroyer (v. 1; cf. Psalm 2:1; Rev. 11:18)

Ah, you destroyer,
who yourself have not been destroyed,
you traitor,
whom none has betrayed!
When you have ceased to destroy,
you will be destroyed;
and when you have finished betraying,
they will betray you.

What comes to mind here is John 10, in particular v. 10, where it says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

So, who are these thieves and robbers, i.e. these destroyers? They are the nations spoken of in Revelation 11:18 and in Psalm 2:1 who rage against Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation, who persecute and martyr Christ’s followers, who kill innocents, and who overtake kingdoms, confiscate property not their own, and destroy lands and houses. The US government and their political allies are the ones who are doing this today.

Yet, they are also those strangers who have entered the gatherings of the church by a door other than Jesus Christ. They are false shepherds of the people, wolves in sheep’s clothing, and hired hands who care nothing for God’s people, but only for themselves. They have infiltrated the assemblies of the church for the very purpose to deceive, manipulate, lead people astray and to destroy the relationship between the church and their Lord.

Their goal is to pull as many people as possible away from the One and Only True God of the universe, who is the creator of the world and the people who live in it. And, it is to lead them to follow the world, the beast, the culture of society, and their own flesh. It is also to render spiritually powerless Christian men and women and church leaders, and to vilify those who are truly following Jesus Christ in pure devotion and dedication. It is to call evil good and good evil, to put darkness for light and light for darkness, and to put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Is. 5:20).

These destroyers have been working at this for many years, to bring the church down, to emasculate Christian men, in particular, to destroy the gospel by diluting it beyond recognition, and by physically conquering peoples and nations throughout the world. They have reinterpreted key Bible verses to make them not say what they are saying, or they have ignored them and have focused on only a few verses which fit with what they want to believe, which fits with the lifestyles they want to live. As well, they have placed lewd images in grocery store checkout lines, in store windows, on TV, and on general sites on the internet to lure men and women into sexual sin.

They have redefined marriage, have stirred up strife among various people groups, have falsified information, and have persuaded many to believe their lies and deceptions. They also have convinced many to abandon the true faith in Jesus Christ in favor of a more lenient, acceptable and tolerant religion which accepts all religions as viable and sinful lifestyles as standard (customary). And, they have persuaded many to believe that repentance and obedience to Christ are not only not necessary, but not required by God at all, and that God is pleased with them no matter what they do.

Our Stability (vv. 5-6)

The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness,
and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.

A day is coming when the Lord will put an end to the work of these destroyers and it will be payback time. What goes around comes around. What they have done to others will be done to them. The nations which have destroyed others will be destroyed. God will judge them, and that includes the USA, most especially, for all the evil they have done throughout the world to others, and including within our own nation. And, this includes all these false shepherds of the people, too, who feed only themselves, and whose goal it is to bring down the church and to destroy the gospel.

For, the Lord is exalted, and he will revive his adulterous people and he will bring many to faith in Jesus Christ. Not only will he judge, but he will also save. He will judge not only to punish, but to revive his people. Yet, this judgment will bring hard times on many people. If what our nation has done to other nations is done to us, much of our country could be reduced to rubble, as well as we could suffer much financial loss, loss of liberties, and loss of human lives, too. Yet, our Lord God will be our stability. And, the fear of the Lord will be, if it is not already, our treasured possession.

Who Walk Righteously (vv. 13-16)

Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
The sinners in Zion are afraid;
trembling has seized the godless:
“Who among us can dwell with the consuming fire?
Who among us can dwell with everlasting burnings?”
He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly,
who despises the gain of oppressions,
who shakes his hands, lest they hold a bribe,
who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed
and shuts his eyes from looking on evil,
he will dwell on the heights;
his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks;
his bread will be given him; his water will be sure.

When judgment comes, which it will, those who are rebelling against God will be afraid, for they will not be able to stand in the judgment (See: Ps. 1:5; Rev. 6:17). Thus, the call of God is that all people would pay attention to what He has done (or will yet do) in judgment, and that they would acknowledge his might (power and authority), that he alone is God, and he alone is to be worshiped, sought after, and honored above all else.

Only those who walk righteously before God will be able to stand. They are those who, by God’s grace, have repented of their sins and are walking in obedience to their Lord, who reject evil, and who pursue what is godly and holy. Only they will be able to dwell in peace with God, who is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:28-29). Only they will be able to withstand the judgment and not lose faith, but will persevere and endure to the end, but only in the strength of the Lord, and empowered by the Spirit of God living within them.

Those who walk righteously, i.e. who conduct our lives according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and who prefer what God prefers, will live in God’s continual presence. We have the Lord as our security and as our provider. He will supply all that we need. The fear of the Lord is our treasure. He is our defense and our stronghold (fortress). So, even though the earth gives way, and all hell breaks loose all around us, and even though God visits our nation(s) in judgment, and supplies are scarce, and troubles and hardships are numerous, we can rest in the Lord, believe in his promises, trust in his mercy and compassion, and lean on his strength. He will never leave us or forsake us. He will be our constant in a changing world. And, our desire will be for him, and to be like him.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Thomas O. Chisholm / W. J. Kirkpatrick

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

Love and Obey

Tuesday, July 4, 2017, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Sheep.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the NIV) on the subject of obedience.

Jesus Saves Us (Acts 5:32; Hebrews 5:9; John 8:51)

“We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.” Literally, “to those obeying” (present tense) “him.”

“And, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Literally, “to all those obeying” (present tense) “him.”

“Very truly I tell you, whoever obeys my word will never see death.”

I hear many people, including many ministers of the gospel, say that we don’t have to repent of our sins and we don’t have to obey Jesus and his commands in order to be saved, but is that true? Or else they just leave out repentance and obedience from their gospel messages, and they dilute the gospel message to make it more acceptable and appealing for the world, and for the worldly church. They reduce the gospel message to a mere acknowledgment of the existence of Jesus Christ, or of his blood sacrifice for our sins, and they teach the listener that all he has to do is accept Jesus’ forgiveness of sins, i.e. God’s grace, and he now has heaven guaranteed him, and that it can never be taken away from him. But, is that true?

A careful study of scripture will reveal that these people who are teaching (promoting) this are liars and deceivers who are gaining disciples for themselves (or for Satan), but not for Jesus Christ (See: Matt. 23:15). It will also quickly dispel their lies, and will reveal the truth that God does, indeed, require both repentance and obedience as part of saving faith, and for eternal life with God. This study will also show us that our salvation is progressive, i.e. we are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Jesus returns for us, his bride. And, it will teach us that faith is not a one-time deal where we live how we want, and that one day we go to heaven, but it will show us that genuine faith must be enduring, continuous, and steadfast if we want to have the hope of heaven and eternal life with God.

[See: Jn. 8:31-32; Ro. 11:17-24; I Co. 15:2; Col. 1:21-23; II Tim. 2:10-13; Heb. 3:6, 14-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; I John 2:24-25.]

We Know Him (1 John 2:3-6; 1 John 3:24)

By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

“Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.”

If we say we know God, i.e. that we have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation, and that we are assured of eternal life with God in heaven, then we must understand here that obedience is evidence that this is true. If we claim to know God or to be in fellowship with him, but we don’t keep his commands (his instructions to us), we are liars. Also, if we claim to be in fellowship with our Lord, but we are still walking (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars, and we do not live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).

So, if we want to be assured of our salvation, and the hope of eternal life with God, we must walk in obedience to our Lord. We must walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit of God, and not according to our sinful flesh, for if we walk (in lifestyle) according to our fleshly desires, we will die in our sins, not have heaven guaranteed us when we leave this earth. Yet, some people will falsely claim that this is works-based salvation and not God’s grace, but they are lying to you. For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, commands us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25).

We Love Him (John 14:23-24; 1 John 5:2-4)

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.”

This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands. In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

To love God is to obey God. If we do not walk (in lifestyle) in obedience to our Lord, then we do not really love him. This is not to say we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that true faith in Jesus Christ is both repentant and obedient. And, although the word “repent” literally means to have a change of mind, it cannot be reduced to merely accepting Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins on a cross and his forgiveness for our sins. For, in context of scripture, the word “repent” is nearly always used in the sense of turning away from sin (idolatry, wickedness, immorality), forsaking our former way of living for sin and self, and turning to follow our Lord Jesus with our lives. And, to follow means to obey. It means we are not hearers only of the Word, but that we are doers of the Word of God.

Yet, none of this is done to earn or to deserve our own salvation. Our salvation is a free gift of God’s grace to us, and we can only obey our Lord in the power and strength of God’s Holy Spirit now living within those of us who have truly given our lives over to him. Yet, God’s grace is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or without remorse. His grace to us is freedom from slavery to sin. He delivered us out of bondage to sin so that we can walk with him in righteousness, not so we can continue living like we did before, only slightly cleaned up for the Christian world. It is not grace, in other words, if we are still enslaved (addicted) to sin. So, although it is free, freedom is not forgiven slavery while we continue in enslavement. God’s grace sets us free from the control Satan had over our lives so that we can now come under the control of Christ’s righteousness (See: Ro. 6:1-23).

My Sheep / An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.

Swords in Their Lips

Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 8:48 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Total Praise.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 59 (Select vv. ESV).

They Lie in Wait (vv. 1-4)

To the choirmaster: according to Do Not Destroy. A Miktam of David, when Saul sent men to watch his house in order to kill him.

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me;
deliver me from those who work evil,
and save me from bloodthirsty men.

For behold, they lie in wait for my life;
fierce men stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready.
Awake, come to meet me, and see!

Who are our enemies, if we are followers of Jesus Christ? Satan and his hordes, that is who. Our real battle is not against flesh and blood (human beings), but it is against the powers of darkness and spiritual forces of evil (See: Eph. 6:10-20).

This is not saying we don’t have physical enemies, i.e. humans who are working evil against us. We do. But, we don’t fight our enemies with physical weapons of warfare like they did of old. And, the real power behind these enemies is Satan. So, we fight these enemies with the armor of God, but not in a mean or hateful way, but in love we put on truth, righteousness, faith, prayer, the truth of the gospel, and the Word of God (of truth). We combat lies with truth, evil with righteousness, deceptions and false accusations with the Word of God, fear with faith, doubt with prayer, and false gospels with the true gospel. And, we stand on the Word of God and the true gospel. And, God delivers us from the control or the power of our enemy (or enemies) over us when we put on the armor of God, which he has supplied to us.

If we are truly following our Lord Jesus in obedience to him and to his Word, Satan is going to be coming against us, and he will use humans to do his dirty work for him. They will hate us, in this instance, not because of any evil we are doing, but because we love the Lord, because we stand on the Word of God, because we do put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, and because we teach the truth and combat lies. And, Satan hates that! And, so he will use humans to try to stir up trouble for us, to make up lies about us, and to spread those lies to others so that they will hate us, too.

Like Howling Dogs (vv. 6-10)

Each evening they come back,
howling like dogs
and prowling about the city.
There they are, bellowing with their mouths
with swords in their lips—
for “Who,” they think, “will hear us?”

But you, O Lord, laugh at them;
you hold all the nations in derision.
O my Strength, I will watch for you,
for you, O God, are my fortress.
My God in his steadfast love will meet me;
God will let me look in triumph on my enemies.

Those who come against us, may speak evil against us. They will heap abuse on us with their tongues. They may even be close friends, neighbors, co-workers, fellow believers or even family members. They may pretend to be our friends, and may act nice to us to our face, though, but then betray us behind our backs by divulging whatever we have shared with them in confidence, and by twisting our words and actions to give an impression that is not true of us. They gossip about us in order to wound us and to cut us to the heart, and so others will not like us, too, or they may speak to us this way in person, as well. And, it is because they don’t like what we stand for, and what we do, and what we say. Yet, they think God does not see, and that he does not hear, and that he will do nothing.

This is not to say, though, that we are perfect, or that we are never deserving of censure, but this is speaking specifically of the undeserved mistreatment of God’s servants. This is speaking of willful and even premeditated abuse and persecution, and just because we are followers of Christ, who do what he says, and because we hold to the truths of scripture.

Yet, God is not intimidated by them. They have no power over him. He is completely in control over all he has made. And, there is nothing they can do to us, either, but what God allows it for his purposes, and for our maturing, holiness, purity, strengthening and perseverance. When we face such opposition from sinful humans, it should only draw us even closer to Jesus Christ, and it should instill within us an even greater dedication to the Lord and to his service, for God is our strength and our help in time of need.

But I Will Sing (vv. 16-17)

But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.

We can’t let people get to us and get us down. We can’t let gossip, slander, hatred, bitterness, mistreatment, abuse and persecution undo us, either. We have to keep loving even our enemies, and returning hatred with kindness. Yet, we should grow in wisdom and discernment through this, and we should take care to not make our close friends those who are unbelievers or who are gossipers, haters, and the like. Yet, we should minister God’s love and grace to even our enemies. And, we must rely upon the Lord for our strength and for wisdom to know how to respond to such mistreatment as this.

One of the ways we should respond to opposition is by singing and praising our Lord, thanking him for his steadfast love and for the strength he gives us each day in order for us to keep going, even in the face of great opposition. Singing is a great antidote to fear, oppression, discouragement, sadness, and broken hearts, etc. Singing songs to our Lord has a way of lifting our spirits and filling our hearts with love, but also with confidence and even greater determination to keep on keeping on in doing what we are called to do. Singing gets our focus off our circumstances, and off those who oppose us, and it gets our focus on to Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us and all that he has gifted us with and has equipped us to do. It gets us thinking about HIM and his love, mercy and strength, and of his absolute sovereignty over all things, and then we can rest in HIM and not give way to fear, doubt, discouragement or even anger. His joy will then fill our hearts.

Total Praise / Richard Smallwood

You are the source of my strength
You are the strength of my life
I lift my hands in total praise to You.

A Righteous King

Saturday, March 25, 2017, 3:21 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “When in the Stillness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 32:1-8 (NASB).

A King Will Reign (vv. 1-2)

Behold, a king will reign righteously
And princes will rule justly.
Each will be like a refuge from the wind
And a shelter from the storm,
Like streams of water in a dry country,
Like the shade of a huge rock in a parched land.

Though an earthly king may have been in mind here, he was merely an antitype of the One and Only truly righteous king to come, and who has come, and that is Jesus Christ, our Messiah, Savior and Lord. And, although this appears to speak of his future millennial reign on the earth, with his saints ruling with him, I believe there is an application of these truths which we can make to his kingdom now, in today’s world.

Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God (God the Son), left his throne in heaven, came to earth, was born as a baby, grew to be a man, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. When he walked the face of this earth he was fully God yet fully man. Although he knew no sin, he became sin for us when he died on a cross, so that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15, 21).

If Jesus is the King, then we are his princes, and we are given the task and responsibility of taking the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of this world so that they can also enter into Christ’s eternal kingdom. Jesus Christ is our refuge and our shelter from the pain of unjust suffering and from slavery to sin. He paid the penalty for us for our sin so that we could go free from slavery to sin, and so we might find our peace in him. As His servants, we are his messengers in taking this message of hope, healing, restoration, comfort and fulfillment to a hurting and dying world.

Yet, not everyone is going to receive the message of the gospel of our salvation. In fact, even many church leaders will reject the true gospel and its messengers, and maybe even some will ban us from their churches because they are more concerned about what people will think of them and their “church” than they are concerned about people dying and going to hell. So, they dilute the gospel message by teaching a half-truth (false) gospel, which does not teach death to sin, but which rather entertains it. They tell people that all they have to do is repeat some words after them in a prayer and that now salvation and heaven are guaranteed them, no matter what.

The problem with this teaching is that it is a lie, and a lot of people are believing it, i.e. they are trusting in a false hope of entering into God’s eternal kingdom, so that is why we, as Christ’s followers, must tell them the truth. We must tell them that faith in Jesus Christ is God-given, is spiritual, and is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives. Thus, it submits to Jesus Christ, and the believer is crucified with Christ in death to sin and is resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24).

Blinded Eyes Opened (vv. 3-4)

Then the eyes of those who see will not be blinded,
And the ears of those who hear will listen.
The mind of the hasty will discern the truth,
And the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak clearly.

When the truth of the gospel is preached, those who are now blind spiritually will be able to see the truth clearly. They, who put their trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and as Lord of their lives, will be turned from darkness (sin) to light (truth, righteousness), and from the power of Satan over their lives to God and to his righteousness, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by God-given faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:16-18; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

A saved life is a changed life, transformed of the Spirit of God in new birth (born again) to a living hope. The old life of living for sin and self is forsaken, i.e. put to death, and a new life is given to be lived to Christ and to his righteousness. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we are liars. If we walk according to the flesh, or if we hold on to our old sinful lifestyles, we will die in our sins. But, if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are walking in the Spirit, then we will live with Christ in his eternal kingdom.

Wicked Schemes (vv. 5-8)

No longer will the fool be called noble,
Or the rogue be spoken of as generous.
For a fool speaks nonsense,
And his heart inclines toward wickedness:
To practice ungodliness and to speak error against the Lord,
To keep the hungry person unsatisfied
And to withhold drink from the thirsty.
As for a rogue, his weapons are evil;
He devises wicked schemes
To destroy the afflicted with slander,
Even though the needy one speaks what is right.
But the noble man devises noble plans;
And by noble plans he stands.

Right now, on this earth, we often have things backwards. We, as humans, often end up honoring the thief, the scoundrel, and the wicked charmers who are deceitful and full of lies, while we reject and persecute the honest, sincere and righteous individuals, who are telling us the truth. We do this because we think the righteous are “holy rollers” and not “normal,” because they take God and his Word seriously, and because they are truly living lives separate (unlike, different) from this evil world, because they are being conformed into the image of Christ.

Yet, we accept the scoundrels because they make us laugh, and they are fun and entertaining, and they don’t talk about sin so much, whereas the righteous individuals confront sin in sinful humans, warn of divine judgment, call for repentance, and promise hope only for the repentant. The wicked scoundrels, masquerading as servants of righteousness, don’t tell people the truth they need to hear, but they tell them what is pleasing to their ears, because they want the people to like them, even if it sends them straight to hell. But, those who are noble (honorable, upright) will care more about those who are dying in their sins than they will care about their own reputations, and so they will often suffer injustice and false accusations in order to continue to bring people the truth so they can be free from sin.

Yet, one day, when Jesus returns, it won’t be like this at all. The scoundrel, the liar, the deceiver, and the workers of iniquity will not be honored, but the honorable, trustworthy and righteous will receive their eternal rewards. Those who work iniquity will die in their sins and will face eternal punishment, while those who sincerely trusted in Jesus Christ to be their Lord (owner-master) and Savior of their lives will live on with Christ forever, for they didn’t love their lives so much as to shrink from death (Rev. 12:11).

So, each of us must ask ourselves here where we fit into all of this. Do we honor God with our lives, and do we speak the truth in love to people, or do we dishonor God and tell people lies so they will like us, even if people get hurt in the process? Who do we love more, ourselves or God and others?

When in The Stillness / An Original Work / September 26, 2011

When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.

While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.

Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.

His Bride

Saturday, March 11, 2017, 7:50 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Give Me Courage, Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 19:1-9 (NASB).

Hallelujah! (vv. 1-4)

After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,

“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.” And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”

I don’t know about you, but I am conflicted every time I read this. Why? Because this judgment on the Great Harlot means the death of ungodly people, and the end of their hope. As long as people are alive on this earth, and they are not robots, but they have human souls, there is hope that they could be saved, I believe. That is why scripture teaches that God is not slow in his promises, but he is patient, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But, once they are dead and gone and buried, all hope for them is gone. And, the thought of that breaks my heart.

Yet, I also know the pain and suffering these wicked people have inflicted and continue to inflict on the people of this world, and so my heart goes out to the hurting, and I pray for God to rescue them from evil men (and women). I especially pray for the children to be rescued. All the evil that is in the world just tears my heart apart as I think about all the lives which are being destroyed by hatred, bitterness, abuse, addiction, perversion, and by predators, liars, deceivers, and adulterers, etc. I hurt for the hurting, but I know judgment means much bloodshed, and I find it hard to rejoice in that.

There are so many people who know the right way, but they continue to live the wrong way. God sends out his warnings, and he confronts them with their sins, and he calls for repentance time and time again, and yet they refuse him every time. No matter the consequence, it doesn’t seem to faze them, as though they think they are invincible, and as though they truly believe God will never do what he says he will do. And, this breaks my heart for I know what awaits them if they do not repent, and I know none of us are guaranteed tomorrow.

Yet, the thought of being delivered from this evil world and from wicked and evil human beings is cause for rejoicing! Just thinking of all these children being handed private internet access, which they can take into their bedrooms where they can teach other children how to get on pornographic sites just kills me inside. I want to strangle (not literally) their parents. I want to knock (not literally) some sense into them, i.e. I wish there was a way I could communicate to these young parents that they are handing their young children a death sentence, for many will never recover from what they view on those smart phones and tablets (I Pads). Only by the grace of God can they be delivered from these ungodly influences and be set free.

So, I rejoice in knowing that one day Satan’s power and influence in this world will be no more. I can rejoice in the punishment of evil and the setting free all those who have been victimized by such evil. The thought of no sin, no pain and no sorrow is awesome! The idea of people no longer harming one another is so welcome! The concept of children being safe from those who would take advantage of them is much cause for rejoicing! So, yes, I rejoice that one day we will be safe from harm and no longer have to endure hatred, persecution, and abuse. I am happy knowing that one day, when Jesus returns, we who believe in Him can be forever relieved of these flesh bodies and this world of sin, and we can live at peace forever with HIM.

Fear Him (vv. 5-6)

And a voice came from the throne, saying,

“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.

One of the reasons there is so much evil in the world is that the people of this earth have largely forgotten that they are to fear God, not in a frightening way, but in showing him much awe, honor, respect, regard, value, praise, adoration and worship. Even within the church the fear of God is rarely taught or lived anymore, it would appear. Instead, they often present God as a doting grandfather in the sky there to grant their every requests. They also present him as soft on sin, and as one who just looks down on them and smiles, even if they are sitting there engrossing themselves in pornography or other sexual entertainment. They teach that when God looks at us all he sees is Jesus, and he never sees our sin, but that is just not biblical.

Another thing they do is they teach a half-truth (diluted) false grace gospel which appeals to human flesh, and which gives its adherents carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. They tell their listeners that all they have to do is repeat some words in a prayer and they are saved and heaven is guaranteed them no matter what happens from this point forward. They teach salvation as though all it is is a get-out-of-jail-free card and a promise of eternal rewards and bliss in heaven with nothing required at all in between. In fact, they teach that God requires nothing of them at all – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to God/Jesus and the cross of Christ. What a mockery that is of what Jesus did for us in dying on the cross for our sins so that we might be free!

Freedom is not freedom to continue in sin. NO! The Bible says that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness, we are liars. It says if we walk (conduct our lives) 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. It teaches us that being a follower of Christ means we forsake our old lives of living for sin, and that we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God (born again), and we put on our new lives in Christ Jesus, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6; Lu. 9:23-25).

If we are the Lord’s bond-servants, then he is our Lord (owner-master) and we are his willing and obedient slaves. We don’t have ownership rights over our own lives anymore, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus, shed on a cross for our sins, so that we could be set free from bondage to sin and walk in victory over sin. Jesus reigns supreme over our lives, i.e. he is the one in control, not us, and he is the one calling all the shots. So, it is not our choice what we do every day, but it is his. He is the one now directing our path, or he should be. We should now be walking (in lifestyle) in the fear (respect, honor and worship) of our Lord. And, our worship of him, which is acceptable to God, is that we give him our lives on the altar sacrificially, holy and pleasing to him, and no longer conformed to the ways of this world, but transformed in the renewing of our minds.

She is Ready (vv. 7-9)

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.”

The book of Revelation is written to the church (See: Rev. 1). In chapters 2-3 there are seven letters written to seven churches, which most people, I believe, accept as speaking to the church of all ages, i.e. the number seven meaning completeness, though some people feel the Church in Laodicea speaks primarily to the church in these final days before the return of Christ. No matter your point of view, the Bible says that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). So, we can learn something from each one of these letters.

In these letters Jesus commended the churches for what they were doing right, with the exception of one (Laodicea), and in five of the letters he confronted them with what they were doing wrong. He warned of divine judgment, called for repentance, but promised hope and heavenly rewards for the repentant and the overcomers (who overcome sin). Then, following these seven letters we have the proclamation of the judgments of God.

And, we see that there were Christians (the saints of God) present during the time of tribulation and the rule of this beast. And, they are being persecuted. Then, here we read that the Bride has made herself ready for her husband. I believe that the saints of God will be present and will be persecuted during this time, at least for part of it, and that through this tribulation, trials and persecutions God will make her holy, purifying her, and pruning her so that she will be even more fruitful for his eternal kingdom.

For those bond-servants of the Lord who have labored hard in presenting the truth of the gospel and in strongly encouraging the church to repent of her sins, and to be restored to fellowship with God, when the Bride has made herself ready, and she is now prepared to meet her groom, this will be our reward. We may not see much fruit now for our labors, but they are coming.

Give Me Courage, Lord
An Original Work / November 13, 2013

Based off Various Scriptures

Do not let your hearts grow weary,
For your work will be rewarded.
Be strong; let your hearts take courage.
Do not fear, but wait on Jesus.

Be strong and very courageous,
For your God will go before you.
Do not fear. He will not leave you.
Wait for Him. He’ll not forsake you.

Be careful to do what He says.
Do not turn away from your Lord.
Take courage! You’ll be His witness,
For God will guide and protect you.

So we are always encouraged.
We walk by faith and not vision.
We make it our aim to please Him,
So in Christ, we glorify Him.

Because of His Mercy

Saturday, February 11, 2017, 5:34 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Seek the Lord.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Titus 3:1-11 (NIV).

Whatever is Good (vv. 1-2)

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.

As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be subject to rulers and those in authority over us, yet we are to never succumb to following after false gods, to compromising our faith and convictions, and to disobeying our Lord. If human authority requires us to disobey God and his Word, then God’s authority always trumps human authority (See examples of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and Daniel, Jesus and his NT apostles).

We should always live in obedience to our Lord, though. This is not saying we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1), but it is saying that our lifestyle, i.e. how we conduct our lives day in and day out should be reflective of those who are committed to obedience to Christ and to his Word. Our goal in life should not be to see how much bad we can get away with and not get caught, but our mission in life should be to do whatever is good by God’s standards, i.e. whatever is wholesome, moral, upright, godly and has the best interest of others in mind. We should not be in the practice of gossiping about others, especially if we tell lies about them in order to cause them harm. And, we should also be patient, fair and reasonable in our dealings with others.

Justified by Grace (vv. 3-8)

At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

If we ever get to feeling morally superior to others, thinking to ourselves about how righteous we are, and being proud of it, then we need to read this passage of scripture, for it puts things in the proper perspective for us.

We were all born into this world as sinners. We all came up short of attaining God’s divine approval. Not one of us can earn or deserve our own salvation. We are not saved because of our own righteousness. Only by God’s grace, through Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for our sins, can we be forgiven of our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God. We can’t even come to Christ unless the Father draws us, and even the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift from God, i.e. it is his divine persuasion to us of his will for our lives. We don’t believe in Jesus with human belief, but with spiritual faith. Because this faith is of the Spirit, it is in accord with (is persuaded of) God’s perfect will.

Even the ability to repent of our sins and to walk in obedience to our Lord is a gift from God, empowered by his Spirit at work within us. When we exercise this God-given faith, the Spirit of God transforms our lives away from sin and to God, to live to his righteousness. Our spiritually blinded eyes are opened, and we are turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God so that we might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified (purified, made holy) by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Acts 26:16-18). And, all this is possible because of God’s mercy toward us in delivering us out of slavery to sin so that we can now become bondservants of Christ and of his righteousness. All glory to God. Amen!

A Divisive Person (vv. 9-11)

But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned.

A divisive person is “disposed to form sects, sectarian, heretical, factious.” Literally, a factious person is one who is “specializing in half-truths and misimpressions ‘to win others over’ to their personal opinion (misguided zeal) – while creating harmful divisions (used only in Tit 3:10)” (Source: biblehub.com). If someone is heretical, he is deviating, dissenting, and/or profane (irreverent, abusive and full of contempt regarding what is sacred). And, to deviate means to stray, depart, turn from, or wander, in this case, from the biblical standard for how we should live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, i.e. it is to be immoral.

We should separate ourselves from those who willfully tell half-truths and who purposefully give misimpressions to win people over to their misguided beliefs and practices, if they have been warned appropriately, and if they have not repented of their sins. We should not be party to what is heretical, i.e. we should not in any way give such people our support. And, what they teach and practice should not be the foundation for our faith in Jesus Christ, either. If they are preaching a half-truth gospel which eliminates the necessity of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as part of our God-given faith, i.e. God’s divine persuasion, i.e. the persuasion of his will, then we should reject such teaching. Such teaching gives free license to immorality and to living sinful lifestyles while still promising its adherents the hope of eternal life in heaven with God, and this is deviant from God’s will.

The Word of God teaches us that faith in Jesus Christ involves dying with Christ to sin and being resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24). Scripture teaches us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us; and he died “to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” His grace is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God. His grace 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 (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; 8:1-14).

Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self, take up our cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life with God. Paul reiterated this message when he said that Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. He said that if we walk (conduct our lives) according to the flesh (sin, wickedness) 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) (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14). And, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness) that we don’t live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6). So, we need to seek the Lord and his righteousness and not follow after liars.

Seek the Lord / An Original Work / July 20, 2012

Based off Isaiah 55

“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.

“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”

Contract Workers

Friday, February 10, 2017, 10:07 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Sheep.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Titus 1 (NASB).

Bondservants of Christ (vv. 1-4)

Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago, but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior,

To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

A bondservant is a slave. He or she is “someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Ironically, 1401 /doúlos (‘bond-slave’) is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted followers” (biblehub.com). Yet, this is not to apply just to the apostles, but to all believers in Jesus Christ. We read in Romans 6:22: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” When Jesus died for our sins he bought us back for God (redeemed us) so we are no longer our own. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for himself. Now we are his bond-slaves and he is our Lord (owner-master).

As well, we are all called of God to specific areas of ministry. We are all given spiritual gifts to be used to minister to the body of Christ for their uplifting, strengthening, encouragement, instruction, and exhortation. And, we have all been assigned specific roles within the body of Christ for the mutual benefit of one another in order that we might all reach maturity in our faith in Christ. So, each one of us has a responsibility to our brothers and sisters in Christ to help them or to urge them to walk in the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, i.e. to walk in holiness, righteousness and godliness, all in the power and working of the Spirit of God within them. And, every one of us is necessary to the proper working of the body of Christ, too. So, don’t think you don’t matter. We, also, should not write off others within the body simply because they don’t fit within our preconceived ideas of how God might choose to use each one of us (See: 1 Co. 12).

Above Reproach (vv. 5-9)

For this reason I left you in Crete, that you would set in order what remains and appoint elders in every city as I directed you, namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion. For the overseer must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain, but hospitable, loving what is good, sensible, just, devout, self-controlled, holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.

Following the same line of thinking as expressed in the first section of this writing, although what is described for us here is a list of spiritual qualifications for the selection of elders within the church, many of these spiritual qualities are also required or strongly encouraged in all followers of Christ. For example, everyone who professes the name of Jesus should live a life above reproach, i.e. “their interactions with others, are to be of such moral quality that they do not bring shame or in any way disgrace the body of Christ or the name of Jesus” (gotquestions.org). We should all live in singleness of mind and faithfulness to our Lord, and if married, also to our spouses. None of us should be alcoholics, quick-tempered, or addicted to any kind of sinful behavior. And, we should all be those who practice hospitality, who are lovers of what is good, and who are sensible, just, devout and self-controlled, holding fast to our faith and to the Word of Truth.

Empty Talkers (vv. 10-16)

For there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach for the sake of sordid gain. One of themselves, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. For this reason reprove them severely so that they may be sound in the faith, not paying attention to Jewish myths and commandments of men who turn away from the truth. To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.

Not everyone who says he is a follower of Christ or a teacher of The Word is truly born of the Spirit and a bondservant of Jesus Christ. Many are they who are more like temporary employees, mere contract workers, who are being paid to do a job, but they are not permanent workers, i.e. they don’t have a genuine commitment to the Lord Jesus or to the people they supposedly serve. So, they easily desert the Lord and those they proclaim to serve, whether they do so physically and/or whether they do so spiritually.

They have no qualms about twisting the Word of Truth to their own advantage in order to manipulate and take advantage of others, which they do for their own personal gain, whether it be financial gain or merely for the thirst of power alone. So, instead of telling people what they NEED to hear, they tell them what they WANT to hear in order to please the people (their customer base) so that the people will want to come back to their meetings, i.e. to their churches, i.e. to their places of business (their corporations).

So, I believe God has a plan to rebuke such as these via divine judgment in order that the saints of God may be delivered out of their hands, and also that many of them may turn to the Lord and be sound in the faith, ceasing to trick, manipulate and lead the people of God away to what is false. He loves those who are misguided, and so he rebukes them in order that they might come to their senses and turn (or return) to him and to the truth. I believe God has a plan to silence them, to expose their evil deeds, and to remove them from their positions of rule and authority over the people. They must go, but God and his Word must remain. God will judge these false shepherds of the people so that he will be his people’s only shepherd (See: Rev. 2-3; 14:6-7; Ez. 34; 1 Co. 11:32; Heb. 10:30; 1 Pet. 4:17; Jude 1).

Yet, I believe there needs to be a warning or a caution here to those who are following after these “empty talkers” who manipulate and deceive naïve minds. If you claim to believe in Jesus Christ, and you call him “Lord,” then you have a responsibility before God to test everything you hear against the Word of Truth and to not buy into everything which sounds good on the surface. And, this goes beyond just testing preachers and their sermons to see whether or not they are teaching what is in accord with scripture.

We should, as well, be testing what we hear from politicians, especially those claiming to be Christians, and what we hear from the news media, too, for not everything that looks real is real. Much is faked, manipulated and made to deceive naïve minds. We need to pray and ask God to show us what is true and what is false, so we don’t end up following lies and perhaps even denying what is truth. We need to run away from “strangers” and follow Jesus Christ and his Word. We do this by being willing to forsake our human traditions and those things taught by mere men, which have been passed down from generation to generation, so that we can hear the voice of the Lord clearly and let him open our eyes and hearts to what is truth.

My Sheep / An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV

My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.

So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.

Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…

They know my voice, so they follow me.