About Tomorrow

Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 7:44 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Oh, To Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Proverbs 27 (Select vv. NASB).

Do Not Boast

1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
5 Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.

Not one of us knows if he or she has tomorrow. It is not guaranteed us. Anyone of us could die at any moment, at the spur of a moment, via an auto accident, a natural disaster, a mass shooting, or a plane crash, etc. In fact, the way things are going these days, it is pretty much guaranteed we are going to be seeing more and more uprisings, factions, and mass killings, etc.

The reason? We live in the last days. We are seeing the fulfillment of prophecy of scripture regarding these days on a daily basis. The “beast” is rising, and he (it) is taking over the world, one nation and one people group at a time. And, a good number of these uprisings and mass killings are either fully faked, or partially faked (staged), but fully orchestrated by this “beast” New World Order, and the blame put on someone else. The purpose is obvious for anyone who has been paying attention. It is to bring in the rule of this “beast” New World Order and one world religion. So, they have to first create the chaos in order to bring in this new order out of the chaos.

Satan is, of course, behind all of this, and he is our enemy, as well as are those who carry out his bidding. But, his servants often disguise themselves as servants of righteousness and they will act like they are our friends, and that they care about us, and that they are thinking about what is best for us, but don’t trust them. Deceitful are their “kisses,” for their goal is to steal, kill and to destroy, not to save. We cannot trust many people, even those who claim to be ministers of the gospel, or our politicians, or our news media, for many of them are liars and deceivers. So, just because it sounds good does not mean it is good. Better to have someone love you enough to tell you the truth, than to buy into the lies of an enemy who wants to steal your soul.

Do Not Wander

8 Like a bird that wanders from her nest,
So is a man who wanders from his home.
12 A prudent man sees evil and hides himself,
The naive proceed and pay the penalty.
17 Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.

In light of the fact that tomorrow is not guaranteed anyone of us, especially, we should take note of how we are living our lives, to see if they are in line with the Word of God and with his holy and righteous character, or whether we are living for sin and self and self-pleasure. Are we walking in holiness, obeying the Word of God, or have we wandered off from our pure devotion to Christ, and are we living in sin (addiction) and in spiritual adultery? Is Jesus Christ truly our Lord (owner-master), or do we mouth loyalty to him while we go on about our own business living life how we want?

If we are to be wise, and to be living what we say we believe, then we need to be prudent (sensible and discerning) about what we think, say, look at, listen to, participate in, and take into our minds, eyes and hearts on a daily basis. And, I am not speaking here merely about obvious evil, sin, rebellion, wickedness, and immorality, but about the subtle lies of Satan that come at us via TV, movies, music, the internet, games, magazines, advertisements, and social media, especially the memes, etc. Too many people take at face value everything they see and hear on the news, for instance, without ever questioning whether it makes sense, or even if it is true. We need discerning minds which see the evil in deception, too, or we will be caught in their trap.

So, we must be people first of all committed to Jesus Christ and to walking in his ways, not holding back anything from the Lord, and not holding on to addictive and/or secret sins, though not secret from God. We must listen to our Lord when he speaks words of correction to our hearts and not go on our own stubborn way, thinking we know what is best. Also, we need to humble ourselves and be willing to receive loving and caring rebuke or correction from those who have close walks with the Lord, who are following his Word, and who see that we are in danger or that we are being deceived. We should not write them off as religious fanatics or as “conspiracy theorists,” just because maybe they see something we are not willing to see. Perhaps, we need to have our eyes opened to see that we have been following after lies.

The Heart Reflects

19 As in water face reflects face,
So the heart of man reflects man.
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.
22 Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.

The Bible says that out of the heart the mouth speaks, and if it speaks out of the heart of mankind (of the flesh), it is likely to speak what is evil. Our words often reflect what is in our hearts, as well as our hearts reflect what is filled up in our minds. If what we are taking into our minds and hearts every day is what is sinful, immoral, wicked, and hateful, such as backbiting, gossip, mockery, and adultery, that will be what is in our hearts, and that is what is going to come out of our mouths. But, if what we are taking in and following with our lives is what is righteous and holy, this should be reflected in how we live, think, act and speak. Yet, it is not all black or all white, for we are continually growing, learning, and changing, hopefully for the good.

Yet, there will be those who will ever be learning, but who will never come to the knowledge of the truth, because they are stiff-necked, self-sufficient, prideful, stubborn and unwilling to yield to God’s control over their lives. So, they live their lives like someone driving a vehicle around and around in a cul-de-sac, but never going anywhere, but just repeating the same mistakes over and over again, and never maturing or changing. Or, if they do change, it is superficial, at best, which is why they keep returning to their vomit. And, there isn’t anything you can do or say that will change them, because they don’t want to hear it, and so they continue on a sinful course.

Not Forever

23 Know well the condition of your flocks,
And pay attention to your herds;
24 For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.

About tomorrow, not only are we not guaranteed life, but we are not guaranteed a particular quality of life. What we have today could all be gone tomorrow, in an instant, at the touch of a key pad on a computer, for instance, and all could be wiped out – all we have ever saved for. Yet, we are not promised wealth and success in this life, but we are promised grace, peace, joy, contentment, security, protection, comfort, encouragement, strength and power in our lives, with Christ, which are everlasting lives. Our houses, lands, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, 401Ks, Social Security, and pensions, etc. could all be gone tomorrow, and then what?

Our trust cannot be in the things of this world, which are passing away, but our trust must be solely in God, in His Word, and in our salvation from bondage to sin that we might forever live with Christ to his righteousness.

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.

 

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Children of Light

Friday, September 29, 2017, 5:33 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Peace of Christ.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 5:1-21 (NASB).

Imitators of God (v. 1-2)

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Who is an imitator? He or she is a follower, sheep, look-alike; someone who emulates and models another, who is another’s representative, but not here in the sense of a fake copy, but in the sense of us genuinely patterning our lives after the life of another, which in this case is God/Jesus Christ. We are to be like him in all that we do and say and think and are. But, this is a lifetime process. We won’t be like him fully in character, attitudes and actions until we reach heaven. Yet, this should be what we strive toward, not in our own strength and wisdom, but in the power and might of God’s Holy Spirit now living within those of us who have been crucified with Christ to sin and born again of the Spirit of God in newness of life, to be lived to Christ.

So, Christ Jesus is our model for how we are to live our lives, and for how to walk (in lifestyle) in love (agape). This love is not like human love, though, for it prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, godly, moral and upright. It will do no harm to others, but good. This love is also not dependent on others loving us, or on their personalities, positions in life, social status, skin color, or material wealth, etc. For, we love like Jesus Christ loved and still loves us. It is unselfish, thinking of others above ourselves, and considers what is in the best interest of others. It is honest, though, and it doesn’t tell people lies just to make them feel better about themselves, especially in their sin. It will speak the truth in love, when necessary, because it cares more about others than it does about itself.

Not Partakers (vv. 3-14)

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says,

“Awake, sleeper,
And arise from the dead,
And Christ will shine on you.”

Because we have been born again of the Spirit of God, and we are imitators (followers) of Jesus Christ, and we are walking (in lifestyle) in love (agape), and we are considering others above ourselves, and we are doing them no harm, but good, then we won’t participate in adultery, perjury, immorality, coarse jesting and the like, because we love others as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us. Idolatry and immorality should have no place at all in the life of a believer in Jesus Christ. We should have reputations which are above reproach. This is not to say we will never sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but it is saying that sin should not be our practice, for if we make sin our practice, we have no eternal life with God in heaven (1 Jn. 1:6; Gal. 5:19-21).

Let no one deceive you with empty words. Wow! That packs a punch these days, for many liars and deceivers have infiltrated the church and are teaching a do-nothing entitlement gospel which says God does everything and nothing is required of us – no obedience, submission or repentance. But, that is not what the Bible teaches. It teaches that faith in Jesus Christ means we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God (in his likeness) in true righteousness and holiness. It teaches us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, it says that God’s grace instructs us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24; Tit. 2:11-14).

How We Walk (vv. 15-21)

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

Our salvation in Jesus Christ is not just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. There is a whole life in between that is to be lived for Christ and for his righteousness, and not for ourselves, or for our own entertainment. We are to grow in the grace of Jesus Christ, and put on the full armor of God daily with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks and his schemes against us (Eph. 6:10-20). We are to walk according to the Spirit, and to no longer fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We are to spend time daily in His Word, drinking in His Spirit, listening to what God says to our hearts, and then doing what he teaches us. And, we are to go where he leads us, and walk in his ways, and be the light of the world and the salt of the earth so that others will come to know our Savior, too.

And, we are to encourage one another (fellow believers) in our faith and practice, warn against falling away, calling for repentance and renewed faith, where needed, and to help one another to grow and to mature in our Christian walks. We are NOT to be living to sin and self, for our own pleasure and entertainment, while ignoring the needs all around us and the sharing of the gospel of our salvation with others so they can come to know him, too. Our lives should be sold out to Jesus Christ, with him truly as our Lord (owner-master) in practice, and not just in title (in words only). And, then we should be sharing with the body of Christ what our Lord is doing in our lives as a way of encouraging them to live godly and holy lives, too.

The Peace of Christ / An Original Work / October 31, 2011

Based off of Col. 3:1-17; Eph. 5:19-20

Let the word of Christ dwell in you,
As you teach with all wisdom,
Teaching one another to not
Think on earthly things;
Think instead on things above,
Where Christ sits with God, in love,
Saving us from all of our sins,
Cleansing us; made new within.

Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts,
As you sing songs unto Him;
Speak to one another with psalms,
Hymns, and spir’tual songs;
Always giving thanks to God,
In the name of Christ, His Son,
Who gave His life up for us all,
And gave us eternal life.

Let the love of Christ within you
Rule in your hearts; grace within,
Purifying you from your sin,
Make you whole within.
Forgive as the Lord forgave.
Show His kindness ev’ry day.
In word or deed, whate’er you do,
Glory give to Jesus Christ.

 

Holy and Beloved

Thursday, September 28, 2017, 10:13 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “The Peace of Christ.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Colossians 3:1-17 (NASB).

Things Above (vv. 1-4)

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

IF you have been raised with Christ, not assuming you have been, but as a prerequisite to what follows next, then do what this teaches. So, how are we raised with Christ? Well, just as Jesus Christ died on a cross for our sins and was resurrected back to life, victorious over sin and death, we must, if we have truly put our faith in him, die with him to sin so that we can live with him to righteousness. This is also called the “new birth,” or being “born again.” And, it is the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives in turning us from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that we can receive forgiveness of sins, and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-18; Acts 26:16-18).

Therefore, IF this has taken place in our lives, then we are to continue seeking what is from God and of Christ and of his Spirit. We are to keep on walking in the ways of the Lord, in his righteousness and holiness. We are to persist in fellowship with our Lord, in hearing his voice speak his words to our hearts, and in following him wherever he leads us. And, we are to fill our minds and hearts with what is godly, holy, righteous, true, just, upright, honest, trustworthy, pure, and moral, and not willfully and consistently be filling our minds with what is earthly, wicked, immoral, impure and unholy.

Dead to Immorality (vv. 5-11)

Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Since we have died with Christ, we should consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore, we should not let sin reign in our mortal bodies, so that we obey its lusts, but we should present our members as instruments of righteousness to God, for this is why Jesus died (See: Ro. 6:1-23). He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24), not to free us to continue in willful sin against God. We should not even be entertaining ourselves with the sins of others, for when we do, we are giving hearty approval of their sin by applauding their sin (Ro. 1:32).

Yet, so many preachers these days are not teaching this at all. In fact, they are teaching an entitlement gospel which says God does everything and nothing is required of us – no obedience, submission or repentance. They are giving their adherents, thus, carte blanche (free rein) to continue in sin without guilt. And, this is a big fat lie! They distort God’s grace to appeal to human flesh, and to their own advantage. But, God’s grace is not merely for the purpose to deliver us from hell and to promise us heaven when we die. His grace is to free us from addiction to sin and to free us to walk in his holiness and righteousness. For, if we walk (live) in sin, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of eternal life with God.

Put on Love (vv. 12-17)

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

We who have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and who have been raised with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, are called to be holy, not given permission to be promiscuous now that we are under grace. And, holiness is being separated from the world of sin because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. So, we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, by the Spirit, instead of embracing them and thinking we are ok, because we are under grace. And, then we are to put on (put into practice) love, gentleness, patience, forgiveness, kindness, etc. And, love is preferring what God prefers, which is holiness, righteousness, truth, integrity and morality, etc.

When we are living righteously before God, not in absolute perfection, but walking in the Spirit and not according to the flesh, and we are daily dying to sin and self, and we are, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are practicing love for God and for one another, then we should also be teaching and admonishing one another to do likewise. And, we should be strengthening and encouraging one another in the faith, so that we don’t grow weary and lose heart, and so that we don’t fall into sin’s deceitfulness. But, to do so in love, also means to do so in truth, for lies only hurt. So, tell the truth, but do so in love, and care more about others than you do yourself, and be willing to have others hate and speak badly about you in order to tell them the truth of the gospel, which can save their souls.

The Peace of Christ / An Original Work / October 31, 2011

Based off of Col. 3:1-17; Eph. 5:19-20

Let the word of Christ dwell in you,
As you teach with all wisdom,
Teaching one another to not
Think on earthly things;
Think instead on things above,
Where Christ sits with God, in love,
Saving us from all of our sins,
Cleansing us; made new within.

Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts,
As you sing songs unto Him;
Speak to one another with psalms,
Hymns, and spir’tual songs;
Always giving thanks to God,
In the name of Christ, His Son,
Who gave His life up for us all,
And gave us eternal life.

Let the love of Christ within you
Rule in your hearts; grace within,
Purifying you from your sin,
Make you whole within.
Forgive as the Lord forgave.
Show His kindness ev’ry day.
In word or deed, whate’er you do,
Glory give to Jesus Christ.

 

Instructions for Life

Monday, September 25, 2017, 4:58 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Near the Cross.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 John 2 (Select vv. ESV).

To Know Him (vv. 1-6)

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

It is God’s will that we not sin, which is why Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. So, when we believe in Jesus Christ, we are set free from slavery (addiction) to sin so that we can now become bond-servants of his righteousness. Now we no longer walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but we now walk (conduct our lives) according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God, and in the power and strength of God’s Spirit now living within us (Ro. 8:1-17).

Yet, this is not to say that we will never sin again. We probably will, at one time or another. But, sin should no longer be our practice, for Satan no longer has a hold on our lives, for Jesus set us free from his control. But, if we do sin, this also does NOT mean that we are now back under condemnation, for Jesus provided the way for us to come out from under that condemnation via his blood shed on the cross for our sins. So, if we do sin, we repent of our sin, and we continue to walk in Christ’s holiness. God will give us all we need to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to him.

Yet, if we continue walking in sin, and we make sin our practice, and we don’t practice obedience, holiness, godliness and righteousness, then we don’t know God, and we don’t have the hope of eternal life with God, even if we prayed the sinner’s prayer and felt as though we received Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives. True faith in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

Love and Hate (vv. 7-11)

Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Not only do we NOT have the hope of eternal life if we practice sinning and if we don’t walk in obedience to Christ’s commands, but we are still in darkness and without Christ if we profess to be in the light but we are actively hating our fellow humans or our fellow Christians. So, what is hate? Hate is the opposite of love. And, Christian love prefers what God prefers, it embraces God’s will, and it makes a practice of obeying God’s commands. Love, too, does no harm to its neighbors, but it is kind, thoughtful, forgiving, and giving of oneself to others’ needs. Hate is hostile, unforgiving, unkind, slanderous, harmful or wishing harm, backstabbing, and the like. It is especially egregious for a Christian to actively hate another Christian.

Don’t Love the World (vv. 15-17)

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

The world we are NOT to love is NOT the people of the world, for God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Begotten Son to die on a cross for our sins, so that whoever is believing in him might have eternal life with God. The world we are NOT to love IS the world of sin, worldliness, wickedness, immorality, lust, hatred, violence, envy, and adultery, etc. We are not to love it, embrace it, agree with it, join in with it, become partakers of it, prefer it above all else, worship it, idolize it or be entertained by it. Our hearts, passion, desire, time, energies, thoughts and values should not be focused on what is worldly, fleshly and temporal, but they should be centered on God, His Word and his values, and on what has eternal value.

So, why do so many Christians (or professing Christians) spend so much of their waking hours, money, energies, passion and conversations on what is going to pass away, and on what has multiple elements of immorality, impurity and idolatry in the mix? Why is it that it appears so few professing Christians here in America make Christ, his Word, his morals, his thinking and his values the primary focus of their daily lives, 24/7? Why the discrepancy between their confession of faith in Christ and the reality of Christ being lived out in their daily lives? And, why is this considered the norm? And, if someone does truly follow Christ wholeheartedly, why are they are considered weird and abnormal? Something is wrong with this picture.

Do we not know that if we embrace the world of sin, make it our practice, idolize it, and give it our affections, passion, desire, minds and hearts, that we don’t have the love of the Father within us? And, do we not know that those who practice following God, and doing his will, are the ones who will abide with him forever? This world is not our home. We are just passing through. None of the things of this world should we idolize and make our gods, for they are not God, who is the ONLY one to whom we should give such adoration, value, esteem, respect, honor, praise, loyalty and devotion. We need to die to sin, self and to the world of sin and the things of this world, and we need to live for God, his gospel, his Word, his holiness and his righteousness, giving him our passion, desire, affections and obedience.

Near the Cross
Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane

Jesus, keep me near the cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all, a healing stream,
Flows from Calvary’s mountain.

Near the cross! O Lamb of God,
Bring its scenes before me;
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’er me.

In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

 

Favor or Curse?

Sunday, August 27, 2017, 4:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Bless This House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 26 (Select vv. ESV).

In Perfect Peace (vv. 1-6)

In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation
as walls and bulwarks.
Open the gates,
that the righteous nation that keeps faith may enter in.
You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
For he has humbled
the inhabitants of the height,
the lofty city.
He lays it low, lays it low to the ground,
casts it to the dust.
The foot tramples it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.”

The day being spoken of here is a day of judgment on the inhabitants of the earth for their wickedness, including the wickedness of those who proclaim God Almighty as their Father and Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is a judgment of God against all sinful rebellion, immorality, arrogance, abuse, wickedness, idolatry, spiritual adultery and unbelief. Yet, the purpose of this judgment in these last days is not just to punish wickedness, but it is to revive God’s adulterous church and to bring many people to salvation in Jesus Christ before the day when our Lord returns for his bride.

In that day a song will be sung among the saints of God. It will be sung by those who survived the judgment and who honored the Lord by their lives and by their faith, endurance, steadfastness and faithfulness. They will sing a song of praise to God for all that he has done for them, and in them, and through them. They will thank him for his great salvation, and for bringing them into his eternal kingdom, the city of God, which is a spiritual city, not a physical one. They will acknowledge the Lord as their Savior, their helper, their Lord, and their strength. He alone is the one who saved them, who delivered them out of Satan’s grip, and who brought them from death to life, and out of slavery to sin to now live to Christ and to his righteousness.

Although the world is in utter chaos, and wickedness is spread far and wide, and there is much danger, sword, and strife all around us, we can live in perfect peace inwardly if we keep our minds focused on Jesus Christ, and we do not let the cares of this world or the wickedness of other humans undo us. We must always keep in mind that our God is absolutely sovereign (in control) over all that he has made, and he has a plan and a purpose for all that he allows, and through it all he will gain the glory and the praise. So, we need to rest in him, believe in his promises, trust his Word, and follow him wherever he leads us, and do whatever he instructs us to do.

Path of the Righteous (vv. 7-11)

The path of the righteous is level;
you make level the way of the righteous.
In the path of your judgments,
O Lord, we wait for you;
your name and remembrance
are the desire of our soul.
My soul yearns for you in the night;
my spirit within me earnestly seeks you.
For when your judgments are in the earth,
the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
If favor is shown to the wicked,
he does not learn righteousness;
in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly
and does not see the majesty of the Lord.
O Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people, and be ashamed.
Let the fire for your adversaries consume them.

When Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, he did so in order that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. When we believe in Jesus to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-18). This is what it means to be born again of the Spirit of God. The old has gone. The new has come. We were walking (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, but now we are walking by faith in the opposite direction, according to the Spirit of God. For, the Lord, through his death and resurrection, made the way for us to now walk in his righteousness and holiness, in all uprightness, honesty, integrity, and in undiluted (unmixed) faith and devotion to him.

Where we once craved the desires of our flesh and the pleasures of this sinful world, now our desire is for our Lord to please him in everything. Instead of yearning after what our flesh desires, we now yearn (long for) God and his holiness. I’m not saying we do this perfectly, though lack of perfection should never be used as an excuse for willful defiance against our Lord or for willful and continued sin against God. But, we should be growing in the grace of God, maturing in our walks of faith, and our desire for God should be daily increasing, while the cravings of this sinful world should be dissipating from our lives.

What we often consider to be the good things of this life are not always a blessing if having them means we are far from God, so sometimes favor can be a curse, and judgment a blessing. Sometimes having many possessions or affluences can be a curse and not a blessing. So, just because we have money and possessions, it is not necessarily a sign that we are being blessed by God. What good is it if we have much in the way of the things of this world but they keep us from following the Lord with our lives, or they don’t lead us to follow him in obedience? And, instead, we become lazy and wicked and rebellious because we have too much, and thus we don’t know what it means to really have to rely on the Lord and not on ourselves?

Other Lords (vv. 12-15)

O Lord, you will ordain peace for us,
for you have indeed done for us all our works.
O Lord our God,
other lords besides you have ruled over us,
but your name alone we bring to remembrance.
They are dead, they will not live;
they are shades, they will not arise;
to that end you have visited them with destruction
and wiped out all remembrance of them.
But you have increased the nation, O Lord,
you have increased the nation; you are glorified;
you have enlarged all the borders of the land.

The peace that we need is not world peace where everyone joins hands with one another and sings “Kumbaya.” True peace is not tolerance and acceptance of all religions and all walks of life. It is also not lack of judgment of what God calls sin. True peace never compromises with the world of sin nor does it compromise the Word of Truth in order to not make waves. The peace that we need, as the people of this world, is peace with God, which only comes through faith in Jesus Christ, which results in obedience to Christ and to his commandments, not a watering down (diluting) of the gospel in order to “make nice” with the world.

When we try to “make nice” with the world in order to be accepted by them or to join in with them, thinking that is the way we will win them over, or because we desire sin more than obedience, and thus we compromise our faith, we allow “other lords” to rule over us in place of Jesus Christ. These “other lords” can be other people, Satan, the things of this world, sin, fear, or whatever we have made to be our idols, such as entertainment, pride, position, influence, and/or reputation, etc. The Bible says that we are slaves to whatever or to whomever we obey, either to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness (Ro. 6:16).

But, it is the Lord’s will that we should live holy lives, pleasing to him, so if we will not do that of our own choosing, and if we continue to give ourselves over to idolatry and to spiritual adultery, because God loves us, he will discipline us in judgment in order to prune and purify us, and to revive us, and to put to death those idols in our lives so that we can walk in purity of devotion to him alone. Then, we will be able to say that those “other lords” are now dead and that they will no longer arise because God has put them to death in our lives in order that we might walk in his holiness and righteousness, and so that we might follow him in obedience to his will for our lives. And, then God will restore, revive and purify us and make us holy and fit for his service, so that we can be a light for him in a dark world.

Bless This House
Helen Taylor / May H. Morgan

Bless the people here within,
Keep them pure and free from sin . . .

Bless us all that we may be,
Fit O Lord to dwell with thee . . .

Fullness of Joy

Friday, August 25, 2017, 9:15 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Just Want to Be Where You Are.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Psalm 16 (ESV).

Apart from You (vv. 1-4)

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”

As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones,
in whom is all my delight.

The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply;
their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out
or take their names on my lips.

When we believe in Jesus Christ, and he becomes our Lord, we yield to his will for our lives, and we rest in him to accomplish his purposes in our lives. We should no longer regard our lives as our own, to do with them what we desire, but we should consider that we now belong to Christ, for we were bought back for God with his blood shed on a cross for our sins. We ought to be grateful for his grace to us, and we should desire him above all else in this life. He should be the love of our lives, and we ought to want to be with him always, doing what he says, and following him wherever he leads us.

When we trust in Jesus Christ, his Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us. As his followers, we now become the body of Christ, God’s temple, for God now lives within us in the person of his Holy Spirit. Collectively, we who believe in Jesus Christ are his church. And, the church is comprised of the saints of God (believers in Jesus). Thus, we should love them and want to enjoy sweet Christian fellowship with them, and to worship God with them and to minister to one another. And, the Holy Spirit will gift us with spiritual gifts which are to be used within the body of Christ to encourage, strengthen, counsel, nurture, urge, heal, and help one another to grow in our faith.

When we have faith in Jesus Christ, we should love what he loves and hate what he hates. We must leave our old lives of living for sin and self behind us, and we must follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his will for our lives. We should no longer run after the cravings of this sinful world, but now our desire should be for our Lord, to please him in every way.

My Chosen Portion (vv. 5-8)

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Faith in Jesus Christ is not just about escaping hell and having the promise of heaven when we die. It isn’t just about being forgiven our sins so that we are no longer under condemnation, either. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He saved us, not just to secure a place for us with him in eternity, but he saved us to deliver us from bondage to sin while we still live on this earth. He died, not just to forgive us, but to transform us. He has given us spiritual birth in himself, for when we believe in him, we die with him to our old lives, and we are resurrected with him to new lives in Christ Jesus, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Faith in Jesus Christ is also not just a religion, but it is a relationship with our living God. Because of what Jesus did for us in dying for our sins, we love him, and we want to be in fellowship with him, and we want to serve him with our lives. So, we spend time with him each day in prayer and in his word because we want to hear from him, and to talk with him, and to have communion with him. And, he counsels us and instructs us in the way he would have us go. Sometimes he corrects or rebukes us, and other times he encourages and comforts us. He is always with us, and we can talk with him any time. Yet, the beauty of the relationship is not just in the talking and listening, but it is in the doing. We must do what he tells us, too.

The Path of Life (vv. 9-11)

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
or let your holy one see corruption.

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Spending time with our Lord in prayer, in his word, in listening to him speak his words to our hearts, and then in doing what he instructs us to do should not be just ritual or obligation or brief. We should consider the fact that God now lives within us, so he is always with us, no matter where we are or what we are doing, so he can talk with us and us with him 24/7. We ought to always be in an attitude of prayer and have receptive ears to hear him speaking to us anytime and anyplace, and then to quickly respond to what he says. It should be a lot like a young married (or engaged) couple who want to be with each other all the time and who can’t wait to see each other and to tell each other about their day or to share experiences together.

We should love our times together with our Lord, and to desire to know and to do his will, no matter where that sends us or what it requires that we do. And, he will make known to us the path of life chosen for us that we must follow. And, then he will go before us and prepare the way, and he will lead us in the way we should go, and he will direct our steps. We may not know exactly what lies ahead, or God’s exact timing for everything, but we step out in faith one day and one step at a time as he reveals his will to us each step of the way, and in his perfect timing. Sometimes we wait on him, and then when he opens the way for us to go, we then walk in it, but not in our own strength, but in the strength and power of God’s Spirit within us.

I Just Want to Be Where You Are
Don Moen

I want to be where you are
Dwelling in your presence
Feasting at your table
Surrounded by your glory
In your presence
That’s where I always want to be
I just want to be,
I just want to be with you…

House of Prayer

Saturday, July 1, 2017, 5:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Pray, Pray, Pray.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 19:37-46 (ESV).

Don’t Be Silent (vv. 37-40)

As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

We have many Pharisees in today’s church gatherings, as well, who are trying to silence the Lord’s servants and witnesses. Some of them are pastors or elders, and some of them are politicians. They are all part of a movement sweeping across the globe which is diluting the gospel message to make it more appealing and acceptable to the world, and as a precursor to a one world religion, which is accepting of all religions as viable. Their goal is to get the people of the world to all come together and unite as one voice and one heart in breaking down all which divides us as the people of the world. Their message is one of tolerance (lenience, broad-mindedness) towards all religions, and towards certain chosen sinful lifestyles.

Basically, if you hold on to the truths of scripture, and of the full gospel message, as taught by Jesus Christ and his NT apostles, then you are tagged as intolerant, bigoted, hateful and as a religious extremist who must be silenced, reprogrammed, or eradicated from the planet. It isn’t as though they come right out and state that they are speaking against evangelical Christianity, though, at least not in so many words, but it is obvious to anyone who is really paying attention to their words. For, when they give a description of hate speech, a bigot, of intolerance, or of a religious extremist, it includes the gospel of our salvation and its messengers.

The gospel divides people as saved and as unsaved, as believers in Jesus, and as non-believers, and as those who are promised eternal life with God, and as those who are not, and that does not set well with these hypocrites, liars and deceivers. It also confronts sin in sinful humans, and it calls for repentance, warns of judgment, and promises eternal life for the penitent. None of that fits with the one world religion agenda, so the gospel is changed to “gospel lite” so as not to offend anyone, and we are outcasts.

Jesus Wept (vv. 41-44)

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

Jesus is grieved over his idolatrous church, which has fallen prey to these liars, deceivers and hypocrites (Pharisees). The church is the body of Christ, with Christ Jesus as its head, and we are to follow Jesus with our lives, not man in his deceitful scheming. And, yet, the church, which is God’s holy city, has now been trampled upon by those who would destroy it, and these false shepherds of the people have largely been successful in their campaign against what God has established, but God has the final word in this. Amen!

I am not certain of the beginnings of this present campaign to destroy the church, and to transform it away from Christ, and his gospel, and to turn it into a business, which is marketed just like any other business, but I suspect this has been going on a long while, and that it has come in slow and subtle stages (1). Satan works like that. He is very sly, cunning and crafty, and patient, too, in how he works in stealthy ways in slowly introducing lies into the church and into the gospel presentation. The lies are blended so well into the truth, and they sound like truth, and so the naïve listener accepts the lies as truth a little bit at a time until they can’t discern what are lies.

I was first introduced to this global campaign as early on as 1999, though I did not recognize it fully for what it was until maybe 2004 or after, though there were signs that something was wrong about it early on. It began seemingly innocent enough, and the bulk of the teaching seemed biblical, but over time I began to notice a pattern about it, and how it was so widespread, and how it was cross-denominational. And, then the Lord made me aware of many of the sinister aspects of it, and of its overall message. It has many messengers, but one of the primary ones was/is Rick Warren. Slowly it began to unfold, and I came to realize that its overall goal was to break down the gospel, to turn the church into a business, and to silence those who were still preaching the gospel according to Jesus.

Over time, more and more names were added to the list of those who are promoting this global one world religion agenda, for that is really what it is.

A House of Prayer (vv. 45-46)

And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

This is what has taken place in the church, particularly here in America, though I know this false grace (and peace) message is being spread across the globe. They have turned the Lord’s house, his church, his body, into a den of robbers; into a marketplace. And, the world is their target customers. So, they use worldly and sensual means and methods to attract the world to their meetings, and they push aside those who are still holding on to the gospel as taught by Jesus and his NT apostles, even to the point of trying to discredit them or even to invite them to leave and to go “someplace else” which will be a “better fit.”

So, in order to market (sell) the “church” to the world, they have altered the gospel to where it barely even resembles the gospel anymore. They have turned the narrow road, which few travel, into a broad road, which all can travel, and which leads to destruction, not to eternal life with God. They teach that all one has to do is to acknowledge who Jesus is or even that he existed and then to accept his forgiveness for their sins, and then they have heaven guaranteed them, but they don’t have to change their lifestyles. In fact, they teach that Jesus is pleased with them no matter what they do, and that he smiles on them even when they are trapped in gross sins and rebellion. The hope they share, though, is no hope, but a lie, and a trap.

For, Jesus taught 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 that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die to sin and self), we will gain eternal life. Paul reiterated the same message when he said that Jesus died that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk (in lifestyle) not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. He said that if we walk according to the flesh, we will die (in our sins), but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (with Christ for eternity). And, John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we don’t live by the truth (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, we need to turn the church, the body of Christ, back into a house of prayer by repenting of our sins of idolatry and spiritual adultery, and by following our Lord in obedience, and by praying in the Spirit with all kinds of requests to God for the church, his body, and for its members (parts).

Pray, Pray, Pray / An Original Work / September 6, 2012

Based off Various Scriptures

Pray that eyes may enlightened be,
So they may know Christ.
Pray that they may Him better know,
Strengthened by His pow’r.
Pray that they may grasp
How wide and long
And high and deep
Is Christ’s love.
Pray that they may be filled
To the fullness of God’s love.
Pray with thanksgiving.

Pray for an open door for me,
So I may share Christ.
Pray when the gospel is proclaimed –
Shared with clarity.
Pray words are given me so
I declare the gospel fearlessly.
I pray for you to be active
Sharing your faith, too.
Pray continually.

We oft not know for what to pray,
So we ask for help.
The Spirit intercedes for us –
Words cannot express.
Just keep on praying for the saints
With all kinds of requests to God.
Pray they may have faith to
Please their God in ev’ry way.
Pray with joyfulness.

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJkVvFfZpbQ (This is NOT an endorsement of the producers of this video or of all its content.)