The Way

Sunday, July 9, 2017, 8:18 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “God Will Make a Way.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read various scriptures (in the ESV) on the subject of “the way.”

Jesus is The Way (Jn. 14:6)

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus Christ is the ONLY way to God, to heaven, to salvation from sin, and to eternal life with God. “And there is salvation in NO ONE else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). He is not only God, our Lord and our Savior (our Messiah), but he is our creator. We were made by him. He is the giver of life, both physical life and spiritual life. There is life in no other. And, in him no lie is found, for he is truth, and what he proclaimed is truth. He is the Living Word and the author of scripture (our Bible – Genesis to Revelation), and it is truth.

The Way of The Lord (Matt. 3:1-3)

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
make his paths straight.’”

The way of The Lord is a straight path, i.e. it is honest, upright, trustworthy, undiluted, pure, unmixed with the world of sin, and genuine (unpretentious). It is not hypocritical, and it does NOT immerse (engage) itself in the culture of a society. It does NOT lead people to believe that they don’t have to repent of (turn away from) their sins or that they don’t have to obey Jesus in order to be saved. It does NOT use God’s grace to us as a license for lasciviousness, but it leads people to leave their lives of sin behind them to follow Jesus Christ in obedience, and in surrender to his will for their lives.

And, the way is a journey, not just a one-time experience, after which you live life however you want, and then one day you go to heaven. It is the way of holiness, and it is living and walking in righteousness. It makes “no truck with the world” (1). For, if we walk (in lifestyle) according to our sinful flesh, we will die in our sins, even if we proclaim faith in Jesus Christ (See: Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; Gal. 5:19-21; Eph. 4:17-24; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).

In the Same Way (Matt. 5:14-16)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

As believers in Jesus Christ, and as his followers, we are his body, the church, the City of God (the Holy City). Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is not only The Way, The Truth, and The Life, but he is The Light. He is truth, righteousness, and holiness. He is our light, and his Word is light, and his righteousness and holiness are light. And, to be holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. So, it is this light that we are to let shine before the world. We are Christ’s representatives to the world, so we are to let Jesus shine through our lives, and we are to live holy and godly lives pleasing to him. And, we are to share his gospel of salvation, which is the way by which people can be saved from their sins, and have eternal life with God.

The Way is Narrow (Matt. 7:13-14)

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”

So many people today are trying to make the path (way) to God and to heaven broad (all-encompassing), rather than teach the narrow way, which is “(figuratively) the closely-defined path God ordains to travel on to gain His approval” (2). The broad way teaches that we can merely believe in Jesus’ existence, and accept his forgiveness of our sins, and we are saved, secured, and bound for heaven, and that nothing can ever take that away from us, no matter how we live our lives from that time forward. It “does not slay the sinner, it redirects him. It gears him into a cleaner and jollier way of living and saves his self-respect… The Christian message is slanted in the direction of the current vogue in order to make it acceptable to the public” (3). This way is easy, but it leads to destruction for all who choose this path.

But, the narrow way, which is the way of righteousness, truth, and holiness, and which leads to life, is hard (restricted), and that is why so many people are rejecting it and are making their own easy way to God, which is misleading, because the easy way is really a path to destruction, not to God. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins. If we practice sinning against God, we don’t have the promise of eternal life with God. But, if by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will be saved from our sins, and we will live with Christ for eternity (Ro. 8:1-14).

The Way of Truth (Matt. 22:15-17)

Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

The way of God is the way of truth, not a way of lies which tickle itching ears with feel-good messages that pamper (indulge) human flesh. God’s way does not concern itself with pleasing humans, but his way is concerned with humans pleasing God. God’s way is not swayed by popular opinion, by the culture of our society, or by TV, movies, the internet, social media, or by the philosophies, values, morals and attitudes of what is considered the “norm” of a society. His way is holiness and righteousness no matter what anyone else does, or no matter what anyone else says. He is also not impressed by appearances, for he can see the heart of man. He knows those who are truly his and those who are just playing games. He knows who has an appearance of godliness, too, but who denies its power by his/her lifestyle (2 Tim. 3:5).

God has made the way for us to walk in his way. He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). When we believe in him, with God-given faith, 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 (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). Genuine faith in Jesus Christ involves both repentance (turning away from sin) and obedience to Christ.

As was stated earlier, The Way is not just a one-time experience, but it is a journey, i.e. it is a daily walk. Our salvation is not complete until Jesus Christ returns. So, our Lord continues to make the way for us to follow him, to obey him, to know his will, and to walk in his truth, as he leads us each day in the way he would have us to go. He gives us the counsel, direction, strength and power to walk in his ways, and to go wherever he leads us. He opens doors that no one can shut, and he shuts doors that no one can open. So, where he leads us he will make the way for us to go there, too. So, we should not fear, but we should trust our Lord. He is completely faithful!

God Will Make a Way / Don Moen

God will make a way
Where there seems to be no way
He works in ways we cannot see
He will make a way for me

He will be my guide
Hold me closely to His side
With love and strength for each new day
He will make a way, He will make a way…

(1) By A. W. Tozer: http://www.ldolphin.org/oldcross.html
(2) http://biblehub.com/greek/4728.htm
(3) Same as #1

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Dead or Alive?

Thursday, June 22, 2017, 8:33 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Wake Up!” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 3:1-6 (ESV).

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Jesus is speaking here to the church in a specific location, at a particular time in history, but this could apply to the church today, too, and in any location. Yet, this can also apply, at least in part, to us individually, as well. So, as we read this passage of scripture, we should prayerfully consider how this might apply to you and to me, and to our local fellowships of believers in Jesus Christ, or to the church universally across America or the world.

By Reputation Only

The church has a reputation of being alive, but they are dead, or they are mostly dead, it would appear. So, what does alive or dead look like?

Well, if you were to ask a group of Christians in America if they believed their church was alive, and to describe what that looks like, what do you believe they would say? I believe the majority would describe “alive” as having to do with the music being lively and loud, the preacher being funny and entertaining or culturally relevant, church being fun rather than boring, and there being plenty of activities and fun and entertaining events. And, “dead” to them would be a church that was too serious, that was boring and not fun and entertaining, that didn’t blend in with the culture of the day, and that spoke too much on repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ.

Obviously that is not what this passage of scripture is talking about, or it may actually be the reverse of how the majority of Christians in America might describe “alive” and “dead,” with regard to their local fellowships.

In other words, “alive,” in this context, has to do with being spiritually alive, which has very much to do with repentance, obedience, and submission, and with taking God and his word very seriously. Yet, it also has to do with the joy of the Lord, the peace of Christ, and walking in fellowship with Him. As well, being “dead” (or mostly dead) has to do with being spiritually dead, which may mean that they focus too much attention on externals, and on meeting felt needs, and on entertaining the masses, to the exclusion of repentance, obedience and submission to Christ and to his cross. And, to the exclusion of taking God and his word seriously, and applying its truths to their daily lives. Yet, inclusive of worldly attitudes and behaviors, and even encouraging such behaviors by teaching a false grace gospel, which gives its adherents free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse.

Many people who call themselves Christians, or many Christian churches, have the presumption of spirituality (being of the Spirit of God) based on the name Christian or the name church, or because they might be “good deed doers,” but it may be only performance. In other words, they may honor God with their lips, but their hearts may be far from God. Their “spirituality” is in form only, but not in the practice of godly and holy living. They clean up nice on the outside, and they have the appearance of godliness, but they deny its power by their lifestyles. They have bought into a false grace gospel which teaches them that God does not require repentance, obedience or submission, and thus they think they have free rein to continue in willful sin against God and still have the promise of eternal life with God.

Wake Up!

So, the call here is to wake up from your spiritual slumber, and to revive what still has life in you, but which is about to die completely. So, how do we do this? Well, first off, we have to pray, seek God’s face, and ask him to show us what is mostly dead in our lives, and what needs to be brought back to life. We probably already know what that is, if we are paying any attention to our spiritual lives at all, but we may need the Lord to point these things out for us, if we have not been paying attention to how our lives may have slipped away from our pure devotion to Christ, and how we may have become entrapped by the world and by sinful attitudes and behaviors once again. It is possible to become desensitized to evil and to the Spirit’s voice speaking to our hearts, to where we can become complacent and apathetic or lazy about our spiritual walks with Christ, so that we need the Spirit of God to show us where we need to be brought back to life.

When the Spirit of God, thus, points these things out to us, and shows us how we have gotten off track, and where we need to get back on point, then we need to repent of our sins, turn away from them, and turn back to following our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will for our lives. We must realize here that “Lord” is not just a title or a name given to Jesus to signify that he is God, but that it means “owner-master.” And, we are his bond-slaves (willing submission). He is the owner of our lives, and he is the one to direct our paths and to guide the course of our lives, not us. We are not on this earth for our own enjoyment and pleasure, but we are here to honor God with our lives, and to do what he has called us to do and to be.

If we choose to keep going our own way, though, doing what we want, and still addicted to sinful behaviors and attitudes, God will use divine discipline in order to judge, correct, rebuke, chastise and scourge us, and in order to get us to turn from our sinful ways, and to get us to come back to him in full submission. And, we don’t know when this will take place. And, we can’t even be certain that we would survive such a judgment. Yet, if we are conquerors through Jesus Christ, who loves us, and we give up our sinful practices, and we follow our Lord in obedience, then we will have our eternal rewards in heaven with God. But, if we refuse to repent, and if we continue to practice sinning, the Bible teaches that we don’t have the assurance of eternal life with God (Jn. 6:35-66; Ro. 8:1-14; Lu. 9:23-25; Eph. 5:1-21).

Walk in White

Yet, not every individual, and not every church congregation which professes the name of Jesus is mostly dead and in need of repentance and revival. There are those who believe in Jesus throughout the world who are not soiling their garments, i.e. who are not in the practice of willfully sinning against God and giving in to the sinful desires of their flesh. They walk with Christ in purity (decency, integrity) of heart, mind, attitude and behavior.

They live in unadulterated fellowship with their Lord. They are spiritually alive, and they follow their Lord in obedience. They walk in a manner worthy of the calling they have received from the Lord, “to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light” (See: Col. 1:9-12; cf. Eph. 4:1-3; Phil. 1:27-28; 1 Thess. 2:11-12).

And, this is how we should all live, who profess the name of Jesus. But, if you are among the “mostly dead” spiritually, then you need to turn from your sins today, trust Jesus Christ with your life, and choose to walk from this moment forward in a manner worthy of your calling, in purity of heart, mind, attitude and behavior.

Wake Up! / An Original Work / November 25, 2011

Based off Ephesians 5:1-21; Revelation 3:1-6

Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead.
Your God awaits you to do what
He says to you.
Be not conformed to your selfish will.
Trust in the Lord. Do what He says.
He will give you victory.
Do not walk in darkness;
Come into the light of love.

Listen to your Savior calling
You to obey all His teachings.
Repent of your sin, and
Christ will shine His love on you.
He waits patiently for you to
Heed His whispers to your heart.
Will you hasten to obey Him;
Not from Him depart?

Live your life from this day forward,
Walking in His love and mercy.
Let Him cleanse you of all your sins.
Dwell with Him today.
Do not insult God’s grace to you.
Do not make light of your sin.
Let the light of His truth come
And free you from within.

Weak Knees

Friday, May 12, 2017, 1:29 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Full Release.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Hebrews 12:1-13 (ESV).

Every Weight (vv. 1-2)

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

There are many things which may hinder our walks of faith with Jesus Christ. One may be sin in our lives which we have been unwilling to let go of, and which has entangled us once more. Another could be a stubborn spirit, resistant to the Holy Spirit, and an unwillingness to yield complete control of our lives over to the Lord, because we want to determine our own steps, and we don’t want to give up control to anyone, including to God. As well, we could be facing discouragement due to mistreatment, persecution, and rejection, and/or because we see so much evil in the world, and worldliness in the church, and we long to see human hearts respond to God, and turn from their sins, and to follow him, and yet it has not yet come.

So, there is encouragement here to throw off every hindrance, whether it is some entanglement in sin, or stubbornness and unwillingness to yield total control of one’s life to God. Or, whether it is a broken heart due to rejection and persecution, or sadness of heart over so many being led astray, and over so much evil in the world, and because it seems not many people are surrendering and submitting their lives to the Lord. We need to let go of these things, and we need to surrender our hearts, lives, and circumstances over to our Lord, trusting him to work all things out in our lives for our good, and for the good of others, i.e. for what is in their (our) best interest. We need to get our eyes off self, and off our circumstances, and on to God. And, we need to believe him and follow him, and not grow weary of heart.

Divine Discipline (vv. 3-11)

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Pain is a great motivator. If we are not moved in the right direction via our relationships with Jesus Christ, and his instructions and words of comfort and encouragement in his word, then pain (suffering) may be necessary in order to move us in the right direction. But, divine discipline is not always for the purpose to correct wrong behavior and thinking. Sometimes it is to purify those who are walking in obedience to their Lord, that we might share in his holiness, and that it might yield in our lives the peaceful fruit of righteousness. In other words, divine discipline is used to mature us in Christ, to conform us to his image, to teach us total reliance on God, and to motivate us even more toward love and service to our Lord.

Yet, divine discipline is also to correct wrong thinking and behavior, and to move people to repentance and submission to Christ. So, God will reprove and chastise his children if they have fallen back into sin and/or if they have stubborn hearts, unwilling to give God/Jesus control and authority over their lives. And, this divine discipline will be to transform their lives into conformity with God’s Word and his will for our lives. And, it will be for their good, that they may share in his holiness and yield (bear) the fruit of his righteousness. To be holy means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world, because we are being conformed to the image of Christ. And, righteousness is what is pleasing (or approved) or is right in the eyes of the Lord, i.e. what is pure, upright, honest, moral, just, and decent, etc.

Strengthen Weak Knees (vv. 12-13)

Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.

If we have weak knees, spiritually speaking, we lack courage and determination to follow our Lord in obedience, because we give way to our circumstances, instead of putting our faith and trust in the Lord. We grow weary of heart, and so we give up or back down, rather than persevere in the strength of the Lord. Or, since knees are often a symbol of humility and submission, i.e. of bowing the knee in surrender to the Lord, if we have weak (weak-willed or corruptible) knees, in this case, it shows an unwillingness to submit to the Lord, to obey him, and to allow him to be Lord of one’s life because of a stubborn resistance to the Holy Spirit and to the yielding control of one’s life over to God.

So, the encouragement here is to strengthen our weak knees, which would be through submission to Christ and his Word, and by surrendering to his Lordship (ownership) over our lives. It would be to allow the pain and suffering of divine discipline to do its work in our hearts and lives in changing us, in getting us to turn from our sins, from our stubborn rebellion, and/or from fear of people or circumstances, and to put our trust in the Lord. And, it would be to motivate us to now make straight (upright, holy, pure) paths (ways) for our feet (lives) to travel, so that we may be healed spiritually, emotionally, and, perhaps, physically, too.

Full Release / An Original Work / April 15, 2012

Walking daily with my Savior
brings me joy.
Loving Father; precious Jesus;
He’s my Savior and my Lord.
Gently leads me; follow Him.
I’ve invited Him within.
Now abiding in His presence,
oh, what peace.
From my self-life
He has brought me,
By His mercy, full release.

Hope and comfort,
peace and safety Jesus brings
When I daily bow before Him;
Obey freely; do His will.
Follow Him where’er He leads.
Listen to Him; His words heed.
Now obeying his words fully,
oh, what love
That He gives me
through salvation,
By His Spirit, from above.

Loving Father; precious Jesus,
He’s my friend.
With my Savior, by His Spirit,
I will endure to the end.
Share the gospel, tell what’s true.
Witness daily; His will do.
Tell the world of how their Savior
bled and died.
On a cruel cross He suffered
So that we might be alive.

Our Mission

Wednesday, April 19, 2017, 1:27 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “O Zion, Haste.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read selected scriptures (ESV).

His Witnesses (Acts 1:8)

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, with God-given faith, his Holy Spirit comes into our lives to teach, counsel, correct, rebuke, encourage, remind, urge and to guide us in the way we should go. He also comes in to empower us and to gift us for ministry, as well as to strengthen and to empower us to live godly and holy lives for our Lord, and for his kingdom. Now Jesus Christ is living within us in the person of His Spirit, so we are his temple, his body, his church; the heavenly Jerusalem.

Now we are empowered of God’s Spirit in sharing with others the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ so that they might hear the message of salvation, and so they might turn from their sins, and turn to the Lord to follow him the rest of their days. We don’t have to worry about what to say to people, for he will give us the words to say. He will open the opportunities for us to share his gospel, too, if we are willing and available to be used of him in this way. Yet, whether we actually give out the gospel to someone or not, we are still his witnesses, for we bear his name. How we live will speak volumes to others concerning what it truly means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Salt of Earth (Matthew 5:13)

“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”

We are the salt of the earth. So, what is salt? It is a preservative for food, as well as it is used for flavoring and as a healing agent. From a spiritual perspective, since salt is used as a preservative to slow decay, salt is thus an element that we need in our lives and in our conversations with people to help preserve our lives from corruption and destruction; and from the evils of our society. “Salty” words should be pure (virtuous) and wholesome, and can be penetrating to the heart, as they should have God’s unique individual characteristic within them, i.e. they should reveal his divine character.

As flavoring, salt brings out the distinguishing characteristics of the gospel message, i.e. it does not hide the truth from people, but it shares with people who and what has the power to deliver them from slavery to sin, and to give them pure lives, now free to live righteously before God. Salt, as well, instills thirst, so the goal of our conversations with people should be to inspire them to thirst for God and for his word. But, if the salt loses its saltiness, the messages we share with people will be rendered ineffective in penetrating to the heart, and in preserving lives from sin’s deceitfulness.

Light of World (Matthew 5:14-16)

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

The Light is Jesus Christ, and it is truth and righteousness. We are to be Jesus to the world. Our lives should reflect him. When we talk with people, we should be ever aware of our Lord’s presence with us, and we should be open to the Spirit’s promptings to share Christ with people, as he leads. We should be people of integrity – honest, honorable, virtuous, and pure in our thinking and speech, and in our actions. Because, it isn’t just our words that need to reflect truth and righteousness, but our lifestyles, too.

We are a city on a hill, i.e. we are Zion, the Holy City of God. God does not dwell in tabernacles built by human hands. He dwells in the hearts of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ to save them from their sins. So, we are his temple. We are God’s house. No building on this earth is God’s house, even if they give the name “church” to it. It is the people of God who are his church; his house. And, we are to not hide his truth from the world, because many people are still lost in their sins, and they need to hear the truth, not hear lies which give people a false hope of eternal life with God.

Make Disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

By the authority of Jesus Christ, he sends us, his disciples, out into the world, not to become one with the world, but to be his light to the world. Too many Christians these days think we have to be enmeshed with the world in order to win the world to Jesus. But, Jesus called us to come out from the world and to be separate from (different, unlike) the world. We are not to love the world of sin or the things of the world. We, too, are to be no longer conformed to the ways (attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors) of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed of the Spirit of God in the renewing of our minds. We can’t make disciples of Christ of people in the world, in other words, if we are immersing ourselves in the world’s ways.

We have to go to the world. We have to go where people are, and we have to be intentional about sharing the gospel of Christ with them, yet under the empowerment and direction of the Holy Spirit, and not in our own flesh. Our goal is to bring them to faith in Jesus Christ and then to help them to grow in their walks of faith, although that is not always possible. We individually may not always be the ones to disciple those with whom we share Christ, but we, as a body, can work together to accomplish this, i.e. one plants and another waters. Some baptize, while others preach, and still others pray. Yet, we should all be teaching people what it means to be a follower of Christ, and we should be urging them, too, to obey their Lord and Savior.

Proclaim His Excellencies (1 Peter 2:9)

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to proclaim his excellencies, of how he died on a cross for our sins, and of how he will give us the faith to believe in him for salvation. Yet, we also need to tell of how he turned us from sin, and of how he brought us into his truth and into his righteousness. We need to share with them, too, that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin), we are liars. If we walk in the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; 1 Jn. 1:6; Ro. 8:1-14; cf. Lu. 9:23-25). This is what we should tell them.

Yet, time is not on our side, so we need to make haste in fulfilling this mission to which we have been called, to get the gospel out to the people of this world before Jesus Christ returns to judge, and to take his bride to be with him forever. We should not be lazy servants, for many are lost.

O Zion, Haste / Mary A. Thompson / James Walch

O Zion, haste, thy mission high fulfilling,
To tell to all the world that God is light,
That he who made all nations is not willing
One soul should perish, lost in shades of night.

Behold how many thousands still are lying
Bound in the darksome prison-house of sin,
With none to tell them of the Savior’s dying,
Or of the life he died for them to win.

‘Tis thine to save from peril of perdition
The souls for whom the Lord his life laid down;
Beware, lest, slothful to fulfill thy mission,
Thou lose one jewel that should deck his crown.

Proclaim to every people, tongue, and nation
That God, in whom they live and move, is love;
Tell how he stooped to save his lost creation,
And died on earth that we might live above.

Give of thine own to bear the message glorious;
Give of thy wealth to speed them on their way;
Pour out thy soul for them in prayer victorious;
O Zion, haste to bring the brighter day.

Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace;
Tidings of Jesus, redemption and release.

Lukewarm Christians

Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 7:15 a.m. – The Lord Jesus continues to put in my mind the song “Bless This House.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Revelation 3 (NASB).

“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”

So, I am reading in Romans, and I read Romans 3 this morning, but when I sat down to type, I “accidentally” typed “Revelation 3” instead of Romans 3, but then the Lord said to me that this was not by accident. This is where he wanted me to read and what he wanted me to write about this morning, so this is where we are.

The Speaker

The speaker is Jesus Christ. He is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He left his home in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, preached repentance for the forgiveness of sins, ministered to people’s needs, died on a cross for our sins, was resurrected from the dead, ascended back to heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father. Then he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, and to empower them to live righteous, godly, and holy lives. He now lives within each one of us who are his by God-given faith in him. We are his body, his temple, the church, the heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy City of God.

Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just so we could escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. When we believe in Jesus Christ, with God-given faith, we are divinely persuaded of God as to God’s perfect will for our lives, and thus we surrender our lives to his will. Faith that comes from God is not like human faith. God-given faith is convinced of our need to turn from our lives of sin and to turn to our Lord, from our idols, to now make Jesus Christ the ONLY Lord (owner-master) of our lives. Otherwise, it isn’t God-given faith. It is human faith. For when we believe in Jesus with God-given faith we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like him in true righteousness and holiness.

Not Hot or Cold

Jesus is speaking to the gathering of the church in a specific location. I believe that today he is making application of this letter, which was to the Laodicean church, to the church here in America. She, overall, is not on fire for the Lord nor is she completely emotionless (detached, unaffected) by him, though certainly this does not describe every fellowship of believers or every individual Christian in America. But, it does describe the vast majority. So, how did the American church get like this? How did she get so far away from her Lord? And, is there still hope for her? I believe there is!

I believe there are several reasons why the church in America has gotten to this point. One is that, in the 1950’s, she turned to the US government for help (her Egypt) instead of trusting in the Lord to supply all she needed. It was then that the church was talked into incorporating as a not-for-profit business via the 501c3 tax exempt status, and under the headship of the US government. She did not need to do this. She was already tax exempt, but she was persuaded that this was a good thing, but it was not, for that put the US government in authority over the church to where pastors and their people are now accountable to the government instead of to Christ.

What this also did was bring much of the world into the church gatherings. Now that the church was being defined as a business, she began (if she hadn’t done this before) to work more like a business of men rather than as the body of Christ, with Christ as her only head. She began to listen to clever enchanters who convinced her that she needed to market the church just like any other business, and to use the same kinds of marketing techniques (schemes, tricks) as businesses use. These are geared toward attracting the world to the business, and to pleasing the customer base, so they will want to come back. Thus, the church began to dilute the gospel to make it more pleasing and acceptable to the world. And, they turned their “worship” services into large stage productions, with worldly entertainment, to attract the world to their gatherings, and to keep them coming back.

Another factor in this decline of the American church is TV and the internet, though certainly they have been used for good, too, such as having a place where we can share the gospel with people throughout the world. I believe television is the image (likeness) of the beast, and it is worshiped in most American households. Living rooms are often organized around the TV set, so that every chair and sofa faces the TV. And, people’s lives and schedules are often scheduled around TV, as well, although with Netflix, I do think that TV watchers do have greater control over when they watch their favorite TV shows. But, still, TV and the internet consume a great deal of time of the average American. And, many of them are hypnotized and are brain-washed into believing the lies of the beast and of his workers of iniquity.

Yet, another factor in the downfall of America is her affluence. I am not saying that everyone in America is wealthy, but even some of the poorest Americans still have cable TV, and the internet, and smart phones or other internet connected devices. And, so Americans, at large, are continually plugged in to the world and are daily taking in its thinking, values, lies, deceptions, attitudes and behaviors. As well, because Americans, on the whole, are not really lacking in the basic necessities of life, and there are so many distractions for them, and they are so entertainment driven, God has taken a back seat in many of their lives. They don’t really see their need of God on a daily basis to supply all that they need, and to guide them in the way they should go, because their lives are so filled up with all this junk.

God’s Counsel

So, our Lord wants to bring us to the place where we will look to him to meet our every need, and where we will be free from all these distractions. He wants us to gladly forfeit all of earth’s treasures so that Jesus’ perfect likeness we wear. He desires of us that we seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, then he will supply all that we need (not all that we think we need or want, though). He wants us to be rich in faith, not in all this stuff, 95% of which we don’t really need, if truth be told. And, he wants to give us pure hearts and holy lives, set apart from (different, unlike) this world of sin because we are truly being conformed to his likeness. He wants to bless us, in other words, but not with more junk so we can get even more distracted and disengaged from him. The way in which he wants to bless us, I believe, is to give us eternal benefits from God, which have eternal and lasting value.

The Lord has been calling out to the church in America for many years, confronting them with their idolatry, witchcraft, spiritual adultery, immorality, and complacency, but not many are listening, at least, not yet. I believe the events of 9/11/01 were a judgment of God on this nation, and its purpose was to revive (cleanse) the church (his temple) here, but American Christians, for the most part, went right back to how they were living before, once the disaster had passed. So, he has plans to come against us again in judgment, only this time it will be much more severe, because he wants to get his bride ready to meet him when he returns, and she isn’t ready.

In the meanwhile, which could be a very short time, he is still calling out to his church to repent of her sins and to follow his counsel to her. The reason he is standing on the outside of the church gatherings is not because these are not his people, I don’t believe, but because they have pushed him out the door. They have sent the Holy Spirit packing, and they have let humans become their gods, instead, along with all their marketing schemes for how to build and grow their “churches,” i.e. their human-based businesses. And, they have married (partnered with) the US government, thus making this evil government, which is the whore of Babylon, their head. The Holy Spirit is not invited into many of these church fellowships because they are following men, and their goals, and their business objectives, instead.

Yet, our Lord has not given up on us. That is grace! He is standing at the door of the church here and he is knocking (speaking loudly, but gently and clearly) through his messengers. If we will but hear his voice, and we will listen to him, and be willing to turn from our sins, and to obey him, he will come back into our gatherings, but this means we have to leave Babylon like he has counseled us to do. We have to give up all these distractions that are consuming our lives, and we have to give our all to him, fully surrendered. And, we have to make him our ONLY Lord (owner-master).

Then, he will return to us when we return to him. And, he will fellowship with us once more. So, there is hope! But, time is running out. Today could be the day when disaster strikes America once more, and many lives will be lost for eternity. We don’t have time to keep playing games with God. Surrender your all to him today! Let him make you pure and free from slavery to sin, and fit to dwell with him for eternity. Amen!

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 . . .

Don’t Mess Around!

Monday, March 27, 2017, 9:55 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Give Ear to Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 42 (Select vv. NASB).

The Chosen One (vv. 1-4)

“Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;
My chosen one in whom My soul delights.
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the nations.
“He will not cry out or raise His voice,
Nor make His voice heard in the street.
“A bruised reed He will not break
And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish;
He will faithfully bring forth justice.
“He will not be disheartened or crushed
Until He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”

Jesus Christ, our Messiah, is this chosen servant of God, yet he is also God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God the Father sent his Son Jesus to the earth to be born of a virgin, conceived of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus walked the face of this earth, he was fully God yet fully human. While in a flesh body, Jesus suffered like we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. Although he was God, yet he was also man, so God the Father put his Spirit on Jesus, so that he was also filled with the Spirit of God.

So, how did Jesus or how will Jesus bring forth justice to the nations? Another word for justice is righteousness. Well, first of all he taught the righteousness of God when he was on the earth. He confronted sin in sinful humans, warned of divine judgment, called for repentance, and promised the hope of eternal life with God for the repentant sinner. He also promised the blessings of God for the humble of heart, for those who have grieved over their sins, for those who show his mercy to others, and for the many who yearn after God’s holiness, purity, and uprightness in their lives.

Yet, not only did he teach it, and not only did he live righteously, but he provided the way in which we, also, can be righteous before God. Although Jesus knew no sin, yet he became sin for us when he was crucified on a cross (2 Co. 5:21). So, when he died, our sins died with him and were buried with him. When God the Father resurrected him from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. Thus, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we can be delivered out of bondage (addiction) to sin, be forgiven our sins, relieved (set free) of eternal punishment, and be given the hope of eternal life with God. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).

Sometime after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, he ascended back to heaven, where he is seated at the right hand of the Father. He then sent his Holy Spirit to indwell the hearts and lives of his followers. When we believe in Jesus, and we are crucified with him in death to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life (born again), the Spirit of God comes to live within us to teach, guide, comfort, encourage, train, convict, counsel, strengthen and empower us to walk godly and holy lives, pleasing to God. And, one day Jesus is going to return to the earth to judge all humankind and to take his followers (his saints, his bride) to be with him forever.

Open Blinded Eyes (vv. 5-9)

Thus says God the Lord,

Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it
And spirit to those who walk in it,
“I am the Lord, I have called You in righteousness,
I will also hold You by the hand and watch over You,
And I will appoint You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the nations,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the dungeon
And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.
“I am the Lord, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
Nor My praise to graven images.
“Behold, the former things have come to pass,
Now I declare new things;
Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God, but he is God, and he is our creator (See: John 1). He is the giver of life. Not only did he provide the way for us to be made righteous before God, restored to fellowship with HIM, but he called us in righteousness to live righteously (godly, holy, and uprightly in purity and integrity). He, as well, was called of the Father in righteousness. So, although this is primarily speaking of Jesus, our Messiah, yet as his followers, this speaks of us, as well, for we are his body; his temple.

Where he was called to live righteously, so are we. Where he was called to be a light to the nations, so we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. Where he was called to open blinded eyes and to deliver the captives out from their prisons, so we are called to rescue people out of darkness, and to snatch them from the fire and to save them. This is what it means to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with people. We tell them that Jesus died to set them free from slavery to sin so that they can now live for Christ and walk (in lifestyle) in his holiness.

When we believe in Jesus Christ with God-given faith, which divinely persuades us as to God’s will for our lives, we are turned away from living for sin and self, and we are turned to Christ to live godly and holy lives pleasing unto him, empowered and strengthened by the Spirit of God now living within us. Our old lives of living to please self are done away with because Jesus put sin to death on a cross. And, we are born anew of the Spirit of God to new lives in Christ now under the direction and influence of the Spirit of God. The old has gone. The new has come. Jesus doesn’t slightly clean up our old lives, but he gives us completely new lives!

Give Ear to This (vv. 17-23)

They will be turned back and be utterly put to shame,
Who trust in idols,
Who say to molten images,
“You are our gods.”
Hear, you deaf!
And look, you blind, that you may see.
Who is blind but My servant,
Or so deaf as My messenger whom I send?
Who is so blind as he that is at peace with Me,
Or so blind as the servant of the Lord?
You have seen many things, but you do not observe them;
Your ears are open, but none hears.
The Lord was pleased for His righteousness’ sake
To make the law great and glorious.
But this is a people plundered and despoiled;
All of them are trapped in caves,
Or are hidden away in prisons;
They have become a prey with none to deliver them,
And a spoil, with none to say, “Give them back!”
Who among you will give ear to this?
Who will give heed and listen hereafter?

Here, the servant being spoken of is not Jesus, but it is the people of God, i.e. now it is the church. Although coming to Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness, it is possible that believers in Jesus can be led astray from their pure devotion to Christ, and they can get entangled in sin once again (See: Rev. 2-3, for example). There can be a spiritual decline take place within the church when sin is left unchecked and undealt with, and when worldliness begins to take a foothold within the gatherings of the church. And, this is where we are in America.

So, God is now calling out to his church, i.e. to those who are living spiritually adulterated lives in one way or another, and he is, once again, confronting the sins in the church, calling for repentance, warning of judgment, but promising hope, healing and restoration to the repentant. He is pointing out such sins as idolatry, stubborn hearts, willful closing of eyes and ears to the truth, and disobedience to his Word. Although Jesus set us free from slavery to sin, many have allowed themselves to come back under a yoke of slavery (addiction, bondage). And, they have closed their minds to the truth, and have gathered around themselves preachers who will say what their itching ears want to hear, i.e. feel-good messages which do not convict of sin, but which allow them to remain in their sins guilt-free.

So, the Lord is calling his church to listen to him, and to heed what he tells them. God is not pleased with us no matter what we do, no matter who tells you that. He has standards for us. His Word is his standard for our lives, which we must follow. We are not bound by Old Testament laws and regulations, but we are still commanded to obey the Word of Christ, i.e. his instructions to us. He says that if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them (die in our sins). But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. Paul reiterated this message when he said that if we walk (in lifestyle) 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) (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14).

So, don’t mess around. Don’t take God/Jesus or his grace for granted. God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14). If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we don’t live by the truth (1 Jn. 1:6).

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

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

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

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

Truth or Consequences

Thursday, March 2, 2017, 7:16 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Heart’s Desire.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 John 1 (Select vv. NASB).

The Truth (vv. 1-3)

The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

The truth is critically important, obviously. In just a few sentences, John mentions “truth” four times. Truth is honesty, sincerity and it is kind, if said in love. It is the opposite of what is false (a lie). Lies are NEVER kind! God’s truth is holiness, righteousness, purity, integrity, and honor, etc. It is HIS WORD. It is the gospel of our salvation. And, it needs to be coupled with love. Also, love is truth (honest). If we lie to one another, even if it is so we don’t “hurt one another’s feelings,” it is still a lie, and that is not love. This is not to say we need to go around being opinionated with everyone, for that is not kind, but that we should not willfully lie to people for whatever reason.

Walking in Truth (vv. 4-6)

I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.

As followers of Jesus Christ, it is essential that we walk (conduct our lives) in truth. It saddens me greatly to see so many professing Christians buying into the lies of the world which tell them it is ok to tell lies. Remember here that even false compliments are lies. Withholding information that is required and necessary is also telling a lie, like if a married person commits adultery against his or her spouse, even if it is a light flirtation or looking at pornography, it is still sin, and it is sin against the spouse, and it needs to be confessed. Some people withhold the truth, they say, in order to spare others’ feelings, but lies hurt much greater than the truth told in love. Leading people to believe something is true that is not true is also a lie.

Yet, walking in truth is not just the absence of telling lies. We have to put off telling lies, and we have to put on telling the truth. We need to make it our practice to tell the truth. As soon as we realize that something we said was not true, even in the slightest way, we need to confess it and correct it.

Also, walking in truth means conducting our lives according to THE TRUTH, which is the gospel of our salvation, the WORD OF GOD. This means that we need to know the truth through serious time spent with God in his Word, and via having ears willing to hear and to obey the truth that our Lord shows us. Truth makes no compromises with the world. It does not blend lies and truth together to make people feel more comfortable about living in their sins. It doesn’t allow just a little bit of dirt into our lives so that we identify with the world, either, or so that people will like us and not think we are “goody-goodies.” There is a lot of pressure out there to conform with the world, and it comes even from within the church and from church leadership.

Notice here that the definition of love is that we walk according to Christ’s commandments (his instructions to us). If we obey the Lord, we are walking in love, because love does no harm to its neighbor. So many people compromise truth, they think, in order to “show love,” but that is not love. It is pure selfishness! It is not loving to tell lies, which includes withholding the truth so that people won’t be upset with us, so we won’t get rejected. Too many professing Christians are all about doing what will make other humans “feel good,” but they are not concerned with doing what will please God. They know that if they follow the Lord, and if they do what his Word teaches, that they will have to give up all of their sinful practices, as well as they will have people hate and reject them, and they don’t want that.

The truth is, though, that if we do truly walk in truth, that we will be hated, rejected, mocked, ostracized and persecuted (ill-treated). If we walk (in lifestyle) in truth, people will think we are stuck up, i.e. that we are “staying aloof from others because one thinks one is superior” (Google). They will think that we think we are better than them just because we choose to follow the Lord and to not participate in sinful practices. Our lifestyles will be an offense to those who are compromising with the world, and so we will not have many friends. We may have very few friends, in fact.

The closer we walk with our Lord in obedience to his commands, and that we walk in truth, and do not compromise with the world, the more the people of the world (even worldly Christians) will pull away from us, so we need to be prepared for this eventuality. Yet, we need to be willing to suffer for the sake of the truth – for the sake of the gospel of our salvation.

Denying the Truth (vv. 7-11)

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

Who is a deceiver? He is one who not only practices telling lies, but who does so calculatingly, with the full intention to lead others to believe what is false. Deceivers usually do this for their own evil intent, usually to gain some advantage over another person, or to achieve some intended evil purpose for his own benefit. A deceiver may even make a show of being a Christian, i.e. a follower of Christ, in order to lead others to believe that what he is doing is righteous, but it is a cover-up for evil. He may even fake religious activity all the while he is doing what is pure evil, wicked and impure.

A deceiver, by the very nature of the word, may verbally acknowledge Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh, but not truly honor God with his life. He (or she) may be one who professes Christ as Savior, and even claims to be brought from darkness into the light, but who is still walking in darkness. And, this person may do this in order to lead others astray. These deceivers tell enough of what is true in order to lure in those who do know the truth, but who don’t know it well. And, then they stealthily and cunningly insert clever lies into the truth in such a way that the unsuspecting and the naïve do not notice, because it sounds like truth. And, thus, they catch people in their net of deceit and trick them into believing lies disguised as truth.

The antichrist is anyone who is against Christ and who is opposed to him in lifestyle, not just in words. Many people can fake Christianity, because they know the lingo. They can talk a good talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Yet, we are antichrist if we deny him by our lifestyles, i.e. if we willingly, knowingly and obstinately reject God’s grace to us, and if we persist in unrepentant sin and rebellion against God and the truth of his Word. And, by God’s grace, I mean the grace that sets the sinner free from slavery to sin, and which frees him to walk in truth and in Christ’s righteousness, and which teaches him (or her) to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (See: Tit. 2:11-14; Ro. 6:1-23; Ro. 8:1-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25).

So, we need to watch out that we don’t become prey to deception and thus fall away from following the truth as Jesus and his NT apostles taught it. We must abide (remain, stay) in the teaching of Christ, in steadfastness, if we want to have God, and be found in him. This means that we need to be students of the Word of God, so we know the teachings of Christ and of his NT apostles, so that we can walk (live) in TRUTH. If we are spending most of our time in the pleasures of the world, but we are spending very little time in the Word, and in obeying what it teaches us, we are ripe for deception, and may easily be led astray from our pure devotion to Jesus Christ.

The truth is that Jesus died, not just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die, though many teach this. The truth is that a mere confession (verbal) of Christ as Savior is not enough to save us, nor is a mere intellectual assent to what he did for us in dying for our sins. Jesus said that if we want to come after him, we must deny self and take up our cross daily and follow him. He said if we hold on to our lives (sinful lifestyles), 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 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 misdeeds of the flesh, we will live (eternally with Christ). And, John said that if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk (in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), we lie and do not live by the truth (Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; 1 Jn. 1:6).

So, we need to reject lies and walk in THE TRUTH!

My Heart’s Desire / An Original Work / June 29, 2013

Based off Rm. 10; Lu. 9:23-26; Ep. 4:20-24

Loved Ones, Oh, my heart’s desire
Is that you might come to Jesus.
Many appear zealous for God,
But they do not trust in Him.
They have not submitted to the One
Who saved them from their sins;
Not forsaken their sins,
Nor have they obeyed their King.

The word of the Lord is near you:
The word of faith we’re proclaiming:
That you must confess your faith
In Jesus as your Lord and King:
Believe in Him as your Lord,
And follow Him where’er He leads.
Share the gospel; be a witness,
And meet others’ needs.

Beautiful are the feet of those
Who bring the good news of Jesus:
Anyone who would come to Him
Must deny himself today;
Die to sin and self, and
Let the Spirit transform you in heart;
Put on your new self in Jesus,
Yielding to the cross.