Friday, March 1, 2024

What It Means To Be One

"I (Paul) ... urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." Ephesians 4:1-5

I was texting with a friend of ours and they used a praying hands emoji 🙏 in the text but the hands were a different color. The color they chose suggested their ethnicity. This is not a criticism of my friend but to point out how difficult it is for Christians of different ethnicities, nationalities, and cultures, even denominational practices to identify with each other as being one. The world, in its spiritual ignorance, requires that we embrace our differences - identify with them firstly. God in His Spiritual wisdom says we are all the same by faith.

"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation" - 2 Corinthians 5:16-18

I have written about this before - several times - maybe more than several - having posted about spiritual topics over 3000 times. As I have said in the past, when choosing a subject for the devotions, I watch and listen, waiting for the Spirit to prompt me on the focus of what ai am about to write.  So here it is. If Christians are to be a light in a world that is day by day becoming more anti-Christian, it is paramount that the world sees us as one. 

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." - John 13:35

We are given plenty of opportunities to declare our natural roots while at the same time claiming to be Christians who are one and who love one another. We all understand what Jesus said. We all understand what Paul wrote. But when we compare it to how many Christians actually treat each other, it is clear that we struggle with living it out. This is what Dr. Tony Evans had to say about it.

"It is technically incorrect, technically, to call yourself a black Christian, or a white Christian or Hispanic Christian, because then you make your color or your culture an adjective. 

It’s the job of an adjective to modify a noun, so if you put Christianity in the noun position and your color or culture in the “adjectival” position, you have to keep shaping the noun [who you are as a Christian] so that it looks like the adjective that describes it. So if your color or culture stays in the adjectival position you gotta keep shaping Christianity to look black, or to look white or to look red or to look yellow, [or brown] ’cause that’s the adjectival description you’ve given it. 

Your Christianity must always be in the adjectival position, your color and culture must always be in the noun position, so that if anything must be adjusted, it is the noun of your humanity and not the adjective of your faith. You and I are to define our humanity in terms of our faith, not our faith in terms of our humanity. Jesus stayed who He was, but He operated from heaven’s point of view." - Dr. Tony Evans, Seeing Race Through Jesus’ Eyes

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Finding Joy When Things Aren't Going Your Way

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer's; he makes me tread on my high places." - Habakkuk 3:17-19 (pronounce "huh-back-uck")

We have been teaching Experiencing God to Christians who want to know and do the will of God for their lives for a number of years.  But we have found that not every Christian, and might I say, not most Christians want to know that much. Being saved from their sin is quite enough for them. That is a good thing, of course! But there is so much more to our new life.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." - Jeremiah 29:11

While knowing the will of God for me is humbling and cool. Doing the will of God - walking and living in obedience to His will is not necessarily easy. We have been called to be salt and light in a sin-sick world.  God does not pull us out of that world but sends us into it to proclaim the Gospel and tell people about Jesus. Not just by what we say, but in the way we live and respond to what life brings our way.

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind." - James 1:2-6

We are cautioned throughout the Bible, in particular in the New Testament, that we are going to face trials as born-again Believers. That our going will not be easy. The danger is that when we encounter trials, we will let them discourage us and question the rightness of what we are doing. As if we imagine that God is going ahead of us clearing the obstacles in the road before we get there. And if we run up against an obstacle, well - there must be a problem.  We must have made a wrong turn. I have often said, tongue in cheek, "Ministry would be easy if people weren't involved!" Very often the people we have the most trouble with are people serving alongside us. We forget that we are all sinners saved by grace and unfortunately, not everyone is operating in the power of the Spirit, but the flesh. Including us.

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

You can take that to the bank!

Be careful that you do not let discouragement tempt you to give up. To lose heart. What we do for God we do by the power of God. So how do you count it all joy, when it is not very joyful? Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, not a right attitude. It is joy in spite of your circumstances, not because of them. If you listen to your flesh and yield to it, you are going to miss God.

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone


Wednesday, February 28, 2024

The Agent For Transformation

"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." - Romans 12:2

Some years back there was a TV add making a pitch for nutrition that said, "You are what you eat". That idea has a spiritual application. IN the context of Romans 12:2, rather doing what the world is doing - conforming our way of life and thinking to the world's, which comes naturally BTW, we are, instead, to be transformed from our old nature to our new nature. Changed like a caterpillar to a butterfly. So how does that transformation happen? What we do, say, think, desire is a reflection of our hearts. The change agent is the Holy Spirit, that catalytic agent is the Word of God. The place where the change takes place is in our hearts. And that change on the inside is manifested on the outside.

"But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord." - 2 Corinthians 3:18

As you know, when we are saved by faith, we are sealed by the Spirit of God (Ephesians 1:13) and the Spirit now resides in us (1 Corinthians 6:19). The Spirit is the change agent. He makes it possible for us to have a spiritual relationship with the Father. We will need the Spirit until we are face to face with Jesus. 

"Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." - 1 Corinthians 15:51-53

There are some whose spiritual growth is stunted - although it may have been years since their rebirth, the are still spiritual infants. The disciplines of the faith - the Word, prayer, witnessing, fellowship with other Believers is absent in their lives.  You might call it spiritual anorexia.  

Our lives should be marked by a hunger for the Word of God. If a Christian is not hungry - it is most likely because they have a love problem. 

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Hurry Up And Wait

"Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint." - Isaiah 40:28-31

A song that uses verse 31 goes on to say, "Teach me Lord, teach me Lord to wait. In the Army there is a saying, "Hurry up and wait." The whole idea behind that is you must be ready to go before it's time to go not get ready when it is time to go. Do you know anyone who waits until the last minute to get ready. It's not like they didn't know the time to leave was 10:00am, but they wait until the last minute to get ready and are typically never ready on time. And when it is time to go, they remember 6 things they have forgotten. 

My wife always teases me about that. We are never, or nearly never, late for anything. We nearly always arrive early.  So much for confessions from the Elgin household! We just saw our granddaughter and her young family off. They were down for a visit. They said they were leaving and left the house, but then we had to take pictures. Then we moved toward to cars. But wait! Where is the oldest great grandchild. Found, in the house putting fingernail polish on that she had just received as a gift. 

There is a parable about that in Matthew 25. Ten virgins going to meet the Bridegroom, but only 5 had oil in their lamps.  The other 5 were not prepared.  The moral is that we should always be prepared - spiritually - for whatever comes our way. 

"Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead." - Matthew 8:19-22

It is not just about being willing to wait on the Lord or to be ready as we wait, but being willing to go and do whatever, whenever and wherever the Lord leads us. 

Where has the Lord taken you? Or where does He want to take you? What has He asked you to do? Are you ready and willing?  

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Monday, February 26, 2024

Positive Transfer Of The Control

"When the men of Israel saw that they were in trouble (for the people were hard pressed), the people hid themselves in caves and in holes and in rocks and in tombs and in cisterns, and some Hebrews crossed the fords of the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. Saul was still at Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. He waited seven days, the time appointed by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and the people were scattering from him. So, Saul said, “Bring the burnt offering here to me, and the peace offerings.” And he offered the burnt offering. As soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came. And Saul went out to meet him and greet him. Samuel said, “What have you done?” And Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattering from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines had mustered at Michmash, I said, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the favor of the Lord.’ So, I forced myself, and offered the burnt offering.” And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the command of the Lord your God, with which he commanded you." 1 Samuel 13:6-13

If you remember what happened next, God removed Saul's anointing as king and chose David a shepherd boy in his place. The consequence of disobedience. But that is not the reason I shared this story. My point today is that it is all too easy to trust in ourselves and not in God when we are facing adversity.  I remember a story my instructor pilot (IP) told me. I was learning to fly the Chinook - CH-47. He had been in Iran, during the Shah's regime (a long time ago) training Iranian pilots to fly the Chinook. There was an incident in the aircraft and the Iranian student pilot took his hands off of the controls and said "Allah wills!" to which the IP replied "He may will that for you but not for me!" Then he took control of the helicopter and landed it safely. (Ok, I debated about adding this bit of trivial. We are taught to do a positive three-way transfer of controls. Pilot not flying says "I have the controls. Pilot flying says "You have the controls" visually checking to see the other pilot does indeed have their hands and feet on the controls. The pilot taking control of the aircraft repeats "I have the controls.")

We are faced with decisions like this every day. Do I do this myself or do I trust God. Someone once said, "Do all you can and leave the rest to God". Maybe that is what Saul was thinking. But I don't think so.  God sees the heart. Saul was halfhearted with respect to his devotion to God. Samuel had told Him what God said about the matter. Saul looked at his circumstances and feared men more than he feared God. I don't think it was about the sacrifice, but it was about Saul's lack of faith and his disobedience. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." - Proverbs 3:5-8

Those are easy words to read but difficult when you are faced with intensity of life. Have you transferred control of your life to God. Is He the pilot in command or merely the copilot watching you fly. 

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone


Friday, February 23, 2024

It's Not How You Feel

"These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I would go with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival. Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." - Psalm 42:4-5

Our feelings can run away with us. Cause us to imagine things, say things, and do things that are contrary to our new natures but oh so consistent with our old ones. It is all too easy to get caught up in the moment and forget that we know whom we have believed and were persuaded that He is able to do that which we have committed unto Him until that Day.

"Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these." - Galatians 5:19-21

As quick as the blink of an eye or the snap of a finger and our old nature is raging. It is as if we never knew Jesus at all. Oh, this new life is a strange one is it not?  Just when I thought I was over the struggle, my old nature raises its ugly head. So, what happened? It is really simple. I became self-confident. Or put another way, confident in myself.

"My son do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So, you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones." - Proverbs 3:1-7

Sin is crouching at the door (Genesis 4:7) waiting for the opportunity. We must always be on our guard. So long as we are living life on earth, our new nature will be in conflict with our old nature. Perhaps it is God's way of keeping Him in our focus.

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Winning By Surrendering

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." - Romans 12:1-2

Pastor Bob Barlow, pastor of a small church in Savannah, Georgia would always say, "When you read the word 'Therefore' look to see what it is 'there for'." So, what is the "therefore" there-for in Romans 12:1?

"Concerning the gospel, they (Israel) are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!" - Romans 11:28-33

Therefore, because God showed us such grace and mercy while we were yet sinners offer yourself as a living sacrifice. It is only reasonable given what He has done.

When we were born, we were destined for defeat. We fight our whole lives for survival and victory.  Yet, at the end of our natural lives, it matters not what we have achieved in our lifetime.  The wealth or fame that we have accumulated. Dust to Dust. And then the judgement. Apart from salvation by faith in Jesus, we are hell bent.

The only way that we can win the eternal struggle is by surrendering - offer ourselves a living sacrifice to God - it is only reasonable considering the great Sacrifice the God the Father sent Jesus the Son to make for us.  Martie and I were part of Campus Crusade for Christ Military Ministry - we still are. The leader of that part of Campus Crusade would say "It's all about Jesus and all about Grace". Another friend when asked what he thinks, always replies, "Jesus Saves" Those are eternal and immutable truths.  The essence of God's solution for man's sin.

The way we win in life is to surrender. To admit defeat. Jesus has already won the eternal battle for the souls of men and women. Hallelujah! 

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Talk To Him - He Did It

"Jesus said to him, Rise, take up your bed and walk. And immediately the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked. And that day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said to him who was cured, It is the Sabbath; it is not lawful for you to carry your bed. He answered them, He who made me well said to me, Take up your bed and walk. Then they asked him, Who is the Man who said to you, Take up your bed and walk? But the one who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had withdrawn, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you. The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well." John 5:8-15

I am certain that you are familiar with this account of the healing of the lame man.  A man devoid of any hope. No one to help him. Alone. Desperate. And then one day, he met Jesus. That may be like your story. No hope of your life getting any better.  No one to help. And then one day you met Jesus. 

Like the lame man. And the blind man. And so many others. You can't explain it. I was blind but now I see. I was lame and now I can walk. I was struggling with an addiction and now I am free. We don't know how He did it, but He did. Like the Sam and Dave song. " [Jesus] (sic) You didn't have to love me like you did but you did and I thank you. You didn't have to do what you did, but you did. And I thank you."

Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. Most people probably would have labeled me as a nice guy before I was saved. I probably was. I drank too much after I came back from Vietnam. Way too much. Call it PTSD - whatever. I associated with other guys, Vets, who drank too much too and so we saw it as OK. But it wasn't. But one day I met Jesus and He said rise up and walk. I was convicted of my sins - they were not limited to excessive drinking - my sin problem did not start because of Vietnam or alcohol. I was born a sinner. Just like every other person who has taken their first breath on this planet. And just like the blind man and the lame man had a testimony, we do too. 

"The man departed and told the Jews that it was Jesus who had made him well" And we should do the same. 

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

You Are Not A Salesman

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear" - 1 Peter 3:15

TV commercials, billboards on the highway, pop-up ads, in your mailbox, or on your computer or smart phone.  Our minds, and our hearts, are pummeled by some very savvy promoters of anything you can think of.  Things that capture our attention - speak to the desires of our flesh. Sometimes we don't even know that we want something until someone shows us something. Something that will save all of our problems - or not. Like the fruit on the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Ads make appeals to our senses. For a good reason. It is the cravings of our flesh our flesh the often leads us to make decisions that are not in our best interest.

"For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." - 1 John 2:16

That is what makes sharing the Gospel so interesting to me.  The Gospel does not appeal to our flesh. In fact, just the opposite. It condemns the works of the flesh as sinful. It urges the hearer to admit their failings and surrender to Jesus as Lord. To be willing to sacrifice their old way of life and embrace a new life in Christ. To consider what they once craved and thought key to their happiness as worthless. 

"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation." - 2 Corinthians 5:18-19

We all have been given a ministry of reconciliation. We are not selling the Gospel, we are proclaiming it. We are living testimonies. What we are sharing with people is spiritual truth. We are ambassadors of Christ. We don't have a quota, but we do have a command. It is not a contest to see how many people we can save. We are spreading the Good News that Jesus saves! We are not saving anyone. People don't respond to us but the Spirit of God and the revelation that they are a sinner and God loves them.

You are not a salesman - you are a witness giving testimony that Jesus Saves!

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone


Monday, February 19, 2024

Living Rightly In The Game Of Life

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law, he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so but are like chaff that the wind drives away." - Psalm 1:1-4

I love Psalm 1. It is a simple reminder of the things I should avoid as a travel through this life and the things I should do as a child of God. Do you like to be reminded of your failures? Not those times when you did your best, but you failed.  Those times when you chose poorly. You made a decision that did not reflect who you are in Christ. I know I certainly don't. Never did and never will! Just as soon talk about something else. If I am honest, it pains my heart when I think about it. 

Oh, if only Life was like the game of solitaire. You know, you get to a point in the game where there are no more moves. The cards you need are face down and you can't get to them. So, you just reshuffle and play again. The last game forgotten. Like it never happened. But life is not like that, is it? 

In the Game of life, we don't get to reshuffle the deck. And we don't get to pretend that what just happened, didn't happen. Oh, we can pretend that it didn't happen. Like the ostrich, we can put our head in the sand and not look. But that does not mean we will escape the consequences. That the lion will not eat us! Unconfessed sin can be ignored but it also can be debilitating. It will affect our relationships. Relationships with both God and man.

"This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." - 1 John 1:5-10

Listen - I know this is a tough "read". We don't like to think about the times we have missed the mark. When we sin, we miss the mark that God has placed on the target of life and relationships, with Him and with others. We can't undo the fault or sin by simply reshuffling the deck, but we can confess and repent. God's forgiveness is certain because He sees the heart and knows whether our confession and repentance are sincere. For people, you may not find forgiveness comes so easily. Trust is an easy thing to lose and a hard thing to win back. With people, you might be forgiven but you will have to prove that you have indeed repented. They can't see your heart like God does. They don't know if you are sincere and can be trusted. That takes time - a promise is not enough.

"If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." - Romans 12:18

If that is you today then my encouragement is to get your heart right with God and seek forgiveness from others.  Be prepared to live with the consequences if the Lord chooses not to remove them. If someone chooses to not forgive you - well that is a consequence of sin and living in the world. Just know that God does forgive you. Keep your eyes and hope fixed on Him.

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Friday, February 16, 2024

Put Your Hope In God

"And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." - 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

A.W. Tosier - "“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply."  I was talking to a friend of mine today about events in both of our lives where the malady we faced could have easily ended in our deaths, and yet, we survived against the odds. In my case the Cardiologist told me that in all of his experience he had never seen anyone survive what had happened to me. I don't believe that it was a stochastic, simply luck, that I had survived. Instead, I believe that it was that the Lord was not done with me yet. He spared me for His purpose. That there was still something for me to do.

I will carry the effects of that time in my life until the day I see Jesus face to face.  Like Paul, the events in my friend's and my life and the physical ramifications of those events have proven to be thorns in our flesh. They are daily reminders that our dependence is upon the providence and grace of God. We should not lose heart when we face adversity but look to God for strength for today.

"We do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day." - 2 Corinthians 4:16

Renewed day by day because our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus and His righteousness. On Christ the solid rock we stand. All other ground is sinking sand.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God." - Psalm 43:5

Friends - no matter how hard the trial - no matter what the outcome - you are resting in the palm of His hand. Jesus said ...

"These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Who Can Understand The Bible

"But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, "Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ." 1 Corinthians 2:9-16

"But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." When you and I were born again we were sealed with and by the Spirit of God (Ephesians 1). That set us apart spiritually from the rest of the world. Enabled us to understand Spiritual truth. To understand the spiritual truth of the Bible as intended by God.  Our Bibles are written in languages that anyone who can read the language can recognize the words and read the sentences. But - only those born again by the Spirit (John3) can understand what the Writer intended. The reason is that the Bible is a spiritual book. And the lost are dead spiritually.

"But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood (for some spiritual childhood - babes in Christ) you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (God-breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2 Timothy 3:14-17

You want to hear God's voice? Read the Bible - He will speak to you - stir your heart by His Spirit. You want to explain Bible verses to the lost - you are wasting your time - you are speaking a spiritual language that they cannot understand - even though they hear the words that they know. It never reaches the heart. But even though you cannot explain it with human reasoning and knowledge, the Spirit can use it to bring conviction and hopefully repentance leading to salvation. Sharing the Gospel message can and should include sharing the Word of God. But it is not you that will bring conviction. 

"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;" - 1 Peter 3:15

When the Spirit prompts you - speak. Someone once said "Preach the gospel at all times. And if necessary, use words." 

Think about it – Pray about it – Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone