Sunday, March 7, 2021

If We Have The Son, We Have Eternal Life

He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” — 1 John 5:10-12

John made it pretty clear didn’t he?  If we have the Son – if we have placed our faith in the work the Jesus did on the Cross them we have eternal life.  I think it is important for us to remember that truth – every day. It should change the way we see things, the way we do things, the way we love things. I listened to a sermon about this subject today.  It was like hearing the song Jesus Loves Me – so simply and yet so profound.

But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach):  that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” – Romans 10:8-10

Confess and Believe – so simple – but that is only the beginning. The is the start of our new life – the beginning of a journey that will end in Heaven.  Do you believe that? I hope so. You know, I write these BLOG posts with the hope that the Spirit of God will use them to stir your heart to pursue God and His righteousness through Jesus by the power of the Spirit and the revelation through His word. I heard a pastor’s prayer, “I’ve got nothing to say, Lord let me get out of the way!” That is how I feel about what I write.   

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.” – 2 Corinthians 2:9-14

God uses His Spirit to teach us – to reveal deep truths to us – spiritual truths that can only be understood by the power of His Spirit.  He uses His children to communicate those truths and then the Spirit of God to illuminate the truth and confirm it in our hearts.  Of course the natural man cannot understand them because he lacks the Spirit of God. Pretty simple.

That is it for today. Yield your heart to the Spirit of God – receive His teaching as it was intended – to conform you into the image of the Son. To cause your light ot burn brightly in a dark world that is in desperate need of a Savior – even Jesus Christ.

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Friday, March 5, 2021

God's Peace What It Is And What It Is Not

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled…” — John 14:27

“Whenever we experience something difficult in our personal life, … Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. […] God’s mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, “as the world gives,” but the peace of Jesus. […] If you are acting on your own impulse, or out of a sense of the heroic, to be seen by others, the peace of Jesus will not exhibit itself. […] Any problem that comes while I obey God (and there will be many), increases my overjoyed delight, because I know that my Father knows and cares, and I can watch and anticipate how He will unravel my problems.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For Hid Highest

What is your expectation of God with respect to your faith and everyday living?  Do you think that God is obligated to make certain that you do not have to endure hardship?  That nothing “bad” will happen to you or the ones you love?  No injury, no heartbreak, no death, no failure, no loss?  That is a problem.  The Bible does not promise that … God’s theme song might be “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden!” In fact Jesus said (John 16:33) “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.” Our peace is in Jesus – supernatural peace … peace in spite of the circumstances you find yourself in this world you live in .. a world full of sinners.  Peace is a fruit of the Spirit .. in spite of your circumstances … Because of your spiritual perspective you see life, as it happens, differently. Oh, you wanted to avoid experiencing anything unpleasant and was hoping that your rebirth would provide that for you.  Sorry!  But that does not mean that you can’t experience joy while your feet are still on terra firma.  Joy, another fruit of the Spirit.  Are you hoping the world will somehow get better over time?  Not going to happen.  Sin begets sin.  Hurt people hurt people.  The answer is Jesus.  He is the Hope of Heaven.  James said (James 1:2-4) “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.”

Look!  All of us have experienced and are experiencing difficulties in this life.  God showed His grace and mercy by sending a Redeemer – Jesus. And then He sent a Spiritual Helper – the Holy Spirit. And through Jesus, He established the Church.  Let your light shine. The world wants to snuff out your candle.  To replace Jesus with its god – money. Let your light burn brightly.  Let people know that our Redeemer lives! He is Jesus the King.  He is the Christ.  The Son of God.  Who takes away the sins of the world.  Shout hallelujah! And thank God for His wonderful gift … (Ephesians 2:8-9) “…saved by faith … it is a gift from God” Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Good Samaritan Wore A COVID Mask

Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.” —Luke 10:30-33

Did you know that you don’t wear a mask to protect yourself but to protect others? It’s true! If you have the virus there is about a 90% chance that you won’t give it to the people around you. If both have masks it increases to 95%.  Why I am writing about this in a devotion? Our second daughter drove in from Atlanta for my wife's, Martie, birthday.  We were talking about her work when she told me that the company she works for has a policy that that all employees must comply with CDC guidelines for COVID at work or they will be fired. One of her coworkers told her that the only reason he wears a mask is so he doesn’t get fired. He is not concerned about anyone but himself. I asked her if he was being beaten and robbed in an alley, would he think it was alright if she walked by saying, “It is not my problem”? That is when the Good Samaritan popped into my mind.

The very ones who you thought would have had compassion towards the man in the ditch did not – they were only concerned about themselves. They could recite scripture from memory to impress others with their spirituality, but when it came to applying it to their lives? Well, it was all about them – everybody else was on their own.  They were not about to have their life interrupted by someone else – they had problems of their own and were not going to be inconvenienced for the good of someone else.  I have listen to people rant about wearing a mask. When you boil it down – it is the same as that parable. As a Christian, why would you not wear a mask for the good of others? Probably the first reason is that you don’t really care about others – you just don’t want to be inconvenienced. Oh, that would not be your go-to reason – but that is the essence of the reluctance.

For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” – Luke 6:43-45

My goal is to encourage you to have spiritual perspective on your life and those things that are happening around you. I hope I have today. It is all about loving your neighbor – bearing one another’s burdens – laying your life down for others. The elementary things of our faith that get lost in everyday living on this planet.

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

You Don’t Have To Accept The Sin To Love The Sinner

If we walk in the light as He is in the light…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” —1 John 1:7

“The evidence that I have been delivered from sin is that I know the real nature of sin in me. […] And it is not until we truly perceive the unrivaled power of the Spirit in us that we understand the meaning of 1 John 1:7 , which says, “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” This verse does not refer only to conscious sin, but also to the tremendously profound understanding of sin which only the Holy Spirit in me can accomplish. I must “walk in the light as He is in the light…”— not in the light of my own conscience, but in God’s light. […] On the conscious level it produces a keen, sorrowful knowledge of what sin really is. The love of God working in me causes me to hate, with the Holy Spirit’s hatred for sin, anything that is not in keeping with God’s holiness. To “walk in the light” means that everything that is of the darkness actually drives me closer to the center of the light.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

People often mistake freedom from sin with freedom to sin.  Another mistake we make is thinking that “hating” sin means that we must hate the person who is sinning as well. We throw the baby out with the bath water, if you will.  Then on the other hand, the temptation is to embrace the sin as well as the sinner. That, it seems, is the easier path that many Christians travel.  Particularly if they struggle with their own sin.  If we love our culture.  If we embrace what our culture offers or promotes as truth and right, even though the Word of God says it is a lie and wrong, then that is exactly where we are.  It is not a function of what we have but what has us.  Listen, freedom from sin is not freedom to sin.  It is really not OK.  The problem is, so many “Christians” are in love with the world and the things of the world.  If we look at other Christians and not Jesus, we can find justification for what we do and don’t do very easily.  We are not to love our neighbor and then love for God will result.  It is the other way around.  Love God and then you will love others because of our love for God and His love for us.  (1 John 4:19)

Jesus was called a friend of sinners and was criticized for it by the religious elite.  The same ones that Jesus said were “whitewashed tombs filled with dead men’s bones.” I want you to think about where your heart is and where your priorities are.  Jesus said to the adulteress that he did not condemn her but that she should go and sin no more. He called her to repentance.  That is loving her and hating her sin.  It is an attitude of love that dwells in the heart that loves God.  Loving God and not loving the natural world is not an option, it’s a command.  Just like the fish swimming in the sea, we can live our lives in a sinful world and not have what is in the water change us inside. Think about Jesus eating dinner with sinners and tax collectors – the very ones He came to save. Oh, but that was Jesus you say – that is not in my power to do that. You are correct. But the power to do that is in you if you have been born again by the Spirit of God through faith in the One who did.  And if in the oft chance that you think I am making this up – read this

I (we) have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” – Galatians 2:20

Oh – it is possible but only by the power of Jesus in us – the world needs to see Jesus and the way it will is by seeing Jesus expressed by the way we live our lives.

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

How To Survive A Disaster Or Two

I [Jesus] have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”” —John 16:33

So just when you thought 2020 was over and there might be light at the end of the COVID tunnel and it was not a train – you discover it is a train – called URI.  There was no diverting it to some other path.  All we could do was watch and wait.  Some people prepared – some did not.  Some people left – some people stayed.  It didn’t matter what anyone did, really – the winter storm was following its course and there was no stopping it.  Leaving destruction in its wake, the storm has moved on – like so many natural disasters – we would like it to be a memory – but the aftermath is still fresh – painful for many.  And the thing is – there are more storms coming – maybe not this winter, but they are coming – of that you can be certain. I told someone the other day that Martie and I have traveled to places that have suffered from Mother Nature’s wrath, but now that we are in Texas, the storms come to us.

Jesus is the source of peace in the midst of trouble.  Not FEMA. Not a Red Cross shelter. Not even a hotel far from the path of the storm.  Not alcohol. Not Denial. Not medication. Only Jesus.  That, my friend, is a spiritual truth.  The world will offer everything but Jesus.  I am currently running a warehouse that is supplying emergency food, water and plumbing supplies to the survivors – we don’t call them victims any more – not sure why.  The house will be comfortable when we are done, but it’s just a house.  Helping with the homes is a concern – restoring water, but the main concern is the hearts of the people who will live in the home.  When Peter and John were stopped by the lame man at the gate of the temple .. he was asking for money – a material solution to his plight – and certainly he needed food and money to buy it.  But Peter said (Acts 3:6) “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” The man had a physical problem – but underlying that was a spiritual problem that needed a spiritual solution.

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” – James 1:2-4

Your faith will be tested if you have a faith to be tested.  We may offer help with rebuilding to those who have no means to change their circumstance, but more importantly we offer Hope through faith in the One who is the source of all Hope. 

We are all going to face problems in this life – COVID – URI – the next Hurricane – or some other malady.  The question is, “Where will we turn in those times of need and uncertainty?”  Here is a thought ….

(Psalm 121)

I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?

My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.

Behold, He who keeps Israel; Shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.

The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night.

The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul.

The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in; From this time forth, and even forevermore

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Monday, March 1, 2021

Jesus Saves Us - The Spirit Empowers Us - Our Faith And Obedience Enables Us

 Abide in Me…” —John 15:4

“In the matter of determination. The Spirit of Jesus is put into me by way of the atonement by the Cross of Christ. I then have to build my thinking patiently to bring it into perfect harmony with my Lord. God will not make me think like Jesus— I have to do it myself. I have to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). “Abide in Me”— in intellectual matters, in money matters, in every one of the matters that make human life what it is. […] Am I preventing God from doing things in my circumstances by saying that it will only serve to hinder my fellowship with Him? How irrelevant and disrespectful that is! It does not matter what my circumstances are. […]It is unnecessary to change and arrange my circumstances myself. Our Lord’s …. never chose His own circumstances, but was meek, submitting to His Father’s plans and directions for Him. Just think of how amazingly relaxed our Lord’s life was! [….] You say, “Yes, Lord, just a minute— I still have this to do. Yes, I will abide as soon as this is finished, or as soon as this week is over. It will be all right, Lord. I will abide then.” […] In the initial stages it will be a continual effort to abide, but as you continue, it will become so much a part of your life that you will abide in Him without any conscious effort. – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” – Ephesians 1:13-14

The Holy Spirit enlivens your new self toward God.  You put your faith in Jesus and God puts His Spirit in you.  The very same Shekinah Glory that led the Children of Israel in the desert … the very same that resided in the Holy of Holies in the temple.  Now you are the temple … and that Spirit leads you, or will if you will follow.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Think about how amazing that is.  Now think about the reverence that you show with respect to that amazing fact of your new life in Christ.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was some physical – visible change when you accepted Jesus .. .when you were born again by the Spirit? A daily reminder every time you looked in the mirror.  Like Oswald Chambers wrote – it requires deliberate action on our part.  

How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.’” – John 3: 4-8

Nicodemus didn’t understand because even though he was a teacher of the precepts of God, he only had a natural understanding of the facts he was teaching.  Be careful that you don’t make the same mistake.  The Spirit of God will give you understanding but only if you seek it.  If you rely on yourself and your culture you will miss it and struggle in your Christian life.  Think about it.

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Friday, February 26, 2021

Taking Another Look At The Good Samaritan

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’  And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’ But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” — Luke 10:25-29

I was talking with a friend the other evening about the parable of the Good Samaritan. I am certain you are familiar with it.  The focus of our conversation had to do with serving in response to the call of God alongside people who are not “children of the King” – Christians. The second greatest commandment that the lawyer quoted says to love your neighbor. The lawyer, I surmise, was wanting to justify not showing the love of God to people that were not of his ilk. So Jesus used the example of the Samaritan – a people that the Jews despised.

In this parable, the Samaritan was the one that was kind to the Jew who had been beaten and robbed when other Jews walked by and offered no assistance. From the lawyers perspective, the priest and Levite, the religious ones, would have been the ones who would be most inclined to show love to a fellow Jew – but not so. No, it was the one who was despised and had no reason, other than his compassion for another human being, to help the man lying in the ditch. And not just to help, but to sacrifice personally his time and money to see that the man was properly cared for.

So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’” – Luke 10:34-35

Then Jesus asked the question, “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” (v36) The lawyer answered, “He who showed mercy on him.” (v37) Here is where we, so often, make a left turn in our thinking. Remember we started off with the question, “Who is the neighbor I am supposed to love?” The focus was not on the Jew in the ditch, but on the Samaritan whom the Jews despised. The point was and is that we should love others and demonstrate that love by showing mercy to others. That is how we fulfill the second greatest commandment. The priest and the Levite failed miserably but apparently felt justified before God and their fellow Jews. The parable really had nothing to do with the Samaritan – but to make the lawyer aware of the bias in his heart and lack of love for others. Remember my conversation was about serving alongside people who do not share my faith. That is not what the parable is about and, in my view is a mis-application.

Are non-Christians capable of showing compassion toward their fellow man? Of course they are. Are Christians capable of being dispassionate toward others, even other Christians? Absolutely – that is what keeps the Body of Christ divided. Should Christians and non-Christians be yoked together in spiritual service, in my opinion, no. We must not be unevenly yoked with non-believers.  (2 Corinthians 6:14) Can Christians work alongside non-Christians while having no spiritual expectation of those who are not inhabited by the Spirit of God? Yes, I think so. But it is all about context. A little leaven affects the whole loaf. In your desire to be inclusive, you must be very careful that the very spiritual work God has put your hand to do is not undermined by the influence of those who reject your faith. Should you show love and compassion towards others – WDYT? 

Our capacity to love like God loves flows out of our love for God.  Our ability to love others – our neighbor – is a reflection of our heart for God. Our unwillingness to love others – to show mercy is a reflection of our lack of love for God. For many Christians, we can’t get even get past the fact that there are other Christians, who are not like us – worship like us – sing like us – preach like us – live like us, but are saved like us. That they are part of our spiritual family. So we just walk on the other side of the road – seeking to justify ourselves like the lawyer tried to – and failed.  

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Stop Looking At The Waves!

 “ And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’  So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’ And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’” — Matthew 14:28-31

You are most certainly familiar with this scripture.  We all marvel at Peter’s passion and identify with Peter’s humanity.  Have you ever been called out of the boat? The Lord asks you to do what is impossible – counter intuitive.  A seemingly impossible task – that stretches and stresses our faith and fuels our desire to focus on the wind and waves and not the One who has called us out of the boat!

I find myself out on the sea in the middle of a storm – once again. Facing a situation that seems impossible – daunting – racked with opportunity to fail. Such is the nature of our life in Christ.  We live in a world of impossibilities. Or maybe we think possible but not probable.  We doubt our ability to do what we know we are to do.  That boat may have been rocky but at least I could stay dry and safe.  Oh, I could share other stories in the Bible about people who found themselves in impossible situations and then God showed up. But not until they exercised faith. Peter may have know all about fishing, the sea, boats, and then WHAT!!! God says do the impossible – walk on the water. Contrary to the laws of nature. But it is the Law-Giver that has called on us.  The creator of all that we know and see and what we don’t know and don’t see.  I am humbled and amazed that God would use us for His purposes and ultimately for His glory.

So what about you? It is not like God has asked you to solve world hunger. Perhaps your call is small in the world’s eyes, but it requires faith and obedience which are BIG in God’s eyes.  In my experience it is natural to understand the magnitude – which is relative to each Christian, and feel uncertain – perhaps incapable of what it is the God has called you to do and be.  Courage is not the absence of fear – it is action in the face of fear. And so it is with faith.  Let me leave you with two of my favorite verses to contemplate and perhaps embrace.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:8-9

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Monday, February 22, 2021

I Know God Loves Me But Do I Believe It?

…“I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. … I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,  But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes” —Job 42:2, 5-6

I listened to a great message on Job yesterday.  One that caused me to think about my faith and my faithfulness. There is so much about God that I do not understand. So many aspects of God’s nature and His expectation of this child that is contrary to that nature of my flesh and its desires. It is a daily struggle isn’t it? We were watching a movie based upon the movie, Robinson Crusoe, that was made in 1954. In one sin, Friday asked Robinson Crusoe, “If God loves us why does he permit sin in the world?” First I thought, that line would never make it in a movie today! But then my mind went back to the sermon. I can reason Friday’s question – consider it in the context of what I have heard and what I had read myself in the Word. But, that is not really the issue. The issue is – do I trust God with a spiritual truth that I don’t fully understand – trust Him enough to walk in that truth and not manufacture some pseudo-truth and makes me more comfortable. Am I willing to obey even if I don’t have a full understanding.

Faith and obedience are matters of the heart not the mind. Job had challenged God as if to say “God do you know what you are doing?” “God are you really in control?” Or like the question of the Serpent in the Garden, “Did God really say?”  This is at the root of the reason for the great falling away from the Scripture in the Body of Christ today is that very thing. What is that, you ask? When we believe that we know what is right and God does not.  When we look to the world for answers with respect to morality and what is right and wrong. When we are selective about what we accept as truth from the Word of Truth and reject those things that we don’t understand of agree with.  We are very much like Job in that sense. This is not so much an accusation but a warning and an encouragement. This is not a new issue – it started in the Garden and has prevailed – even in the times when some of us thought were better days for the Body of Christ – particularly in the United States.  Since the Garden there has been leaven in the loaf. I will quote again from the Truth Project – Focus on The Family – “Do you believe that what you believe is really real?” Do you believe that the Bible is God’s revelation to man? The proof of our belief is in how we live and love not in what we say.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” – James 1:21-22

Let your light shine and give God the glory.

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

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Who Do You Love More? Your Life Will Shout It Out.

 …they went forth for His name’s sake… —3 John 7

Our Lord told us how our love for Him is to exhibit itself when He asked, “Do you love Me?” (John 21:17). And then He said, ‘Feed My sheep.’ In effect, He said, ‘Identify yourself with My interests in other people,’ not, ‘Identify Me with your interests in other people.’ 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 shows us the characteristics of this love— it is actually the love of God expressing itself. […] Faithfulness to Jesus Christ is the supernatural work of redemption that has been performed in me by the Holy Spirit— “the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” (Romans 5:5). And it is that love in me that effectively works through me and comes in contact with everyone I meet. […] The key …… that he is (that we are) attached to nothing and to no one except our Lord Himself. It does not mean simply being detached from the external things surrounding us. Our Lord was amazingly in touch with the ordinary things of life, but He had an inner detachment except toward God. […] (Our) duty … is to concentrate on keeping (our souls) completely and continually open to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ. The men and women our Lord sends out on His endeavors are ordinary human people, but people who are controlled by their devotion to Him, which has been brought about through the work of the Holy Spirit.”Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” –  Psalm 37:4

That verse can be taken two ways.  First, if you pursue God then He will give you anything your little heart desires.  Second, if you pursue God, He will make His passion, your passion.  He will change your “wants” to those things that reflect His will and purposes.  That is what Jesus was telling Peter.  “If you love Me, then pursue those things that I pursue.  Do what I say to do, even if it makes no earthly sense.” What makes missionaries distinctive from other Christians is that they visibly place less value on earthly comforts and relationships than they do on the call of Jesus on their lives to pick up their cross, abandon the things of this world, and follow Him.  To feed His sheep if you will.  But that call is not limited to missionaries – it applies to all Christians. The thing about a shepherd, when everyone else is at home sleeping, he is standing guard over the flock. I am typing this while sitting in a house in Texas far from lifelong friends and family.  My point?  God has called us to this place from the place He had sent us before - and before that - and .... When He calls, you must be willing to lay what is comfortable and familiar, down.

From time to time when I tell my wife that I love her, she will say “I love you more.” Then I say “No, I love you more.” And we go back and forth several times with that.  But where is the proof of that love? The proof of love is not words, as affirming as they might be. Ephesians 5:25 says this, “Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.”  Do you love God enough to give yourself up for Him? (Romans 12:1-2)  – your hopes, your dreams, your comfort, your secure retirement, your family holidays, your friends the list goes on ….. 

The theme of the Bible is that God is supreme and deserves our total devotion … like David, we must love God with our whole heart. (1 Kings 14:8).  Listen, men, you won’t love your wife that way (Ephesians 5:25) if you first don’t love God that way. (Matthew 22:37-39). And you won’t love God that way if you are unwilling to lay your life down. Think about it. I want to encourage you to examine your heart – your motives for withholding love and devotion to God and, if necessary, get your heart right with God. Then let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

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

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Danger Of Getting The Cart Of Forgiveness Before The Horse Named Repentance

 Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” —2 Corinthians 7:10

Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. It is the beginning of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict people of sin (see John 16:8). And when the Holy Spirit stirs a person’s conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not that person’s relationship with others that bothers him but his relationship with God— “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4). The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy. He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously, by the grace of God. Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, “I have sinned.” The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything less is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes— a reflex action caused by self-disgust.[…] The foundation of Christianity is repentance. […] If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.” – Oswald Chambers – My Utmost For His Highest

I am in the process of writing a treatise on forgiveness. (I had to look the definition of treatise up) The supernatural act of forgiving.  There is a progression that leads to forgiveness.  As Christians we sin.  We come under conviction. That conviction produces godly sorrow which leads to repentance. Repentance leads to forgiveness and restoration.  Think about that.  Granting forgiveness without repentance is called enabling the sinful behavior.  Even though you will be tempted, don't give someone a "pass" because you feel sorry for them.  That means you don’t love them enough to get to the point of repentance which brings healing and restoration.  Think about the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32)  What is the remarkable point of that story?  God is the “father” and we are the “wayward son”.  The father loved the son, but did not go after the son to convince him to come home, even though I suspect the father knew where the son was and what he was doing. The father waited for the son to be convicted, to repent of his sin and return to the father seeking forgiveness.  The son did not even imagine that he could be restored as a son.  The best he hoped for was to be treated like a hired hand.  An evidence of a broken and humble heart.  Every day, the father looked to the hills in the hope that his son would repent one day and return.  He loved his son.  He loved him enough to let the process take its course … even though the father hated what his son was going through.  The father knew that until his son’s heart was changed, there could be no restoration.

That is true for us as well.  We are commanded to forgive, but we must be careful that the forgiveness is not misapplied … and abused.  That means we must exercise spiritual discernment and emotional restraint.  We must be ready to forgive, as we have been forgiven. (Ephesians 4:32) But remember, the benefit of forgiveness, which is restoration, comes after repentance and not before. We can still love, like the father, but the relationship and trust is restored through the act of true repentance. Someone saying “I am sorry” is not the test of repentance – changed behavior is. If you act on someone merely saying "I am sorry" without demonstrated repentance, you might be disappointed when they do it again - and again - and again. Our salvation is a picture of how we are to respond to one another. Don’t confusing not loving with no forgiving. Not holding a grudge against someone – which is a love issue - with forgiveness – which is a trust issue.

Think about it. I want to encourage you to examine your heart – your motives for withholding love and, if necessary, get your heart right with God. Then let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

Have you ever heard the expression  - Giving credit where credit is due? Normally the phrase is used to raise an awareness of a contribution or act performed by someone whose praises were yet unsung.  Most everyone wants to know they have value and are favored by others.  In a world that is dominated by “bad news”, where the acknowledgement and even glamorizing of the evil that prevails, to hear of good things is rare.  Micah 6:8 asks this rhetorical question and then provides the answer.

What does the Lord require of you, O man. But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” – Micah 6:8 

Walking or living humbly is what I am addressing this morning.  It is OK that people recognize your achievements, your character, your acts of kindness.  As Christians, we are to walk humbly.  To walk humbly means to live with an awareness that God is the source of all good things.  If you or I have any ability, it is because God formed us that way.  We may nurture that ability and apply it with good works, but its source is God. 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:10

Now and again, people may want to recognize you for your good works.  I know they have me and it always makes me uncomfortable frankly. The natural world has no spiritual discernment, so they see acts of kindness made by Christians and non-Christians as having the same root.  For you to give God the credit.  For you to give Him the glory. The world might well think, “isn’t that special!” All the while thinking that you are showing false humility. To give God the credit when you are praised is not false humility.  It is the real deal - acknowledging the One who is behind it all. 

Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.” – Psalm 96:3

As Christians, we have the amazing opportunity to see God at work.  People may marvel when the work is done, but without spiritual eyes, they will not have understanding that what they see is God at work through His children.  The accomplishments will seem like an amazing coincidence.  Or perhaps that act of an amazing person.  When in fact it is because of an amazing God. The only thing we can take real credit for is saying "Yes" to God and taking the step of obedience.

The bottom line on the bottom line is this.  Be careful that you don’t rob God of His glory. Give all glory to Him.  Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel and Christoph Graupner would signify that their magnificent works were produced for the sake of praising God with the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” – To the glory of God alone. That desire should be at the heart of every act – everything we do.

That phrase is one of the 5 Solas of the Reformation. 

Sola Scriptura  - “Scripture Alone” : The Bible alone is our highest authority.

Sola Fide - “Faith Alone” : We are saved through faith alone in Jesus Christ.

Sola Gratia - “Grace Alone” :  We are saved by the grace of God alone.

Solus Christus – “Christ Alone : Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, Savior, and King.

Soli Deo Gloria – “To the Glory of God Alone”  : We live for the glory of God alone.

Does that describe you? I want to encourage you to examine your heart – your motives for withholding love and, if necessary, get your heart right with God. Then let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

And now you know why I end every devotion with the following phrase.

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

Monday, February 15, 2021

Do You Know What Love Is

 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” —1 John 3:14-18

I heard a great sermon on love yesterday. It was Valentine’s Day so “love” was most likely the topic of many sermons, I would imagine. As interesting or entertaining as sermons might be, I am always listening – looking for – spiritual truth – nuggets if you will that cause me to remember what God has to say about it and the way I live my life as a child of God.  The Spirit of God has been working overtime on me about unity among Believers and the lack of unqualified love being demonstrated in the Body of Christ.

John did not cite a church to whom he was writing – but we do know that John was writing to Christians. John's readers were confronted with an early, first century, form of Gnostic teaching which was libertine throwing off all moral restraints. Then, like now, the leaven of carnal thinking and attitudes had spoiled the unity and demonstration of Christian love – that John was, even then, attempting to set right.

When we love other Christians without qualification of having the “right” denomination – “right” ethnicity – “right” education – “right” nationality – or “right” socio-economic standing – when we love because we have a common faith in Jesus and spiritual heritage as Abraham’s seed and God’s children – when we can do that – “because we love the brethren” – it is a demonstration and the validation of our salvation. “We love because God first loved us!” (1 John 4:19)

When we are willing to lay our lives aside for others – at personal cost – not out of duty but out of love – we demonstrate with reality of our faith and salvation.  You see – the natural man is not willing to do that. Jesus said “I lay down my life for my sheep” (John 10:11) and who are His sheep?

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand (the sheep), ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand (the goats), ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:31-46

We are obligated and compelled by the Spirit of God and the love in us to help those in need. Very often we want to be selective with respect to who we help and who we count as our brother (or sister). Jesus made it clear in the parable of the Good Samaritan.

And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, ‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ He said to him, ‘What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?’ So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ And He said to him, ‘You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.’ But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” – Luke 10:25-29

He was tying to justify why he didn’t show love to certain people so Jesus told a story about a Samaritan helping a Jew (and the Jews did not like the Samaritans) when other – religious Jews walked on the other side of the road. We are do ready to justify why we should not embrace other Christians. Perhaps because the ethnic group they were born in, naturally, has done great harm to the ethnic group we were born in. What do you think Jesus would say about that kind of love? He might tell the same story to us.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” – John 13:35

Does that describe you? I want to encourage you to examine your heart – your motives for withholding love and, if necessary, get your heart right with God. Then let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

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

Friday, February 12, 2021

Seeing Should Not Be A Requirement For Believing

 Without faith it is impossible to please Him…” —Hebrews 11:6

Common sense and faith are as different from each other as the natural life is from the spiritual, and as impulsiveness is from inspiration. Nothing that Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, but is revelation sense, and is complete, whereas common sense falls short. Yet faith must be tested and tried before it becomes real in your life. […] Faith is a tremendously active principle that always puts Jesus Christ first. The life of faith says, “Lord, You have said it, it appears to be irrational, but I’m going to step out boldly, trusting in Your Word” (for example, see Matthew 6:33). Turning intellectual faith into our personal possession is always a fight, not just sometimes. […] Until we know Jesus, God is merely a concept, and we can’t have faith in Him. But once we hear Jesus say, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9) we immediately have something that is real, and our faith is limitless.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

I quote Oswald Chambers from time to time. I have read his devotions for years and encourage others to do the same. A friend told me that his devotions were difficult to understand so I said I would essentially write a commentary on them to help them. That was the genesis of these devotions. And now some 10 years later and over 2275 devotions later – here I am. I still find Chambers’ insights compelling and still share “nuggets” from his devotion from time to time.

When I woke up this morning, the thought “Seeing is not a requirement for believing.” was on my mind.  The Spirit was speaking to me.  That ever happen to you?  Probably, but perhaps you don’t realize that is what is happening when it does.  Faith which is trusting something to be true without evidence is different from “thinking” something might be true.  Faith is spiritual and works on another plane than our natural reasoning.  I know that I know, but don’t know how I know.  I struggle when I try to filter a faith-fact through my natural mind.  Thomas struggled with believing that it was Jesus standing before him, until he filtered it through the natural man – “I must touch his wounds!”  Jesus then said “Blessed are those who believe and have not seen.  (John 20:29)

Can you .. .will you trust Jesus even when what you are trusting Him in is contrary to reason?  I did not say contrary to the revealed will and Word of God, but to your reasoning.  Faith facts will always be consistent with who God is and His truth and most often inconsistent with natural reasoning.  It may not make any sense.  The thought of it might strike fear in your heart as you look at the “giants in the land” and wonder how on earth you are going to do what you know God has set before you. Martie and I have found ourselves in that place many times.  The hazards (if you will) of our calling.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says not to lean on our own understanding.    In other words, faith comes first.  Understanding will follow … most of the time.  When I was in Army Basic training at the ripe age of 18, I had one particular drill sergeant, SSGT San Felice.  He was 6’2”, red hair, from Puerto Rico.  He had a very thick accent.  He told us .. “I don care if you don unnerstan  me, you bedda do it!”  I think I did a lot of unnecessary pushups!  Well, our life in Christ is that way in some respects.  We hear God, we heard what God said but don’t understand the why or how, and so we doubt God and fear sets in.  The disciples did that during the storm.  Peter did that while walking on the water.  We do that when God says do something that makes no earthly sense.  It means that we have to give up our worldly confidence and rest in God’s faithfulness.  Friend, that is the life we have been called to.  We live by faith and not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)  What is it that God is telling you to do?  You must choose.  BY the wat, to do nothing is making a choice . .and that choice is not for God. 

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15

Does that describe you? I want to encourage you to let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

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

Thursday, February 11, 2021

What God Calls You To Do Requires Spiritual Strength Not Yours

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

I may have a very clear understanding of what God wants me to do, and I may be doing it, but there is this issue of faith, or lack of it, that will raise its head every now and again.  Let me explain. 

It is clear that God has me, Martie and me to be correct, helping those who cannot help themselves.  In particular, He has made me very aware of the plight of widows.  James 1:27 says “religion is expressed in its purest sense when we help widows and orphans in their affliction” (paraphrased by me).  I have seen the mighty hand of God at work.  Do you remember the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18? Right after that victory, Elijah was exhausted and even ran for his life in fear.  How did that happen.  In my experience, when you are anointed by the Spirit of God for a particular work and that work is accomplished to and for the glory of God, you will be physically and emotionally exhausted at the end.  You will have a supernatural ability in the midst of the work, but after, you become very aware of your weakness in light of Jesus’ strength. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I just had a conversation about this with a friend and co-laborer yesterday. The work he is called to looms large and is more than he can do – but he knows that God is in the work and it is going to stretch his faith and challenge his obedience to the call.

Like Elijah    when you are “recovering”, you are vulnerable.  When you find yourself outside of the boat and your flesh kicks in  and you start to doubt and perhaps you ask yourself, “What am I doing?!?!” I recall a time when my family called upon me to bring Spiritual comfort to a family member who was at the doorstep of death. I had just read a post on Facebook about people who have suffered the loss of a loved one and the thought came to me.  “What good do you think you can possibly do in light of what others are doing? Who do you think you are?”  Have you every wondered that in the light of God’s call on your life? The truth is, what God calls you to do is between you and God.  It has nothing to do with what He has called others to do. The temptation is to take your eyes off of Jesus and focus on other things, other people.  If you do, you will immediately start to sink.  That is what happened to me. On the face of it, it seemed improbable or perhaps even impossible.  I mean how can you go from standing boldly for God at one minute and doubting that what you are doing is right the next. (Zechariah 4:6) “It’s not by strength or by power but by my Spirit says the Lord God of Hosts.” 

As Jesus followers we all live with this tension between the Spirit and the flesh. Once again, Proverbs 3:5-6 says trust God and not yourself.  If you are depending upon the world and trusting in yourself to do what God has clearly called you to do, you will fail.  You can’t do it.  Don’t compare yourself to others when considering your God-given purpose.  God will always ask you to do what is not humanly possible.  You will always need the power of the Spirit to do it.  And when the task is accomplished, you will feel just a little bit, or even a lot, of the weight of what you have just done. And it will exhaust you.  Maybe even make you fearful or doubtful.  When that happens … praise the Lord and be humbled that He would use a sinner like you or me for His eternal purposes.  Amazing!

And he (Jesus) said unto me (Paul), My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

Does that describe you? I want to encourage you to let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

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

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

How Do You Respond To Life With Emotion Or Devotion?

 Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now?" —John 13:37

“[…] When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification— to be set apart from sin and made holy— or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt— wait. […] …never act on the impulse of […] feeling. Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it. “I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant. “Jesus answered him, ‘…the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times’ ” (John 13:38). […] Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus[…] but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him.” Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest

“‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.” – Zechariah 4:6

Peter thought that he could do a spiritual thing through the strength of his own will.  You know how that worked for him.  It’s easy to sit in judgement over Peter.  Shaking our knowing heads.  No way Peter! Who do you think you are?  And yet, we are guilty of the same thing.  Trying to be Christians … do the right thing … in the power of our flesh.  Letting our emotions be a poor substitute for the Spirit of God.  Thinking that our own plans are equal with the plans and will of God.  Essentially denying the sovereignty of God .. trying to be our own god.  What! No way you say.  Yes way!  Everything we do .. everything we say .. what we think .. what we want .. should be .. must be … in the context of whose we are and who God is.  Look … our life after our rebirth is a struggle.  Our old nature wants to rule and guide, but our new nature has another ruler and another guide.  In all fairness to Peter, he had not received the Holy Spirit so he lacked the power to be and do in a way that would overcome.  Read this account of Peter being confronted after he received the Spirit of God.

The next day the rulers, the elders and the teachers of the law met in Jerusalem. Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and others of the high priest’s family. They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.  Jesus is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’” – Acts 4:5-11

Is that the same guy that denied Jesus before people around a fire?  Yes and no.  It was Peter, but the new Peter not the old one.  Now Peter could have stood before those religious leaders, even with the Spirit in him and responded with his flesh.  If he had, he would have failed just like before.  The first time, Peter did not glorify God, he protected himself.  The second time, he did glorify God at the peril of prison or worse.  The difference was who he was trusting in. 

Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.” – Psalm 20:6-8

Brother or Sister that can be you as you face life each day.  You will always be tested to trust in yourself and not God.  To respond to a situation with emotion and not devotion.  If you are wondering where the victory in Jesus is in daily living .. that may be the root of your problem.  You are trying to do what only God can do through you.  Examine your heart.  Draw close to God through the Word and prayer.  Pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus.

Does that describe you? I want to encourage you to let your light Shine Bright my friend and give God the place and glory He is due.

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